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The mercury bulbs have a rapid uvb deprecation rate, and they are not dimmable. I like to use 2 10.0s and 2 spots in domes on separate lamp dimmers. The integrated dimmers on the cords of commercial domes frequently fail.

It's all about coverage. You can double up. I usually do and moss will grow lavishly on wet cork. My spotted tank looks like Edward scissorhands yard. Even the filter and part of the walls are covered.

But the high end radiant zone will not grow anything, because its appropriate for basking but incompatible with the growth of moss. Radiant heat loving plants? Sure. I dont know what they are, but the priority of the basking area is for The Turtle to comfortably bask. It is a crucial need for the turtle to have an unhindered basking surface. There isnt a whole native embankment to choose from. Putting plants there isnt really the most useful focus, turtle centrically.
 

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If they arent in a steal-able spot, I dont use a lid for turtles. I anchor lamps to the shelf, wall, or at home I like the zoomed lampstands. The lampstands are probably worth 20 or 30 more other commercial inventions.

I find using undercabinet fixtures superior to hoods, spatially and performance wise, when they are located in close with heat.

If there isnt a good spot to fix them you can do what I have done sometimes and use grate shelving and place them on there. I have siphon hose clips securing it on both ends. The open bars allow your uvb values, and you can move re arrange at will. And they dont look that bad.

I get the space for gear thing. It's important that the radiant heat and uvb tube support each other over the bask area.

Lids can really dictate placement. However you arent limited to using dome fixtures. Though some will say they protect the bulb from getting splashed there's ways to minimize that too. There are streamlined inc fixtures well suited and more streamlined. I have a 2nd hand set of german designed super articulated halogen lamps I use on some lizards encl that require a lid. They saved me alot of work with how small and versatile they are, on exo terra tops I no longer
can entertain replacement for because of my back.

I hope you find the plants you seek. And keep some other things in motion, to consider.
 

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Discussion Starter #23
If they arent in a steal-able spot, I dont use a lid for turtles. I anchor lamps to the shelf, wall, or at home I like the zoomed lampstands. The lampstands are probably worth 20 or 30 more other commercial inventions.

I find using undercabinet fixtures superior to hoods, spatially and performance wise, when they are located in close with heat.

If there isnt a good spot to fix them you can do what I have done sometimes and use grate shelving and place them on there. I have siphon hose clips securing it on both ends. The open bars allow your uvb values, and you can move re arrange at will. And they dont look that bad.

I get the space for gear thing. It's important that the radiant heat and uvb tube support each other over the bask area.

Lids can really dictate placement. However you arent limited to using dome fixtures. Though some will say they protect the bulb from getting splashed there's ways to minimize that too. There are streamlined inc fixtures well suited and more streamlined. I have a 2nd hand set of german designed super articulated halogen lamps I use on some lizards encl that require a lid. They saved me alot of work with how small and versatile they are, on exo terra tops I no longer
can entertain replacement for because of my back.

I hope you find the plants you seek. And keep some other things in motion, to consider.
KMC,

I really do appreciate all the concern and advice. I have spent tons of time and over $1,000 at this point trying to do right by this turtle. Despite the fact that you can buy them at PetSmart, There doesn't seem to be a lot of consistent reliable information on Helmeted turtles and they seem lumped with african mud turtles much of the time, and I don't know if that's really correct. I majored in Biology and have a medical degree, so I know how to read science. I've dug up some journal articles about Helmeted turtles to try and get good information. For example, I can't even find how intense the UVB light is supposed to be for Shelly. The little charts available from the bulb manufacturers don't have his species listed, and neither does the very exhaustive BIAZA Ferguson zone information from the journal of Zoo and Aquarium research.

I need a lid on the aquarium because I live in Minnesota. I cannot heat my house to the temps that Shelly requires. Also the amount of evaporation would be extraordinary and likely cause bad things to happen to the structure of my house.

For the 75 G tank, I figured out that I can use Joist Hooks over the edge of the tank to hold a long T10 fixture below the lid but well above the water. I also got a custom piece of tempered glass to replace one of the panels so there is an open square in one corner which is my planned basking spot, so I think I've Macgyver'd a pretty good set up at this point. Lots of wandering through Home Depot wondering why the things that I think should exist don't....

In the end, I'm just trying to make him a nice naturalish place for Sheldon to hang out.
This forum has such amazingly inspiring builds and so much plant information that it is inspiring and I was hoping someone here would have the perfect plant to recommend.

I've been on the turtle forums, and really haven't found much in the way of having a land area beyond a rubbermaid bin with some sand/peat so that females will have something to lay their eggs in.

Maybe I'll try a small piece of sod and see what happens....
 

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Depending where in your home the enclosure is situated, you can run a dehumidifier to keep up with the evap as to not damage your home. I'd be concerned with running glass lids with an internal bulb heat source as there is little to no ventilation to prevent extreme heat if something goes wrong with the light cycle.
 

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Within a foot range, and I many, many set ups, have allowed closer, esp, but not only,raising juveniles, A 10.0 zoomed will be fine. A 5.0 zoomed would also perform adequately in D3 conversion.There will be gradients and contact variabilities throughout the space. Shade is an important feature.

One trick is to use multiple spots/ceramics in a track arrangement .

Im not crazy about glassing in fauna, but, to each is own i guess.
 

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Discussion Starter #26
Depending where in your home the enclosure is situated, you can run a dehumidifier to keep up with the evap as to not damage your home. I'd be concerned with running glass lids with an internal bulb heat source as there is little to no ventilation to prevent extreme heat if something goes wrong with the light cycle.
My home is in Minneapolis. In winter, with forced air heating, the air can be VERY dry. So with indoor temps in the 60-70 degree range and humidity recommended to be15-40% depending on the outside temperature, Sheldon's home needs to be mostly enclosed in order to provide him with the heat and humidity that he requires and me to not go broke heating the house and having all the humidity freezing inside my not so well insulated walls.

I appreciate the suggestion of a dehumidifier, but the true problem is the temperature gradient and old houses.
 

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Discussion Starter #27
Talking with my exotic specialist vet today, she recommended against covering his haul out area in sand due to the risk of him eating it and getting impacted as well as the hassle of it getting into his water. She actually recommended creeping charlie as a possible plant to cover his haul out.

Any thoughts on Mosses that would do well other than right under his UVB Hg vapor bulb?
 

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Sand is never good for a haul out/basking area. The abrasiveness of sand and shell on a dry environment seems like a bad mix. Conversely I've kept every aquatic species of turtle I've owned with a sand substrate in the main water portion. Never had impaction once, nor shell issues. I do recommend the following: 50% or more weekly water changes, UVB/basking haul out that is fully up out of the water, notice I didn't say dried out because with something like cork bark it'll always be a little moist, and mimic the environment and water parameters the species comes from. Spotted turtles, most subspecies of spiny softshell, most SA turtles ( like a mata mata ) need acidic water, preferably tannin stained. Fly river, a good majority of Australian sidenecks, and map turtles like the water hard and alkaline within reason, don't go full Tanganyika, i.e. a pH of 9. I personally like a Zoo Med Powersun HID Metal Halide over my basking area thus providing heat and UVB in one shot complimented with a Zoo Med T5HO UVB bulb spanning the entirety of the enclosure. Might be overkill, but say with a species like a Stripe necked musk that isn't even remotely close to a basker such as Pink bellied Sideneck, I know its getting some UVB.
As for plants, Ive had good luck with Water Lettuce, Amazon Swords, and Jungle Val (but only with smaller carnivorous species) in the aquatic portion. For above the waterline but with roots dangling Ive done great with a diverse groups of plants such as: ,Willow tree (dwarfed obviously), Pothos, Red Mangrove propagules, Chamaedorea, Creeping Jenny, Tradescantia zebrina, Peace lily, Creeping fig, and I even got Sedum sarmentosum to grow down a drip wall and flourish for me several years ago. If I had to recommend just 1 of these plants it'd be the Pothos. It puts out an extensive root system into the water, supposedly sucks up a lot of nitrates, and will start cling to a drip wall, faux rock, cork bark background quite readily.
Once again let me reiterate that the 50% or more water changes are the single most important thing to do.
 
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