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Need a Good Beginner Turtle

Discussion in 'Turtles' started by Hedge, Aug 10, 2008.

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  1. Hedge

    Hedge Elite Member

    Hey guys....

    My girlfriend is looking into getting a pet turtle but is a complete novice. After a quick trip to the pet store i was told a yellow bellied slider would be a good starter that doesnt get too big. Are there any other species you could suggest that dont get too big and are a good start for someone without experience?

  2. schlegelbagel

    schlegelbagel Frog Lover Premium Member

    Yellow bellied sliders, as well as red eared sliders get to be about 7- 9 inches and require a HUGE set up. 10 gallons of space per inch of turtle. So if you have one turtle, you are looking at a 70- 90 gallon tank. They also require 3 times the filtration so if you have lets say 50 gallons of water in that 90 gallon set up, you need a canister filter that can handle 150 gallons of water.

    Check our this Red Eared slider care sheet. I believe their care is the same as the Yellow Bellied.

    Red-Eared Slider Care Sheet and Information - WNYHS
  3. untsmurf

    untsmurf Elite Member

  4. Hedge

    Hedge Elite Member

    Thanks guys

    Are there many other options for something that doesn't get quite so big?
  5. schlegelbagel

    schlegelbagel Frog Lover Premium Member

    I think that's about it. :p
  6. venus

    venus Founding Member

    You could also go with a box turtle but it's going to require a pretty large enclosure as well.
  7. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    And box turtles really aren't very good starter turtles.
  8. schlegelbagel

    schlegelbagel Frog Lover Premium Member

    That's the problem with turtles, it's not the animal, it's the size of their enclosure they need!
  9. Moshpitrockchick

    Moshpitrockchick Subscribed User Premium Member

    Turtles aren't really good starter herps unless you have a lot of space. Maybe you should introduce her to a leopard gecko or a Whites tree frog, they are hard to resist and take less space.
  10. untsmurf

    untsmurf Elite Member

    Maps, muds, and musks don't get that big. Austin Turtle Page's caresheet list shows a bunch of turtles and their sizes. There are some turtles that can live in 55 gallons. But that's the smallest tank you're going to need. If you do make the decision to get a turtle, make sure and only get one. Turtles don't do well together in most cases.
  11. furryscaly

    furryscaly Elite Member

    Lacey's right. In my opinion, asking for a "beginner turtle" is like asking for a "beginner iguana". They don't exist. Turtles generally have higher maintenance than a lot of other herps. They need large enclosures. They live in water, which adds a whole new element of husbandry that's not a problem with most other reptiles. They have varied diets and supplements aren't very effective since they wash off in the water. And they live for a really long time. For any aquatic turtle, you should probably expect to spend a couple hundred $$ for all the equipment. The cost of a big enclosures, powerful water filter, siphon hose, and a mercury vapor lamp will add up quick. The enclosure itself will be over $100 in most pet stores. Mercury vapor lights are $30-$60 just for the bulb. Python brand siphons are about $1 a foot for the hose, plus the cost of the siphon system (I need a 50 for hose to reach my bathroom, cause I think the next size down is 20 ft).

    But if you're set on a turtle, then untsmurf had some good suggestions. Mud and musk turtles are pretty small for aquatic turtles, and don't rely as heavily on basking areas as sliders, cooters, and painted turtles do. I'd at least recommend a painted turtle over a slider any day. Their care is pretty much the same, but they don't get quite as big. Also, learn how to sex aquatic turtles. Males are almost always smaller than females, sometimes by several inches, so getting a male would probably be preferable.

    Don't get me wrong, I love turtles, but there are tons of reptiles out there that are far easier and less expensive to keep. For some people, that can be an important issue. On a positive note, once you have all the necessary equipment, it's more an issue of husbandry than cost. If you're aware of all the possible downsides to keeping turtles, and you feel you can handle it and want one anyway, then I think it would make a good pet for you.
  12. untsmurf

    untsmurf Elite Member

    If you do get a painted go with a southern or midland. They are smaller than their eastern/western counterparts.
  13. Hedge

    Hedge Elite Member

    Thanks for all the info. I need to start some research!!
  14. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    And keep in mind that, with a water turtle, if you get the least bit lax about cleaning,....
    Your nose wil let you know about it!
  15. Hedge

    Hedge Elite Member

    I'm sure that would be motivation enough to start cleaning!!
  16. schlegelbagel

    schlegelbagel Frog Lover Premium Member

    That's the one big thing with Turtles, they need big enclosures and even bigger filters. Three times the filtration for the amount of water. I would say you need a 150 gallon canister filter, for 50 gallons of water.

    They aren't difficult if you know what you are doing and have done the research, it's just there are so many people who don't do the research and cram them into dirty, tiny tanks and don't provide them with the proper UVB light. Then you end up with sick turtles.

    Given their high needs, they end up being expensive animals to keep.
  17. untsmurf

    untsmurf Elite Member

    Schlegelbagel is right. Sliders, painteds, and other big turtles aren't hard to care for, in fact they're relatively easy to care for. It's their enclosures that make them hard. They require big tanks, lots of filtration, heaters, UVA and UVB bulbs, basking areas, hides, and fake plants for resting while swimming.

    If you get a properly sized tank with the right filtration, it'll be REALLY REALLY dirty before you will be able to smell the poo.

    Another piece of advice, if you decide to get the turt, get the biggest tank you can afford. Even better, save up for the final enclosure it will need. It'll save you a lot of money and it'll be better for the turtle.
  18. schlegelbagel

    schlegelbagel Frog Lover Premium Member

    The tub/tank itself doesn't have to be expensive. A friend of mine just picked up a 110 gallon horse/stock water tub for $65 from tractor supply. She added a few pieces of drift wood for them to climb out onto a she is good to go!
  19. Bigtyny

    Bigtyny Active Member

    Reeve's are small and you should be able to get them in Ireland. I know you're a little different than us in the states. I know most keepers outside of the states keep a frog in a 100 gal tank, lol, wish we did the same here and there is a herp show and breeders near you. You should look at their herps it will give you a better idea of size of the adults. Hope this helps.
  20. schlegelbagel

    schlegelbagel Frog Lover Premium Member

    Haha, depends on the frog. If I had a big ole bullfrog, I'd have them in a 100 gallon tank. However a little bitty Reed frog in a 100 gallon tank or a Pacman that stays buried 80% of the time seems a bit much. :p
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