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Turtles Make Great Pets

Updated on June 18, 2016

Turtles. I like them too!

As the zombie kid who likes turtles once said. I LIKE TURTLES

Turtles make excellent pets for several reasons and here's why.

  • They are a bit unusual compared to most peoples pets such as cat or dog. So an exotic pet
  • They wont go dying on you for long time. (they live for 50 years)
  • They are cheap to feed and maintain. - but there is the initial outlay of a decent aquarium and canister filter.
  • Often are funny to watch what they get up to and how they interact with each other.
  • Easy maintenance - partial tank water change once a week.

I have had 2 native Australian Macleay River turtles for about 18 months now and I'm really enjoying having them as pets.

There are many different species of turtle, some with prettier shells than other, some with long necks, some with short necks.

How large will a turtle grow?

 Different species of turtle grow to different maximum sizes, most will eventually grow to the size of a dinner plate. These types of turtle you will eventually need to build an outdoor pond for them as they will outgrow your aquarium unless you have a very large aquarium.

I specifically chose Macleay River turtles because fully grown they are about as big as your hand. 2-3 will be able to happily live their entire lives in a 4 foot aquarium with being too crowded.  I paid $120 each for this species, slightly more expensive than the variety that grows much bigger.  Check what is available in your part of the world because if staying small is important to you, see what species are available in your country.

What Do Turtles Eat?

It's best to feed your turtles turtle pellets. The pellets will contain vitamins and other nutrients that the turtles will need.   $15 worth of pellets lasts me about 6 months

You can feed them frozen 'turtle dinners' meaty ice cubes but only give them this as a treat as the pellets are healthier for them. Some people put very small fish in with them for them to chase and eat (if they are fast enough)

My Turtles

Don't Turtles Smell?

Do fish tanks smell? No turtles do not smell, whoever told you that doesn't know.

They would only smell if the water was allowed to get really dirty.

Turtles have been known to carry salmonella, particularly if you let the tank get too dirty. People who bought pet turtles who knew nothing about their proper care were getting sick which is why in many countries they are not sold in pet shops any more. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after touching and never get turtle aquarium water in your mouth.

Filtration: It is a good idea to not be cheap when buying a filter when you're setting up your tank because the better the filter the less frequent the cleaning you will be doing later. I am a bit lazy so I would rather spend the extra couple of hundred dollars now on a good filter if it means less work for me, it also means the tank inhabitants will be healthier. A good quality canister filter I highly recommend. Most people regard Fluval as the best quality brand of aquarium filters, and I tend to agree. Watch the video I have attached on the Fluval FX5. I like the easy to shut off valves particularly. Also Eheim is a good brand of filter, there as many people saying Eheim is better as there are saying Fluval is better. Compare prices but I think in this case the Amazon links below will be hard to beat.

The Fluval FX5 Canister Filter

Filtration Media

Canister filters have several trays inside for different layers of filtration media types. One layer can be a filter wool for mechanical filtration, then a layer for biological filtration such as ceramic noodles or volcanic rock. This filter media is very porous to allow the beneficial bacteria more room to grow. The bacteria converts the wastes out of the water into food for the bacteria. If you have medicated the water or have impurities then a fix is to add activated carbon to absorb the chemicals. Be sure to remove it after 1 month though or else when the carbon is 'full' is will leech all the bad stuff back into the water.

Thanks for reading!!

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