General Care Discussion :: Need new turtle care advice quickly

Taking care of your turtle's overall health.

Post Posted: Sun Oct 09, 2016 9:15 am   Need new turtle care advice quickly

I came home last night to find that my 14 yearold who spent the day at the community fair has fallen for the classic trick and bought a young turtle. She was told that the grow slowly and would be OK in the "oasis" for about a year before needing an aquarium. This turtle is a real cutey but no where near the 4 in minimum requirement in US. I belive it is an RES because it does have the red markings on both sides and because they often are in these sceams.

The "OASIS" is of course no oasis but the medium size critter carrier. An 8" by 4" rectangular plastic box with a ventilated snap on lid. Too small to add any type of filtration system or heat source. At best it is only useful for transporting or tempoary housing while a proper tank is being cleaned it certainly won't be a suitable home for a year or even a month. They included a bag of gravel which she did use to make a deeper swimming area that slopes up to a small flat area out of the water. They gave her some food pellets.

Since this is clearly not a reputable breader/dealer I have no idea of the quality of the conditions this turtle was in or its general health. What are some concerns we should look for now that it is already here?

Please don't jump all over us. My daughter is not a caluse or lazy pet owner. She doesn't do the "temporary" pet thing. She had the best intentions and thought she asked the right questions but was just too young and uninformed to be making these decisions on her own.

Luckily, I have today and tomorrow of from work and can do a little looking around for a better interm home for her new friend she will need to be assisting with both the research on care and paying for or repaying mom for the proper equipment.

I know in the end a 50 - 100 gallon tank is best for turtles but in all honesty best practice is going to have to be something we work into. At this point I cannot rush out and sink 200 into the tank alone because there are other cost too.

For the first few months what is the bare minimum space I need to look for that we can use for now to later step up as turtle grows.
What are some ways to cost cut supplies like used tanks and alternatives to pricy pet store items.
I have not measured but turtle's shell seems to be under two inches, maybe an inch and 3/4 .
Is it better to get an aquarium or one of those riptile truriam tanks. The so called "turtle kits" I saw online were little better than what she bought.
For outfitting the tank:
I know at minimum a water heater some type of filtration system, any recommendations? Plus light.
Substrate they provided medium aquarium rock but should we look for something different?
Should the tank cover be a hood or a screen or does it really mater one way or the other?
Water conditioner?

Are there any big NO NO's of turtle care we need to be aware of right away? Besides "don't buy baby turtles in little plastic boxes from untraceable dudes at the fair." :wink:
Last edited by TabiCat on Wed Oct 12, 2016 9:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Posted: Sun Oct 09, 2016 10:15 pm   Re: Need new turtle care advice quickly

Start off with a plastic storage tote. You might already have a 20 gallon around to use. They don't look great but are real useful as first tanks. The main drawback with starting around small tanks is that you usually need to upgrade the filter, water heater and basking platforms when you get larger tanks. Avoid kits and most turtle specific products.

So I'd get a tote, maybe a hang-on type filter and a good heater (Aqueon or Eheim Jager). A resin basking platform would be very easy to use for your turtle. You can skip the substrate. You probably won't need a screen, but you can easily repurpose a wire shelf for protection if you think you need it. Pick up a good brand of pellet - Omega One is very well regarded. We don't suggest using water conditioner but use activated carbon in the filter.

The main thing to do is give your turtle some privacy to adjust. Avoid excessive handling.
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Post Posted: Wed Oct 12, 2016 9:24 pm   Re: Need new turtle care advice quickly

Thanks Steve I am a bit worried because I couldn't find an appropriate water filter system with our limited shopping area. I have been able to order a canister filter that should arrive soon. With the inside filter I have now doubt it is maintaing proper water quality. How often should I change out the water I am concerned about making to much disturbance in his/her home. I think the fact that we didn't have proper set up when she brought it home has some negative effects. She/ has not eaten much only ate a little for the first time yesterday.
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Post Posted: Wed Oct 12, 2016 11:27 pm   Re: Need new turtle care advice quickly

You might need to do a partial change every couple of days. Do you have a picture of the current setup? What have you been trying to feed her?
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Post Posted: Sun Oct 16, 2016 10:17 am   Re: Need new turtle care advice quickly

Here is what we have so far. It is a 20 long tank. There is a floating basking "log" dock that is attached to the back wall on a frame with suction cups. There is a little resting area buit from small ceramic tiles. A 30 /40 gallon watter fall filter which made a huge downdraft current so I put the slab under it. We had a smaller waterfall fliter that is in the corner it is rated for a 5-10 gallon. I bought a UVB bulb and a Basking light blub. Picture was taken after water change.

Image

Image
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Post Posted: Sun Oct 16, 2016 11:16 am   Re: Need new turtle care advice quickly

We have been able to keep the water stable at 80 for about a week she seems to be more active and eating better I think. She likes to swim but is still very shy. she thinks she is hiding from me. Image
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Post Posted: Sun Oct 16, 2016 1:37 pm   Re: Need new turtle care advice quickly

For food she came with a few pellets but I bought this Aqua mix for turtles. I have found place to order one of the recommended brands.
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Post Posted: Mon Oct 17, 2016 7:33 am   Re: Need new turtle care advice quickly

I would add some (pool filter) sand and raise the water more (about 2/3) a get a platform similar to this: https://www.amazon.com/Zilla-Reptile-Ha ... B8U98?th=1

I would also get a better pellet (Omega One) and did you get a water heater yet?
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Post Posted: Mon Oct 17, 2016 4:05 pm   Re: Need new turtle care advice quickly

Yes there is a water heater the temperature is staying stable between 78-80.
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Post Posted: Mon Oct 17, 2016 7:41 pm   Re: Need new turtle care advice quickly

OK, great!
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Post Posted: Mon Oct 17, 2016 10:03 pm   Re: Need new turtle care advice quickly

Yeah the heater was the easy part we live in a rule area. Shopping options are limited Wal-mart had nothing or very little on the shelves. Closest pet store is 30 miles away and they also had very little but did have the lights we needed. I had a 15 gallon tank that I plan to use as a terrarium in my classroom and went to the school and got that plus a small filter. Walmart had aquarium heaters and limited turtle food. They had a "kit" that had a heat lamp and platform but was only 10 gallon and had the same type filter as we already had only smaller. We used the 15 gallon tank for a couple of days but it is an odd shape and small. We found a pet store about an hour away in the city was having an aquarium sale at $1 per gallon. Daughter bought the 20 long with her money and I fronted her the money for the screen top. Couldn't find the filter I wanted so we got a 40 gallon internal filter and I ordered a good quality canister filter online ( I won't make daughter pay for that).

She wants to make the turtle a pond using either a stock tank or a pond form. She has seen some pictures of some nice looking set ups like that. I will also be checking for used set ups in larger tank sizes and I know the 20 gallon has not bought use much time.
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Post Posted: Wed Oct 19, 2016 7:30 am   Re: Need new turtle care advice quickly

Stock tanks are great for turtles, your daughter is a smart turtle keeper :) Preformed ponds are good, but are not very deep. More water makes tank maintenance easier.

You'll have tons of food options online. Avoid kits and most-turtle specific products.
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