Introducing Mio's Closed Chamber

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Vegas_Leopard

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How's everyone been on Tortoise Forum? :D

Just a day ago I received my Leopard Tortoise (Mio) that I purchased from Jtrux a fellow TF member. He's an overall great person to have dealt with and knows the guidelines on how to raise a Leopard Tortoise. I knew purchasing one from him, I wouldn't have to worry about "hatchling failure syndrome". If anyone is looking to buy one, I think he has 4 left.

Meet Mio! I chose Mio, because of her coloration. Her skin tone and shell reminds me of a butterscotch in plain sight. I'm excited to see her markings and shell growth as she get older by the day. I haven't weighed her yet because my scale needs batteries, but stay tuned as I post updates on her. :D

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Before I had even thought about purchasing another tortoise, I had already started making plans on building a better enclosure than I have ever built. I went with another "closed chamber", I wasn't satisfied with my previous ones, so I had to make sure this one would be top notch for myself. When I thought I knew everything that I needed to know, I went back and did more research on many of the successors of the closed chamber. As I continued my research, I accumulated ideas and created some of my own. This time I paid attention to details and because I did, I'm extremely satisfied with the turnout of my closed chamber.

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I chose to use an Aqueon 55 gal aquarium because I knew this would retain humidity when closed off completely and I wanted to be able to see the tortoise at every angle possible. I closed off one half of the aquarium with plywood where my heat, light and humidity fixtures will be and the other half with glass. Both halves were custom cut for a tight fit. I got two of my Zoo Med Deep Dome Lamp Fixtures and rewired them to the ceramic fixtures I purchased at my local hardware store. I mounted the fixtures onto the plywood by cutting holes with a hole saw. One holds a 100W CHE plugged into a HygroTherm (humidity and temperature controller) and the other a 100W PowerSun UV plugged into a timer. I also decided to use an 18" ReptiSun 10.0 UVB again after not using one with Mervin and Mabel. I've noticed not using one after the many years of having used one their growth had been slower in age than my past Sulcata's. Once Mervin and Mabel were moved to an outdoor enclosure, their growth had kicked started and since then have been "growing like weeds". I do understand that natural sunlight is the best source of heat and UV, but there will be times where I wont be able to take Mio outdoors because of my own schedule. She still gets her daily soaks out in natural sunlight for about 30 minutes, I'm still in the process of building her a hatchling sunning pen. For humidity I'm using a Exo-Terra Monsoon RS400 High-pressure Misting System on a timer as well as it's own built-in timer. I set this to turn on and off at the same time as my lights. On the built-in timer I set this to turn on and off every 4 hours for 16 second intervals for 12 hours a day total. The Crane Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier is also plugged into the HygroTherm. The humidifier is attached to a 3' hose that attaches to 1" PVC pipes. I used the same hole saw to cut out holes to place them through the plywood. I built it the way you see it because I wanted the "fog" to distribute evenly on both sides of the aquarium. I chose the cool mist because I didn't want to risk and chance the enclosure overheating. The temperatures show on the pictures are: basking spot (104 degrees F - 72% humidity) on the AcuRite Digital Weather Station, warm end outside the humid hide (94.8 degrees F - 44% humidity) on the Exo-Terra Thermo-Hygro, cool end (82 degrees F - 93% humidity) on the HygroTherm. I built the humid hide using a Rubbermaid pail. I removed the handle, used a Dremel to cut a door and zip tied a wet sponge after I boiled it. I divided the substrate into 3 sections and used coconut coir on both ends. The end with the humid hide was kept moist, I wanted the sponge and rest of the humidity in the enclosure to accumulate inside the hide and condensate on its own. On the other end I kept it wet to help the seed mix germinate and grow. The rest of the substrate is coco husk, I like using this because it retains moisture below and keeps dry on top for the most part. I don't have to worry about it getting it all over the place.

Thanks for looking! :D
 

LeopardTortLover

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Plants and hiding places would be great additions. Along with moistened coco coir substrate (just a personal fave).
Congratulations! She's gorgeous!
 

jjsull33

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Looking good! I like the little divided area for the sprouts. Out of curiosity why did you use both a humidifier and a mister?
 

Vegas_Leopard

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Thanks for all the generous comments! The humidifier was only good by itself if I ran it during long periods of time, for the way I built the enclosure and if I didn't the humidity would dissipate. It wasn't enough to keep parts of the enclosure humid for a long amount of time, unless I poured lots of water into the substrate and that would allow alot the humidity to escape every time I removed the top. I kept using the mister because it helps moisten up the substrate without having to do all the work and lose humidity all at the same time. I have one of the misting heads aimed directly where I planted the mixed seeds and it helps when that area needs to be watered. The other misting head is aimed directly at the basking rock, that area drys up quicker and the humidity lower, it helps that area keep at a higher humidity percentage. I also like that it sprays Mio when she's around those areas, as if you would spray her with a spray bottle.
jjsull33 said:
Looking good! I like the little divided area for the sprouts. Out of curiosity why did you use both a humidifier and a mister?
 

wellington

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Nice enclosure, beautiful tort. However, I'm surprised her name isn't butterscotch:D
 

Vegas_Leopard

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Thanks! I thought about naming her Butterscotch, but I had to keep the tradition going by naming her after the letter "M" like the other two. :p
wellington said:
Nice enclosure, beautiful tort. However, I'm surprised her name isn't butterscotch:D
 

Vegas_Leopard

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It's been 3 days since I've planted the seed mix and it sure has grown in an accelerated rate compared to a open top enclosure.
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jtrux

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Wow, you did an excellent job. I'm glad she went to a good home, I have no doubts that she's in good hands.
 

Vegas_Leopard

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Thanks bro! Told you I was working on an enclosure for her haha. Glad you chose to offer her!
jtrux said:
Wow, you did an excellent job. I'm glad she went to a good home, I have no doubts that she's in good hands.

That's a lot of work, but I'll keep everyone updated on how this enclosure works out.
Teodora said:
You should write a book on that enclosure... perfect.
 
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