Horsefield, need some help!

Discussion in 'Tortoises' started by Herman55, Jun 7, 2007.

  1. Herman55

    Herman55 Embryo

    Well in a month i would like to get a hoursefield tortise.

    The one i would like is 3" so how big a container could i keep it in and how long for?

    what do i need to feed and dust the food with (multi vit and cal?)?

    would this light be OK?

    I have a heat mat too, sould i use that?

    should i use bark, newspaper, as a substrate? how much?

    any other basic care information would be good!

    Thanks and i hope you can help!
  2. strange_wings

    strange_wings Embryo

    Basic care information is very easy to find, all you have to do is search. :)

    Since you have a lot you need to read up on, start on these sites for info. (this one has turtle/tortoise table plans on it if you search for them)

    But to answer some of your questions -
    Yes you need supplements, plain calcium and a multivitamin. I'm guessing from the ebay link that you're in the UK :) so I'll leave it to a UK member to suggest calcium and vitamin supplement brand names found there.

    Yes, that light will work.

    Tortoises dig down to get away from heat, so no, it's not a good idea to use a heat mat.

    For substrate most people prefer sand and sterile top soil (no fertilizers) mixed together.
  3. Wookie

    Wookie Embryo

    good one Strange_Wings.

    Calypso Calcium and Nutrobal Vitiamins are the most regularly used over here. They are not the best, but the best we can usually get. I've also heard good stuff about Nekton and minerall too.

    I'd go for a 4'x2' tort table straight away personally, but you can get something a bit smaller and upgrade later if you want.

    These guys do a good table and will supply a whole setup kit too if you like, but it may be cheaper to get the substrate and stuff seperate.

    MVB are great UVB bulbs, but I've never been keen on buying UVB bulbs via ebay as you don't know the history e.g. if it's been used before. It does look like a good price though as the only other place I can find those bulbs they are £60
    you can get the Zoo med equivant cheaper though
    I've hear good stuff about the megaray too, which is cheaper again
  4. Herman55

    Herman55 Embryo

    THnaks for your help and i wil have a read thorugh all the links, just have a few more ???
    Those tables look good but i was going to keep it in a plastic tub type thing until hes a little bigger then get somthing like the 4' table. About lights, is there a product that has the light and the unit (what the light runs through) for both heat and the UV bulb.
  5. Wookie

    Wookie Embryo

    I'm not sure what you are asking, the light bulb you have been talking about generate all the UVB and heat you tort needs. You usually have to get the bulb and fitting seperate. You can use something like this as a fitting Then you'll need a stand of some sort, you can construct you own or look at

    The MVBs cannot be angled and have to point straight down. So you'll have to consider this into your setup and you will have to be a little careful using a small plastic enclosure that you get a good temp gradient and you don't get the bulb too close to the plastic. I'd recomend getting a digital temp gauge with probe. is another good site for bits and peices if you want to compare prices
  6. Herman55

    Herman55 Embryo

    So i only need the 1 bulb, i thought it was 1 for UV and one for heat sorry. Also i have a 24"x12x12 aquarium that i could add a small clip on fan for some air circulation, could i use that for a few months? I have a big garden and its summer so it can exercise in a pen there aslong as its not cold. and i can give it exercise all the time (the aquarium is only short term) if not i will lookto a plastic tub for a while.

    The one i wil be getting is 3", and do i need to leave that on 24/7

    Thanks for all of your help,

  7. Wookie

    Wookie Embryo

    you only need the Mercury Vapour Bulbs as they generate both Heat and UVB. The alternative a lot of people use is a normal house type bulb as a basking/ heat light and a special flurecent tube for UVB. The MVBs tend to last twice as long and out put a higher UVB levels, but can be difficult to set up. Also they are higher wattages so can be difficult with smaller set ups. If you put him in a glass aquirium you'll need make sure the air flow is good as you said and you'll need to cover the glass as it can stress them trying to walk through the glass constantly. Also as I said earlier make sure you can get the correct temps (with digital gauge)
  8. Herman55

    Herman55 Embryo

  9. Wookie

    Wookie Embryo

    If you use the 100w one that will fine as the fitting is only rated to 150w the 160w bulb would be a bit iffy.

    I think your biggest problem using MVB bulbs will be getting the temps right in an enclosure that small. If you want to start with a smaller tank like that you'd probably best using a house bulb as a basking lamp that way you can use a 40 or 60watt bulb. You'll then need a UVB tube and fitting. Reptisun 10.0 are best and will need replacing every 6 months. you'll need the 18" one to allow for the starter end caps. this is a starter that can go with it
  10. Herman55

    Herman55 Embryo

    Finally i get it, So i sould use a 60watt light bulb in the clamp lamp and that starter and bulb for UV.
    i do have a cracked 3'x18"x12 aquarium there are a few cracks in the bottom but if i were to put some plastic over them and have 2 fans one at each end pointing in would that be better?

    As a list of what i need,
    -tank (have)
    -substrate (wood chips?)
    -water dish (have)
    -food dish (have)
    -a cover for back and sides
    -heat lamp
    -UV started and tube
    -calcium and multivit
    -lid (well mesh or something)

    Am i missing anything?
  11. strange_wings

    strange_wings Embryo

    By the size that sounds like maybe a 30 or 40 gal? That's really not that big.
    Why do the bare minimum now just so you can get the animal quicker? Why not wait an extra month, do your studying, get everything you need, and make sure you can control the temperatures in the enclosure properly, then get the tortoise.

    There's really no need to rush into it. If you get everything right you may very well have this tortoise for the rest of your life. :)

    Having not used MBVs myself, I did not know this. :)
  12. Herman55

    Herman55 Embryo

    OMG thats true, i think i was gettin a bit carried away there, haha! needed the slap back to reality, i think i will just get the table

    If i get this, (does it come with the lamp thing?) or is it just the table? If not i will just but the light.

    With this do i just need to buy light, bulb, substrate and a waterdish ?
  13. strange_wings

    strange_wings Embryo

    It says it comes with the supplies.
    That's rather pricey though, maybe you should price what building your own (and slightly larger) table would cost?
    There are ways to cheat at getting supplies, ask family and friends if they have scrap wood or old bookcases that you could convert.
  14. Herman55

    Herman55 Embryo

    i have loads of wood in the basement maybe get my older brother or dad to nock one up for me what size not too big because i want it inside. What would be a good size for 1 horsefield? so if i built it i could just by the substrate and light and should be set.
  15. strange_wings

    strange_wings Embryo

    Here are some basic plans

    I see 4'x2' as minimum, but that seems rather small. The box turtles I keep need a minimum of 4'x4' and they're average size is around 5inche...

    I'd say 4'x4', 3'x5',6'x2' or whatever you can reasonably fit in your home. You'll want to have plenty of room for dishes and temp gradient :)

    If you look at the plans, you'll see that it's set up so that you cut out holes in the bottom of the table and put in boxes for substrate. This means you can use something like textured ceramic tile for the rest of the inside floor, making it very easy to clean. (I believe Wookie may have their set up like this? or another user on here does)

    A lamp fixture for a MVB is very easy get, all you need is any lamp with a ceramic socket that's made to handle the wattage of the bulb you're putting in it. Any farm supply type stores should sell lamps made for keeping chicks warm, these usually (at least they are here) are marked for up to 250watts, and are cheaper than the same lamp labeled for reptile use. :)
  16. Wookie

    Wookie Embryo

    There are too versions, one with and one without supplies. the one with supplies did sound a expensive to me too. As Strange_wing says building you own is a good option if you or someone you know has the skills. There are more instructions on as welll and you could probably make it for half the price. there are just not that many ready made ones around to make the prices competive enough. That the best one I have found on the market here.

    you have to remeber though strange wings, stuff cost more over here anyways :), but yeah probably could make one for half the price if you have the time and skills (not that it is hard)

    Yeah, I have boxes in mine for substrate and tile on the rest, but I built up the tile to the box rather than sinking the box in the table, which in hind sight is a great idea.

    for substrate you want a 50/50 mix of play sand and garden loam. wood chips are not good they can get eaten by mistake and cause choking/ impactions.

    I'm sure I've been told that the MVBs work and last better vertical, but I cann't find any info to back that up now. I think I'm going mad. I'll have to get back to you on that now. I'm having a bad day.
  17. strange_wings

    strange_wings Embryo

    I know, it's a bit ridiculous that even simple stuff can cost almost double what it does here.

    That's why I suggested asking if anyone had spare wood. No matter where you live, saving money any way you can helps.
    I recently saved quite a bit building lids for a pen by asking if my dad had some spare wood about. I really did not want to buy 8 2"x4"s :)

    Oh! and I might add that on other turtle and tortoise forums I've read of people using freecycle to get free building supplies. Some said they got lots of lumber and even scrap rocks/flag stone.
    In or near larger communities this sounds like a great source in the US, maybe there is something similar in the UK? If there is it would be worth checking and recommending to any looking to build encloses while saving some money.
  18. Wookie

    Wookie Embryo

    always good good to recycle and save money :)

    MVBs can go at an angle, it's offical I have gone mad :?
  19. Herman55

    Herman55 Embryo

  20. Wookie

    Wookie Embryo

    I think you'd have to mail them, find out what the substrate is (looks like some kind of hay) and what the lamps are as they look like normal desk lamps that would be no good for a MVB.

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