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Splash pad/pond input

Discussion in 'Sulcata tortoises' started by Professor Brenda, Jul 22, 2019.

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  1. Professor Brenda

    Professor Brenda Active Member

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    Otis, like most sulcatas is attracted to splashing or moving water. I am planning to put in a shallow pond for my 5-year-old, 30 lb boy Otis. Yes, it will be shallow. It will have a fountain. Knowing he will likely poop in it frequently I am debating between 2 designs. One design would be shallow hole, covered in liner, then pea gravel with plants that help filter the water. The pump/fountain also has a small filter. The second design is shallow hole covered in the liner with the same pump/fountain. Will the plants, small filter, and weekly flushing be enough to keep the first one clean? The second one I would just lift the liner to clean it when needed.

    Input?

    Thank you
    Brenda
  2. Yvonne G

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

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    I can't speak for all sulcatas, but my Dudley gets in his waterer then sweeps his front legs, flinging the water up over his back. I think this would be a death sentence for a liner or gravel. I have to clean his waterer out daily, and it's not something "flushing" would take care of. I'd either have to sweep it out with the broom, or physically pick it up and dump it.
  3. Professor Brenda

    Professor Brenda Active Member

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    That is one of the things I was concerned about. He loves to kick mud and water on himself in his sprinkler. I may have to stick with the sprinkler and just add the fountain to a small bowl for drinking. My only problem with that is that I forget to turn the sprinkler off. : )
  4. Maro2Bear

    Maro2Bear Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Get urself a cheap garden hose timer. I use three or four of them - auto on/off, easy to set.

    Mine are kind of like this, have had them for years. “Set it and Forget it” - https://www.lowes.com/pd/orbit-digi...WBl1iDomO4LU9jbuWEI96tLx-j1O3qGIaAmLdEALw_wcB
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  5. Professor Brenda

    Professor Brenda Active Member

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  6. ZEROPILOT

    ZEROPILOT Well-Known Member 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    Been there
    Done that
    I settled on two cement, formed pools lined with fiberglass resin.(better options are out there)
    I sweep them out with a broom once a week or more and refill them.
    Tortoises don't appreciate our best laid plans.....
  7. Professor Brenda

    Professor Brenda Active Member

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    Thank you.
  8. NorCal tortoise guy

    NorCal tortoise guy Well-Known Member

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    For my sulcatas I go Low tech I made a little low spot In there yard and now I just let the hose run and fill the low spot and they turn it in to a mud hole. It’s not pretty but they seem to love it! They flip the mud up on there backs and it helps keep them cool on a hot day even after they leave the mud hole. I have also been told by others that they put the mud on them self’s to keep the mosquitoes away. I’m not sure if that’s true but it seems reasonable.
  9. queen koopa

    queen koopa Active Member

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    I feel this is the best. I have also done a pond liner with rock and boulder covering it. It had drainage and I filled it everyday but eventually some sort of larvae moved into the rock and mud on the bottom. If the liner is not covered they will tare right through it. My first one was a well drain rock pool, but she dug it up. The problem is keeping the water somewhat clean. So of its not draining its got to be drained manually. I don’t know a small filler that would clear up Sulcata poop. I finally have a horse trough with the sides cut down, on a shallow incline, with bricks in it for traction. I tried weather stripping the bottom but it would not stay with the water. It looks pretty shaky with all the random bricks and a piece of plywood. But she uses it daily. Nevada sun is brutal. The bad part is that I have to remove all the bricks to dump it... and thats every other day basically. I try to tell myself that it is a work out for me.. but its getting old. My next water feature will be the shallow cement pools that can be swept out. I just and unsure where I want it and only want to have to make it once....
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  10. shellcior

    shellcior Member

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    I made Tank a shallow cement pond that he can enter from any side. All 4 sides are sloped. I bought a sump pump to drain which works okay depending on how much grass he has dragged in there. i am able to use a push broom to sweep it out. It is also covered by a shade cover. This pic shows him enjoying the pond...however I had just mowed so there was grass in there. I don't drain it until AFTER I mow due to this and the fact it makes the yard mushy. lol. I have plans for a new pond once i move in a year or so. It will have a large filter as this boy is 90lbs. lol

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  11. queen koopa

    queen koopa Active Member

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    Oh that is awesome. Appreciate the photos. I need ideas.
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  12. DesertGirl

    DesertGirl Active Member

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    What fun!
  13. Professor Brenda

    Professor Brenda Active Member

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    Thank you and Queen Koopa. That is why I needed. I will be making the concrete pond to push boom clean.
    Shellcior, how deep is the water area, how thick concrete, and square footage, if you don’t mind?
  14. wccmog10

    wccmog10 Active Member

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    It’s been a while, but I’ve made several concrete ponds in the past. The thing that I never did correctly was make them big enough. You start by digging out your pond (in whatever shape/depth you want), then as you put a liner, and concrete on top of that, you pond shrinks drastically. So my advice would be to make sure you think about how big of a pond you want to ultimate end up with, but remember that the hole you dig will actually need to be a good bit bigger.

    For my pond I would want every tortoise to have access to water simultaneously. If you have one tortoise, the pond just needs to be big enough for his entire body to fit. If he is not full grown take into consideration how big he will end up being. Concrete ponds take work, you don’t want to have to make a new one every 6 months. But you have to make sure that it won’t be dangerous for his current size (to deep comes to mind). If I had 3 tortoises, I would make my pond was a good bit bigger so that more than one could be soaking at the same time.

    Just food for thought.
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  15. wccmog10

    wccmog10 Active Member

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    The concrete ponds I did were between 2 and 4 inches thick. But they were mostly small ponds, not sulcata size. With earth directly under it, you shouldn’t have to make it super thick, it’s not like you are parking a car there. And for concrete I used Portland cement mixed 1:1 with sand. Then add water to get the consistency you like. Too soupy and it’s hard to get the slopes done correctly, because they are always falling and sagging. To dry and it’s hard to shape it properly.
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  16. Professor Brenda

    Professor Brenda Active Member

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    Thank you for all of that. I have one 40 lb boy. I was thinking of it being big enough for him to grow and just not filling it up. Thank you.
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  17. shellcior

    shellcior Member

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    Tank's current pond is approx. 4' x 3'. It's roughly 12" deep but I only fill it about 7 - 8" deep. All sides are sloped so he can access all sides and I don't have to worry about him turning over. I just used Quickcrete. I did it in the evening when he was already in "bed" as he has a tendency to get all into whatever I am doing while in the yard. I smoothed out the Quickcrete mix into the shape I wanted it and then I lightly sprayed water over it as to not disturb the form I made. Next time I will use regular concrete as it will come out alot smoother and easier to sweep out. Quickcrete has a lot of small pebbles in it so it is somewhat rough. I got the shade cover and attached it to his shed and put in two posts on the other end of the pond and attached the other end of the shade cover so the pond stays mostly shaded during the hottest time of the day. I am already "designing" his new pond and will add drains, filters, pumps, etc... to keep the water moving and cleaner. With a tortoise his size, you have to do overkill on filtration. It will be a bigger pond than this one. Probably 7' x 5' or so. I attached a pic of the pond next to his building. You can't really see the shade cover though as the sun was pretty bright. Tank was walking through his "rubber curtain" at the moment. lol. Couldn't be bothered to go through the other openings... lol

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  18. Relic

    Relic Well-Known Member

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    l9tqx33vRXG0NGRhp%opfg_thumb_4376.jpg I built a concrete pool in my box turtle pen. Luckily, the ground has a slight slope to it, so I built the 25 gallon pond up the slope and placed a 1 inch PVC threaded fitting level with the floor, with a 24 inch drain pipe underneath leading away from the pond down the slope. I then put a short PVC section with a threaded fitting into the floor fitting, cut at the height of the water level I was seeking. Now I can easily unscrew the top pipe, drain the water, and fill with fresh every 2-3 days to eliminate mosquitoes and droppings. Has worked well for 30 years. I only regret not using 2 inch PVC because in the fall, the occasional pecan will drop in the water and plug up the pipe, otherwise fool-proof.
  19. wccmog10

    wccmog10 Active Member

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    I should also mention, that when I was taught about making concrete ponds, I was told to change the water every day for the first few days after making the pond. New concrete leaches stuff into the water at first, so it’s important to get rid of those chemicals. The more concrete, the more leaching. After a few 100% changes the leaching shouldn’t be a problem any more. The leaching raises the pH significantly (I’ve seen over 10 in big aquarium type tanks- I’m talking 20,000 gallons, that had a lot of concrete). You can use muriatic acid (used for swimming pools), which you can get from Lowe’s/HD, to counteract the leaching effects. But for this application, just changing the water out is much easier.
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  20. Professor Brenda

    Professor Brenda Active Member

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    Good information. Thank you. I will do that. I am excited. I will post a picture when it is complete.
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