Plywood Aquarium for Southern Painted Turtles

Markw84

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The Aquatop he has is a 370 GPH flow rate with a 9 watt UV. Those are optimal flow rates I normally see overrated in products like this. The same size (9 watts) they also use in their 525GPH filter. I use 3 - 40 watt UV Filters on my pond with a flow rate of just under 6000 GPH I had to divide my flow rate in quarters to get the benefit of some sterilization so I have 1500 GPH going through each 40 watt UV. and an additional 1500 GPH that bypasses. That gives enough dwell time in the UV filter to be at the upper end of what is considered sterilization. The 9 Watts is less than 1/4 my 40 watt filters so I would think a 9 Watt UV filter should start to work as a sterilizer in the 370 GPH range. Not sure about the specific design of the Aquatop so it would depend upon how much water volume is directly exposed to the UV in the filter, but rule of thumb would indicate it is sized to provide at least some sterilization. I know mine definitely work for algae green water kill with all water directly through the UV filters giving 2000 GPH each. I slowed it down from there for the sterilization rates. I can see the results of algae kill - so I know that works at 2000 GPH. The sterilization - I cannot see if that is working - just going by accepted standards I researched and used in designing my pond! So this is IMO too.
 

cdmay

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Wow! You clearly have some carpentry skills...way more than me. Really nice job.
 

Paschendale52

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Hello everyone!

I decided to go ahead and pull the trigger on getting my southern painted turtles. I got them from Underground Reptiles, which I initially read a lot of good reviews here and on the BOI on fauna classified. As soon as I ordered them I went back and kept reading and found a bunch of negative reviews, but even more reading revealed that there were more good than bad so I wasn't too concerned. The order was placed yesterday about 9am and today about 9am they arrived. I took them out of their traveling container and set them on the basking stone. They two turtles are easily distinguished by the size of the stripe on their back (first 2 pictures). The one with the thin stripe almost immediately jumped in the water and started chasing after fish, while the thicker striped guy sat still all the way withdrawn for about 5 minutes before I moved him onto a piece of driftwood surrounded by water. As soon as I looked away he dove it as well and they've been moving and active and eating on stray plant matter ever since (about an hour now).

The aquarium where they are has several floating plants and guppies for them to eat and chase and they seem to be doing well so far but obviously it hasn't been very long yet. I'll keep posting on their progress as time moves on.

Thanks! DSC_2458.JPG DSC_2459.JPG DSC_2460.JPG DSC_2462.JPG DSC_2463.JPG
 

Markw84

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Will

Congratulations on the new turtles. I'm glad you found some. They do look good - started and have some new growth and can't see any upturn in the back margin of the carapace - so looks like great turtles. They will do great in your fantastic aquarium you built. Can you show us a picture of the whole setup now with the turtles in?
 

Paschendale52

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Will

Congratulations on the new turtles. I'm glad you found some. They do look good - started and have some new growth and can't see any upturn in the back margin of the carapace - so looks like great turtles. They will do great in your fantastic aquarium you built. Can you show us a picture of the whole setup now with the turtles in?


Thank you very much, I'm glad they look healthy and well-started to someone with a more discerning eye.

Here is the whole thing, you can't see too much other than the caves and driftwood. DSC_2464.JPG

The view through one of the side windows, you can see the second piece of driftwood, ramp made out of bark and moss, and several guppies. DSC_2466.JPG

One of the little guys that hasn't quite got the hang of getting up onto the basking platform using ramp, but they have been hanging out on the edge of it on and off for quite a while.
DSC_2467.JPG

Here is the whole thing from above, you can see the basking platform, ramp, and the second piece of driftwood that allows a basking spot not under the MVB. You can also see the water hyacinth from above here, its grown significantly since I got the plant. DSC_2468.JPG

This is the view from the other side port, you can see the output of the canister filter tube to the right of the tank, and the guy with the wider stripe about centered in the water (down and left of the flash glare). DSC_2469.JPG
 

Markw84

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That looks GREAT! That will give you tons of enjoyment watching them in a close-to-natural environment. Turtles act so differently when you can more closely approximate an environment they feel comfortable in.

I (and the turtles) love driftwood! Don't know what type wood you've got in there, but most "driftwood" will stain your water a tea color. So, depending upon the type of wood, watch for that and if you see it, you'll know what the issue is.
 

Paschendale52

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So far the little guys are (understandably) skittish. I can't imagine how scary it would be to be picked up and put in a box for a overnight trip to another state. I'm not really sure how to go about getting them specific food yet though. I know one option is to put them in a separate feeding box, feed them, and put them back, but I can't actually grab them since they swim to the bottom where I can't reach them easily whenever I reach near them. I know there is a lot of food in there constantly (fry guppy, baby snails, plants, etc.) but should I worry about not being able to see them eat every morning?

Thanks,
 

Markw84

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For babies, I find they are most stimulated to eat by the movement of a worm. I actually use tubifex or bloodworms they commonly sell for fish to really get them eating. You can do that in a separate smaller container - but that tends to stress them and make them hide at first and they lose interest in eating! So you have to leave them in there a while until the get used to it. You also can drop the worms right into the tank, but since they're skittish, they will hide and most of the worms will drop to the bottom. They actually will get established and live in the gravel - which isn't that bad as mine love to constantly dig through and find the worms. For stubborn newbies, I will sometimes place a smaller dish in the bottom the worms can be put in, where they cannot easily escape into the gravel before the turtles find them. I also regularly use the worm feeder they sell to feed fish. It is a small funnel shaped plastic with slots in it you stick to the glass at water surface level. It takes a while for the worms to be able to wiggle through the slots out of the feeder, and the turtles quickly learn to pick at the side of the feeder as the worms emerge. Keep in mind your fish will gobble up the worms faster than the turtles can if you have some bigger fish in there. They will gradually transition over to a good pellet. I don't find painteds that picky. Always had good luck with the reptamin baby turtle pellets and the Exo Terra Juvenile as they grow and start transitioning to Mazuri aquatic turtle -- I use that as a staple because I go through so much and buy 25 lb bags.
 

Paschendale52

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Bloodworms are what I have tried so far, the fish just tend to eat them before the turtles notice that they're there. I don't think the turtles are willing to fight off the fish for a share of the meal just yet.
 

weldorNate

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Nice tank and turtles ur stand is overbuilt in my opinion but u wont have to worry about it collapsing.
 

Paschendale52

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Nice tank and turtles ur stand is overbuilt in my opinion but u wont have to worry about it collapsing.

The stand is framed in 4x4"s with a crossbeam and 6 support legs. Certainly over built for the job, but it was convenient and if I ever want to put a couple extra thousand pound of lead brick in it I have the weight capacity...

Mostly I put it together and put plywood paneling on it so that it would look good as the tank is sitting in my living room, but all of the stand work was done months in advance because it was nice outside and I enjoy making things.
 

Paschendale52

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I can't take a picture because its dark and all, but these little guys sleeping on various floating plants is the cutest thing ever. Yesterday they fell asleep inside a collard green thats floating in there....
 
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