Balancing Act

Russian tortoise habitat in progress

A few articles back, I wrote about my plans for revamping the habitat for our red eared sliders and putting the Russian tortoise habitat in the backburner until mid spring. Because the planning, costs and logistics required to create the habitat I envisioned for my red eared sliders will be quite involved and the construction process being highly meticulous, I’m putting the project off until February. For now I am jump starting the Russian tortoise habitat.

It will comprise of a 75 gallon tank + stand combo, complete with substrate (Eco-Earth), UVB fluorescent lighting, basking lamp and nightime observation/heat lamp hooked up to a Zoo-Med automatic timer. The total cost of the project is approximately $400.00 with the tank/stand set being $150.00 alone (from Pet City in Whittier, CA). The tank measures a perfect 48″x19″x18″ providing plenty of surface area for the two tortoises to roam freely. I’ll be attaching two CPU cooling fans on the mesh screen top to circulate the air. Finally, a 3D background will be installed. I found a new source for 3D backgrounds and it is “Design by Nature” ( The background that caught my attention is the “BJ881 Ledge” design:

J881 Ledge 3D background by Design by Nature.

Russian tortoise’s natural habitat is Central Asia (e.g. Iran, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Ukraine) and the climate is relatively arid, desert-like. I am trying to create a habitat that will closely mimick this environment. Project estimated completion time frame is estimated to be February 2012.

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