New owner - confused about UVB light

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Flora
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Joined: 06 Jan 2020, 14:25

New owner - confused about UVB light

Post by Flora » 06 Jan 2020, 14:48

Hi everyone!

I have just taken over ownership of my friend's sisters tortoise as she was giving her away on facebook and i suspected she wasn't being looked after properly.

She is a 2yr old (approx) Russian tortoise. We took her to the vets and he is happy with her weight (200g) and 3 1/2" but she has early stages of Metabolic Bone Disease because she hasn't had UVB light.

She is in an open table with a good substrate (the vet approved of it). She has a 100W basking lamp and 75W ceramic infared lamp, the thermometer reads that this is whats needed for day time and over night temps. But she needs a UVB lamp, we are thinking of getting a strip light but are confused about the % and wattage needed. I have read russian tortoises should have about 10-12%, but to be honest I dont understand the wattage needed.
We've also come across the importance of the height of the lamps, i think ours might be too low - they are about 25cm high from the bottom of the table.

Any advice would be very gratefully received, she a beautiful little thing and she deserves the best. Thank you!

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lin
Posts: 635
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:27

Re: New owner - confused about UVB light

Post by lin » 06 Jan 2020, 20:35

Hi Flora.
The best light in my opinion for your little one is the T5. Here’s a link. Expensive to start out but the uvb will last a year or norw and any future purchases will only be for the tube. This link is for the whole kit.
https://www.reptiles.swelluk.com/arcadi ... desert-12/
And the image is to help you find the wattage you need. It goes by the length of the tube you get and it will tell you on the packaging how high to place it above your tortoise.
You do not need any light during the night but once this uv is available then she should start to improve pretty fast.
So pleased she has found you to take care of her but If there is anything else you need any help with then just give us a shout Flora.
Lin

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Nina
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Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: New owner - confused about UVB light

Post by Nina » 06 Jan 2020, 22:44

Hi, and congratulations on taking on this tortoise.

Just to add to the good advice that Lin has given, I would say that you should get the longest tube that your table will allow (so that a large area is covered by the tube. Unlike ordinary light bulbs, the wattage on the UVB tubes isn't important -- it's the percentage, and the 10% - 12% is the best. You need to hang the tube at the right distance from the floor of the table, but that will be on the instructions that come with it (if you have any questions, just ask). Also, just to note that the reflector is an important part of the kit. UVB light is dangerous for your eyesight, so having the reflector will be good for your eyes, but it will also reflect more of the benefiial UVB rays down into the table and the tortoise will benefit.

Also, just a note, but you don't really need that ceramic infra red lamp. They do produce some heat, but no useable light. People usually get them to provide heat at night, but in a normal house a tortoise doesn't need any heat at night (as long as the temperature doesn't drop below about 13C or 14C), so that will save you a bit on electricity. Tortoises actually like a drop in temperature at night, as that is what would happen in the wild. It won't hurt to have the infrared on but they don't need it.

Also, in addition to UVB, your tortoise will need a good source of extra calcium (the purpose of the UVB is to enable the tortoise to prodce vitamin D3 which helps it absorb and utilise the calcium. A cuttlefish bone left in the table for it to nibble is good (and you can scrape some on its food with your fingernail, but you should also have a good calcium supplement like Nutrobal. You just put a small pinch on the food and that will provide calcium and vitamin D3, which should help a lot with the metabolic bone disease.

Nina

Flora
Posts: 3
Joined: 06 Jan 2020, 14:25

Re: New owner - confused about UVB light

Post by Flora » 10 Jan 2020, 16:13

Thank you for your advice, thats really useful. She came with calci-dust but as the owner didnt have a UVB light it hasn't been any use to her. Hopefully she'll start to improve straight away and recover from it

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Nina
Posts: 1027
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: New owner - confused about UVB light

Post by Nina » 10 Jan 2020, 22:00

Great to hear from you, Flora. Yes, the UVB light will enable her to absorb and utilise that calcium, but as she has some MBD, I think that some extra vitamin D3 would help (Calci-Dust doesn't have extra D3 added), so I think I would get some Nutrobal and alternate days with the Nutrobal and the Calci-Dust -- that will give her the best chance. Here's our page on Supplements from the website, and there is a section on Calci-Dust:
https://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/tor ... hjy8CPgq9s

Nina

Flora
Posts: 3
Joined: 06 Jan 2020, 14:25

Re: New owner - confused about UVB light

Post by Flora » 19 Jan 2020, 18:21

Thank you for all your replies, we're struggling trying to work out how to hand the UVB light? We have an open tortoise table so it would need to hang off of something? So far all i have found are the tubes fitted on vivarium type things

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lin
Posts: 635
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:27

Re: New owner - confused about UVB light

Post by lin » 19 Jan 2020, 19:22

Hi flora. You will get there in the end.
Here is our article on indoor tables and a very good photo on how to hang lights and uvb. The strip (if that what you have) is best going across the table as it covers a better range where a tortoise might spend more time than if it were located to the side.
https://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/tor ... iSrgi-nyfA
Lin

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