UVB advice

Victoriatori

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Joined
Oct 22, 2020
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8
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East Tennessee
Hey guys, I've got a Russian who's about 3 years old I believe. I'll have had him a year in November. I got him out of a pretty bad situation, he was in a small tub, the previous owners went outside, dug up some grass and dirt and put it in there. His diet consisted of green leaf lettuce and regular strawberries, no heat or UVB, but they did get him outside regularly during the summer. When I first got him I just knew he needed better, but I was uneducated and he had a mercury vapor bulb. I built him an 8ft by 2ft enclosure as soon as I got him, and he's got about 6-8 inches of soil that he loves to burrow in. I took him to the vet as soon as I got him and everything looked okay thankfully. Anyway, to my point. I'm only able to get him outside 2 or 3 times a week from late may- mid august (depends on the year, here in east TN though) so I definitely want to get him a UVB for the winter. I know T5 HO tube. However, I'm not sure what wattage. I'm planning on getting the Solarmeter 6.5 before I have to end his outside days, what readings should I be looking for from the UVB so I know how high to place it? Thank you guys! This site has been a savior for me and the little one.
 

Yvonne G

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You can allow him to brumate, then there's no need for winter UVB.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
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Southern California
Hey guys, I've got a Russian who's about 3 years old I believe. I'll have had him a year in November. I got him out of a pretty bad situation, he was in a small tub, the previous owners went outside, dug up some grass and dirt and put it in there. His diet consisted of green leaf lettuce and regular strawberries, no heat or UVB, but they did get him outside regularly during the summer. When I first got him I just knew he needed better, but I was uneducated and he had a mercury vapor bulb. I built him an 8ft by 2ft enclosure as soon as I got him, and he's got about 6-8 inches of soil that he loves to burrow in. I took him to the vet as soon as I got him and everything looked okay thankfully. Anyway, to my point. I'm only able to get him outside 2 or 3 times a week from late may- mid august (depends on the year, here in east TN though) so I definitely want to get him a UVB for the winter. I know T5 HO tube. However, I'm not sure what wattage. I'm planning on getting the Solarmeter 6.5 before I have to end his outside days, what readings should I be looking for from the UVB so I know how high to place it? Thank you guys! This site has been a savior for me and the little one.
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. In the UK, get one of the newer HO type fluorescent tubes. Which type will depend on mounting height. 5.0 bulbs make almost no UV. I like the 12%. You need a meter to check this: https://www.solarmeter.com/model65.html
Problems with MVBs:
1. They run too hot for a closed chamber, which is what you should be using.
2. They cause too much carapace desiccation which causes pyramiding.
3. They are fragile and break easily.
4. They are temperamental sometimes and shut themselves off for 20 minutes at a time.
5. They are expensive.
6. Their UV output runs from one extreme to the other. Some produce way too much UV, and other produce none at all after two or three months.

Here is the rest of the care info. All your concerns are addressed here, but feel free to ask as many questions as you want.
 

Krista S

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Joined
Aug 4, 2019
Messages
836
Location (City and/or State)
Saskatchewan
Hey guys, I've got a Russian who's about 3 years old I believe. I'll have had him a year in November. I got him out of a pretty bad situation, he was in a small tub, the previous owners went outside, dug up some grass and dirt and put it in there. His diet consisted of green leaf lettuce and regular strawberries, no heat or UVB, but they did get him outside regularly during the summer. When I first got him I just knew he needed better, but I was uneducated and he had a mercury vapor bulb. I built him an 8ft by 2ft enclosure as soon as I got him, and he's got about 6-8 inches of soil that he loves to burrow in. I took him to the vet as soon as I got him and everything looked okay thankfully. Anyway, to my point. I'm only able to get him outside 2 or 3 times a week from late may- mid august (depends on the year, here in east TN though) so I definitely want to get him a UVB for the winter. I know T5 HO tube. However, I'm not sure what wattage. I'm planning on getting the Solarmeter 6.5 before I have to end his outside days, what readings should I be looking for from the UVB so I know how high to place it? Thank you guys! This site has been a savior for me and the little one.
Hi there. With a Solarmeter it would be good to aim for a reading of 3 to 4 and you could have the UV tube on for anywhere between 3 to 5 hours per day. Some only have theirs on for 2 or 3 hours per day at this UV level. I choose to keep mine on longer (I have a 2 year old Hermann’s tortoise) because he has a fairly large enclosure and the UV only covers about a quarter of it. I want to make sure he has ample opportunity in a day to soak up the UV if he wishes, so I have mine on for 5 hours. If you wanted to have the UV on all day, then lower the reading on the Solarmeter. The wattage is based on the length of the t5 bulb. With Arcadia you need the 12% tubes, so for example, the 22” bulb is 24 watts, 34” is 39 watts and the 46” is 54 watts. They all give off the same UV, but the wattage is higher because the tube is longer. As long as you get the 12% and whatever length you want for your enclosure, the wattage won’t be wrong. If you’re looking at Reptisun T5 HO fluorescent tubes then look for 10.0. The wattage works the same on these bulbs as the Arcadia…the length determines the wattage. I hope this helps. If you have anymore questions, don’t hesitate to ask.
 
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