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Thread: Keeping a Turtle Tank Clean?

  1. #1

    Keeping a Turtle Tank Clean?

    When I first got my Painted Turtle I would manually clean out his tank ever 2-4 days when I would see his water getting murky. I would scrub his rocks and everything down clean with a scrubber and a weak dishsoap (not a lot of soap). Now, I have got a bubbler which circulates the water fairly well, while also adding oxygen to the water and I also have a small filter meant for the tank and amount of water I have in the tank right now. So I set up the tank, plugged in the bubbler and the filter and left it to see how it would do. I began to notice that after 2-4 days, the murky water that I normally would see that would alert me to clean his tank shows up while I have a filter and a bubbler going at the same time. Also, I don't feed my turtle inside the tank he sleeps and swims in for both sanitary and convenience reasons and he also will actually relieve himself after he has done eatting in the bowl, so he doesn't relieve himself much, if not at all in the main tank.

    So what I am asking is:
    - Why does that water still continue to get murky, even after I have a filter and a bubbler?
    - What can I do to stop the tank from getting dirty all together or for a fairly long time (1-2weeks)?

    Thank you to all that reply, your help is very much appreciated.
    Last edited by oIGRIMREAPERIo; 08-15-2011 at 02:19 AM.

  2. #2
    Moderator Selenia's Avatar
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    The answer to both your questions is very similar...filter, filter, filter.

    Turtles are filthy! seriously. even if you don't feed them in the tank. Even if you think he isn't pooping that much in the tank. They are filthy! You need a good filter for at least 2x the amount of water...I use one reccomended for 3x. It needs both a pysical filter (sponge or similar) and a biological filter (activated carbon).

    A stronger filter...or better yet two stronger filters spread out throught the tank should solve your problem and make your water changing days fewer and farther between. Which, by the way, you do use filtered water right? No point in starting off with potentially contiminated water. (If you have heavily choloinated water you won't have the bacteria, but its unpleasant for the turtle)

    You could also consider biological assistants (aka cleaner shrimp or plecocostomas). Both would help...but they need lots of hiding places to get away from the turtle.

    Another option is "Turtle Clean" which is obscenely expensive but available in the pet store which helps keep turtle waste broken down.

    I'm reiterating because this is absolutely important; even though you don't see him relieving himself in the water doesn't mean he isn't. A turtle will relieve itslef several times throughout the day usually. I'm not kidding. All they do is swim, bask, eat, and poop. And all four of those in huge quanities. You simply must have good filters designed for, at the minimum, 2x the water volume.

    Also, I don't know how you have your tank set up, but if you have like a gravel that you don't actually clean regularly it serves as a bacteria breeding ground. If you have a fairly spartan tank (few large items) it's a bit easier to remain clean. Only if you have a good amount of space (like a small pond) can you get a self-sustaining setup with a turtle. They are simply too filthy and they eat all the good biological filters (plants, inverts, & small fish). However a large tank with good filters will give you quite a good amount of time between needed cleanings.
    Last edited by Selenia; 08-15-2011 at 05:17 AM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Specialk805's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Selenia View Post
    The answer to both your questions is very similar...filter, filter, filter.

    Turtles are filthy! seriously. even if you don't feed them in the tank. Even if you think he isn't pooping that much in the tank. They are filthy! You need a good filter for at least 2x the amount of water...I use one reccomended for 3x. It needs both a pysical filter (sponge or similar) and a biological filter (activated carbon).

    A stronger filter...or better yet two stronger filters spread out throught the tank should solve your problem and make your water changing days fewer and farther between. Which, by the way, you do use filtered water right? No point in starting off with potentially contiminated water. (If you have heavily choloinated water you won't have the bacteria, but its unpleasant for the turtle)

    You could also consider biological assistants (aka cleaner shrimp or plecocostomas). Both would help...but they need lots of hiding places to get away from the turtle.

    Another option is "Turtle Clean" which is obscenely expensive but available in the pet store which helps keep turtle waste broken down.

    I'm reiterating because this is absolutely important; even though you don't see him relieving himself in the water doesn't mean he isn't. A turtle will relieve itslef several times throughout the day usually. I'm not kidding. All they do is swim, bask, eat, and poop. And all four of those in huge quanities. You simply must have good filters designed for, at the minimum, 2x the water volume.

    Also, I don't know how you have your tank set up, but if you have like a gravel that you don't actually clean regularly it serves as a bacteria breeding ground. If you have a fairly spartan tank (few large items) it's a bit easier to remain clean. Only if you have a good amount of space (like a small pond) can you get a self-sustaining setup with a turtle. They are simply too filthy and they eat all the good biological filters (plants, inverts, & small fish). However a large tank with good filters will give you quite a good amount of time between needed cleanings.
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  4. #4
    Moderator Selenia's Avatar
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    also another thing...I have large tanks and go for a long time between full changes (about 6 months usually). In between I use a shop vac to vaccum the bottom and replace what I vaccuum out with clean filtered de-chlorinated water.

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