Custom Enclosure for Cuora Amboinensis - Build

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datsunissan28

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Here is the current setup for my Malayan Box Turtle (Cuora amboinensis). Unlike North American box turtles these Asian guys spend a good portion of their time in water and are decent swimmers. He has been in his temporary 20 gallon long tank for far too long. The water portion is a paint roller tray that I change the water daily in. The other side has slate and coco coir as a substrate.

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Now onto the build of the new and much improved enclsoure. I am still using the twenty gallon long, but now it will be all water. There will be land section connected to the back half the length of the aquarium and about 8" wide. So much more room for this guy and he will actually have some options in depth.


The water portion will be filter by a magnum 350 canister filter from another tank that was upgraded to a FX-5. Planning on running a spray bar along the one side to spread out the water movement. Running egg crate along the bottom to protect from any shifting rocks. Also separating the Hydor heat cable from the turtle. The water is heated evenly, only a small cable running down the side is visible, and the turtle will not run into it like a submersible heater. Using playsand as the substrate.


For the land area, I am running two small halogens on an adjustable dimmer for heat and supplementing the light with a 24" dual t-5 fixture.



The stand and enclosure is from hardwood ply for the most part and the face frame is solid 1"x2" boards. Every year there is a flea market at a highschool nearby and a cabinet company sells unfinished door panels. Most are odd sizes, but I usually come out with a few sets of 4 matching doors for about $2.50 a door.


First off I cleaned out the aquarium and painted all but the front pane. This is my first time painting a tank and I think this will not be my preferred method for backgrounds.

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I built a separate stand so it will be easier to move as this is going on the second floor. I am a huge fan of pocket hole screws if you can't tell.
Upside down at first

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Right side up. The top is two pieces of hardwood plywood glued together. The one edge I rounded over with a router.
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I'm not great at remembering to take pictures. The main shell of the enclosure with aquarium in place.
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Lid added
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I had an extra two days off with the wife out of town to do all that. I haven't had a day off work and in town since then, so hopefully next weekend I can resume.
 

laney

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Looking good :)

So I'm trying to visualise, is the land and water part both going to be inside the tank?
I'm sure your turtle will be very happy with the upgrade :)
 

datsunissan28

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laney said:
Looking good :)

So I'm trying to visualise, is the land and water part both going to be inside the tank?
I'm sure your turtle will be very happy with the upgrade :)

The aquarium will be filled to the top with water, though there will be rocks allowing for different depths for him to rest on.

The enclosure is about 6" wider and 9" deeper than the aquarium. There will be an area behind the aquarium equal with the top of the aquarium for him to bask and walk around. Now I just need to figure out what I would like plant in the land area.
 

Millerlite

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They don't swim that good do they? That's almost aquatic. Maybe I'm thinking of something else. Looks good tho
 

datsunissan28

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Millerlite said:
They don't swim that good do they? That's almost aquatic. Maybe I'm thinking of something else. Looks good tho

They are the most aquatic of all the box turtles. They aren't quite as good as my painted turtles at swimming,but they can be kept in ponds 18" deep.
 

datsunissan28

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Well I have been pretty busy as work lately and was in San Francisco on two separate weekends. With that and applying for grad school I have not completed this project yet.

I did create the spray bar and return line for the canister filter. I painted all the PVC black to help hide it. Tonight I added the back to the enclosure and sanded everything down with 220 grit sandpaper to get ready to finish. I decided to keep a natural finish and seal with a gloss polyacrylic. This is water based and will off gas a lot less than a polyurethane.

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Next up is applying the finish. Probably will do three coats with sanding in between each. Then install the lighting/electric. I am running two 2' T5 bulbs and two halogens on individual dimmers. Seal all corners with silicon and cover the gaps with slate tile roughly cut to fit.
 

datsunissan28

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Finally some updates to share. All that is left is sealing the lid, installing the hinges, and replacing the impeller on the filter that I must have bent.

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tortadise

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Awesome. Too bad the 20 can't have a sump in the bottom cabinet. Or does it? Looks great. Good skill their.
 

datsunissan28

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He absolutely loves it as far as I can tell. He is a great swimmer and I think he likes all the cover the plants provide. He is able to climb out with no problem and hangs out on the slate. I might look at adding some plants to the land portion as well.









Sorry for the glare










 

lynnedit

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Wow, that is amazing. He really does like the water. What about a couple of plants (spider, etc.) in pots in each back corner of the land area?
 

Terry Allan Hall

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That's way cool...had a Cuora amboinensis about 20 years ago and built his enclosure to be about 1/3 land and 2/3s water in a 70 gallon tank, and his water was about 12" deep...used to love watching him hunt down crayfish that I'd stock his tank with, along with feeder goldfish.

He rarely bothered with the goldfish, but loved crayfish and shrimp! :D
 
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