Red-Eared Slider Turtle Filtration and Water Management
As a beginner petkeeper, you might have a lot of inquiries about how you keep your Red-eared slider turtle happy and healthy. This third installment of frequently asked questions about the red eared slider turtles takes up important questions related to red-eared slider turtle filtration and water management. Read on for your full understanding.
Is it Necessary for a Red-Eared Slider to Have a Water Filter?
The red-eared slider spends most of its time in the water, so the water gets polluted quickly and affects their health. Just like other turtles, red-eared sliders can be very messy too. They poop a lot and eat a lot, and since everything takes place in the aquarium, it is highly likely to get dirty. And if you have a tank or pond full of dirty water, it’s not only a health hazard for the turtle, but it’s also harmful to your health.
So yes, if you want your red-eared slider to be happy and healthy you need to get a filter to help your turtle’s tank’s water clean. The filter removes all dirt from the water and returns clean water to the tank, eliminating the need for frequent water changes.
How to Choose the Right Filter for Your Red Eared Slider Turtle?
For red-eared slider turtles, primarily you need filters that provide mechanical as well as biological filtration, but you can also use chemical filtration.
There are many types of filters available for red-eared sliders but the three most common and recommended ones are:
1. Canister Filters
Canisters are the best and most preferred choice for indoor turtle keepers. Although they are expensive, they offer excellent mechanical and biological filtration.
They remove water from the tank via a suction tube, strainer, or valve, pass through the filter media in the pressure canister, and then pump the water in the aquarium filtered through a spillway or spray bar back into the tank.
2. Power Filters
Power filters are more suitable for mechanical filtration. They need very minimal maintenance and are very easy to clean and operate. They are also not very expensive and are easily accessible for pet owners. Despite these facts, they can be inefficient just because their inflow is just below the spillway.
3. Undergravel Filters
Undergravels are best at operating biological filtration. Gravel filters just remove suspended solid particles, they don’t decontaminate water.
When choosing the right filter for your red eared slider turtle, do consider tank size. In general, get a filter that offers two to three times as much filter capacity as the size of your tank. So, if you have a 50-gallon turtle tank, you should get a filter that offers at least 100 gallons of capacity. Big tanks are also easier to clean.
Normally, young red-eared sliders will do great housed in a 20-gallon aquarium. When the turtle, is full-grown then it will be best to keep a turtle in a tank that is a minimum of 50 gallons.
Flow rate affects the efficiency of the tank. The higher the flow rate the better the tank will be.
Maintenance Requirements & Durability
It will be best to choose a filter that will be easy to clean and maintain. You can also check the product description or the manufacturer too if it is possible.
Turtle tank filters should have durability because turtles have the habit of keeping tanks messy.
What Kind of Filter Should I use for my Turtle Tank?
The choice of filter depends on factors such as tank size, flow rate, and durability. Based on these factors, canister filters are preferred by most pet keepers as being the best choice for turtle tanks. They are the best aquarium filters because they provide excellent mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration. They can hold large amounts of filter media and also help current the turtle’s water to keep it fully oxygenated, making them more effective.
Some canister filters to consider include the Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter and the Marineland Magniflow Canister Filter.
Can a Fish Filter be Used in a Turtle Tank?
Yes, you can as nowadays most filters available on the market have versatile uses and are rated for most aquarium setups.
Just make sure to get two or three times as much water as you have in the tank. So if you have 50 gallons of water in the tank, get a fish tank filter that’s rated for 100 to 150 gallons.
How Often Should I Clean my Turtle Tank Filter?
When you see that your tank’s water gets dirtier try to clean it or you can Follow the instructions written on the product for cleaning and changing your tank filter as this will help to keep your tank filter working properly for a longer period.
How do you Clean a Red-Eared Slider Turtle’s Tank?
First, take your turtle out of the tank and keep it aside then take all the pieces out to scrub them clean. Once everything has been scrubbed clean, place back all the things in the tank and safely put your turtle back in the tank too.
It’s important to note that try not to use soap or detergent in your red-eared slider’s tank instead you can use betadine or methylene blue.
Which Filters Should You Avoid?
It’s best to stay away from undergravel filters as they are more popular for fish tanks. They are not suitable for turtles because it relies on a gravel substrate. They also don’t do a great job at removing debris (mechanical filtration) or purifying the water (chemical filtration). So, it’s always good to avoid undergravel filters when choosing a filtration system for your turtle tank.
How To Set Up A Tank For Your Red-Eared Slider Turtle
Choosing The Correct Tank Size
The first step is to select a properly sized tank. Bigger tanks are suitable for red-eared sliders therefore you should have 10 gallons of water for each inch of turtle and 55 gallons of water for an adult Slider. The ground area of the tank must be at least 2 square feet for a single turtle.
Adding Water & Maintaining Water Quality
Turtles love to swim therefore add enough water to your turtle’s tank. Usually, the water should be twice as deep as your turtle is long.
Before adding water into the tank, add a water conditioner or a de-chlorinator to make the tank chlorine and chloramine free.
Turtles are quite messy therefore a good filtration setup is necessary to maintain the cleanliness of your tank. With a strong power or canister filter, you won’t need to clean the tank manually as often.
Getting The Correct Temperature & Lighting
Red-eared sliders are ectotherms (cold-blooded) therefore the proper temperature in their tanks should be maintained. The water temperature should be 75-85°F with a basking area at 85-95°F (around 60-65°F at night with the lamp off). if the water temperature is too high, the turtle will tend to bask less. This can lead to shell rot and other health complications.
Like humans, reptiles need UVA/UVB to synthesize vitamin D, which is essential for bone and shell development turtles also need proper lit without adequate amounts of UVA/UVB, and the turtle will suffer several health issues like a metabolic bone disease. Therefore you can’t use any light for the enclosure you need a lamp that produces UVA/UVB light.
Creating A Basking Area
There should be a basking area that will remain completely dry for your turtle to hang out in and keep warm. You can pile rocks in your tank or buy weighted plastic basking platforms.
Basking areas are great for monitoring your turtle whether he’s comfortable in its tank or not. If it spends too much time basking, then it means that the water in your tank may be too cold.
Other Decorations & Tank Furniture
You can add alive or plastic (non-toxic) plants as decoration for your tank.
Cleaning Your Turtle Tank
Cleanin is necessary as you know turtles are messy. Replace the water regularly (at least 25% weekly) and clean the tank by removing uneaten food and debris from the tank. Try to perform a deep cleaning of the tank at least once a month. Invest in a good filtration system to maintain a tank clean.
How Often Should you Change the Water?
It depends on the size of the aquarium if your tank or filter is a bit too small, you may have to change the water more often but if your tank is big or normal it will be good if you change the water at least twice a month.
How Much Water Should be Removed and Replaced?
Around 25- to 50% of the water should be removed every week.
Tough turtles are very beautiful and friendly but at the same time they’re messy too, therefore, filters will be your best friend in maintaining the cleanliness of your red-eared slider’s tank. Choose the best filter such as Canister filters, a one-time investment that can give quite satisfactory results for a longer period and will keep your turtle happy and healthy.