Habitat - Indoor :: Overall help

Turtle tank setups and other indoor configurations.

Post Posted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 4:34 pm   Overall help

Hi there!

A neighbor left a stop sign shaped fish aquarium on a stand outside my door. Nothing in it but a rock and a red-eared slider (I researched what kind of turtle it was). This poor creature is about 3 inches long (approx) and had no basking lamp, no filter for the water just a bag of food. The water was only about 1 inch deep and filthy. I have never owned a turtle so I've been scouring the internet and youtube for help what to do. I was able to afford a small 20 gallon tank, filter, gravel and a proper basking spot, basking light just yesterday.

I've just watched a video that states this type of turtle needs a tank that is 10 gallons for ever inch long the turtle is - so now I'm in a panic that I have to rush out and get a bigger tank (I may have found a 40 gallon one used that I can pick up very inexpensively).

This turtle I call Link, seems overly happy and super active in his new tank, clean water, etc... but he paces the front of the glass seems to be mooching for food yet when I put food in he won't eat it.

He also doesn't seem to want to bask on his new basking spot, rather prefers to watch whatever it is I'm doing through the glass. Since this person dropped Link at my door (which I did have words with the neighbor and he said "well I'm moving and my 6 year old doesn't want it anymore and since you rescued a dog I figured you'd take it"... I don't have a ton of money BUT I do want to give this little creature as nice a life as I can.

So I wonder for now is the Mazuri Aquatic Turtle Diet food enough? Do I have to get live food for him? Do I have to rush out to get a much larger tank (I have a lead on one as I said), is his "swim" pacing the front of the tank normal? He seems curious, happy and doesn't hide in his shell every time I walk by anymore - is that a good sign?

How long does the basking lamp need to be kept on during the day?
I seem to be a worrying "new Mom" and just want to make sure I'm doing right by this orphaned turtle.
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Rylanda
 
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Post Posted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 8:46 pm   Re: Overall help

Hello Rylanda and Link,

Take a deep breath ! All will be good! Sounds like Link has found someone that cares , good. Yes that hexagon was useless glad you have at least that 20 gallon for now. It will take Link some more time to trust you and get use to his new home and will happen. That glass swimming is a RES's way of begging for food get use to it. They are great beggers ! It's your job to feed him correct being captive. Yes 10 gal of water for every inch of shell. You say basking light , is it a UVA bulb and a UVB bulb? Any heater for the water? If not at least in a room with temperature controlled for now.
You bought yourself some time for a little while with that 20 gallon. Do your homework ! Turtle's are not cheap to have. Craiglist , Ebay... just be careful with that craiglist don't go alone !
I have my UVA & UVB on a timer for 12 hours , also let all go dark at night for a day / night cycle.

Food : keep offering it to him just remove any uneaten. Get some red leaf lettuce It should be around 70% of his diet at that size. My Piggley loves Romaine ! Yes you can keep using the mazuri its ok for the protein side. He may just get over excited begging he don't see it floating. Just push him under the water so he will see it , gently.

Here's a good read : http://www.redearslider.com/plants.html

Glass tanks are nice but cost $$$ I have always used Rubbermaid horse tub , made to hold water (there are heavy duty ) Also used a bamboo curtain to hide the outside tub for looks. Just a thought? Save's a lot of money !

Look right above your post and read all the suggestions on the sickies offered here , will help. Basking , filter , tank ... read all.

3" in size may be able to tell sex ? Are one are two of his front nails longer than others Than a male. If not sure post some pictures we can tell. Reason , if you know now you can set tank for male or female , habitat size will differ. Male adult will need 90 gallon , female adult will need 120 gallon. Instead of having to keep getting a new size tank / filter ... as he grows if you setup as an adult size that will save money over and over again. That's if you can swing it and have the space ?

And Yes you are a new Mom , congratulation's !
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Post Posted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 10:06 pm   Re: Overall help

Thank you Lifefoot!! WOW I never knew so much work, time and love were involved. I think when I was like 5 my parents got me that plastic contraption with a palm tree and a tiny turtle but I can't for the life of me remember what happened to it.

Link is a beggar for food, he is getting used to my fingers dropping food and will now eat Mazuri and the other pellets I have (I break them up they are long). I'm not at the point where I'm ready to give "live" food - that creeps me out.

I have tried to give him red lettuce and he just ignores it, I remove it after about 30 minutes I don't want it mucking up the tank.

I read they have great vision and sense of smell - yet he can't "see" the food floating, and unless I drop "pellet" by "pellet" he just floats past them. He could eat for hours on end if I stand there dropping bit by bit - is this normal?

I never wanted a terrapin but now I have him I feel so responsible to make his habitat his home. I don't have a heater in the water yet but compared to what he was in - he is FAR more active with this light that came with this Aquatic Reptile Starter Kit I got yesterday... he's moving and mooching and watching my every move.

I put in some fake plants for him, he dug them out and so I took them out. I read there are some real plants I could get for him but he seems to just want to pace the glass, stretching his head out... staring at me.

He won't bask at all, from what I read they are supposed to like this but he wont and I'm concerned.

I have no problem reading, learning but being a newbie I'm scared to even go to bed fearing he'll be dead when I get up - and I feel horrible he's in such a small tank now :-( (until Tuesday at least) and this tank I'm getting has a heater for the water. For this does anyone recommend the strips on the outside of the glass that monitor the temp?

Is there a way to stop them from begging for more food? Link has had like 10 pellets now and he's still begging and it's breaking my heart... like he's starving.

Do I have to feed "live" food? (I can do it just not watch)

I have so many questions, I'm sorry
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Rylanda
 
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Post Posted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 10:31 pm   Re: Overall help

20170405_150939Linda.jpg
What he was in when dumped at my door
20170409_010245Linda.jpg
Part of what Link's in now
2 Pictures of his previous living arrangement and his current one... I hope to make it better by Tuesday. I hope I'm not doing wrong
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Rylanda
 
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Post Posted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 11:16 pm   Re: Overall help

That tall tank would probably fetch you a nice return. Any chance you can return that new 20 gallon? If you can't, keep it and use it until you know Link's gender. Add more water and adjust the dock accordingly. Gravel is not a good substrate (it could be eaten and traps a lot of waste), so I would remove it. You don't need to use live prey, but they do love it when given the chance.

Many RES are overfed since they love to beg for pellets. What I've found that helps is 1) keep it sorted out ahead of time [like in a pillbox] so you or anyone in your household don't give too much 2) stick to a schedule [like in the morning or evening] 3) don't give in
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Post Posted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 11:27 pm   Re: Overall help

So, remove the gravel I can do that.
I can't return the tank sadly but have a 40 gallon tank coming Tuesday so I can use the 20 gallon or resell it I guess.
I could use live prey but would have to have someone else do it for me as I just can't do it (girly I know).

I saw photos online of how to "sex" a turtle and if they are "flat" chested they are male and if they have a bit of a crack in their under-shell they are female... ??? SO I went with male

Link begs 24/7 if I'm awake will eat as long as he sees my fingers (no one else, he will only eat if it's from me for some odd reason). Being a Mom, I tend to go with my heart other than my brain... now I'm thinking he's only "this" big, how can he eat "that much" so I try to ignore him.

I keep the basking/warming light on about 12 hours a day - even if I'm still awake I turn it off, is this ok?

Is there a plant to put in the habitat they like to nibble on that is safe?
How much water is best?
Why doesn't he bask on his basking rock instead he chooses to pace the front of the tank all day? I've shown him the rock several times (gently handling him and washing hands before and after) but he just jumps off and paces.

What is this pacing besides begging?

And I thought dogs were complex...

P.S. what to use in place of gravel?
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Rylanda
 
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Post Posted: Mon Apr 10, 2017 2:48 am   Re: Overall help

Could you return the 40 gallon? You're just jumping the gun a little, but it's great you're laser focused about it. We'll help you figure out what to get and how to do it affordably. It can be expensive but it doesn't have to be. Shell curvature relates more to land turtles and tortoises, you will have to wait. When Link is close to 4", there should be some definitive male characteristics showing up.

Get a timer for your lights... on around sunrise, off around sunset.

litefoot linked to a plants page... it's a good start.

Usually the most water you can put in there is the best, of course the tank must be secured for escape. Do you have any other pets?

Most people either go with sand or a bare bottom.
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Post Posted: Mon Apr 10, 2017 9:07 am   Re: Overall help

As Steve say's can get expensive but doesn't have to. At one point had (6) 150 gallon Rubbermaid tubs , out of hand ! If all would have been glass tanks I would have been in the poor house today !

Begging , like a child in a store with candy , there good at it. Once I cut Piggley off and he still begs I play with him get his thoughts off food it works for us and makes for good together time. Make up anything and turn it into a game. Piggley loves to be spun around slowly with my finger. Will not happen the first time but over time , Piggley now comes up to me while I'm doing maintenance placing himself against my fingers asking to be spun around.

Sex : does look a little small yet to tell... any close-ups of his front claws?

Basking : Placement of bulb is important. What type , wattage will depend on where it goes. And you need a good temperature reading for basking area. You may cover the outside of tank by his basking area say with cardboard anything to make him feel like he's hiding and safe on it , sometimes it works. Place a plastic plant on it so he can hide behind it. In time will use it ,feel safe and even bask when you are watching.

Yes all this time and work does pay off , just like having a child in the house !

Lettuce : let a piece about 2" just float in tank all day when he calms down will eat at his own pace. Remove any un eaten at night. He may get to excited watching you with the food and just not seeing the sticks floating. A gentle push underwater may help him notice it.
If you can't sell the other tanks you could make one a plant tank with some guppies or minnows as a food supply . Mainly plants. Save some money.

Just an idea what can be done with a Rubbermaid stock tank : https://youtu.be/VvD7-StKjCQ

And I tweak things up at times : https://youtu.be/HdkcG4ECD1g

It's not for everyone but boy does it save money! Notice I already have large river rocks from the old days [free] so I use them (large) so a turtle can't eat them. Bare bottom is good to and or sand , to small to hurt them if eaten , also good. It's a personal call.

Keep asking questions , lots of good long time turtles keepers here.
litefoot
 
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Post Posted: Mon Apr 10, 2017 1:17 pm   Re: Overall help

What is the best type of filter? The one that came with this tank doesn't seem to be keeping the water very clear and I just set it up on Saturday night. This is a Tetra Whisper Quiet, where the water comes out is so close to where it gets sucked in so I don't think it's the best one.

Then 40 gallon tank I'm getting for $40 is called a "breeder Fish Tank" coming with an underwater filter, a heater, gravel (will not use) and "decor"

Link just seems to want more space, he doesn't swim so much as moves around and "dances" I like to say - he is quite entertaining. I don't think I could go the Rubbermaid way as I have dogs and well - they are lovely looking I did watch your video but I'd like the glass to see Link and him to see outside his unit.

I will remove the gravel later today for sure. I did put "fake" plants in but he doesn't seem to like them he just tosses them to the side and seems to get annoyed when I put them back LOL

He's not quite at the stage where he likes being touched, he hides deeply in his shell when I try to move him BUT he doesn't go all the way in if my hand is in the water or I'm dropping food but he for sure keeps his distance.

I'm putting a photo of Link - not sure if that helps show his claws as you asked? He's a turtle in motion it's hard to get a good shot of his claws and he won't say "cheese" LOL

So don't give in for all his begging then, I just worry he'll be hungry and I haven't fed him enough.

I'll get a timer for sure for the lights so about 12 hours a day or so.

I'm taking notes, this is like nothing I've ever done before and it's very intimidating especially since it wasn't in my plan lol
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20170410_130920 Link.jpg
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Rylanda
 
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Post Posted: Mon Apr 10, 2017 2:31 pm   Re: Overall help

You could always use the one you got as an extra or run two filters. The media setup used will aid in cleaner water . Note most filters state gph that's for fish. A turtle needs 2-3x's flow of fish. They are messy ! For 40 gallons of water that's 80-120 gallon rated filter for one turtle. Today I use an Fluval FX6 it's the best , and last filter I will ever need. For you it may be over kill even if you crank it down but then turtles are very messy.

What you are looking for is a filter that can do Mechanical , Chemical and Biological in one to have a healthy turtle environment. Some good brands are Eheim , Fluval and Penn Plax.

You said underwater filter ?? more info , you mean under gravel filter if so sell it sorry no good for turtle.

Note : it's better to under feed than over feed !

Some turtles just takes months to truly warm up good to people and we know this poor guy went through hell with your neighbor , give him time all will be worth it.

Sex : still may be small to tell but I'm trending to say female. That left claw all small and very even , female. Some more time and we can be 100% on the sex but to me sure looks like a girl. Adult female gets 12" and 10 gallon each in shell , well 120 gallon would be ideally needed.

You know you can still use filter running now for a little while so you can do your homework. Being small and under rated you should or have to clean it about every four days to keep water clean. Don't forget about water changes to , for the small amount of water you have do not do 100% changes unless a problem comes up. Do 15-20% water changes just more often , do you have a good test kit?
litefoot
 
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Post Posted: Mon Apr 10, 2017 3:35 pm   Re: Overall help

A test kit? I have nothing of that sort.

I'm starting to think I'm out of my league here. I don't want to give up of course but it's all so complex and I'm very frustrated. Trying to do right by Link but it is very overwhelming right now. I know he's in a better spot now than when he was with my neighbor but it seems I still have a long way to go to get things just right.

Link is in a 20 gallon tank right now, I'm getting that 40 gallon one tomorrow. I'll have to wait till payday to get another filter, this test kit and some other items - none of this stuff is cheap and not in my budget right now but I'll have to do some fancy money work around. I've checked on used sites and stuff for filters and so far not having any luck but I will figure something out.

People think I'm nuts for keeping Link, but what else would I do - I called around no pet store wants him/her, the SPCA didn't want either so I'll have to do what I can. I'd like to get it ALL done right this second but sadly I can't. My heart hurts that this little creature has been so poorly treated and I feel I'm letting him/her down too.

So I'll remove the gravel. I like the rocks you had in your tank Litefoot, they are larger than gravel and look so nice!
I'll investigate the filters you mentioned.
Not sure I can do live food though, might have to have a friend go to the store once in awhile and get live food, feed Link while I'm not watching.
I'll keep trying with red leaf lettuce and other foods I saw on a list but make sure it doesn't stay in there overnight.
I also scoop out any food Link hasn't eaten after a few hours - is that a good idea as well?
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Rylanda
 
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Post Posted: Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:48 pm   Re: Overall help

Please take that deep breath and lets slow down.
#1 RES's are very hardy ! You don't have to get top of line and pamper him now.
#2 Use that filter you have now. You will just have to clean it more often but will work. Also water changes maybe more often to. It will work.
#3 As a beginner you do need a water test kit. Not the cheap test strips. VERY inaccurate! A drop kit like API has a master kit to test ( PH , Ammonia , Nitrite , Nitrate ) Shop to find best price ! Around $20's. In a few years at observing better you can get away with only an Ammonia and Nitrite kit. Down the road if you do and have the excellent insight , proper water cycling you can do without any test kits.
#4 No live food OK...there are plenty stick food that are good for protein. Although his diet should be veggies about 70%. You can grow them in your yard or on your kitchen countertop. That's what I do !
#5 Yes ,always scoop out uneaten food. But I would let a leaf of lettuce in tank longer for him to snack on when he's calm. Some live safe plants for him to have to eat. Are you good at naming plants , if so do you have a city park? Look in there ponds. Quarantine them a little , wash them good before goes in tank. See that link I gave you on fresh plant matter , can help to start.

The key is doing good maintenance , good diet seen turtles live good in a cheap plastic tote no filter if kept clean. You don't need a $2000 setup now or even down the road , if you win the Lotto then you can. We all start somewhere , take your time it's worth it.
If still overwhelmed google for Turtle rescue site in your area and or ad in paper but you can do it for Link you have feelings for him already. This can work.

Bottom line the glass tank and filter are the biggest expenses. Like for me a good 150 gallon glass tank can start at $500 with stand. That's why I use Rubbermaid stock tubs.

Get a notebook write down a wish list. Have a want to list and a need to list. You will find your want to list is more for you than what he need's
Like I said before say a water heater , seen starters not have one but tank is kept in room with controlled temperature. Room temp.
litefoot
 
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Post Posted: Mon Apr 10, 2017 7:09 pm   Re: Overall help

Thank you so much Litefoot, you are full of great information, very very much appreciated!

I'm looking at these filters, gosh they are expensive. Now do I want a canister one, internal one? Hang-on One? External one?

I see Fluval has a 406 CANISTER FILTER that does up to 100 gallons of water, which if I read what you said correctly would be required for the 40 gallon tank I'm getting tomorrow? Eheim site is confusing for their filters. I'm not sure I can afford to get one of these right now as the prices are way out of my price range at the moment. I may have to run 2 less expensive filters until I save up my pennies (or ask for them for my birthday LOL)

If I didn't have dogs I'd do the stock tubs but I don't think that would work with my dogs, sadly. I'll get this 40 gallon tank tomorrow (breeder fish tank it said) and see what kind of filter it has, maybe it will just be one that goes under water not under gravel. The 40 gallon will give me more peace of mind knowing Link has more space to boogie around his basking perch won't work as it is so I may have to get a couple of rocks to prop it up so he can get up on it.

I won't be giving up on Link or giving him/her away. I'm just really overwhelmed right now, I never realized how much was required for a turtle - it's truly mind blowing. I'm thankful for this site, thankful for all your help and just wish I could have $1000 and I'd be all good and stop worrying! I'll ask for turtle things for Easter instead of chocolate!
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Rylanda
 
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Post Posted: Mon Apr 10, 2017 7:49 pm   Re: Overall help

I understand more than you think , I'm retired on a fixed income. I give up one soft drink a day for a year and that adds up to around $500 . Then I get something I want not necessary what I need as a treat for me or Piggley.

Hold off on any filter the one you have and the one that comes with the 40gal may work together for now. As I said may just have to clean them more often. Maintenance is the key ! Down the road when you can get one , buy one that goes outside tank or hangs on it from outside. That will give more space for Link to swim and give you longer use of that 40 gal tank. Also instead of couple rocks to prop basking area what about hanging it off the rim of tank , that to will give more swimming room to. Google basking docks and see some ideas. You could use cheap plastic pipe or make a bridle like on a kite , get creative. As long as it's easy for Link to get on is number one. What about making one that floats or buy one? Have any cork at home that's what I use , ask around family , friends...See all is good ! The relationship you get from Link will be great they are like having a child. May never ask for a hug like a dog but my Piggley falls asleep in my lap every night when we watch the TV.
litefoot
 
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Post Posted: Mon Apr 10, 2017 8:24 pm   Re: Overall help

Your Piggley actually falls asleep on your lap? That's amazing!!

Link is very curious, not so much about what's in his tank but what I'm doing! He loved watching me vacuum today which I found odd. The tank is near where I sit on the couch so he's always "standing" on his back legs watching me over the water.

The tank I got came with the filter, the basking stand, a basking light - I'll have go figure out a way to hang this basking stand for him in the new tank - not that he is even remotely interested in it right now except he goes underneath it for a nap or if one of the dogs bark he scoots under it until things quiet down - it's really quite sweet.

I did take out about 20% of the water today, added new - water is still a touch cloudy BUT far cleaner than what he was living in. I will remove all the gravel tomorrow after I get the new tank.

If I find rocks as you have the "free" kind, other than washing in tap water do I have to use a soap or something to ensure they are really clean for the tank and Link?

I find feeding Link today he prefers when I drop the food into only one corner of the tank, he won't eat from any other spot, will just pass it by so he's fussy I guess and is showing his preferences.

Also if I put a LOT of water in the tank he doesn't like it at all. I'm wondering if this is because he lived for awhile in a tank with only about 2 inches of water and now is getting his water legs back?

I'll just save my pennies and once I get a better job, things should be easier and as you said the tank and filter are the most costly things. I can pick up other things as I go along. Do you find the bigger pet stores less expensive than then "Mom & Pop" shops or would it be better to order online?

Link isn't overly co-ordinated for getting onto things yet - as I said I think that's due to his deplorable living conditions before he was dropped at my door. I just want to do things right, make sure he/she is well cared for and has things required (the wants as you said will come over time).

I have the Mazuri Aquatic Turtle food - is there a certain amount I should give him a day as the package doesn't really say. Should I feed him once a day or more than once a day? I also have these other pellets that came with the tank which I break into half because he won't eat them whole. I mean he begs for food pretty much all day long even after I give him food.

I'll be picking up some more veggies for him tomorrow, will make sure they are washed very well before giving to him and won't give him too much at once as he's not sure about it and never ate the red lettuce I gave before even after about 5 hours.

I still can't believe your baby sits on your lap! How old is your Piggley? Is there a way to tell the age of a turtle?
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