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Turtle Pond Information And Tips?

Discussion in 'Turtles' started by NettleJellies, Sep 16, 2018.

  1. NettleJellies

    NettleJellies Member

    Hi there! You probably know me from my older post, "OPERATION: TURTLE RESCUE". Thanks to you guys telling me all kinds of helpful information about turtle keeping, I was able to save my turtles from their coming shell rot and stunted growth, which both of them are very happy for!

    As you know from that post, they are currently in a 20g long aquarium with a medium sized land dock. However, they have grown quite a lot now that they are being taken care of properly and they will soon need to be upgraded to a much larger set up as they near their adult size. I'm now in my senior year of high school, so I will be moving out June 2019 and hopefully being able to set up a turtle pond at a vacant house that I will be moving into. I've looked into options and I feel that the best option for a turtle pond would be a 300g stock rubbermaid stock tank outside, but as always I have many questions and concerns that I need to know your opinions on.

    • What is the best size of filter for a 300g stock tank? I need one that can handle turtle waste, so preferably a much higher turnover rate than other filters while still staying in an affordable($500) range
    • What types of aquatic plants are edible/safe for turtles?
    • What's the best way to create a stable land dock for 2+ turtles? Rocks are kind of hard to balance and my other options require a stable ramp, so I was wondering if you guys had any ideas on it.
    • Best or favorite stand for holding up a heat lamp?
    • How do I protect my turtles from extreme temperatures and weather? I was thinking about making a smaller indoor set up with a pond liner and a wooden frame for temporary protection during storms, winters and heatwaves, but if there's another way or if I don't have to worry about it I'd much prefer to know about that way.
    • What's the best size heater for the water, if any heater is needed at all?
    • How do I protect the equipment(heat lamps, filter, etc.) from outdoor elements?
    • Best turtle breeders/rescues that are near missouri?
    • What other turtles are compatible with sliders?
    • How do I find a reptile vet near me?
    • Some suggestions on turtle food/ways to vary the food? What I am feeding them now works fine, but I want to give them as many options as possible. They already like strawberries a lot, and meal worms/crickets, but I know for certain that they Hate cranberries.
    • Any good ideas for lids to protect them/layout/measurements for lids?
    Since I have both a red eared slider and a yellow bellied slider in this 300g, I've been considering adding to the family with one or two more turtles. If this is not possible, though, I'm also completely up to just keeping these two in the pond. the aquatic plants, driftwood and rock scapes should provide plenty of interesting terrain and give them lots of space, so I don't mind having it look empty when it means the turtles are happy.

    Thanks for your help, again!
  2. jonathan.piazza91

    jonathan.piazza91 Active Member

    I don't know the answer to many of these questions, but:

    • Best or favorite stand for holding up a heat lamp?
    PVC works great for making lamp stands!!!

    • What other turtles are compatible with sliders?
    I think a map turtle would be fine with sliders considering the size pond you're planning on making. Others may have a better idea but I've heard of individuals keeping community tanks with both maps and RES.
  3. Darkbird

    Darkbird Moderator Staff Member

    Let's see, lots of questions here.
    Can't help on the filter issue. Don't know of any that would be adequate for a large turtle pond due to the amount of waste turtles produce. What I do with my 300g stock tank is to install a valve in the drain and just dump the water when it gets bad and then refill. Sucks if your on well water, I end up pumping a lot which kills my light bill. Another option would be a custom built filter, but I haven't got off my lazy rear and done that yet.
    For plants, don't bother. What they don't eat they will rip up and destroy.
    For a basking area I use cement blocks, pavers and such to stack up and then top it with natural slate tile.
    My first thought is why you'd need a heat lamp for an outside pond, but PVC would work fine. My turtles get nothing but sunlight during the summer.
    During the summer, they just get whatever weather there is. I might change a bit of the water on extremely hot days, but usually not. But mine have shade for part of the day too. In the winter the entire setup moves inside, and they get an LED shop light and a couple MVBs for light. If that wont work due to space restrictions, just get another stock tank and make a smaller version of the outdoor setup.
    Never needed or wanted a heater. A tank that big takes a long time to cool off, and it warms back up just fine. And I just use ambient temp when indoors, my house is kept at 72 anyway, and between that and the basking lamps they do great.
    As for how to protect stuff, don't have any. Seriously, mine get a giant tub of water with a basking site, and food, and that's it. And they live that way for 6 or 7 months out of the year and are thriving.
    Can't help on breeders near you, I'm in Michigan.
    Compatible species. More about size than anything. Smaller species tend to get bullied, so watch for that.
    As for a vet, best thing would be word of mouth from other reptile owners. Otherwise it's trial and error sadly. Just because a vet will see a reptile doesn't mean they really know what they are doing with them.
    Food- I feed mazuri aquatic turtle diet, fresh healthy greens, and a variety of insects (mostly crickets). Plus whatever is dumb enough to fall in the water when they are outside.
    I don't lid mine, but the tub is on my large front porch, so fairly well protected from predators. Any sort of mesh that raccoons and whatever can't easily get through will work, but it shouldn't block too much sun and should be easy to move for maintenance. Other than that your on your own, it will depend on the size and shape of the tank and what materials you can get.
    And I'm currently keeping 9 turtles, a mix of red ears, yellow bellies, and a couple diamond back terrapins, and one map in my setup. So you have the option. Just remember, more turtles=more watse=more maintenance.
    kriminaal likes this.
  4. NettleJellies

    NettleJellies Member

    @Darkbird I would like to have a filter mainly because of the fact that flowing water will help keep that grossness from building up over time, so even though I will definitely be cleaning the tank weekly a filter will help lighten the load during the week so they don't get sick. There are plenty of big filters I've found that are canister grade and they seem to be okay for 300 gallons(speaking from aquarist background, at least), I was just asking so that I might be able to figure out the specifics of whether or not I would have to go digging for the specific make or not.

    For the plants, I'm totally okay with them eating it! In fact, I think it'd be a great enrichment opportunity for them. I want to know what plans are the best for that purpose, so it will temporarily look really cool and they'll get a nice snack that they would have in their natural world. For the actual scape the rocks and driftwood are more important than the plants, but having plants will give them a fun treat.

    The cement blocks should be good, then, I'll look into that! How do you secure multiple ones on top of each other? the 300g stock tank I am getting will be medium depth, just because my turtles seem to enjoy swimming a lot, but that just means that giving them a considerable amount of land space will be difficult.

    The UV lamp is just as a personal fail safe, just in case I need it. I don't know whether or not I'll be putting the pond in an area with a lot of sunlight or not and I just wanted to have a back up plan both for the indoor set up and the set up that they will have in case it gets too cold in the fall or something. It's good to know that the heat will be alright for the most part. I mean, the red eared slider is native to my area anyways and the yellow bellied slider has nearly identical requirements, so I shouldn't be so worried but I always am. We'll have to see what works.

    As far as lids, I've been considering something like PVC and fencing or something, mainly just because people don't lock up their cats in my neighborhood that I'll be moving into and there's been problems with hawks in the past.

    Thank you for the response!

    @jonathan.piazza91 PVC definitely seems to be a popular choice for a lot of DIY projects. I'll have to look into using tools for that kind of thing because I am not yet well versed in basic tools, but I think that I will enjoy learning more about how to use them in my endeavors to both create this pond and the hopeful chicken coop that will be coming soon after, if I have the funds for it.

    I've hear MAPs do pretty well with RESs, but I wasn't completely sure. I will have to see if there are any rescues near me beforehand so I could possibly rescue a turtle from some parent who decided to gift one to their child, but we'll have to see. Thank you for the advice!
  5. jonathan.piazza91

    jonathan.piazza91 Active Member

    Of course! PVC is super easy to work with and cheap. You can buy a hack saw (also cheap) and it will cut through PVC extremely easy. They also sell pipe cutter type tools that work well on thicker PVC. It's almost like Legos, you just buy a length of PVC and connector pieces and cut / fit together as you desire. I had chickens last year that I raised from chicks and made a PVC lamp stand that cost me no more than $10 and worked perfectly.
  6. Darkbird

    Darkbird Moderator Staff Member

    You could run a large canister setup, but you'll likely be breaking it down daily for cleaning if you get very many turtles. If you only end up with one or 2 though it might not be too bad. I too have a bit of aquarium experience, and have used canisters on smaller setups, but they usually clogged up quickly with any sort of heavy population load. I really havent used one in a long time, I only have a couple tanks left and one is on a wet-dry filter setup, the other just has a regular hang on type. I have been planning a custom build for my big setup for when the tank moves indoors, but haven't really started it yet. Thinking about basically building an oversize wet/dry setup using a 55g plastic drum, but haven't really worked out the specifics yet.
    As for the land area, I just use a variety of cinder blocks, retaining wall blocks, and pavers, then top it with the same natural slate tile I use for everything else's basking spots. Everything is dry fitted, and set up so I have one tile laid flat and another on an angle for the access ramp. The only thing they've ever managed to move is the ramp piece, and that's only because they can get under it. It is also situated in the center of one end, so that there is water all around it. This is to allow me to raise the water level to the highest point possible without allowing them any chance of escape. It also allows them easy access to dive back in at a moment's notice, which they usually do. Of course they're right back at the edge of the tub a second later wanting fed once they realize it's me, lol. If I get a chance I'll take some shots of my setup this weekend when I do the cleaning.
    Another thing, I would suggest you make a point of setting yours up where they get at least a few hours of direct sunlight each day. You don't really want full sun all day, but they will benefit more having a few hours each day than none at all. Any lights we provide are a poor substitute for the sun, so take advantage of it when you can. It'll also save you on your electric bill.
    I did have a thought on the plants. I'm not sure, but I believe most any pond safe plant would be safe with them. I know I have harvested duckweed a few times, it doesn't last long with turtles or goldfish. If you could figure out a way to get waterlilies going without them destroying whatever they're planted in I think they would leave those alone. No promises though.
    As for the lid, a simple pvc frame is a great idea (I was trying to get too fancy in my head, lol), and I think if you check the garden department somewhere, they make a netting for keeping pests out of gardens, you might be able to make that work.

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