Shell is soft

Kevin Kaz

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My 3 smaller torts shells are soft... they have efficient humidity around 75%+, eat with calcium 2 times a week(normally Wednesday and Sundays), get soaked for 20-30mins in 80-90degree water. What am I doing wrong?
Thank you!
 

dmmj

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Shells take time to harden . You have to worry when the shells start getting softer. Are they all being housed together?
 

Kevin Kaz

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Shells take time to harden . You have to worry when the shells start getting softer. Are they all being housed together?
Yes they are together. They’re almost 2 yrs old and softer than they have ever been....
 

Tom

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My 3 smaller torts shells are soft... they have efficient humidity around 75%+, eat with calcium 2 times a week(normally Wednesday and Sundays), get soaked for 20-30mins in 80-90degree water. What am I doing wrong?
Thank you!
All the info you listed sounds good, but I didn't hear anything about UV or D3, which are the two things needed to allow their shells to properly harden up. Also, please go into your user profile and put in what part of the world you are in. Different advice for Northern Greenland vs. The Florida Keys.
 

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Calcium doesn't help if they don't get sunlight. They need UVB to make vitamin D which is vital part of the metabolism of calcium in the body. Without sunlight the calcium you are feeding will just be pooped and peed out and none of it is used by the turtle so the turtle starts to use the calcium stored their bones and shell to keep going. If you have UVB light you should replace it, as the lights stop emitting UVB after few months.

For now get them a new UVB light and direct sunlight (glass and plastic will filter UVB) and feed them calcium every day and you should be good.
 

Kevin Kaz

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All the info you listed sounds good, but I didn't hear anything about UV or D3, which are the two things needed to allow their shells to properly harden up. Also, please go into your user profile and put in what part of the world you are in. Different advice for Northern Greenland vs. The Florida Keys.
I’m in Cleveland OH. They have a UVA bulb, only UV bulb I found that hasn’t blown out in a two week span or fluorescent. I use a 75 watt in their current 3x2 feet area. Once summer comes and my dad has his truck out for the summer, I’m setting up an outdoor habitat so they have natural sun! The calcium powder I use is ZooMed Repti-Calcium
 

Tom

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Tortoises must have UV B and warm temperatures to convert dietary D2 into D3. Without D3, all the calcium in the world is useless to them.

You need to order a good UV bulb today. Like right now. If the weather is warm enough, you need to get them outside in a pen with access to sun ASAP.

Get a HO florescent tube for UV. Its the best way to go. Either the Zoomed 10.0 or the Arcadia 12%.

Does your calcium supplement have D3?
 

dmmj

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If you are getting sunlight now I would take them out for an hour or two under careful supervision of course. & start supplementing calcium
 

Kevin Kaz

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Tortoises must have UV B and warm temperatures to convert dietary D2 into D3. Without D3, all the calcium in the world is useless to them.

You need to order a good UV bulb today. Like right now. If the weather is warm enough, you need to get them outside in a pen with access to sun ASAP.

Get a HO florescent tube for UV. Its the best way to go. Either the Zoomed 10.0 or the Arcadia 12%.

Does your calcium supplement have D3?
It says on the calcium bottle, it does have D3 in it! Like 10.?%
 

Kevin Kaz

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If you are getting sunlight now I would take them out for an hour or two under careful supervision of course. & start supplementing calcium
By the time I get home from work it’s at like 60 degrees. Only 1 time it has been over 75 degrees. We are having 50-65 degrees all week and rain or partially cloudy
 

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It says on the calcium bottle, it does have D3 in it! Like 10.?%

Their bodies can not utilize the D3 in their diet/supplements without sunlight or an artificial source of UVB. Even if you fed D3 by the mouthful, which you shouldn’t, their shells would not harden. UVA is important too, but what your tortoises need is a UVB source.

Without UVB, the soft shell (which is reversible) can progress to full-on metabolic bone disease (which is irreversible, especially if bone deformities have set in). I’m not sure how much sunlight is needed to combat MBD, but I would recommend getting a UVB bulb for now if you’re uncomfortable with taking them outside. I would treat this as an urgent issue.

To be blunt, MBD is fatal if it progresses enough. It can also cause severe deformities in their entire skeletal structure that seriously affect their quality of life.
 

Tom

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Their bodies can not utilize the D3 in their diet/supplements without sunlight or an artificial source of UVB. Even if you fed D3 by the mouthful,

For years I thought this was the case, or seemed to be the case in the absence of any study that said otherwise. Will @Kapidolo Farms recently convinced me that tortoises can use dietary D3. Haven't tested it myself yet, but...

In a case like this one where there is clearly a problem, and dietary D3 does not appear to be working, I think it best to attack the problem from both directions: Dietarily and through a good UV source.
 

Kevin Kaz

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For years I thought this was the case, or seemed to be the case in the absence of any study that said otherwise. Will @Kapidolo Farms recently convinced me that tortoises can use dietary D3. Haven't tested it myself yet, but...

In a case like this one where there is clearly a problem, and dietary D3 does not appear to be working, I think it best to attack the problem from both directions: Dietarily and through a good UV source.
I already ordered the ZooMed 10.0 after you respond with it.
 
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Kevin Kaz

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For years I thought this was the case, or seemed to be the case in the absence of any study that said otherwise. Will @Kapidolo Farms recently convinced me that tortoises can use dietary D3. Haven't tested it myself yet, but...

In a case like this one where there is clearly a problem, and dietary D3 does not appear to be working, I think it best to attack the problem from both directions: Dietarily and through a good UV source.
Actually my 3 smaller torts I ordered from Will!
 

Tom

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Actually my 3 smaller torts I ordered from Will!
Well that means that they were extremely well started, well hydrated, well fed, and they had a leg up on life from day one. Good choice there.
 

Kevin Kaz

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Well that means that they were extremely well started, well hydrated, well fed, and they had a leg up on life from day one. Good choice there.
Came across him on a Facebook in one of my tortoise group.
 

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It would be my "guess" that they are not exposed to high enough temps. @Markw84 posted a ratio of D3 utilization to temps diagram or text. Some part of the process needs that higher body temp.

FWIW, basking at 70F is good, as they can accumulate heat with sun exposure. One of those temperature guns can help you see this in action.

I had a few testudo with the same issue, I gave them a CHE and their shells hardened up over several weeks. It is my thought that different species might have different minimum temps to utilize the calcium and D vitamins for laying down bone. Leopards seem to need those higher temps, as do Testudo species.
 
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