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    Thread: My Turtle Ponds. Indoor and Outdoor part 4

    1. #1
      Saints-81 is offline Junior Member
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      My Turtle Ponds. Indoor and Outdoor part 4

      So at this point we are on our 5th or 6th version of our indoor tank. 3 major builds with adjustments made along the way with each one. I really wish this latest one will be our last but I know at some point in the future there is another one to be built, mostly because my idea to build this one failed and just to get the turtles in for the winter I had to compromise and didn't have time to build it the way I wanted.

      Originally I was trying to build a rectangle with Sand area on one side and water on the other. The water area is where it didn't work the way I wanted... well didn't even get the chance to find out if it would work as it leaked like mad and I had to abandon the concept and buy a plastic insert. I built a rectangle area to be the swimming area. My Wife did not want the folds of Pond liner that you normally get. We had a baby turtle get stuck and die in one years ago and ever since she has hated liner, not to mention the issue with holes and leaks. We wanted something that functioned with minimal upkeep and also had to look good as we are hoping this is the last build for a few years.

      I needed to hide the filters but from previous years where I had them housed under the sand area I needed them in an area that was more accessible in case of issues. I still wanted a gravity fed filter system, or at least as many filters between the dirty water and the pump so we didn't just make poop soup with an internal pump/filter. I took pond liner that I still had laying around and cut out all the sides and bottom, created seam strips from the liner and then tried using liquid rubber (fish safe) to seal everything together. I then put up a wall inside of this with a hole in the bottom front corner to take in water, 3 chambers for filtering, and then an area for the pump for circulation and all this was covered by wood trim. When I filled it up it leaked pretty bad. I let it dry and added more liquid rubber and some more liner in the areas I thought we responsible but it leaked each time I filled it up. So I ran out of time eventually as winter was starting to arrive and we needed to get them inside. So again I went to the plastics store and bought another "bad pour" bin. I think I got it for $75 instead of the $300 in normally cost. The handle had holes in it so I used pond liner and marine silicone to seal it. I cut off the top and dropped it in. For the filter I used a rubbermaid bin again and really packed it with sponges and other material - worked pretty well. We really only need to clean it out once a winter.

      From the previous tanks we knew that we needed high sides so they can't climb out... More than once I had walked into our "sun" room just to look down and see one of our turtles in the middle of the room. We wanted to be able to enjoy watching them though. So we took a sheet of acrylic we had bought for a different project and cut it to make our walls and took a 4x4 post and cut to size to anchor it together.

      The rest you can pretty much see for yourself. So at this point I really hope I'm done building tanks and ponds at my place for many years to come.
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      Flowergarden129 is offline Junior Member
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      This is gorgeous! So, is the ramp up into the sand area a carpet scrap? And it doesn't decay in the water? Thanks for helping me out in planning my own set up. I have an indoor tank too (110 gal. Rubbermaid stock tank) and I'm now building an outdoor pond. My two ponds are within a few feet of each other, so my idea is to build a tunnel through a window to let my RES move indoors and out for three seasons of the year. We'll seal the tunnel off for the winter. I think she'll love it.

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      Saints-81 is offline Junior Member
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      The Ramp is Indoor/outdoor carpet pulled really tight. It has held up for 2 years and looking like 3. Its cheap enough to replace when needed. That being said... yes there are some fibers that get into the tank as it unravels from the sides a little, but just use a net and scoop them out. I used a piece of plastic for the ramp with the carpet over it. I pulled it very tight and overlapped underneath were I would be screwing on a piece of wood that was angled to give slope. BTW the nice thing about this set up where they can get out and fully dry off and bath in the heat and sun lamps is that I no longer heat my tank. It stays a little under room temp (sun room cold in winter) and they go between as needed to regulate their heat. I have not had any issues with doing things this way and still very healthy. I had spent a small fortune on heaters that kept breaking down until a guy in a reptile store pointed out that as long as everything is provided why heat it.... It's not like the streams and rivers are heated, they climb out when needed... If you have any more questions ask and I will give answers to what I can, or let you know how I did things wrong.... Oh ya.... The reason for the indoor/outdoor carpet.... Sand. It helps to gently scrape away some of the sand from them before they get back into the water tank. You will still end up with sand in the tank, but not near as much. I just remove it in the spring or use a net and scoop it back into the sand area.
      Last edited by Saints-81; 08-08-2015 at 12:28 PM.

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      Flowergarden129 is offline Junior Member
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      Great, thanks! I feel like I am totally following in (and benefitting from) your footsteps.

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      Flowergarden129 is offline Junior Member
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      Another question: How deep is your sand pit? I need to build one for Freddie (a girl--don't ask) to lay eggs in. I've heard they need to be over a foot deep. Did you build the sand pit area out of wood or use another plastic bin, or what?

    6. #6
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      Mark Anderson is offline Senior Member ~ CKK in Training
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      Those are some lucky turtles. Nice job.

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      Saints-81 is offline Junior Member
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      For the sand area it is built out of wood. I built a frame underneath so that it could support the weight of the sand. I then just put 3/8 plywood for my bottom and sides. I used a plastic liner like you would for insulating your house on the inside. This was more so that sand would not work its way into the corners and sides and fall under the tank anywhere where my cuts were not perfect and had left a small space between the wood. Currently it's about 4-5 inches deep. Nelson (she was named before we got her and figured out she is in fact a she) hasn't tried dropping eggs in the sand in this tank yet. She drops them in the water and we try to remove them as soon as possible so it doesn't effect the water (the eggs are unfertilized). In the older tank she would dig and bury them and it was only about 6 inches deep. So that being said we are getting more sand (keep forgetting when at store) to add a couple more iches and see if this helps her, might also be temp of sand that she is not happy with as this is a much bigger area and more open so the sand itself is not as warm overall. I have also read that it needs to be a foot, I think as long as you can get close it should be okay.

      I have been thinking that next time I need to rebuild the tank that I will try and figure out a way to use a heating mat made for infloor heating under the sand. I'm not sure how possible this is as: 1. it will be right beside water and 2. when installing it in the bathroom its not suppose to have anything like cabinets or such above it.... but I really like the idea of setting the temp for the sand and only needing 1 heat lamp to make one area just a little bit warmer or see if I can get rid of heat lamp in the long run if she likes just heated sand enough and reduce electric bill and eyesore of clamped lights and cables. Will still need to have the artificial sun light in the room but heat lamps are costly to run. The infloor heating I just put in the bathroom is only a 16ft cable and uses about the same energy as a 100W light bulb when it is on. I think they may sell mat that are even smaller that would do the job. It will be very pricey to install but might be worth it in long run.

      In previous posts I talked about "them" but now we have just 1 turtle. The male became mature and wouldn't leave her alone, she rejected him and it really looked like he was trying to kill her. Bit marks everywhere and she went out of her way to avoid him. Read that if the female rejects the male that he has no use for her and then may just try to kill her, which seemed to have happened in our case. So I build a quick tank for my sister and she got our male. So because of this we don't need to worry about the eggs being fertilized but she still needs an area to drop or bury them. We can tell a few days to a week before they start dropping as her behaviour changes dramatically.

      PS,

      So after posting this I looked around my computer and found a few pics of Nelson laying eggs. You can see that the sand wasn't very deep and that she didn't dig overly deep either. As mentioned I think (just guessing) that this older tank was more enclosed, smaller space, and the heat lamps where a little closer to the sand so that made the sand much warmer overall. Like I said, purely a guess as to why she would lay eggs in the sand in this tank but just drops them in the water in the new tank.
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      Last edited by Saints-81; 10-01-2015 at 07:18 PM.

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