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Post Posted: Sat Oct 29, 2016 6:30 pm   newbie making gradual upgrades ...

Hey, folks. I've been in the process of gradually upgrading a turtle's habitat, and I'm mostly here to eyeball other people’s setups and get ideas.

TL/DR version: Boyfriend bought small peninsula cooter (I think ... goal was to get a SW Florida native species, naively thinking a native could be released) for his then-5-year-old daughter, four years later turtle is much larger and formerly sufficient habitat was far from adequate.

So this all started because Fifi (this is what happens when 5-year-olds name turtles) was in a 40-gal tall tank, but it was only able to be filled about 2/5 deep because of basking rock height. First, I started cleaning the filter more often. Then I added a second filter so there would be water flow/filtration on both sides. Then there was a tank sale at Petco and I got a 40-gallon breeder tank for $40, figuring the basking setup would still limit the height but hey, at least she'd have more front-to-back space in the tank.

Having determined that the two small in-tank filters were still woefully inadequate, I recently bought a SunSun canister filter, which we preliminarily set up last night. Today, I picked up cork bark and jungle vine, with which I am hoping I can create a supported floating-ish dock, so at least she'll be able to swim under it and it won't be taking up valuable water space. Next, my goal is to create a plexiglass structure to inhibit escape, so the tank can be filled more or less completely, with the cork bark dock (if it works out) raised to the height of the tank.

I realize this tank is still *way* too small (she's probably about 9 inches SCL), but right now I'm limited in what I can provide both due to space limitations in his apartment and $$, so I'm trying to make the most of what I've got to work with. Even if I found a fire-sale Craigslist deal on a 100-gallon tank, I haven't the faintest idea where I would *put* such a thing ... or how I'd even get it from point A to point B, for that matter!

Ultimately, there may be a pond-building project in the future (at my house, or perhaps his parents’, in South Carolina).
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Post Posted: Sun Oct 30, 2016 5:46 pm   Re: newbie making gradual upgrades ...

Welcome to forum! Sounds like you have a great plan! Gradual upgrades will likely be the more expensive route but it's also what we have available in resources. Plus, you get a lot of great brainstorming ideas :)
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steve
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Post Posted: Tue Nov 01, 2016 9:33 pm   Re: newbie making gradual upgrades ...

OK, so how much *should* we be feeding Fifi? I did some digging around on here and online and have realized that veggies should be the bulk of her diet, with pellets maybe just twice a week, instead of mostly pellets with veg as an occasional treat/supplement. I definitely think we've been overfeeding her a bit. But I'm not sure how much veg to give her.

I like the "jello shots" idea and will probably make a batch of those sometime soon, but right now I'm using her as a convenient helper in keeping the fresh produce I tend to buy with the best of salady intentions from going bad.

So I gave her some cucumber on Saturday, a small leaf of romaine lettuce Sunday, another leaf of romaine on Monday, and a "head-sized" portion of pellets (currently we've got Mazuri aquatic turtle food because they were selling it at a reptile expo I went to) today. She ate all of the lettuce both days, and I know lettuce and cukes are far from calorie-dense foods, so ... with veg like that, should I just give her as much as she'll eat? Should I scale the veggies up and the pellets down more gradually so as not to cause some sort of digestive shock?

We may add some fish to her tank again soon also (the surviving previous fish didn't make it through the last major water change. Oops. Poor fishies).
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Post Posted: Wed Nov 02, 2016 3:29 am   Re: newbie making gradual upgrades ...

You can use pellets everyday, just a very small amount and you can occasionally skip a feeding. I'd offer veggies everyday, even if she's not into it. Start with a small amount, and gradually increase it. I'd monitor the poop, if its very loose then cut it back.
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Post Posted: Wed Nov 02, 2016 3:26 pm   Re: newbie making gradual upgrades ...

Thus far, she's happily eating anything I feed her. Oh, also, I had thought she was a PC but the boy says she is a YBS, and that appears to be the case -- she has the ridge along her carapace and though she doesn't have many spots on her plastron she does have one. I couldn't get terribly decent pics because she was moving too much but here's what I've got ...

Plastron:
plastron.jpg


Face:
turtleface.jpg
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Post Posted: Thu Nov 03, 2016 7:03 pm   Re: newbie making gradual upgrades ...

She looks good, though I would remove the gravel.
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Post Posted: Thu Nov 03, 2016 7:16 pm   Re: newbie making gradual upgrades ...

Yeah, I read all the horror stories about rocks AFTER I went and replaced the crappy multicolored small aquarium gravel that she used to be on with nicer-looking, natural (and far larger) river pebbles. I'm fairly certain she isn't a rock-eater, though. I'll probably switch to sand down the line but it seems like it would get super-gross and be impossible to clean, and/or get sucked up by the filter intake ...

But is my revised species assessment correct? Is she in fact a YBS, not a peninsula cooter?
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Post Posted: Fri Nov 04, 2016 8:33 am   Re: newbie making gradual upgrades ...

I'm not great with IDs, but there are some YBS characteristics. I keep a bare tank but those with sand say waste usually stays at the top.
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