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Turtle tank/paludarium

3242 Views 6 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  CrookedFingers
Hello, I have already posted this on another forum, but I'd like some more opinions from an aquascaping point of view.

I am preparing a 72L tank for my baby razorback musk turtle, Gene. His species should (hopefully) allow for a planted tank with fish, and he will need a basking platform so, finding those pre-made plastic platforms really ugly, I set my mind on making a paludarium with a planted shelf on which (s)he can haul out should he wish to do so.
Since posting on the other forum, I have already built a 15x25cm shelf out of plexiglas, with polymer clay fake rock dividers, and I have glued it to the walls and driftwood with epoxy putty. Later I'll add some more support with another piece of driftwood and some plexiglas props. Right now it looks like this:
On the shelf I'll probably plant a mix of terrestrial (fern, soleirolia) and emersed plants (Hemianthus callitrichoides, Utricularia graminifolia, moss), with different substrates and umidity levels.
Do you think it will hold? Do you foresee any problems?

The driftwood will have creeping moss and Anubias nana.

For the bottom I have made substrate dividers out of polymer clay, and I'd like to plant the back corners with DHG, UG, HC. I'm unsure if I should add something in the back left corner, the one that's not under the platform. I have some Vall var. tortifolia and E. tenellus from my betta bowl, but I'm not sure about adding them in. Maybe some thin-leaved java fern/ crypt/ echinodorus?

I don't plan to use very high lighting, maybe a LED bulb added to my turtle's UV, nor CO2, but since I'm not interested in superfast growth I don't think it'll be a problem (but if you disagree please correct me). I think the turtle should provide adequate fertilization (again, if I'm wrong please tell me).
I'll use a canister filter, and I've planned to build the intake tube into the platform.

I would like to add 6-8 white cloud mountain minnows.

I think that's all, sorry for the long post!
Any advice or suggestion would be very much appreciated. Thanks in advance :)
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It sounds like that species likes warmer water (mid to high 70s) which is incompatible with the white cloud minnows (who like temps in the high 60s to low 70s). It looks like it sometimes also eats fish, so not sure that's going to work out in general, but I don't have any firsthand experience. If you got any fish I'd make sure they're larger than your turtle's mouth (or than it will be at adult size). I'd also be a little worried about the turtle ripping out the plants, especially on the platform but to a lesser degree, the underwater ones, if you don't let them root fully before adding it in, but if it's just a baby now that might not be an issue.

HC especially needs high light and CO2 to grow well. If you're putting plants under the platform, I'm not sure how you expect them to get any light... Maybe I misunderstood. I'm also not sure that the turtle alone, especially if it's a baby, is going to provide anywhere near enough fertilization for the plants you want to thrive. I'd also look into finding out the PAR rating of your lights to make sure it's not going to be way too much; you could end up with algae problems.
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A couple more pictures for clarity:

And one for cuteness:

I have read that WCMMs should be fine at about 18-24°C, and that a juvenile razorback musk should be fine at 23-26, so I don't see much of a problem there. Also, I have read many more accounts of musk turtles being too derpy to even try to catch fish, and mine has been living in a tub with a bunch of gambusia for a couple of weeks without showing the least interest in them.
I forgot to mention I'm going to do a dry start with the DHG, UG, and HC, so hopefully they'll have pretty good roots before I move the turtle in there. And again, I've read of many musk turtles being pretty gentle in general. As for the plants under the platform, since this is a turtle tank it won't have a lid, so I think I can direct a desktop light towards the whole bottom.
Of course if I have any trouble with the fish or the plants I'll just take them out, but I wanted to give it a try with more demanding species since all my other setups are wayyy more low (think no tech). I don't expect lush, fast growth but do you think they'll die?

Bump: Also, what kind of bulb do you suggest I get for a desktop lamp to add to my 13W UV bulb? If it's any help, the tank is 60cm long, 30cm wide and 40cm deep, and it will be filled up to 15cm from the top (so the UV bulb, which should be 20 cm from the platform, will be at ~65cm from the bottom).

I have made a drawing of what it would hypotetically look like in case I didn't explain clearly enough:
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Having Kept musk turtles- you might want to check out Andy Highfield page at the Tortoise Trust for solid info.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
I have read it, but I don't see what I'm missing?
Here is lighting info that should help you figure out what you need:

I've never attempted to grow HC but it doesn't seem to grow much at all without CO2. It looks like people who do successfully grow it low-tech usually have nutrient-dense substrates (like Aquasoil) and dose fertilizers. I think with low light and no fertilizers your chances of success with HC are pretty slim from what I know, but I'm certainly not an expert. I'd look up information on growing the plants before spending money on them.
Anyone who's grown HC and DHG could advise me on the lowest possible tech setup to get them to survive prettily without the explosive growth of super high-light CO2 setups?
Thank you all for your replies so far

Especially, thanks for the article about PAR
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