Hi Jeannie,happy holidays. my question has to do with the type of lighting you use for your red foot tortoise.Maybe you live in an area that you can keep your tortoise out all the time. Not so here.Five tonight and snow Sunday. Love it, but Bobber doesn't, so she is in for the winter.
  I've been using the Zilla power sun uv mercury vapor bulb. they don't last long and make the wheel spin on the electric meter. Do you have a suggestion on another type, maybe some sort of florescent that will give enough rays. thanks,Jeannie, and have good holidays.

Hi Don,

Indoor tortoises need both heat and UVB.  I'm not sure if you meant a Zilla bulb or the ZooMed Powersun.  Zilla bulbs are pretty useless, but the Powersun has good UVB output and is the only bulb I recommend and use for most conditions.  A 100 watt is good for all but very large enclosures.  They do drive up the power usage somewhat, but it shouldn't be too bad.  They should also last well, but need to be changed after 12 months of use.  I keep mine for two years since my tortoises are outside half the year so the bulbs are only used six months per year.

A fluorescent alternative is the ZooMed Reptisun 10.0.  However, it doesn't provide as much UVB as the Powersun, and doesn't give off heat either, so you'd need a separate basking bulb.  They also need to be replaced every six months (of use) and need to be quite close to the tortoise (I think optimum is somewhere around 8-10" distance.  And of course, they require a different housing as well.  They are easier on electricity, but I find the Powersuns to be simpler because of ease of use (all in one, so less clutter, and last longer).


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Questions regarding husbandry of Russian tortoises and other Mediterranean species, sulcata, and redfoot tortoises; general tortoise and turtle care; box turtle care. If I can't answer a specific question, I can provide sources for further research. Disclaimer: My advice is not a substitute for vet care. If I think your tortoise/turtle has a specific medical condition or injury that warrants a vet visit, I'll tell you so, and if possible I'll help you locate a vet. It is neither legal nor ethical for me to provide veterinary advice.


I have kept and bred Russian tortoises for over ten years and have other Mediterranean species plus redfoots and box turtles. I've worked with other tortoise and turtle species while doing volunteer rescue work; mostly sulcata but some leopards, California desert tortoises, yellowfoots, all box turtle species, red-eared sliders, etc. I don't personally keep aquatic species, but have access to a wealth of information and research to help you with any questions you might have.

My knowledge is based on hands-on experience keeping, breeding, and working with tortoises and turtles.

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