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What do you need for a pet turtle: Aquatic Pet Turtle Care and Essentials

Aquatic Pet Turtle Care and Essentials

So, you’ve decided to get a pet turtle. Whether you’re a turtle fanatic (like myself!), you’ve found yourself in possession of an aquatic turtle or you’re a parent looking for a “low-maintenance” pet for your family, a pet turtle is a great choice. And I’m here to walk you through proper care of your new pet.

Take a deep breath—you’ve come to the right place. I’ve worked with turtles my entire life, starting as a hobbyist, then as a reptile keeper at several zoos and now as a veterinarian specializing in turtles and tortoises.

Below is an overview of turtle care for the most common aquatic pet species—sliders, painted turtles, cooters and other pond/river turtles. This guide is a jumping off point into successful keeping and care of pet turtles—an educational and emotionally rewarding experience.

Essential Turtle Equipment

  1. Enclosure. A turtle tank and turtle aquarium are standards, but today, there also are plenty of alternatives, like turtle tubs and ponds.
  2. Light/Heat. Turtles are cold-blooded. To swim, digest, grow and maintain their immune system, turtles need UVB light and heat. This can be provided with separate bulbs or in combination with a mercury vapor bulb.
  3. Basking Site. Turtles thermoregulate (control their body temperature) by basking, which is when they get completely out of the water to warm up and dry off.
  4. Filtration. Clean water is critical to a healthy turtle, and it avoids a smelly room.
  5. Food. Like other pets, turtles need a complete commercial food staple, with occasional treats.
  6. Enrichment. Turtles are curious! Adding decor to their home is vital to keep them healthy and stimulated. Fake plants, like Marineland Bamboo, can provide security and a place to rest.

Choosing an Enclosure

Ideally you begin this process before getting your pet turtle. Turtle tubs and DIY ponds can be customized and provide more space to your pet, but many people prefer the aesthetics of a turtle tank or turtle aquarium as it allows you to observe the animal underwater.

The enclosure should be as large as possible for the adult size of the animal. I recommend nothing smaller than 75 gallons for most aquatic turtle species. Note: Females of most species get larger than males, which is something to consider if space is a concern.

Smaller turtles, like mud and musk turtles, can thrive in a 40-gallon, long aquarium their entire lives. A sturdy stand is a must, as 40 gallons of water can weigh over 300 pounds.

Avoid placing the aquarium in places with large fluctuations or extremes in temperature. This includes areas like drafty doorways, garages and near certain windows.

Setting Up Your Turtle Aquarium

After placing the enclosure where you want it, add in the decor.

For beginners, I strongly recommend against using substrate, such as sand, gravel, pebbles or river rocks, to line the bottom of the turtle tank. Substrate tends to collect debris and accidentally can be eaten, which can cause impaction or death. If you must get substrate, use large river rocks or washed calcareous sand.

Avoid décor items with large holes or those that potentially could fall, as turtles can drown if they get pinned or wedged. I stick with plastic plants and driftwood, which can create platforms your turtle needs to rest, sleep and reach the surface for air.

Next, add the basking spot. The Penn-Plax Turtle Topper above tank basking platform allows you to completely fill the aquarium with water and create an elevated, dry basking spot. And it doesn’t pose a drowning risk, like rocks and logs can.

Some turtle tubs include a built-in basking site similar to this platform. DIY platforms, rocks and logs can be used, but take precautions to ensure they cannot be moved by your pet turtle and crush or pin him.

Floating basking sites often don’t support the weight of adult turtles, but they can be used as a secondary resting area. Once you’ve placed the basking site, hang your light and heat above it.

Add Light and Heat

Your turtle needs both light and heat to thrive. Essential light for your pet turtle should offer both visible light and ultraviolet light (in the form of UVB).

Heat and visible light can be provided with an incandescent spotlight between 60 and 100 watts. Base the wattage on whatever gets the basking site to 90-100 degrees Fahrenheit during the day.

The UVB light can come from a UV compact fluorescent light.

Leave lights on for at least 10 hours per day. I use an outlet timer to automatically turn on the lights at 9 a.m. and shut them off at 10 p.m.; that way I can enjoy feeding and watching my turtles after I return from work.

Zoo Med Aquatic Turtle UVB & Heat lighting kit provides all the lights and fixtures needed for your turtle tank in one simple kit. If you don’t want to mess with multiple bulbs, then consider a mercury vapor bulb over 100 watts, like the Zoo Med PowerSun UV mercury vapor reptile lamp, and a fixture with a ceramic base, like Fluker’s Mini Sun Dome lighting fixture. Note: Mercury vapor bulbs get very hot and can shatter if water is splashed on them.

Keep your pet turtle’s water temperature in the range of 68-80 degrees Fahrenheit for him to keep feeding and remain active. Zoo Med ReptiTemp digital infrared thermometer is a useful tool to check temperatures within your turtle tank.

If the water temperature reaches the 50s, it can trigger a state of dormancy or hibernation. This is unnecessary for captive turtles and is beyond the average keeper’s skill set. If you find your water temperature is too cold, you can add a shatterproof aquarium heater, like the 100W Aqueon Preset aquarium heater.

Keeping Your Turtle Tank Clean

Yes, you need a filter. Yes, turtle tank filters can be pricey. But it will save you time and money in the long run and can turn keeping turtles from a chore into a relaxing part of your home.

I recommend a canister filter, a pond filter or a sump (wet/dry) filter. These all maximize the biological filtration surface area, which is the site where aerobic bacteria grow to break down solid waste. For most aquatic turtle keepers, a canister filter, like the Penn-Plax Cascade Aquarium canister filter, is the most economical, smallest and quietest option.

Whatever filter you choose, never go by the gallons on the box. Get something rated for a minimum of 75 gallons (a flow rate of approximately 265 gallons per hour) for a single juvenile to adult turtle. Then add a rating of 50 gallons for each additional turtle. The reason you should do this is because filter recommendations are almost always for fish tanks, but turtles are messy eaters, and tend to eat more food and have more solid waste.

To maximize your turtle tank filter’s capability, you will need to employ filter media with maximum surface area for the bacteria to colonize. Filter media is a term for any material used to trap debris in your aquarium and grow beneficial bacteria to break down waste. The media is placed in the filter boxes or chambers within your filter and water flows through them by the water pump.

Bio-filter balls, ceramic rings, sponge pads and filter pads are all examples of filter media, and can be used alone or in combination. However, it is generally recommended to use a filter pad or sponge pad in the early filter stages to trap larger debris and prevent clogging of the pump.

Biological media should be rinsed of debris every 1-2 months, using unchlorinated water to keep the beneficial bacteria alive. Replace any damaged or broken-down filter media with new filter media.

Activated charcoal can be added to the filter box to help “polish” the water (keep it clear) and eliminate odors. However, charcoal must be completely replaced every 1-2 months to remain effective.

Adjust the current from the filter outflow to be gentle to moderate. This is generally achieved by a flow control knob on the top of the filter, an intake valve or an outflow valve. The gentle flow will allow your turtle to be able to rest and sleep in the water without constantly treading water.

Feeding Your Pet Turtle

You will find that turtles are very food motivated. They quickly become beggars and will have you trained to giving them treats in no time!

Like other pets, aquatic turtles can become obese or deformed without proper nutrition. So start with a commercial turtle food as your pet’s staple diet. Zoo Med Natural Aquatic Maintenance Formula turtle food and Mazuri Aquatic turtle food are two used in zoos and aquariums worldwide for dozens of species.

Hatchling formulas contain smaller pellets, which may be necessary for young turtles. Feed the recommended portions by placing the pellets directly into the water. Most all aquatic turtles need to eat while in the water.

Add variety to your turtle’s diet for complete nutrition. Live foods, like crickets, wax worms, super worms and earthworms, are readily devoured, especially by young turtles, who tend to be more carnivorous.

Adult turtles also enjoy nibbling on fresh produce. I recommend floating pieces of dandelion, duckweed, water hyacinth, kale and other leafy greens.

Enjoying Your Pet Turtle

I strongly recommend researching your specific pet turtle species before bringing him home. And keep in mind that turtles can live 30-50 years on average, so they can be a part of your family for decades.

As with all pets, watch their weight, appetite, activity and appearance so you quickly notice signs of illness. And, most importantly, have fun!

Many turtles love to interact with their human families. Taking walks outside of their tanks, getting their shells scrubbed with a toothbrush and getting to bask outdoors while supervised often are enjoyable experiences for a pet turtle. Just be sure to exercise good judgement, proper hygiene and common sense.

With these notes in mind, your pet turtle should live a happy and healthy life.

Author’s Note: Adopt, don’t shop! People are surprised to hear that abandoned turtles are a huge issue in many cities. I get calls every day about people looking to rehome turtles who have grown too large for them, keepers going off to college and, sadly, animals who outlive their families. Most cities have animal shelters and reptile clubs that adopt out reptiles for free or a small fee. A quick search on Google or PetFinder.com can guide you in the right direction. By adopting, you help prevent pets from being released into the wild where they have become a major environmental issue.



Dr. James Liu grew up in California, obsessed with all things animals, especially reptiles. He graduated from UCLA in Conservation Biology and UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine with a specialty in wildlife. He currently lives in New York and travels the world, working as the veterinarian and managing director for the Turtle Conservancy (@turtleconservancy). His articles and photography can be found in The Tortoise magazine, Reptiles magazine, LA Times, PENTA magazine, and on Chewy’s blog, BeChewy. Follow Dr. James Liu’s wildlife and turtle adventures on Instagram at @turtlesarentslow.

Featured Image: Via Chewy Studios

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Do You Know About These Pet Turtle Requirements?

Copyright: denisgo / 123RF Stock Photo

Before you go out and purchase a turtle or tortoise, there are a few quick things you need to know first about pet turtle requirements.

Consider the following: Your turtle tank is not just merely where your turtle lives, it’s his or her living quarters, but their entire existence, from the overall enclosure, temperature, environment, decorations and accessories, the land, the water, the air, everything.

And so, if you want a suitable environment for your little turtle friend, there are some things that are going to be absolute necessities.

This article is going to tell you what those pet turtle requirements and necessities are.

Pet Turtle Necessities

    

My Top Pick

Tetra Tetrafauna Pro Turtle Food

    Price: ~$10 Nutrition: High Protein and Vitamin D3

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UVA UVB Turtle Basking Light
    Price: ~$20

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Turtle Tank Filter (480GPH)
    Price: ~$35

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Penn-Plax Basking Platform
    Price: ~$20

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What do turtles need to survive?

In order to survive, pet turtles need a big enough tank, clean water, a basking platform, and a balanced diet.

A Proper Aquarium Tank or Tub

Of all the pet turtle requirements, this may be the most important. The vast majority of pet turtle or tortoise owners opt for an aquarium or see-through tank.

Basically, anything that you can fill with water will do.

Most people opt for see-through glass turtle tanks because they want to be able to observe their turtle or tortoise during the day. Another option is to get a turtle tub. While they aren’t see through, they are usually bigger and much cheaper.

Here are a few general rules when it comes to your turtle tank.

The bigger = the better. Unlike fish, turtles do not stay the same size as their enclosure. Even if you have a small 20-gallon tank, your red-eared slider will rather quickly outgrow.

The general rule of thumb is that is for every inch of carapace shell, you need 10 gallons of water, per turtle. That means, if you’ve got two 4-inch turtles, you need at least an 80-gallon tank to properly hold them. 40 gallons for each.

If you get a tank that is too small, it will stress out your turtle and will likely cause a cloudy tank like the one in my video below.

I would strongly recommend that you start out with at least a 40 to 55-gallon tank, even if you have a smaller turtle, just because chances are he or she will get up to that size within a few years anyway.

My favorite Turtle Tank is the Tetra 55 Gallon Aquarium. You can click the picture below for more details.

While tanks are usually the most expensive item, there are still some cheap turtle tank options.

Also, you need to think about the division of water and land in your tank or aquarium.

Here’s why; some turtle species are aquatic, meaning that they should and want to spend the bulk of their lives in water. If that’s the case, you probably want to make something like a 75%/25% split between water and land.

On the other hand, some species, like most tortoises and some turtles, are mostly terrestrial. If that’s the case, you may want to opt for something more like a 50%/50% split between water and land. The water/land distribution of your tank or aquarium should be suitable for your specific turtle species.

There are a few more things to consider before we move on to the next necessity.

Think about what cover is suitable for your tank or aquarium.

Just as a precautionary measure, it might be a good idea to use a tank or aquarium cover. Whatever you do, don’t buy a glass or plexiglass cover.

The glass covers can shatter, and the plexiglass covers can melt. Both of them inhibit any UV rays that your turtle desperately needs, and both of them can adversely affect the temperature inside the tank.

Think about what substrate you want to use.

The substrate is the material or objects that lay on the bottom of the tank.

Many turtle owners don’t use any substrate. However, turtles in the wild love to dig around the dirt/clay, and putting substrate in your tank provides more of a natural environment for them.

Here are options for substrate:

Coconut Fiber Substrate

My absolute favorite substrate for turtles is coconut fiber. It is really easy for your turtle to dig around, and it doesn’t make a huge mess. Best of all, it naturally absorbs and breaks down waste which helps eliminate foul odors from your turtle tank. You can buy cheap substrate here. You can also click on the picture below for more details.

Sand

If you are a beginner turtle enthusiast, this is probably a bad choice. For starters, it’s rather difficult to keep the tank clean. You’ve got to vacuum your tank often, and it’s just, in general, a pain to deal with. If you are going to use sand however, you should use something that is very fine rather than rocky. This is, however, a good option to use in a tub or tote for a soft-shelled turtle, particularly any species that likes to dig and burro. You can buy cheap turtle sand substrate here.

Aquarium gravel

Don’t use this! It’s just a bad choice, period. In many cases the pellets resemble food and your turtle will try to eat it, and in some cases, choke to death on them. They also don’t really do much for the environment if you have any plants in the tank.

Flourite

This is not a bad option, but a few things first. Flourite is a porous type of clay gravel that is made just for aquariums and tanks. It’s excellent for aqua plants and looks very natural, but will make your tank very dirty and muddy looking when you first apply it. Make sure you filter the tank water for a few days as the fluorite particles drop to the bottom before you put your turtle back into the tank. You can buy flourite here.

Your tank is pretty important. But to sum-up:

  • Buy a bigger tank or consider using a tub or tote
  • Think about the water and land division check
  • Think about what substrate you want to use

A Light and Heat Source

Temperature. If you get this wrong, your little turtle pal is not going to have a great existence.

There are two temperatures inside your tank or tub that you need to be aware of; the water temperature and the basking area. Both are critical.

The water temperature.

For most turtle or tortoise species you will want to keep the water temperature at around 77-80 degrees. The easiest way to do this is through the use of a submerged water heater. They are not expensive, do a good job of keeping the water warm and many of them already contain thermometers. My favorite water heater is the Tetra Aquatic Reptile Water Heater.

The basking temperature.

The basking area is the area that your turtle will go to ‘lay out in the sun.’ Turtles need to do this.

Basking is very healthy for them, and if they don’t do it they become more prone to contracting contagious diseases and infections.

Next, the light source. This is also critical.

Turtles need UV (ultraviolet) light. To be more specific, they need UVA light to maintain their appetite and metabolism, and UVB light for vitamin D3 production and stress management. Make sure any UV lamp that you have has both UVA and UVB bulbs.

Check out this article on the best UV lights for turtles for more information.

A Good Water Filter

Turtles are very messy creatures. Much, much messier than fish.

The problem is that because of this many pet turtle owners mistakenly assume that turtles and tortoises can easily live in dirty, muddy water.

Nothing could be much further from the truth.

A proper filter will do two things. One, it will maintain a clean water environment for your turtle to live in. It will also make your tank much nice to look at!

Secondly, a good filter will contain a biological medium that will be helpful for the turtle. Basically, good germs.

I personally recommend this Tetrafauna filter.

There is a lot that can be said about this subject, so if you are interested in filters, check out my article on the best filters for a turtle tank.

In general, it’s better to purchase a canister filter, as they are very powerful, easy to use and also will have multiple levels (biological, mechanical, chemical) of filtration.

A Basking Dock

Just because turtles live much of their lives in water, doesn’t mean they sometimes need to be out of the water as well.

Now, when it comes to basking docks there are quite a few options. My favorite basking dock is the Penn-Plax Floating Turtle-Pier Basking Platform. You can click on the picture below for more details.

You can also try to make on by yourself. If you’ve got a tub or tote, for instance, you can stack up some larger rocks. Just ensure that the foundation is steady and that your turtle can actually climb up onto them.

This is the area on which your UV light and heat source will shine.

Check out this article on the best basking docks for more information.

The Right Food

Lastly, your pet turtle or tortoise is going to need the proper nourishment.

Generally, most turtles and tortoises will require a balanced diet of commercial turtle pellets, plants, vegetables, and fruits as well as proteins, such as cooked meat (chicken or beef, cut up into small pieces), worms, crickets, and other insects, feeder fish, etc.

To learn more check out my article on how to feed a turtle.

Now, the exact ratio of those pellets, plants and vegetables and meat sources will differ based on the species you have.

Many tortoises, for instance, are largely herbivorous (eating plants), while many juvenile turtles will like to munch on mostly protein (as they grow larger).

Overall, most turtles and tortoises will become more herbivorous as they grow older.

Check out this article on the best turtle food for more information.

Summary

Just to recap, the five essential items in a turtle or tortoise’s environment are:

  • A proper-sized aquarium tank or tub.
  • UV-A and UV-B light and heat source.
  • Powerful enough water filter.
  • Basking dock or platform.
  • Proper food and nutrition.

All of the above are necessary pet turtle requirements. They are absolutely essential.

If you are unable to or unwilling to purchase any of these items, it would be wise to perhaps seek a different pet.

Now, that doesn’t mean you need to spend a fortune, as you can purchase all of these items at a relatively inexpensive price, but that does mean that owning and caring for a turtle or tortoise requires a bit of patience, hard work, and knowledge.

I can say that at the end of it all, it will be worth it, both for you and your little turtle friend!



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  • Guides

Red-eared turtle: maintenance and care at home

This type of turtle is classified as a freshwater reptile. Its main feature is longish red-orange spots that are located just behind the eyes. Despite the fact that they do not have ears, they hear perfectly. Since the shield on their belly is colored bright yellow, they are also often referred to as yellow-bellies. The females of these animals are usually much larger than the males. Puberty of these animals occurs at 4 years.

Red-eared slider conditions

To keep such a reptile, you will definitely need an aquarium or terrarium, with a volume of 150-200 liters. Make sure the turtle has enough water to move freely. Ideally, the more swimming space she gets, the better.

In addition, artificial land must be created for it, on which the reptile can get out to warm itself. The island must have a sloping rise, stability, as well as the absence of burrs and sharp corners.

The island should occupy at least ¼ of the surface of the terrarium and meet certain requirements.

  1. Heating . The temperature on it must be set at least 10 ° C higher than in water. Too high a temperature also does not need to be set, as the reptile can overheat.
  2. Flooding . On an island, at least one side must be in the water.
  3. Safety . The reptile should move freely and not get stuck between the island and the glass.
  4. No toxicity . No toxic substances should be released from it.
  5. Stability . The land must stand very securely, since this type of turtle is very strong and can easily turn it over.
  6. Textured surface .

What do I need to buy to keep a turtle?

The most necessary things:

  • 200 liter turtle tank.
  • Aquarium Water Heater 100W.
  • Aquarium filter (can be internal, but external is better).
  • UV lamp for turtles with UVB 10%.
  • Heating lamp.
  • Aquarium lamp.
  • Thermometer.
  • Land, coast, island.

Red-eared turtle feeding

Omnivorous, feeding on a wide variety of food. Variety is important as it keeps the turtle healthy. You can feed: food for turtles, food for aquarium fish, vegetables, aquarium plants, insects, fish, invertebrates. In addition to variety, it is important to give a balanced diet high in calcium. Like all wild animals that live at home, there is a tendency to overeat.

The composition of specialized feeds is selected in such a way as to give turtles all the necessary substances. The high protein content of commercial feeds allows them to be fed in small portions.

To make the feeding more balanced, add calcium and vegetable foods and your turtle will be quite happy. Please note that calcium supplements are most often already included in commercial feeds, read the labels on the packaging.

Red-eared turtles need water to swallow because they do not produce saliva. They may take food on land, but will drag it into the water to eat. You can use this to your advantage and feed them in a separate container, so the water in the aquarium will remain clean for a longer time.

Tetra, Fiori, Sera food is perfect.

As for hibernation, which the reptile can fall into during the winter period, it is desirable to avoid it. The thing is that if you are new to keeping this type of turtle, then you may simply not have enough experience in caring for it in this period. Therefore, it is not necessary to stimulate hibernation in this reptile! Firstly, unfavorable conditions can be created for it for this period, and secondly, weakened animals may simply not survive it. To keep it from hibernating, keep the temperature at a level of at least 25 ° C, and the reptile will not even remember the long winter sleep.

Turtles that hibernate under natural conditions tend to burrow into plants or silt at the bottom of a reservoir that has a shallow depth and large dimensions. During this period, reptiles remain at the bottom all the time, oxygen is absorbed by them through membranes located in their mouth, pharynx and cloaca. In addition, the depth of the reservoir, the temperature regime and the level of oxygen in it are of great importance.

Baby care

Most turtles that appear in a home aquarium are still babies. They are still very tender and it is important to make sure they eat well and are comfortable. Cubs have a high mortality rate, are susceptible to disease, and can die for no apparent reason.

If you notice something on your turtle’s plastron, it could be the yolk sac. Newly hatched turtles consume nutrients from it and should not be removed or touched. They may refuse food during the first time, and begin to eat after the yolk sac is completely resolved.

Try not to hold small turtles in your arms. Of course, they are beautiful and elegant, but at the same time they can get scared, get stressed and get sick. Do not stand over the aquarium and do not knock on the glass, let them get used to it for a few days, start eating. It is very important that the temperature of water and air (land) be stable.

It is impossible to put an aquarium with a red-eared turtle in direct sunlight or in a draft. Make sure that she has free access to land and that this place is heated with a special lamp. Keeping temperature for baby turtles should be slightly higher than for adult turtles! This is 26-27 o C for water and up to 32 o C for land. Water should be as clean as possible and if there is no good filter, then change every couple of days

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Types of turtles – description, photo, maintenance and care of the turtle at home

Content:

  • Domestic turtle species
  • Keeping aquatic and tortoises
  • Hygiene and care
  • Turtle feeding
  • Pins

Land and water turtles are unpretentious in care, they can adapt to almost any living conditions. In order for the reptile to feel comfortable and live for many years, it is necessary to provide it with a comfortable content.

Domestic turtle species

Yellow-bellied turtle


Type: water.

Carapace diameter: 18-30 cm.

Appearance: red spots around the ears, green stripes on the paws. Males have long sharp claws.

Lifespan: up to 30 years.

Nature: species terrarium recommended. You can have several individuals at once, in the presence of a large terrarium, of course.

Recommended care

Type of food: juveniles feed mainly on animal food. With age, the proportion of vegetable matter increases, which is taken into account in age-related foods for turtles.

Water temperature: 28 degrees.

Air temperature in the warm zone: 30-32 degrees.

Central Asian tortoise


Type: land.

Shell diameter: 20-25 cm.

Appearance: yellow-beige color with dark patches.

Lifespan: up to 30 years.

Character: is slow.

Recommended maintenance

Type of food: vegetable.

Air temperature in the warm zone : 30-32 degrees.

Care instructions: does not like limited space, so a large terrarium is required.

Chinese trionics

Type: water.

Carapace diameter: 35-40 cm.

Appearance: soft shell covered with leather. Elongated proboscis on the muzzle.

Lifespan: up to 30 years.

Character: aggressive. They prefer to live alone.

Recommended maintenance

Type of food: animal origin.

Water temperature: 25-32 degrees.

Air temperature in warm zone : 30 degrees.

Musk


Type: water.

Carapace diameter: 13.5-14 cm.

Appearance: dark gray color, white stripes on the head and neck. The crests on the carapace of young animals are a characteristic feature of musk turtles.

Lifespan: up to 20 years.

Character: does not show aggression towards the owners.

Recommended maintenance

Type of food: animal and vegetable.

Water temperature: 22-25 degrees.

Air temperature in a warm zone : any above 22 degrees.

The musk turtle is unpretentious in care and food. Spends most of the time underwater.

Mediterranean (Greek)


Type: land.

Carapace diameter: 35 cm.

Appearance: large carapace, powerful paws with sharp claws. There are spurs on the hind limbs.

Lifespan: up to 30 years.

Character: non-aggressive.

Recommended maintenance

Type of food: vegetable.

Air temperature in warm zone : 30 degrees and above.

Care features: loves warmth, so the air temperature in the warm zone should be at least 30 degrees, and the background temperature should be 24-27.

Caspian


Type: water.

Carapace diameter: 30 cm.

Appearance: dark green shell, yellow stripes on the body.

Lifespan: up to 35 years.

Character: non-aggressive.

Recommended maintenance

Type of food: animal and vegetable.

Water temperature: 18-22 degrees.

Air temperature in the warm zone : 30-31 degrees.

They like to climb up rocks and “islands”. Most of the time they are under water, while sleeping they burrow into the silt. Wintering in captivity is optional.

Indian (star)


Type: land.

Shell diameter : 25 cm.

Appearance: Bulging carapace with patterns resembling stars.

Lifespan: up to 80 years.

Character: You can put several turtles in a terrarium, and they will not fight for territory.

Recommended care

Type of food: vegetable.

Air temperature in the warm zone : 27-32 degrees.

Silt (“heady”)

Type: water.

Shell diameter: 18 cm.

Appearance: small shell, large head, powerful paws.

Recommended care

Type of food: animal origin.

Water temperature: 30 degrees.

Air temperature in the warm zone : 25-27 degrees.

Keeping aquatic and tortoises


To furnish the home of turtles of all kinds you will need:

  • tank (aquarium, aquaterrarium – for aquatic, terrarium – for land).
  • UV lamp (required for aquatic reptiles UVB 5-10%, terrestrial reptiles 10-15%.
  • heating lamp .
  • thermometer ;
  • feeder ;
  • lamp .

Turtles will also need:

  • water heater ;
  • water filter ;
  • thermometer ;
  • piece of sushi – “island “.

Important! Make sure that the temperature of the water in the aquarium is correct. Check the health of the equipment daily. Change the water several times a week (once a week with the right filtration system and normal volume is enough).

Land tortoises will need:

  • House. These reptiles like to rest, some of them hibernate for a long time. For a comfortable pastime, you need a small house.
  • Feeder. The model must be stable so that the reptile does not turn it over.
  • Water container. Turtles absorb water through their skin. Bathing is not just a hygiene procedure, but a way to quench your thirst. You can simply organize a “wet” zone.

About lamps

For all types of turtles, you need to purchase 2 types of lamps – ultraviolet and heating.

An ultraviolet lamp is needed for the production of vitamin D and the absorption of calcium. The absence of these substances can lead to the development of rickets.

A heating lamp replaces the sun’s rays that promote metabolism. Turtles are cold-blooded creatures, so the vital activity of their body directly depends on the amount of incoming heat.

Both lamps must be installed side by side. For aquatic reptiles, the most successful place is above the “island”.

Primer

Many tortoise owners mistakenly believe that sand is the appropriate reptile substrate. It’s a delusion! Turtles swallow it, which leads to serious health problems, sometimes to death. Do not use very fine sand, as well as sharp stones.

Usually zoned horizontally. In the sleeping area – hay, in the feeding area – pebbles. You can use sawdust or wood chips if the turtle won’t eat them.

For aquatic reptiles, soil is needed for biofiltration purposes. it is advisable to use pebbles 5mm-1cm, a layer of about 2-3cm.

Large stones and shells can be placed on the bottom of the aquarium – this will add aesthetics.

Decor

It is permissible to decorate terrariums and aquariums with various decorative elements:

  • stones;
  • snags;
  • artificial and live plants;
  • figurines and figurines;
  • shells;
  • corals;
  • background.

General rules:

1. Decorations must be large and durable so that the reptile cannot bite off a piece of them and swallow them.

2. Make sure that the turtle does not get stuck in the decor elements.

3. There should be enough space in the aquarium/terrarium.

4. Choose jewelry without sharp corners.

Hygiene and care


Like any other pets, turtles need regular hygiene procedures.

1. Tank cleanliness.

It is necessary to regularly clean the walls of the aquarium or terrarium from plaque. This should be done using ordinary water.

2. Washing.

Aquatic turtles should be bathed periodically to wash away dirt from their shells.

For land reptiles, washing has an important function – it stimulates the intestines. Healthy individuals up to 3 years old require daily water procedures. For older pets, a weekly wash is sufficient. The water in the bathing container should be warm. After bathing, the reptile must be wiped dry.

3. Shell care.

It is strictly forbidden to lubricate the shell. An exception is the use of antifungal drugs prescribed by a veterinarian.

Important! Turtles are prone to molting. In aquatic representatives, it occurs throughout life and consists in the exfoliation of dead shell scales. In land turtles, molting is reduced to a change in the skin on their paws. This process is natural and does not require any intervention from the owners.

4. Nail and beak trimming.

The claws and beak grow in land reptiles throughout their lives, so they need to be trimmed periodically with wire cutters. Aquatic turtles do not need a procedure. Improper grinding of the beak is not the norm, if there is a need to cut it – you should pay attention to bedding, nutrition and vitamins.

5. Walk.

Both land and water turtles can be walked – no ultraviolet lamp can replace the natural rays of the sun. Turtle walks are not strictly required, although they are useful.

The best temperature for walking is above 25 degrees. The weather should be calm and sunny. Choose clean and shady areas away from roads and pet runs.

The optimal time spent outside is about an hour. After the walk, inspect the pet for wounds, then wash.

Turtle feeding


The optimal diet of land turtles is plant foods, namely greens. Its content should be 70% of the diet. Dandelion leaves, vegetable tops, some types of weeds are suitable. Vegetables and fruits can be given once every 1-2 weeks.

A good supplement would be ready-made dry food containing dried herbs, vegetables, and a protein component.

Aquatic turtles are predators, so the basis of their diet should be protein food (up to 80%). Plant food diversifies the “table”. Dry food for reptiles fully satisfy the daily requirement for protein and fiber.

All turtles must be given vitamin and mineral supplements, and daily. No matter how balanced the food is, in apartment conditions it is difficult to obtain the set of micro- and macroelements necessary for the body.