PVC enclosed chamber

Kristan Hayne

New Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2017
Messages
4
Location (City and/or State)
Canada
My first post but I’ve been lurking for a long time. Looking for confirmation or correction.

I have a 2 year old Hermanns tortoise (born July 26,2017). His diet is plantain, dandelion greens, clover, mustard greens some romaine and spring mix. Mazuri a couple times a week.

Atlas was previously in an open top table where I couldn’t control the humidity as well as I thought I could and I had equipment that In retrospect wasn’t right for him. (Maybe she but we always called Atlas a him). ie: zoomed tortoise house, analog humidity gauge and an MVB which once I got my solarmeter I realized even the brand new solar glo wasn’t putting out more than 0.4 uvb at 2” away. So he wasn’t getting uvb and the humidity was poor. As a result he has some pyramiding. An outdoor enclosure isn’t an option in our climate except for a few months in the summer. So My focus is on creating a proper indoor enclosure. I live in rural eastern Canada so reptile suppliers are hard to come by. I depend on the internet to order what I need, so this has been a few months in the making.

The interior of the enclosure is 30”x60” by 24” high. It’s a closed chamber PVC with 5ml glass sliding doors on the front. Silicone sealed seams. I have 16 vent holes drilled in the back. There is a 36” Arcadia 12% uvb tube centred in a sun blaster fixture with reflector and a 65 watt flood on one end for basking.

The substrate is 4-5” of coconut coir depending on location with Cyprus mulch spread over parts of the floor to try and keep the mud down. First time using the mulch.

Temps (all in Celsius)
Basking - 32 (12” under bulb)
Cool end - 26.8
Room in general - 20

The substrate is 19-20” below the Arcadia tube.
UVB with a solarmeter 6.5:
2.9-3 directly under the tube at tortoise level
1.5 front and back of enclosure
0.4-0.6 in the corners of the enclosure


Humidity is still an issue but in the other direction. It is currently 87%. I ran the enclosure for 12 hours prior to adding Atlas, humidity was 99% this am with the glass fogged up and moisture dripping. To try and bring it down I took the substrate back out and squeezed as much water out of it as I could and the glass doors are currently open 1.5” on either end. All this brought it down to its current level and there’s been no more fog or dripping.

I do notice in the last 5 hours Atlas has been more active than he’s been in months but I want to make sure I’m getting this right.

my questions are:
1. Are the temps correct
2. Is this too much uvb there are hides to get away from it but no location where it’s zero when not in one.
3. What am I doing wrong with the humidity. Is this too much for a 2 year old.
4. Is his diet varied enough.

I am waiting on one more sun blaster fixture to come for lighting purposes only. The enclosure is built and there was an issue when the plastic suppliers cut it so we had to re-cut some pieces after getting it home (6 hour round trip to get). So although a little smaller than I anticipated I can’t change the size now. The site is not allowing me to post pictures. Sorry for the long winded post and thanks for any input.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
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Jan 9, 2010
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54,447
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Hello and welcome.

1. I'd go a little warmer. Basking area directly under the bulb should be 36-37. 24-27 is a nice daytime ambient, and down as low as 18 at night is fine.
2. UVB levels sound ideal for a bulb that is on all day.
3. The substrate will eventually dry out a bit and humidity will drop. It is a function of physics that when the bulbs go off at night and the temperature drops, humidity will climb. Further, the condensation on the doors is a factor of the temp outside the enclosure being cooler than the temp inside the enclosure. Nothing to worry about there either. Ideal ambient humidity for a small hermanni would be around 50-70%, but a little higher is fine, especially if you are already fighting pyramiding. Pyramiding is caused by growth in conditions that are too dry. UV has nothing to do with it. The UV will prevent MBD. These are separate issues.
4. I think your diet is good, but more variety would be better. More weeds and leaves, and less store bought produce when possible. Use an herbal hay to sprinkle on it, if you can find that up there. ZooMed makes it now if you can't find it elsewhere.
 

Kristan Hayne

New Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2017
Messages
4
Location (City and/or State)
Canada
Hello and welcome.

1. I'd go a little warmer. Basking area directly under the bulb should be 36-37. 24-27 is a nice daytime ambient, and down as low as 18 at night is fine.
2. UVB levels sound ideal for a bulb that is on all day.
3. The substrate will eventually dry out a bit and humidity will drop. It is a function of physics that when the bulbs go off at night and the temperature drops, humidity will climb. Further, the condensation on the doors is a factor of the temp outside the enclosure being cooler than the temp inside the enclosure. Nothing to worry about there either. Ideal ambient humidity for a small hermanni would be around 50-70%, but a little higher is fine, especially if you are already fighting pyramiding. Pyramiding is caused by growth in conditions that are too dry. UV has nothing to do with it. The UV will prevent MBD. These are separate issues.
4. I think your diet is good, but more variety would be better. More weeds and leaves, and less store bought produce when possible. Use an herbal hay to sprinkle on it, if you can find that up there. ZooMed makes it now if you can't find it elsewhere.

Thank you for responding.
1. I’ll move the basking bulb a bit closer to increase the temp.
2. His diet is always a work in progress, soon there will be snow till May-June next year. I’ll look into ordering a tortoise seed mixture to grow, any recommendations on where to order from?
3. Is it fine to shut the doors or should I leave the 1.5” opening for now? I read in one place that high humidity and cooler temps may cause a respiratory infection so I was worried about the lower night temp/inc humidity.
4. Do I need the extra sun blaster fixture? I was planning on putting the lights on a timer to try and mimic morning/afternoon/evening light. Could I do it opposite with the plain lighting tube being the one on for the middle part of the day. Is there any point to this?
I’m still trying to post pictures of Atlas and his new home.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,447
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Thank you for responding.
1. I’ll move the basking bulb a bit closer to increase the temp.
2. His diet is always a work in progress, soon there will be snow till May-June next year. I’ll look into ordering a tortoise seed mixture to grow, any recommendations on where to order from?
3. Is it fine to shut the doors or should I leave the 1.5” opening for now? I read in one place that high humidity and cooler temps may cause a respiratory infection so I was worried about the lower night temp/inc humidity.
4. Do I need the extra sun blaster fixture? I was planning on putting the lights on a timer to try and mimic morning/afternoon/evening light. Could I do it opposite with the plain lighting tube being the one on for the middle part of the day. Is there any point to this?
I’m still trying to post pictures of Atlas and his new home.
1. Sounds like a good plan.
2. I don't know where to order from in Canada. Can you get US stuff there? I get my seeds from tortoisesupply.com and highly recommend them.
3. Fine to leave the doors cracked open a bit as long as the tortoise can't climb out and fall. I do this sometimes.
4. In a closed chamber extra lighting is good. Plus the bulb will raise ambient a little more during the day. Here are my thought on lighting:
There are four elements to heating and lighting:
  1. Basking bulb. I use 65 watt floods from the hardware store. I run them on a timer for 12 hours and adjust the height to get the correct basking temp under them. You can mount a fixture on the ceiling, or hang a dome lamp from the ceiling. Go lower or higher wattage if this makes the enclosure too hot or not warm enough. Do not use "spot" bulbs, mercury vapor bulbs or halogen bulbs.
  2. Ambient heat maintenance. Unless your house gets unusually cold at night, you can skip this step for Testudo species. Night lows above 60 require no night heat for Testudo species.
  3. Light. I use florescent tubes for this purpose. Something in the 5000-6500K color range will look the best. Most tubes at the store are in the 2500K range and they look yellowish. I've been using LEDs lately and they are great, and run cooler than a florescent. This can be set on the same timer as the basking bulb. If your tortoises room is already adequately lit, you might not need this one either.
  4. UV. If you can get your tortoise outside in a safe secure enclosure for an hour 2 or 3 times a week, you won't need indoor UV. If you want it anyway, get one of the newer HO type fluorescent tubes. Which type will depend on mounting height. It helps to have a UV meter to test and see what your bulb is actually putting out at your mounting height. Plexi-glass or screen tops will filter out some or all of the UV produced by your bulb.
 
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