ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Natural Aquarium: Make a Small Turtle Tank Habitat

Updated on December 28, 2011
Closeup of Snapping Turtle Head
Closeup of Snapping Turtle Head

Create a Naturally Filtered Turtle Habitat


Turtles make wonderful pets when they are properly planned for. With a few supplies, your turtle will live a long, healthy and happy life. This article will teach you just one way to set up a baby turtle habitat. You will of course need to upgrade the system, as your turtles grow larger. Also, make certain your turtles cannot climb out of their new habitat.


© Copyright Notice ©

My photographs are mine, taken by me, with my camera. You may use them for personal reasons (desktop backgrounds, personal websites or you can print them for personal use.)

If you choose to use them on websites I require a link back to my HubPages. You may link to my profile or to one of my Hubs.

You may not use them without my permission or for profit.

I sell my art and if you are interested in purchasing it send me a message.

ALL of my articles are MINE and you may NOT use them for anything but reading on my page.

Enough biological filtration will support even the heaviest of chemical loads.
Enough biological filtration will support even the heaviest of chemical loads.

Supplies List:



  • Plants
  • Synthetic batting or Lava rock
  • Large Rubbermaid container
  • Medium Rubbermaid container
  • Fountain pump
  • Activated carbon (optional)
  • Sand
  • Reptile humidity fogger (optional)
  • Reptile light


An Indoor Habitat for Small Turtles. Turtles Eat Vegetation, Insects, Fish and Carrion. Delicious Goldfish Optional, Ha!
An Indoor Habitat for Small Turtles. Turtles Eat Vegetation, Insects, Fish and Carrion. Delicious Goldfish Optional, Ha!
Coleus Rooted in Biological Filter.
Coleus Rooted in Biological Filter.
Reptile Humidifier Fogger in Action. For Occasional Use Only!
Reptile Humidifier Fogger in Action. For Occasional Use Only!

Introduction to Bilogical Filtration



Why use biological filtration? There are many reasons to choose biological filtration for your turtle and tropical fish aquariums. One of the main reasons being, biological filtration grows with your system’s bioload.

Plants naturally seek out and remove harmful chemicals from the water. As any turtle owner knows, turtles produce more than their fair share of harmful chemicals!

The down side to biological filtration? It has to grow before it begins to work.

Your fish and turtles do not appreciate sitting in urine, feces and other nasties whilst you’re “going green” with their filtration.

If fully cycling your tank before adding animals is not an option due to pond leaks, broken aquariums or sick fish — please use activate carbon until your biological system is stable. By the time the carbon loses its effectiveness, your system should be close to cycled. Keep up with water tests and changes until your biological system has matured enough to handle the bioload.

Purchase Aquarium and Bog Plants Online, at Pet Stores or through a Google Shopping Search.
Purchase Aquarium and Bog Plants Online, at Pet Stores or through a Google Shopping Search.
Inexpensive Biological Turtle and Fish Tank Filtration
Inexpensive Biological Turtle and Fish Tank Filtration

Biological Filtration Plant List:


Any plant that can be grown hydroponically will work as an aquarium filter plant. The plants you decide to use to filter your aquarium will depend on various factors.

I am successfully using my biological filter as a low tech hydroponic grow system for different herbs.

Newly set up systems should be planted with fast growing species in order to keep up with ammonia spikes. These spikes will normally be found in cycling aquariums, those recently stocked or when something kills off too many beneficial bacteria.


Good, fast growing filter plants include:


  • Bladderwort
  • Parrot’s feather
  • Bacopa
  • Cardinal flower

Slower growing species added at the same time will eventually get a foothold and contribute to excess nutrient uptake. It is advisable to always keep at least one fast growing species in the filter.


My Current Filter Plant List:


  • Bichetii Grass (Chlorophytum laxum)
  • Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana)
  • Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum)
  • Serissa (Serissa foetida)
  • Pineapple Sage (Salvia officinalis)
  • Cinnamon Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
  • Carex (Carex flagellifera) "Bronzita"
  • Purple Waffle Plant (Hemigraphis)
  • Polka-dot Plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya)
  • Sweet Potato (Ipomoea batatas)
  • Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
  • Coleus (Coleus Blumei) "Dark Star"


As the system grows, I will be adding a larger variety of plants.

A Plump and Healthy Young Pet Snapping Turtle.
A Plump and Healthy Young Pet Snapping Turtle.
Purchase a Humidifier Fogger Online. Like in Hydroponics, this Fogger Promotes Aerial Roots On Your Plants. Do Not Leave It On For Long!
Purchase a Humidifier Fogger Online. Like in Hydroponics, this Fogger Promotes Aerial Roots On Your Plants. Do Not Leave It On For Long!

Setting Up a Bilogical Filter



As with fish, use chlorine free water in your turtle habitat.

Drill holes along the top of the Rubbermaid container to allow the filtered water to flow through. I left mine intact with rocks keeping it at a slight angle. Either way should be fine.

Drill a hole at the base of the medium Rubbermaid container. This hole should fit your submersible fountain pump's out let pipe. Use aquarium sealant to seal the seam. Allow this to cure completely before adding water.

Line with rinsed lava rock and then top that off with filter floss.

When the tank is set up, you will plant directly in the filter floss and lava rock.

Place your aquarium heater and fogger in the center of the biological filter. Make sure they are set deeply enough that they stay covered in water at all times .

Please Note:

If you cannot allow the tank to cycle before adding animals, add a couple of carbon filters over the intake area.

Do not leave the fogger on for a long period of time. Several minutes a day is fine, but if left on for extended periods, it may make your reptiles ill. This is not a problem in large habitats where the creatures can get away from the fogger. I purchased my LED reptile fogger on ebay.

Snappy Hiding in Carex Roots. This Is His Favorite Place to Hang Out.
Snappy Hiding in Carex Roots. This Is His Favorite Place to Hang Out.
Prevent Your Turtle from Accessing Electrical Components such as the Heater and Pump.
Prevent Your Turtle from Accessing Electrical Components such as the Heater and Pump.

Setting Up the Turtle Tank


Use the largest Rubbermaid container as the actual turtle tank. Mine is shallow, with a 5 inch water depth. My snapping turtle does not care for deeper water so this is what he gets.

Cover the bottom of the tank with a 1 inch layer of clean sand. The turtle will appreciate the additional traction it provides.

I set my filter up in the far corner. This makes the actual access area shaped like a big "L". The filter allows water to fall from a couple inches distance. This is just right for oxygenating the water for fish and beneficial bacteria.

The tank is in a North Facing Window of our home. This provides ample light for the plants to grow at a fast rate but the water stays at a comfortable 70'ish degrees Fahrenheit.

Remember to provide your turtles and tortoises with the proper lights. The glass from your window blocks the wavelengths your turtle needs. You can purchase special reptile lights on Ebay, at pet stores or through a Google Shopping search.

Remember:

Provide at least one area where the turtles can leave the water. Even snapping turtles like to venture out, occasionally.

As your turtle grows, he will require larger living quarters. You are not forced to spend hundreds of dollars on a huge fish tank. You can easily create an affordable setup with livestock watering troughs or even kiddy pools. As long as it is safe, it can be used as a turtle habitat.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • IsadoraPandora profile imageAUTHOR

      Jocelyn 

      6 years ago from Florida, PCB

      Thank you!! It was a lot of fun to write it.

    • PADDYBOY60 profile image

      PADDYBOY60 

      6 years ago from Centreville Michigan

      Very cool hub. Thanks. Cute little snapper.

    • IsadoraPandora profile imageAUTHOR

      Jocelyn 

      7 years ago from Florida, PCB

      Thanks so much!

      That is the main way I have filtered my tanks for all my life. Gotta love plants! Right now I have a natural hermit crab setup I am working on. Gotta get pictures and write a new Hub about that.

    • Aquatic Guru profile image

      Aquatic Guru 

      7 years ago from Goodspring, Tennessee

      All I can say is WOW! Amazing setup! I love how you use the natural biological filter! I lecture people all the time about cycling their fish tanks! I may have to try this myself Great Hub ,voting up!

    • IsadoraPandora profile imageAUTHOR

      Jocelyn 

      7 years ago from Florida, PCB

      Thank you! We are expecting more snappers and boxes to hatch out in our yard this year. Oh the fun!

    • tsadjatko profile image

      7 years ago from now on

      Great hub ... yeah Tennesee is full of box turtles! and snappers - two of my favorites!

    • IsadoraPandora profile imageAUTHOR

      Jocelyn 

      7 years ago from Florida, PCB

      Thank you very much! Turtles are so much fun to mess around with. We can't wait to see what lays eggs in the yard this year. We watched snapping and box turtles running across the lawn last year. I'm glad to see them thriving around here. :)

    • mariekbloch profile image

      mariekbloch 

      7 years ago

      Very informative article and you go through such great lengths to put your turtle closer to the wild. Every time I buy aquatic plants for my baby soft shell's habitat, he digs them out from the ground whenever he buries himself and the plants usually die. Your turtle's home is not only beautiful, but practical and natural (the way it should be). Good job!

    • IsadoraPandora profile imageAUTHOR

      Jocelyn 

      7 years ago from Florida, PCB

      They are great fun to have around! Snappy is even going to contribute to my organic garden in the near future.

    • lindajot profile image

      lindajot 

      7 years ago from Willamette Valley - Oregon

      makes me want to dig out our aquarium equip in the garage and put together a nice home for a little snapper = loved this, thanks!

    • IsadoraPandora profile imageAUTHOR

      Jocelyn 

      7 years ago from Florida, PCB

      Thanks!

      You can click the photo to make it larger. ;-)

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      It looks really good. Small picture, but from what I can tell nice.

      I love tortoises. I wish I could have a huge herd of them. I have two Russians, and 4 Red Foots.

    • IsadoraPandora profile imageAUTHOR

      Jocelyn 

      7 years ago from Florida, PCB

      Thanks erthfrend!

      Turtles are a true joy to keep. We enjoy messing with Snappy pretty much daily. :)

      I added a full shot Whitney05. :)

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      Would love to see a picture of the full enclosure

    • erthfrend profile image

      erthfrend 

      7 years ago from Florida

      This is an excellent hub! I love the pictures and the info is wonderful! Ive always had a special interest in turtles ever since I was a child. Thanks for sharing!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)