The following are seven guidelines to setting up turtle habitats.
Size and Structure
The size and structure of the turtle’s tank should be calculated based on the mature size of the turtle, so you do not have to replace the tank every year.
Get a tank that is made of strong glass, preferably those molded in fiberglass. Do not get tanks with thin glass because they can break easily under the water pressure.
Land and Water Area
Turtles swim, feed in water, and love to bask. It is important that you consider this. The turtle’s swimming area should be unobstructed. The land area in turtle habitats can be made of acrylic, glass, thick wood, plastic, or a large stone, and anchored above water level.
The turtle should have easy access to the land area and the water. You can either design the land area to slope down to the water, or provide a ramp that the turtle can climb on.
Turtle Habitats Temperature
Turtles are cold-blooded creatures that rely on the environment’s heat to stay warm. You will need to provide the tank with optimal temperature.
The ideal temperature range for the water area in turtle habitats is between 21.1 – 26.6 degrees Celsius (70 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit). For the land area, 26.6 – 32.2 degrees Celsius (80 – 90 degrees Fahrenheit).
Turtles spend most of their lives in water, so it is important that the water in their artificial environment is kept clean. However, because turtles generate much waste, the water cleanliness should be one of your top priorities.
You can adopt a partial-water changing schedule and water filtration system. You can use tap water or filtered water. Change the water in the tank every 45 days.
Turtle habitats need to look homely, too. You don’t need to go overboard with the decorations, but you can make it seem more like a natural habitat than a tank.
However, never put anything you picked up from the road into the tank without proper sterilization. These might be contaminated and cause diseases to your turtle. Be careful not to put sharp, pointed, or too small objects into the tank.
To maintain your turtle’s health, you will need to give it sufficient light.
A heating or basking light provides white light to the tank and heat for the turtle’s basking area. You can use either reptile basking lights or spotlight bulbs. Focus the light on the land area and make sure it is mounted far from the turtle’s reach.
Turtles also need UV light rays for calcium metabolization.
Turtle Habitats Placement
Base the placement of your turtle’s habitat on what benefits it rather than on how it looks good in a certain corner.
Although turtles need UV rays to synthesize Vitamin D3 to maintain their shell, they will not get sufficient exposure to UV even if you place the tank beside a window. The window’s glass pane filters out almost 95% of the UV rays in sunlight. Also, greater exposure to sunlight will make algae grow faster, prompting frequent changing of water.
Turtles also get colds and runny noses, especially if they are kept in a drafty area or near a fan or an air-conditioner. Make sure to keep the tank away from very windy areas.
Like human beings, turtles need a clean habitat to thrive, too. Since natural bio-cleaners are absent, it is your responsibility to provide a clean and safe habitat for your pet.
But when do you start cleaning the tank?
- Every 34-45 days
- Every time the tank water is replaced
- If the turtle gets a non-dietary disease
- If there is too much algae growth in the tank
- When the water starts to change color and smells foul
Before cleaning the tank, remove the animals, decorations, equipment, and then empty out the water. Wash the insides of the tank with hot water, but do not use boiling water so the glass doesn’t crack. Do not use detergents either. Use an old newspaper or a sponge to wipe the surfaces and edges.
If you want to use a mild disinfectant, make sure it does not contain phenol or phenolic compounds. Rinse the tank thoroughly before you refill it with water. Clean the decorations and equipment, too, before you fit them back in.
Add clean water. To prevent the growth of bad bacteria, shell and skin diseases, you can and a teaspoon of common salt per 4-5 liters of water.
Wait 30-45 minutes before you return the animals to the tank.
Artificial turtle habitats should mimic the aura and ambience of the turtle’s natural environment. Maintain the cleanliness of the tank to ensure that your turtle lives a long and healthy life.
Turtle Tanks Tip #1
Remember that turtles are not all alike. Each different species and sub species require different housing, feeding and water needs. Only after you have properly identified your turtle can you create the perfect environment for raising it. Therefore, your first concern should be to clearly identify what species your pet turtle is.
Turtle Tanks Tip #2
Aquatic turtles should be kept in aquariums that have fairly deep water, a basking area, and heat and light sources. Turtles that are mostly terrestrial still need to have some water but should not be kept in aquariums. They will be happier in wide wooden or plastic enclosures that contain the right substrate and a wading dish.
Turtle Tanks Tip #3
Be sure to wash and sterilize anything you pick up from the yard before placing it in the turtle tank. Don’t add any decorations in the tank that are sharp, pointed, or small enough that your turtle could potentially swallow them.