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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-28-2014, 06:50 PM Thread Starter
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Planted Turtle Tanks

The jury is still out on how feasible and maintainable this is but I've been tasked with putting a tank together in our offices. Thought I'd asked this esteemed group of folks before wandering into turtle forums.

EDIT: We're talking about two Red Eared Sliders
I know the following:
  • There are plants that may work
  • The lighting isn't a problem
  • CO2 injection isn't much of a problem so as long as PH doesn't dip too far. Turtles don't breath undewater.

The things I don't know:
  • Does substrate matter for turlte health? Will they eat certain types of substrate? I know turtles are messy so surely one that doesn't showcase the poop would help
  • Does EI dosing (high nitrates) hurt turtles?
  • Is this a folly to even consider a planted tank LOL <-- half joking

I have considered cordoning off an area with plexiglass for the plants to grow untouched and provide a safe haven for fish, but I don't know how this will actually look.

Any input is welcome!

Last edited by STS_1OO; 02-28-2014 at 07:36 PM. Reason: More Info
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-28-2014, 11:38 PM
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I might be a future turtle tank owner myself, my bro has a VERY crowded tank with 4 aquatic turtles (each one bigger than a tea saucer), and 2 fancy goldfish. All in a 75 gallon or so, and he never does water changes, just top offs. No plants, one hob filter. Yeah, I want to make their lives awesome.

But I plan on a riparium, maybe an indoor pond.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-01-2014, 12:44 AM
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My experience was my RES ate every single plant I tried. Water
Lilies, floaters, duckweed, frogbit, hydrocotle, Vallisneria, hygro, guppy grass, etc. he had plenty to eat in terms of guppies, and floating pellets, but always chowed down on the plants. My local turtle club also expressed the same experience. RES will eat plants. YMMV but the odds are against you.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-01-2014, 02:16 AM
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I've seen it done successfully, but I have to find that link for you. I remember the guy using a large tank with heavily planted Vals.

Have you considered riparium plants? (just don't use the rafts with turtles, they will climb them and eat the plants. :P

Sand is a common and safe substrate with turtles and won't harm them if eaten.

I'll try to come back with more info. Till then, good luck!
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-01-2014, 03:42 AM
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I have a 26 year old red ear slider and I'm a regular on I only recommend ever keeping no more than one indoors, they are best suited for large ponds like koi.

You'll need at least 50g per turtle. For two two adults your talking about a tank around 100 gallons. There is a good possibility they will fight when they reach maturity and the only remedy will be separation. You'll need a filter rated at 3x tank capacity. I use a Rena XP3 for my 55 gallon. Fluval FX6 are not uncommon among RES keepers.

More often then not plants don't work for them. I've had limited success with marimo balls, the rest of my plants are silk and even then they get chewed up. I feed him trimmings and frogbit from my planted tank. In the summers, ponds around the area fill up with anacharis, i buy them in bulk and toss them in the tank. They last a few months but eventually are all eaten. Same goes with feeder fish.

The only substrate are very fine ones, go with sand or leave it bare bottom. There is a danger of turtles eating gravel and getting an impaction which will results in death.

For proper lighting you'll need a source of heat and UVB. They will need a dry basking area heated to about 90 degrees.

Also look at smaller aquatic turtles like stink pots and mud turtles. They are much smaller and somewhat more plant friendly.

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-02-2014, 12:27 AM
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