Pyramiding and Shell Coloration

inkling13

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So I've had my Red Foot Tortellini for 2.5 years now and this forum has been our go to reference right from the start. Her shell was pyramided when she was given to me but I'm pleased to say her new growth these past couple of years has been coming in a lot smoother. The thing is, the new growth is also rather noticeably darker. It's most apparent when her shell is dry but the ambient humidity is 70% or higher. When the shell is wet it is uniformly black but water evaporates off of the old growth very quickly and when she's really dry the new growth fades to a grey color closer to the brown/grey of the pyramided areas. One glance at her shell and I know if her humidity levels are right or not, she's as consistent as the hydrometer! I'm curious if anyone else has noticed something similar. It's not a natural color variation like marbling, it's a distinct line between old and new growth.

I've seen a couple threads where people questioned if sunlight and UV darkens shells and wondered if that might have something to do with it too. Her previous owner did not have a UV bulb in the enclosure and she never went outside. She's always had a MVB with me and get's quite a bit of outdoor time in the summer. She's also been living in a closed chamber for the last year but the darker shell growth started well before that. Any thoughts?


tortellini shell color1.jpg tortellini shell color2.jpg
 
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Twiggz

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Interesting, my first thought was because of a better diet, but the UV does make sense also. I'd love to hear what others say as well.
 

inkling13

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Interesting, my first thought was because of a better diet, but the UV does make sense also. I'd love to hear what others say as well.
That's one of the interesting things, despite having poor lighting, the previous owner was feeding an excellent diet. The main difference diet wise was that the previous owner would feed one meal per day with multiple foods mixed together while I feed two meals a day of different foods. Now Tortellini gets a pile of greens for lunch and dinner is a rotation of either veggies, fruit, or occasional protein (always sprinkled with calcium). I initially tried feeding everything together but all too often she'd ignore her greens to fill up on her favorites. Now she get's her greens when she's hungriest and the least picky but she always finds room for the good stuff later at dinner. She's had a free choice cuttlebone too, which she frequently attacks with a gusto.
 

Team Gomberg

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That's pretty interesting. I can CLEARLY see the coloration difference. I wonder what others will say.
 

theguy67

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Interesting. My redfoots' shells have always been dusty looking. I've seen pics of similar so I assumed it was just the breed I received (plus or minus a few degrees). I'd love to get theirs nice and dark like yours.
 

inkling13

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Thanks everybody for the interest and compliments! As for theguy67 and "I'd love to get theirs nice and dark like yours." I really wish I knew what exactly triggered the color change here and pass the secret along but it's still a mystery to me! My best guess is that she was kept too dry and without UV which resulted in the dehydrated and poorly formed dusty/brownish growth. Since it's the most pyramided areas that are discolored I feel like the factors must be connected. Now with a MVB and higher humidity her growth is nice and dark. That and increased exercise really seems to be the biggest changes between her past and current care. It's possible I'm overlooking a different variable though, which is why I figured I'd ask if anyone else had seen something like this before. No one else has come forward yet with a similar experience though, so maybe my Tortellini is just an odd duck.
 
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