Mercury Vapor Bulbs and redfoots

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XxDarkEuphoriaxX

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Not to bring up another lighting UVB thread etc. BUT I was wondering... are mercury vapor bulbs designed for more desert torts and reptiles than redfoots? Since they are so bright, is the issue of too much UVB into the tortoise's eyes hold true? This IS NOT a "whether you need UVB or not" thread, but one asking if it is DANGEROUS to use mercury vapor bulb's with redfoots, and if mercury vapor bulbs in specific are overkill...
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PeanutbuttER

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Oh boy, I bet you'll get a lot of different answers. I for one haven't kept redfoots long enough to have a solid experience-based stance one way or the other.

However, it is my feeling that it is overkill for redfoots. Redfoots do have a lower UVB requirement than desert torts so it just makes sense to me to think that if this is a bulb I'd use for a russian or a sulcata, then it likely is too strong to use with a redfoot. That said, I do have a MVB on my 7" redfoot's enclosure currently, but that's mainly because I paid like $50 for the dang thing and you had better believe I'm gonna get my money's worth :) She will bask under it, though I'm not entirely certain that that basking is a natural and not learned behavior.
 

RedFootTanaka

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I'd say it's overkill. I used to have a basking bulb for my 6'' rf and she would bask untill I got her a good ceramic heat emmitter. Now she avoids even her mild UVB light and skootches up nice and close to her heat emitter instead.
 

Madkins007

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That depends. Red-foots have the same daily dosage requirements that any other tortoise does- 200-2000 IUs per 100grams of body weight per day.

If you are running a high-wattage bulb in a fairly small habitat, it may easily be too much light and heat for the little guy. You want to use a little common sense, although it is harder to do a good UV set up on a smaller scale. I'm using 100W in a 48"x20" habitat. If I was doing a smaller space, I would use a small 'high UVB' bulb

As far as eye damage- that was a concern with some spiral UVB bulbs, but it has been corrected. As long as your tortoise has plenty of shade and hides, the actual light should not be a problem.

Part of the reason people ask this question is a basic misunderstanding of Red-foots as a deep forest tortoise. While they can and do live in deep forest, they inhabit savanna, scrub forest, and openings where they are exposed to the full Equatorial sun in much, possibly even most, of their range. They have been seen basking in the wild, even in deep forest, and the local name for them in much of South America is the Savanna Tortoise.
 

XxDarkEuphoriaxX

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the habitat is basically 5 by 3 foot hide not included (it would add an additional foot therefore 6 foot) and the MVB would only be on the far side in {addition} to (2) 40 watt standard flourescent bulbs. Do the mercury vapor bulbs also provide heat?
 

PeanutbuttER

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Yes, they do produce heat. Mine produces more heat than my CHE does.
 

jeffbens0n

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i know there has been alot of talk about mega ray and powersun being the best as far as MVB's go, but i just got a sunforce 100 watt from big apple herp, they also make a 70 watt, which might be more what you are looking for for your RF.
 

matt41gb

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Save your money. Buy a red heat bulb $9 bucks at Home Depot. I buy the 250 watt bulbs for my adult red-foots. It's not scattered, white light, so it doesn't hurt their eyes. Put them outside during the day if you can. If not, give them some cuttlebone, or use a powder supplement. It will save you a ton of money and save you a lot of grief.

-Matt
 

XxDarkEuphoriaxX

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well thats what I am going to do then. I decided I am going to use one daylight flourescent, and one "2.0" UVB flourescent, with a normal heat bulb...
 

Madkins007

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matt41gb said:
Save your money. Buy a red heat bulb $9 bucks at Home Depot. I buy the 250 watt bulbs for my adult red-foots. It's not scattered, white light, so it doesn't hurt their eyes. Put them outside during the day if you can. If not, give them some cuttlebone, or use a powder supplement. It will save you a ton of money and save you a lot of grief.

-Matt

How do your guys get their vitamin D3?

I'm also not sure I understand the idea that an unbalanced lighting spectrum won't hurt their eyes? How does scattered white (which means more balanced) light hurt their eyes?
 

PeanutbuttER

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I've wondered the same thing. Redfoots aren't supposed to get their D3 solely from diet are they?
 

Balboa

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I love opinions, lol

In all actuality it probably has alot to do with the tortoise. They are all different so may have different needs. An MVB would do my Adrienne no good at this point, she almost NEVER basks, whereas Rocky does, so she would benefit.

Redfoots MAY have more sensitive skin than sullies and the like, and be able to produce more D3 from less UV. This would be typical of a "forest" critter, but as Mark pointed out, in the wild they have frequent access to equatorial UV levels, which are some of the highest on Earth. That may account for their dark skin coloration compared to many other Torts, which live much further from the equator. They may in fact be less sensitive to UV. Its all theory and guessing games at this point.

I just try to cover my bases and get it all angles, decent levels of UV in the enclosure and D in the diet both.
 

Balboa

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Not necessarily, I've seen mediteranean tortoises with darker skin too. That was just an off the cuff observation.

Wouldn't be a bad exercise though to sit down and study sometime.
 

matt41gb

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Madkins007 said:
matt41gb said:
Save your money. Buy a red heat bulb $9 bucks at Home Depot. I buy the 250 watt bulbs for my adult red-foots. It's not scattered, white light, so it doesn't hurt their eyes. Put them outside during the day if you can. If not, give them some cuttlebone, or use a powder supplement. It will save you a ton of money and save you a lot of grief.

-Matt

How do your guys get their vitamin D3?

I'm also not sure I understand the idea that an unbalanced lighting spectrum won't hurt their eyes? How does scattered white (which means more balanced) light hurt their eyes?

They get their Vitamin D through the natural sunlight. It's usually warm enough during the day here in the winter to let them out. I don't worry about lack of Vitamin D. They don't need a constant stream of UV raining down on them. Some of them would prefer to hide for days. I think some of us overdo it.

They don't detect the red light, so it mimics the night time and I can still see what they're up to.

-Matt
 

Madkins007

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Matt- I did not remember a comment about them getting sunlight- thanks! In what ways do you think we overdo D? The more I study it, the more convinced I am that our indoor torts are starved for D.

I am also not clear on how they do not detect the red light? They have more color-sensitive cones in their eyes than we do. However, now I understand that you are using the red as a night heat source. Thanks again!

XxDarkEuphoriaxX said:
Is it a fact that tortoises closer to the equator have darker skin coloration..?

You can guess how effectively skin processes UV in a few ways- thinner skin processes it better than thick skin, and light skin does it better than dark skin. Also, obviously, the more skin the better.

The animal has to combine this with the need to absorb or reflect heat (why so many desert animals are light colored), camouflage, and other factors.

The dark skin of the Red-foot may help it hide in the shadows, absorb heat quickly on cooler days in the dappled sun of the forest or grassland habitats, etc. The same dark skin would probably broil it in the desert sun.
 

matt41gb

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Madkins007 said:
Matt- I did not remember a comment about them getting sunlight- thanks! In what ways do you think we overdo D? The more I study it, the more convinced I am that our indoor torts are starved for D.

I am also not clear on how they do not detect the red light? They have more color-sensitive cones in their eyes than we do. However, now I understand that you are using the red as a night heat source. Thanks again!

XxDarkEuphoriaxX said:
Is it a fact that tortoises closer to the equator have darker skin coloration..?

You can guess how effectively skin processes UV in a few ways- thinner skin processes it better than thick skin, and light skin does it better than dark skin. Also, obviously, the more skin the better.

The animal has to combine this with the need to absorb or reflect heat (why so many desert animals are light colored), camouflage, and other factors.

The dark skin of the Red-foot may help it hide in the shadows, absorb heat quickly on cooler days in the dappled sun of the forest or grassland habitats, etc. The same dark skin would probably broil it in the desert sun.




I don't think tortoises are starved for UV, especially red-foots. I mean, the people that keep them inside and on the floor for all of their lives desperately need to supplement. The red-foots that have regular visits outside and have a good balanced diet in my opinion don't need a calcium supplement. I think of it this way. They hide for the large percentage of their lives. That right there goes to show that they don't require as much vitamin D.

Yes, I keep the red light on them at night. I'm sure they can see the red light, they just don't see it at white, scattered light. The red light is softer and doesn't seem to stress them. If they had a bright bulb on day and night it would really stress them out, so the red light helps mimic night time.

-Matt
 
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