Question About Specific Closed-Chamber Enclosure

Isaiah C.

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Hello everyone! Hopefully this is the right place to post this question. I was hoping those with some more experience would be willing to lend some expertise to a question I have. I'm preparing to take over the care of a small leopard tortoise (age unknown, but he isn't bigger than the palm of my hand, and I'm 5'0"). I've been a long-time lurker here because I've been considering taking on a tortoise as a pet so I wanted to make sure I had all of the required knowledge.

I have seen many people build amazing enclosures out of PVC, but that has never been my strong suit, so I was searching for a good one to purchase. I eventually found this website and enclosure:


Somewhat price-y, but not the worst I don't think. I was wondering if people thought it was a good starting enclosure, and if so, which are worth buying? I'll include a list of all the features for those who don't want to click the link.

Question 1.PNG

Thanks for your time if you read all that!
 

Tom

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HA! I looked up your location, and I was just there working a couple of weeks ago! Tulsa was nice.

That enclosure is too small and way overpriced. Check instead with Animal Plastics, and go much bigger. They have long wait times.

The best closed chamber are made by our own @Markw84 . I have one, my mom has one, and I helped a friend assemble two of them. They are amazing! Reasonably priced and made extremely well. Pure engineering genius. I highly recommend them, and the wait time isn't too bad.
 

Isaiah C.

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Tulsa is nice! I don't go there too often because of traffic and the pandemic, but growing up in the suburbs of the area means I usually just tell people online I'm from Tulsa since they might know where that is.

Thanks for the response! Your starter guide has been a great help in setting my expectations and how to prepare. I know bigger is always better, but is there a size you would recommend I be in the range of?

I'll reach out to Mark and see if he's accepting orders!
 

Jan A

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Tulsa is nice! I don't go there too often because of traffic and the pandemic, but growing up in the suburbs of the area means I usually just tell people online I'm from Tulsa since they might know where that is.

Thanks for the response! Your starter guide has been a great help in setting my expectations and how to prepare. I know bigger is always better, but is there a size you would recommend I be in the range of?

I'll reach out to Mark and see if he's accepting orders!
Hey, Isaiah, i'm just a stone's throw away over here in Skiatook. Just got my first tort, a redfoot, from Maggie here on the forum 2 weeks ago. Was in Sapulpa a couple of times in my old o&g career decades ago. I'm new (&old) to Oklahoma. Nice to know ya!!
 

Isaiah C.

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Hey, Isaiah, i'm just a stone's throw away over here in Skiatook. Just got my first tort, a redfoot, from Maggie here on the forum 2 weeks ago. Was in Sapulpa a couple of times in my old o&g career decades ago. I'm new (&old) to Oklahoma. Nice to know ya!!
Congrats on the tortoise! Redfoots are beautiful. I haven’t been over to Skiatook in a long time but it was always great up there.
 

Gijoux

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I would like to mention that if the enclosure you decide upon purchasing is 24" tall you will want to use a HOT5 12% bulb, because at that distance you will need the 12% to ensure proper UV to the tortoise. No Screens at all. Use a Radiant Heat Panel mounted inside on the ceiling of the enclosure along with the light.
 

Isaiah C.

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I would like to mention that if the enclosure you decide upon purchasing is 24" tall you will want to use a HOT5 12% bulb, because at that distance you will need the 12% to ensure proper UV to the tortoise. No Screens at all. Use a Radiant Heat Panel mounted inside on the ceiling of the enclosure along with the light.
Thank you for the warning! I actually got into contact with Mark and will be buying his 48x36 Complete PVC enclosure, which seems MUCH better than the enclosure I was looking at here.
 

Isaiah C.

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Hi again, ye tortoise enthusiasts and experts who read this post. I wanted to ask some questions and offer an update with what is going on with Appa the Leopard Tortoise and their enclosure.

My order for his closed-chamber enclosure will take around 4-5 weeks to complete, estimated, so I've set up the table he came with to the best of my ability. Pictures below. Temperatures stay around 75-80 on the cool side, 90 on the warm side, and the basking area is about 95 degrees regularly now. He has a T5 UVB bulb (10%). Humidity stays at 63% on the warm side, upwards of 85% on the cool side.

Does this seem okay for the time being? I can't get the humidity higher on the warm side despite adding water to the substrate, but I know it's a bit low.
Enclosure 1.jpg Enclosure 2.jpg Enclosure 3.jpg Enclosure 4.jpg
 

Markw84

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I would suggest changing out the substrate to orchid bark (fir bark) That will hold moisture much better. Then add some plants in pots overhanging the side. Pothos grows very well and fast in an enclosure. This creates a natural hide and will hold a lot of humidity under the cover of the plant. Your tortoise will do much better as well as it creates a much more natural, secure-feeling place reducing stress. The plant also provides shade gradients for your tortoise.
 

Isaiah C.

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I would suggest changing out the substrate to orchid bark (fir bark) That will hold moisture much better. Then add some plants in pots overhanging the side. Pothos grows very well and fast in an enclosure. This creates a natural hide and will hold a lot of humidity under the cover of the plant. Your tortoise will do much better as well as it creates a much more natural, secure-feeling place reducing stress. The plant also provides shade gradients for your tortoise.
Thank you! I will look into the substrate change this weekend. It seems that is the same thing as Reptibark, so I'll buy a couple bags of that (small Oklahoma towns don't really have good substrates in gardening departments so I'll have to fork over extra money).

Will also be looking to see where I can buy a pothos plant from, thanks!
 

Isaiah C.

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Changed to fir bark and the humidity is already holding better. On a personal note, it is so much easier to add water to the substrate and keep his water bowls clean with this. Thanks again for pointing me in the right direction.

I had read it in Tom's caresheet but I didn't think the difference between coco fiber and fir bark would be that big. I was pretty wrong.
 
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Mrs.Jennifer

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Changed to fir bark and the humidity is already holding better. On a personal note, it is so much easier to add water to the substrate and keep his water bowls clean with this. Thanks again for pointing me in the right direction.

I had read it in Tom's caresheet but I didn't think the difference between coco fiber and fir bark would be that big. I was pretty wrong.
I commend you for listening and trying something new. I know that when I found this forum and made changes to my tortoise’s husbandry, I saw measurable differences. I believe that when we allow ourselves to be “coachable,” we learn a great deal.

Well done!
 

Isaiah C.

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I commend you for listening and trying something new. I know that when I found this forum and made changes to my tortoise’s husbandry, I saw measurable differences. I believe that when we allow ourselves to be “coachable,” we learn a great deal.

Well done!
Thank you! I make my best effort to listen to experts and not let my pride get in the way. At the end of the day, my end goal is to provide the best care possible for the tortoise I willingly took on. Ignoring advice and thinking I know best because I did some reading is counter-intuitive to that.

On the topic of planting and pothos, I searched around my town this week. Local stores didn't have any pothos, so I went around to some planteries around me and they also claimed to not have anything. :/

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07TTJNM89/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20 Would this be the correct thing? I was hoping to avoid having to ship but it looks like I may need to.
 

Mrs.Jennifer

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Thank you! I make my best effort to listen to experts and not let my pride get in the way. At the end of the day, my end goal is to provide the best care possible for the tortoise I willingly took on. Ignoring advice and thinking I know best because I did some reading is counter-intuitive to that.

On the topic of planting and pothos, I searched around my town this week. Local stores didn't have any pothos, so I went around to some planteries around me and they also claimed to not have anything. :/

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07TTJNM89/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20 Would this be the correct thing? I was hoping to avoid having to ship but it looks like I may need to.
It is refreshing to hear your positive and humble approach to all things tortoise! That is indeed pothos, but it most likely has chemicals/pesticides in its system. Are there local or wild plants that you could use?
 

Isaiah C.

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That is indeed pothos, but it most likely has chemicals/pesticides in its system. Are there local or wild plants that you could use?
I was worried about that. I haven't found any pothos near me yet so far, but I'll be looking still. A family member grows Wandering Jew (which was another one Mark recommended me), so I do have that, know that it's safe, and will be adding it when I get the chance.
 

Mrs.Jennifer

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I was worried about that. I haven't found any pothos near me yet so far, but I'll be looking still. A family member grows Wandering Jew (which was another one Mark recommended me), so I do have that, know that it's safe, and will be adding it when I get the chance.
Great! You are better off finding local, reliable plants than commercial plants. Plants that grow wild nearby are the best (if they’re chemical free).
 

Isaiah C.

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The struggle right now is that I know not a lot of plants will grow inside a closed-chamber enclosure. The UVB and lighting isn't very kind to them, and I don't know of any wild plants I could put inside the enclosure and realistically hope to keep alive (though I'm no gardener so I could be wrong).

I'm searching for pothos because they apparently don't mind being inside a closed-chamber enclosure, so that would make my life a lot easier. I'll keep looking and checking plant nurseries in my area.
 

Mrs.Jennifer

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The struggle right now is that I know not a lot of plants will grow inside a closed-chamber enclosure. The UVB and lighting isn't very kind to them, and I don't know of any wild plants I could put inside the enclosure and realistically hope to keep alive (though I'm no gardener so I could be wrong).

I'm searching for pothos because they apparently don't mind being inside a closed-chamber enclosure, so that would make my life a lot easier. I'll keep looking and checking plant nurseries in my area.
I have both pothos and wandering Jew in my enclosed chamber. They are both thriving.
 

Isaiah C.

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PLANTS.jpg
Got him some wandering jew in! Picked up the pots at the dollar store so sorry if they're tacky lol. Hoping it grows well. They don't look great atm but my Grandma told me they should take root and survive pretty easily, even if they don't look great at first.

Just to be sure, it's fine for him to eat some right? The first thing he did (as you can see in the pick) was take a bite off a leaf.
 
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