Habitat - Indoor :: Giving My Turtles a Better Habitat

Turtle tank setups and other indoor configurations.

Post Posted: Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:17 pm   Giving My Turtles a Better Habitat

Hi, I have two red-eared sliders named Bobby and Squirt. Bobby has been living with me for three years, and Squirt for about one or two. Bobby was found by my dad in the wild, I think? And Squirt was given to me since a friend couldn't care for him/her anymore. Squirt's previous living condition was pretty horrible, which was a tank that's smaller than a 20 gallon tank, but their current living condition is no better. Their current tank is a 20 gallon tank, and they have a filter that sticks onto the glass. They have a small basking spot with a small heating lamp, and doesn't have a UVB light.

Over the past few years I've saved quite a bit of money, so I think I'm able to finally buy them a 40 gallon tank with a better filter, and I can buy them a UVB light and other necessities. Even though I'm preparing to buy a whole new tank for them and other things, I still feel like I'm missing something? I know I might not get everything right away, and I might need to wait until Christmas to get more money but I want to make sure that my turtles are healthy and that they're getting the proper attention that they need (since my parents and brothers don't care about them).

Even though I've had these turtles for so long, I've never really done actual in-depth research about them until one and a half years ago. I know that what I've been doing is wrong, so please forgive me for letting them live this way.

Is there anything else I need to give them? Am I getting the wrong size for them? What kind of filter should I get?? While I feel like I'm on the right track, I feel like I'm kind of lost. I don't even know the genders of my turtles... I also want to know if they're healthy, so if there's any advice on what to look for or whatnot, please let me know.

IMG_20170711_155604_566.jpg
The one on the left is Squirt, and the one on the right is Bobby


20170711_155414.jpg
The room that they are in


Today I was cleaning their tank, along with the rocks and filter that they had so they're in a temporary tank (the smaller one that my friend had Squirt in, I don't know what else to put them in).
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Post Posted: Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:44 pm   Re: Giving My Turtles a Better Habitat

Hi mangosoda, welcome to the forum! At their age, and possibly being females, they will require a lot of space, you might even be looking at a 300 gallon tank in the future. Since a glass aquarium that size is very expensive, many people use stock tanks and create a pond-like environment for them. They are probably already too small for a 40 gallon (I'm not sure of your budget, but a new 40 gallon should roughly cost about $40). So instead of incremental upgrades which will be a lot of work and more expensive, many people just jump ahead to a "forever" home. I'm not saying you have to do that but it's something to consider. A stock tank can also be used outdoors, so need for special lighting and heating (depending on your location).
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Post Posted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 1:36 pm   Re: Giving My Turtles a Better Habitat

Hello and welcome !
Look's like girls to me too. If both get to adult size 12" each you are looking at a big tank. For every inch of shell 10 gallons of water alone pulse basking area ! Both get 12" each that's 24" of turtle and a minimum of 240 gallons water alone. You are lucky two female can go in same tank whereas if one was male you would have to separate one day ! Then two large tanks. I use stock tanks and for outer side I wrap them in bamboo blinds for windows , cut to size. Looks pretty good and the inside you can do so much more than a glass aquarium . Make it look like you have an indoor pond ! As Steve said a 40 gallon will still be small even today. Even a 40 gallon for each today would work but another upgrade will be coming very soon. Think about the adult size tank for both and save some money on those small upgrades.
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Post Posted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 2:23 am   Re: Giving My Turtles a Better Habitat

steve wrote:Hi mangosoda, welcome to the forum! At their age, and possibly being females, they will require a lot of space, you might even be looking at a 300 gallon tank in the future. Since a glass aquarium that size is very expensive, many people use stock tanks and create a pond-like environment for them. They are probably already too small for a 40 gallon (I'm not sure of your budget, but a new 40 gallon should roughly cost about $40). So instead of incremental upgrades which will be a lot of work and more expensive, many people just jump ahead to a "forever" home. I'm not saying you have to do that but it's something to consider. A stock tank can also be used outdoors, so need for special lighting and heating (depending on your location).


Thank you for the welcome! I'm not able to keep them outside, due to the fact that I have a 1 and a half year old German Shepherd dog... I'm afraid that he might get to the turtles if I let them live in a stock tank or the rubber tub thing. Maybe I can find a way around that? I don't know.

I was at the pet store today and I saw many big tanks! I saw one that was 65 gallons. I don't want these two to live in that 20 gallon tank anymore because it seems super cramped. I will keep that 300 gallon tank/etc. in mind for a later time, but I want to get them out of that really small tank! Even if it's temporary, if that makes sense. The both of them are about 4 inches each...
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Post Posted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 2:33 am   Re: Giving My Turtles a Better Habitat

litefoot wrote:Hello and welcome !
Look's like girls to me too. If both get to adult size 12" each you are looking at a big tank. For every inch of shell 10 gallons of water alone pulse basking area ! Both get 12" each that's 24" of turtle and a minimum of 240 gallons water alone. You are lucky two female can go in same tank whereas if one was male you would have to separate one day ! Then two large tanks. I use stock tanks and for outer side I wrap them in bamboo blinds for windows , cut to size. Looks pretty good and the inside you can do so much more than a glass aquarium . Make it look like you have an indoor pond ! As Steve said a 40 gallon will still be small even today. Even a 40 gallon for each today would work but another upgrade will be coming very soon. Think about the adult size tank for both and save some money on those small upgrades.


Hello! Does that mean that since both of them are about 4 inches, do I have to get an 80 gallon tank? And can females really stay in the same tank?? I was worried about that to be honest.

I don't think I can have an indoor pond, despite how cool it sounds haha. I haven't thought about getting a 40 gallon tank for each of them, though. It sounds expensive... Anyways though, what do you mean when you said that I need another upgrade very soon if I get a 40 gallon tank? How fast/big will they grow?!
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Post Posted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 8:25 am   Re: Giving My Turtles a Better Habitat

With two of everything for two 40's that would cost more. Turtles at 4" each that's 40 gallons water alone each.

Two males will just fight for territory , dominance. One each , male would put aggressive pressure on female to mate and she could hurt the male. Two females normally get along OK. That's if enough room is given.

What I mean about another upgrade soon is , 40 gallons each is what they need today. How turtles grow fast it will not be long it will be out grown.

You don't truly need 80 gallons but anything smaller you will have more maintenance. Turtles need 3-5x's flow rate than fish on a filter. With a smaller tank I would say the larger the filter the better , that would help some with the maintenance. And you know how we all love to that maintenance. Also you with a smaller tank may have to do more water changes than you want. Larger water volume can handle more , being less maintenance but still maintenance.

At 4" each save some money over time and go with an adult size tank as soon as you can.

Turtle on left is female , one on right (?) female , looks female. Can you get pictures of claws on that one so we /you know exactly what you will need as final home. Better pictures of claws and tail on both will not hurt.
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Post Posted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 11:59 pm   Re: Giving My Turtles a Better Habitat

I don't think it would take much to protect them outside. Secure some hardware cloth or chicken wire for a screen and that's mostly it. If you have the space and weather for it, I would probably do it that way.
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Post Posted: Fri Jul 21, 2017 1:16 am   Re: Giving My Turtles a Better Habitat

litefoot wrote:With two of everything for two 40's that would cost more. Turtles at 4" each that's 40 gallons water alone each.

Two males will just fight for territory , dominance. One each , male would put aggressive pressure on female to mate and she could hurt the male. Two females normally get along OK. That's if enough room is given.

What I mean about another upgrade soon is , 40 gallons each is what they need today. How turtles grow fast it will not be long it will be out grown.

You don't truly need 80 gallons but anything smaller you will have more maintenance. Turtles need 3-5x's flow rate than fish on a filter. With a smaller tank I would say the larger the filter the better , that would help some with the maintenance. And you know how we all love to that maintenance. Also you with a smaller tank may have to do more water changes than you want. Larger water volume can handle more , being less maintenance but still maintenance.

At 4" each save some money over time and go with an adult size tank as soon as you can.

Turtle on left is female , one on right (?) female , looks female. Can you get pictures of claws on that one so we /you know exactly what you will need as final home. Better pictures of claws and tail on both will not hurt.


boby and squirt.png
The one on the bottom is the one you're looking for
boby and squirt.png (308.05 KiB) Viewed 881 times


I hope you can see Bobby's (the one on the bottom) claws. Sorry about the glass, it has dry water on it that I didn't wipe off when I was hurriedly cleaning their tanks... I couldn't get a picture of their tails.
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Post Posted: Fri Jul 21, 2017 1:19 am   Re: Giving My Turtles a Better Habitat

steve wrote:I don't think it would take much to protect them outside. Secure some hardware cloth or chicken wire for a screen and that's mostly it. If you have the space and weather for it, I would probably do it that way.


I live in Southern US, so I think that the environment is pretty good. What do I do when winter comes, though? And when it rains?

With the outdoor tub, you still have to use a filter and such right? I don't really know much about outdoor habitats for my turtles...
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Post Posted: Fri Jul 21, 2017 9:02 am   Re: Giving My Turtles a Better Habitat

How cold does your winter get and how hot does your summer get? Rain shouldn't be a huge issue. You should still get a filter, but you won't need a heater (probably) or any special UV lighting.
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Post Posted: Fri Jul 21, 2017 9:54 am   Re: Giving My Turtles a Better Habitat

Since you said outdoors is a no due to the shepherd lets talk indoors. A good large glass tank 250-300 gallons can cost 1800-2 thousand alone. And yes you want a good one think if you had cheap and leaked 300 gallons in your house ??? Placement for easy maintenance too ! Also a filter that actually works for that size. That's were a stock tank comes in , $150 or less for a 150 gallon and $300 or less for 300 gallon and will last forever. Wisk Hurricane Katrina didn't take all my pictures and house and turtles... I used a large floor rug on the wall and framed it in as a background. Some tall low light plants around a 300 galloon stock tank filled all the way with a large basking area. Made a shield around rim for safety / escape proof. Tank itself used bamboo fencing wrapped around it and all looked great ! Filter I had two Pondmasters modified for three turtle's. All under $500 with a little "DIY".

Money I have a budget for going out to eat , I also have a budget for Piggley. And Yes money comes into play for all.

If it was me , yes a filter like an Fluval FX6 is a Must , large media and flow ! Setup media for a turtle ( see under equipment / media setup ) . Since most people like glass as a show tank and not a pond setting // say on sale a glass 120 gallon filled all the way with an "ATBA". Can find $1 a gallon sales at LPS's [sometimes] that size if not how about used display tank on sale . That can work and hope your girls don't grow to a full 12" each , maybe a final adult home ? Depending on how elaborate you make the "ATBA you with a little "DIY" keep it around $600. Yes 120 is small ( goes against what I like to do - 300 gallon) but if they get along great and stay small it could work. Also a good maintenance schedule helps ! Take you time and shop around it will save you money ! Few more day's or weeks won't hurt.

An "ATBA does not have to be fancy to look good. Instead of using plexiglass all the way around the rim you can use a good wood for the back and sides and plexiglass only on the front to see your turtles. Paint the wood or glue a background on all three sides for looks. To give plenty of swimming room use a large cork (floating ) for a basking area. A pile of rocks would take up to much swimming room. Being 120 tank I would install say two braces on top like already on some tanks for extra support then for extra safety clamp it to rim of tank ( home made clamps ). No basking box to build no ramps to make. Depending on style of the 120 you may get you could offer a 3' long basking area if both on it at same time , plenty room for adults , some of those tanks are 5' long so you have the space. That would cost under $50 ! Keep it simple and make it look nice.
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Post Posted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 2:16 am   Re: Giving My Turtles a Better Habitat

steve wrote:How cold does your winter get and how hot does your summer get? Rain shouldn't be a huge issue. You should still get a filter, but you won't need a heater (probably) or any special UV lighting.


During December thru February, it's common to see that it goes up to 70°F. But the temperature can drop to 39°F. We don't get a lot of snow, only getting about like two or three inches for all I know. Summer is really hot, and recently we hit over 100°F the other day.

For the filter, though, do I need a really big one for the tub??
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Post Posted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 2:34 am   Re: Giving My Turtles a Better Habitat

litefoot wrote:Since you said outdoors is a no due to the shepherd lets talk indoors. A good large glass tank 250-300 gallons can cost 1800-2 thousand alone. And yes you want a good one think if you had cheap and leaked 300 gallons in your house ??? Placement for easy maintenance too ! Also a filter that actually works for that size. That's were a stock tank comes in , $150 or less for a 150 gallon and $300 or less for 300 gallon and will last forever. Wisk Hurricane Katrina didn't take all my pictures and house and turtles... I used a large floor rug on the wall and framed it in as a background. Some tall low light plants around a 300 galloon stock tank filled all the way with a large basking area. Made a shield around rim for safety / escape proof. Tank itself used bamboo fencing wrapped around it and all looked great ! Filter I had two Pondmasters modified for three turtle's. All under $500 with a little "DIY".

Money I have a budget for going out to eat , I also have a budget for Piggley. And Yes money comes into play for all.

If it was me , yes a filter like an Fluval FX6 is a Must , large media and flow ! Setup media for a turtle ( see under equipment / media setup ) . Since most people like glass as a show tank and not a pond setting // say on sale a glass 120 gallon filled all the way with an "ATBA". Can find $1 a gallon sales at LPS's [sometimes] that size if not how about used display tank on sale . That can work and hope your girls don't grow to a full 12" each , maybe a final adult home ? Depending on how elaborate you make the "ATBA you with a little "DIY" keep it around $600. Yes 120 is small ( goes against what I like to do - 300 gallon) but if they get along great and stay small it could work. Also a good maintenance schedule helps ! Take you time and shop around it will save you money ! Few more day's or weeks won't hurt.

An "ATBA does not have to be fancy to look good. Instead of using plexiglass all the way around the rim you can use a good wood for the back and sides and plexiglass only on the front to see your turtles. Paint the wood or glue a background on all three sides for looks. To give plenty of swimming room use a large cork (floating ) for a basking area. A pile of rocks would take up to much swimming room. Being 120 tank I would install say two braces on top like already on some tanks for extra support then for extra safety clamp it to rim of tank ( home made clamps ). No basking box to build no ramps to make. Depending on style of the 120 you may get you could offer a 3' long basking area if both on it at same time , plenty room for adults , some of those tanks are 5' long so you have the space. That would cost under $50 ! Keep it simple and make it look nice.


I'll keep this all in mind! Thank you for the indoor advice. Do you know whether it's more expensive to keep them inside or outside?
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Post Posted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 6:11 am   Re: Giving My Turtles a Better Habitat

Depending on the climate zone you live in you may be able to save a little on the lighting and the heating but then would need something for making it secure.
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Post Posted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 10:53 pm   Re: Giving My Turtles a Better Habitat

A lot of the costs depends on their enclosure. If you use something like a stock tank that you can move in and out, you will probably save the most that way.
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