Orchid bark - should it be pre- soaked?

lymcBoris

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Hi all, so I've added orchid bark to enclosure over Coco coir, just at one end to try and keep humidity up. I am obsessed with humidity and pyramiding since reading everything on site and I have an open table. Should I have soaked orchid bark first? I put in and poured warm water and misted, but humidity went down! Is it the wrong type, as I got the larger pieces.
I've put in a pic of the day I got my Horsfield at 18 months and all other pics are up to date. Do you think pyramiding is bad or getting worse? Thanks, Lynne.
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Ben02

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Hi all, so I've added orchid bark to enclosure over Coco coir, just at one end to try and keep humidity up. I am obsessed with humidity and pyramiding since reading everything on site and I have an open table. Should I have soaked orchid bark first? I put in and poured warm water and misted, but humidity went down! Is it the wrong type, as I got the larger pieces.
I've put in a pic of the day I got my Horsfield at 18 months and all other pics are up to date. Do you think pyramiding is bad or getting worse? Thanks, Lynne.
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Don’t get overly worried about pyramiding, it’s not the end of the world if they have a little pyramiding. Yes it is not normal but it’s not to late to correct it and stop it getting any worse. Cute tort by the way:) :tort:
 

lymcBoris

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Thanks Ben. I seem to be overly concerned and find myself scrolling through pic after pic of Russian torts and comparing. Do you think the orchid bark is ok? I know everyone on forum uses it. Should I have pre - soaked it? Thanks for your nice reassuring comments. Much appreciated. [emoji4]
 

katieandiggy

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Thanks Ben. I seem to be overly concerned and find myself scrolling through pic after pic of Russian torts and comparing. Do you think the orchid bark is ok? I know everyone on forum uses it. Should I have pre - soaked it? Thanks for your nice reassuring comments. Much appreciated. [emoji4]

You do not need to have such high humidity for a Russian. Something around 50-60% is fine.
Russians do have a slightly more ragged appearance to the shell than some other species.
I wouldn’t worry if I were you. As long as you are soaking your tortoise 3 or 4 times per week you will be fine.
 

lymcBoris

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Ok, I'll stop fretting now. I was reading all your posts from last year and found them all really helpful. Funny too, because I am the same with weed foraging and everything else at the moment. You are an expert now! How is your tort Taco is it? Sorry if that's not name. Another thing I noticed was my tort hasn't put much weight on in the month and a half I've had him. He's 101g and 7.6 cm. That sound ok for a 19 month Russian tort? Thanks for your help and advice. Hopefully my questions will tail off as I get happier with enclosure and everything. My 12 year old son is actually telling me to stop obsessing so much. It's his tortoise too! [emoji38]
 

lymcBoris

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You do not need to have such high humidity for a Russian. Something around 50-60% is fine.
Russians do have a slightly more ragged appearance to the shell than some other species.
I wouldn’t worry if I were you. As long as you are soaking your tortoise 3 or 4 times per week you will be fine.
Oops, Last comment was meant for you Katieandiggy.
 

katieandiggy

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Oops, Last comment was meant for you Katieandiggy.

Hi, I was in exactly the same position 14 months ago when I got my little one. I am by no means any expert but I have learnt a great deal from the forum about all species and I like to think now I can offer basic advice on most species.
When I got mine, from a pet shop he weighed about 50g and weight gain has been really slow. Russians don’t gain weight in the same manner as others, they are quite slow growers. So I’ve had him 14 months and now he weighs 102g so only 100g in a year- but as long as he’s growing I’m happy.
I still have issues with food variety. I do forage, and I know some basic weeds but I struggle to find masses of variety that he actually eats!! Most he turns his nose up at. I have found that petunia flowers, campanula are favourites.
I’m still learning stuff all the time and I’m in the process of building my outdoor enclosure which is an exciting project and I hope to update a very old thread I started last year. :)
 

katieandiggy

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Sorry forgot to add, I don’t know how old mine is, I’ve had him a year and I suspect he was maybe 5 months when I got him so the weight is roughly the same as yours.
 

lymcBoris

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Sorry forgot to add, I don’t know how old mine is, I’ve had him a year and I suspect he was maybe 5 months when I got him so the weight is roughly the same as yours.
It's great to know there's someone else in UK with a Russian around the same age as mines who has knowledge and is as enthusiastic about torts as me, to chat to and get advice. Thanks very much. Good luck with your outdoor enclosure. Looking forward to seeing it's progress. I'm excited about getting something outside for ours, but it's so blinking cold here!
 

katieandiggy

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It's great to know there's someone else in UK with a Russian around the same age as mines who has knowledge and is as enthusiastic about torts as me, to chat to and get advice. Thanks very much. Good luck with your outdoor enclosure. Looking forward to seeing it's progress. I'm excited about getting something outside for ours, but it's so blinking cold here!

You can make it work but you will need to heat it.
I’m don’t have the room for a full size greenhouse in my garden as I have just built a chicken run right across it (another hobby) but I’m going to go with a cold frame attached to a insulated kennel that has heat, all within a large raised bed.
 

lymcBoris

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You can make it work but you will need to heat it.
I’m don’t have the room for a full size greenhouse in my garden as I have just built a chicken run right across it (another hobby) but I’m going to go with a cold frame attached to a insulated kennel that has heat, all within a large raised bed.
Sounds great. I saw a great wee kennel for sale reduced at pets at home the other day and thought of my tort straight away. Had to stop myself from buying it as I've spent too much already.Yeah, definitely would need to heat it here in Argyll.
And you have chickens too! I would love chickens, always have wanted to keep chickens, but I have two terriers who would just love a chicken breast [emoji849] Plus, my partner might just leave me if I get anything else to obsess over. Guinea pigs, 2 dogs, tortoise, fish. Plus my tiny little pond (puddle) with big fat tadpoles. [emoji4] 1557577457033.jpeg 1557577649049.jpeg
 

Ben02

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Ok, I'll stop fretting now. I was reading all your posts from last year and found them all really helpful. Funny too, because I am the same with weed foraging and everything else at the moment. You are an expert now! How is your tort Taco is it? Sorry if that's not name. Another thing I noticed was my tort hasn't put much weight on in the month and a half I've had him. He's 101g and 7.6 cm. That sound ok for a 19 month Russian tort? Thanks for your help and advice. Hopefully my questions will tail off as I get happier with enclosure and everything. My 12 year old son is actually telling me to stop obsessing so much. It's his tortoise too! [emoji38]
Well done for being so aware and caring for your tort. I was very worried when I first got mine........ well I still worry about them now:D so try and relax a bit, torts grow at different rates and aslong as he eats poops, pees and is active then your good to go:D
 

Maro2Bear

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On one of your questions.... it does help to soak your orchid bark first before placing in the enclosure, but it’s not a deal breaker.

I usually take a 2-3 gallon bucket, fill it up with new substrate (cypress mulch, coco coir, peat, orchid bark) then top it all up with warm water. Let it sit and get fully saturated. After awhile, lets say an hour or so, i drain the water off, then add the nice fully saturated substrate.

Being from Scotland - think about a block of fully dry peat. If you just broke that up before soaking, it’s dry and crumbly doesnt hold much water. But, soak that block first and it absorbs and expands. Your orchid bark won’t expand, but it wii get nice and saturated and hold water better in your enclosure.

Also, don’t get too overly obsessed with “pyramiding” in Russians.

Good luck - happy torting.
 

Tom

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I don't wet my orchid bark first. I just put it in the enclosure and add water as needed once its in.

Is the sandy substrate that is all over the food in the first picture gone now?
 

lymcBoris

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I don't wet my orchid bark first. I just put it in the enclosure and add water as needed once its in.

Is the sandy substrate that is all over the food in the first picture gone now?
Hi Tom, yes that pic with sandy stuff was when I first got him and was taking him home in a wee tub that the breeder gave me. All the way from Yorkshire! I drove 660 mile round trip to get him. Didn't want to buy from a pet shop so looked for a breeder on the tortoise protection group. Unfortunately none in Scotland. I thought about rehoming but I was worried about illness and really wanted a baby.
 

Tom

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Hi Tom, yes that pic with sandy stuff was when I first got him and was taking him home in a wee tub that the breeder gave me. All the way from Yorkshire! I drove 660 mile round trip to get him. Didn't want to buy from a pet shop so looked for a breeder on the tortoise protection group. Unfortunately none in Scotland. I thought about rehoming but I was worried about illness and really wanted a baby.
330 miles each way??? I didn't think your whole island continent was that big!!! Did you do some circular laps around the perimeter first??? :D
 

lymcBoris

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330 miles each way??? I didn't think your whole island continent was that big!!! Did you do some circular laps around the perimeter first??? :D
Ha,ha, very funny! [emoji38] Mind you I did travel to another country. [emoji1]
 

Ben02

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330 miles each way??? I didn't think your whole island continent was that big!!! Did you do some circular laps around the perimeter first??? :D
It takes 8 hours to get to Glasgow from where I am and that’s on the motor way!!!!:D
 
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