Idea for indoor enclosure?

Astrochelys

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So even tho I won't be getting a tortoise for a few years (at least), I've been researching like crazy about some of the ones I'm interested in. And so far it's the leopard, spider, star, radiated, russian and a few others. I know I'll probably change my mind as time goes on, but back on topic.

I've been thinking for an indoor enclosure to build one out of either expanded pvc (heat, water and I think UVB resistance since it is used in lizard and snake enclosure, but downside is that it is pricey), melamine (water resistant and can be pricey from what I heard), or just plain hardwood treated/painted with aquarium water proof paint (or something of the sort, read a thread, but forgot what it was called exactly). Which one would be best? I'm leaning more toward the regular wood or melamine enclosure since Id be afraid of the sides bending in the expanded pvc set up (since it will be long pieces). Does anyone have any suggestions? Also, how many lights would be needed for a large adult enclosure? I was watching a video where someone had a light that combined both types of light and kept it on one side of the enclose.

I'm only really focusing on the indoor enclosures since I'm not sure if I'll be getting a proper house/apartment/condo with a backyard/balcony that the tortoise can get sunlight on. If I do, I'll either sit outside with it for a few hours whenever the weathers nice or keeping a small kiddy pool outside filled with substrate incase the grass is treated with chemicals.

Thanks!
 

johnsonnboswell

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In my experience, there is a lot of rebuilding and redesign and rethinking that goes on over time in regards to habitats. Your first habitat most likely won't be your last. Whatever size it is, you'll want it larger.

Wood is cheap, easy to take apart to rebuild or move. I'd start there, if not with a stock tank.
 

Jodie

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The enclosure will change continuously in my experience as well. The type of tortoise you decide on will vary the enclosure needs too.
I prefer wood for the above stated reasons. Best of luck and good for you planning in advance.
 

Astrochelys

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Thanks for the replies everyone!

Out of the species I mentioned, I was thinking of getting an adult or a juvenile, and then start an enclosure that's 8 ft by 4 ft. Would that take care of the species mentioned above (and redfoot)?
 

Tidgy's Dad

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I think that's fine for most of the torts mentioned (don't know 'bout some), but bigger is always better.
 

DutchieAmanda

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I think the walking space and the height would be OK for a young tort, but too small for an adult.

You would have to build some kind of tent over it to keep humidity in and which is high enough to also put the lights in I guess. I'd recommend covering the entire enclosure. It's really hard to maintain >80% humidity with an open top.

Third, you would need to protect the veneer with something like a shower curtain, otherwise it will rot away within weeks :)

So, could be a good start, with some work. Good luck!
 

leigti

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The only tortoise you mentioned that I have first-hand experience with is a Russian. As adults they don't need high humidity, maybe 50%. So that would be easier to do in an open top table, and 4 x 8' would be just fine for an indoor enclosure. And wood would work great. Read foots could be kept in that size of enclosure indoors but you would have to waterproof the wood and probably make some kind of closed chamber or something similar because they require more humidity. You can align the wood with the shower curtain or a pool liner. For species that require more humidity I would use something other than wood though, with higher sides and some sort of cover to keep heat and humidity in. As mentioned above, I have also found that your first enclosure probably won't be your last, it seems like we are always tweaking it or making it larger. So start out with as big as you possibly can.
 

johnsonnboswell

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I would not use veneer. Keep your eye out for solid wood furniture at garage sales, etc. Or build your own. Scrap lumber isn't expensive.
 

Astrochelys

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I would not use veneer. Keep your eye out for solid wood furniture at garage sales, etc. Or build your own. Scrap lumber isn't expensive.

Why is using a a bookshelf a bad idea? Sorry, don't mean to be rude at all, just thought it was since many people use it and all. I was thinking about getting the cuts of wood in the similar size to the bookshelf, but I don't know how expensive it would be. That and I won't have any major tools really, at the apartment I meant.
 

johnsonnboswell

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Bookshelves are good, although many aren't deep enough & will need to have raised walls. It's veneer I am leery of. It peels off if it's exposed to too much dampness. What is it veneered over? Chip board out-gasses, and is very heavy. Also hard to glue or screw into. Wood or plywood is my preference.
 

Astrochelys

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Oh okay gotcha, that makes sense. For a second I was thinking that veneer meant the entire bookshelf haha. Just a question, if I go the wood route, how thick does the bottom board need to be and what kind of wood should I use? I can only find a 1 inch thickness on the bottom, and I know that some wood chips are bad for reptiles so was wondering about that too.
 

Astrochelys

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Just another simple question, do you guys spot clean and change the sub regularly? Or more often?
 

johnsonnboswell

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I should have said that I spot clean regularly and change the substrate as seldom as possible. It's not an imperative. Not everyone does it this way. It works for me.
 

DawnH

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If you are going to do the bookshelf route I would look for one whose frame is solid wood (older ones are solid wood frames and shelves with a cheap backing) - avoid veneer ones and they will be destroyed by either weight or dampness in no time. Remove the shelves and if solid wood you can cut the shelves into legs, remove backing and replace with plywood (the good stuff.) I would seal it AND line it for dampness and you should be good to go!
 
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