Turtle Tank for a Classroom - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-04-2014, 07:50 PM Thread Starter
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Turtle Tank for a Classroom

I have a quick question. My mother is a special education teacher in a middle school and has asked me about my thoughts on a turtle tank for her classroom. Naturally anything alive and living in any classroom adds an element to it that would make it more friendly and inviting for her students. So to make a long story short im in need of advice on how to care for a turtle.

Ideally she would be having the turtle in a 10 gallon square aquarium. This size is ideal for her room. However picking up a 20 gallon wouldn't be the end all. I have some basic questions as well. How often do turtles need to be fed? I assume it varies from species to species. My biggest concern for the turtle is that she would be away from school for an extended vacation and would need somewhere to keep the turtle, or if it can last up two weeks without being fed directly. Of course the option is there for an automatic feeder, however we all know how reliable those can be sometimes.

My second big question is what type of turtle would best fit what im looking for? It obviously can't be big, and preferably not too ungodly expensive, considering that it will be in a class room environment. Ideally i'd be able to find the turtle at Petsmart or some large box store.

My Third question (Or rather one of many ) Is what sort of equipment would the tank need? I understand the basics, filtration and surface portions for the turtle to rest on out of the water. However what sort of temperature would the tank have to remain at?

As you can understand i have many questions about keeping turtles


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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-05-2014, 04:54 AM
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As an avid Chelonian pet parent I do not recommend a 10G.

Most turtles and tortoises are runners or swimmers. That is, they want room. Consider the zoomed floating dock, and an underwater cave. These eat real estate.

A MrAqua30G or a 50 breeder tank (better) would be better for the animal and fetch a higher resale value. Rimless tanks have thicker glass and kids like to be hands on.

Keep it shallow until they develop their lungs or they can drown.

Eheim canister filters are a better deal than the turtle filters. Pondmaster 150 is ideal but not pretty to look at. You need a muck filter. Turtle poop is nasty. Potted plants (no soil) filled with small riverstones will hold up to a baby turtle and help clean the water.

Use small river rocks to barely cover the bottom. $5 for 40lb at lowz.

It's fall so you may find a young Painted turtle or Snapper at the lake. I prefer you get a captive raised baby and only a northern species as you then won't need a heater. Turtles and glass heaters don't mix. Please don't buy a Slider, they are Southern species.

Snappers are more fun and retain their natural instinct to hunt food.

Just get one turtle, they are loners, 2 males will eventually maim each other.

Reptomin turtle stick food, earthworms, and live minnows are best. Insects, too. Many here will gladly donate duckweed. Painted turtles love to eat floating plants.

For lights- Desert fluorescents give plenty of UVB. Depending on the classroom, a small spotlight may be needed for a few hours of basking.

Need more info?

Cheers!

-PhilipS

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-05-2014, 09:33 PM Thread Starter
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The info you gave seems to me to be great! Thanks for the knowledge. I'll have to look around for sales and such. I'll update this thread once i'm ready to get started. Maybe then i will need more advice! Thanks again


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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-06-2014, 12:55 PM
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Keep in mind, turtles tend to be pretty messy. The tank will need regular cleaning (at least weekly). It can get tedious after a while. I don't want to discourage you from going this route, only a warning.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-12-2014, 08:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbinf View Post
Keep in mind, turtles tend to be pretty messy. The tank will need regular cleaning (at least weekly). It can get tedious after a while. I don't want to discourage you from going this route, only a warning.
I can attest to this. I currently have 2 sliders in a 150gal. In my wife's first 2 years of teaching we kept a slider in her room.
We removed the turtle for multiple reasons. Having to come up to the school once or twice a week got old real quick. I had to make time during work breaks to get up there and clean everything.
The other was she was quickly outgrew her 10 and 20 gallon homes.

On the plus side, the kids and other teachers loved watching the turtle. She always got positive comments on the turtle. For that matter she also got good feed back on her shrimp and fish tanks too.

Not trying to discourage you, just want you to know the good and the bad.

Semper Fi
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-13-2014, 08:35 AM
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Weekly gravel wash and filter cleaning is a must. Hence my recommendation for river rock.

As soon as you clean a turtle tank, they poo again.

Just remember that healthy turtles will out live your cat and dog and you.

No pond is complete without a turtle.
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