Should you bake, boil or freeze loose coconut fiber substrate?

Hamiltondood

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They hang downside of the enclosure, so I have to clamp it on the rim of my tank.

Would the entire enclosure need to be at that 80 degrees mark? Or leave a warm side and a cool side as usual on the daytime? That might help determine whether I should get a 75W or a lower 60W.
like karen said, clamps could be very dangerous
you might be better off using a little light stand over the enclosure

assuming youre using a tortoise table, is there any way to cover up the enclosure? a simple greenhouse would do the trick
something like this is great
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GOO83UK/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20
 

J0KER

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Did you see post # 17? You might want to get both.

The minimum in the coldest spot in the tank should be 80°, day or night. If a part of it is higher, that's OK.

If you're using clamp lights, be very careful. The clamps easily fail, the light falls into the substrate, and a fire starts. Houses have burned to the ground. We had a lady on here that the light fell onto her hatchling and killed it. Make sure they have a method of securement that they can't fall.
Got it, minimum temperature of 80 degrees day or night. Sounds exactly like you said, I might need 2 CHE bulbs to accomplish this on both the cool side of the tank and the hot side.

That’s terrible! These clamp lights sound absolutely dangerous. I’m going to go ahead and find a mesh cover to put over as a lid on my enclosure now. Would absolutely not risk the potential of a fire or death of a hatchling.

For humidity what would you advise is best? Sounds like there’s a lot of different things and specificities to account and factor in, & I want to ensure that I do them properly so he can grow up nice and healthy!
 

J0KER

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like karen said, clamps could be very dangerous
you might be better off using a little light stand over the enclosure

assuming youre using a tortoise table, is there any way to cover up the enclosure? a simple greenhouse would do the trick
something like this is great
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GOO83UK/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20
I currently do not have a tortoise table, but I am going to go ahead and find a lid probably a mesh one that reptile tanks typically have so I can go ahead and cover the enclosure & hang them right on the top.

I didn’t know clamp lights could be so dangerous, definitely going to find one tomorrow!
 

KarenSoCal

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For humidity you pour water directly into the substrate and mix it up with your hands. It should be damp, not drenched. The minimum humidity should be 80%.

You are going to have trouble maintaining that humidity with a mesh top. Your humid air is going to go right out into your room. It would be best if you used a different enclosure.

Read this for some ideas.


And have you read the care sheet?


Also, this will help with the heating/lighting setup.

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
 

Tom

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Thank you for the response! Just to confirm, for coco coir i’ll need to dampen it and hand pack it down? To ensure it doesn’t get dry, and hand pack so it’s not loose. I’m currently keeping a Sulcata tortoise (Skyler).

Very nice! Knowing that brings me a peace of mind. I reckon i’ll go about it without baking it, and just continue to monitor the substrate and my tortoise.

Since you’ve been housing them for decades I do have a follow up question, do you think tortoises need a moonlight heat lamp if they’re indoors? I just want to make sure I give him everything he needs. I’m based off California so we don’t really get too much cold over here, & my room doesn’t really get cold either, I just want a second opinion.
I wouldn't use coir for a sulcata. You'll soon see that it is too messy. Fine grade orchid bark works best. What part of CA are you in? I can help you find o bark cheap in bulk if you are anywhere near me in Santa Clarita.

No tortoise needs a moonlight bulb. It should be dark at night. Sulcatas do need night heat and it should not drop below 80 at night in the coldest part of their enclosure. This is best accomplished with a CHE or RHP set on a thermostat. (Ceramic heating element, radiant heat panel.)

There are four elements to heating and lighting:
  1. Basking bulb. I use 65 watt incandescent floods from the hardware store. Some people will need bigger, or smaller wattage bulbs. Let your thermometer be your guide. I run them on a timer for about 12 hours 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. You need to check the temp with a thermometer directly under the bulb and get it to around 95-100F (36-37C).
  2. 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, as long as your house stays above 60F (15-16C) at night.
  3. 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. Strip or screw-in bulb types are both fine.
  4. 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
Check this out for more current and correct care info:
 

J0KER

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For humidity you pour water directly into the substrate and mix it up with your hands. It should be damp, not drenched. The minimum humidity should be 80%.

You are going to have trouble maintaining that humidity with a mesh top. Your humid air is going to go right out into your room. It would be best if you used a different enclosure.

Read this for some ideas.


And have you read the care sheet?


Also, this will help with the heating/lighting setup.

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
For humidity you pour water directly into the substrate and mix it up with your hands. It should be damp, not drenched. The minimum humidity should be 80%.

You are going to have trouble maintaining that humidity with a mesh top. Your humid air is going to go right out into your room. It would be best if you used a different enclosure.

Read this for some ideas.


And have you read the care sheet?


Also, this will help with the heating/lighting setup.

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
Got it, 80% humidity, & daily soaks for about 20-30 minutes.

Going to try and get a different enclosure so the heat and humidity doesn’t escape

I read the thread you sent, thank you very much for sending it! & Wow everything I need is right on it! Was great, I’m definitely going to go based off this to ensure the best quality of life.
 

J0KER

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I wouldn't use coir for a sulcata. You'll soon see that it is too messy. Fine grade orchid bark works best. What part of CA are you in? I can help you find o bark cheap in bulk if you are anywhere near me in Santa Clarita.

No tortoise needs a moonlight bulb. It should be dark at night. Sulcatas do need night heat and it should not drop below 80 at night in the coldest part of their enclosure. This is best accomplished with a CHE or RHP set on a thermostat. (Ceramic heating element, radiant heat panel.)

There are four elements to heating and lighting:
  1. Basking bulb. I use 65 watt incandescent floods from the hardware store. Some people will need bigger, or smaller wattage bulbs. Let your thermometer be your guide. I run them on a timer for about 12 hours 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. You need to check the temp with a thermometer directly under the bulb and get it to around 95-100F (36-37C).
  2. 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, as long as your house stays above 60F (15-16C) at night.
  3. 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. Strip or screw-in bulb types are both fine.
  4. 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
Check this out for more current and correct care info:
Thank you for the follow up! Yes I read your thread where you spoke about coco coir, I will definitely opt for some fine grade orchid bark instead. I’m by the DTLA area.

I understood the first part for incandescent bulbs, and make sure measure directly below at 95-100 degrees. For bullet point #3, you use LED lights for which purpose? Just for regular lighting right?

That guide you made is absolutely incredible, so thank you very much for having made that. Definitely going to go based off that to ensure the best quality of life.
 

Tom

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Thank you for the follow up! Yes I read your thread where you spoke about coco coir, I will definitely opt for some fine grade orchid bark instead. I’m by the DTLA area.

I understood the first part for incandescent bulbs, and make sure measure directly below at 95-100 degrees. For bullet point #3, you use LED lights for which purpose? Just for regular lighting right?

That guide you made is absolutely incredible, so thank you very much for having made that. Definitely going to go based off that to ensure the best quality of life.
More on bullet point 3: Ambient lighting is important. It should look bight and "sunny" in the indoor enclosures during the day. LEDs give bright balanced light, with very little heat, and very little electrical usage.

Drive up to SCV and you can get a giant 2.0 cu. ft. bag of fine grade orchid bark for $12. Its only about 30 miles form DTLA.


Here is the bag:
Orchid Bark.JPG
 

J0KER

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More on bullet point 3: Ambient lighting is important. It should look bight and "sunny" in the indoor enclosures during the day. LEDs give bright balanced light, with very little heat, and very little electrical usage.

Drive up to SCV and you can get a giant 2.0 cu. ft. bag of fine grade orchid bark for $12. Its only about 30 miles form DTLA.


Here is the bag:
View attachment 311918
Would a HO UVB fluorescent act as ambient lighting? I plan on taking him out probably about once or twice a week in sunlight for about an hour, in addition to having a UVB. I believe the UVB can act as both purpose for the UVB rays & for ambient lighting to ensure the tank bright balanced and lite up.

I will definitely check that out! Thank you!

I found this on Petco, wonder if it would suffice for UVB / ambient lighting? I don’t want to get a light that will burn his eyes or cause him any harm, hopefully this one I found can help?
 

maggie3fan

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Thank you for the response! Hmm, I just hope I’m not left with more springtails than substrate lol. If they can be kept in moderation small amounts that’d be great, i just don’t want an army of them.
Would you also recommend to bake the substrate to get rid of them if they start to take over?
Nope, I'd just completely change out the soil...
 

KarenSoCal

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Would a HO UVB fluorescent act as ambient lighting? I plan on taking him out probably about once or twice a week in sunlight for about an hour, in addition to having a UVB. I believe the UVB can act as both purpose for the UVB rays & for ambient lighting to ensure the tank bright balanced and lite up.

No, you want ambient lighting on all day, along with the basking light.

Your UVB only needs to be on for 3-4 hours a day, like 10AM-2PM or 11AM-2PM. If he's outside each day with access to unfiltered sunshine, you don't need indoor UVB at all.
 

J0KER

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No, you want ambient lighting on all day, along with the basking light.

Your UVB only needs to be on for 3-4 hours a day, like 10AM-2PM or 11AM-2PM. If he's outside each day with access to unfiltered sunshine, you don't need indoor UVB at all.
Ohh really? I thought that the UVB was for about 10-12 hours as well? He wouldn’t be outside everyday for access to sunshine, but I will be taking him out 1-2 times a week to get that sunlight.

For ambient lighting sounds like that’s something specific to LED with 5000-6500k as suggested per Tom. So ambient lighting is a thing of its own despite the UVB lighting which is constant exposure to sunlight is provided is minimally required if not required at all. Makes sense!

Update: Just left my LFS got a night heater a CHE bulb, and a mesh cover so won’t deal with clamps anymore! Also picked up that light fixture i linked above earlier from petco.
 

KarenSoCal

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Check item # 4 by Tom in post # 25.⬆

Remember that CHE needs a ceramic socket and a thermostat to control it. On top of the mesh, it also needs a dome over it. Actually, I'm not sure a CHE won't burn through a mesh. We'll ask others to weigh in on that.

The T8 tube you bought isn't really the best. T8's don't put out nearly the UVB that the T5 HO's do. Since mesh blocks a large percentage of UVB, you need the higher values of the T5 HO.
 

J0KER

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Check item # 4 by Tom in post # 25.⬆

Remember that CHE needs a ceramic socket and a thermostat to control it. On top of the mesh, it also needs a dome over it. Actually, I'm not sure a CHE won't burn through a mesh. We'll ask others to weigh in on that.

The T8 tube you bought isn't really the best. T8's don't put out nearly the UVB that the T5 HO's do. Since mesh blocks a large percentage of UVB, you need the higher values of the T5 HO.
Yesss, I bought a ceramic socket & made sure that the box said it was for CHE bulbs! I was extra careful and checked everything. As far as the thermostat control, I bought one on Amazon should be getting it in a couple days.

I see, I’m going to try and supplement this T8 in additional to an hour of sunlight 2 times a week & will see how he’s doing. I’m going to go ahead and see if I can find some T5 HO’s since the mesh blocks majority of the UVB rays.
 

KarenSoCal

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Yesss, I bought a ceramic socket & made sure that the box said it was for CHE bulbs! I was extra careful and checked everything. As far as the thermostat control, I bought one on Amazon should be getting it in a couple days.

I see, I’m going to try and supplement this T8 in additional to an hour of sunlight 2 times a week & will see how he’s doing. I’m going to go ahead and see if I can find some T5 HO’s since the mesh blocks majority of the UVB rays.
The T8's are a larger diameter, so you will need a different fixture for the T5. Sorry...just don't want you to think you can just switch tubes.
 

Tom

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Would a HO UVB fluorescent act as ambient lighting? I plan on taking him out probably about once or twice a week in sunlight for about an hour, in addition to having a UVB. I believe the UVB can act as both purpose for the UVB rays & for ambient lighting to ensure the tank bright balanced and lite up.

I will definitely check that out! Thank you!

I found this on Petco, wonder if it would suffice for UVB / ambient lighting? I don’t want to get a light that will burn his eyes or cause him any harm, hopefully this one I found can help?
Four different elements. Ambient heat, ambient light, basking lamp and UV if needed. If you are getting the tortoise outside a couple of times per week most of the year, or more, then you don't need indoor UV. If you do want indoor UV I would only run it 1-3 hours mid day, so you still need ambient light.
 

J0KER

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The T8's are a larger diameter, so you will need a different fixture for the T5. Sorry...just don't want you to think you can just switch tubes.
It’s no problem! & Yess, I plan on returning this one that I bought and looking for some T5 HO’s
 

J0KER

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Four different elements. Ambient heat, ambient light, basking lamp and UV if needed. If you are getting the tortoise outside a couple of times per week most of the year, or more, then you don't need indoor UV. If you do want indoor UV I would only run it 1-3 hours mid day, so you still need ambient light.
Ahh, I see. Okay, so I currently have ambient heat, and basking lamp. I have a UV but looks like it might be too weak to provide any real UV. So my follow up question is, knowing that I have this weak light fixture, can I use this as ambient lighting?? & then for UV continue to take the tortoise outside couple times a week most of the year to get that sunlight, since it looks like if I’m going to be doing this I won’t need a UV right?
 

Tom

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Ahh, I see. Okay, so I currently have ambient heat, and basking lamp. I have a UV but looks like it might be too weak to provide any real UV. So my follow up question is, knowing that I have this weak light fixture, can I use this as ambient lighting?? & then for UV continue to take the tortoise outside couple times a week most of the year to get that sunlight, since it looks like if I’m going to be doing this I won’t need a UV right?
That should work. Yes.
 

J0KER

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That should work. Yes.
Thank you! & update I plugged in the light fixture I got, it’s pretty dim. I’m likely going to return it and find some T5 HO’s for ambient lighting instead.

When you take the tortoises out for sunlight, do you have it inside of one of those carriers for small animals and add some water inside to prevent dehydration and overheating? That’s kinda what I think would be good to have him outside on? In a little container with some water in the sunlight while I monitor him.
 
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