What should the uv index be for a Russian tortoise?

Mons

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I recently got a t5 ho fixture and light for my tortoise's cage since the t8 arrangement didn't seem to be giving him the right amount of UV. I forget now though how much is the right amount.

With the setup I just finished mounting today, the Solar meter 6.5R says 6.2/6.4. Is that too high? Shelly looks like he's about 7" away from the bulb, I'd say. Cage is 18" tall.

Maybe I should not have any substrate under the new fixture so that it can give him more distance.

Here's a pic of him under the new light and the readout from the meter and another pic to give a better shot of the fixture.

I went with the vivarium electronics t5 ho single tube propagation light (I don't recall it saying that on the site, is that a problem?) and it says "professional horticulture lighting" on the box. I thought I'd read that grow lights were okay but now I forget. :\ 20210717_141043.jpg

20210717_145431.jpg
 

Mons

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I forgot I'd found some article online https://www.jzar.org/jzar/article/view/150/89 a while back that seemed to give more guidance.

Not entirely sure I'm reading it right, but there's a graphic that I think is saying the preferred range for open or partial sun baskers, who fall under Ferguson zone 3, is between 1.0 and 2.6, with a max range between 2.9 and 7(?). Maybe someone else can make more sense of it. I'll include the graphic in a sec.

If that's the right zone, then 6.2/6.4 is too high for Shelly. So I lowered the substrate there. Now it's saying 4.9. Hopefully that's alright. 20210717_152838.jpg 20210717_152558.jpg
 

ZenHerper

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Full-spectrum plant bulbs are not the same as bulbs that produce concentrated uvb radiation (what is needed to manufacture vitamin D in the tort's skin).

You need to get a uvb bulb.

Grow bulbs are fine for extra ambient light or for vivs with plants.
 

Krista S

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What you have there looks similar to the Sunblaster fixture I have. The bulb that comes with these types of fixtures is not the kind we need for our tortoises. You’ll need to get a 10.0 Reptisun and or 12% Arcadia bulb for it.
 

Mons

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Yes, I have a stronger UV bulb in there specifically for tortoises. The bulb is a Zoo Med ReptiSun T5 HO 10.0 bulb. https://www.chewy.com/zoo-med-reptisun-100-uvb-t5-ho/dp/257674

It's in a T5 HO fixture, this one specifically: https://www.pangeareptile.com/store/t5-uvb-light-fixture.html The fixture says stuff about horticulture, not the bulb.

I see that wasn't clear in my original post. Will fix that, thanks for catching. ... Scratch that, can't edit it anymore. Oh well. Hopefully this clarifies things.

The light in the corner, that bulb is a 50 watt zoo med basking lamp on a dimmer so I can control how much heat comes out.

I think the lights are right. They're based on guidance from others here.

I was asking about the amount of UV being too strong or alright. Do you know?
 

Krista S

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Ok, it’s great that you have the right bulb. That piece was missing from your post. At 4.9 I would only keep the UV light on for a couple of hours per day. Usually midday is best as it mimics when UV is at its highest outside. Ideally we usually recommend to aim between 3 to 4 on the meter for 2 to 3 hours. If you wanted to leave the UV on all day, then I’d aim for a reading around 2. Just make sure there are places for your tort to escape the UV.
 

Mons

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That is super helpful. I'll see if I can get it between 2 and 3 and if not, then have it on for less time. Thank you!!
 
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