Russian not opening eyes

RedorGreen

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Nov 17, 2020
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Albuquerque, NM
I’ve had my Russian for about 6 months now. He’s been fine and active the entire time up until a few days ago when he stopped eating and won’t open his eyes. His eyelids aren’t crusty or swollen, they’re just closed. Ideas?

some additional info:
Lights: 2 of these lights. One right above his basking stone. The other high above the enclosure for lighting.

Substrate: peat moss

Temps: About 100F on his basking stone and 80F the rest of the enclosure during the day. Down to 70 at night when the lights go off(that’s the temp I keep my house at)

Diet: Once a week I go get different salad mixes from the grocery store. Spinach mix, spring mix, kale mix. We also toss in carrots, diced tomatoes, apples, strawberries (fruits are a rarity), he has also been getting pieces of pumpkin that I froze from Halloween. Everything we feed him gets a dusting of reptile multivitamin and minerals.
 

ErinInCA

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CA
I’m sure someone more expert will weigh in but I have Hermann and I believe the diets are the same. They’re basically only supposed to have weeds. Spinach and kale are too high in oxalates. Other salad lettuce is too low in fiber and nutrients. Tomato, pumpkin, and other fruit are all unsafe. I use an app called PlaceIt to identify weeds then Tortoise Table website to check if it’s safe.

Also, I believe they’re not supposed to have moss any more after they’re no longer babies. They can eat it and become impacted.

Another thing to consider: humidity? Daily soaks? Has a clean water dish?
 

RedorGreen

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Albuquerque, NM
I’m sure someone more expert will weigh in but I have Hermann and I believe the diets are the same. They’re basically only supposed to have weeds. Spinach and kale are too high in oxalates. Other salad lettuce is too low in fiber and nutrients. Tomato, pumpkin, and other fruit are all unsafe. I use an app called PlaceIt to identify weeds then Tortoise Table website to check if it’s safe.

Also, I believe they’re not supposed to have moss any more after they’re no longer babies. They can eat it and become impacted.

Another thing to consider: humidity? Daily soaks? Has a clean water dish?

Everything I feed him I search to see wheather or not it’s safe. For water & soaks, he has a large dish that he regularly goes and sits in himself so I don’t physically soak him myself. I change the water once I see it’s messy which is usually every few days.
 

crimson_lotus

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those are not the typical lights we have issues with, however I am unfamiliar with them. Just a thought, I would be curious to try and switch out the lights for a few days (if you have anything extra hanging around) to see if they are the problem. I once tried a new MVB for my water turtle and it burned his eyes....he kept on basking but his eyes were so red and had them shut most of the time. In that case the UV output emitted was basically waaay too high and unconstrained and may have been defective.

Do you have a pic of the enclosure? What substrate do you use?
 

Yossarian

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I’ve had my Russian for about 6 months now. He’s been fine and active the entire time up until a few days ago when he stopped eating and won’t open his eyes. His eyelids aren’t crusty or swollen, they’re just closed. Ideas?

some additional info:
Lights: 2 of these lights. One right above his basking stone. The other high above the enclosure for lighting.

Substrate: peat moss

Temps: About 100F on his basking stone and 80F the rest of the enclosure during the day. Down to 70 at night when the lights go off(that’s the temp I keep my house at)

Diet: Once a week I go get different salad mixes from the grocery store. Spinach mix, spring mix, kale mix. We also toss in carrots, diced tomatoes, apples, strawberries (fruits are a rarity), he has also been getting pieces of pumpkin that I froze from Halloween. Everything we feed him gets a dusting of reptile multivitamin and minerals.

Those bulbs are not fit for purpose, they only produce heat. The claim that they produce UV of any spectrum is BS. They are halogen bulbs, they produce light on the red and infra-red end of the spectrum, not the UV end. The item page on amazon is highly misleading, my guess is intentionally so. They seem to be saying that the lamp holder can be used for UVA/UVB etc. . . but they are clearly selling Halogen bulbs with the lamps, and they do not produce that light.
 

RedorGreen

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Location (City and/or State)
Albuquerque, NM
Those bulbs are not fit for purpose, they only produce heat. The claim that they produce UV of any spectrum is BS. They are halogen bulbs, they produce light on the red and infra-red end of the spectrum, not the UV end. The item page on amazon is highly misleading, my guess is intentionally so. They seem to be saying that the lamp holder can be used for UVA/UVB etc. . . but they are clearly selling Halogen bulbs with the lamps, and they do not produce that light.
Just bought this one from the pet store.
 

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KarenSoCal

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Just bought this one from the pet store.

These bulbs are not good either.

The white bulb for basking is a spot bulb. The concentrated heat dessicates the carapace, and contributes to pyramiding. What you want is an ordinary incandescent flood bulb from the hardware store. Note that it's flood, not spot.

The red bulb will give nighttime heat, but it makes everything red. The tort thinks red is something to eat, and may try eating the substrate. In any case, tortoises follow the same day/night cycle we do...it should be dark at night. What you want for night is a CHE. It screws in to a socket, but only produces heat, no light. It needs a ceramic fixture, not plastic, because they get too hot for plastic. You also need to use a thermostat to control it, so it only comes on when the temp falls after the basking light goes off.

In case you haven't read this, here is our care sheet for Russians. It explains what you need to do for your tortoise to thrive.


Here is more info on heating and lighting.

4 elements of heating: By Tom
There are four elements to heating and lighting:

Basking bulb. I use 65 watt floods from the hardware store. I run them on a timer and adjust the height to get the correct basking temp under them. I also like to use a flat rock of some sort directly under the bulb.

Ambient heat maintenance. I use ceramic heating elements or radiant heat panels set on thermostats to maintain ambient above 80 degrees day and night for tropical species. You'd only need day heat for a temperate species like Testudo or DT.

Light. I use LEDs for this purpose. Something in the 5000-6500K color range will look the best. Most bulbs at the store are in the 2500K range and they look yellowish.

UV. If you can get your tortoise outside 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. 5.0 bulbs make almost no UV. You need a meter to check this: https://www.solarmeter.com/model65.html
 

RedorGreen

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Messages
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Location (City and/or State)
Albuquerque, NM
These bulbs are not good either.

The white bulb for basking is a spot bulb. The concentrated heat dessicates the carapace, and contributes to pyramiding. What you want is an ordinary incandescent flood bulb from the hardware store. Note that it's flood, not spot.

The red bulb will give nighttime heat, but it makes everything red. The tort thinks red is something to eat, and may try eating the substrate. In any case, tortoises follow the same day/night cycle we do...it should be dark at night. What you want for night is a CHE. It screws in to a socket, but only produces heat, no light. It needs a ceramic fixture, not plastic, because they get too hot for plastic. You also need to use a thermostat to control it, so it only comes on when the temp falls after the basking light goes off.

In case you haven't read this, here is our care sheet for Russians. It explains what you need to do for your tortoise to thrive.


Here is more info on heating and lighting.

4 elements of heating: By Tom
There are four elements to heating and lighting:

Basking bulb. I use 65 watt floods from the hardware store. I run them on a timer and adjust the height to get the correct basking temp under them. I also like to use a flat rock of some sort directly under the bulb.

Ambient heat maintenance. I use ceramic heating elements or radiant heat panels set on thermostats to maintain ambient above 80 degrees day and night for tropical species. You'd only need day heat for a temperate species like Testudo or DT.

Light. I use LEDs for this purpose. Something in the 5000-6500K color range will look the best. Most bulbs at the store are in the 2500K range and they look yellowish.

UV. If you can get your tortoise outside 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. 5.0 bulbs make almost no UV. You need a meter to check this: https://www.solarmeter.com/model65.html

Is it possible to still use that light fixture but swap out the bulbs to meet the torts needs? I would ideally like to only have the one fixture over the enclosure and not 4 different lights.
The fixture is made out of aluminum with what feels like a ceramic socket, so I think I can put one of those CHE bulbs in there. And in the other socket a bulb thats good for basking AND emits UV since its starting to get too cold here for the tort to be outside. (He was outside all summer & up to a few weeks a go)
Any recommendations for a said mentioned bulb?
 

Hutsie B

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You should probably think of using cypress mulch as a substrate instead of the peat moss. Glad he is feeling better.
 

KarenSoCal

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Is it possible to still use that light fixture but swap out the bulbs to meet the torts needs? I would ideally like to only have the one fixture over the enclosure and not 4 different lights.
The fixture is made out of aluminum with what feels like a ceramic socket, so I think I can put one of those CHE bulbs in there. And in the other socket a bulb thats good for basking AND emits UV since its starting to get too cold here for the tort to be outside. (He was outside all summer & up to a few weeks a go)
Any recommendations for a said mentioned bulb?

Unfortunately there is no bulb made that I know of that suffices for basking and UVB for tortoises other than a MVB. We've already gone over why they are no good.

The spot bulbs made for reptiles are great for lizards, but bad for tortoises because of the dessication issues.

For UVB you need a fluorescent tube type bulb in a fixture with a nice shiny reflector. Then it needs to be mounted on the underside of your lid, aimed downward inside the enclosure.

Like this...


See it hanging from the top of the enclosure?

20200601_124955.jpg
 
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