Need Advice on caring for Star hatchling

Thundersnow

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Star tortoise Hatchling.Need advice.I have a month old Indian Star tortoise.Need advice on humidity & temperature. His tank is an Exo Terra 18x18x36 with double doors on the front.He has a 100 watt Zoo Med Reptile basking bulb that is on 12 hour and a Zoo Med Zoo Med ReptiSun 10.0 HO T5 UVB Lamp.At night he has a ceramic heater temps low 70's. 060C0330-0D05-4936-9281-EA2FC3F3B1C3_1_201_a.jpeg How moist does his tank need to be regarding humidity? I have been spraying his substrate of coconut fiber daily with warm filtered water but the humidity gauge never reads above 45%. Should I get an automatic mister?Temperature is 85 daytime.Night time in the 70's. He only wants one kind of lettuce even though I offer him organic mixed greens from the grocery store.He will take a few bits from cucumber and won't touch the Mazuri DL Tortoise food which i do soak in warm water and mash up for him. I soak him every morning in warmed filtered water for 30 minutes and boy does he poop.
 

ZenHerper

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Welcome!

This is what the most active and successful keepers do:

Post back with any questions...
 

Blackdog1714

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Change that water dish to a terra cota plant saucer. Those edges are a serious tipping hazard
 

KarenSoCal

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Hi! You don't need to use filtered water, unless your tap water is unsafe to drink. If it's safe for you, it's safe for your baby. He actually needs the minerals in the water. If you are only filtering for particulates, then that's OK to give him.

He's so cute! What's his name?

You did great on choosing a UVB tube light for him! But the basking light isn't so good. Those spot lights narrow the heat into a tiny spot, which dessicates the shell and can actually burn it. Much better is an incandescent flood bulb. Not LED...it has to say 'incandescent' on the package. They are getting very hard to find since incandescent bulbs are being phased out all over the country. So if you find any, buy a bunch of them! 🙂

If you can't find any locally, you can order these. I'd go with 75 watt, but if they are sold out, try 100 watt.


You want to keep the temp in the enclosure mid 80's to low 90's during the day, and no lower than 80° at night.

The humidity should be >80% at all times, in every area of the enclosure.

Please post some pictures of his enclosure, and we can make suggestions if there are improvements to be made.
 

Tom

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Star tortoise Hatchling.Need advice.I have a month old Indian Star tortoise.Need advice on humidity & temperature. His tank is an Exo Terra 18x18x36 with double doors on the front.He has a 100 watt Zoo Med Reptile basking bulb that is on 12 hour and a Zoo Med Zoo Med ReptiSun 10.0 HO T5 UVB Lamp.At night he has a ceramic heater temps low 70's. View attachment 325931 How moist does his tank need to be regarding humidity? I have been spraying his substrate of coconut fiber daily with warm filtered water but the humidity gauge never reads above 45%. Should I get an automatic mister?Temperature is 85 daytime.Night time in the 70's. He only wants one kind of lettuce even though I offer him organic mixed greens from the grocery store.He will take a few bits from cucumber and won't touch the Mazuri DL Tortoise food which i do soak in warm water and mash up for him. I soak him every morning in warmed filtered water for 30 minutes and boy does he poop.
Your enclosure is too small. 36x18 is the absolute minimum I'd recommend for a tiny hatchling.

I agree about getting rid of that water bowl.

You'll never be able to maintain the correct conditions in an open topped enclosure.

Keep night time temps above 80. Daytime ambient temp should climb into the high 80s or low 90s, and the basking area directly under the bulb needs to be around 100.

Mazuri DL? Do you mean LS, or is there something new on the market that I don't know about yet? They tend to like the regular Mazuri much better, and it takes time to introduce any new food.
 

Yvonne G

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Instead of spraying your substrate, pour a pitcherful of water over it then mix it up with your hand. Eventually the lights will dry out the top layer, but it stays moist underneath.
 

Thundersnow

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Your enclosure is too small. 36x18 is the absolute minimum I'd recommend for a tiny hatchling.

I agree about getting rid of that water bowl.

You'll never be able to maintain the correct conditions in an open topped enclosure.

Keep night time temps above 80. Daytime ambient temp should climb into the high 80s or low 90s, and the basking area directly under the bulb needs to be around 100.

Mazuri DL? Do you mean LS, or is there something new on the market that I don't know about yet? They tend to like the regular Mazuri much better, and it takes time to introduce any new food.
My error Mazuri LS
 

Thundersnow

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I did cover most of the top of the tank with foil. I also ordered a fogger.I wetted down the substrate with plenty of filtered water so it's damp and spray with a spray bottle the surface to keep it moist until my fogger arrives.I did remove the tomatoes i was told they are too acidic 270ADBEB-AA29-469A-8267-5F1355BF18BA.jpeg
 

Thundersnow

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I am very appreciative all the responses and advice given.Thank you everyone.I am making adjustments.In the photo I did remove the tomatoes.He started eating the Mazuri LS I mashed it up and he took several bites.He likes cucumber but always heads back to his lettuce. I feed a spring mix of organic greens.He only eats certain ones in that mix. i also have dried alfalfa which he doesn't like.I will moisten it and see if he will eat it.
I covered the tank with foil to hold in moisture 270ADBEB-AA29-469A-8267-5F1355BF18BA.jpeg and heat. I ordered a fogger to increase the humidity
 

Thundersnow

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Instead of spraying your substrate, pour a pitcherful of water over it then mix it up with your hand. Eventually the lights will dry out the top layer, but it stays moist underneath.
I did that today.thank you for that. I also ordered a fogger
88F224DC-00D3-4112-9BC6-289976804284.jpeg
 

KarenSoCal

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When you are a baby tortoise, most of the other animals you meet want to eat you.

The only protection you have is to hide under something so the predator can't see you. Staying out in the open is certain death.

Your baby really needs some plants, even if they are artificial, so he has places to hide. Real plants are best though, because they help keep humidity up, and offer microclimates that your tort will enjoy.

Of course, the plants have to be tort safe...pothos, spider plant, aloe, Boston fern...all do well in the enclosure.

You should grow plants from seed or from cuttings from friends or family. Commercially grown plants are loaded with chemicals, and the chemicals don't grow out of the leaves for a year.
 

Tom

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I did that today.thank you for that. I also ordered a fogger
Don't run a fogger. Its not good for them to be breathing water droplets in the air, and Indian stars are particularly prone to respiratory infections. The way to keep humidity in is by reducing ventilation. A closed chamber.
 

WNash

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Don't run a fogger. Its not good for them to be breathing water droplets in the air, and Indian stars are particularly prone to respiratory infections. The way to keep humidity in is by reducing ventilation. A closed chamber.
Wow, I didn't know that Tom. I've seen others use foggers & I also use them on all my Stars. That's the only way that keeps my humidity up in my closed chambers. I pour a pitcher of water over the substrate weekly as well. Coco, Eco Earth & Jungle earth & top soil mix. What other way helps bring humidity up if not using foggers?
 

Tom

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Wow, I didn't know that Tom. I've seen others use foggers & I also use them on all my Stars. That's the only way that keeps my humidity up in my closed chambers. I pour a pitcher of water over the substrate weekly as well. Coco, Eco Earth & Jungle earth & top soil mix. What other way helps bring humidity up if not using foggers?
If your closed chambers are losing moisture that fast, they aren't closed enough. I never add water to my closed chambers. Just the tortoises walking in and out of the water dishes and minor spillage when I clean and refill the water keeps the substrate damp enough. Sounds like you need to reduce ventilation further. Are the lights on the inside? If not, they create a dehydrating chimney effect that draws your moisture and humidity up and out of the enclosure.

Also, soil shouldn't be used as tortoise substrate. It is made from composted yard waste, and there is no way to know what is in it. Could be something toxic. Coco coir is fine as long as you hand pack it.
 

WNash

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Yeah, I actually weeded out the soil a while back but I know there are still small amounts of top soil in it, I just wanted to mention that since I tried it as well. Coco, eco earth & jungle mix seems to work the best & easy to clean their waste. My few holes are closed that the wires come through. My lights are inside. The only opening is where my glass doors slide. I try to maintain humidity in the 80-84 range.
 
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