Habitat - Indoor :: New tank and ATBA

Turtle tank setups and other indoor configurations.

Post Posted: Mon Dec 07, 2015 12:28 pm   New tank and ATBA

I want to start off by thanking everybody on this board for being so helpful and having awesome ideas. My girlfriend got Gus six years ago when he was a hatching and has had him in a 30g tank ever since. We moved in together about 8 months ago and Gus came along. I knew I had to get him a better set up so in comes the 75g tank and a Fluval FX6 filter. I've never had a turtle before and I'm not very crafty so building the ATBA seemed like it was going to be difficult but it really wasn't. Thought I'd share my experience in hopes it might help somebody else.

Materials used.
1/4 thick Acrylic sheets from Lowes
Heat gun - Picked up one for $20 bucks at Lowes
Jigsaw and Plexiglas blades - Got it for around $35 at lowes
Masking/Painters tape - Helps the acrylic not chip when cutting it with the jigsaw
Clamps - 6in, 12in, & 24in
Plast-I-Weld - Got this from Hobby Lobby to bond the acrylic together http://www.hobbylobby.com/Crafts-%26-Hobbies/Model-Kits/Tools-%26-Adhesives/Plast-I-Weld/p/146229
A large Square ruler - Helped make the cuts straight and ensures your walls are at 90 degrees when you're welding the acrylic together.
Blue Hawk indoor/outdoor mat
Acrylic cutting blade

I cut the base of the basking area to give Gus about 10 inches of basking area and a 9.5 X 14 ramp. I had to cut out an area for the filter intake tube and had make sure there was about 1.5 inches in to start the ramp so it would miss the aquarium lip. This was the only part I used the jigsaw on. I wasn't very good at making straight cuts and felt that the score and snap method left cleaner edges for the bonding element to work with.
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The walls are 12in high and I left it opened on the center tank brace side cause I thought it would be easier to clean. I wedge a piece of acrylic across the center tank lip and under the basking area to give it a little more support on that open side. I'm pretty amazed on how strong that Plast-I-Weld stuff is. I also used some velcro strips to hold the basking area to the aquarium rim. It's decently heavy and probably wouldn't have budged, but I wanted to make sure Gus didn't take a 4 foot ride to the ground.
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Figuring out what to do for ramp traction was the must frustrating part of the whole thing. I spent days looking at what others have done and researching. A lot of people said they used silicone to attach stuff to their ramp but after researching it, silicone doesn't really bond to acrylic. So I narrowed it down to two options (both I got from posts on this site :) )
1. Bond acrylic strips to the ramp to make stairs
2. Use an indoor/outdoor mat
I went with the second option first because if it doesn't work out, it'll be easier to switch to option 1. So I got the mat, and cut it to size and used velcro to make it stick. It seems to be holding pretty strong but I'll switch to zip ties if doesn't hold. I also liked the mat idea because it's really easy to pull out to clean and put back in.

Finale product.
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My girlfriend was convinced he was going to drown because he's never been in water more than 6 inches deep. She kept saying "He doesn't know how to swim!". So it was pretty fun to watch her panic for the first 10 minutes. But I placed him up in the basking area and after a minute he poked his head out, looked around and darted into the water. He was still expecting the shallow water because he tumbled down to the bottom of the tank and just sat there. After a few minutes I did start getting a little concerned because he was trying to stand up and stretching his head up to reach the top of the water, but wasn't swimming up. He finally took off to the top and gasped for air though. Since then he's been extremely active in the tank swimming all over the place but hasn't touched the basking area. He'll go to the ramp and hold onto it, but that's it. I'm hoping he'll be up there today when I get home from work.

Next steps are to get some live plants in the tank for him to nibble on and help with the environment.

Again, thanks to everybody on the forums for being so helpful and posting their awesome ideas. They all really helped. Since this is my first turtle and ATBA, if you see anything concerning or have any ideas, please let me know.
Gussy
 
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Post Posted: Mon Dec 07, 2015 10:47 pm   Re: New tank and ATBA

That looks great! The only thing I would be concerned about is that mat. I think some use adhesive bath tub grips as an alternative. I really like the attention to detail here, you did a great job!
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steve
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Post Posted: Tue Dec 08, 2015 1:12 am   Re: New tank and ATBA

Amazing work!
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devilduck
 
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Post Posted: Tue Dec 08, 2015 10:23 am   Re: New tank and ATBA

steve wrote:That looks great! The only thing I would be concerned about is that mat. I think some use adhesive bath tub grips as an alternative. I really like the attention to detail here, you did a great job!



What's concerning about the mat? And for the bathtub grips, would you think something like this? http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00UAP0RGW?psc=1. I looked at some material like that and I was afraid his nails would shred it.
Gussy
 
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Post Posted: Tue Dec 08, 2015 10:30 am   Re: New tank and ATBA

Oh, and Gus is now using the basking area, but he's going to have to get use to humans walking around him. He's moved from a bedroom with hardly any traffic to the main room of the house. Every time he's up basking and somebody walks by, he darts into the tank.
Gussy
 
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Post Posted: Tue Dec 08, 2015 6:00 pm   Re: New tank and ATBA

Floor mats have a lot of harsh chemicals to help strengthen it. The stuff made for outdoor use have even more. And they're not made to withstand constant moisture (mainly extreme temperatures and UV resistance), unless it's something that is nearly all rubber.

The bath mat you linked looks OK, it could be promising. Alternatively, I've seen people use real river rock and silicone to create the same effect. I was thinking something like this:
http://www.amazon.com/7-5-Bath-Safety-T ... B003FO2I1W

or with a design:

http://www.amazon.com/Slip-X-Solutions- ... B002LTHV28

For some privacy, what about some window frost or even mirror film, that way you can see in all the time? He should eventually get used to you walking around, but still on occasion shoot into water.
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steve
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Post Posted: Wed Dec 09, 2015 4:03 pm   Re: New tank and ATBA

Shoot... I didn't even think about chemicals being used :(

I went ahead and ordered the tub strips which should be here in a couple days. I might try to make a river rock traction onto some plastic and then zip tie/Velcro it to the ramp/basking area while I wait for the tub traction strips to get here. I'll update the thread with pictures when I make the modifications.
Gussy
 
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Post Posted: Thu Dec 10, 2015 9:23 pm   Re: New tank and ATBA

Cool, looking forward to the updates. Look at the build thread of grey goose, he has the ramp I'm talking about.
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