Lighting- So much conflicting info!!

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
51,309
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Same as a house is not air tight.
You just gave me the best analogy for open topped enclosures EVER!

An open topped enclosure is like taking the roof off of your house. You can run the heater all night in January in your house, but where does the heat go if there is no ceiling? Likewise with the AC in August. So many comparisons. The lights are inside our houses. How well would our lights work if our houses had open or screen tops and all the lights and heaters were outside the house? Your air movement comparison is spot on too. Our houses are closed chambers! We open the windows if its hot inside and cooler outside. We close the windows if its cold outside and warm inside. Ventilation!

Brilliant Barb. You've just made the closed chamber thing easier to explain and easier to understand. Thank you. :)
 

wellington

Well-Known Member
Moderator
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2011
Messages
38,098
Location (City and/or State)
Chicago, Illinois, USA
I try not to personalize, it truly is just a lot of information to take in. I'm also a full time single mother and a social worker for those in recovery for mental health and addiction. So I put in a lot of hours at work then come home and do everything for my kid and Pumpkin, then spend hours researching whats best for her because I've seen what happens to the ones that aren't cared for properly. However I also see the ones on some of the FB pages I'm in that are thriving in environments dissimilar than whats recommended here, or ones that are rescued and recovering but are much older.

It's all very overwhelming, you know, plus COVID, plus our teachers were just on strike, and and and.

I have been adjusting and learning as I go.
With the larger enclosure she has a cooler side with moss (she doesn't attempt to eat, just lay on) and her favorite hide. She has the warm side with the UVB/basking as well as a CHE, grass, rocks in the corner because she likes to "ninja" around as my daughter says, another hide, an aloe plant, water and her food bowl.
She soaks every day (minus 2 days we forgot or it was late) even though she hates it.
She has grass and hay in her enclosure at all times, however she never touches the hay. (We've tried two different kinds thus far)
I supplement in other greens to make sure she eats, and she does eat, a lot.
Her urates were rough when we first got her but they seem normal now, along with her bowel movements.
She hasn't been outside but once because, Ohio.
What you do have to remember is location. Someone in florida is going to have it easier then someone in Arizona or Ohio or here in Chicago. Tortoises can survive a lot. It the thriving not just surviving that is strived for here. A lot of the FB people don't have a clue of what they are missing because they don't want too learn. I just disagreed with a tortoise forum FB person because they think its okay to keep two tortoises together and that hers get along great. She has no clue what to look for when it comes to bullying because she has her agenda and doesn't want to learn the truths. Best to ignore all other care guides not found on this forum. Many of our members have years, 20+ experience.
 

wellington

Well-Known Member
Moderator
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2011
Messages
38,098
Location (City and/or State)
Chicago, Illinois, USA
You just gave me the best analogy for open topped enclosures EVER!

An open topped enclosure is like taking the roof off of your house. You can run the heater all night in January in your house, but where does the heat go if there is no ceiling? Likewise with the AC in August. So many comparisons. The lights are inside our houses. How well would our lights work if our houses had open or screen tops and all the lights and heaters were outside the house? Your air movement comparison is spot on too. Our houses are closed chambers! We open the windows if its hot inside and cooler outside. We close the windows if its cold outside and warm inside. Ventilation!

Brilliant Barb. You've just made the closed chamber thing easier to explain and easier to understand. Thank you. :)
Glad I could finally help you. You sure have helped me a lot for years😁
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
51,309
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
So from your thread, the only enclosure for them at this stage is one that is made by us? Fully enclosed, not to be interacted with? What are the full plans for such a thing? Where does the air flow come from?
There aren't any that can be purchased?

The whole "if you don't have room" or can't do xyz "get a different pet" is really difficult for me to read. I did not chose nor was I particularly enthused to have her at first, but if we wouldn't have ended up with her, someone else would have. Someone else who might not have cared nearly as much or could have hurt her. When people come here to ask questions and they are way in over their heads, what do you suggest they do? What is the alternative? There are so many tortoises (sulcatas specifically) that are in need of rescue, the pet stores don't even care for them properly.
I'll take your questions one at time for clarity:

1. Closed chambers can be bought from several sources, or yes, you can make your own if you want. I used to make my own, but I found it actually cheaper, better, and infinitely easier to buy them. I recommend the ones made by @Markw84 . Animal Plastics also makes great ones, but they take months to get. Mark's enclosures are better, more specifically designed for tortoises, come fully equipped and ready to go, and arrive in two or three weeks after ordering most of the time. As word spreads about how great his enclosures are, and demand skyrockets, the wait time may increase, but its still less than the 6-8 months you have to wait for an AP cage.
2. A closed chamber doesn't mean you can't interact with your tortoise. I interact with mine every day. I side the door open, do what I need/want to do, and then slide the door closed again to contain the necessary warm humid air that I'm generating for them.
3. What are the full plans? I'm not sure what you are asking here? May I request more explanation of your question?
4. Air flow comes from vents on the sides and back, and from gaps around the doors, and also from opening and closing the doors for maintenance, feeding and watering, cleaning, and interaction.
5. See number 1 above.

Your second paragraph:
1. When people come here and they are in over their heads, I suggest they read and learn from people who truly know what they are doing and why, and who are willing to share that info for free with the world and anyone who is interested in learning. I suggest and welcome them to ask questions as you are doing now. I suggest they read the input from other members of this wonderful community of tortoise keepers here and make an informed decision about how to proceed. For some people that results in a commitment of time, money and effort to create the correct living environment needed for the species they possess. For other people it results in the realization that this little animal requires more time, money and effort than they are willing or able to part with, and they decide to place the animal with someone who can/will spend the needed time, money and effort necessary. Either of those paths is fine and will result in a healthy well cared for animal. The path that is not fine is when people can't, won't or don't do what is necessary for this helpless animal and let it suffer in the wrong housing or with the wrong diet. My goal is not to dictate what you must do. My goal is to give you the information you need to decide for yourself what is best for your pet and your family. It is terribly unfortunate that so many pet, reptile, and tortoise people are still so ignorant about tortoise care, and give all the wrong advice and products to new tortoise keepers, but I have been working tirelessly for more than a decade to correct that problem. Many others here have been working on it too.
2. What is the alternative? The viable alternatives are 1. Invest the time, money and effort to learn about them and care for them correctly, and then do your best to give them what they need, or 2. Give the tortoise to someone who will.
3. Not a question, but I agree with you about pet stores not taking care fo them correctly. Even worse, they teach their customers how to not care for the correctly and sell their customers all the wrong products. Breeders, veterinarians, book authors, and "experts" all do it too. Its awful, and I'm personally working to remedy the situation. I post here regularly, I speak publicly and give presentations to tortoise keepers in my area, I am running constant experiments to always learn more and I share success and failures right here on this forum so everyone else can learn what I am learning, and I'm constantly seeking knowledge and experience from other tortoise keepers. I hope you'll soon join me/us in helping to eradicate tortoise ignorance from the world, while also enjoying a healthy pet of your own.
 
Joined
Oct 19, 2020
Messages
12
Location (City and/or State)
Gilbert, AZ
Your baby is already starting to pyramid from being in the wrong conditions.
I'm definitely be too this, but what are the indications that this tortoise is organizing? Is there something you're seeing on the shell in the photo?

Just trying to be in the look out 😊
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
51,309
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
I try not to personalize, it truly is just a lot of information to take in. I'm also a full time single mother and a social worker for those in recovery for mental health and addiction. So I put in a lot of hours at work then come home and do everything for my kid and Pumpkin, then spend hours researching whats best for her because I've seen what happens to the ones that aren't cared for properly. However I also see the ones on some of the FB pages I'm in that are thriving in environments dissimilar than whats recommended here, or ones that are rescued and recovering but are much older.

It's all very overwhelming, you know, plus COVID, plus our teachers were just on strike, and and and.

I have been adjusting and learning as I go.
With the larger enclosure she has a cooler side with moss (she doesn't attempt to eat, just lay on) and her favorite hide. She has the warm side with the UVB/basking as well as a CHE, grass, rocks in the corner because she likes to "ninja" around as my daughter says, another hide, an aloe plant, water and her food bowl.
She soaks every day (minus 2 days we forgot or it was late) even though she hates it.
She has grass and hay in her enclosure at all times, however she never touches the hay. (We've tried two different kinds thus far)
I supplement in other greens to make sure she eats, and she does eat, a lot.
Her urates were rough when we first got her but they seem normal now, along with her bowel movements.
She hasn't been outside but once because, Ohio.
I even have a camera on her enclosure just so I can check in on her throughout the day 🤦🏼‍♀️
I can feel your frustration and totally understand. 2020 has been the worst year of my life. I don't usually talk publicly about my personal problems, but if there is a problem to be had in life, I've had it this year. Right now I'm stuck in a 14 day quarantine because of someone else's false positive covid test. My Dad died, pets have died, I didn't work for six months and watched my savings dwindle, wife issues, kid issues, government issues, society crumbling around us issues, waiting for diagnostics about health issues, car troubles, lost friends, no vacation this year, nationwide ammo shortage, business problems... The list is endless. I'm trying to focus on the positive things: Renters are still paying, 2 of 4 cars are working fine, my animals are all thriving and doing better than ever, my hawks are hunting fantastically, my teenage daughter came back to me, wife still loves me, I'm back to work finally, I was given some amazing free tortoises and made part of a wonderful consortium on tortoise care and research, I still have lots of great friends all over the country, I live in a nice area, my Mom is alive and well and helps me with all my tortoises now, I'm not broke yet, and I am still breathing.

I'll address the tortoise related points you mentioned:
1. Stay off of FB for tortoise care. Nothing but bad there. Same with YT.
2. Cooler side needs to be 80+.
3. About the moss you said: "she doesn't attempt to eat..." I would add "yet" best to remove it before she tries to eat it. Its not needed and doesn't do anything.
4. Where did the grass come from? Sod? Clipped form outside? Growing it in the enclosure?
5. Missing a soak day once in a while is not a big deal.
6. Hay is for adults. Babies won't touch it. Its a mold hazard so best to remove that. She'll eat lots of grass hay when she's older.
7. Being in Ohio will make this much more difficult and expensive for you.
8. Camera is a great idea.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
51,309
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
I'm definitely be too this, but what are the indications that this tortoise is organizing? Is there something you're seeing on the shell in the photo?

Just trying to be in the look out 😊
I think spell check had its way with you on this post... I think you are asking about pyramiding indicators.

The shell looks desiccated and that big notch between the scutes is where the new growth has dried out too much and too quickly and has sunken in. This is the first layer of pyramidal growth in a new baby. Here is what it should look like:
IMG_5432.JPG

IMG_5434.JPG

I also know what is coming because of the open topped dry enclosure, low humidity and hot lamps. I did it that way many times. Watched others do it that way countless times. The results are predictable.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Oct 19, 2020
Messages
12
Location (City and/or State)
Gilbert, AZ
I think spell check had its way with you on this post... I think you are asking about pyramiding indicators.

The shell looks desiccated and that big notch between the scutes is where the new growth has dried out too much and too quickly and has sunken in. This is the first layer of pyramidal growth in a new baby.
Yes 🤦🏼‍♀️ Thanks for interpreting my question.

I think that makes sense. So on a baby... any type of groove between the sections on the shell is an early indicator of pyramiding?

We just got ours from a friend last week and I'm pretty sure it's doing this as well.

20201021_124602.jpg
 

SulcataMommaPaige

New Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2020
Messages
13
Location (City and/or State)
Gahanna Ohio
I can feel your frustration and totally understand. 2020 has been the worst year of my life. I don't usually talk publicly about my personal problems, but if there is a problem to be had in life, I've had it this year. Right now I'm stuck in a 14 day quarantine because of someone else's false positive covid test. My Dad died, pets have died, I didn't work for six months and watched my savings dwindle, wife issues, kid issues, government issues, society crumbling around us issues, waiting for diagnostics about health issues, car troubles, lost friends, no vacation this year, nationwide ammo shortage, business problems... The list is endless. I'm trying to focus on the positive things: Renters are still paying, 2 of 4 cars are working fine, my animals are all thriving and doing better than ever, my hawks are hunting fantastically, my teenage daughter came back to me, wife still loves me, I'm back to work finally, I was given some amazing free tortoises and made part of a wonderful consortium on tortoise care and research, I still have lots of great friends all over the country, I live in a nice area, my Mom is alive and well and helps me with all my tortoises now, I'm not broke yet, and I am still breathing.

I'll address the tortoise related points you mentioned:
1. Stay off of FB for tortoise care. Nothing but bad there. Same with YT.
2. Cooler side needs to be 80+.
3. About the moss you said: "she doesn't attempt to eat..." I would add "yet" best to remove it before she tries to eat it. Its not needed and doesn't do anything.
4. Where did the grass come from? Sod? Clipped form outside? Growing it in the enclosure?
5. Missing a soak day once in a while is not a big deal.
6. Hay is for adults. Babies won't touch it. Its a mold hazard so best to remove that. She'll eat lots of grass hay when she's older.
7. Being in Ohio will make this much more difficult and expensive for you.
8. Camera is a great idea.

2020 has absolutely been an incredibly difficult year for so many, I work with a good lot of them trying to help them manage and cope in healthier ways. I am sorry to hear about everything you've had to deal with, but absolutely, focusing on gratitude is one of the best things you can do.

1. I've come to realize that, absolutely.
2. Cooler side has stayed between 78-83, generally it is about 80 in there.
3. We put the moss in there to help with the humidity and she immediately went to lay on it.
4. The grass I was feeding her prior to having grass in the enclosure was cut from outside, no pesticides or any of that jazz there. Now it is grown in the enclosure, her other mom (my best friend) started growing it in her indoor plant palace if you will, I can't remember what it's called.
5. That's my thought as well.
6. That's why I haven't been stressing about it, although again those on FB will say otherwise. She's little and it doesn't smell or look appetizing to her. The first kind we got she just laid on all the time.
7. Yes, this I have come to realize... so very expensive already.
8. I've loved having one, again makes me want to spend more money so I can see better though.


To also comment on your other reply, I genuinely appreciate the information and time you've spent caring for and educating on these amazing creatures. After doing it for so long I am sure it gets frustrating seeing breeders/pet shops/vets and new owners improperly caring for them, I can relate when it comes to portions of my field. With all of the misinformation out there it absolutely makes it difficult for people like myself to fully understand what it takes to raise a healthy tortoise. I will check out the enclosure recommendations you have made, as well as look to modify what I have in the meantime.

I will say that because I've known that the lighting hasn't been sufficient (although the moisture levels have maintained pretty well!), the room she's in basically feels like a sauna at all times. She has her UVB and CHE lights and has the sun pouring in during the day, and I have a heater on in the room at night so the temperatures stay around mid to upper 80's all day. So hopefully despite not having the correct enclosure, the temperature of her environment has been alright.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Tom

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
51,309
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Yes 🤦🏼‍♀️ Thanks for interpreting my question.

I think that makes sense. So on a baby... any type of groove between the sections on the shell is an early indicator of pyramiding?

We just got ours from a friend last week and I'm pretty sure it's doing this as well.

View attachment 309628
Its not bad. It looks like its had inconsistent humidity for the last few weeks or months. If put into the right growing conditions, this tortoise will be totally fine and not show any pyramiding later on.
 
Joined
Oct 19, 2020
Messages
12
Location (City and/or State)
Gilbert, AZ
Its not bad. It looks like its had inconsistent humidity for the last few weeks or months. If put into the right growing conditions, this tortoise will be totally fine and not show any pyramiding later on.
Perfect. Thanks so much for all your help!
 

SulcataMommaPaige

New Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2020
Messages
13
Location (City and/or State)
Gahanna Ohio
Seeing you already have the enclosure and probably can't return it, this is what I would do.
I would build up the open area on top with 2x6 boards and put either plexi glass or even better wood on top. This will give you more distance to hang the heat and light from. You could attach a strip extension cord to the underside of the now new top and only one hole would be needed to run the cord through. You can run the cord thru the side of enclosure or top. This is where a wood top would he better then plexi. Hooks and zip ties will help here for hanging lights and keeping cords up out of the way. You can either glue the new top onto the old top or leave it too lift off when you need to get into the enclosure. You can also put a door in part of the new top if you are handy enough to do that. Wouldn't be too hard but hard to try and explain. Now you have a pretty good enclosed chamber enclosure.
I hope that helps with an idea. Sorry if it's not explained well.
One other thing you can do to make the enclosure bigger is cut a hole in the one end opposite hide. Then build a rectangle enclosed enclosure to add onto that area. Cut a hole in the one end to match up with the hole you cut in the old enclosure. Hand heat/lights the same way and run the cord thru the upper part of the holes and plug into strip.
@wellington would you be willing to message me? I have an idea but I need to talk it out with someone
 

zovick

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2013
Messages
1,246
I try not to personalize, it truly is just a lot of information to take in. I'm also a full time single mother and a social worker for those in recovery for mental health and addiction. So I put in a lot of hours at work then come home and do everything for my kid and Pumpkin, then spend hours researching whats best for her because I've seen what happens to the ones that aren't cared for properly. However I also see the ones on some of the FB pages I'm in that are thriving in environments dissimilar than whats recommended here, or ones that are rescued and recovering but are much older.

It's all very overwhelming, you know, plus COVID, plus our teachers were just on strike, and and and.

I have been adjusting and learning as I go.
With the larger enclosure she has a cooler side with moss (she doesn't attempt to eat, just lay on) and her favorite hide. She has the warm side with the UVB/basking as well as a CHE, grass, rocks in the corner because she likes to "ninja" around as my daughter says, another hide, an aloe plant, water and her food bowl.
She soaks every day (minus 2 days we forgot or it was late) even though she hates it.
She has grass and hay in her enclosure at all times, however she never touches the hay. (We've tried two different kinds thus far)
I supplement in other greens to make sure she eats, and she does eat, a lot.
Her urates were rough when we first got her but they seem normal now, along with her bowel movements.
She hasn't been outside but once because, Ohio.
I even have a camera on her enclosure just so I can check in on her throughout the day 🤦🏼‍♀️
Just want to point out that you CAN buy excellent closed chamber enclosures, just not from pet stores. Animal Plastics is a company that makes very nice ones and one of our TFO members @Markw84 also makes and sells them. Maybe he will see this and come on to give you some info.
Both of the above sources can and will custom make these for customers to utilize the proper lighting and heating elements, etc., for the particular species for which the enclosure is needed.

Here is a link to AP Cages: https://apcages.com/collections/terrestrial-cages

Other members @Srmcclure for instance, have done extremely nice setups with grow tents. These would be less costly and serve the same purpose. Maybe she will come on and link you to one of her threads on what she has done.

Don't be insulted or put off by learning that you had wrong information. It isn't your fault and you are trying to make corrections, so all is good for your tortoise.

Good luck!
 

SulcataMommaPaige

New Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2020
Messages
13
Location (City and/or State)
Gahanna Ohio
Just want to point out that you CAN buy excellent closed chamber enclosures, just not from pet stores. Animal Plastics is a company that makes very nice ones and one of our TFO members @Markw84 also makes and sells them. Maybe he will see this and come on to give you some info.
Both of the above sources can and will custom make these for customers to utilize the proper lighting and heating elements, etc., for the particular species for which the enclosure is needed.

Here is a link to AP Cages: https://apcages.com/collections/terrestrial-cages

Other members @Srmcclure for instance, have done extremely nice setups with grow tents. These would be less costly and serve the same purpose. Maybe she will come on and link you to one of her threads on what she has done.

Don't be insulted or put off by learning that you had wrong information. It isn't your fault and you are trying to make corrections, so all is good for your tortoise.

Good luck!
I appreciate that, thank you! Tom linked me to Mark and he sent me some info, I will also look at AP and the other member you mentioned as well. I have been spending a ton of time looking at ways to do what I can until I can get what works best since it appears delivery times are pretty long.

I absolutely appreciate the information I've been give here thus far and I've searched tons of other threads for more info as well. Thank you!
 

Srmcclure

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 10, 2020
Messages
1,447
Location (City and/or State)
Oklahoma city
I appreciate that, thank you! Tom linked me to Mark and he sent me some info, I will also look at AP and the other member you mentioned as well. I have been spending a ton of time looking at ways to do what I can until I can get what works best since it appears delivery times are pretty long.

I absolutely appreciate the information I've been give here thus far and I've searched tons of other threads for more info as well. Thank you!
AP is great! Customer service is top notch as well and Marks enclosures are the best of the best. He puts so much thought into each one its amazing!

My grow tents have worked really well for me the almost year I've had them set up. They were VERY affordable too. I have a 3x6ft tent that I spent $90 on 😁 they just take a few tweaks to work for what we need and then your set!

20201025_104201.jpg
20201025_104206.jpg
20201025_104448.jpg
Excuse the mess, I'm doing my morning clean and soaks right now lol and its too big to get 1 good pic so I split it lol
It also came from Amazon! So quick delivery!
 
Last edited:
Top