Habitat - Indoor :: Opinions on starting out with my turtle?

Turtle tank setups and other indoor configurations.

Post Posted: Fri Dec 28, 2018 10:52 am   Opinions on starting out with my turtle?

So I do not have a turtle yet, but I will be getting one soon. A friend of mine has 4 Eastern Painteds and the male has not been cohabitating well with the other three she has. He has been segregated to his own tank and does not have the money or time to set him up like the others and maintain another habitat. I agreed to take him so she could still see him and all that, but he would be able to be set up properly. I have never kept turtles before, the closest I have come is a Leopard Gecko which is really nothing like it. I have been reading all the information that I can to get him set up the best I can in short order and allow myself to upgrade equipment as I am able. I was hoping I could run by you folks what supplies will be coming with him and what I am purchasing to get him started and get some advice and/or approval on my plan.

He will come with the tank that he is in, but it comes with no stand. The tank is smaller than I want him to have (I think it is 35 or 40 gallon) and his shell is nearly 4". I am purchasing some lumber this weekend to build a stand rugged enough to handle a larger tank as he will have to be housed in the current tank for a couple months. I am working now on an ATBA for him so that way he can have as much water as possible where the tank is already on the small side. As she only had one submersible heater, he currently has an under tank so I have chosen a submersible to purchase that has a thermostat to keep the tank at a steady temperature. She will be sending him with some food to get him started on and I will pick up more at my local pet store. I would also like to install a GFCI outlet. Now here come the questions.

1. He will need a new UVB light. Can I use any light fixture to run it as long as it is sturdy and can accommodate the wattage put off by the bulb? I plan on mounting his bulbs above the ATBA, but I didn't know if I needed a specific fixture or not.
2. I live in a residential area where I have public water. Should I purchase species specific water conditioner where I am sure there are treatment chemicals like chlorine present?
3. I would love to provide some live plants (for as long as he will let them live before shredding them anyways), but I want a bare bottom set up to ease in keeping it clean. Are there any safe floating plants that I can use?
4. What would be the best final tank size for him in the long run? I would like to keep my eyes open for a good deal on a tank. I was thinking 50-75 gallon would probably be an ideal size for just him.

Thank you in advance to anyone who has taken the time to read the novel I just wrote and thank you for any opinions and advice you may have. I just want to make sure I do the best I can to give him a happy and healthy life!
(Soon to be) 1 EPT (Spazz)
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Post Posted: Fri Dec 28, 2018 11:54 am   Re: Opinions on starting out with my turtle?

Build the stand well just 40 gallons water along is 333#’s. Build solid !

Your planning helps and is good. Tank that size an “ATBA” will buy you some time with him being 4” now. Depending if male for sure and his DNA may only get 6-7 inches as adult. Look into used glass tanks or stock tanks to save money. Pet shops when remodeling put on sale very cheap older used tanks. You can offer him much more in a stock tank due to the wider sizes. Look in photo gallery for “Piggley’s pictures / videos on his home for ideas. He’s a little over 5” in a 150 gallon stock tank. Also use several price trackers to help watch sales. On stock tank’s look at tractor /farm supply store’s , much cheaper than at a big box store.

1: fixture's needs to have ceramic socket for the heat. Read up on UVB's and get one that does both UVA and UVb only a few out there does both ! Will only need one fixture then costing less and those type bulbs last longer saving money. I use mega ray, cost little more but when looking at total cost of others needing to be replaced every few months cost is small.
2: water conditioner for a beginner yes “prime” is a good one. If a adequate filter and use proper amount of carbon no drops would be needed. It removes chlorine and chloramine’s. But even the best carbon gets saturated with toxins and needs to be changed in 3-5 weeks. Until you understand that fully use the drops.
3: live plants // stay away from being a beginner , adds more maintenance , get water parameters , cycling down first then maybe add some down the road. But all will become a food source.
4: Getting an adult size setup at his size 4” will be cheaper in the long run. A 60 gallon with a ATBA would be good or a 90 gallon part full ( to prevent escape) with basking area in tank is also good. A 100 gallon rubbermaid stock tank is 1/4th the cost of glass tanks and would be a good size even part full to prevent escape and a floating basking area. Won’t have all those upgrades that get costly.


Read here: http://www.redearslider.com/startup.html

I'll be back from my vacation with the grandkids in a few days , will be able to help more then. Don't tell the kids I was online ! :D
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Post Posted: Fri Dec 28, 2018 12:06 pm   Re: Opinions on starting out with my turtle?

Thank you for all the advice! I have a couple heat lamp fixtures with the ceramic socket (the steel ones with the clamp as well as a hanger) that I bought at my local farm store when I got my chicks. I only needed one so I still have an unused one, I assume one of those would be alright to use, I will just get the bulb I need for it. And I will definitely look into stock tanks, I think I have a spot big enough in my house for one of those too.

Oh and I won't tell anyone you were online, I know how kids can be!
(Soon to be) 1 EPT (Spazz)
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2 Pygmy Goats (Bella and Laila)
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Post Posted: Sat Dec 29, 2018 1:21 am   Re: Opinions on starting out with my turtle?

Do you plan on having a separate UVB/Heat lamp or an all-in-one?
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Post Posted: Sat Dec 29, 2018 9:07 am   Re: Opinions on starting out with my turtle?

The more I have shopped around, the more I have been considering just spending the extra initial cost and getting a mercury vapor bulb so I only have to use one fixture.
(Soon to be) 1 EPT (Spazz)
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Post Posted: Sat Dec 29, 2018 9:30 am   Re: Opinions on starting out with my turtle?

That's actually a good idea , will be cheaper in the long run. Buying adequate items will save and be healthier for your turtle. The Mega ray's do ship overseas but with no warranty. Use there discount code helps. http://www.reptileuv.com/shop/index.php ... e710270b0f
The one I have now is going 17 months and my UVB meter still read about 85% output. Which would take 3 other types to do the same at $18-$20 each being a higher cost. UVb is a splcial coating on a special quartz's glass. Most all stop producing UVB ray's in 6-7 months but will produce light. That's why I use a meter. For a beginner just write down the date installed and go by that. As I said mega rays last three times as long still producing even more good UVB rays than even a new other brand.

watch here : https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=UV ... ORM=VRDGAR



PS: Bulbs themselves cost // mega rays with discount code run about $35 // solar glo $30 // power sun $40 . Note the power sun cost more but out the three is to me the worst on output ???? Must be marking thing? Shop around there are others but truly not adequate for a turtle , yes say ok for reptiles BUT inadequate for a turtle ! These to me are ok for turtles with the mega ray lasting the longest especially on the UVB output ! Do the math others only last a short time so the cost of the bulb and shipping will cost more than (1) mega ray.
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Post Posted: Sat Dec 29, 2018 9:48 am   Re: Opinions on starting out with my turtle?

Thank you litefoot, I think it's my best bet. I will already have plenty of cords going on between the heater, the lamp, and filter, I like to be as efficient as possible while giving him the best I can. I will have to read it, but the fixture is rated for either 150w or 175w so I will be sure to purchase the bulb that the fixture can safely handle. I have a friend that keeps beardies and I believe that she has a uvb meter so until I purchase one, I will have access to hers to keep up on it.
(Soon to be) 1 EPT (Spazz)
1 Pitbull (Zeus)
2 Pygmy Goats (Bella and Laila)
3 Chickens (Chickadee, Goldie, Cheech)
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Posts: 12
Joined: Dec 26, 2018
Gender: Female

Post Posted: Sat Dec 29, 2018 10:08 am   Re: Opinions on starting out with my turtle?

What part of the world you live in ? If US most 120v 15amp wall plugs will handle 1800watts. If it's a 120v 20amp line then 2400 watts. A 15 amp line is good even better if it's an independent line. Or one with a few other things plugged into it. Also some wall plug's in a single room are on the same circuit. Most going your size on things will be OK with a normal 15amp plug. Being we are dealing with water use a GFI plug for safety ! Easy to change out if needed and only a few dollars or use a power strip that has one is OK.

I would not plug it in an outlet that has a refrigerator plugged into the same line. Lamps , TV etc... is OK.

On the UVb bulb that does both UVA / UVb depending on size of tank we are talking about watch the size. A 70-100 watt is what I would be looking at . Be careful some mercury vapors smallest size starts at 100 watts. But mega ray last year came out with a 70 watt for smaller setups.
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Post Posted: Sat Dec 29, 2018 10:20 am   Re: Opinions on starting out with my turtle?

I live in the US. I went and took a peek and it is a 20A line. Fortunately, I don't have much running in that room, just a small aquarium for neon tetras and a TV that gets used about once a week. I have to get the lumber for the stand this weekend and I planned on getting a gfci outlet while I was there (better to be safe than sorry!).

I went to the link you gave me and I did see the 70 watt, that was pretty cool. The socket on the lamp says 250w so I'm clear for whichever I choose, I think I'll go with the 100w bulb.
(Soon to be) 1 EPT (Spazz)
1 Pitbull (Zeus)
2 Pygmy Goats (Bella and Laila)
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Post Posted: Sat Dec 29, 2018 12:17 pm   Re: Opinions on starting out with my turtle?

Sound's all good for power.

Read about UVB's , placement is very important. Instructions different for each type/brand. That web site for mega rays read the specifications : minimum distance is 12" and max placement is 20" on the 100 watt. That is the range for best UVB results , other brands will differ on placement. I would use the 20" to start and check the temps on basking area . You may have to lower it say to 18" to get proper temp for the heat you want or needed. I keep my hot spot on basking area at 90* at a distance of 18". My basking area is over 2' so it also offers cooler spots if Piggley just wants to dry off. Do the largest basking area you can and let your turtle decide what he wants or needs. Not just a small basking area that's always hot. Your room temp may require different distance placement , just monitor temp until you get what's needed. Those fixture you already have will work well. There's no other as good as the Mega Ray !

Cartoon time over for the kids , talk later. I getting the eye from my daughter.
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Post Posted: Sat Dec 29, 2018 12:43 pm   Re: Opinions on starting out with my turtle?

Excellent, I will definitely take your advice and make a nice large basking area and hang the lamp at the further end of the tolerance to start out and adust from there.
(Soon to be) 1 EPT (Spazz)
1 Pitbull (Zeus)
2 Pygmy Goats (Bella and Laila)
3 Chickens (Chickadee, Goldie, Cheech)
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Post Posted: Sat Dec 29, 2018 2:32 pm   Re: Opinions on starting out with my turtle?

Use this time to study up on all topic's. Especially the water ( cycling) will be one of your best friends and your filter's too. The nitrogen cycle ! Google for info on it and I have a small thread under equipment about it. Will be here with any questions.

here's just one of many articles about it , there's several ways to do it. http://www.oscarfishlover.com/how-to-cy ... r-aquarium

Fish tank or turtle tank done same way. Unlike for fish a slider being hardy can be in the tank while it's done. They breath like us. The key is not just starting a cycle it is to maintain it .


Think about were the setup is going. Make maintenance easy like by a drain or a doorway will be easier than using a bucket back and forth.
Also never by a window.
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Post Posted: Sat Dec 29, 2018 3:36 pm   Re: Opinions on starting out with my turtle?

I'll definitely do some research on cycling. I remember when I had to do that for my fish tank, but that was some time ago now. I seriously appreciate all of your helpful advice, I feel fortunate to have experienced people to walk me through all this!
(Soon to be) 1 EPT (Spazz)
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2 Pygmy Goats (Bella and Laila)
3 Chickens (Chickadee, Goldie, Cheech)
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Post Posted: Sat Dec 29, 2018 6:02 pm   Re: Opinions on starting out with my turtle?

Thank You ! It's nice to work with someone doing their homework !
Have you narrowed do what type/size his adult home will be ?

Keep in mind a good filter goes a long way. Most filter's are sold as fish gallons and a turtle being much messier needs more gph. A baby needs 2x's flow rate of fish , juveniles need 2-3x's flow , adult males 3-4x's and adult females need 4-5x's flow being much larger. These are my numbers that worked for decades. Being a 4" male eastern painted his adult size depending on his DNA can be 6" . Myself to make maintenance easier would go with a flow rate 4x's the water volume you will have. Say 60 gallons water in what ever size tank would need a 240 gph flow rate. Also pick a filter that you can use your own media setup and one with the largest media area you can afford. After 5 decades in this hobby I still hate maintenance so after years of DIY filters I have an FX6 now for Piggleys 125 gallons of water. That's 4.5 times the flow rate of fish ! It also has the largest media volume area out being 5.28 gallons in area. With my setup only have to clean filter once every 3 months but could go longer if needed. But I still do my bi weekly water changes to maintain my cycle ! My water the day before filter cleaning stays crystal clear and safe , Piggley's picture and video's prove it. If you can swing a filter like that would be the last filter you ever need ! Watch for sales and use several price trackers. At least buy one with a large media area and a good flow rate . Something about 240 gph flow for 60 gallons water area. Stay away from types that use pre made media packs , you have to change out every week , that's where they make money off you. Everything in my filter can last for several years before I have to replace anything. It's almost all bio media ! Works for Piggley and me. The size tank you may be looking at an FX4 would be great. They have a flow rate of 450 gallons ( you can crank it down some if needed with there AquaStop valve ) and a media area 3.7 gallons . More than you need but if you go with a bigger tank than we talking about ( even a 100 gallons water area) the FX4 will still work. That and a good media setup can make filter maintenance very easy and give you crystal clear water !

What ever type/size filter you choose make sure it can handle the bio load for an adult turtle ! Just my .02
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Post Posted: Sun Dec 30, 2018 1:21 pm   Re: Opinions on starting out with my turtle?

When all is said and done, I'd love to have a 75 gallon or maybe the stock tank we talked about. Granted, if I spot something like a 55 gallon on my local classifieds for cheap before I get what I want, I will grab it up because it will still be better than what he started with.

I'm glad you are bringing up these topics like the filtration for me to learn up on, thesee are the details I definitely can use the assistance with. I'm not sure what filtration system he's coming with, but I know it will need upgrading.

And an update: I have dug out the fixture I have and ordered the 100w bulb as well as a couple thermometers for water and the basking area. I also went and got my lumber to build my stand!
(Soon to be) 1 EPT (Spazz)
1 Pitbull (Zeus)
2 Pygmy Goats (Bella and Laila)
3 Chickens (Chickadee, Goldie, Cheech)
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