aquatic turtle

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aquatic turtle

Postby B LiNE » Sun Nov 06, 2011 2:07 pm

My mate owns a tropical fish aquarium
And he's got a small aquatic turtle
he said it don't need land?
just wondering if any of you guys have them?
Im thinking of getting 1 for my tank
any advice cheers
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Re: aquatic turtle

Postby kissofdeath » Sun Nov 06, 2011 7:26 pm

i've never kept turtles,but what i do know is that when ever i see them in the shops they ALWAYS have rocks or land for them to come onto so that they can rest
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Re: aquatic turtle

Postby B LiNE » Sun Nov 06, 2011 7:32 pm

Cheers that's what i was thinking
Im going to the shop where he brought it next weekend
See whats going off lol
my mate said his is full grown had it for over a year
its about 2 inch in size he had fish and a small eel
All living together
all brought from this shop
gonna go check it out next weekend anyway
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Re: aquatic turtle

Postby englishmx » Mon Nov 07, 2011 6:10 pm

Do your research first, from my limited knowledge they grow very big, can survive up to 20yrs and are exceptionally messy, so overfiltration is a must
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Re: aquatic turtle

Postby B LiNE » Mon Nov 07, 2011 9:33 pm

I thought they grown large
but my mate was told its full size
i think Im gonna leave it
sounds like it could cause problems lol
but ill let you guys know what the staff say in the shop
because Im going @ weekend with the mate
who brought 1 from there
p.s the little turtle do look awesome lol
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Re: aquatic turtle

Postby TheCaptain » Fri Dec 28, 2012 2:05 pm


I keep a pair of semi-aquatic turtles, the biggest that mine will get is around 12 inches disc, although probably no more than 7 or 8 inches.

With aquatic turtles - and yes, a number of them do exist - most get massively bigger than that. I was always told that they can get to (and beyond) the size of an old style dustbin lid (the big metal ones that used to be outdoor bins before the recycle bins replaced them). I think one of the few exceptions to this is the River Turtle, which is still too big for most tanks. Wharf Aquatics used to keep a pair in their big display tank - something like 8ft square (or larger).

Assuming that it's a small species like the River turle, which costs considerably over £100, I definitely wouldn't consider keeping a fully aquatic turtle in anything less than 6ft by 3ft by 3ft - for swimming space alone. As has been mentioned they need a significant amount of over filtration.

Unless you know the specific breed, are confident that you're not being misled, and have done a HUGE amount of reading about them, and their requirements - don't get them.

Semi-aquatics are amazing though, and need a lot less space (but can't be kept with fish).
Richard "TheCaptain" Combes.

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Re: aquatic turtle

Postby Carylnz » Fri Dec 28, 2012 9:57 pm

You have a lot of turtles available in the UK that we don't have here but the ones we do have all grow much bigger, unless they have been poorly kept and fed, and a 4ft tank is minimum for a male and 6ft for a female. Here is a care sheet my friend, who is known NZ-wide as The Turtle Lady, wrote on the care of turtles available here. It might help, up to a point, but I suspect you are referring to a different type than mentioned here...

Chrysemys scripta elegans

HABITAT: From North America’s Northern states to Mexico. Usually in slow moving streams, ponds and lakes
DESCRIPTION: Females up to 12", males smaller, male with longer tail and long front toe nails. Females can lay up to 15 eggs per clutch approx. every 3 weeks during the breeding season, but N.Z. is too cold for the eggs to naturally hatch.
In America they sunbathe on the sides of ponds, as soon as danger nears they slide into the water. Hence their American name of sliders.
Diet: Feeder fish, (NB/ Goldfish are considered to be too high in fat for turtles), earthworms, beef heart , snails, mealworms, crickets, aquatic plants, dry fish and turtle food pellets. Recommended: Aquatic Turtle Food.

Chinemys reevesi

DISTRIBUTION: From southern China, Korea and southern Japan. The Reeves' is a small semi-terrestrial turtle, usually 4 - 5 inches long.
The shell has three well defined keels on the carapace, which is usually brown. The tail is quite long, the body is usually grey with yellowish spots and the head has a pattern of stripes. Some Reeves entire body and soft parts might be completely brown or black.
DIET: Eats almost anything. beef heart, fish, chicken, soaked cat biscuits and live food such as earth worms, snails and live fish.

Chelodina longicollis

RANGE: The eastern snake-necked turtle, occurs throughout south-eastern and eastern Australia. It is typically found in swamps, lakes, slow moving waterways, creeks and billabongs, sometimes migrating overland during the summer months often being found wandering on overcast days during this time.
DESCRIPTION: The long neck which gives it its name can measure over half the shell length which may reach up to 300 mm in length with most averaging 200 mm. Generally brown all over with yellowish markings on undershell.
Newly captured specimens will emit a strong smelling liquid (called musking), as a means of defence. This, however, ceases as they settle into captivity.
BREEDING: Breeding takes place in spring or early summer. Clutch Size may be 8 to 24 eggs with an incubation time of 3 to 4 months.
DIET: in the wild includes frogs, tadpoles, small fish, yabbies and crustaceans. In captivity they will feed on vitamin supplemented raw meat, tinned dog food, small mice, fish, and soaked cat biscuits. IN general they are carnivorous and will readily eat feeder fish, bugs, crickets, daphnia, dragonflies, earwigs, grasshoppers, flies, moths, fresh water mussels, nymphs and larvae, slaters, snails, water boatmen, worms, non-fatty meats and organ meats (eg chicken, ox or lamb heart with fat removed) fish flakes, trout pellets and reptile pellets. Though not all will take to the pellet foods.

The RES originates from America where it lives in deep, mud lined ponds with few rocks. A turtle’s shell is made up of bone covered with a thin layer of skin, which gives the shell its colour. The outer layer of skin is called a scute, is shed once or twice a year and not as tough as it looks. Scutes are easily scratched by minor trauma or prolonged immersion in warm water. Turtles slide off their basking area at high speed and the bigger the turtle, the harder it hits the water. In captivity they often land in shallow water, hitting a rock or tank bottom which can cause minute cracks in their scute. Water gets into these cracks, leading to infection which is not visible under the scute and gradually spreads throughout the turtle. Its not unusual for it to take several years for the turtle to slowly die from the infection. This Ulcerative Shell Disease is preventable with the correct environment. (Information adapted from Mark Feldmans care sheet on the NZ Herp web site.)
In the wild, the RES lives in deep water where, even in summer, its always cool a foot or two below the surface. Turtles are cold blooded so regulate their temperature from their environment, moving between sunning area and the layers of warm and cool water. Warm water causes their scutes to swell and soften, like fingernails in a hot bath. When they bask in the sun, their scutes dry and firm back up. If their Water is too warm, they can't bask for long, because they’re already hot. So the scutes can't dry out, but continue to swell and soften leading to White Shell Disease. Warm water can also create a build-up of unshed scutes leading to deformity and irritation. A temp between 24 - 26c is needed for a hatchling. After 1yr, slowly reduce temp (during summer only) to 20C. At approx 2 years of age, a healthy turtle won't need a heater in the summer but a temp around 22-24C is recommended over winter. Change temp slowly. If turtle stops eating or is too lethargic, it’s too cold, so increase the temperature. Prolonged temperature above 28 can lead to rapid, excessive growth and associated organ damage of the turtle.
Turtles spend half their lives basking in the sun to absorb warmth and UV. The UVB helps the turtle produce Vitamin D which it needs to absorb calcium, develop strong shells and function normally. They need a reptile light AND a heat source such as an ordinary 40 watt bulb 12 hrs daily. The heat source encourages them out of the water to dry their scutes. Use a timer for convenience. Position lights 26 cm to 30 cm away from the turtle and always over the basking area. Often turtles are kept in a warm tank with UV lights sitting on top of a glass lid. The glass filters out nearly all the UV rendering it a waste of time. Lights need to get the necessary UB and UVA coming from it. If you have a mesh lid over your tank the grid must be larger than 1½ cm to allow the UV through. Sunlight streaming through a window onto your tank is NOT enough, as the UV rays your turtle needs are blocked by the glass.
Large, external filters can seem expensive, but are the best system to keep your tank clean. Always remove all media from the filter such as carbon. Only use some form of bio-balls and coarse sponge as filter media. (Filter wool is fine but will clog quickly). Ammonia removers, carbon etc quickly loose their ability to work effectively and begin to leach toxins back into the turtle tank which can lead to illness over time. Never underestimate how dirty turtles can be. You need to change up to half your tank water weekly and all your water monthly. Internal filters need weekly cleaning with your water change. External; filters should not need cleaning for up to 3 mths or more depending on size of tank, amount of turtles etc. Place a 'pre-filter' sponge over the intake hose to decrease the waste matter going into your filter. e.g./ cable-tie a coarse sponge around the inlet filter and remove it for cleaning frequently. This stops loads of bio waste getting inside your filter. (NB/some turtles will eat the sponge so you cant use it for those turtles.) Remember that for every poo, turtles do 5 times the amount in wee, so change some of your water every week so they aren’t drinking and swimming in their own urine.
Don’t be fooled, turtles grow rapidly and a baby needs a 3 ft tank and maximum swimming space to stay strong and healthy. Adult males need a 4ft tank minimum and females a 6 ft tank. Don’t have a ‘lip or edge’ on basking area as it causes injury. Ramp needs to be deep into the water so turtle can easily climb out to bask and water level MUST be right up to the basking platform to prevent injury as the turtle dives off. Turtles need 40 litres of water per 1cm of shell size plus an extra 15 - 20% for basking area. The larger the tank, the happier the turtle. Also aquarium stones in tanks are one of the biggest killers of captive turtles. They explore their world by taste and can easily swallow small aquarium stones leading to impaction and death. Any stones in your tank should be larger then the turtles head so they can’t swallow them. Some smooth river rocks a few cm in size can provide interest for your turtle without danger of them swallowing them.
Lids on tanks are a disaster as they cause a build up of condensation which can literally rot the skin off the bone. If you need a protective cover, use a mesh with a gap of 1½ cm to allow UV in and condensation out. Solid rimu lids look nice, but are endangering the turtle’s health. Cut neat holes through the lid to allow air exchange and prevent your turtle from suffering. Remember never sit your reptile light on top of glass.
A healthy 2 yr old can live outside in a soft environment. That means either a natural clay bottomed pond or pond-liner over sand or carpet. DO NOT use concrete and avoid any rough rocks. Have water two feet deep for adult females and ensure there’s nothing the turtle can bang into when it slides into the water. Position your pond for maximum sunlight, as turtles need a sunny basking area with access to shade. Artificial grass, logs, garden or lawn make a suitable basking area. Use vermiculite or a mix of clay and loam or fine soil to provide a suitable egg laying place for your female. For hibernation an ideal is to have mud in the bottom of your pond, 46 cm below the frost line, for them to burrow into. Don’t attempt hibernation without finding out some information about how to go about it successfully first.
Secure fencing is critical to prevent escapes from a pond. They can squeeze through Small gaps, climb up netting and shrubbery, or dig their way out; particularly a female wanting to lay eggs. I've had turtles scale a 1 metre fence! Use smooth wood or large, natural boulders or plastic netting with an overhang at the top. Whatever you choose, remember other animals, children and burglars can also be an issue for your turtles outside so think carefully about where you want to position your pond.
Feeding is one of the most important functions of a turtle owner!
Think green! Turtles need 50% vegies/aquatic plants and 50% protein. Have plants/greens in tank at all times. An all meat/pellet diet leads to shell deformities and organ damage. Apply 'tough love' to get turtle eating greens
Hatchlings - feed daily. Adults- feed every 2nd day
Protein = snails, worms, insects, pellets, finely chopped ox /chicken/lamb heart with ALL fat removed, fresh or dried fish, boiled chicken, whitebait, ready-made 'wet' turtle foods. Use meat sparingly as part of a varied diet.
Daily = Oxygen weed, watercress and other aquatic plants. Fancy lettuce varieties,(NOT iceberg), finely chopped or peeled carrot and carrot tops, kumara peelings and flesh, celery tops, turnip leaves, peas in pod, dandelion leaves, potato peelings, endive, squash and pumpkin
Fed only 3 monthly = tomato, peas, pear, grapes, strawberries, melon, Mango, mushrooms, beans, boiled yams

DON'T feed cabbage, spinach, rhubarb, beets, celery, broccoli, mince, dog food, raw chicken, salty fish, brussel sprouts or avocado.
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