• Welcome! Are you interested in tortoises? If so, we invite you to join our community! Our community is the #1 place for tortoise keepers to talk online. Once you join you'll be able to post messages, upload pictures of your tortoise and enclosure, and discuss any tortoise topic with other tortoise keepers. Get started today!

Aquarium setup dilemma

Moozillion

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Apr 26, 2012
Messages
10,259
Location (City and/or State)
Louisiana, USA
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.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
46,451
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
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.
 

Moozillion

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Apr 26, 2012
Messages
10,259
Location (City and/or State)
Louisiana, USA
Dang that's a cute face! "Martha! Where are my false teeth?"
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 )
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
83,170
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
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.
 

Moozillion

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Apr 26, 2012
Messages
10,259
Location (City and/or State)
Louisiana, USA
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.
Thanks, Yvonne. :):<3:
I'm thinking I'll go with a canister filter, and will seal the join with silicone, as Tom suggested.
 

Lowstorm

New Member
Joined
May 7, 2019
Messages
7
Location (City and/or State)
Mid Minnesota
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.
 

Moozillion

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Apr 26, 2012
Messages
10,259
Location (City and/or State)
Louisiana, USA
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.
THAT'S interesting...I've never heard of that before!:)
 

Gijoux

Active Member
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
May 28, 2014
Messages
189
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
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 )
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.
 
Top