Habitat - Outdoor :: where do I even begin?

Ponds and other outdoor enclosures.

Post Posted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 9:09 pm   where do I even begin?

Edit: I've decided to do major pond logistics and research at the Pond Boss forum, and use the Turtle Talk forum for... turtle talk. :P

I have never owned turtles before.
Have always lowkey wanted to, have always thought that they're grand,
but i've never before been close to a situation in which I could properly care for turtles.

Backstory? Backstory. :roll:
When I was young, I attended (and eventually worked as a CIT at!) a nature camp in Northern Virginia which had several RES turtles in a grand 250gal setup with many fish.
One of the counselors (his name was Rich or Rick or something but that's not important) had this rant he'd do to every new group about how it's cruel to keep animals in inadequate habitats
and how evil the RES pet trade is. That's stuck with me from the first time I heard it, and spent a lot of my downtime in the basement of at that nature center staring into that tank
(People would be like "why are you staring at them, they've been stacked for 20 minutes doing nothing??"
like, I don't know, leave me alone, i'm weird/just thinking. :lol: I also really enjoy the sound of water, it's relaxing.)
But that experience kind of cemented in me a sureness that I will never have turtles unless i'm in the situation to do something as nice as that for them.

Flash forward two decades and now we're here! :twisted:
For a couple of years now, I've been playing around with the idea of having a large turtle sanctuary/retirement-type pond.
RES has always been the focus of my idea, simply because they are so widely mistreated, discarded, and abandoned.

In the next 2ish years, I plan to become a homeowner where I live now, in Ohio.
In the next 5ish years, I would like to start construction on this pond!
Which means now is the time to start researching and saving! :wink:
Oh boy, we're down to the business part!

I'm looking to figure out where I should start researching what the ballpark creation,
and then the monthly upkeep for a large pond would be, taking into account crucial things like vet care.

The home I buy will almost definitely be on well water, Ohohoho, believe it or not,
partially to avoid crazy water bills that something like this would incur. that's not really necessary.

I'm trying to figure out the basic logistics, such as how many turtles can live in what size pond.. 120gal per adult turtle,
And what size of pond I should be aiming to create. Something like 12'x18'x6'.
As well as, obviously, how one would care for a large pond of turtles.
The goal/dream would be a large psuedo-natural biome-type pond that could house many turtles,
that after cycling and becoming established wouldn't need /a ton of/ human interference for upkeep.


TL;DR :
I have never owned turtles before but I want to make maybe a 9 thousand gallon pond in the next 5ish years!
Help me out with the logistics of making this a reality? :lol:
Thanks for your time! Any help would be greatly appreciated.

:msgreen: :mrgreen: :msgreen: :mrgreen: :msgreen: :mrgreen: :msgreen: :mrgreen:

Edit:
I guess I am going to store my research and resource links here! Why not, right?

- "10 gallons per inch of turtle" means ~120 gallons per adult turtle. Pond calculators: 1, acres 2, volume

1. #goals, I will have to contact him.
2. good to think about, but makes my head hurt..
3. I might need to buy this book, almost definitely tbh.
4. This guy might be worth contacting for advice, too.
5. These guys seem like they do this stuff all the time..
6. Advice about evaporation from the pond boss himself!
7.More pond boss, this time the forum..

I still need to learn about:
- Will I still have to feed the turtles, after my pond is all established?
- Would the turtles be o.k. to hibernate by themselves or would I need to do anything? These guys are native to my state so I assume yes as long as the pond is natural-esk????
- Signs of common illness in RES turtles? Is veterinary intervention always necessary or is home health care an option for some of the more minor ailments?
- I don't want them to reproduce. Need to figure out a way to dispose of eggs without hurting the turtles.
- Plants??? Plants.
- Other fauna in the pond? (Before anyone asks, No Koi!!! Lol. I want this to be as natural as possible.
I miiiight also make a modern koi pond at some point, but that's a different #goals project that's actually way smaller and easier than this one :lol: )
Last edited by reiika on Sun Nov 05, 2017 1:43 am, edited 6 times in total.
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Post Posted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 10:21 pm   Re: where do I even begin?

First I would check with the local permit dept / humane society ! It may not be allowed in your state ( RES's) are invasive to many states in the US and some have very hard fines ! Also rules for in ground ponds if allowed ! Yes rules/laws even on private property.
What predators around , neighbors dogs , raccoons , large birds...
Trust me it will cost to do it right ! Talk to some pond contractor's.
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Post Posted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 11:12 pm   Re: where do I even begin?

litefoot wrote:First I would check with the local permit dept / humane society ! It may not be allowed in your state ( RES's) are invasive to many states in the US and some have very hard fines ! Also rules for in ground ponds if allowed ! Yes rules/laws even on private property.
What predators around , neighbors dogs , raccoons , large birds...
Trust me it will cost to do it right ! Talk to some pond contractor's.

Before today, I didn't realize they were an invasive species in many areas of the country!
It doesn't seem like they are a concern in Ohio, but I will definitely be speaking with professionals and law enforcement about this!
I dug around for quite awhile, but I was unable to find anything else that would suggest that possession of an RES was restricted in any way.
Been reading through tons of links here and there (thanks Google).

Will definitely be doing this the right way, with the help of professionals at every step. :)
Earlier today I sent an email to a rescue over by Akron that cares for hundreds of reptiles (dozens of RES!) where my friend volunteers,
I am hoping that they will be able to provide me with some valuable advice. :D
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Post Posted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 3:04 am   Re: where do I even begin?

If you can make it as natural as possible, it should be able to sustain them without much intervention on your part. You might want to look into setting up a non-profit 501(c)... that might help with costs and taxes.
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Post Posted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 3:19 am   Re: where do I even begin?

steve wrote:If you can make it as natural as possible, it should be able to sustain them without much intervention on your part. You might want to look into setting up a non-profit 501(c)... that might help with costs and taxes.

Oh! I hadn't even thought of that. That's a good point.
It'd be cool (and probably more cost effective) if it could be a legitimate turtle sanctuary.. :)

coz the actual upkeep wouldn't be a ton if I make the pond correctly,
but food and vet bills can't really be as easily projected.
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Post Posted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 9:11 am   Re: where do I even begin?

Back a ways when I volunteered at our local Reptile Nature Center I made friends with several intern's from the local college. Introduced myself to there professor's in undergraduate programs in environmental and zoology. I got lucky with the help from both , they got extra credit and I good advice along with knowledge for my 7000 gallon in ground pond. That is until Katrina took it , my turtles , house , car , boat well everything ...
Today it's only Piggley and me and it's great ! Another home and everything started over and happy but I do miss my pond !!!
I do recommend going as natural as possible , learn what plants put oxygen in water , which ones clean better have things that benefit the pond not because it looks nice or cute. Even what fish that will work for the pond , like most use Goldfish or Koi ( they can handle cool/cold water) pretty but no real help. I myself used mosquito fish ( gambusia affinis ) mainly. They are much less fatty for the turtles and do a great job on the pond for bug control ! Yes a few goldfish just for looks but they can get out of control.
You say about 12x18x6 which would be about 9700 gallons , that's good but do you really need 6' depth ? Construction will be different ! What is your freeze line in your region ?
Lots to study I had my fun when younger , at my age happy it's just Piggley and me.
litefoot
 
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Post Posted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 10:34 am   Re: where do I even begin?

litefoot wrote:Back a ways when I volunteered at our local Reptile Nature Center I made friends with several intern's from the local college. Introduced myself to there professor's in undergraduate programs in environmental and zoology. I got lucky with the help from both , they got extra credit and I good advice along with knowledge for my 7000 gallon in ground pond. That is until Katrina took it , my turtles , house , car , boat well everything ...
Today it's only Piggley and me and it's great ! Another home and everything started over and happy but I do miss my pond !!!
I do recommend going as natural as possible , learn what plants put oxygen in water , which ones clean better have things that benefit the pond not because it looks nice or cute. Even what fish that will work for the pond , like most use Goldfish or Koi ( they can handle cool/cold water) pretty but no real help. I myself used mosquito fish ( gambusia affinis ) mainly. They are much less fatty for the turtles and do a great job on the pond for bug control ! Yes a few goldfish just for looks but they can get out of control.
You say about 12x18x6 which would be about 9700 gallons , that's good but do you really need 6' depth ? Construction will be different ! What is your freeze line in your region ?
Lots to study I had my fun when younger , at my age happy it's just Piggley and me.


"Ohio Building Code, Structural—Frost line. Latest version.
The standard frost depth for OBC governed construction shall be 32 inches (813 mm)."

(source)

So not the deepest freeze line, but everything i've been reading and watching recommends deeper ponds! (they hold their water better?)
Plus I don't want them to get bored in the winter, since they don't hibernate apparently but brumate?
Of course the bottom will have loads of plants and muck.

Also, regarding the mosquitofish, Score!!!
Apparently they can survive Ohio winters. :)
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Post Posted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 10:40 am   Re: where do I even begin?

It's great to hear someone doing there homework !
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Post Posted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 8:50 pm   Re: where do I even begin?

litefoot wrote:It's great to hear someone doing there homework !

I try not to dive into anything without doing some obsessive research! :)
I'll be sure to let y'all know how this turns out.. the next update will probably be in 2ish years, so stick around everyone! ..and don't be impatient. ;)
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Post Posted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 10:26 am   Re: where do I even begin?

2 years? Alright, we'll be waiting :)
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