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#1 Deanowins

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Posted 10 August 2016 - 01:05 PM

Hi, i'm new to this forum and a fairly new owner.

When we brought Sammy home we bought him a starter pack which was a hamster cage type habitate with a brown pellet type substrate and he has been in there about a year.

We take him out in the garden when its warm enough for him to have a rummage around.

I have decided to make my own indoor table 4foot long and 2 foot wide.

I have read conflicting views on many websites and even from the shop we got sammy from, depending on who's on duty when we visit there so i am after all the help i can get.

First of all... if i use topsoil as a substrate, i am planning on filling it to the depth of approx 5cm's.
Is that ok?
I have also read that you need to water the topsoil on a regular basis, is that right?

My next question would be where would be best to position my basking light and my uva striplight on this table? I believe it would be better to hang these lights overhead approx 30cm's above his/her shell.

I was thinking of putting little plants in the topsoil also, what are the best 1's to use?

Thanks in advance for any responses that i receive. The table should be finished in the next 2 hours so i can post pictures which might give people a better idea

#2 Deanowins

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Posted 10 August 2016 - 03:27 PM

Hi, i'm new to this forum and a fairly new owner.

When we brought Sammy home we bought him a starter pack which was a hamster cage type habitate with a brown pellet type substrate and he has been in there about a year.

We take him out in the garden when its warm enough for him to have a rummage around.

I have decided to make my own indoor table 4foot long and 2 foot wide.

I have read conflicting views on many websites and even from the shop we got sammy from, depending on who's on duty when we visit there so i am after all the help i can get.

First of all... if i use topsoil as a substrate, i am planning on filling it to the depth of approx 5cm's.
Is that ok?
I have also read that you need to water the topsoil on a regular basis, is that right?

My next question would be where would be best to position my basking light and my uva striplight on this table? I believe it would be better to hang these lights overhead approx 30cm's above his/her shell.

I was thinking of putting little plants in the topsoil also, what are the best 1's to use?

Thanks in advance for any responses that i receive. The table should be finished in the next 2 hours so i can post pictures which might give people a better idea



#3 Deanowins

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Posted 10 August 2016 - 03:32 PM

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#4 pompeypoole

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Posted 10 August 2016 - 05:42 PM

You are doing the right thing in changing through substrate. I use top soil from Wickes. It is clean and cheap. I would line the base of your table top. I use a corregated plastic sheet that bend well and allows me to use the damp soil. I keep the soil damp and allow the top to dry out so the hatchlings aren't on consistently wet soil.
You can over water his bowl or water from the side. Experience will soon tell you how muchness water to use.
I wouldn't have the hide as you want to try and encourage him to dig down. I found that using hide will just result in them hiding but not digging. You may have a different experience.
I go weeds from seeds and plant them in the soil. They don't last long though. Plaintain is a good weed to grow. If you hatchling is bigger try using a small plant pot some he can only get to the bottom of the leafs. You don't want to overfeed.
Put the basking spot at one end in the middle. Remember to set the right height to get a temp approx 31.5 degrees C.
I am sure you will get more feedback shortly from other members.
Looking forward to seeing finished photos.

#5 wizzasmum

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Posted 10 August 2016 - 07:45 PM

You are doing the right thing in changing through substrate. I use top soil from Wickes. It is clean and cheap. I would line the base of your table top. I use a corregated plastic sheet that bend well and allows me to use the damp soil. I keep the soil damp and allow the top to dry out so the hatchlings aren't on consistently wet soil.
You can over water his bowl or water from the side. Experience will soon tell you how muchness water to use.
I wouldn't have the hide as you want to try and encourage him to dig down. I found that using hide will just result in them hiding but not digging. You may have a different experience.
I go weeds from seeds and plant them in the soil. They don't last long though. Plaintain is a good weed to grow. If you hatchling is bigger try using a small plant pot some he can only get to the bottom of the leafs. You don't want to overfeed.
Put the basking spot at one end in the middle. Remember to set the right height to get a temp approx 31.5 degrees C.
I am sure you will get more feedback shortly from other members.
Looking forward to seeing finished photos.



Agree completely, especially re the hide end, I'd remove it and just let them dig down as they do in nature. A half plant pot or piece of tree root is more than enough. I'm guessing the tortoise is a hermanni. If a horsfield you will need deeper soil :)

#6 mildredsmam

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Posted 11 August 2016 - 04:58 AM

Hi, i'm new to this forum and a fairly new owner.

When we brought Sammy home we bought him a starter pack which was a hamster cage type habitate with a brown pellet type substrate and he has been in there about a year.

We take him out in the garden when its warm enough for him to have a rummage around.

I have decided to make my own indoor table 4foot long and 2 foot wide.

I have read conflicting views on many websites and even from the shop we got sammy from, depending on who's on duty when we visit there so i am after all the help i can get.

First of all... if i use topsoil as a substrate, i am planning on filling it to the depth of approx 5cm's.
Is that ok?
I have also read that you need to water the topsoil on a regular basis, is that right?

My next question would be where would be best to position my basking light and my uva striplight on this table? I believe it would be better to hang these lights overhead approx 30cm's above his/her shell.

I was thinking of putting little plants in the topsoil also, what are the best 1's to use?

Thanks in advance for any responses that i receive. The table should be finished in the next 2 hours so i can post pictures which might give people a better idea

Hi, welcome to the forum. :)

I agree with the above regarding the sleeping area I don't have any sleeping area for my hatchlings, I have things like Carex grass planted in the soil and they seem to like to dig down near this, I also have bits of drift wood in the enclosure which is good for them to climb over and also dig under to sleep, I've found the small ornamental grasses work well in a table and last some time. :)



#7 Deanowins

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Posted 11 August 2016 - 06:26 PM

Getting there slowly, just need to add lighting. I have removed the roof of the hide. Whats your thoughts on a shallow water bowl?

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#8 pompeypoole

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Posted 11 August 2016 - 07:15 PM

Until they are big enough I add limestone chippings into a terracotta dish and fill with water. This way they can walk in and out without fear of drowning. When the are bigger just remove the chippings.
Make sure that the dish is away from the sides. They tend to climb and you don't want him to fall on his back.




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