Turtles can be fun pets to keep. Whether you were inspired by the sea turtles in Finding Nemo or maybe the tortoise in Kung Fu Panda, turtles, in reality, need a lot of attention and care. Here are five tips to help you with caring for your turtle.
#1: Keep the temperature of your tank 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit during the night and 75 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day.
Because turtles are cold-blooded, they need to somehow be able to maintain a warm body temperature; therefore, it is essential to keep the tank at a proper temperature. It is also recommended to create a specific location for “basking,” where the temperature may reach about 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Water temperature also needs to be watched carefully. It is a good idea to place the water area close to the basking area so that the water may stay around 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit. When trying to warm up your turtle, don’t place them outside in direct sunlight as prolonged exposure can harm them.
#2: Give your turtle a varied meal that includes vegetables and insects.
Diets vary by turtles, but their diet often consists of crickets, and green vegetables such as kale. Younger turtles need to be fed more, so their feeding should be done daily. Adults, on the other hand, can go without food for a longer amount of time. You can expect to feed adult turtles only about four or five times a week. Avoid feeding turtles vegetables that contain a high amount of oxalic acid or a high amount of purines. Vegetables that fall into these categories can cause calcium deficiency and can also cause kidney disease.
#3: Feed insects to turtles on the land and never in the water.
If one was to feed an insect to turtles in the water, the ammonia concentration level in the water may subsequently rise. The increase in ammonia concentrations can cause damage to the skin and shell of turtles. Therefore, you should always try to feed turtles on land, as not only does it prevent an increase in ammonia levels, but it also keeps your tank water cleaner.
#4: Avoid frequently handling turtles and always wash your hands after handling them.
Turtles may become more stressed if they are handled frequently, which of course, is never a good thing. If you do need to handle your turtle, then washing hands afterwards is crucial to prevent the transmission of diseases like Salmonella, which kills hundreds yearly. Salmonella can cause severe illness temporarily, but can also lead to long-term problems like chronic arthritis.
#5: Tanks need to be cleaned often. While it would be a hassle to change the tank every day, you can go by a partial cleaning schedule.
Partial cleaning schedules work by changing only part of the tank water more often and performing a full tank change fewer times. Depending on the size of your tank, you should change between 20% and 50% of your tank’s water. A full tank cleaning should occur about once every two to three weeks. If your tank’s water is ridden with waste and leftover food, you may need to perform a full tank change even if it hasn’t been the full two to three weeks yet. When changing water, be sure to use a pH testing kit and to keep the water pH level at around 5.5 and 7. You will also want to have a separate tank exclusively for turtles so that when you perform a full tank cleanup, you can place your turtle in another tank temporarily.