Trying to properly heat indoor enclosure with poor insulation

LeahK

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Hey everyone! This is my second post to this forum. I’ve been making a ton of updates to my Russian tortoise’s enclose, and I still have more to do!

I have attached a photo of my tortoise’s current setup. (I’m waiting on a better UVB light, getting more substrate, and looking into getting him a hide).

The one thing I haven’t figure out yet, is how to get his enclosure to the right temperature. I’ve seen a lot of information on how to measure temperatures, but I can’t figure out what to do in a poorly insulated tank.

Directly under the lamp, the temperature reaches a maximum of 85F. Far away from the lamp, it’s about 72F, which is the same as the night time temperature.

When I used some random no-light heat bulb in his (too small) glass cage, the temperatures were almost too high, but still not high enough in his open enclosure. I just got a 150 Watt zoo med repti basking spot lamp, and it’s still too cool under the lamp.

I was thinking of using both of these lamps for heat, after his new UVB light comes in? I’m not sure if that’ll be helpful or not.

Any advice and specific product recommendations would be appreciated! I haven’t been able to figure this out, so resources on heating would be appreciated as well.
 

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Maro2Bear

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Greetings.

From a quick look at your pix, thats a pretty long enclosure, that doesnt have a roof, so all of your heat & any humidity is escaping right up through the top before it can warm up the enclosure. Just like a house with no roof - all the heat escapes upwards. So, id say that you need to work on a roof.

Secondly, I’m a bit confused on your layout. Looks like you have a water dish far right inside the “house” and then a food dish way far right inside the other “house”. I’m just thinking there is probably a better way to set things up with roaming space, eating & drinking, hide space & a lid.

anyhow. Good luck. Work on a roof to keep the heat in.
 

Minority2

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Hey everyone! This is my second post to this forum. I’ve been making a ton of updates to my Russian tortoise’s enclose, and I still have more to do!

I have attached a photo of my tortoise’s current setup. (I’m waiting on a better UVB light, getting more substrate, and looking into getting him a hide).

The one thing I haven’t figure out yet, is how to get his enclosure to the right temperature. I’ve seen a lot of information on how to measure temperatures, but I can’t figure out what to do in a poorly insulated tank.

Cover the top to make your temperature and humidity stable. Use anything like foil, cardboard, or even foam. Any of that can you closer to the stability of a dedicated top cover.

Directly under the lamp, the temperature reaches a maximum of 85F. Far away from the lamp, it’s about 72F, which is the same as the night time temperature.

Directly under the basking lamp down to the substrate level should be around 100F. You were given a link to the care sheet guide for Russian tortoises. The temperature and humidity levels should be listed there. If you cannot achieve that amount of heat you either need to increase the wattage or lower your lighting fixture until you get it.

When I used some random no-light heat bulb in his (too small) glass cage, the temperatures were almost too high, but still not high enough in his open enclosure. I just got a 150 Watt zoo med repti basking spot lamp, and it’s still too cool under the lamp.

I was thinking of using both of these lamps for heat, after his new UVB light comes in? I’m not sure if that’ll be helpful or not.

Any advice and specific product recommendations would be appreciated! I haven’t been able to figure this out, so resources on heating would be appreciated as well.

I have no idea what type of bulbs you're using. Incandescent flood styled bulbs, the type you find at the local hardware store/home depot is what members usually recommend because they project the least concentrated amount of heat over all the bulb types.

I think those two hut areas need to be knocked down/cut out so that the tortoise can have more trekking space. If you have an adult Russian tortoise that amount of width you currently have is going feel rather small for them. It's not going to motivate them to move around too much when they can practically see the barriers up close.
 

Agathaade

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To cover your set-up, there are options. You can put something straight on the wire mesh and over the huts as a quick fix; you can put a greehouse over the whole thing; you can tilt a grow tent on its side with everything inside... There are lots of solutions that people use on here.
If you have the budget you can also go for a nice spacious pvc cage. Folks here will hook you up.
Good luck!
 

KarenSoCal

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I like that you bought a second enclosure and doubled the space! It's 8' x 2' now, correct?

If my memory is correct, you've had him for 6 months. When you bought him, was he an adult? Or was he a little baby? I've had the impression, since he came from a pet shop, that he is full grown now. Could we have a good pic of just him? With something beside him for size reference.

If he is full grown, his parameters don't need to be as strict as a baby needs. When you get your new substrate, dampen it down. Then put a layer of dry substrate on top of the damp. Soak him 3-4 x/week. That should take care of humidity.

The temp under the basking light should be 100ish. You're using a spot bulb. It would help if you could get an incandescent flood bulb, but I understand your difficulty in obtaining them. Try putting a piece of slate or a flat, hopefully dark colored, rock under the basking light. Whatever you find it should get warmer than just substrate. It will spread the heat out a bit for basking. If not warm enough, build a little hill with the substrate, and put your slate on top of the hill. You could probably get at least an inch closer to the light this way.

For other than basking, your room temp should be just fine. You said it goes down to 72°. That's good, and even in winter you shouldn't need night heat unless your apartment goes below the 60's.
 

LeahK

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I did a quick fix and put some foil over the top of the cage like @Minority2 recommended, and the basking spot is now around 95F! I'll make some more adjustments, but I'm glad it's getting in the reasonable range now.

Yeah, @Maro2Bear , I'm going to browse some more of the pictures on this forum and find a better layout for all his stuff.

@KarenSoCal Yes, the cage is now 8x2! When I bought him, he was about 1 year old, and the pet store said he was still very young and much smaller when he first got to the pet store. I have attached 3 pictures with some random things for size reference. I have been soaking him every day, but now that he has a decent source of water in his cage, I might go down to 3 or 4x a week.

Thank you for all the recommendations! I will finish setting his cage up with everything he needs.
 

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Minority2

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