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Aquarium setup dilemma

Discussion in 'Water turtles' started by Moozillion, Jan 6, 2020.

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  1. Moozillion

    Moozillion Well-Known Member 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Hi, gang.
    I am in the process of setting up a 40 gallon breeder tank for my Mississippi mud turtle, Millie. But I'm struggling with how best to do it.
    The issue is that because she lost her right front foot to a predator when she was a hatchling, she is a NON-SWIMMER. Oh, she tries, and paddles like mad, but the only way I can keep her safely is in 3-3.5 inches of water so that she can easily stretch up and break the surface of the water while standing on the sand.

    EF1EB7F2-F8FC-4F98-96AE-9E16394EA121_1_100_o.jpeg

    She has outgrown her 20 gallon long tank and I want to give her more space.
    Here are my issues:
    1) Deciding on an adequate heater.
    Because the water depth will only be 3-3.5 inches, the total gallons of water will only be between 7-9 gallons. But with the large footprint of the water area, would a little heater designed for 10 gallons be adequate? Would a bigger heater be too much; or heat it unevenly? Would 2 small heaters- one at either end-be best? I don't want to buy a heater and find out it won't work for the situation. (Our house temperature varies between 68-70 in general- do I really NEED a heater?).

    2) Filtration.
    I had her on an under gravel filter initially, but she kept eating the gravel, which worried me, so I switched to a canister filter and pool filter sand substrate. With the 3 inches of water, the filter sometimes draws air at the join between the tube and the intake attachment. In general, the intake tube stands a bit askew in order to operate in such shallow water. Because she is native to our area, I know their natural substrate is sand, and I'd like to keep her on sand. But I know that I can't use an under gravel filter with sand.

    Any ideas or suggestions are welcome!
    Thanks.
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  2. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Drawing from similar experiences in the past, a single submersible heater for a 10 gallon tank should work as long as the water is moving. I don't know if you "need" a heater at those temps for this species. I used to heat the shallow water in my cement mixing tub in my water monitor's enclosure with something similar.

    You can buy aquarium sealant and any pet store, or get a caulking tube of "GE Silicone 1" from Home Depot and seal the joint for your filter intake. It takes about 24 hours to cure, but its completely inert and non-toxic after that.
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  3. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Dang that's a cute face! "Martha! Where are my false teeth?"
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  4. Moozillion

    Moozillion Well-Known Member 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    HAHAHA!!!! :D:D:D
    She really IS cute!!! But I'm here to tell ya: every time she gets picked up, she makes SERIOUS attempts :eek: to BITE anything and anyone within reach! (ask me how I know!:confused:)
    (HINT: my new forum name is going to be Moozillion 9-Fingers! :p )
  5. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    How do you think she'd react to being put into a small plastic tub of water for feedings? That would keep the aquarium clean longer, then maybe you could get by with a cheapy in-the-water filter floss filter. I wonder if an on the floor, outside the tank canister filter would work in your shallow water situation. The tubing carries the water up out of the tank and down into the canister, which then sends the cleaned water back out through more tubing back into the tank. There are some very good canister filters on the market.
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  6. Moozillion

    Moozillion Well-Known Member 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Thanks, Yvonne. :):<3:
    I'm thinking I'll go with a canister filter, and will seal the join with silicone, as Tom suggested.
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  7. Lowstorm

    Lowstorm New Member

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    Look up reverse under gravel filter. People have done it in saltwater aquariums for a while. Pushes the water backwards instead of sucking it in through the sand.
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  8. TammyJ

    TammyJ Well-Known Member

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    Millie is adorable, of course.
    Let us know how this progresses!
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  9. Moozillion

    Moozillion Well-Known Member 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    THAT'S interesting...I've never heard of that before!:)
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  10. Moozillion

    Moozillion Well-Known Member 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    THANK you, Tammy! You are very sweet! :):<3:
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  11. Gijoux

    Gijoux Active Member 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    I am betting she tries to bite because she remembers being attacked and she is not about to loose another foot. Perhaps someday she may forget about the attack that resulted in the loss of her foot. Good Luck with the filter. She is really a cutie.
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