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I'm at a complete loss and not sure what to do. I keep getting mixed answers.

Discussion in 'Sulcata tortoises' started by MStancil, Jul 29, 2019.

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  1. MStancil

    MStancil New Member

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    We bought a baby Sulcata Tortoise a little over a year ago he was only a few months old when we got it and we were given barely any info on how to care for it. We've been concerned of it's size for awhile now. So I decided to look into it more day before yesterday and found out that his shell is not suppose to be "spikey" on top... Now finding out it's called pyramiding and we have been working on fixing it but now I'm wondering if we even have the correct things.. He is an indoor tortoise at the moment, currently in a 40 gal tank, which we know we will have to upgrade, it's just temporary of course until then. We have his heat lamp that's on all the time, along with food. We just bought him calcium powder along with multivitamin powder to add to his food. Changed up his diet to incorporate more fresh veggies and the occasional fruit, bought him a fence to put him outside more and make sure he's safe (we live on base so loose animals happen a lot) I just bought a UVB light but after researching it found out that it's not good for him since it's a coil one. So I'm not sure what I'm suppose to buy now. I don't really like the idea of the Mercury vapor bulbs since Mercury is obviously horrible for you so I'm not sure if it were to blow or break what the effect on my family it could cause. Also bought a blue daylight bulb but also read that colored bulbs are recommended. The PetSmart guy recommended both and he uses it with his for the last 2 years. So now I'm just stumped now.. Thank you so much in advance for the help!
    Cathie G likes this.
  2. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Hi and welcome!

    We have no ax to grind other than the health and safety of your tortoise, while the pet store wants to sell stuff.

    I used to use Mercury Vapor Bulbs, they're perfectly safe when used according to the instructions on the box. But I now know that the MVB may contribute to pyramiding in young tortoises. So now my UVB light of choice is the tube type fluorescent bulb.

    One thing to keep in mind is that tortoise keeping is always changing because we're always learning. The most recent thing we've learned is that because African tortoise eggs hatch during the monsoon season, it is beneficial to keep baby tortoises in warm, humid conditions. We may learn something different next week, but for now, that's the best info we've got.
  3. Changa

    Changa Active Member

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    Welcome I am fairly new( i have a little guy 2 years old sully)to the forum
    There is a forum "How to care for your Sucate" by Tom, TheDog Trainer
    U might want to check it out
    But I'm sure the Veterans of the forum will come to your Help cry
    The forum has help me alot I didnt know "nada" i still dont but I had my two since since October of last year and they striving.
    Good luck and enjoy your buddy
    .
  4. kazjimmy

    kazjimmy Active Member

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    1.Buy a reptile humidifier and keep it on 24/7. Dehydration is the main reason caused pyramiding. Not the food not the light.
    2. Since it a yearling tortoise. You can buy garden Mulch as substrate keeps your tank humidity level up. Keep your tank indoor, not the garage and provide some air flow.
    3. During summer time you don’t need any types of uv for your tortoise. You only need to take it outside around 4pm or after to access UV. Plz, no direct sun light.
    4. Winter time you would need a ceramic heater 50w or lower consider you only have a 40 gal tank. And buy a planet grade led lamp. Do not use a uva/b heat lamp cuz your tank is way too small.

    All of above only apply to California area.
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  5. Ray--Opo

    Ray--Opo Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Welcome show us your tort and enclosure. (even if it's temporary). The flouresnt tube type Yvonne spoke about. There is one offered by Arcadia with a 5.0 HO lamp.
    You also mentioned fruit. NO FRUIT. I started out like many and didn't do my homework. All the supplies I was told I needed from the pet store and what to eat was wrong.
    When someone tells you give your new little friend some fruit for a treat. Well you can guess how much fruit I gave Opo.
    I found this forum and found I was doing everything wrong.
    Hope we can help you care for your tort.
    Many very knowledgeable members here.
    Good luck!
  6. MStancil

    MStancil New Member

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    Here's pictures of my enclosure and also our little man. I read that the humidity is suppose to be 70 so we made a humid/hide box for him and got the humidity up for him! His enclosure never really gets about 75' though. We also keep that light on 24/7 so he doesn't get cold but now I'm reading we aren't suppose to. Like I stated before I bought a blue daylight and also bought a blue night light but read that colored bulbs are bad too so I'm not sure what lights we are suppose to use. I definitely plan on getting the UVB light and returning the coil one along with the blue lights.

    Attached Files:

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  7. Maro2Bear

    Maro2Bear Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Here is the link to Tom’s How to Care for a Sully. Read this info over and over - lighting, heat, humidity, substrate, soaking, enclosure, food, etc. it’s all covered here. Follow this info to a T and you will be on your way to providing your Sully with everything it needs. //No PetSmart info, No Kamp Kenan, No Other Info needed//

    The Guide - https://tortoiseforum.org/forums/sulcata-tortoises.88/

    Best of luck - happy torting!
  8. vladimir

    vladimir Well-Known Member

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    @Maro2Bear is this the link you meant to use? That one goes right to the sulcata section index.

    https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/how-to-raise-a-healthy-sulcata-or-leopard-version-2-0.79895/
  9. Ray--Opo

    Ray--Opo Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    What a cute little tort! Do as Maro2Bear suggested. The pyramiding that's there cant be changed.The proper care now can stop it and with growth wont look as bad.
    Humidity 80%< and soak everyday for 1/2hr in warm water. Dont let the water cool down.
    There is a lot of reading for you. At the end of the week you will be given a 100 multiple choice question exam. So study up!:)
    NO just kidding :):):)
    The info can be overwhelming sometimes. So ask as many questions you want.
  10. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Here is all the care info in one place for you:
    https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/
    https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/how-to-raise-a-healthy-sulcata-or-leopard-version-2-0.79895/
    https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/for-those-who-have-a-young-sulcata.76744/

    This info works for everyone anywhere in the world and has been tried and tested for a decade now with universal success. All you have to do is follow it.

    Your questions and conversation are welcome. You are not alone in your confusion and frustration with the mixed and conflicting info.
  11. MStancil

    MStancil New Member

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    Thank you all so much for this information!! I plan on getting the correct bulbs and reading all the info I can find!
  12. MStancil

    MStancil New Member

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    Thank you so much!!!
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  13. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    This is not good advice.

    1. Humidifiers shouldn't be used. They don't solve the problem, which is the wrong type of enclosure with too much ventilation. Using a humidifier is like sticking your finger in a hole in the dam. Repair the dam.
    2. What does the tortoises age have to do with using garden mulch? Any any old garden mulch is not safe. It must be the correct type. And airflow is going to dry out everything, which is how this tortoise got pyramided in the first place.
    3. After 4pm? No direct sunlight? Have you ever taken a UV reading outdoors after 4pm? There is almost no UV in the late afternoon. No direct sun? Basking in the sun is how they warm up and get their UV.
    4. 50 watts is probably not going to be enough to warm up this whole tank in a normal house. Plant lights are for plants and are the wrong spectrum for live animals. There is no reason they can't use whatever lamp they want as long as they get the temperatures under it right.

    This is a new member who is already confused by conflicting info from multiple sources. You jumping in with a bunch of confusing, incorrect info does not help the situation. I'm sure your intentions are good, but your advice isn't.
  14. Changa

    Changa Active Member

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    U are very welcome!
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  15. Maro2Bear

    Maro2Bear Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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  16. Ray--Opo

    Ray--Opo Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Hello, is your substrate cypress mulch? That's fine but if you put 3" of coco coir underneath you will maintain humidity easier. You can get online. Mix with water as directed. I get the mixture to when you grab a handful and squeeze. No water should drip out but the clump will pretty much stay together. You will need a CHE heating source for night time heat.Your tort needs total darkness at night.
    Wherever his basking area is get a flat stone or tile that is big enough for him to stretch out on. Try sinking your food dish into the substrate and I would get rid of the water dish and use a terracotta dish pressed down in the substrate. Those water dishes can be a flipping hazard. I would use tape and wrap around the aquarium about 4 or 5 inches up from the bottom. Keeps his line of sight from seeing out. When I first got my sully. He would pace back and forth trying to get out.
    Your lights you can put on a timer. Should be on for 12 hrs.
    Try to get 2 temp/humidity units with wire probes and a infrared temp gun. Both make life easier. 20190304_173132.jpg 20190304_173100.jpg Dont point gun at eyes.
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  17. jsheffield

    jsheffield Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    When my tortoise first came to live with me I got confused by contradictory information on FB and other WWW sources... until I found TFO.

    The caresheets and experienced keepers here have real-world knowledge of what works with tortoise and turtles, and have been invaluable resources in setting up his enclosure and care/feeding practices.

    Jamie
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  18. Blackdog1714

    Blackdog1714 Well-Known Member

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    I went from NOVICE to Tortie dad in 5 months. I got my closed chamber dialed in first then got my Russian. TFO educates and helps if you are truly open to listening. Good Luck
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  19. Professor Brenda

    Professor Brenda Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to the group!! You will learn everything you need to know on this forum. These people are helpful and not pushy or judgement always.

    There is a lot of conflicting info out there. Unfortunately, the people from the pet stores often, not always, provide poor information.

    I agree with Yvonne, that info is often changing because we are all learning so much. I think that is due to better worldwide electronic communication.

    Read the introductory threads and good luck.
    Brenda
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  20. kazjimmy

    kazjimmy Active Member

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    Tom, thank you for correcting me for all my mistake.

    So how do I actually do to keep the high humidity for the baby tortoise on a closing chamber?
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