Habitat - Indoor :: POST YOUR BASKING AREA PICTURES HERE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Turtle tank setups and other indoor configurations.

Post Posted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 10:50 pm   Re: POST YOUR BASKING AREA PICTURES HERE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks for the close up views. I was just about to suggest some cork bark too :)
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steve
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Post Posted: Thu Apr 30, 2015 11:25 pm   Re: POST YOUR BASKING AREA PICTURES HERE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's 98% finished. Trying to work out some ramp issues...
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Post Posted: Sat May 02, 2015 2:30 pm   Re: POST YOUR BASKING AREA PICTURES HERE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Looks great. What's the issue with the ramp?
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Post Posted: Sat May 02, 2015 3:21 pm   Re: POST YOUR BASKING AREA PICTURES HERE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I used the tub strips like Kansasslider, but as you can see in the above picture, they wouldn't stick. I got these turtle "tub tattoos" today (from Amazon), and it says to let them "set" for 8 hours, so I'm doing just that. If this doesn't work, I've got another plan up my sleeve.
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Post Posted: Tue Jul 07, 2015 2:00 pm   Re: POST YOUR BASKING AREA PICTURES HERE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Just wanted to post an updated picture of my ATBA.

I added a background, a corkbark flat and some plastic plants to the basking area.

Now that we have moved his lights so far away from the water we also added a light along the back to light up the lower half of the tank.

Image
1 male RES - Franklin
2 gold fish and 1 silver Fathead Minnow that started out as feeder fish & earned their right to live
3 Leopard Geckos - Gizmo, Snow and Boo
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Post Posted: Tue Jul 07, 2015 2:26 pm   Re: POST YOUR BASKING AREA PICTURES HERE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wow! Very cool!
1 RES - A girl named Sheldon
1 feeder fish - affectionately named Fishy - RIP 5/27/12
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Post Posted: Wed Jul 08, 2015 10:06 pm   Re: POST YOUR BASKING AREA PICTURES HERE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Me and Franklin approve!
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steve
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Post Posted: Fri Jul 17, 2015 8:39 am   Re: POST YOUR BASKING AREA PICTURES HERE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Just finished this new basking area. A little worried they still may be able to get out. Little escape artists, they are.
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Post Posted: Fri Jul 17, 2015 10:48 am   Re: POST YOUR BASKING AREA PICTURES HERE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yup, you can see them planning the escape now!
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Post Posted: Fri Jul 17, 2015 11:12 am   Re: POST YOUR BASKING AREA PICTURES HERE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dis you build that basking area over your tank ? It looks wonderful!
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Post Posted: Fri Jul 17, 2015 4:50 pm   Re: POST YOUR BASKING AREA PICTURES HERE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's a "turtle condo" from glasscages.com but yes, one can be made as well.
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Post Posted: Mon Jul 20, 2015 1:58 pm   Re: POST YOUR BASKING AREA PICTURES HERE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

steve wrote:It's a "turtle condo" from glasscages.com but yes, one can be made as well.


Steve is correct is is from Glasscages.com.

The tank itself if a 75 gallon but the condo is basically a 55 gallon tank with no top or bottom. It's relatively light weight since its made of a Acryllic. It does a good job of hiding the hoses and the lights while giving Franklin much needed room
1 male RES - Franklin
2 gold fish and 1 silver Fathead Minnow that started out as feeder fish & earned their right to live
3 Leopard Geckos - Gizmo, Snow and Boo
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Post Posted: Sun Aug 02, 2015 12:05 am   Re: POST YOUR BASKING AREA PICTURES HERE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Edit - This went from a short post to one that is more of a "giving back to the community" sort of thing in its length. I'm sorry if it's largely off-topic! Maybe I should have opened my own thread... :oops: Please offer lots and lots of feedback! And I hope that, if I somehow hold some knowledge that you don't, that my post will help you in some way or another. : )



Long-time lurker, first-time poster here. : ) Steve, thank you maintaining this site and forum - the wealth of information is incredible (P.S., do you have pictures of your set-up on here anywhere? I think I've been through all 78 pages so far in this thread and haven't seen any).



Below are some pictures of my recently redone tank/"above tank basking area/'ATBA'" for "Hickory". First I'd like to provide some back story, though, as there's a strong lesson to be learned - I found Hickory (western painted turtle) crossing a busy road 16 years ago (when I was only 6-7 years old myself) during a bike ride with my folks. After some begging and pleading, they said I could keep him (or "her" for all we knew, at the time, I suppose; he was only a hatchling). So I scooped him up, scared the heck out of him (I had pee from one end of me to the next), and he's been my partner in crime ever since.

While it sounds rosy that I, in a sense, rescued him from a likely squishy fate on the pavement by the hand of someone's SUV, it wasn't always the case for Hickory. Having no clue how to take care of a turtle (neither did my parents), we had him a "Kritter Keeper" for months and he nearly died because of it. After some reading on my dad's part - noticing our incredibly inactive and lethargic turtle - we migrated him to a (comparatively better) environment entailing a 20 gallon tank, at least a couple of inches of water, and a dry basking area with UVA/heat/UVB lights. We all had the fear of him "drowning in deep water" that many beginners have though, and so he stayed in his shallow, cold (no heater...) water for quite a few years.

It wasn't until I was much older that I started doing some extensive reading on my own on keeping a turtle, and realized how inadvertently horrible I had been to Hickory. I am still learning a ton each day (even me posting here now is in the hopes that I will get some critique on my set-up [and Hickory] and continue to improve Hickory's standard of living), but he is a thousand times better off than he was.

The "too long, didn't read" version: 1) Please do a ton of reading before you invest in a turtle. They are living beings that deserve respect, and so a lot of commitment to their well-being must be had if you are going to raise one. It is much, much more complicated than it seems. 2) You'll need to invest a lot of time finding reputable sources in your reading, and pet store clerks (as well as good-intentioned, "omniscient", non-turtle-keeping parents) are not and should never be your go-to for reliable information. 3) You will want to be prepared financially as well, and so sock away at least $500-600 bucks before getting your turtle - between the tank, filter, and all of the probably trial-and-error stuff you'll go through (not to mention potential visits to the vet if something goes wrong), it adds up quickly. 4) Don't cave into your kids if they do something similar to what I did as when I was young (i.e., beg, lol). Nothing wrong with rescuing an animal from certain doom - on the contrary, you should - but always be diligent in how you proceed from there for the animal's sake.

Tread lightly, turtle lovers. Thanks for listening to my story. : ) Here are the pics, as well as a list of equipment I'm using:



The entire set-up itself. Tank is an Aqueon 40 gallon "breeder" (36" x 18" x 17") I got at Petco during one of their "dollar/gallon" sales. Do not make the mistake I did at first and get a terrarium ("Critter Cage") - they are not designed for water and cannot hold it. If you need a mesh lid, they sell 'em at Petco as well... or you can make your own out of egg crate/light diffuser/a lot of other things. When I have more space I'd like to upgrade to a 55 or 75 gallon (Hickory is about 5" long from the front of his carapace to the back, so 40 gallons is a little small...):

(Also, a note - the green "fence" is gardening fence (found at Home Depot) to discourage him from swimming into the glass. It's held on by transparent picture hangers (from Target) on the outside of the tank. The experiment was a moderate success - he definitely sees it... but when someone approaches he gets way too excited and swims into the glass anyway, lol.)
Image

Here is a view showing off the top and basking area a little more. I do like the depth of this tank:
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Here's the above tank basking area ("ATBA" for all you confusing, fake acronym lovers out there). It's made of two "Room Essentials" (found at Target) hanging storage baskets (flipped upside down), as well as a "cat proofer" - the famous egg crate/light diffuser solution (can be found in the lighting department at Home Depot). It's about 18" x 15", and is all held together securely by zip ties:
Image

My filter, the Eheim 2215 (got for $60 on Amazon Prime with a gift card!). It's in a white storage container just in case it leaks while I'm at work or something... fingers crossed - no leaks yet. I've heard great things about these filters though - one story of a gentleman using the same Eheim filter for 19 years before anything went wrong with it. Some helpful videos on it if anyone's interested: Setting it up | Priming | Cleaning:
Image

...and finally, the legendary Hickory himself. He is one hardy (and very inquisitive and social, too) turtle! My family loves him dearly:
Image



My equipment and reading notes:
Code: Select all
**All equipment washed with 1/4 white vinegar, 3/4 distilled water solution before use**

Aquarium (from Petco):
-Aqueon 40 gallon breeder (36" x 18" x 17"), with steel mesh, bisected "flip" lid

Filtration (from Amazon.com) (My first "real" aquarium filter):
-Eheim 2215

More on filtration (all media packaged with the Eheim 2215):
-Biological: Eheim substrate "bio-balls", Eheim "bio-rings"
-Mechanical: Eheim filtration pad/sponge
-Chemical: n/a... filter came with a carbon pad, but from everything I've read it is totally unnecessary and over-hyped (please feel free to offer opposing viewpoints, though)

Heating (from PetSmart):
-TetraFauna "Aquatic Reptile Heater" (only rated for up to 30 gallons, although it keeps my almost-40 gallon tank at 75-78F... hope it is not being taxed too much)
(I am sure this is one of my tank's weak points - I was unsure if buying a run of the mill heater was safe though, as they are fragile and get hot, obviously. Need advice on a new heater + protective case so Hickory doesn't hurt himself on it)
-"Grreat Choice" (if I recall correctly) external thermometer

Air pump, bubbler (from PetSmart):
-"Grreat Choice" air pump (for up to 40 gallons)
-Top Fin LED "bubbler", with silicon airline tubing

Above Tank Basking Area ("ATBA"):
-Zoo Med "EcoCarpet" for floor (from PetSmart)
-Steel "cages" (Room Essentials hanging baskets from Target)
-"All Living Things" rock ramp (from PetSmart)
-Zoo Med analogue thermometer + hygrometer - basking area consistently at 40% humidity and between 88-93F depending on ambient temperature of the room (from PetSmart)
-"All Living Things" reptile "water dish" - made of stone, flipped upside down for basking platforms (from PetSmart)
-Egg crate/light diffuser used for outer walls and ramp into water (from Home Depot, lighting department)
-Many, many zip ties (got a 650 pack [lol] from Target)

Lighting (is left on ~12 hours/daily [on with sunrise, off with sunset]):
-UVA+Heat - Zoo Med 100w Repti Basking Spot Lamp (from PetSmart)
-UVB - Zoo Med Reptisun 10.0 UVB (from PetSmart)
-Terrarium wallpaper (on three sides, plus a bit on the fourth side at the bottom for privacy) - not sure of brand, but found at PetSmart)

Diet:
-Tetra ReptoMin floating food (from PetSmart)
-Mazuri Aquatic Turtle Diet (from Petco)
("5 minute's worth" every other day)

-Zoo Med large, sun-dried Red Shrimp (from PetSmart)
-Zoo Med Aquatic Turtle "Banquet Block" (from PetSmart)
(Only occasionally given... I have heard, especially with the shrimp, that too much protein can be bad)

Substrate, misc.:
-CaribSea Super Naturals Aquarium Sand (from PetSmart)
-"All Living Things" slate "log" (from PetSmart)
-Aquarium wallpaper (on three sides) - not sure of brand, but found at PetSmart
-"Toys" - Franklin ping pong balls (one with holes to sink, one without to float - Hickory likes pushing them around) (from Target)




Some great reading sources:
*Austin's Turtle Page (ATP)
*This site! Redearslider.com
*Tank cycling: Link 1 | Link 2 | Link 3 | Link 4
*ATP's care sheets
*ATP's article on filtration
*Cleaning, maintaining sand in an aquarium
*Substrate battle! Sand vs. Gravel



...and finally, some open-ended questions I have:
1) Shame on me, I am currently using distilled water. I've moved around a lot and so tap water has scared me in more than one instance. Any advice? What is the "ideal" water solution for my turtle? I've tried to supplement the water with ReptoGuard water conditioner blocks, but I am not sure if that helps in the ways natural minerals would.

2) I've noticed that (maybe for the past year or so), depending on how strongly/long Hickory has been swimming, when he comes up for air there's the slightest, high pitch "wheeze" coming from his nose. Something I should be concerned about?

3) Take a look at his pictures. His shell looks fine to me, but I hope a better turtle keeper than me on here can let me know that for sure.

4) Please offer advice on a heater. I'm using TetraFauna one right now. I know people swear by the Eheim Jager ones... but do I need a protective case for it? Any good ones out there?


Cheers!!
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turtlenojutsu
 
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Post Posted: Sun Aug 02, 2015 12:31 am   Re: POST YOUR BASKING AREA PICTURES HERE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Welcome to the forum! It's sort of a long-running inside joke that everything about me and my turtles is anonymous. Interesting experiment with the mesh. I know my RES tries to swim through solid black plastic, so I guess they just don't care :)

So here are some answers:
1 - Most tap water sources are fine. If you live in a major US city, they will put out testing information on water quality. Forget conditioners, blocks... go with activated carbon and replace it once a month. Add Purigen helps too. We have thread that shows how to use a cheap house filter to pre-filter the water.

2 - Thats normal. You might even see a bit of water squirt out during a fireman impression.

3 - There is a bit of curl on the marginals and shell looks a bit bumpy. Not too bad, some more shedding can help a little.

4 - I have Jagers... not perfect but they are good. Aqueon Pros are also popular and have a lifetime warranty. You don't need a guard in most cases, but they are cheap to buy or make.
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Post Posted: Sun Aug 02, 2015 10:04 pm   Re: POST YOUR BASKING AREA PICTURES HERE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Steve - thank you for the super quick first post approval and response!

I like the running gag/inside joke - that makes it fun! Maybe you should have an annual contest like the picture one for who tricked you into leaking the most information about yourself. :)

1) Does activated carbon do much more than "polish" the water? My understanding is that it's largely a superficial "clean" (plus the adsorption eventually fails and dumps all the stuff back into the water if you leave it in too long). If there is significance to it in terms of water health though, please correct my understanding (I probably am just missing a piece of the puzzle).

2) Good to know! I haven't seen the "fireman impression" yet, but I hope I do - it sounds pretty funny! : )

3) What are the main culprits of shell curling and bumpiness? Any good reads on how to ensure your turtle has a healthy shell? Probably a combination of basking time, water quality, and diet, but if there are any "pillars to success" with regard to this, let me know!

4) Thanks! I think I'll check out the Jagers - I know I saw them on Amazon when I was shopping for the filter for not too much money.

One last question and then I promise I'll stop derailing this thread! :) Without revealing any of your personal secrets, do you have any ballpark as to how long Hickory (western painted) might live? I've read anywhere between 20-50 years in captivity, but that is quite the delta. He's about 16 years old now.

Thanks again and take care!
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