Habitat - Indoor :: Two RES Turtles Current and Future Habitat

Turtle tank setups and other indoor configurations.

Post Posted: Sun Jun 26, 2016 2:00 am   Two RES Turtles Current and Future Habitat

As the title says, I have two RES turtles and I am looking for input on a future habitat.

This is the current setup:
Image

I'm guessing I have about 12 gallons of water in there now, and as may be able to see they are still tiny little guys. They're both right hand side, one in the middle of the tank (Puff) and one at the back (Gryff). I think this is enough water for the moment, but I know they will grow quickly and the landscape will need to change.

First I will defend myself and say that I set this tank up quickly and on a budget ($136 for everything here including a siphon and a dozen replacement filters and 4 days to buy and put it together). The fact is I have plans for serious upgrades, read on.
Here is the current (budget) setup:
Top Left Front- Cheap Digital Termometer - This works as well as an expensive instant-read I have, so I will keep it unless I have any problems.
Front Left - TetraFauna Heater - Pre-set to 78, and while it works fine, I don't like the lack of control. I do like the green shroud, the turtles like to hang out on it.
Back Left - Tetra Decorative ReptoFilter- This is cute, but it doesn't keep the water very clear. It also takes valuable real-estate from my turts. Obviously needs to be upgraded.
Back Middle - Zilla Basking Platform - No complaints here, it gives them a spot to bask and it was easy to clean. Will need an upgrade as the water level rises in tank.
Back Top - I think this is ZooMed - Heat and UVB bulbs installed. No Complaints, but will likely change in future setup.
Bottom - River Rock - Purchased at the home-improvement store. Rinsed thoroughly, then soaked in a 10% bleach overnight. Then rinsed one handful at a time and thrown into a big bucket where it was washed until water ran clear. This took several hours and a lot of water.


Future Setup (10-12 months):
Tank
I am in the process of finding a bigger tank, but I am considering removing the rocks and filling the tank 2/3 to give them more room as they grow to give me a few months to get a new tank together.
I am currently thinking 90-120gallons will be good. Happy to take input here. I don't expect to be fortunate enough to keep the 24x24 footprint, as cool as it is, instead I expect to have something like 72x18x24.
Basking
With the new tank I will most likely be building an ATBA so they can have maximum swim-room and a luxuriously large basking area. 18x48 with a ramp on either side anyone?
I'm curious if milk crate is the way to go for the 'flooring' of the ATBA, or if there are other suggestions? I have seen tile which looks nice, but that seems like it would be slippery for turtles.
I will probably get clamp-on light fixtures to make positioning easier.
Filtration
I have already purchased a 264gph filter that I am planning to install on the 30g, will I need something bigger for the 90-120g?
Decoration
I like the look of river rocks and it seems like they give the turtles something to do during the day. I often see them 'digging' or searching between the rocks. Any suggestion either way?
I'm lost about other decorations though, I don't really like the look of plants real or fake. Any suggestions for alternatives?
Heating
I currently have a small pre-set heater. I plan to buy an eheim jager 200w or 250w. Again, I am open to suggestions.
I don't plan to change the thermometer unless someone tells me I should. I would get another to place elsewhere in the tank if that is a good idea.

Let me know what you think and if I need to make any changes/improvements.
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spork
 
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Post Posted: Mon Jun 27, 2016 2:47 pm   Re: Two RES Turtles Current and Future Habitat

More water, the better. Cheap Digital Thermometers can be wildly inaccurate... I'd get a different kind as your primary. You'll have ton of basking area options, are you saying you want it to the outside of the tank? You will most likely need a very good canister filter to get the most benefit. For substrate, try sand with a handful of river rock instead. Eheim Jager and Aqueon Pros are great, make sure all the electrical is plugged into a GFCI outlet. What about the lights/uvb? See if you can get a timer for those.
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Post Posted: Mon Jun 27, 2016 3:35 pm   Re: Two RES Turtles Current and Future Habitat

Infrared Thermometer Temperature Gun is good because you can check your water temp and basking temps in different areas. It's also fun to point at your family, friends and pets to see how "hot" they are.

I'd get rid of that heater and replace it asap... I had one that was seconds away from catastrophic failure. I pulled it out of the water right before it went all whackadoo wizz bang smokie. Noticed because the water was too hot - guess it wasn't shutting off automatically anymore and was overheating.

May not be a concern for a few years, but FYI, a pair of RES may not always be together. They may turn on each other and require separation. If you want to keep both forever - it would be prudent to have a backup plan, i.e. a second setup or at least the money to put one together. You'll have a better idea after you can determine their gender. If you have a boy & a girl... don't expect them to be happily ever after!

Consider a MVB bulb or give thought to having two separate fixtures and the ability to raise/lower them. UVB and heat won't necessarily be at the same height above the basking area.

Also, to reiterate Steve - GFCI is crucial with all that stuff plugged in. If you don't have one installed, a quick solution is available by way of an adapter.
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Post Posted: Fri Jul 01, 2016 8:08 pm   Re: Two RES Turtles Current and Future Habitat

Steve, for basking I was thinking of an above tank setup so they could have most of the tank for swimming. My comment in the original post was just a musing about putting the basking area in the middle of the tank and having a ramp on either side for access to it. The obvious potential problem is that it would make cleaning and feeding more difficult depending on it's size.

GFCI - Check
Mechanical timers on the UVB/Heat, Check.
Lighting - I was just planning on going with two larger dome fixtures. Is it better to do one with MVB?
Thermometer - Suggestions for a 'non-cheap' thermometer that should stay accurate?
Heater - I'm fine getting one now. If I pick up a 200w /250w can I use it in the current tank and move it over to a bigger tank?

Regarding keeping them together forever - Understood. I do hope they'll stay friendly or at least tolerant of one another, but if they do not, the will get separated. I'm not thinking I need a contingency plan (read: second 90 gallon tank setup) just yet, but I am confident if the time comes I'll have funds available to build out a second tank.

Thanks for your help.
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Post Posted: Sat Jul 02, 2016 10:56 pm   Re: Two RES Turtles Current and Future Habitat

MVBs are better used with larger enclosures and older turtles. If the basking area is inside the tank, I like to have it in the middle but you have so many more options with an ATBA.

I use a temp gun similar to what Otis recommends. It's great for instantly measuring basking temps and water surface temps. I then keep a lcd strip on the glass as a backup. You can use the 200/250W in larger tank, but I would not use one that big in a small tank. How many gallons is it?
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Post Posted: Thu Jul 07, 2016 11:30 am   Re: Two RES Turtles Current and Future Habitat

I do have an LCD strip inside my tank as well, guess I will look into a temp gun as well.

The current tank is only 30 gallons (24"x24"x12"), too small for 200/250w? The heaters will physically fit (15" and 17" respective).
Just to verify, I don't need to protect the turtles from the Eheim Jager heater, right? The current heater has a plastic shroud, but it sounds like the Eheim Jager won't harm the turtles if left uncovered.

Given that advice I will look to get an MVB after I upgrade the rest of the tank and keep the UVB/halogen for the time being.
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Post Posted: Thu Jul 07, 2016 12:58 pm   Re: Two RES Turtles Current and Future Habitat

I don't use a guard with the Eheim heaters, but they do sell them or you can make one... very simple and straight forward. If your turtle is very rough in the tank, you might want to consider it. I think the 200w is too much for a 30 gallon, I'd use what you have and wait for the next upgrade.
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Post Posted: Fri Jul 08, 2016 5:44 pm   Re: Two RES Turtles Current and Future Habitat

Right now they're pretty gentle on everything, but they're tiny. I guess time will tell.

I'll keep my eye out for a good deal on the 200w's, but won't put them in the current tank. The little 50w seems to do great.

As always, thanks for the advice.
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