New enclosure.

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Andy nelson
Posts: 4
Joined: 19 Nov 2017, 14:00

New enclosure.

Post by Andy nelson » 19 Nov 2017, 14:10

Hi all.
I have owned my tortoise now for 8 months. When we bought her I was told that the vavarium that we bought was suitable for her.
Following discussions on this website I think that it's a little on the small side as she has started pacing back and forth the glass.
The enclosure is only around 24 by 12 inches.
I am looking at getting a proper tortoise table that's 48 by 18 inches.
My question is what light would be advisable for the new table? Currently I have a 12 inch strip light and a separate lamp for basking. Most tables have have 1 point for a light. Is it better to get both fixed on the table or is there an alternative that does both jobs?
All advice appreciated.
Andrew

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Nina
Posts: 278
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: New enclosure.

Post by Nina » 19 Nov 2017, 16:00

Hi Andy, and many thanks for contacting us! It's really good that you are going to get your tortoise a proper table -- it will be much better for her and I think you'll see a noticeable improvement. One of the reasons she is pacing back and forth in front of the glass will be size, but the other is that tortoises don't really understand the concept of glass, and if they can see through something then they think they can walk through it, and it is very frustrating for them.

My advice on a tortoise table would be that you should get the biggest one you can (if you don't have a lot of space in your room then you could even consider an 'L'-shaped table that would fit around a corner. So 48" x 18" is much better, and you could even consider getting a table that has a second level to it (reached by climbing up a ramp), or making a second level in one that you buy. Something like this:
http://tinyurl.com/y84echgw
or this
http://tinyurl.com/ybf4zu3m
It doesn't have to be posh, and personally I wouldn't put the little house for sleeping up there on top, as the underneath of the top level makes a good sleeping area, and they get good exercise walking up and down the ramp.

Regarding lighting -- it's down to preference. If you have one light for UVB and heat, then that is fine, but because you will need to be able to raise or lower your heat source, depending on how warm it is in the room, I prefer to use separate heat and UVB lamps, like you do. Do be aware that the UVB strip light will continue to give out light long after it stops giving out UVB, so you need to change them every year or so (depending on how much they are used). And get the highest UVB rating (10.0 or 12 if possible). To mount them you will need an arm of some sort so that they can be mounted at the right distance (a sort of upside down 'L' shape, screwedto the table, but then with the ability to raise or lower the heat lamp if necessary. Or an upside down 'u' shape with the lamps hanging from a chain that can be adjusted. Here is a photo of my set up, I have a strip light and a hanging lamp (but it is an old photo and now I have a 3' strip light that goes the length of the table, and another photo of a table with an 'L' arm (nearest the camera, and with some hooks in it from which you could hang chains holding your lamp) as well as a 'U' holder with a chain hanging from it. Not sure these photos are great, but they might give you some ideas.

Nina[attachment=0]Helen's new table.JPG[/attachment][attachment=1]IMG_9426 (Copy).JPG[/attachment]
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Helen's new table.JPG
IMG_9426 (Copy).JPG

Andy nelson
Posts: 4
Joined: 19 Nov 2017, 14:00

Re: New enclosure.

Post by Andy nelson » 19 Nov 2017, 16:47

Thanks for the advice Nina!
What sort of height would you mount the uvb light from the enclosure? I believe the table comes with a hanger for the basking light so hopefully that should be ok.
I currently have both heat and uvb lamps on for 10 hours a day. Does this sound ok?
Andy.

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Nina
Posts: 278
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: New enclosure.

Post by Nina » 19 Nov 2017, 17:04

The 10 hours a day sounds fine, and if you're not hibernating and your tortoise seems sleepy, then you could try having them on for 12hrs a day.

The height you hang a lamp at depends on what the temperature is underneath it. Getting the right temperature is really important for tortoises, so you want to measure the temperature directly under your heat lamp, and at the height of your tortoise's shell (a thermometer mounted on a nearby wall, even only a few inches away, will give you a reading much lower than it actually is). Most of us now use digital fridge thermometers -- the kind with a display unit and then a probe at the end of a wire, and you hang the probe in the table at the right height. They have the advantage of also having a Max/Min function, so you can see how hot or cold it got since you last re-set it. Something like this:
http://tinyurl.com/yb96lmyy

You are looking to get a temperature of about 29C - 30C directly below the light at tortoise shell height at the hot end of your viv, and about 20C at the cool end. This can be very hard to do with a vivarium, as because of its enclosed nature you don't get a big temperature variation, but your tortoise needs to be able to wander from hot areas to cool areas to regulate its body temperature. In the summer when your room is warm, you will have to raise the light further away from the floor of the enclosure so that it doesn't get too hot, and in winter if the room is cool in daytime you will have to lower the light to raise the temperature in the table. You don't have to be too fussy about it, just try to aim for around 30C at the hot end and 20C at the cool end, and you shouldn't need any heat at night as torts do like a drop in temperature at night.

What species is your tortoise? If you don't already have a care sheet for that species, I'm happy to send you a link to one.

Cheers,
Nina

Andy nelson
Posts: 4
Joined: 19 Nov 2017, 14:00

Re: New enclosure.

Post by Andy nelson » 19 Nov 2017, 18:06

Hi Nina.
We have a Hermann tortoise (Called shelly) who we were told is around 3 years when we bought her so she's getting on for 4.
A link to the data sheet will be excellent.
Haven't really had any problem with temperature in the enclosed vavarium just wanted to make sure that Shelly will be happy in her new home.
Bought the thermometer you sent the link for.
I have a book on tortoise keeping but it's always good to speak to other keepers to pick their brains!
Thank you
Andy

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Nina
Posts: 278
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: New enclosure.

Post by Nina » 19 Nov 2017, 18:48

Aww, Shelly sounds lovely, and she's lucky to have found a home with someone who wants the best for her!

At 4 years old she might still be too young to sex, but if you send us a photo of her underside, clearly showing the tail, we can have a guess for you. Sex in tortoises is temperature dependent (the temperature you incubate the eggs at), so people can try and incubate for males or females by setting the incubator temperature right, but it's still a bit hit and miss. You can usually sex them by the age of 5 or 6, but depending on her size we might be able to confirm the sex now.

Here's a link to a good care sheet for Hermanns (you ought to be able to download and print it out, but let me know if you have any problems or if you have any more questions).
http://www.tortoise-protection-group.or ... 014New.pdf

Cheers,
Nina

Andy nelson
Posts: 4
Joined: 19 Nov 2017, 14:00

Re: New enclosure.

Post by Andy nelson » 19 Nov 2017, 19:05

Hi Nina.
Just assume she's female because the pet shop we got her from said that she more than likely was female. Got no plans other than as a pet to sex her so she's going to remain a she for now.
Thanks for the link I will post a picture when I get her table up and running.
Thanks for your time and help.
Andy

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