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Home Page / Lighting & Basking Directory / Basking Platforms

Choosing a Basking Platform

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There are many options for a basking platform, provided they are easily accessible, non-toxic, stable, and have a textured surface (see Basking Requirements for an explanation of this features list). If your basking area is setup correctly yet you haven’t been able to observe your turtle basking, you should offer some privacy and even cover the sides of the tank. It will be beneficial to you if the basking platform is easy to clean and dismantle. It is important that the basking area does not contain rough or sharp materials that can create potential injuries. Cuts to the skin or scratches to the plastron can lead to various types of infection. Also of importance is for the basking area not to be a potential trap for a turtle. RES may aggressively move around when searching or reaching for food and must not be able to get caught anywhere. Many keepers will also discover that the basking area is a potential escape route, especially if there is no protective barrier.

There are many commercial varieties of platforms available that may exactly suit your needs; however, many people choose to create their own. Creating a platform can range in skill, cost and attractiveness. It may require multiple attempts to put together the right one. In the end, if your turtle regularly climbs out of the water and takes in some heat, it would be a job well done.

Commercial Platforms / Basking areas

The basking areas listed in this section are available for purchase at local pet stores and through online retailers. While some are durable and can last indefinitely, some will require regular replacement. Many of these basking platforms are not suitable for multiple turtles or larger and heavier turtles. Some varieties are offered in multiple sizes and heights but they are insufficient for adult RES. Always check the dimensions before purchasing anything that goes inside the tank.

Acrylic Platform (Kordon Tera Rep, Turtle Deck, Oscar Turtle Ramp)

While other platforms try to mimic a natural appearance, acrylic platforms offer a modern design. This approach creates a basking platform that is light, durable and easy to clean. They are constructed of clear acrylic and feature a rubberized, textured surface for added traction. Its overall size may not be adequate in multiple turtle environments or with larger RES.

Aquatic Landing, Floating Island (Various)

Floating islands attach to the corner or side of the tank using suction cups. Though they are inexpensive, they are also practically worthless. The cheap design and material will not provide a suitable basking platform. They may not function properly and only the smallest of turtles might be able to climb and bask on it. This type is not recommended.

Poly-Resin Platforms (ESU)

Made to have a natural-looking textured surface, these platforms are very durable, stable and easy to clean. The synthetic resin material is durable and will not degrade or deteriorate over time. They come in various sizes; however, they do not provide significant height for medium to large turtles. Check to make sure the dimensions are right for your setup prior to purchase. Also, the painted surface tends to fade after repeated cleanings.

Turtle Log (Zoo-Med)

Also made from resin, this realistic looking platform is unattached to any surface and freely floats in the tank. It is weighted so it does not roll when a turtle climbs it, though your turtle may not use it as much as a fixed platform. You also would not be allowed to continually direct basking heat and UV rays directly over the log. These are offered in limited sizes so larger turtles will not likely use it. You can use this in addition to a standard basking platform.

Turtle Dock (Zoo-Med)

A popular item with turtle keepers, this dock is an improved version of the floating island concept and provides the important submerged ramp. Rails attached to the suction cups keep the platform in place and allow it to automatically adjust to rising or falling water levels. The foam and plastic material does not last as long as other basking areas and will need occasional replacement. It will not hold larger turtles reliably.
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This page updated: 2011/01/28 Copyright © 2005-2011 Red Ear Slider. All rights reserved.