Recently, I brought new light for Dumbork. Summer is fast approaching, and the artificial lights may be beneficial to her stubborn scutes. She’s also on a Romaine Lettuce diet, to gain lean limbs and not flabby ones. Hahahaha — wish us luck!
As I’ve mentioned before, June is a special month for Dumbork and I since it marks our first year together (kinda like a couple, sounds cheesy, but there you have it).
And also because her UVB lamp needs replacing.
UVB is the Ultraviolet Radiation with short wavelengths. Since the natural habitat of turtles are in the wild, the enclosure of captive turtles should replicate the factors found in their natural environment. Aside from water source and food, natural sunlight is another important factor in turtle-keeping.
Since Dumbork lives in an indoor enclosure, I have to find some alternatives to the sun’s natural UVB rays and heat factor. Therefore, a UVB compact lamp is needed, as well as a heat source in the form of an incandescent bulb.
The following information needs repeating, not only because it is important, but also because it may help in keeping a turtle healthy. UVB and heat are used to entice the turtles to bask. Since turtles are endothermic, or cold-blooded, they cannot regulate their body temperature. They use the heat to dry out their shell, metabolizing the calcium in their body for a strong shell and bones.
The temperature of the basking area should be ten degrees higher than the temperature of the water in the tank, so that the turtle will notice the temperature difference. The basking area should also have a ramp so that they can have easier access to the water and to the dry spot. Also, the ramp will help them reach the water quickly to cool down or to have a drink.
Basking also helps the turtle to shed their shell quickly. Not properly drying out may lead to retained scutes, fungal infections and algae infestations.
Having a dry space or area in an indoor enclosure also prevents some infection brought about by poor water quality.
Having a UVB lamp for a turtle replicates the sun’s UVB rays. Still, it’s best to let your turtle roam around under the sun (heavily supervised) and let them soak up the heat and UVB via the natural sources.
Also, bear in mind that some brands of UVB lamp needs a burn-in period where the lamp should be placed higher than the recommended distance. This is because a new lamp may burn brighter than usual at first, and this may hurt the turtles’ eyes. The temperature of the basking area should also be monitored periodically to ensure that the turtles are enticed to bask, and the UVB lamp needs replacing every year or less, as the UVB output decreases the longer its use.
Here is my new The Exo Terra Repti Glo 5.0 (taken from Exo terra Website):
How are your pets? Let us know! Happy Weekend!
So for three weeks I’ve been constructing the ATBA. The main materials used are:
-green anti-slip grass mat
-3 sheets of acrylic (taken from picture frames)
-Hollow metal (aluminum) tubes for the placement of the deep dome lamp fixture
-Three grills that serve as walls, the fourth grill serves as the floor
-the floor part is covered by the green carpet
-The walls are covered by the acrylic sheets to prevent the turt from sticking his head out of the square grids
-the grass mat is attached to the floor that serves as ramp
-On the left corner is a hollow tube where the deep dome lamp fixture is attached
-same setup as 1.0
-additional designs include “boundaries” to prevent turt from escaping the tank
-on the left side is a flat rectangle strainer
-on the right side is a small chopping board
-additional design includes the use of 2 hollow aluminum tubes for the deep dome lamp fixture
-the deep dome is used for the UVB lamp and heat lamp
-the tubes are attached to the corners of the wall by cable/zip ties
-aluminum foil was added to the UVB lamp deep dome fixture sbecause the lamp was “sticking out”
-the heat lamp is placed on the left corner
-the UVB lamp is placed on the right corner
-the flat strainer and the chopping board is replaced by 2 barbecue grills
-the the heat lamp is placed on the right corner
-the UVB lamp is placed on the left corner
here’s a picture of dumbork testing out the ATBA.
I made a timeline on the problems i’ve discovered with Dumbork.
|Area of Concern||Possible Causes||Solution||Result|
|Slimy Carapace (June 12-16)||May be due to water, suspected fungus or algae||I’ve consulted it in a forum; the solution is to brush his shell by a soft toothbrush.||The carapace is now not slimy; you can define the patterns on his shell|
|Blurred spots on Plastron (Since a hatchling)||Rough surface, irritated plastron due to rough, abrasive material||Change the substrate on his tank||Well, you can’t get back to the clear pattern on the plastron. Some RES owners commented that this is just a sigh on growing. Still, I’m using marbles as substrate ever since.|
|Brown Black Spots on Carapace (June 5 – present)||Suspected scute retention, fungi, algae, Shell rot, MBD (Metabolic Bone Disease)||Monitor the changes and give him as much light as possible.||I can’t confirm the reason of the presence of these spots. It was difficult to confirm water retention in scutes. I will keep researching on this topic.|
|Suspected impaction (June 17, 2012)||I found small pebbles on the bottom of tank (serves as “weight” for the corner canister)||Quarantined him for 1 week. Changed his water daily. Monitored his feces.||No cause for concern. Poops normally, stools are regular, activity normal.|
|Different Stools/excessive pooping (June 22-23, 2012)||Suspected constipation. The food is not processed; you can see carrots, veggies, and papaya bits. He pooped 4 times on June 23 (am) with the same content. Before, his poops are just long brown things.||Switch to pellets firs, prevent giving him other veggies.||He pooped normally (long brown stools). No signs or worms/irregularity.|
|No UVB light (Since a hatchling)||Unavailable supplies||This is a main problem for me, because heat and UVB is important for a growing RES. Without these, the RES can have complications from RI (respiratory infections), MBD, and shell rot.||I will try to get him these fixtures as soon as I can. In the meantime, the sun is our friend.|
Dumbork should receive at least 30 minutes of pure unfiltered morning sunlight every day. Problem is, I have work and I cannot assign others to do this task. I’m still monitoring the temperature around the tank. Before, Dumbork’s tank sits on the table with a fiberglass roof directly on top. Now, we moved Dumbork to a table near the wall because of the tank upgrade. He only gets unfiltered sunlight every weekend. His shell now has dark brown splotches, but we’re thinking that it could be shedding.