General Care Discussion :: Get Rid Of the Gravel!!!!! ~ Really

Taking care of your turtle's overall health.

Post Posted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 10:27 pm   

I don't think there's a definitive answer as to why RES eat gravel. It might be boredom or curiosity. I think in nature sometimes some RES eat a few pieces of small rock/gravel but in a tank situation they go overboard and can become impacted.

I'm glad you're switching to larger rocks. Keep in mind that you don't have to cover the entire bottom of the tank with rocks. You can just put a few in for the turtles to move around and "play" with. If you put too many in they trap a lot of debris and make cleaning more of a hassle. If you don't mind the extra work, go for a ton of rocks, but I personally hated having to siphon turtle poop and rotting food out of the rocks.
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megcornell
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Post Posted: Sun Jan 04, 2009 1:36 pm   Turtles Eating Gravel

Thanks for your advise, Megcornell! I want the tank to stay as clean as possible. I have 18 kg of rock; 12 kg of polished rock and 6 kg of larger river rock. I boiled all the rocks and they sat in the hot water for most of the day. I have a 77 gal tank, so I will put the rocks in and see how it goes. I don't think they will cover the entire bottom of the tank, but I may do as you have suggested and use less.

Thanks again!
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Post Posted: Sun Jan 04, 2009 3:50 pm   

Ro - it's only been 24hrs but I'll tell ya my turtle is very curious about the new rocks. He's tiny so he can't move them -- yet -- but I think you'll enjoy the change!!

Good luck!
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koreyleigh
 
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Post Posted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 4:07 pm   

Thanks, koreyleigh and everyone who posted regarding gravel; very informative! WE HAVE REPLACED THE GRAVEL!!! It took four hours, but we did a major clean and got all of the gravel out of Amore's and Volare's tank. We have a AquaClear 110 filter (hooks on the back of the tank) and replace half of the water as well as clean the filter weekly. I was surprized to see so much waste matter under the gravel. We have a few large flat river rocks in one corner and polished rocks along the bottom; you can see the bottom between the rocks, as we only added one layer (advice from megcornell - thanks!). When the tank was ready for the turts, I found a couple pieces of gravel where I housed them while we did the change....Yes, this is proof that she was eating gravel! I am sure I will find more in her tank and hopes are that she passes all of the gravel. They are still kind of freaked out, they keep checking out the changes we made...I am sure they will settle. Cheers!
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Post Posted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 12:35 am   

I had large gravel in my tank when I first adopted my turtles... I removed it 7-8 months ago and they are STILL pooping out occasional pieces of gravel (last incident of gravel poop was about 2 weeks ago). We were fortunate that no complications arose. I thought the gravel was large enough they wouldn't eat it, but I was wrong. Now I have 6 very LARGE decorative rocks on the bottom and nothing else. It really is much cleaner and easier to vacuum the poop off the bottom.
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Post Posted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 11:45 pm   

Rule of thumb for all newbies......Any gravel smaller than an adult turtles head = Not good.
I have polished river rocks (petco 15lb bag $25.00).A little expensive if you consider i needed 3 bags,but they look AWESOME!!!
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jozzep
 
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Post Posted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 12:46 am   

I do use gravel, but the rocks are the same size as their head, and too big to ingest.

When they get older I plan on removing the gravel all together.

I do check my turtles often, I've spent tons of time observing them and I do see them attempt to forage among the gravel, but they just sniff around and dig. They have never tried to eat any. They know the difference between food and not food.

Ingesting gravel typically happens if large food particles get pushed to the bottom, or they are fed food that doesn't float at the water's surface.

I think sand is worse though. Sand can be kicked up, and can scratch the eyes or get caught in the airways.
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Post Posted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 10:26 pm   

Here's a little warning about gravel:

I just went through an odd experience. Some of us love to use tunnels in our turtle terrariums. Placing the tunnel on the top of a gravel or sand layer, gives the turtle a chance to dig under the tunnel's wall. My turtle, Typhoon, recently did that, and scuffed up her shell a tiny bit. I'd be worried that, if using a heavier turtle hut for a smaller turtle, that the tunnel might collapse on top of them and they'd end up getting stuck.

I removed the gravel today after I cleaned the tank. I love it, and they love it too, but they were going to outgrow it anyways.

Yes, the tunnel can be buried so that the walls touch the tank bottom. Problem is that this results in a submerged tunnel, if you keep your water at a much deeper level than what I normally do. Turtles like to hang out in the tunnel and will come up to breathe, but if the tunnel is totally submerged they can't do that. If they outgrow the tunnel and get stuck, they can drown.
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Post Posted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 12:21 pm   anorobic bacteria <spelling>

1981camaroz28 wrote:I don't have gravel I have aquarium sand which unlike gravel nothing gets under it. I have this in all of my tanks for that reason 20 years now and I think the reason my water is so good is because nothing gets under like waste which causes ammonia and nitrate issues and I keep my PH at around 7.5-8.0



i heard that because sand tends to be so close together, and not much movement etc, that there can form pockets of anerobic bacteria? supremely dangerous stuff. i also read that swirling the sand around once in awhile stops this from forming.

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Post Posted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 4:34 pm   Re: anorobic bacteria <spelling>

feistyjenn wrote:
1981camaroz28 wrote:I don't have gravel I have aquarium sand which unlike gravel nothing gets under it. I have this in all of my tanks for that reason 20 years now and I think the reason my water is so good is because nothing gets under like waste which causes ammonia and nitrate issues and I keep my PH at around 7.5-8.0



i heard that because sand tends to be so close together, and not much movement etc, that there can form pockets of anerobic bacteria? supremely dangerous stuff. i also read that swirling the sand around once in awhile stops this from forming.

my 2c.

That was brought up in the faq's about sand, when I used sand stirred it before doing a water change, just too be safe :)
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Sassamo
 
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Post Posted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 6:04 pm   Re: anorobic bacteria <spelling>

Sassamo wrote:
feistyjenn wrote:
1981camaroz28 wrote:I don't have gravel I have aquarium sand which unlike gravel nothing gets under it. I have this in all of my tanks for that reason 20 years now and I think the reason my water is so good is because nothing gets under like waste which causes ammonia and nitrate issues and I keep my PH at around 7.5-8.0



i heard that because sand tends to be so close together, and not much movement etc, that there can form pockets of anerobic bacteria? supremely dangerous stuff. i also read that swirling the sand around once in awhile stops this from forming.

my 2c.

That was brought up in the faq's about sand, when I used sand stirred it before doing a water change, just too be safe :)


I think the best way to stir sand and remove surface dirt is with a sifter. Almost like having a litter box.

I know I compare turtles and cats a lot for some weird reason. Only pets I've ever had a lot of experience with.
Spike - Egyptian mau mix, 8 years old
Phryne - Japanese bobtail, 9 months old
Hurricane - RES, 8 yo, 6 1/2 in. long
Typhoon - RES/Map hybrid, 8 yo, 7 in. long
Sadie - RES, 20 yo, 10 in. long
Sophie - Colombian red tail boa, 5 yo, 5 ft. long
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theartbook35
 
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Post Posted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:10 pm   AHH!

wow man thanks for the post i just got a set up for my baby RES today, i put it all together gravel and all and i looked over (ironically) while reading this post and she had a piece of gravel in her mouth luckily when i picked her up she dropped it....lol... i had to spend the next hour taking the gravel out but is well worth it. just wanted to get back and post my appreciation.. thanks alot!!
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Post Posted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 4:09 pm   

Wow- I never even thought about this. I know I've seen my turtle, Gimli, spit the gravel out but now I'm very worried that he's been eating it all this time.

Gimli was my brother's turtle and when he passed away, I started to care for him. This was almost 10 years ago and I've never kept anything but gravel at the bottom of the tank.

Thanks for all the comments and advise... I'll be buying rocks this weekend. What really stinks is that I just spent hours cleaning his tank today. He also escaped from the bucket I had him in while his tank water warmed up. Almost had a heart attack when I couldn't find him!!
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Post Posted: Thu Jul 16, 2009 11:10 pm   

Hi all, I'm new to the forum...but I just went through the same thing...I have 2 turtles, and I recently removed the rocks, because I observed the female eating them...

it took 9 days...for them to finish passing rocks...yep...after the tank was spotless...they starting passing rocks...nuts..!!!
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Post Posted: Thu Jul 16, 2009 11:50 pm   

Glad you did the right thing! Make sure and keep an eye out for anymore. Any that you see should be removed because they can eat it again! :shock:
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