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Aquatics by Julian

Basic Information

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Basic Information on plants, fish, and invertebrates care.

Red-Eared Slider Turtle

Basic Requirements:

1. An appropriate size container
2. Clean Water
3. An area where the turtle can leave the water to dry out and bask
4. A heat source
5. Proper diet

Water Height- RES should have as much water as you can possibly provide. The water should be at least as deep as the length of the turtle's shell. But as you can see in the picture of my RES's tank, the water is quite high, much more than 3 inches, which frankly is not enough in my opinion. The water must be at least 1.5 to 2 times your turtle's total length (called carapace length, or CL) in depth, with several extra inches of air space between the surface of the water to the top edge of the tank to prevent escapes.



Water Temperature- The water should be kept in a range of 82 to 85F or the high 70s (no less than 75 if possible). A heater is always an option ;) And the basking area's heat bulb should provide some heat for the water as well, but I will explain that later on.



Diet- A turtle's diet should always have variety. RES are omnivores, meaning they eat both meat and vegetables. Most commercial foods are also a great provider of nutrients turtles need, but should NOT be the sole food in a turtles diet. I would say feed 35% Commercial Foods, 50% Vegetables and 15% Meat. But your RES's diet will depend on your turtles personality, age, and many other factors. You will soon figure out what diet is best for your RES. RES tend to be more carnivorous at an early age and turn towards vegetables as they age. Meats should be used sparingly though and be used more as a snack than a diet. Turtles require an abundance of calcium so always try to have a calcium proving food in the tank. For commercial foods I recommend Reptomin ;)



Salmonella- Remember that all reptiles including aquatic turtles such as RES are known to carry Salmonella so always remember to clean your hands with a antiseptic soap before and after handling your turtle.



Tank- The rule for tank size is actually 10 gallons per inch of turtle. But if you have a turtle below 3 inches I would start with a minimum tank size of 30 gallons. Try and buy the largest tank you can afford, it will be less expensive in the long run (is better than having to upgrade every 6 months!). Please keep in mind that RES can and WILL measure about 10-12 inches depending on the sex of the turtle. Males usually grow about 10 inches and females grow to 12. What does this mean? This means you will eventually need a tank suitable for a turtle of this size according to the 10 gpi rule stated earlier. In other words be prepared to buy and set up a 100 - 120 gallon tank/small pond. An alternative to a tank of this size (which is obviously quite expensive) is a large Rubbermaid container with reinforced sides to prevent bowing out (most people use PVC piping).



Filter- A water filter is required! Turtles are one of the messiest animals and poop a lot! I'd say they are the equivalent of a Goldfish if not worse. It is encouraged that you buy a filter recommended for a tank twice the size of yours. For example, I have a 55 gallon tank and I use an AC110 which filters 500 gph and is recommended for tanks upto 110 gallons (twice 55g).



Basking Area- RES and most other aquatic turtles DO require an area in the tank where they can completely come out of the water and dry themselves i.e a basking area. I personally use the ZooMed Large Basking Platform. For optimal use of water space you may want to consider an above-tank basking area.



Special Lighting- All reptiles require special lighting. This is not the same light you may use for your fish tanks. No for turtles you need a light that provides UVB rays which are beneficial in the growth of your turtle and its shell. This is NOT an option, it is a NEED. I would recommend using the Zoomed Reptisun 5.0 or 10.0. This special UVB light must be placed over the basking area and NOT be filtered by glass, plastic, or fine meshing. Your RES must receive direct UVB light exposure.



Heat Light- Apart from the special UVB lighting, the basking area must also have a heat bulb over it, which obviously provides heat. This is not a special light, just a regular spot light. The light should keep the basking area at least 10 degrees above the temperature of the water (around 88-90F).


Red Cherry Shrimp

Basic Requirements:

Water Parameters- First of all, the Red Cherry Shrimp are a very hardy species of Dwarf Shrimp. They can stand a wide range of ph levels (6.6 to 8.4+). But RCS and all other Dwarf Shrimp are highly sensitive to heavy metals, specifically copper. Make sure you do not dose any fertelizers that contain copper or copper sulphate as well as foods such as Wardley's Spirulina Wafers.



Water Temperature- As stated above RCS are very hardy and so they also can live in temperatures ranging from low 60s to high 80s. I would say that the best temperature to keep them at is between 76F and 78F. It is a widely known fact that RCS will reproduce more and quicker in warmer water. RCS may not reproduce at all in temperatures under 65F.



Diet- RCS eat a variety of foods. I feed mine algae, fish flakes, boiled vegetables (Spinach and zucchini), spirulina, and micro-organisms. You may also feed yours Hikari Sinking Algae Pellets or other foods. As a source of micro-organisms I always have a leaf in the tank to grow micro-organisms on for the RCS to eat. Once the RCS finish eating the leaf I simply add a new one. Make sure that the leaf you use is dry and dead. Then you must also soak it in treated or tank water until it sinks and releases any harmful tannins it may contain (i.e. the water churns brown).



Size- Red Cherry Shrimp grow approximately 2.5 to 3.5 cm.



Tank Size- The recommended size for Red Cherry Shrimp and most other Dwarf Shrimp is 10 gallons but you may use smaller tanks if you'd like. I personally have a 5.5 gallon tank at the moment and the shrimp do perfectly fine and their is room for about 40 more. Though larger tanks are ideal for breeding purposes such as the 20 gallon. But keep in mind that width is more important than height in a tank ;)



Breeding- Red Cherry shrimp should be kept in warm temperatures to breed (76-80F) well. Clean water is also ideal for breeding shrimp. As mentioned above the tank should be atleast 10 gallons to be able to support up to 150 shrimp at a time.



Filter- To keep baby shrimp from being sucked up by the filter a sponge filter is ideal. If you are using a HOB filter or canister filter you may also want to consider a pre-filter attachment at the intake.

Copyright of Julian Gomez 2007