Decorative reptiles were loved not only by children, but also by adults. They do not bring discomfort in the form of wool on furniture and carpets, they do not require walking twice a day, they do not run in a rattlesnake. Many species of small turtles are calm, quiet and hardy, but this does not mean that caring for them can be left to chance.
The closer the living conditions and the more varied food, the longer your exotic pet will live. Let's figure out what kinds there are, how many small turtles can live in captivity, how to feed them and how to keep them.
A low but wide aquaterrarium, the volume of which is designed for 120-150 liters of water, is suitable for keeping a red-eared turtle. It seems to many that the little turtle is simply lost in such an aquarium. But she is growing, and she will need space to freely swim and roll over.
In addition to water, the turtle needs an island, and with a comfortable and not slippery rise, so that the turtle easily crawled to land and basked. Islands can be bought in specialized stores or do it yourself. You can put a snag, a stone with a rough surface. But store islands, unlike those made at home, are more stable, have a textural surface. Another factor determining the quality of the island is the absence of piercing barbs and sharp corners.
Soil and plants
Depending on the purposes for which the turtle was purchased: as a pet or for breeding for sale, the soil is selected. In the first case, the bottom of the aquarium can be decorated with large stones, as gravel turtles can be swallowed. When breeding, fine soil is required so that the turtle can freely tear it up and lay eggs. You can pour a layer of washed river sand.
Aquarium plants are of interest to the tortoise, she tries to try each of them “by the tooth” and, if she likes it - the plant will be eaten, not like it — it will be pulled out with the root. Therefore, it is recommended to "plant" artificial plants in aquariums.
Shore heating and temperature maintenance
Turtles are thermophilic animals and, living in natural conditions, they like to bask in the sun. To bring home content closer to natural, you will need to install a lamp for heating. To maintain the optimum temperature in the aquarium there should be a thermometer.
When placing the lamp, you should pay attention to two things: firstly, it should not be too low above the island, and secondly, a protective glass will have to be installed between the lamp and water so that splashes of water do not fall on the incandescent lamp.
The operating time of the lamp for heating is 10-12 hours per day. You can buy it in a specialized store.
Depending on the age of the turtles, the power of the UV lamp is selected:
- for young individuals - 5% UVB,
- for adults - 10% UVB.
The presence of an ultraviolet lamp is the main condition for the normal development of red-eared turtles. To prevent animals from getting a burn of their eyes, the UV lamp should be installed at a level of at least 25 cm and turned on for 10-12 hours, turned off only at night.
Ultraviolet prevents the development of rickets, improves metabolism, affects the activity of turtles. Rays help to absorb calcium, which is necessary for building a shell.
For the successful maintenance of the red-eared turtle, the water temperature should not fall below +20 ºC, the most optimal parameter is + 22 + 28 ºC.
The tortoise spends almost all the time in water, so care should be taken to ensure that the water is clean. Animals sleep, eat and empty themselves right in the water, so it needs to be changed often. A filter must be installed in the aquarium.
Pathogenic microorganisms develop in a dirty aquatic environment that cause various infectious diseases of turtles, which are then difficult to cure.
The water level in the aquaterrarium should be higher than the size of the tortoise shell. This is done so that the animal, inadvertently appearing on its back, can calmly roll over on its own.
The normal development of red-eared turtles is only possible when created for their good conditions. The turtle is becoming a favorite pet, so you need to take care of it accordingly.
Aquariums for red-eared turtles are selected strictly parallelepiped in shape. In some cases, with a lower height of the front side. In width, the size of the dwelling should be from 6 longitudinal dimensions of the shell for free swimming. The depth of the aquarium is comparable to the height.
The height of the aquarium for a water turtle is selected above the water level (land) by 20-30 cm. Trachemys emerge from the tank. To rationally use the space and prevent the evaporation of water, it is recommended to cover the vessel with a fixed glass or plastic lid with a grill under the illuminators.
- Level - not less than the transverse size: the turtle should be able to roll over freely.
- Acidity: pH 6–8 (tap drinking water).
- Rigidity: not regulated. Useful increased carbonate "hardness" kH as an additional source of calcium.
- Temperature: 24–28 ° C. When the temperature drops to 20 ° C, red-eared turtles catch a cold. Equip the aquaterrarium with a thermostatic heater. Place the appliance in the corners: shell damage is excluded. Take care to protect the wire: curious animals try everything "by the tooth." Heater power - 1 W per 1 liter of water. Thermometer preferred external. Trachemys are playful, smash.
Water filtration is required. Trachemies are voracious, excreting feces profusely. To prevent blooming of water, the appearance of unpleasant odors and the development of algae, 1 / 4–1 / 3 of the volume is replaced weekly. Suitable biofiltration.
Filtering is required intensive. External (canister) filters are preferred. Productivity - 6-8 vessel volumes per hour.
Avoid accumulation of residues of feed and feces. Siphon the turtle at least once a week.
Change weekly from 1/3 of the volume. Use the treated water. High chlorine levels cause eye and skin irritation.
Arrangement of an island
The design of the aquarium for the red-eared turtle islet or shore is required. The pet spends most of the time under water. Land is required for rest and warming up.
- The surface of the coast (island) should not be slippery.
- Sizes - 3-4 dimensions of the turtle. For several individuals - 2 turtle dimensions per inhabitant.
- Provide for “sunny” and “shadow” beaches.
- The location of land is strictly above water level. Turtles need to dry.
- The beach is fixed. Must withstand the animal with a margin.
- Do not use suspicious non-food materials. Trachemons are prone to poisoning.
Equipping a terrarium for a turtle is easy. If there is no time or desire, in pet stores there are ready-made designs. Interesting models with suction cups.
Cut the glass (acrylic) to the desired area. Sharp edges with a donkey or sandpaper. Lubricate one surface with glue and sprinkle with 4-6 mm sand or rounded pebbles. After drying at the desired height, glue the jars to the walls. Use only aquarium sealant!
Prepare a snag or stump with a hollow of the desired height. Boil wooden materials for 5–6 hours in 5–6 receptions with a change of water. Soak until the color stops and acquires negative buoyancy. Resin and oak are not suitable (stains water). Glue or secure with pins (titanium or plastic) a glass or plastic pad. The site is processed as described above.
If the water layer is small, lay out a flat stone or ceramic tile like a grotto or bridge. Use aquarium sealant for bonding. Avoid massive designs. Excessive glass loading is not permissible. Suspended (on a fishing line, for example) structures are successfully operated. Valid shore elements made of stainless steel (grade 12X18H10, 12X18H10T).
Be sure to equip sushi with ladders (ladders, slopes with a slight slope) for the possibility of a comfortable crawling of a red-eared turtle to the surface. Rigid or semi-rigid structures are made of rubber with reinforcing elements or plastic. At home, they are pasted over with fragments of bath mats or plastic grilles.
Lighting and heating
Vitamin D3, vital for the red-eared turtle, is produced when the body is warmed up by the sun. In aquaterrariums, sun baths are imitated by incandescent and ultraviolet (UV) lamps.
Incandescent bulbs are used ordinary and halogen. Halogen is twice as effective due to the increased temperature of the spiral. The ordinary power is 40-60 watts. The optimum shell heating temperature is 30–33 ° C. The distance from the light source to the surface is determined empirically.
Lamps are used with an external reflector and located inside the lamp bulb. The beam angle should be sufficient to cover the entire surface of the pet. The service life of incandescent lamps is 1000 hours.
When water enters the bulb, the lamp bursts. Ceramic lamps without visible light are lacking.
Provide areas inaccessible to lamp heaters. The temperature in the “shadow” is 25–28 ° C. determined more by the temperature of the water.
UV lamps use the UVB range (wavelength 280-315 nm). The maximum production of vitamin D3 was recorded at 297 nm. Irradiation with light from 315 nm causes the decomposition of cholcalciferol. From 320 nm - the breakdown of vitamin D3. Illumination recommended 7000–9000 lux (lumens per m2).
A UV reflector is required. Radiation with a wavelength of up to 400 nm is not recognized by the human eye, but adversely affects the fundus cells. Silicate glass retains from 90% of ultraviolet radiation. Metal mesh - 10–20%, depending on the size of the cell.
UV radiation is invisible to humans. Causes a glow of light and phosphor-treated objects.
The source of ultraviolet light is mercury lamps or light emitting diodes (UV LEDs). LEDs are preferred: service life - from 50,000 hours, energy efficient.
Normal lighting is carried out by fluorescent or LED (color temperature from 7000 K) lamps. Luminous flux - 40-60 lumens per 1 liter of water. The length of daylight hours is 8–10 hours.
Ruby-eared turtles breathe air. If the vessel is closed, ventilation is provided by openings in the lid. In cans of 800 liters or more, water is purged with air or an extract.
When the ambient temperature rises, forced ventilation will cool the aquarium by a couple of degrees. Due to the energy costs of water evaporation.
Use massive stones, driftwood, artificial plants. Experienced aquarists call the plastic structures “kitsch” with an unknown chemical composition and avoid placing them.
The scenery also serves as shelters. Especially young turtles need shelters. Making artificial plants forced. Red-eared turtles eat natural greens.
Decor elements should not have sharp fragments. The skin of animals is easily damaged.
Conditions for keeping the Red-eared Turtle
The rubella tortoise critically needs only water and a beach with the recommended temperature parameters, a balanced diet. For the proper development of the skeleton and the shell, the animal needs calcium. Vitamin D3 is needed to absorb calcium.
Sources of vitamins for predatory red-eared turtles are food and ultraviolet (for D3). Therefore, it is important to mimic the diversity of natural foods and sunlight. The tortoise is omnivorous. At the age of 2-3 prefer meat food. After puberty (4 years), 30–50% of the diet is plant food.
- Meat, except for pork and lamb (excessively fatty). Heart, liver weekly (vitamin A). In natural conditions, they successfully hunt rodents and birds.
- Grasshoppers, locusts, cockroaches without legs (there are thorns on the legs). Earthworms, land snails.
- Aquarium snails are useful. Chipping shells limits unwanted beak growth.
- Sea fish (river dangerous parasites) with medium-sized bones. Do not remove the entrails; they contain vitamin A. Fatty species (capelin, mackerel) are pre-soaked. Crab meat, mussels, unpeeled shrimp. Aquarium animals of suitable sizes.
- Aquarium plants, except for Elodea. Indoor plants: cacti and agave with spines removed, tradescantia, hibiscus, tradescantia.
- Non-toxic herbs, beet tops and carrots, nettles. Dried for the winter.
- Oatmeal (Hercules). Vegetables, fruits, berries. Sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
If a red-eared turtle nibbles cuttlefish bone placed in a jar (sepia, sold at pet stores), there is not enough calcium in the diet. Adjust the menu in favor of small fish, insects. Add limestone to the soil. Add calcium gluconate to food (sold in pharmacies). Check for enough UV light. Pet stores offer mineral and fortified supplements for turtles. Lack of calcium causes rickets in animals.
Turtles feed up to a year once a day. Gradually reduce the frequency of feeding by introducing a weekly fasting day. Three-year-olds have enough food 2-3 times a week.
Varieties of dwarf turtles for home maintenance
Small water turtles, even as adults, do not grow large. Their average length is 7-13 cm. You need to understand that if you buy an animal less than 5 cm long, this does not mean that it will not grow anymore. Over time, a few centimeters will surely be added.
There are several types of aquatic turtles that are easily adaptable to home conditions:
- Musky. This is the best view of dwarf turtles for keeping at home. Unlike some species, they are not susceptible to many infections. Animals grow up to 10-11 cm in length and keep this size forever.
- Swamp. European marsh turtle usually grows up to 10 cm in length. These captive reptiles can live up to 50 years. Animals are not considered exotic, as they live in lakes, ponds and river backwaters of our country. The river turtle needs to be taken by the back of the shell, since at first it can be hostile.
- Spotted. These are semi-aquatic species. Recognizing the spotted tortoise is easy. She has yellow spots on her neck, legs, carapace and head. The rest of the body is black. Ultimately, they reach a size of 9-10 cm in length. The ideal environment in captivity will be about 50% of water and 50% of the land with large stones and branches.
- Pond Turtle Reeves. The native land of this species is Japan, China, Korea and Taiwan. They are distinguished by their rectangular plates on the shell. Turtles often get sick, as they do not adapt well to their new habitat. They grow to about 11-12 cm.
- Trailing turtles. In the wild, these creatures live in America and Africa. There are 4 subspecies: striped and silt grow up to 11 cm, and yellow and sonor up to 13 cm.
- Flat. An adult reaches 7–9 cm in length. You can keep exotic pets in a small aquarium, and the fact that the animal eats the most common succulent plants, caring for the kids becomes elementary.
Knowing just a few types of mini turtles, you will not be disappointed after acquiring a reptile without specifying its appearance and future size. After all, there are several types of turtles, which many mistakenly call dwarf turtles, and ultimately grow quite large (relative to turtles in the list above).
It is worth talking separately about this species, because many sellers in pet stores offer a red-eared tortoise for keeping at home, claiming that it does not grow big. But this view in miniature remains short. Literally in 5-6 years, the animal will reach large sizes - up to 20 cm, and in some cases up to 35 cm (depending on gender).
If such an animal size triples you, and you decide to take the pet home, remember that all responsibility for his health and life is now on you. Trachemys are easily recognizable and difficult to confuse with other species, because there is a red mark on their cheeks. It is a pleasure to watch these animals, because they are distinguished by their charisma and personality.
How to feed aquarium turtles
Caring for the little turtles is quite straightforward. The main condition for a comfortable life in captivity is proper and varied nutrition. What do water turtles eat and how often do they need to be fed? Let's get it right.
Despite the fact that water inhabitants can spend on land for a long time, sitting on branches or stones, they need to be fed only in water. Remember, if your pet is no more than 10 cm in length, you need to feed it daily, more than 10 cm, once every three days.
What food can be offered to an animal:
- seafood (shrimp, low-fat fish, mussels),
- greens (leaves of dandelion, mint, alfalfa, clover),
- vegetables (carrots, zucchini, cucumber),
- raw meat (pieces of chicken or beef),
- fruits (apples, pears, banana),
- amphibians (tadpoles).
In addition to amphibious turtles, worms, slugs, snails, and beetles can be given. Do not forget about mineral supplements. It can be either pharmaceutical preparations, or crushed eggshells or bone meal.
Many people prefer to feed an exotic animal exclusively dry food. But it's not right. Correct feeding corresponds to natural foods rich in energy, vitamins and minerals.
Care for miniature turtles
Semi-aquatic or aquatic domestic small turtles should be in water most of the time. Therefore, before buying a turtle, you should equip the aquatorrarium. The animal should not walk around the apartment, as it can catch a cold, or be injured. If you want the reptile to live as long as possible, you need to know how to care for the aquatic turtle and what conditions are needed for comfortable maintenance. A small domestic turtle should feel like in a natural habitat.
So, the turtle should be kept at home, adhering to the following recommendations:
- The size of the aquarium should be 3-5 times larger than the animal itself. Reptiles love space, so the bigger the turtle house is, the better.
- Only half the terrarium needs to be filled with water, the rest of the space will be used for land.
- In order for the reptile to be able to rest on land, install large rough stones and branches on the bottom of the aquarium under the lamp.
- The lamp should be with morning light, since only such lighting contributes to the proper production of calcium in the body.
- Fine sand can be poured into the bottom, but then the change of water will be more difficult.
- The water temperature should be about 25 degrees, on land at least 28 degrees.
- Change the water once a week. Before the procedure, it is important to wash your hands with soap, so as not to cause infection.
- Decorate the aquarium with artificial plants at the bottom, and live aquatic plants can float on the surface of the water, which can serve as additional food.
You do not need to install a food bowl so as not to spoil the water with rotten foods that the animal will not eat. It is better to plant the turtle every time with a bowl and feed it.
If you arrange a terrarium according to these recommendations, believe me, a small aquarium turtle will be grateful to you. She will be mobile, will not hurt, and will delight her presence in your house for many years.