Setting up a terrapin tank
If you don't have much knowledge about terrapins then I shall briefly explain a little about these reptiles. They are semi aquatic and so require both a swimming area and a basking area. They are carnivours and therefore any fish kept with them are likely to be eaten esspecially as the terrapins grow into adults. When they are juvenilles they are roughly the size of a 50 pence piece. This is obviously a generalisation as there are many different types of terrapin and therefore they will all differ in size. Some terrapins grow to be several inches long whilst others will grow to be the size of a dinner plate.
So setting up a tank....as I said above you need a basking area. So the best place to start is a fish tank although please research how big your terrapins will grow because otherwise you could find yourself having to buy new bigger tanks repeatedly over the life of your terrapins. If you invest in a bigger tank to begin with then you won't have to keep changing them in future. Some people don't like using snad or gravel in the bottom of the tank as the terrapins can eat this. In my experience they just pass any gravel they eat and it doesn't seem to bother them at all. Plus in my opinion it looks better in the tank to have something covering the bottom and it means that the tank doesn't look so dirty so quickly...mimising the amount of water changes you have to carry out. You will also need a filter as terrapins are very messy creatures and they poo a lot more than fish so an investment in a good filter will be a lifesaver later on. A heater is recommended to keep the water temperature constant and keep the terrapins active during winter as otherwise they may try to hibernate. Don't entirely fill the tank as you will need to put something in to allow the terrapins to climb out of the water. You must also have a good UV bulb as this is essential for your terrapins growth and general health.
In my experience to begin with a floating platform from the pet shop will be perfect for your terrapins to climb out on and they are easy to install using only suckers on the glass. However if you keep more than one terrapin then they will most likely want to climb out together and as they grow they will sink the platform. I have friends who have kept the water level quite low and had a pile of rocks or bricks coming out of the water for the terrapins to climb on. I have used an upside down plant pot, bricks and slate and made a pvc platform by bending it into a table shape. I like to keep the water level deeper as its nice to watch them swimming and also i feel it gives them more space. I have seen picutres of other peoples tanks where they have filled the tank and made a ramp leading to a basking area outside of the tank. This is an excellent idea if you have the space and if you are intending to breed as the female will need a sand pit to lay her eggs which is near impossible in a tank. However you do it you must ensure that the area out of the water is big enough to have every terrapin in the tank fully out of the water at the same time.
Now your tank is set up leave it to adjust for a few days before introducing your terrapins. When feeding I used to hand feed however now they are bigger and my boyfriend has taught them to jump out for food I just leave it on the platform....rather keep my fingers in tact than risk the terrapins misjudging the distance! The terrapins will eat in the water and they will probably fight over the food so try to feed them the same amount at a distance from each other if you are hand feeding. That's about it for setting up your terrapins tank...any other suggestions or advice then post as a comment! Also if you are looking for a terrapin then there are always many that need rehoming because their owner can no longer care for them so please consider rescuing a terrapin especially as these are usually free and come with the set up saving you lots of money! Thanks for reading xx
My boyfriend runs this site which tells you many other things about terrapins, how to care for them and even rehoming them: www.thelondonterrapins.co.uk
If you would like to purchase the above photo or any other terrapin photos and photo related products then check out my page http://www.zazzle.co.uk/madelinegoulds