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Old 28-12-2013, 11:07 PM   #1
miranda200784
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Hi all, last week our long awaited (ordered in August) much researched tortoise Gil arrived, complete with a setup from happytortoisehabitat. He is about 1.5 inches from snout to tail. He is housed in an indoor wooden tort table 3foot by 3 foot, with a hide at one end. His substrate is currently wood chip and hay as this arrived with his set up, but I will change this to 8 cm deep 50:50 topsoil and playsand in the new year. I have fed him a variety of things: dandelion leaves, fuschia, rocket, forget me not, lambs lettuce, clover and pansy petals, dusted with Nutrobal,and I give him enough to cover his shell. he also has a cuttlefish in his table. I bought the shelled warriors winter seed mix and planted that a few weeks back but no edible growth as yet (its harsh weather in Yorkshire!). The setup arrived with what I believe to be an incandescent basking lamp, so I purchased an exp terra 26w repti glow 2.0 to give him some full spectrum lighting, but unsure if this will be enough. He has access to a shallow water dish and has a warm soak every other day . Much of the info I read is coherent, however when it comes to lighting I'm a bit confused. I was considering MVB but I've seen on this forum they aren't the best option, and that strip lights are better, but after keeping other reptiles (ratsnake, water dragon, skunk and ball python) I find they degenerate quickly.
Also his habitat looks a bit bare, what do people think of planting a small plant in, could he overeat or would it raise humidity as it would need to be watered, or rot the untreated wood? Current temp under basking lamp is around 26. this is on a 12 hour timer. Nightime temp is rooom temp, around 15-18. In short, am I doing it right so far?! Many thanks in advance for your reply
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Old 28-12-2013, 11:26 PM   #2
burnt toast
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Welcome! I would leave out the playsand, go with just soil. He needs a higher basking temperature,about 32 under lamp. I use combined heat/uv bulbs but its personal choice and I have heard horsfield keepers say they prefer seperates due to the extra light stopping them feeling inclined to hibernate
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Old 28-12-2013, 11:40 PM   #3
miranda200784
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Thank you for the swift reply . I will lower the basking bulb tommorow to raise the temp. will the reptiglo 2.0 be sufficient for his uvb needs?
Also I'm concerned if I 'decorate' his habitat too much with stones plants etc he will be at risk of falling onto his back as he is an avid climber and explorer, today he tried to climb up the thermometer!, and I have been told at his size he wouldn't be able to self-right, but I thought this sounded dubious?
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Old 29-12-2013, 08:20 AM   #4
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Hello and welcome Great to see you have obviously been doing your research - what a lucky tort
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Old 29-12-2013, 12:22 PM   #5
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Hello and welcome.
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Old 29-12-2013, 09:39 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miranda200784 View Post
Thank you for the swift reply . I will lower the basking bulb tommorow to raise the temp. will the reptiglo 2.0 be sufficient for his uvb needs?
Also I'm concerned if I 'decorate' his habitat too much with stones plants etc he will be at risk of falling onto his back as he is an avid climber and explorer, today he tried to climb up the thermometer!, and I have been told at his size he wouldn't be able to self-right, but I thought this sounded dubious?
To be honest I don't know about your UV tube (I have never used them) but I think its a 10 that you need, don't know if a 2 is powerful enough. As for the climbing they all do this im afraid, particularly when young or recently changed house. It isn't age that dictates them not righting themselves, this seems to vary from tort to tort. You can slope the substrate downwards away from the lamp, + put some decent size cobble stones about your torts length away from the sides of your table, so if he does fall over he can reach these to help right himself. ( They tend to stand on back legs & climb the walls, then fall on their back ) I also find not letting the substrate dry out too much helps, as it can go like dust/sand if it dries out & he cant get a grip on it.
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Old 29-12-2013, 11:44 PM   #7
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Lots to say I wouldn't decorate to much until you get the soil in. Woodchips are almost impossible for a small tortoise to flip back over on if they get on their back. You changed the basking bulb for a UV bulb that won't throw much if any heat, so lowering it won't help and could hurt as the UV would be more intense. You will need either a MVB or incandescent bulb for a basking spot. Which ever bulb you go with you will need a flourscent light for more light. If you go with the MVB, so will need just a regular flourscent bulb. If you go with an incandescent bulb, you will need a UVB bulb (10 would be best). You may also need to use a ceramic heat emitter (in a seperate holder) at night to keep the temperature up as 15C to 18C may be too low to get the little one to want to be active and eat. 18C to 20C would be a better night time temperature.

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Old 30-12-2013, 01:19 PM   #8
miranda200784
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Thank you for your replies and warm welcome, its nice to know I've got experienced people to ask and bounce ideas off. I've now got the incandescent bulb for basking running around 33-36, and changed the 2.0 bulb for a 10 high output uvb. Looking forward to getting some soil in there, popped a few low stones in, away from the sides, and he seems less excited about climbing the walls! I checked his nighttime temp after moving the table and its now around 20. He appears to be liking his baths more now too. Pics to follow soon.thanks again.
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Old 30-12-2013, 02:59 PM   #9
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I agree about decorating the table too much, there's no need, if it's a wooden table you will need to line it as the soil needs to be kept moist ( not wet ) a hide is a good idea a few small pebbles round the water dish and a feeding slate, that's the basics. And lighting as has been said, oh and just top soil will be fine, no need for sand, good luck
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Old 30-12-2013, 04:54 PM   #10
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Hello and Welcome!

If you were to consider any plants to put in the table for your Horsefield, I would recommend a Spider Plant. They are fairly cheap, and would be easy to maintain with a substrate as soil. They also (apparently) aren't harmful or toxic if consumed. I've heard plenty of stories of Tortoises' eating the woodchip, so would watch out for that. You've obviously done your research, and I wish you the best of luck!
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