My first tortoise enclosure, anything wrong?

Jaxattack

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Its obvious that you spent a lot of time and effort to make this enclosure, but this is entirely the wrong type of enclosure and set up for a RF. This set up would be good for a small adult male Testudo, but that's about it.

RFs need warm temps and high humidity. That can't be done in an open table like this. They also do not need a basking lamp. This will make them pyramid. They need warm overall temps between 82-86 all the time day and night.

Your baby is likely sleeping because the conditions are too cold, too dry, the basking bulb is too harsh, and the cfl type UV bulb is probably burning its eyes. This is not a basking species.

Sorry to bum you out, but I'd put the baby back in the old tub until you can buy or build the right type of enclosure for your species.
So what kind of uva bulb should I have?
 

Jaxattack

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What kind of cover should I add and how would it get uvb if there was cover
 

Frank_Sherman

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Hi,
It’s great that you are seeking the correct advice and are serious about providing the best environment for your tortoise 👍
For UV lighting, the Arcadia T5 UVB kit 12% is ideal.
To increase humidity you can add a plastic cover and cut holes for the lighting to sit on top and use orchid bark or coco coir as a substrate. Alternatively you could buy a vivarium.
I hope this helps 🙂
 

Tom

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So what kind of uva bulb should I have?
You don't need a UVA bulb. You are confusing that with a tortoise's need for UVB. Other RF keepers here recommend the Arcadia 6% HO tubes. Your RF will get some D3 through its diet and supplements, so high levels of UV are neither necessary, nor desirable. Moderate indoor levels will do the job, and occasional access to sunshine in a well shaded well planted outdoor enclosure will get the job done even better. I'd only use the indoor UV in winter, when you can't get your tortoise outside due to the cold.
And how should I increase humidity?
By using a closed chamber. The enclosure you made can't work. Its like heating your house in winter with no roof. The heat just floats away into the sky.
What kind of cover should I add and how would it get uvb if there was cover
You don't add a cover. You buy or build a proper closed chamber with the lights inside. Here is an example, but take note that I'm housing species that DO need a basking lamp. Yours does not.
 

Jaxattack

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You don't need a UVA bulb. You are confusing that with a tortoise's need for UVB. Other RF keepers here recommend the Arcadia 6% HO tubes. Your RF will get some D3 through its diet and supplements, so high levels of UV are neither necessary, nor desirable. Moderate indoor levels will do the job, and occasional access to sunshine in a well shaded well planted outdoor enclosure will get the job done even better. I'd only use the indoor UV in winter, when you can't get your tortoise outside due to the cold.

By using a closed chamber. The enclosure you made can't work. Its like heating your house in winter with no roof. The heat just floats away into the sky.

You don't add a cover. You buy or build a proper closed chamber with the lights inside. Here is an example, but take note that I'm housing species that DO need a basking lamp. Yours does not.
Not all of us are made of money
 

Jaxattack

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Not all of us are made of money
Ok, I am very confused. Everywhere else I see says I need uva light but "Tom" says it I bad to have it. I will add a cover, top layer of cypress mulch and a better uvb bulb, but I am still confused on lighting.
 

Yvonne G

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Ok, I am very confused. Everywhere else I see says I need uva light but "Tom" says it I bad to have it. I will add a cover, top layer of cypress mulch and a better uvb bulb, but I am still confused on lighting.
Tortoises don't need UVA. They need UVB.
 

KarenSoCal

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Also how should I get lighting in with a cover on top
You need to understand that different species of tortoise need different care. Redfoot are very different from most other species in their lighting needs and diet.

Redfoot come from the tropical forests of Brazil and other South American countries. They live at the edge of the forest under the tree canopy overhead. The canopy filters the light so not much reaches the ground. This means that redfoot like dim light, and don't need much UVB, which comes from the sun, or from a UVB bulb.

Their diet is more inclusive than most tortoises...redfoot eat bugs and other animal protein, and can eat fruit. Most other species can't digest fruit or anything sweet, and don't eat animal protein.

As for the lights...redfoot can go outside in the sunshine in the warm summer months, but your winters are much too cold for them. Remember, they come from the jungle. So you will need to bring him inside for the winter, or build a large, heated box for him to sleep in outside. The box would need to be in a heated building so he could walk around and be warm.

Inside, you need a closed enclosure so the heat and humidity can be contained inside. A jungle is hot and humid, so his house needs to be as well.

A proper enclosure looks like this...
20200321_173213.jpg

It has glass doors in the front, and the rest is 4ft x 2.5ft x 2ft high.

The ceiling has the fixtures for the lights, and a CHE for night heat...
20200321_172926.jpg

This enclosure didn't have a UVB fixture, so I mounted one on the ceiling in the empty space.

There are many types of UVB bulbs, almost all of which are fine for lizards. But torts aren't lizards, and the bulbs are harmful to them.

The kind that the members have found to be the best, for a redfoot, is a 24in fixture that holds a 22in fluorescent tube UVB bulb. They are the best because they are reliable in the amount of UVB that they produce, they last a long time before replacement is necessary, and they are built with good quality and workmanship
They are a bit pricey the first time you buy it because you need to buy the fixture and the bulb. After your first purchase, you only need to buy the bulb. Here's what you need to get:

Screenshot_20210623-000139_Samsung Internet.jpg

You want the 6% T5 HO in 24in.
 

KarenSoCal

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You need to understand that different species of tortoise need different care. Redfoot are very different from most other species in their lighting needs and diet.

Redfoot come from the tropical forests of Brazil and other South American countries. They live at the edge of the forest under the tree canopy overhead. The canopy filters the light so not much reaches the ground. This means that redfoot like dim light, and don't need much UVB, which comes from the sun, or from a UVB bulb.

Their diet is more inclusive than most tortoises...redfoot eat bugs and other animal protein, and can eat fruit. Most other species can't digest fruit or anything sweet, and don't eat animal protein.

As for the lights...redfoot can go outside in the sunshine in the warm summer months, but your winters are much too cold for them. Remember, they come from the jungle. So you will need to bring him inside for the winter, or build a large, heated box for him to sleep in outside. The box would need to be in a heated building so he could walk around and be warm.

Inside, you need a closed enclosure so the heat and humidity can be contained inside. A jungle is hot and humid, so his house needs to be as well.

A proper enclosure looks like this...
View attachment 327753

It has glass doors in the front, and the rest is 4ft x 2.5ft x 2ft high.

The ceiling has the fixtures for the lights, and a CHE for night heat...
View attachment 327754

This enclosure didn't have a UVB fixture, so I mounted one on the ceiling in the empty space.

There are many types of UVB bulbs, almost all of which are fine for lizards. But torts aren't lizards, and the bulbs are harmful to them.

The kind that the members have found to be the best, for a redfoot, is a 24in fixture that holds a 22in fluorescent tube UVB bulb. They are the best because they are reliable in the amount of UVB that they produce, they last a long time before replacement is necessary, and they are built with good quality and workmanship
They are a bit pricey the first time you buy it because you need to buy the fixture and the bulb. After your first purchase, you only need to buy the bulb. Here's what you need to get:

View attachment 327756

You want the 6% T5 HO in 24in.
 

Jaxattack

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I just purchased a non spiral uvb bulb and a ceramic heat emmiter from flookers. I also will get more plants, cypress mulch to put on top of the top soil and will put on a cover when I figure out what kind of cover I should get. Thanks everyone for all the help (except tom)I also started adding some worms and meat into his diet
 

Krista S

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You should take a look at grow tents. We have several members who are using a grow tent, placed on its side as enclosures for tortoises that need higher humidity. It’s a pretty affordable way to achieve what you need for your little one.

Here is one link in particular to a thread that has some good pictures and explanations:


If you do a search on the forum for grow tents you’ll find a bunch more examples and information about them too. Pay particular attention to posts from @Srmcclure who is currently raising 2 tortoises in 2 different grow tent enclosures, and has done it successfully and beautifully.

I wouldn’t write Tom off so quickly. He is one of the most experienced and knowledgeable experts on the forum. He gives a lot of his time to help provide guidance and share his wealth of knowledge so that we can have healthy and thriving tortoises. Many tortoises around the world are living better lives because of him.

I wasn’t aware that Fluker’s made UV fluorescent T5 fixtures and bulbs, but in Canada we usually don’t get all the options as those in the US. Make sure that what you ordered is a fluorescent tube and not a screw in bulb. The general rule for tortoises is, if the UV bulb screws into a regular dome fixture, it’s the wrong one. There aren’t any on the market that give off consistent UV rays and they tent to hurt and damage tortoises eyes.
 

Jaxattack

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23
Location (City and/or State)
Ohio
You should take a look at grow tents. We have several members who are using a grow tent, placed on its side as enclosures for tortoises that need higher humidity. It’s a pretty affordable way to achieve what you need for your little one.

Here is one link in particular to a thread that has some good pictures and explanations:


If you do a search on the forum for grow tents you’ll find a bunch more examples and information about them too. Pay particular attention to posts from @Srmcclure who is currently raising 2 tortoises in 2 different grow tent enclosures, and has done it successfully and beautifully.

I wouldn’t write Tom off so quickly. He is one of the most experienced and knowledgeable experts on the forum. He gives a lot of his time to help provide guidance and share his wealth of knowledge so that we can have healthy and thriving tortoises. Many tortoises around the world are living better lives because of him.

I wasn’t aware that Fluker’s made UV fluorescent T5 fixtures and bulbs, but in Canada we usually don’t get all the options as those in the US. Make sure that what you ordered is a fluorescent tube and not a screw in bulb. The general rule for tortoises is, if the UV bulb screws into a regular dome fixture, it’s the wrong one. There aren’t any on the market that give off consistent UV rays and they tent to hurt and damage tortoises eyesthabks I'll check it out
 

Cathie G

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I just purchased a non spiral uvb bulb and a ceramic heat emmiter from flookers. I also will get more plants, cypress mulch to put on top of the top soil and will put on a cover when I figure out what kind of cover I should get. Thanks everyone for all the help (except tom)I also started adding some worms and meat into his diet
I didn't know Flukers had bulbs and such. I've just always used their vitamins and eye wash. That's good to know because that company has products that are economical. Or cheap cheap! I love them but also Tom. He's always been a great help to me. Sometimes through texting the love doesn't shine through. But when people answer most of the time it means they care and want to help.🤗 Good luck. It's a lot of info to take in all at once. But I'm sure you'll get it because you're trying.
 
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