Decorating Your Pet Turtle Tank

A suitable turtle tank size

A nicely decorated and clean turtle tank can be an excellent focal point in a home. It should be tastefully decorated to beautify your home while continuing to provide a safe, healthy environment for your turtle. The turtle’s basic needs will be fulfilled with a tank with a capacity of no less than 40 gallons, clean water, adequate land area, basking lights, and a water filtering system. Provided none of your decorating innovations reduce the effectiveness and safety of these basic requirements, you’ll be good to go.

Some general common-sense rules will help make the task simpler and ensure the turtle’s safety in the new redecorated environment. Thoroughly clean every item that you place into the tank. Ensure that there are no pesticides on these items. Never use sharp items or items that the turtle can swallow. Place every item in such a manner that the turtle cannot get stuck on or near it.

Your turtle certainly has no decorative style preferences so that those aesthetic choices will be left up to you. Regardless of what you add, the turtle may decide to do some minor redecorating when you are finished, such as moving things around or taking a chomp on a newly introduced plant.

Keep in mind; turtles love plants, not for decoration but food—plan on having most plants eaten or dug up over the long term. Don’t despair; however, you can keep plants growing in a separate tank and replace those that have been destroyed. Some turtle owners use the independent plant-growing tank to raise live turtle food like snails and small fish.

Fake plants are also an option. They last for a long time. Safe artificial plants, made especially for aquariums, are available at most pet stores.Never line the bottom of the tank with gravel. The turtle will swallow any pieces that will fit into its mouth. If a part of gravel becomes lodged in the turtle’s digestive tract, it could die. Make sure that any rocks placed into the tank are not smaller than two times the size of the turtle’s head.

Shells add a nice touch but keep in mind the turtle will most probably eat them. It’s alright to use durable plastics and ceramics in the tank, but avoid using anything made from glass as the turtles will undoubtedly break it. Remember that you don’t want to get so carried away with your decorative skills that the turtle no longer has room to swim easily around without bumping into something.

Don’t forget the land area when you redecorate. A few colorful large rocks add a nice touch. You can even paint the large rocks if you want. Use epoxy paint to ensure that it is sealed to the stones. Don’t overdo the additions to the land area; this is the turtle’s Club Med. He needs room to enjoy basking in the light.

Most pet shops sell figurines that are suitable for placement in an aquarium. Some are cute, but my experience tells me that most people get a little carried away with them. I don’t ever want to see a two-inch tall deep-sea diver at the bottom of my turtle’s tank, but then that’s just me. If you’re into figurines, there is varied selection waiting for you.

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

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