Turtles as pets can seem like a lucrative idea. They’re slow, not very picky about their meals and usually swim around in a tank. They might not be friendly and loving as dogs or the adorably squishy as cats but can easily outlive both by a huge margin. As they can live for decades together, it’s really important for you to ensure you can stay committed to them. Their proper and healthy survival entails proper nutrition and housing to be taken care of, and irrespective of what kind of turtle you’re planning to adopt, you should ensure its comfort and safety throughout its lifetime.
The most important thing to cater to when considering a turtle as a pet is the tank. It’s this enclosure that you need to be careful about because it’s within this little glass-walled area that the turtle is most likely to spend the rest of his life, depending on how you plan to take care of one. While there are many fancy tanks from reputed manufacturers available, some of the best turtle tanks are those that are personally built.
Some factors to consider when setting up a tank for your amphibious friend
The tank size
This is a simple one. The largest possible tank is undoubtedly the best one. However, there’s more to this than meets the eye. The size of a tank depends mostly on the area you have to spare and where you’re planning to keep it. Ideally, it should be able to hold a minimum of 10 gallons or 38L of water. This figure also depends on the species of turtle you get along with whether it’s just a baby and has room to grow or already a full-grown adult and won’t be getting any bigger.
You need to ensure that the turtle also gets enough room to swim. If he is bound to grow, a small tank be too soon be unable to accommodate him at all. The depth of the tank should be at least twice his size to give him room to swim around in. And have a lockable cover so that your pet doesn’t try to make a run for it.
The inside of the tank
Now that you’ve decided how big the enclosure is going to be, time to start the transformation from a simple glass box to a home for the turtle. The basic is to cover the layer of the tank with moss or soil. A perfect mixture of soil, wood chips, and moss can be the perfect lining for the base of the tank. Cover at least 2-3 cms of the bottom with this mixture. Be sure to avoid gravel as it can lose a choking hazard to the turtle.
The next stage
As turtles are amphibious in nature, it means they need their fair share of air when they are done swimming all day. To accommodate this, ensure your mixture prepared to previously line up the bottom of the tank is used and set in such a way that a portion of it is always clear of the water and stays dry. This is important as the turtle can then rest here when it’s taking a break from its underwater adventures and just wants to lay low.
Ensure this little bank is at an angle easy enough for the turtle to ascend and descend without any issues. Try and get a little hiding box to add to the overall comfort of your pet. And depending on the kind of turtle you’re planning to keep, the hiding box and the swimming area can be accordingly divided.
Adding to the overall comfort of the tank
Invest in a heating lamp for the rest spot and a filter to keep the tank clean. As turtles are reptiles, it’s important to regulate the temperature and give them both hot and cold sides to dwell in is important for their growth. The lamp along with a thermometer can help you ensure that the temperature of one side always stays between 29° and 32°C. Regulating the temperature in the night can also prove helpful as the tank shouldn’t go lower than 16°C. As for a filter, it’s simple. Installing one will keep the water clean so that it doesn’t get too murky and keep it inhabitable conditions for the turtle. You’ll also need to clean the tank every day using a net where the filter fails to do its job.
Finishing the job by adding the aquatic touch to the mix
Now that your basic tank is ready, it’s time to make it rain. Add in the water for your guests to swim around in. It can be tap water as long as the chlorine levels don’t kiss the sky. Ensure you add in the water according to the kind of turtle you’ve decided to raise, as too much can drown it and too little can be uncomfortable. As for the chlorine levels in the water, it should be South of 0. Any higher means you should either use bottled water or invest in a de-chlorinator for the tank.
These are some factors to keep in mind while thinking of getting a turtle for a pet. A good tank isn’t the most expensive one in the market, but one that you can take care of and cater to the needs of your pet. You can also invest in other items to make the tank look prettier, but keep in mind it shouldn’t be anything that can be harmful to the safety of the turtle. Species of the turtles are different and thus the needs can vary. It’s important to ensure you read up well about what you’re going to adopt before you get yourself a turtle. When you find the turtle growing too big for the tank, it’s advisable to switch it to a bigger and best turtle tanks so that it can continue to swim freely and enjoy its life as your pet.