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Filtration for Red-eared Sliders

Discussion in 'Turtles' started by tvancelette, Nov 3, 2014.

  1. tvancelette

    tvancelette New Member

    I have 2 red-eared sliders. Currently I'm housing them in a 55 gallon tank, and before that they were in a 30-gallon tank. The issue I've had with both is that the water quickly clouds up, and I can't get it to clear. It was suggested to me that I get a reptile filter as opposed to an aquaium filter, but is there really a significant difference between the two?
  2. purplecandle

    purplecandle Active Member

    Ok...I can't comment about your specific turtles. I can perhaps help with the water situation.

    possibly a bacteria bloom... from New tank syndrome/over cleaning/or the bioload is too much for your filtration and your amount of good bacteria.

    How often and how much do you change the water? Is your filter rated for greater than your tank size? Are you over cleaning the tank or the filter? Do you use hot water or bleach? Are you changing the sponge or cleaning it too much? Do you vacuum the substrate? Since I don't know about your you know if the tank is the correct size for them?
  3. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Turtles are dirty. Between their defecation and feeding, the water is a constant battle. As suggested above, new tank syndrome could be an issue but their waste will always be an issue. If you have 30 gallons of water, your filter should be moving 50+ gallons of water. You want the filter to move almost double what you have if you want to have a chance at keeping the water cleaner than what it currently is. There are differences between filters, yes. The one you state is for reptiles would need to be posted. There are some that are just fish tank filters renamed and then there are those that are also fish tank filters but they are canister filters. Canister filters are better than your hang on the tank power systems.

    That tank isn't adequate for 2 RES. A single RES requires 10 gallons of water for every inch of turtle to support the waste they create and to allow them to swim.
  4. tvancelette

    tvancelette New Member

    In this new tank there hasn't been a water change yet. Thy've been in it less than a week so far. I believe this filter is intended for tanks up to & including 55 gallons, and I haven't used hot water or bleach. I do vacuum the substrate whenever I do a water change, and I'm pretty sure I'm not overcleaning the sponge. I do rinse it when I change the filter cartidge, which has been about every other week. I don't think the previous tank was big enough, but I do think the 55 gallon should be ok.
  5. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    55 gallons is insufficient for 2 RES in the long term. Makes a fine nursery tank though. You will want approximately ten gallons of water for each linear inch of turtle shell. 2 5inch turtles will therefore need about 100 gallons. Make sense? At this point, it's more practical to think about a stock tank than a fish tank.

    Honestly, I would go with the aquarium filters, and get one rated for at least a 100gallon tank. Turtles are very dirty animals, and overcrowding them will only intensify the dirty water problem.

    Some filters have a special cartridge designed for "polishing" water, and making it clear and sparkling. I think mine has one, and it's called a Micron Filter.
  6. purplecandle

    purplecandle Active Member

    Ok you have new tank syndrome with little to no bacteria and you are improperly cleaning the filter and your media. Also, depending on the size of the turtles you could be overstocked. Basically you are not cycled.

    Your turtles put off ammonia. You need good bacteria to break down that ammonia into something less toxic until you remove it through water change.

    You put the turtles into a closed system that does not have the bacteria to handle thier bio-load.

    The bacteria you may have in your filter you are killing by improperly handling them.
    When it comes to your sponge you clean it in tank water (just a slight shake) maybe once or twice a month. You never replace your sponge until it is worn to nothing! Then the filter cartridge (ignore the package instruction) Don't change it either. Just a slight shake in tank water and back it goes. Do not change it every week. By doing so you are removing good bacteria. Eventually the carbon will stop if you are fond of carbon you can change it every couple of months.. but I just leave mine in there. You can polish the water. Now I use filter floss (I'm cheap so I just buy pillowcase stuffing). I changed that out every month.

    If I were you I would add some filter media from an established tank to add bacteria or you can try bottled bacteria. I've had success with tetra SAFESTART. Once I had success with seachem stability.

    You should also increase your water changes and buy a test kit so that you know where you are at in your cycle. Change as much water as you want, the bacteria we need does not reside in the water column.

    The cloudy water will continue until your tank starts to get cycled. Good luck! Hopefully I explained that well :) I'm such a dork when it comes to water chemistry!
  7. KJ Rivas

    KJ Rivas Member

    I kept a pair of adult turtles in a 55 gallon tank. I used a large canister filter rated for 150 gallons and it kept the water crystal clear. I changed the water weekly, as I know they will make the ammonia levels high. These guys were fed floating turtle pellets and occasional feeder gold fish which they could out-maneuver and catch with ease. Turtles like these feed like piranhas!!! Both of these guys are males, as their long for-claws show. Each also had long tails with the cloaca well out beyond the margin of the carapace. The red ear is sleeping on the bottom, the western painted was sleeping on top of him, but woke up when he saw me looking in on them! Red Eared Sliders.jpg

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