Sand or gravel for turtles?
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Old 12-13-2012, 04:43 AM   #1
Kinection
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Sand or gravel for turtles?


I'm going to transfer my turtle
into my 75 gal and I was wondering
what to use. Sand or gravel? I will
also have plants in here. I was going
to go for pool filter sand because it's
much cheaper, but people said the turtle
waste will sit on the top and I would have
to clean it daily. My filtration is a fluval
406 100 gal. If I'm going with gravel, I would
need about 150 lbs of gravel for a 75 gal?
That's pretty expensive though. What do u guys
think?
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Old 12-13-2012, 06:19 AM   #2
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I think it

A. depends on the turtle. softshells really need sand-not gravel. i had a small snapping turtle eat so much gravel that it couldn't swim to the surface to get air.

B. would be easier to clean sand even if that means the poop just sits on the surface of the sand for several days. gravel, i think will entail vac the whole thing every week

that's what I think
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Old 12-13-2012, 02:07 PM   #3
Michael M
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AquaticStory View Post
I'm going to transfer my turtle
into my 75 gal and I was wondering
what to use. Sand or gravel? I will
also have plants in here. I was going
to go for pool filter sand because it's
much cheaper, but people said the turtle
waste will sit on the top and I would have
to clean it daily. My filtration is a fluval
406 100 gal. If I'm going with gravel, I would
need about 150 lbs of gravel for a 75 gal?
That's pretty expensive though. What do u guys
think?
I think sand is more natural and easier to clean since turtles produce solid feces and it rests on the surface and doesn't fall into the gravel.

I mean yeah, you won't notice the waste as much with gravel, but it doesn't mean it won't BE there.. I personally would rather have waste visible and easier to clean up..

Also sand will pass through their digestive tracts more easily if any in ingested.
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Old 12-13-2012, 02:38 PM   #4
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Gravel is not good for turtles , since they eat just about anything including substrate ! It's hard for a turtle to digest gravel and could get stuck "on its way out" :-)
Sand is much easier to clean as the poop just sits on the surface as mentioned above . I mixed some black sand with pool filter sand to make a "salt & pepper" looking substrate , it's not too dark but dark enough not to notice the poop. I also have some convicts in with the turtle so I don't ever see poop as it just dissolves in the water due to so much movement. I would recommend some lucky bamboo plants as they are great for eating all the nasties in a turtle tank .
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Old 12-13-2012, 02:49 PM   #5
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Seems a bare bottom tank is easiest to clean. Only thing in the tank other than turtles being the raft or island.

Certainly not the most attractive setup, but it's practical.

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Old 12-13-2012, 02:57 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob in Puyallup View Post
Seems a bare bottom tank is easiest to clean. Only thing in the tank other than turtles being the raft or island.

Certainly not the most attractive setup, but it's practical.

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+1, BB is easiest and I doubt a turtle would care, except a softshell, sand is a good compromise of form and function!!!
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Old 12-13-2012, 06:37 PM   #7
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I've never kept a turtle long term, but I've known some people who did, and it seemed like ingesting substrate was a constant problem/risk.

I'd second the bare-bottom, and if you are concerned with appearances, you could try putting in some slate or lava rock siliconed in place, or even building a backdrop (and putting it on the bottom) like they do for palludariums.

I think the safest thing is either nothing, or rocks big enough they won't fit in the turtle's mouth.
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Old 12-14-2012, 01:06 AM   #8
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If the tank is empty at the moment you could spray the bottom glass (underneath) with krylon speckled paint ... It will look like sand substrate but will be a bare bottom
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Old 12-14-2012, 04:08 AM   #9
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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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Old 12-14-2012, 11:28 AM   #10
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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.
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Old 12-14-2012, 12:30 PM   #11
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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.

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Old 12-14-2012, 03:17 PM   #12
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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.
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Old 12-14-2012, 04:26 PM   #13
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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.
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Old 12-14-2012, 04:53 PM   #14
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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.
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Old 12-27-2012, 09:07 PM   #15
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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.
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