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#1 Guest_thatchers_*

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Posted 23 May 2005 - 09:58 PM

Well hi to all. We are to be new owners of a 2 yr old hermann. If I tell you what we have prepared, please tell us if we are doing the right thing. At the moment (until I buld a indoor table top enclosure) we will be using a 3 ft x 1 ft open top aquarium. We have used recommended wood chip on the floor, have two slabs one each end, with one end having a UV lamp and red heat lamp. (both bought from a pet shop) both on a timer, we have been told to have them both on for 6 hours each day. We also have a hideaway for it to go in, a shallow dish for water and will feed it with wild weeds with a calcium supplement. Any advice would be very gratefully received.

#2 Guest_Honey_*

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Posted 24 May 2005 - 01:13 AM

Sorry Kentishman but you need to ditch the glass tank,wood chips and the red heat lamp. Glass is abig no no for torts partly due to hte high humidity created within nd partly becsuse it is very stressful to them. Wood chip can be toxic - try hemp or a sand/soil mix. REd lamps are not a good idea as we need to imitate the sun which is not red Torts will automatically go to a lighter area for heat. Please do not compromise the health of your pets by putting them in substandard accomodation even for a short time - far better to delay their arrival until you have everythign ready. A good breeder wil hold onto them for you until such a time.

#3 Guest_thatchers_*

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Posted 24 May 2005 - 07:52 PM

Thanks for the reply.

We had an involvement with 6 hatchlings and they all flourished in the same tank together for nearly a year. I though that just our one would be OK for a while. The wood chips were labelled as for tortoises! and we were recommended the red light by the pet shop! Oh well. Now I am confused. Our one will only be in the tank, while I build the table top enclosure. Unless we let it roam around the carpet, that will have to do. Our local pet shop has tortoises, and they are all in glass fronted wooden "boxes with the same wood chips as we bought. My one will be a wooden base and sides with plastic raised sides. The other five are in one like this. Are the timings for the light about right? (6 hours per day) and a temperarure around 80-85 degrees?

#4 Guest_Honey_*

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Posted 24 May 2005 - 11:18 PM

Well as you will no doubt have seen from previous posts, pet shops are the last places to give correct advice on tortoises. They sell them to make money and sell the equipment with them to make money too :-(
A good breeder will tell you that you do not need a vivarium - in fact this will kill your tortoise somewhere in between a month and 6 years. They will also tell you that you do not need heat mats red lights or artificial substrate or food.
You say you had six hatchlings in a tank for a year - where are they now? They certainly would not have flourished. They may have survived but will not have been able to thermoregulate or choose their own temps. Tanks create humidity - humidity causes respiratory problems in tortoises. I tried unsuccesfully to persuade my neighbours to remove their torts from a tank and keep them open topped like my own. They refused - the torts eventually died. They managed to convince themselves that the torts were from a 'bad batch' - - six years on? I think not :) 
Wood chips in pet shops labelled for tortoises actually harbour fungal spores and cause respiratory problems. They also do not allow for thermoregulation.
Red lights are not natural and only suitable for nocturnal species - tortoises sleep all night at cooler temps so no light at night.
Pet shops sell their torts from glass fronted boxes as they display well and are safer from thieves x(
Six hours a day is not enough - light in the Med is much longer than this - more like 12 hours
Temps should not be static throughout the enclosure. Thjis leads to high stress levels as do glass sided enclosures. You MUST have a hot end and a cool end. Temps under the basking spot should be 30 degrees with the option for the tortoise to move out to much lower temps:'(
I am a bit concerned about the remark you made where you say 'that will have to do'! A cardboard box would be better than a tank until you get a table top sorted - there are no short cuts to keeping tortoises as many on this list will tell you. Several people here have lost tortoises at various ages and found out too late that they had been misinformed. ASk yourself if you would blame the pet shop if your tortoise suddenly died after twelve months or so!! This is what they rely on when giving the bad info. No inexperienced owner connects the shop to the death and often goes back to the same shop to start the same slow death all over again. Roll on the day when pet shops are not allowed to sell tortoises:'(

#5 Guest_thatchers_*

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Posted 28 May 2005 - 07:55 PM

Thanks so much for the advice. We have not got our tortoise just yet. Its still with the other five in a large 6ft x 2ft table top enclosure. Yes they all flourished, but now I am told they were only in the tank for 3 months. I will heed your warnings about the tank. I will wait until our proper enclosure is ready.

Thanks again. really appreciated.

#6 Guest_thatchers_*

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Posted 28 May 2005 - 08:03 PM

One more thing - you said that we need not have a heat mat or red light, but then you say they must have a hot part and a colder part to thermoregulate. What would be the right heat source?

Thanks. Your advice is valuable to us. Thanks.

#7 Guest_Honey_*

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Posted 28 May 2005 - 08:20 PM

Think natural habitat where torts are concerned. All heat should come from above i.e. a basking light. This is for day time use only and nees to be switched off at night. As in the wild the tortoise shold have a deep wnough natural substrate to bury into. Thermoregulation p[roperties of soil/sand mixes and hemp bedding are almost identical so either can be used. Humidity levels of other substrates vary in other pet shop beddings and should not be used especialy in the case of bark and wood chips as these can often be toxic to tortoises and the incidence of fungal infections is high in deep bark substrates. Hope this helps

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