My 'Easy' Closed Chamber

shehick

Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2016
Messages
90
Location (City and/or State)
Alaska
I have been busting my little butt for a month and a half now but FINALLY, my 'easy' closed chamber for my leopard tortoise, Gumbo. I wanted to share what I did with you all in hopes of helping someone out that found themselves in the situation I did when first looking to purchase a tortoise - thinking I could keep it in a tort table. Thankfully because of my amazing breeder, @Jodie, I was directed here and making changes before he even came home.

Here's what I have -
- 6ftx3ft floorspace
- 80-100F during the day, 80-90F at night
- 70-75% humidity (working on raising this) during the day and 90% overnight

Supplies -
- 6x3x3 Portable Greenhouse ($50)
- 3x Heavy Duty Outdoor Bins ($30/ea)
- Tarp ($10)
- 2.5 cu/ft Compressed Organic Coco Fiber ($15)
- 2 cu/ft Compressed Organic Coco Bark ($15)
- 4x Clamp Lights ($15/ea)
- Appropriate Bulbs/CHEs ($5-20/ea)
- Thermostat ($30)
- Temp Gun ($15)
- Flowerpots ($4/ea)
- Hot Glue/Gun

I started off with the tarp down, a few lights and a sweater box (all under the greenhouse) while I collected the supplies for his upgrade. This worked fine but keeping up the humidity was an uphill battle. Once I finally had all of my supplies, I began cutting the sides off my bins so they could be attached to make one large bin. I do not have access to power tools and my local hardware store was honest and told me they can't make accurate cuts. I used pocket saws to cut out the area I wanted on each of the bins. Once the sides were removed, I secured them together with hot glue, patching any holes with the lid of a rubbermaid container. I made sure ALL cut edges were thoroughly coated with hot glue so if for any reason they surfaced he would not get hurt. This was one of the hardest parts for me, although I'm sure it'd be easier if you had clamps to hold the bins together for you while each section of glue dried. Once that was done, I began soaking the coir bricks, mixing the bark and coir together thoroughly and draining any excess water. 10lb bricks from my local hydroponics shop were the way to go and I love the quality difference between this and pet quality bricks. It's night and day. Once that was complete, I slid the bins over the tarp (to protect my carpet from condensation). I placed the frame of the greenhouse over the bin and got all of my lights arranged and plugged in because of where my outlet is placed. Once I had everything situated, I got everything turned on, let it heat up to 80F and placed him in.

Even though my little man is a 3 months old hatchling, he uses EVERY INCH of this enclosure. I'd go as far to say he loves it and I could NOT be happier watching him literally run from one end to the other, trample his cactus pads, use his new hides and go on with life as a spoiled hatching. The only things we are currently having trouble acquiring because of our location is a digital hydrometer, a second CHE and a UVB bulb but we're working on it and he's being taken outside 3x weekly for UVB at the moment. All in all, this wasn't easy for me due to lack of power tools and a few personal reasons but I felt this was a fairly cheap, easy method others could benefit from.

Obligatory photo of my little man and photos of the enclosure both with and without the plastic covering added for easier viewing -
DSC_0055_zpsfr59bx6b.jpg
20160626_105712_zpsqtekboak.jpg
20160626_111323_zps3jsqmecf.jpg


If you look closely in the third photo, you can see him in front of the flower pot on the bottom right corner for size comparison.
 

Jodie

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2014
Messages
4,357
Location (City and/or State)
Spokane Valley WA
Great job! I love this. The bottom turned out really well. With all that room you can plant stuff right in there with him. I would plant a spider plant, a small area of grass, and some pumpkin seeds.
I don't see a water dish. Bet you have one though right?
 

shehick

Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2016
Messages
90
Location (City and/or State)
Alaska
Great job! I love this. The bottom turned out really well. With all that room you can plant stuff right in there with him. I would plant a spider plant, a small area of grass, and some pumpkin seeds.
I don't see a water dish. Bet you have one though right?

The food/water dish weren't in when I took the photo without the plastic on the greenhouse. They're in the last photo, the food dish is full of greens (bottom center) and the water dish is to the left of it. The large domes actually hold plant lights and I have some grass seeds I need to get around planting in there along with some kale. I will look into some organic garden centers around here and see what they have as far as actual plants go, I've just been nervous because I don't want to put anything in there that will hurt him. I'm still learning but we're getting there! :)
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,396
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Now we're talkin'!!! That is a nice enclosure.

I think I would make a wooden table and lift it all up off the floor.
 

shehick

Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2016
Messages
90
Location (City and/or State)
Alaska
Now we're talkin'!!! That is a nice enclosure.

I think I would make a wooden table and lift it all up off the floor.

If I could get it off the floor I would but for now a tarp is my barrier. Like I said, no power tools and cutting those bins was enough for me. lol It means a lot to hear you think this is a nice enclosure, I told you I'd make it happen! Just needs a little tweaking here and there but I am satisfied.
 

shehick

Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2016
Messages
90
Location (City and/or State)
Alaska
Thank you, everyone! I am truly happy with it and I love that he has so much space to roam about in for his size! He surely uses every inch of his enclosure!
 

Aalgaard

New Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2016
Messages
9
I love this idea!! I already have everything to do the same thing but my only problem is that I can't find a tub big enough. Where did you find the tubs you put together? And what were the measurements on it? Sorry if this is a stupid question but I just don't know how to go about doing this.
 

Shaif

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2016
Messages
439
Location (City and/or State)
Pittsburgh, PA
This is WONDERFUL! I've been looking for something similar of so long. Could you share where you got those heavy duty plastic bins? How did you join them together?
 

Shaif

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2016
Messages
439
Location (City and/or State)
Pittsburgh, PA
Guys-- check out Waterland Tubs. The medium land tub looks like it might have the right dimensions. It's not cheap though.
Would love to know if anyone favors this setup over an Animal Plastics enclosure.
For those of us who aren't good with making/cutting/gluing, the price might be similar.
For those of you who can make a base, this setup is awesome.
 

Mr Buster

Active Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2016
Messages
141
Location (City and/or State)
Reno NV
That is amazing. My Buster wants one but he is locked into his current lease right now.
 

Augustus

New Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2017
Messages
7
Location (City and/or State)
Connecticut, US
Hi, I know this is MANY years later, so I'm now wondering how the bins held up. I'm thinking of doing something similar, except I'll probably solder the bins together. My other option is to build a ramp/bridge to connect the bins (my tortoise loves climbing things anyway). I love the idea of using plastic bins instead of wood, because it eliminates the possibility of rotting, are easier to clean, and have curved edges to prevent flipping. I already bought one 2x3' concrete mixing tub to make sure it works for my tortoise and he can't escape. I'd like to add at least one more.
 

ANGELA BRZECZKOWSKI

New Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2021
Messages
22
Location (City and/or State)
HARTLAND, WI
I have been busting my little butt for a month and a half now but FINALLY, my 'easy' closed chamber for my leopard tortoise, Gumbo. I wanted to share what I did with you all in hopes of helping someone out that found themselves in the situation I did when first looking to purchase a tortoise - thinking I could keep it in a tort table. Thankfully because of my amazing breeder, @Jodie, I was directed here and making changes before he even came home.

Here's what I have -
- 6ftx3ft floorspace
- 80-100F during the day, 80-90F at night
- 70-75% humidity (working on raising this) during the day and 90% overnight

Supplies -
- 6x3x3 Portable Greenhouse ($50)
- 3x Heavy Duty Outdoor Bins ($30/ea)
- Tarp ($10)
- 2.5 cu/ft Compressed Organic Coco Fiber ($15)
- 2 cu/ft Compressed Organic Coco Bark ($15)
- 4x Clamp Lights ($15/ea)
- Appropriate Bulbs/CHEs ($5-20/ea)
- Thermostat ($30)
- Temp Gun ($15)
- Flowerpots ($4/ea)
- Hot Glue/Gun

I started off with the tarp down, a few lights and a sweater box (all under the greenhouse) while I collected the supplies for his upgrade. This worked fine but keeping up the humidity was an uphill battle. Once I finally had all of my supplies, I began cutting the sides off my bins so they could be attached to make one large bin. I do not have access to power tools and my local hardware store was honest and told me they can't make accurate cuts. I used pocket saws to cut out the area I wanted on each of the bins. Once the sides were removed, I secured them together with hot glue, patching any holes with the lid of a rubbermaid container. I made sure ALL cut edges were thoroughly coated with hot glue so if for any reason they surfaced he would not get hurt. This was one of the hardest parts for me, although I'm sure it'd be easier if you had clamps to hold the bins together for you while each section of glue dried. Once that was done, I began soaking the coir bricks, mixing the bark and coir together thoroughly and draining any excess water. 10lb bricks from my local hydroponics shop were the way to go and I love the quality difference between this and pet quality bricks. It's night and day. Once that was complete, I slid the bins over the tarp (to protect my carpet from condensation). I placed the frame of the greenhouse over the bin and got all of my lights arranged and plugged in because of where my outlet is placed. Once I had everything situated, I got everything turned on, let it heat up to 80F and placed him in.

Even though my little man is a 3 months old hatchling, he uses EVERY INCH of this enclosure. I'd go as far to say he loves it and I could NOT be happier watching him literally run from one end to the other, trample his cactus pads, use his new hides and go on with life as a spoiled hatching. The only things we are currently having trouble acquiring because of our location is a digital hydrometer, a second CHE and a UVB bulb but we're working on it and he's being taken outside 3x weekly for UVB at the moment. All in all, this wasn't easy for me due to lack of power tools and a few personal reasons but I felt this was a fairly cheap, easy method others could benefit from.

Obligatory photo of my little man and photos of the enclosure both with and without the plastic covering added for easier viewing -
DSC_0055_zpsfr59bx6b.jpg
20160626_105712_zpsqtekboak.jpg
20160626_111323_zps3jsqmecf.jpg


If you look closely in the third photo, you can see him in front of the flower pot on the bottom right corner for size comparison.
Thank you so much for the pictures! I am going to be working on this starting TOMORROW!
 
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