Humidity: Closed chamber versus Ventilated chamber.

Axelay2003

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When I posted on FB my current enclosure, I was told to have vents in it to let fresh air in and stale air out. Before I added the ventilating fans, the enclosure was a closed chamber, and was able to get 80-90% humidity. After adding the ventilating fans(even set at lowest), I can only get avg 50% humidity. Now, I feel like the air inside is really fresh, but now I am sacrificing humidity.

There was a another post here that if you have a closed chamber with too high of humidity and stale air, you can end up with a tortoise with respiratory issues, mold in the chamber, with acrid smell.

Should I go back to an enclosed chamber and forget about the ventilators?

The first photo is my closed chamber and was keeping 80-90% humidity.

The second photo is with added ventilating fans with 50% humidity.

Both set up have a small humidifier.

I really don't want to add substrate at this moment so what are my other options? Can I add potted plants to help?

Closed chamber.jpg Ventilated chamber.jpg
 
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Tom

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First and foremost, stay off of FB. Those people give terrible tortoise advice and spread all sorts of bad info, and then ban you if you argue with them about how wrong they are.

Second, your tortoise needs substrate at least three inches, and fine grade orchid bark works best. Its not good for their legs to be walking around on a hard slick surface like that.

Third thing, and kind of related to the fourth thing: If you need a humidifier in a closed chamber, you are doing it wrong. The whole point of a closed chamber is to contain the moisture and humidity.

Fourth thing: All closed chamber have SOME ventilation. We are not hermetically sealing them in. How much ventilation depends on many factors like temperatures inside and outside the chamber, size of the chamber, air flow in the room, insulation properties of the material the enclosure is made of. Obviously, the fans are too much ventilation, so says your hygrometer.

Give your tortoise some substrate, stop using the humidifier, turn the fans off, and see what your hygrometer tells you. I'll bet it hovers around 80-90%. If too high, add some ventilation and let things dry out a little. If too low, add some moisture and seal off some ventilation.

I use nothing but closed chambers (8 of them currently) for all species and have no fans. I get no stale air, no respiratory infections, no mold, and no acid smell. I would be banned for that sentence if this was FB.

Please feel free to ask questions or discuss any of these assertions. This is not FB and you won't be banned even if you disagree.
 

Sue Ann

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chapin , South Carolina
When I posted on FB my current enclosure, I was told to have vents in it to let fresh air in and stale air out. Before I added the ventilating fans, the enclosure was a closed chamber, and was able to get 80-90% humidity. After adding the ventilating fans(even set at lowest), I can only get avg 50% humidity. Now, I feel like the air inside is really fresh, but now I am sacrificing humidity.

There was a another post here that if you have a closed chamber with too high of humidity and stale air, you can end up with a tortoise with respiratory issues, mold in the chamber, with acrid smell.

Should I go back to an enclosed chamber and forget about the ventilators?

The first photo is my closed chamber and was keeping 80-90% humidity.

The second photo is with added ventilating fans with 50% humidity.

Both set up have a small humidifier.

I really don't want to add substrate at this moment so what are my other options? Can I add potted plants to help?
Orchid bark small, is a good substrate that you can water and helps humidify the tank. You need to get rid of that water bottle. Your tort cannot drink from it. Get a larger plant saucer. Please read the advice for tank set up. I’m concerned yours is sadly lacking.
 

Axelay2003

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Orchid bark small, is a good substrate that you can water and helps humidify the tank. You need to get rid of that water bottle. Your tort cannot drink from it. Get a larger plant saucer. Please read the advice for tank set up. I’m concerned yours is sadly lacking.
Sounds good, but how do you know my tortoises “cannot” drink from the water feeder? Are you assuming or know this to be a fact?
 

Relic

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Sounds good, but how do you know my tortoises “cannot” drink from the water feeder? Are you assuming or know this to be a fact?
If you've come to this site to learn, I heartily commend you. Collectively, there are hundreds of years of experience that you can tap into, for free. If you've come looking for an argument, you'll be disappointed; mostly all you will get are facts, which are stubborn things to argue against.

That water distributor might work for drinking, but is obviously impossible for soaking. Why not provide something that accomplishes both? 99.9% of tortoise keepers strive to duplicate the animals natural habitat as far as possible - which eliminates an enclosure with a bare plastic floor. Why not add the orchid bark which gives a more natural walking surface, retains moisture, and generally makes for an easy to clean substrate?

You've gone to the trouble of installing a nice viewing window. You obviously want to see your tortoises thriving. Why not accept the advice from others who have "gone before you" and are much further down the road of experience?

PS - The temperature probe is a bit high, and keeping a pair of torts in the same enclosure - especially one with not a single hiding place - is going to be detrimental to one of them. And redfoots don't like bright light - they need a shady spot(s).
 

Axelay2003

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Alex, I just got this enclosure on line after fighting to keep my humidity up and my Tor loves is. Lots of venting on the sides and no issue keeping humidity up, I got this one from DIYcages.com.
That looks great! My set up could look like that with substrate and plants. Thanks!
 

Axelay2003

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If you've come to this site to learn, I heartily commend you. Collectively, there are hundreds of years of experience that you can tap into, for free. If you've come looking for an argument, you'll be disappointed; mostly all you will get are facts, which are stubborn things to argue against.

That water distributor might work for drinking, but is obviously impossible for soaking. Why not provide something that accomplishes both? 99.9% of tortoise keepers strive to duplicate the animals natural habitat as far as possible - which eliminates an enclosure with a bare plastic floor. Why not add the orchid bark which gives a more natural walking surface, retains moisture, and generally makes for an easy to clean substrate?

You've gone to the trouble of installing a nice viewing window. You obviously want to see your tortoises thriving. Why not accept the advice from others who have "gone before you" and are much further down the road of experience?

PS - The temperature probe is a bit high, and keeping a pair of torts in the same enclosure - especially one with not a single hiding place - is going to be detrimental to one of them. And redfoots don't like bright light - they need a shady spot(s).
I have no issues with people having more experience than me giving me advice. I just don’t like someone telling me:

“You need to get rid of that water bottle. Your tort cannot drink from it.” These are the exact words!

When in fact, my tortoises have been “trained” to drink using the water feeder. It was actually easy to train them because they seem to gravitate to bright red colors like red hibiscus flowers. When they got close to it and found out that it was water, they started drinking out of it with no problem. The reason I do it because it is more sanitary than having a pool of water they bath, poop, and drink out of. I can leave this water feeder all the time without having to worry about contamination. Again, that’s just my preference.

I do leave a water bath area for them to let them soak in. See the left darker side of the enclosure. I just don’t leave it more than 6 hours at a time.

I will note your suggestions. I do already have a shady area on the left side where there is a lamp. That lamp houses a small 25 watt heating coil, but being in Florida, is usually never used.

I have already stopped using the vent fans and the humidity is getting close to ideal.

Thanks for the advice, Tom! I will continue to make more improvements based on your advice.

Thanks again for the helpful suggestions and constructive criticisms.

0FE079D9-63A3-430E-9A04-50C333B6AB83.jpeg 2E2B3E6F-8B34-486E-9424-C307693C2455.jpeg
 
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Tom

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Alex, I just got this enclosure on line after fighting to keep my humidity up and my Tor loves is. Lots of venting on the sides and no issue keeping humidity up, I got this one from DIYcages.com.
Nice. What did that cost?
 

Tom

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Thanks again for the helpful suggestions and constructive criticisms.
The ramped water bowls are good for lizards and snakes, but they are a dangerous flipping hazard for tortoises. I would replace that with a terra cotta plant saucer sunk into the substrate ASAP.

I didn't notice the second tortoise, or I would have said something earlier. They should never live in pairs. Whenever we say this here on the forum, people usually counter with something like, "They are fine together. I'll keep an eye on it." They aren't fine together, and the idea here is to learn from people who have made this mistake, and their tortoises suffered the consequences, so that YOUR tortoises don't have to suffer. A few years back we said this same thing to a member with two RFs living together, and she chose to ignore this advice. Six weeks later, she was back asking what to do because one tortoise had literally eaten the tail and back leg of the other. But prior to that, she thought they were fine together. Groups can sometimes works, but pairs do not.

Also, that enclosure is just about too small for your tortoises. Its time to start planning for something bigger, or maybe moving them to outdoor enclosures with heated night box shelters for them since you have such a warm humid climate there in FL.
 

Yvonne G

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Sounds good, but how do you know my tortoises “cannot” drink from the water feeder? Are you assuming or know this to be a fact?
I think it would have been better if Sue Anne would have said, "Your tortoise cannot soak in that bird waterer." RF tortoises love climbing into the waterer and soaking. As to not being able to drink out of a bird waterer, some tortoises probably can't. It depends upon how large their heads are. Tortoises submerge their NOSE and mouth into the water and drink from the nose and the mouth. THe bird waterer, while being a cleaner container, won't allow for a nose and mouth to both get into the water part and submerge them in order to drink.


. . . and remember, the printed word has no feeling, facial expression, hand gestures associated with it. When Sue Ann wrote those words, her mind was smiling and was offering you helpful advice, not the cold, demanding sentence that actually showed up.
 
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Axelay2003

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The ramped water bowls are good for lizards and snakes, but they are a dangerous flipping hazard for tortoises. I would replace that with a terra cotta plant saucer sunk into the substrate ASAP.

I didn't notice the second tortoise, or I would have said something earlier. They should never live in pairs. Whenever we say this here on the forum, people usually counter with something like, "They are fine together. I'll keep an eye on it." They aren't fine together, and the idea here is to learn from people who have made this mistake, and their tortoises suffered the consequences, so that YOUR tortoises don't have to suffer. A few years back we said this same thing to a member with two RFs living together, and she chose to ignore this advice. Six weeks later, she was back asking what to do because one tortoise had literally eaten the tali and back leg of the other. But prior to that, she thought they were fine together. Groups can sometimes works, but pairs do not.

Also, that enclosure is just about too small for your tortoises. Its time to start planning for something bigger, or maybe moving them to outdoor enclosures with heated night box shelters for them since you have such a warm humid climate there in FL.
Hey Tom,

This enclosure is temporary and these two have lived in my outdoor enclosure(Tortoise Sanctuary) at my office for almost 3 years now. They have lived with three larger ones that are living in there currently. Due to the COVID-19 mandate closure to my office, I have decided to keep these two little ones so I can keep a closer eye on them. The other three larger tortoises are self sufficient and have sufficient natural food in their Sanctuary. I do stop by the office on Mondays and Thursdays to feed them some strawberries, salad greens, blueberries, and a little bit of Mazuri pellets. I also have an overhead security camera in the sanctuary to keep at eye on them while I am at home. The mandated closure should be lifted on May 8th, and then I will release these two little ones to join their larger friends.

As far as the ramped water bowl, I think I will add enough coconut coir substrate to cover the ramp so that the tortoises do not have to "climb" in to bath. I will also add black smooth river rocks at the bottom of the bowl to "hide" the internal "wet" ramp. I will go out to get a terra cotta plant saucer later on. I am trying to stay locked down as much as possible to help flatten the curve.

Thanks again.

Five Tortoises.jpg Office pond.jpg Sanctuary.jpg Office.jpg
 

Axelay2003

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I think it would have been better if Sue Anne would have said, "Your tortoise cannot soak in that bird waterer." RF tortoises love climbing into the waterer and soaking. As to not being able to drink out of a bird waterer, some tortoises probably can't. It depends upon how large their heads are. Tortoises submerge their NOSE and mouth into the water and drink from the nose and the mouth. THe bird waterer, while being a cleaner container, won't allow for a nose and mouth to both get into the water part and submerge them in order to drink.


. . . and remember, the printed word has no feeling, facial expression, hand gestures associated with it. When Sue Ann wrote those words, her mind was smiling and was offering you helpful advice, not the cold, demanding sentence that actually showed up.
Thanks Yvonne.

The two little ones use the 1 Liter water feeder and they are able to submerge their entire head except the very top surface of their heads.
I just added the ramped water bowl in the temporary enclosure.

Per Tom's suggestions, I will get a terra cotta plant saucer. In the meantime, I will add enough coconut coir substrate to cover the ramp so that the tortoises do not have to "climb" in to bath. I will also add black smooth river rocks at the bottom of the bowl to "hide" the internal "wet" ramp. I am trying to stay locked down as much as possible to help flatten the curve, so there is no telling when I will go to get the saucer.

The larger tortoises in the sanctuary use the 1 Gallon water feeder and that one is deep enough to submerge their entire head. If you zoom in the sanctuary photo below, you can make out the 1 Gallon water feeder to the upper right just behind some bushes.

They have drunk this way since I received the water feeder back in December 2018.

The sanctuary has a little pond in which they soak in. It is several safety ramps that enable them to get out safely. I made sure of this by placing them in the water and letting them get out by themselves. I have done this for days just to be sure. This also includes the two little ones.

Sanctuary.jpg
 

Tom

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Lots of people argue with the advice they are given, but few people demonstrate the level of competence and understanding that you have. Consider me off your back, but happy to help and answer any other questions that come up. Thank you for taking the time to explain and show us your set up! :)
 
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