Our new Closed Chamber for our new group of Tortoises

Markw84

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Markw84.....I am getting ready to build a closed chamber. What brand of food counter top paint did you use? Also, did you paint the entire inide of the chamber? Three coats?..................thanks
Need to add... Be sure to prime it first with a good latex primer.

So for more detail...
I paint the entire enclosure in and out with a good latex primer.
I then use a paintable caulking and caulk all the inside edges / corners.
Then two coats of Rustolem countertop paint on the inside.

I do fill all gaps and blemishes on the outside with a wood filler and sand smooth. (because I am anal and love things looking perfect!)
That is before sealing the outside.
Then paint the outside with two coats of a good latex gloss enamel.

Hope that helps.
 

Markw84

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Anther learning I thought I would add...

If you go with doors as I have...
The wood for the doors do swell with all the humidity, so I have learned to make the doors about 3/8" smaller than the opening.
I use a strip of 1/4" plywood and attach to the entire inside opening of the enclosure with about 5/8" lip created for the opening for the doors to close against.
If you look at the picture above, you can see light coming through the center section of the top enclosure I did first, but no light with the middle, newer enclosure.
Either way works just fine, but the lip makes a much better application.

IMG_4116.JPG
 

bouaboua

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Still very much enjoyed second time around.
 

Fredkas

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Anther learning I thought I would add...

If you go with doors as I have...
The wood for the doors do swell with all the humidity, so I have learned to make the doors about 3/8" smaller than the opening.
I use a strip of 1/4" plywood and attach to the entire inside opening of the enclosure with about 5/8" lip created for the opening for the doors to close against.
If you look at the picture above, you can see light coming through the center section of the top enclosure I did first, but no light with the middle, newer enclosure.
Either way works just fine, but the lip makes a much better application.

View attachment 190972
Crazy beautifull.. but can i going a bit off topic, what is the plant name in the middle of the enclosure? can tort eat it? i have that plant at house and never know the name and doubt my tort can eat it.
 

Markw84

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Crazy beautifull.. but can i going a bit off topic, what is the plant name in the middle of the enclosure? can tort eat it? i have that plant at house and never know the name and doubt my tort can eat it.
That is one of the many varieties of coleus. And the tortoises love it and it is listed as a good tortoise food. I grow lots if it outside in planters and the garden along with lots of petunias and normally add it to the tortoises' food. The coleus grows well in the enclosure. In enclosures,I use spider plants, coleus, pothus ivy, and prayer plants. The pothus grows well in low light and does great in enclosures. A very common houseplant, it creates great overhanging cover the tortoises love to hide in. The small leafed coleus you are asking about does the same and is denser. The prayer plants is the tougher to keep healthy. The broad leaves and upright growth burns easily under the basking or CHE's.
 

Fredkas

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That is one of the many varieties of coleus. And the tortoises love it and it is listed as a good tortoise food. I grow lots if it outside in planters and the garden along with lots of petunias and normally add it to the tortoises' food. The coleus grows well in the enclosure. In enclosures,I use spider plants, coleus, pothus ivy, and prayer plants. The pothus grows well in low light and does great in enclosures. A very common houseplant, it creates great overhanging cover the tortoises love to hide in. The small leafed coleus you are asking about does the same and is denser. The prayer plants is the tougher to keep healthy. The broad leaves and upright growth burns easily under the basking or CHE's.
Wow thanks for such a detail information!! i should press 100 times of likes.
 

ERoss

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Messages
37
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Northern California
I have completed building a new enclosure for a new group of tortoises we are expecting to arrive the middle of this week. I wanted to go over the build to show what I did and how it is set up.

The enclosure is 3 foot x 8 foot by 2 foot high. It is built following @Tom enclosure plan as a general guideline.
I used 1/4" exterior grade, plug and sanded plywood to keep the weight down as much as possible, except the floor is 1/2". It is fully insulated with 1 1/2" Styrofoam insulation board between two layers of plywood. I used 2x2 boards for the frame (which are actually 1 1/2" x 1/1/2") so the insulation board fits perfectly between the plywood and ends up extremely stable and strong, despite using 1/4" plywood. I used 2x4 boards for the facing frame on front, I also built 4 - double pane glass doors for the front instead of tom's sliding style doors.

I painted the enclosure with a gloss enamel paint after sealing. This allow easy cleaning of the outside. The inside is sealed, all joints caulked, and then waterproofed with a few coats of a food grade counter top paint designed for food pre areas - so completely non toxic, yet completely seals and waterproofs the entire enclosure. View attachment 167630

I am using fine grade orchid bark as the substrate. I have two humid hides - one in each back corner from black dish tubs purchased at Walmart with a hole cut in the side. I do have some prayer plants and spider plants for shelter, sight barrier, and food as they grow. I like to use very heavy 6" tall square and rectangular pots that are very stable and hard to move. The tortoises can reach up and browse on stuff that hangs over the sides, but cannot move the pots nor reach to the top.
View attachment 167632 I use clay saucers for water and feeding tray. The larger rectangular saucer is for the feeding station, while the large 14" round saucer is for water. I use 12" square pavers under the basking lights to create a nice warm spot for basking.
View attachment 167638

I built in a thermostat - the Inkbird dual mode model. I installed it directly into the enclosure and wired it to the heat - 2 100 watt CHE's. It controls the heat and also can be set to turn on cooling if the temperature gets too high. I have not set up a cooling mode yet as I want to see how things work out as temperatures.

View attachment 167639

The CHE's are in the large domes. The two smaller domes house 2 - 65 watt flood bulbs. The front fluorescent fixture is a 4' double t-8 fixture with two 6500K tubes. The back fluorescent behind the basking and heat is a 4' t-5 fixture with reflector with the HO 12% UVB. I have placed it at a height where my solar meter shows I am getting a solar index of 3.0 for basking. The CHE's are on the thermostat on constantly. The 65 watt basking floods and the double fluorescent 6500K bulbs are on a timer to turn on at 7AM and off at 8PM. The UVB is on a separate timer coming on at 11 AM and off at 3PM. I may actually cut that time down as I don't think they will need that much UVB exposure since vitamin D production happens so quickly with proper exposure. I've seen studies where 1000 IU of pre D3 per MINUTE is produced in the skin under full sun exposure. So and adequate dose takes just a few minutes. However, it does take a few hours of increased basking HEAT to complete the conversion from pre D to D3. So the basking lights stay on, but the UVB does not have to. Plus, they will have plenty of outside time here is Central California most of the year.

View attachment 167640

I do have a temperature / humidity sensor taped to the inside top of the humid hide that reads on the unit on top of the enclosure as well as showing the room temp and humidity. I have another thermometer / hygrometer mounted in the center back of the enclosure at substrate level with a probe hanging under that basking light at tortoise height. The thermostat probe is at the cool side set for 81f, so that is the cool side reading.

If you look closely, next to the thermometer in the back is two vertical slats of wood. I have a divider that slides in so I can separate into two areas if I need to.

Any comments and suggestions are appreciated. The new tortoises should arrive soon!

Wow that is incredible! I'm about a year off from getting a sulcata but have been looking at ideas for an indoor enclosure. This is super helpful thank you so much!
 
N

no one

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That is some serious building. Wauw!!! And all for those gorgeous Burmese Star Tortoises. I love it!!!

Thank you Tom for pointing this thread out to me.
 

Lori lawson

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Joined
Nov 15, 2016
Messages
75
Location (City and/or State)
Desert hot springs,ca
I have completed building a new enclosure for a new group of tortoises we are expecting to arrive the middle of this week. I wanted to go over the build to show what I did and how it is set up.

The enclosure is 3 foot x 8 foot by 2 foot high. It is built following @Tom enclosure plan as a general guideline.
I used 1/4" exterior grade, plug and sanded plywood to keep the weight down as much as possible, except the floor is 1/2". It is fully insulated with 1 1/2" Styrofoam insulation board between two layers of plywood. I used 2x2 boards for the frame (which are actually 1 1/2" x 1/1/2") so the insulation board fits perfectly between the plywood and ends up extremely stable and strong, despite using 1/4" plywood. I used 2x4 boards for the facing frame on front, I also built 4 - double pane glass doors for the front instead of tom's sliding style doors.

I painted the enclosure with a gloss enamel paint after sealing. This allow easy cleaning of the outside. The inside is sealed, all joints caulked, and then waterproofed with a few coats of a food grade counter top paint designed for food pre areas - so completely non toxic, yet completely seals and waterproofs the entire enclosure. View attachment 167630

I am using fine grade orchid bark as the substrate. I have two humid hides - one in each back corner from black dish tubs purchased at Walmart with a hole cut in the side. I do have some prayer plants and spider plants for shelter, sight barrier, and food as they grow. I like to use very heavy 6" tall square and rectangular pots that are very stable and hard to move. The tortoises can reach up and browse on stuff that hangs over the sides, but cannot move the pots nor reach to the top.
View attachment 167632 I use clay saucers for water and feeding tray. The larger rectangular saucer is for the feeding station, while the large 14" round saucer is for water. I use 12" square pavers under the basking lights to create a nice warm spot for basking.
View attachment 167638

I built in a thermostat - the Inkbird dual mode model. I installed it directly into the enclosure and wired it to the heat - 2 100 watt CHE's. It controls the heat and also can be set to turn on cooling if the temperature gets too high. I have not set up a cooling mode yet as I want to see how things work out as temperatures.

View attachment 167639

The CHE's are in the large domes. The two smaller domes house 2 - 65 watt flood bulbs. The front fluorescent fixture is a 4' double t-8 fixture with two 6500K tubes. The back fluorescent behind the basking and heat is a 4' t-5 fixture with reflector with the HO 12% UVB. I have placed it at a height where my solar meter shows I am getting a solar index of 3.0 for basking. The CHE's are on the thermostat on constantly. The 65 watt basking floods and the double fluorescent 6500K bulbs are on a timer to turn on at 7AM and off at 8PM. The UVB is on a separate timer coming on at 11 AM and off at 3PM. I may actually cut that time down as I don't think they will need that much UVB exposure since vitamin D production happens so quickly with proper exposure. I've seen studies where 1000 IU of pre D3 per MINUTE is produced in the skin under full sun exposure. So and adequate dose takes just a few minutes. However, it does take a few hours of increased basking HEAT to complete the conversion from pre D to D3. So the basking lights stay on, but the UVB does not have to. Plus, they will have plenty of outside time here is Central California most of the year.

View attachment 167640

I do have a temperature / humidity sensor taped to the inside top of the humid hide that reads on the unit on top of the enclosure as well as showing the room temp and humidity. I have another thermometer / hygrometer mounted in the center back of the enclosure at substrate level with a probe hanging under that basking light at tortoise height. The thermostat probe is at the cool side set for 81f, so that is the cool side reading.

If you look closely, next to the thermometer in the back is two vertical slats of wood. I have a divider that slides in so I can separate into two areas if I need to.

Any comments and suggestions are appreciated. The new tortoises should arrive soon!
What website or store did you get the counter top paint from?
 
TortoiseSupply.com

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