Jump to content


Photo

Building A Big Box


  • Please log in to reply
5 replies to this topic

#1 Vagrant

Vagrant

    Tortoise Forum Newby

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 4 posts

Posted 12 September 2012 - 08:28 PM

Hello. My sister has acquired an adult Hermann's with a personality and a desire to use his feet.

Based on poor initial advice from a pet shop, whose owner endeavoured to impress upon us how simple reptile-ownership is, we came away with a 3' x 18" vivarium which subsequent research has revealed is completely unsuitable. So, I've made the best of the situation for the moment and am planning a table. An outdoor enclosure is not feasible at the moment, but he will have regular supervised walks on a lawn.

My question is this: what is the quickest, cheapest and best way to construct a 5' x 2'6" wooden box for a tortoise to live in?

My current thinking, and detailed questions, are as follows:
1. a combined heat and UV lamp (variously referred to as a UV-B heat lamp or a self-ballasted mercury vapour lamp). Is this really a better option than separate heat and UV lamps, and if so, where and from whom can I get a good one?

2. when food plants become available (grown from seed in the greenhouse) they will be dispersed in seed trays or sunken pots arranged adjacent to the rambling zone, the soil to be surfaced with a scattering of stones to stabilise it and create a grazing area. Additional food to be provided as needed.

3. substrate: the base of the table will be lined with pond liner and the primary substrate will be a mix of B&Q topsoil and playsand.

4. a sleeping area will be provided in the form of a hut or other shade and will be located at the cooler end of the table (although I have already noticed that he consistently sleeps in the basking area of the vivarium).

5. the lights will ideally be timer controlled.

Thanks in advance for your time and help.

Edit: just occured to me - are there any particular woods or other materials that I should prefer or avoid?

Edit2: more questions! How high above the nominal table surface (depending on the depth of the substrate) should the heat lamp be positioned? Is it advisable to make it height adjustable?

Cheers,
Mike

#2 Vagrant

Vagrant

    Tortoise Forum Newby

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 4 posts

Posted 14 September 2012 - 08:01 PM

Thank you for the advice!

I have been concerned since the beginning about the possibility of constant low-level exposure to UV light on the human observers, particularly as there are many UV sources which give out significant UV-A. As a result, I believe I now prefer the option you describe: separate heat and UV sources. This creates more flexibility in the location of the basking area (my original choice would be unwise if the heat source also generated UV). However, I would like to be more confident that the UV strip light is up to the job, having read so much adverse opinion on so many websites.

I am very impressed by the Hermann's enclosure shown in mildred'sman's thread, here. Are the individual spot lights arranged in the corner units along the walls UV sources, or simply illumination?

#3 Hettie

Hettie

    Advanced Tortoise Member

  • VIP Member*
  • PipPipPip
  • 272 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:West Somerset
  • Interests:Torts of course! :-)

Posted 14 September 2012 - 09:51 PM

I also now use the Arcadia 12% and have been very happy with it's performance. The strip light covers the majority of the length of my hatchlings table and so they are guaranteed some degree of UV at most points in the table (although as hatchlings they do hide lots :) ) With the combination bulbs often to get the heat right you have to have them some distance from the table the UV readings then are greatly reduced, by the time you get to the other end of the table they are often practically useless.
As well as the Arcadia 12% I use a reptiglo 2 bulb which throws out light from the other end of the spectrum. This has given increased activity on my torty table.

Paula x

#4 Hettie

Hettie

    Advanced Tortoise Member

  • VIP Member*
  • PipPipPip
  • 272 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:West Somerset
  • Interests:Torts of course! :-)

Posted 14 September 2012 - 09:59 PM

Bearing in mind that the striplight has to be fairly close to be effective I would not worry about the effect on us humans at a reasonable distance. If I get chance at the weekend I shall use my UV meter to see at what distance it becomes useless. The use of a reflector could direct the UV more effectively onto the torty table increasing levels for torty and reducing scattering of UV surrounding the 'bare' bulb. Sorry it must be late... I can't think of the right words to use! Lol!

Paula x

#5 Vagrant

Vagrant

    Tortoise Forum Newby

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 4 posts

Posted 14 September 2012 - 10:27 PM

So 12% is the level that I need for an adult Hermann's? I've seen remarks elsewhere to the effect that 2% is sufficient.

I plan on using a reflector with the strip. What is the maximum distance from the table's substrate surface that it should be mounted? Is there a minimum distance for safety?

#6 Patp

Patp

    Tortoise Forum Newby

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 32 posts

Posted 21 September 2012 - 08:58 PM

You will also find that your tortoise wont use any dark areas on your table and therefore you might need additional light sources. My original tort table was made from an Ikea book case mounted on ply on top of a printer table.

Pat




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users