Here’s a guided tour of my turtle tank. It looks a lot different than it did when I first showcased it over a year ago in my 150 gallon pet turtle tank as first set-up
The tank is a 150 gallon glass tank. I fill it halfway, so I have about 75 gallons of water in there. I know It’d be better to fill it up all the way, but I live in an old building and the structural capability of the floor to hold all the weight is in question.
I want to keep the pet turtle tank as clean and natural looking as possible. I don’t have gravel, because they get dirty very fast and they accumulate the dirt. All the basking areas are wooden and I use a lot of fake plastic plants (plastic so my pet turtles don’t eat them). Fake plastic plants hang all over the rear of the tank just above the water, they hang from the top of the tank divider, and there’s a few more on the bottom of the tank divider. The tank background is also a naturalistic picture of a river scene.
The white eggcrate divider is an eyesore, but I haven’t found anything that works as well and is big enough (I’ll need one that is 30″ by 24″). I could get plexi glass with drilled holes in them, but they won’t let the water flow through quite as well and all the future turtle scratch marks will make it look quite dirty.
Pictures of the outside of the tank:
On the front of the turtle tank, on the middle is a strip calendar. We use this to keep track of our turtle feeding. Since they’re not fed everyday, it’s easy to forget when they were last fed. This calendar and the conveniently attached hanging pen to mark it off is a great help.
The feeding calendar:
The turtle tank is divided in the middle by an eggcrate / light diffuser. I have a water aerator (bubbles!) in the center under the divider. I got it to help oxygenate the water for the many fish I used to keep with the turtles, before they all eventually got eaten. I don’t really need it anymore, but I keep it going because I feel like that area is a water movement dead zone.
Here’s a picture of the tank divider, the flexible bubble wand and fake plastic plants:
The turtles basking areas are made of corkbark. They are attached thru zip ties to the turtle tank divider by holes which I drilled near their corners. The basking areas do sink a little under the turtle’s weight, so I know I’ll have to brace it a little when they get bigger and heavier.
This is Cinderella’s basking area, on the right side of the tank:
Here’s a close up of how her basking area is attached to the eggcrate divider:
This is Rex’s basking area:
Here’s a close up to show how it’s attached to the tank divider:
The lamps directly above the basking area are simply heat lamps, with ceramic heat emitters – they produce no light, only heat. They generate a constant heat and is controlled by a proportional thermostat, which I’ll show later.
Above the basking areas and forward of the heat lamps (not directly above them) is a two-foot long UVB florescent bulb. It’s positioned forward of the heat lamps so that my pet turtles get their UVB when they bask – the basking areas are not in the shadow of the heat lamps. Here’s a view of the UVB light from inside the aquarium:
My pet turtles also have wooden underwater basking platforms, which I detail how I made here DIY underwater pet turtle basking platform.
This is Cinderella’s on the right side of the tank:
This is Rex’s underwater basking platform, on the left side of the turtle tank:
Moving on to the top of the tank. Besides the UVB florescent lamp, I also have a proportional thermostat to control the temperature of the basking area. I set it to have the basking area at 89.5 F. No matter what the temperature in the apartment, whether it be 85, 60, or 50, it will automatically adjust the output of the heatlamps to get to 89.5 (or whatever I set it to). I love the separate UVB and heat controls – it will never overheat or underheat the basking area, I don’t have to keep monitoring the pet turtle’s basking area temperatures and fiddle with the distance of the lamps from the basking areas in attempts to control the heat – their UVB and basking heat don’t compromise each other.
Here’s the thermostat I use:
The top of the tank has a mini refugium which I also made myself, filled with the output of one of my filters, to help clean up some of the excess nutrients from the tank water. I have a small amount of plants in there including java fern, anubias, and Christmas tree moss. Anacharis has not survived successfully in there, due to either the lack of dedicated lighting or the high water turbulence. I hope to upgrade the refugium to a bigger size, add more plants, and possibly add some filter shrimp, like the Asian Filter Shrimp (aka the bamboo or wood shrimp).
DIY Refugium pictures:
Lastly, the top of the turtle tank opens up for full access.