Humans need homes. Some want their place to be found near the lake while others prefer a mountain cabin. There are those who want to live in the suburbs while some prefer the city where all the action is. Everyone has varied needs and preferences and the same rule applies to turtles and other animals.
Turtle tank setups are specific to the type of turtle that you wish to take care of. Different species have varied sets of preferences. Turtle tank setups can have a great effect on your pet’s development.
Different living requirements vary across species. For instance, land turtles such as box turtles typically live in a moist swamp environment. It may not survive properly if you place it in an area that is way too dry.
Turtle tank setups need to be flexible in order to cater to your pet’s specific needs. Even for aquatic turtles, it’s important to have a dry space where they can rest whenever they grow tired of swimming.
There aren’t a lot of turtles that can stay underwater for a long time so you will want to regulate the water level as well. There are turtle tank setups that are designed with inclined flooring to provide a space for the turtle to rest on a drier area.
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The land area
One of the vital components of turtle tank setups is the land area. It is logically designed to be above the water level but well built so your pet can climb on it when it needs to leave the water. It should be heated with a lamp as turtles are known to bask on dry land because it is good for strengthening their shells.
Aquatic turtles will probably require just a small portion of turtle tank setups for basking space. This can come in the form of a rock or a piece of wood. Semi-aquatic ones will need a lot of space to move around and adjust the temperature.
The swim area
Turtle tank setups vary in size so you will need to find one that should appropriately accommodate your pets. If you have a baby turtle and you’re just starting out on this hobby, a ten-gallon aquarium will suffice.
However, you will probably need to buy a bigger one as the turtle grows. To accommodate a growing turtle, your turtle tank setups should be able to hold twenty-gallons of water. You will also want to install filters in your turtle tank setups to make sure that the place is kept clean. The filter should be strong enough to support the whole tank.
The water’s temperature in turtle tank setups should also be properly regulated. Most turtles need a certain water temperature so they can live comfortably. You will probably need to invest in a water heater and a basking lamp to keep your pet warm.
It’s better to do away with installing substrates in your aquarium to keep your pet from swallowing things that he shouldn’t. You can add some plants and other decorations to make the aquarium feel more natural.
Must-Have Turtle Tank Accessories
Turtle tank accessories are important, both for this purpose as well as for the easy maintenance of your pet’s home. They also work to make turtles feel more comfortable with their relatively unfamiliar environment.
You can probably consider turtle tank accessories as spin-offs of the original amenities found in nature.
For instance, a UV lamp offers the same heat intensity as the sun’s rays. Turtles are known to bask in the heat of the sun every once in a while. Studies show that this heat helps develop stronger shells. Lack of sunlight tends to cause the carapace to grow brittle which is not good for the turtle.
Turtle tank accessories such as this also help the reptile acclimatize itself with its new environment. Remember that turtles are cold-blooded animals and as such, their body’s internal temperature is dependent on their environment. It’s important to have a UV lamp or water heater on hand to help them adjust their temperature into levels that are safer.
One of the many turtle tank accessories that you should invest on is suitable filters. These systems make it easier for you to maintain the cleanliness in your pet’s aquarium.
The filtration system ensures that your turtle is not exposed to chlorine that is typically found in treated tap water. It considered the heart of your whole setup so never skimp on this system. As a general rule, you will want to get a filtration system that is twice that of what you would normally use for a similar-sized fish tank.
You can choose from among three types of filtration systems – underground, submersible and external.
External pumps are relatively more expensive than the other two but they really make for efficient filtering systems. They do have superior filtration capabilities and are highly recommended among international turtle pet owner communities.
However, if you want to go for a cheaper alternative that is just as effective, it’s better to consider a submersible system. It is suitable for beginner turtle tanks.
As a general rule, it’s best to avoid using underground systems because it have to be setup under gravel which should not be installed in a turtle habitat in the first place.
The bigger the filter, the less often you are going to need to clean it. Make sure to take the time to clean your filters regularly and rinse all separate components and turtle tank accessories properly. These installations will help you take care of your turtle but can also pose safety risks if they are not properly maintained.
Read more: Best Aquarium Filters Reviews
Setting Up Your Turtle Aquariums for Beginners
Setting up your turtle aquariums is one of the essential preparations that you need to carry out before acquiring your first pets. Since different species of turtles have different requirements, there are different turtle aquariums that will suit each type.
Turtle aquariums are usually made of plastic. A ten-gallon tank will do just fine if you have only one turtle to take care of. Naturally, you will want to get a bigger tank if you’re thinking of getting two or more pets at the same time.
Remember that turtles will want ample space to move around in. Turtle aquariums should not be completely filled with water either. One portion of the tank should be used as a basking area where the turtle can take a break from swimming around every once in a while.
About a third of the floor space is usually provided for this purpose. In most cases, the floor surface of the turtle aquariums are inclined to keep water on one side of the tank. You will also want to avoid placing aquarium gravel on your tank’s floor as your pets can accidentally eat it and grow sick.
Another alternative for a basking area can come in the form of a large rock that your turtles can climb onto. It’s important to make sure that the basking area in your turtle aquariums is kept dry so always check on the tank’s water level.
You will need to make sure that your turtle aquariums are cleaned regularly. Water must be filtered so you can easily maintain it. Many turtle enthusiasts use canister filters or those that are normally used for tropical fish aquariums. However, don’t rely too much on your filters to keep your turtle aquariums clean. You will still need to allot some time once a week to clean the whole tank and the filters.
You will also want to use dechlorinated water or natural spring water in your tank. Avoid placing tap water as this can lead to various health problems due to its chlorine component.
Temperature and light
If you have to put your turtle aquariums indoors, make sure to install them in an area where the lighting doesn’t change a lot. You may need to invest on a sun lamp so your pets can comfortably bask in the heat that is important for the development of their shells.
A word of caution: make sure not to leave the UV lamp on the turtle aquariums for too long as the water can get too hot.
The temperature in the turtle aquariums should also be regulated. During the day, your tank’s temperature should be eighty degrees Fahrenheit on the average. Aquarium thermometers are available at the local pet store so you can easily monitor temperature changes in your turtle aquariums.
Designing Your Outside Turtle Tank
Turtles, once you get them home and into their tanks, require very little personal turtle care. As long as their turtle tanks are kept clean, they are very low maintenance creatures, pretty much a step above fish when it comes to personal attention.
While other pets like dogs and cats require a lot of time and effort, turtles thrive when they are left to their own devices (though some turtles have been known to show preference to certain people and some can even be taught to follow simple commands).
The most important part of turtle care is the turtle tank. The best turtle tanks are tanks that are set up outside, in the turtle’s natural habitat—building a little area for your turtles in your yard is often one of the best ways to take care of them, assuming your yard is free of natural predators and environmental concerns (if you use pesticides on your plants, for example, keeping your turtle outside might not be such a good idea).
The main reason to keep your turtle outside, if at all possible, is because turtles are very sensitive to seasonal changes and weather. Turtles hibernate and if you keep them inside, they won’t know when hibernating season in. Failure to hibernate causes liver problems. Yes, the best turtle care you can give is a natural habitat for your turtle to live in.
If, however, you decide to keep your turtle inside, here is what you need to know about turtle tanks:
The absolute minimum size of a turtle tank should be forty gallons. It is not a good idea to have a tank smaller than this because turtles have very specific needs.
Your turtle tank should include a water area, some marshy area and a dry land area. This is because while turtles do spend most of their time in the water, the species of turtles typically kept as pets, also spend time sunning themselves on dry land.
The marshy area can be where you plant various plants for them to eat, etc. Your turtle should have water that is deep enough to fully submerge in and water that is shallow enough that they can sit on the bottom of it but still poke their heads out of the top. A slanted plastic pond set up is idea—most pet stores will sell equipment to help make this possible.
The more natural you can make your turtle habitat the happier your turtle will be. In your water area, use only clean water that is not chlorinated in any way.
You might want to install a water filter to keep the water as clean as possible and a water heater to make sure that the water is the right temperature for the turtle. You will also want to install a light in the tank, a full spectrum fluorescent light, as these are the bulbs that are the best able to mimic natural sunlight.
Turtle care is basically low maintenance, but turtle tanks are very involved setups.