Hatchlings can be reared in a tank of approximately 60x30x30cm and for a pair this will
probably only be adequate for about six months.
Do not keep hatchlings in a fish bowl ... it is not
A pair of 15-25cm turtles need a minimum 120x60x60cm tank.
There is no maximum water depth but the minimum is twice the turtle shell length, however,
do not have the water level or floating island too close to the top of the tank as turtles
are good climbers and your pet could climb out. A drop of 50cm or more on to a hard
surface could kill your turtle.
I recommended keeping the water temperature of your tanks at 26oC (28oC
for Australian Painted Turtles) to avoid your Turtle refusing to eat. Once water
temperatures drop below 15oC Turtles will stop eating and can stave to death as
these temperatures are too high for successful hibernating, and too low for digesting food
successfully. Water temperature can be maintained by using a standard aquarium heater
(inserted inside a heater guard. These prevent your Turtle from possibly breaking the
heater). Your local pet shop will advise what size heater you'll require for the volume of
water your Turtle lives in.
A basking lamp must be used over the basking area to replicate natural heat to completely
dry the Turtles shell. This can be achieved by using a Hot House Turtles Basking Clamp
Lamp with a 60 watt basking bulb (included!). By allowing your Turtle to completely dry
its shell, will prevent it from getting bacterial shell infections, or other possible
It is essential to have a UVB/UVA reptile light above the Turtles. These bulbs replicate
the light given by the sun. Your Pet Shop will be able to assist you with the correct one
for your tank size. (Also see Reptile Lighting)
It is not essential to age your water but a 50% water change every day or two will assist
in maintaining the water quality. Your turtle tank should be thoroughly cleaned every
week. Poor water quality leads to disease. Be aware that every gram of solid food results
in 4 to 5 grams of urine being excreted.
Frequent water changes can be avoided with the use of a quality power filter but regular
cleaning will still need to be maintained. The biggest cause of death with pet Turtles
is ammonia poisoning. Snake-neck Turtles and Australian Painted Turtles are
the most susceptible species to ammonia poisoning! Your tank water can look clean
but the ammonia levels due to their urine can be off the scale and Turtles once poisoned
can die within hours.
Click here for Pond Ideas for New Zealand Conditions