new and nervous!

Jenpom

New Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2018
Messages
7
Location (City and/or State)
Lancashire
Hello all, I've been wanting a tortoise for years now and when I arrived home from work yesterday I found my wonderful family had bought me one as a surprise birthday present. He's a gorgeous Horsefield ( I know he might be a she but we seem to have settled on he for now) not sure how old but I'm totally besotted already. However, as he was a surprise I'm a little on the back-foot and spent the whole night worrying about whether or not we'd got his set up right. I've read plenty of conflicting pieces of information about humidity, diet, bathing etc so really just looking for some top tips.

Also here is a picture of my set up does it look ok? I've taken a pictures of each end separately and a picture of where he likes to hide the most. What should I do to improve things?

I really want to get this right so any help would be much appreciated!
 

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daniellenc

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Jun 10, 2017
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Location (City and/or State)
Maryland
Very cute little guy what is his substrate? Check out the care sheet there is so much info there. You’ll need to ditch the red light and swap it out with a basking bulb that emits normal light. But you’re off to a great start.
 

Jenpom

New Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2018
Messages
7
Location (City and/or State)
Lancashire
Very cute little guy what is his substrate? Check out the care sheet there is so much info there. You’ll need to ditch the red light and swap it out with a basking bulb that emits normal light. But you’re off to a great start.
The bulb is a red spot heat bulb which I was told would help control the temperature, it has a thermostat to set it I've got it at 90 for the day and 80 at night ( though the other end of the viv is cooler) but we've got a uv tube in too. The substrate is a brand called pro rep tortoise life, I'm worried it might not be humid enough
 

CarolM

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Joined
Oct 30, 2017
Messages
19,472
Location (City and/or State)
South Africa - Cape Town
Hello all, I've been wanting a tortoise for years now and when I arrived home from work yesterday I found my wonderful family had bought me one as a surprise birthday present. He's a gorgeous Horsefield ( I know he might be a she but we seem to have settled on he for now) not sure how old but I'm totally besotted already. However, as he was a surprise I'm a little on the back-foot and spent the whole night worrying about whether or not we'd got his set up right. I've read plenty of conflicting pieces of information about humidity, diet, bathing etc so really just looking for some top tips.

Also here is a picture of my set up does it look ok? I've taken a pictures of each end separately and a picture of where he likes to hide the most. What should I do to improve things?

I really want to get this right so any help would be much appreciated!
Hi There, welcome, congratulations and Happy Birthday.

Glad you are asking questions and we will try and get things right for you so that your baby can thrive.

I have noticed a few things that you should change.

1. The water bowl would be better if you changed it for one of those pot plant saucers. They are much easier for your tort to get in and out of especially if you sink it level with the substrate.

2. The red light will just confuse your tortoise as red is a colour which they especially like and tend to associate with food. They apparently see colours much better than we do. A normal white light would be much better.

3. Your substrate looks like it is sand with some white stuff - they will eat that and it causes big problems in their digestive tracts. Rather use coco coir or orchid bark. They are much better for your tortoise and hold water much better thereby helping maintaining the humidty levels as well.

Good luck and I hope you follow the advise given here so that both you and your tortoise can be happy.
 

Jenpom

New Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2018
Messages
7
Location (City and/or State)
Lancashire
Hi There, welcome, congratulations and Happy Birthday.

Glad you are asking questions and we will try and get things right for you so that your baby can thrive.

I have noticed a few things that you should change.

1. The water bowl would be better if you changed it for one of those pot plant saucers. They are much easier for your tort to get in and out of especially if you sink it level with the substrate.

2. The red light will just confuse your tortoise as red is a colour which they especially like and tend to associate with food. They apparently see colours much better than we do. A normal white light would be much better.

3. Your substrate looks like it is sand with some white stuff - they will eat that and it causes big problems in their digestive tracts. Rather use coco coir or orchid bark. They are much better for your tortoise and hold water much better thereby helping maintaining the humidty levels as well.

Good luck and I hope you follow the advise given here so that both you and your tortoise can be happy.
Thank you!! I'm so grateful for any advice I can get
 

Jenpom

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Joined
Jun 23, 2018
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7
Location (City and/or State)
Lancashire
Just checked the substrate again it says it is sand with limestone to provide extra calcium, is that any good?
 

CarolM

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Oct 30, 2017
Messages
19,472
Location (City and/or State)
South Africa - Cape Town
Thank you!! I'm so grateful for any advice I can get
I can give you the basics but i would wait for the experts specific to your species. In the meantime post what your temps are. And if you are using a UVB light ( which one it is and the strength of it) I couldn't see if you had the tube one or a coil type one. If the coil type our experience is that it tends to hurt and damage their eyes. So the tube UVB is the better one to go with.
 

CarolM

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Joined
Oct 30, 2017
Messages
19,472
Location (City and/or State)
South Africa - Cape Town
I can give you the basics but i would wait for the experts specific to your species. In the meantime post what your temps are. And if you are using a UVB light ( which one it is and the strength of it) I couldn't see if you had the tube one or a coil type one. If the coil type our experience is that it tends to hurt and damage their eyes. So the tube UVB is the better one to go with.
Oh sorry just saw the tube light in your first pic.
 

CarolM

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Oct 30, 2017
Messages
19,472
Location (City and/or State)
South Africa - Cape Town
Just checked the substrate again it says it is sand with limestone to provide extra calcium, is that any good?
From what i have learnt on here is that sand causes impacting in their digestive tracts and can cause health issues. I dont know about the limestone but I wouldn't use it just in case. The substrates I mentioned are much better and safer. The coco coir can be messy but you can decide for yourself which you would prefer between coco coir and orchid bark. For extra calcium I would put a cuttlefish bone in for him to eat. I would also use a tile to put his food on. So that when he eats he can naturally file his beak as well.
 

wellington

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Hello and Congrats on a great birthday present. Happy Birthday Late.
Ditch the red bulb for a Che, ceramic heat emitter and put that on a thermostat. You have two lights already with the flourescent and the other one I seen, that should be enough. Sand causes impaction, change it for plain dirt, coconut coir or orchid bark. I like dirt as they like to dig. Make whatever you use 4-6 inches deep. Change the water dish as mentioned.
When you can, build him a safe and proper outdoor enclosure for summer and a bigger, minimum 4x8 feet enclosure for indoor.
 

Lyn W

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Jul 22, 2014
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Hi and welcome to you and your tort
I'm in the UK too.
There is a good caresheet which will tell you all about diet, temps, humidity and substrate etc
There are better substrates available, torts often try to eat the white bits and the sand could cause irritation in his eyes and if it gets on his food it could cause the gut to become impacted, which is very painful and dangerous for torts. So have a look at the caresheet and see what's recommended there and Russians like to dig so make it deep enough to allow him to do that.
A potted plant sunk into the substrate would help with humidity and give him a hiding place, spider plants are safe but try to get one that hasn't had any chemicals in or on it. If you buy one it is advised to re pot in chemical/fertiliser free soils and wait for at least a year for any absorbed in the plant to grow out. See www.thetortoisetable.org.uk for a good guide to plants for food and enclosures.
A good piece of advice I was given was to remember that -
right temps + humidity = healthy tort
too cold + humidity = sick tort
A good digital thermometer and hygrometer will help you get that right and a digital temp gun is great for spot checking your 4 temps at tort level. I Bought mine on Amazon.
Do you have night heat in the viv? Torts like complete darkness to sleep so you may need a CHE on a thermostat.
The Beginners Mistakes thread is a great place to learn how to avoid problems and the Enclosures thread has lots of ideas.
So read and ask as many questions as you need, someone will get back to you in good time.
 

Jenpom

New Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2018
Messages
7
Location (City and/or State)
Lancashire
Hi and welcome to you and your tort
I'm in the UK too.
There is a good caresheet which will tell you all about diet, temps, humidity and substrate etc
There are better substrates available, torts often try to eat the white bits and the sand could cause irritation in his eyes and if it gets on his food it could cause the gut to become impacted, which is very painful and dangerous for torts. So have a look at the caresheet and see what's recommended there and Russians like to dig so make it deep enough to allow him to do that.
A potted plant sunk into the substrate would help with humidity and give him a hiding place, spider plants are safe but try to get one that hasn't had any chemicals in or on it. If you buy one it is advised to re pot in chemical/fertiliser free soils and wait for at least a year for any absorbed in the plant to grow out. See www.thetortoisetable.org.uk for a good guide to plants for food and enclosures.
A good piece of advice I was given was to remember that -
right temps + humidity = healthy tort
too cold + humidity = sick tort
A good digital thermometer and hygrometer will help you get that right and a digital temp gun is great for spot checking your 4 temps at tort level. I Bought mine on Amazon.
Do you have night heat in the viv? Torts like complete darkness to sleep so you may need a CHE on a thermostat.
The Beginners Mistakes thread is a great place to learn how to avoid problems and the Enclosures thread has lots of ideas.
So read and ask as many questions as you need, someone will get back to you in good time.
We grow lots of untreated spider plants and sempervivums at home so was thinking of adding those, At the moment my heat is controlled by a microclimate thermostat so it is still on at night but it casts a low red light. I've got an analogue thermometer in there too to check the levels
 

Lyn W

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Jul 22, 2014
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20,630
Location (City and/or State)
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We grow lots of untreated spider plants and sempervivums at home so was thinking of adding those, At the moment my heat is controlled by a microclimate thermostat so it is still on at night but it casts a low red light. I've got an analogue thermometer in there too to check the levels
Your sider plants should be fine then and if you leave it in the pot (but sink it in) then you can easily swap it over should it get trampled or nibbled.
I don't know if the other plants are tort safe but the Tortoise Table will tell you.
If it's a pet shop thermometer - they aren't very reliable, but make sure any thermometer is at tort level (but not in nibbling reach) Highly recommend the digi temp gun for checking the 4 temps without disturbing the tort and only cost about £10. I have that thermostat for my che too.
You would be better with a black bulb or a che than the red light which confuses torts.
 
Last edited:

Jenpom

New Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2018
Messages
7
Location (City and/or State)
Lancashire
Hello one and all,
Thank you for all your great tips and advice this site has really helped calm some of my nerves! I have started to implement the changes you have suggested and he seemed quite happy after his bath this morning. Hopefully have his new substrate soon but plants, water bowl, hiding spots all seem to be fine.


:<3::tort:THANK YOU:tort::<3:
 
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