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Thread: Sand or gravel for turtles? Reply to Thread
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  Topic Review (Newest First)
01-19-2013 03:22 PM
newbieplanter I got three tanks one has play sand and big rocks with one piece of driftwood the only problem I have with that one is filling the water back up after a water change but I put down a plate an it's fine cleaning and everything else is cool I'm tryin to do a moss carpet in there now so we will see how it goes my turtles don't eat the moss or sand but the java fern was done the second day. My other tank I have gravel the only trouble there is the turtle moves it and piles it a little bit which is fine u just move it back flat or leave it if it looks good the way the turtle moves it also got a few bigger rocks with moss on them I haven't had a problem in that tank either as far as the turt eatin rocks and some of them are small enough for him to eat. My last tank has five babies in there an its a 20gal. So the water turned green from their waste but anyway I have big boulders in there with a few small ones other than the tank bein crowded there are no problems. I just figured I would tell u a little about what I got set up so u don't get discouraged the only big problem I got with my tanks is that I wanna change the tankscape every few weeks or so meaning other rocks or sand, plants, add fish, do a top tank baskin area or leave it in the tank u know stuff like that anyway good luck either way u go!
12-28-2012 07:46 PM
Kitty_Kitsch If you have somewhere to hold the turtles for a day or so I'd say dump it and silicone some on! That would be neat!
12-28-2012 06:10 AM
Kinection Oh that's a great idea! I got a
a few of those tiles in my backyard,
it's going to be hard putting them
in since the tank is deep and there
is water filled though. :/
12-28-2012 03:49 AM
theshadybird A simple and aesthetically pleasing alternative to bare-bottom is some stone tile from a hardware store. Looks way more natural, and has all the benefits of bare glass. I have it this way for my RES :]
12-28-2012 03:48 AM
Bear Sage Plants are snacks to my res. Everything I put in his 90 he eats. And he just started eating his tankmates. Friends became food, nothing is safe!!
12-28-2012 03:34 AM
Kinection I think my turt is at the "maturity" age, he is
trying to kill my guppies. Good thing I just
got a 55 gal just for him!
12-28-2012 02:37 AM
AVN I have kept a mating pair of southern map turtles for 14 years now, and in all my experiences with them I have to say I prefer bare tanks just because it is easy to clean.

However, I agree with the others in this thread that recommended sand, it may be a bit harder to clean, but it looks much nicer aesthetically, and you can hide worms and snails for your turtle to hunt for. They love it, and prefer to hunt on their own as opposed to eat from my hand.

River rocks are the in-between, it is easy to clean (you just siphon the waste out from all the cracks) and your turtles will move the rocks around "exploring" and looking for critters you can hide.

As for plants, don't even try. I have tried DOZENS of different plants and all have been devoured. My only success with plants are plants that outnumber the turtle's appetite, like duckweed or dwarf water lettuce. Everything else gets devoured within the week.
12-28-2012 02:14 AM
Kinection I guess I'll go bare bottom. Wouldn't look
as good, but meh. Easier cleaning
12-27-2012 09:07 PM
afuzzy420 I've got sand in our redear slider tank..It's not hard to clean at all as long as you don't let it go to bad.I just siphon the waste up and if a little sand gets sucked up with it oh well.I've never noticed it eating the sand but it will make a mess out of anything i put in there so trying to grow plants, i think would be hard.
12-14-2012 04:53 PM
HSaslow I have a juvenile yellow belly slider in a 40g breeder with a bare bottom. Clean up is a snap using a siphon. I have parrot feather and water hyacinth floating on the surface and some Java Fern and Christmas moss tied to rocks on the bottom. I also have some fat head minnows and a catfish in the tank. I recognize that eventually the turtle may eat the flat heads and I am ok with that. The catfish will be moved to a pond in the spring. On one end of the tank I have a power head pushing debris across the tank where a in tank filter pulls it in. I test the water regularly and rarely find and ammonia or Nitrites. Nitrates are about 5ppm. I also have some large rocks and some Locust branches in the tank. The locust branches are submerged at one end and out of the water at the other where the basking lamp is. This is a very natural look and the turtle is often on the log basking.
12-14-2012 04:26 PM
GeToChKn I had large river stone they couldn't swallow when I had my tank. The turtle love to move the rocks around and redecorate. I would dump in a bunch of snails from my others tanks now and again and they would spend hours searching through the rocks for snails, so gave them a treat to eat and to hunt for and kept them active.
12-14-2012 03:17 PM
devilduck Sand or keep it bare. Gravel and stones that the turtle can swallow will cause impaction and maybe death. They will sometimes eat the sand too but that will pass harmlessly.

Large rocks will work too but I find that stuff gets trapped between them and its hard to clean and if they are light enough the turtle will knock them around and it may scratch or break the glass.

Plants are hit and miss, try something tough like java fern. Mine keeps tearing parts of even my silk plants. I have found that marimo balls work. My turtle took a big bite of one, spat it out and never touched marimos again.
12-14-2012 12:30 PM
amberoze I have five turtles. Three red ear sliders, and two yellow belly sliders. My suggestion, is to either leave it bare bottom, or put in large river stones that are bigger than the turtles head. Aquatic turtles are known for eating off the bottom and can ingest the sand or gravel which can cause impacted bowels and possibly death.

Also, of all the plants I have tired in my tank, none have survived. If they don't eat the plant, then they tear it apart until it won't survive.

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2
12-14-2012 11:28 AM
dprais1 my ultimate suggestion would be to combine it all.

-spray paint bottom
-use larger size rocks or slate or whatever
-use anubias and java fern that can be attached to rocks

you also have to consider that the turtle might eat or just tear up your plants, plent of people keep turtles and plants. and plenty fail.
12-14-2012 04:08 AM
Kinection Should I go moss carpet then? I really don't like
bare-bottom and I have a soccer ball sized
java moss ball to use. I might just use sand. Remember guys,
I'm trying to have some plants in here. :P
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