New member, new RF babies and new tortoise table.

Angela F

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Sep 15, 2016
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Hi my name is Angela and I'm from NY. Not exactly a warm and tropical location, but I did just get 2 RF babies. One hatched 5-30-16 and the other 7-23-16. At the moment they're in a 40 gallon tank as I'm in the middle of building they're 3'x6 table. I have looked through tons of threads and I've found a lot of info. I did have a few questions about the table build. Firstly I'm planning on using aquarium silicone to seal edges around the bottom then putting pond liner on bottom. My questions are 1)what can I safely finish the wood with as its brand new wood. Can I use stain and poly or paint? I would obviously let this completely dry for a couple weeks...but is this safe. And I was planning on putting some plexiglass panels on top to hold in humidity. I've figured out the substrate, plants, hides however there seems to be a lot of thoughts about lighting and heat which is a little stressful. My babies are small and I have time to make they're table right, some of info is just confusing. And thoughts, tips and/or advice is appreciated.
 

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wellington

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Hello and Welcome. If your going to put liner down, why do anything to the wood? The liner will protect it. I don't have RF but have read on here a lot of them don't really like to bask. I would do a tube flourescent with UVB and then a regular 60 watt bulb for heat and light and as their basking spot and a Che for additional heat and for night time heat.
Keep in mind also, tortoises don't do good in pairs. RF are probably some of the less combative but you will still need to watch for bullying and be prepaired to build a second enclosure.
 

Angela F

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Thank you for you reply Wellington, as far as painting/staining wood, I made the table with legs and a shelf underneath. The table will be in a 8x6 loft area of my house, so I just wanted to finish wood to make it look nicer as its a visual part of my house. Was planning to decorate that area with plants and making it my tortoise area. I was aware of most tortoises liking to be alone but was under the impression that RF do well in small groups. Mine are both female if that makes any difference. As far as lighting I was trying to get the correct heat, UVB and I understand RF don't like bright lights. To be honest I guess the CHE Bulbs make me nervous, to many bad stories with heat getting to hot if not set up correctly.
 

Angela F

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No, I would love to be in AZ in Nov but I live in NY and will be freezing at that time!
 

Tidgy's Dad

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Hello, Angela, and a very warm welcome to Tortoise Forum to you and your two babies.:)
 

ZEROPILOT

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Welcome.
I also keep Redfoot and also use the tube type 5.0 florescent UV lighting.
If you set up a closed chamber, it will be much easier to keep your humidity and warmth up and will require less lighting and heat.
Now, I'm in Florida. I know it gets MUCH colder up there. But I would start with a 60 watt incandescent and a strip florescent and go from there. As long as your home is heated and you can keep your target temperatures of 80-86 day time and over 74 at night. (With over 70% humidity)
Mine don't bask. They run from the heat. They stay hidden until it cools down in the evening.
Also, even with two females, you may eventually have issues. It might be subtle. Things like following each other around and sleeping together are not signs of friendship. It is bullying. My biggest bully is a female. I have a group of one male and three females. But they are in a very large outdoor pen with many places to hide, etc. It took some work to find a group that would live in harmony.
Sorry I can't give advice about the staining and painting part.
I am a little concerned about the pebbles you have. I keep cuttlebones in my enclosure, but every now and again a tortoise will feel like it needs some other minerals and will swallow...or try to swallow rocks. Some of those rocks look about the right size.
 
Last edited:

Angela F

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Hello ZEROPILOT, thanks for the reply. The pebbles I have since taken out since I watched one of them try to eat one. I guess my original thought placing them around the water dish, was to try to help tracking substrate into water dish. Also, I have been reading a lot about keeping two together. Which is a little annoying because the person I bought them from is a very well known breeder and told me that they would be fine alone but do better in groups, which is why I got two. However since building my very first ever tortoise enclosure, I now know how to do it and can build another. I will be adding plexiglass to the top of enclosure to hold in humidity. The table is almost done and I will post pics. Oh, one more question. I know pine shavings are toxic, but would building hides out of pine be ok or no?

Thanks,
Angela
 

ZEROPILOT

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He or she was correct. They occasionally do well in groups of more then two. Three at the minimum and no more than one male with just 3.
But alone is best. Especially if you can not provide a large area.
 

ZEROPILOT

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Hello ZEROPILOT, thanks for the reply. The pebbles I have since taken out since I watched one of them try to eat one. I guess my original thought placing them around the water dish, was to try to help tracking substrate into water dish. Also, I have been reading a lot about keeping two together. Which is a little annoying because the person I bought them from is a very well known breeder and told me that they would be fine alone but do better in groups, which is why I got two. However since building my very first ever tortoise enclosure, I now know how to do it and can build another. I will be adding plexiglass to the top of enclosure to hold in humidity. The table is almost done and I will post pics. Oh, one more question. I know pine shavings are toxic, but would building hides out of pine be ok or no?

Thanks,
Angela
I believe that hides made out of pine would be O.K. They wouldn't be in contact with it and shouldn't try to eat it.
make sure that there is no sticky residue on the wood. A plastic hide would work better and the slick plastic would also discourage some of the climbing. Climbing up and falling off of things is a big tip over hazard.
 

Angela F

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Thank you again ZEROPILOT for your reply. I just had some extra wood. And I hear what your saying about climbing, my littlest girl 6wks is turning into a little trouble maker. I have removed more than a few things I had in with them because she climbs on everything and gets herself into trouble!
 
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