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Ziggy The Turtle

Ziggy is my Red Ear Slider. She is around 11 years old, and lives in a 75g. aquarium.

When I first got the 75g tank I had gravel on the bottom and used a Fluval 404 filter to keep the water clean. It wasn't really doing such a great job taking care of all the waste that ended up in the gravel at the bottom of the tank so I later added a 48"x12" undergravel pannel and two Hagen 301 powerheads set to medium. I did this because the tank was accumulating a lot of waste in the gravel and I thought I could keep things cleaner by keeping the water moving more. It didn't really help that much and I was still getting an accumulation of Alge on everything in the tank. I later removed the gravel and under gravel filter and went with a bare tank bottom. Ziggy doesn't seem to care one way or the other, and the tanks stays really clean now. I can top off the water as it evaporates and clean out the filter medium about once a month. It requires a complete cleaning about every other month.

Over the basking area I attached a clamp-on light fixture. After buying 4 "basking bulbs" that burn out about 5 weeks I ended up using regular 75w light bulbs. The basking area still gets to the same temp as with the other bulbs, and you can get 4 for about $1 instead of 1 for $6. Across the top of the tank is a shop-light flourencent fixture I got a lowes for like $7. it holds two 4' tubes. In one I have a zoo-med uvb bulb and in the other is a regular white light blub. Be careful when you use those clamp-on fixtures and a hot bulb, I almost had a melt-down of the frame on top of the tank when I didn't have the light positioned just right. Luckily it only left a shiny spot the plastic had softened from the heat.

Inside her tank I have a large critter log hiding place; at first I wanted it on the bottom of the tank for her to hide in. I weighed it down with gravel on top of it, and it soaked in the water for about three months and I still couldn't get it to stay submerged. One day I just gave up and let it float around after she had worked it out of the gravel. I later found that she had flipped the thing over so the U was right side up, and was sitting in it floating around the tank.

For those of you who would like to have a pet turtle, I ask you to realize that they are rather high maintenance animals, and though they start out as cute little creatures, they can grow between eight to twelve inches long and live for around 25 to 35 years. You can put together a 20g setup for a very young RES for around $240, but as they get older they require much more space. I have around $625 into my 75g setup, which is a good size for a turtle like ziggy. I am not going to tell you how you should take care of a turtle, there are other sources on the internet where you can find that out. Read everything with a grain of salt, as you will find people's information can vary about one thing or another. A good source of knowledge is a turtle forum. Kingsnake.com's RES Forum is a very active one.


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