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Owners of aquatic turtles - HELP!


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We bought an aquatic turtle from the pet store yesterday. We only have a 10 gallon tank, but will be upgrading soon as I know they need at least 50-60 gallons.

 

This turtle will not climb up to sunbathe. I'm thinking maybe because it's new here and he'd be out in the open, but I'm worried he'll get tired. I'm not even sure if he can climb onto the thing because he hasn't, at all.

 

His head can reach above water if he holds onto the side of the rock or stands and lifts it high, but I'm worried he'll get tired and something will happen.

 

I lifted him up on it yesterday and he dived back in.

 

How long can they swim without getting tired?

 

ETA: We had to build our own turtle bank as the pet store had run out. We believe he should be able to pull himself up but not sure. He just doesn't seem interested in all and hasn't tried, so we assume he is scared to be in the open.

 

Thanks.

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Forever!! Seriously, if they just want to hide in the water, they can hold their breath for quite a long time and be so perfectly still you are convinced that they are dead. Errol (the replacement for Felix who was an extraordinarily active turtle who managed to get himself wedged underneath his rock while were gone, couldn't get out, and drowned) does this to us alot.

 

Your turtle will be more likely to sunbathe if his heat light is directly over his rock. Make sure his water isn't too deep. Just enough to swim in and come up under food that is dropped in - that's their favorite way of eating...sneak up on that old turtle pellet and devour from down under so the poor thing doesn't have a chance to get away LOL! But, not too deep. Turtles purchased in the states are not ocean tortoises..they are pond, creek, ditch, wetland dwellers who would make their homes on the edges of watery areas so that they can sunbathe on shore, swim a little, and come back. They don't need deep water and if you give them deep water, it takes them time to figure out how to get up on their rock.

 

Chances are that he's feeling pretty shy about his move to a new place and is spending a lot of time hiding in the water. So, just check and make sure that the rock is positioned in a such a way that he could learn to get up on it...if you think it really is too steep a climb, place another shorter rock next to it to use as a stepping stone but make sure both rocks are either the waterproof polystyrene so light weight enough that they can't fall on top of him and trap him, or real rocks that are so heavy he could never get under them and move them about. Lava rocks are too lightweight and therefore dangerous. We found that out the hard way.

 

It's okay to pick him up a couple of times a day and place him on his rock. He needs to get used to living around humans. He may dive back in immediately, but eventually he won't be quite so upset about handling. Also, if you want to have him out. That's fine. Get a towel, place it on the floor, and sit with him. It's good exercise for him to use his flippers on land. Watchout! They are FAST...seriously, they can make time and will be under the couch or something before you know it.

 

Faith

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Forever!! Seriously, if they just want to hide in the water, they can hold their breath for quite a long time and be so perfectly still you are convinced that they are dead. Errol (the replacement for Felix who was an extraordinarily active turtle who managed to get himself wedged underneath his rock while were gone, couldn't get out, and drowned) does this to us alot.

 

Your turtle will be more likely to sunbathe if his heat light is directly over his rock. Make sure his water isn't too deep. Just enough to swim in and come up under food that is dropped in - that's their favorite way of eating...sneak up on that old turtle pellet and devour from down under so the poor thing doesn't have a chance to get away LOL! But, not too deep. Turtles purchased in the states are not ocean tortoises..they are pond, creek, ditch, wetland dwellers who would make their homes on the edges of watery areas so that they can sunbathe on shore, swim a little, and come back. They don't need deep water and if you give them deep water, it takes them time to figure out how to get up on their rock.

 

Chances are that he's feeling pretty shy about his move to a new place and is spending a lot of time hiding in the water. So, just check and make sure that the rock is positioned in a such a way that he could learn to get up on it...if you think it really is too steep a climb, place another shorter rock next to it to use as a stepping stone but make sure both rocks are either the waterproof polystyrene so light weight enough that they can't fall on top of him and trap him, or real rocks that are so heavy he could never get under them and move them about. Lava rocks are too lightweight and therefore dangerous. We found that out the hard way.

 

It's okay to pick him up a couple of times a day and place him on his rock. He needs to get used to living around humans. He may dive back in immediately, but eventually he won't be quite so upset about handling. Also, if you want to have him out. That's fine. Get a towel, place it on the floor, and sit with him. It's good exercise for him to use his flippers on land. Watchout! They are FAST...seriously, they can make time and will be under the couch or something before you know it.

 

Faith

 

Thanks! I'm relieved to know he won't die on me, lol.

 

Another question. What are some good places to buy 60 gallon tanks? Obviously the pet store, but they're near $150 dollars. Is that the norm or is that just an outrageous pet store price? Thanks.

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Big tanks are very expensive. Look on Craigs list in your area. With the economy so bad, many people are having to move out of their homes. I know that in Michigan, there has been a plethora of tanks on craigs list.

 

Also, he doesn't need a 60 gallon aquarium. A 20 will do and 30 is more than plenty. Turtles are very, very slow growing. Plus, you should check out the floor supports where a 60 gallon aquarium would set. With water and a stand, that aquarium set up is likely to weigh a total of close to 500 pounds. Some people discovered, to their great dismay, that their floor couldn't handle it because the foundation was sagging, sub floor was damaged, or their hardwood floor was engineered for that much weight spread across such a small area.

 

Faith

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Big tanks are very expensive. Look on Craigs list in your area. With the economy so bad, many people are having to move out of their homes. I know that in Michigan, there has been a plethora of tanks on craigs list.

 

Also, he doesn't need a 60 gallon aquarium. A 20 will do and 30 is more than plenty. Turtles are very, very slow growing. Plus, you should check out the floor supports where a 60 gallon aquarium would set. With water and a stand, that aquarium set up is likely to weigh a total of close to 500 pounds. Some people discovered, to their great dismay, that their floor couldn't handle it because the foundation was sagging, sub floor was damaged, or their hardwood floor was engineered for that much weight spread across such a small area.

 

Faith

 

Thanks, good to know.

 

Everywhere online says 60, and that it would be cruel to put an adult in 20 gallons, but he's fine in 10 gallons. Obviously, a little more space would be good, but I didn't understand the 60 gallon thing. He's never going to have another turtle friend so he should be fine in 20-30 gallons alone.

 

Thanks for the reassurance. I felt like I was being cruel.

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No, that's not cruel. It's a money making thing. If you get a sixty gallon tank, then the pet store gets to sell you a LOT of habitat making supplies to fill up that space. He's already an animal in captivity...a 60 gallon tank will not recreate a wild life for him. If he's an adult, 20-30 gallons will make him happy as he isn't sharing his habitat with other creatures...well other than snails, or an algae eater if you choose to keep one. We tend towards snails...they reproduce quickly which is good because they are escargot to turtles and every time we get an algae eater, Errol goes nuts until he catches it and eats it! It's not due to lack of feeding, he gets a generous food supply. It's just that the algae eater apparently represents gourmet food to him and our pet store does not carry algae eaters of enough size that he is willing to leave them alone!

 

Faith

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