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turtle tank display refugium help

1883 Views 4 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  turtletank
im new here, i have a 72g bowfront tank for a red eared slider turtle. basic setup; about an inch or so of river rock, a pvc dock, an old terra brand rock filter that broke so its decor with a fountain pump to circulate water, and my turtles pet goldfish (it was a feeder fish that survived and is now the size of a filet mingon steak). the tank is 3/4ths full or so (most the time less).

im looking into doing an extremly deep sand bed display refugium/water scrubber with either a spare 20 or 40 gallon tank (both being my res old tanks as ive been able to upgrade)

excuse my terminology please. if i say something that isnt understood ask!

the refugium plan is to be simple, 2 plexiglass dividers, one on each side of the tank. sand will be the primary "filler" unless told different. the plexiglass will go from the top down stopping a few inches from the bottom.

water will flow from the inlet, down through lava rock, egg crate, lava rock, sand. the lava rock is so that the water flow doesnt wash the sand away. the water will then flow up around plants and back down into the sand to peagravel egg crate peagravel (same principle with the washout). and out to a 55 gallon barrel filter which will sit below the refugium piped center down and wash up through various gravel sand and a filter pad before being pumped back to the turtle tank. (over filtration is ok in my book expecially since its the last stage.)

the projected sand depth will be about 5-6" or maybe more as it will be the main mechanical and biological filter for turtle tank.

i chose the water current to go down up down because i want as much turtle waste as possible to interconnect with the plants, and didnt much care for the "waterfall" style as i thought the waste could wash pass the plants too quickly, like a paper boat placed on a creek current.

the main life of the refugium will be general plants, maybe some live bearing fish (guppies or swordtails [to double over as turtle food]), mts (if they can travel that deep in sand) an assasian snail or 2, i may throw a crawdad in (lobster, crawdad, crayfish, they are the same in freshwater with differnt names)

main worry is toxins in the abnormally deep sand and the way the sand is catching the crud

1 need to know if my plan will work?
2 and other suggestions on aquatic life to help stir the sand?

admins if this is in the wrong section or if there is a section that may be of better help feel free to move it
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generally turtle poop should be removed as quick as possible due to the high ammonia levels. Deep sand and large poop would make for an anaerobic decomposition, which gives off hydrogen sulfide. I have dirt fish tanks and have to deal with it until the plants take over, but in your case you'd constantly be adding organic material. Maybe worth trying but keep an eye on your ammonia levels.
hi joe! thanks for replying. so instead of the original really deep sand bed have a normal sand bed??

remember i would also have a 55 gallon drum set up kinda like a canister filter as a redundant filtration. the plants taking the main "beating" while while the 55g to follow up, the "double filtration" hopefully leaving the turtle tank almost purely clean, so whatever waste he provides would be in small amounts.

plus in following the saying: the solution to pollution being dilution, at whole numbers (max amount each container can hold, not whats actually in them) 72+40+55=167+3 (estimated gallons of piping) =170 (total gallons for system) -72 (main display) = 98. 98 gallons of filtration for 72 gallons of main tank... would i have ammonia and sulfide problems with that much filtration?
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ok, i got it running like you said with gravel under and a sandbed of 3-4". put 3 packs of dwarf hairgrass, a couple packets of ricco, and 2 packs of a hornwart like plant that browned on me, something else i dont remember, the hair grass and riccos are doing best.

had to add 1 extra piece of plexiglass as the under current was too strong leaving the plant area stagnent.

got a cheapy $50 pressure co2 kit from petco, runnin it into a recurculation pump im using (weak water fountain pump, air is connected to the water line going to a modified gravel vacuum that i pulled the tab out, and put some dense foam in, no air bubbles are exiting but there is a co2 pocket in the vacuum so its fully absorbing the co2) been running it all day today with no pearling, disappointed in that but all seems well.

the water has small circulation and current but the water does not ripple at all. (in my main tank right next to the return line i have 2 large bar airstones to disrupt the co2 consentration in it)

how does everything sound so far? i didnt do the 55g drum yet as i wanted one thing to work at a time.

the hairgrass looks to have a few fresh bright green spikes, but still no pearling, though i did not buy a tester i did get root tabs and liquid ferts because the sand bed not being nutrietional. lighting is 3 32w t8s (3000, 5000 and 6500k to to make sure i hit all the lums).

comments and feedback please:
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