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Video:How to Set Up a Tank for Red-Eared Sliders

with Amy Kelly

Red-eared slider turtles require specific tank features to set up a healthy habitat. Learn more about how to prepare a tank for red-eared slider pet turtles.See Transcript

Transcript:How to Set Up a Tank for Red-Eared Sliders

Hi, I'm Amy Kelly and I'm at The Pet Stop In Shawnee, Kansas. Today we're going to talk about how to set up your tank for red-eared sliders for About.com.

The Turtle Cage Should Have a Basking Area

When selecting your habitat for your red-eared slider you want to make sure you have a tank large enough to accommodate his size. A good rule of thumb is that for ever inch of turtle you want to do six gallons of water. You're going to want to create a slope with gravel or rock and then lead it up to a nice basking spot. They do like to sped most of their time in the water, but that basking is very important for their health.

Stock Up on Turtle Supplies for the Cage

After your initial purchase of the red-eared slider your going to want to stock up on a few supplies. Number one, you're going to want to create a high filtration system. The water can get rather dirty and you're going to want to keep it in tip top shape. You're also going to want to get water conditioner which is going to take all of the chlorine out of the water. Chlorine can be toxic to turtles.

Set Up a Lighting System to Maintain the Turtle's Temperature

You'll also want to invest in a UVA and UVB lighting system. There are a lot of products that contain the two in one. One is for heat, the UVA. And the UVB is actually more for vitamin absorption. All of these things lead to a very healthy turtle in the long run. Along with a stable, pelleted food diet, you're going to want to make sure that you have all of the lighting in place. Try to keep the temperature at about 78 degrees or higher because any colder and it could lead to health problems. If any problems do arise be sure to contact your vet, immediately.

For young hatchlings, they prefer warmer temperatures, so if you could keep it around 80 degrees at all times, that would be optimum. Adults can go 75 to 78 and that's their ideal temps. In that basking area you don't want to usually go over that 90 degrees because that can get a little too hot, but it is key to keep that heat consistent and that will knock any problems in the future that might occur.

Treat the Cage Before Bringing in the Red-Eared Slider

Red-eared sliders do need to be kept in fresh water as the heavy salt can affect their health. When they suffer from fungal infections and things like that you can take them out and give them salt baths, but in the tank, keep it fresh water. Your tank should be treated before you get your red-eared slider. You'll want to get some water conditioner which will knock out any chlorine which is very toxic to turtles and other amphibians and reptiles. You want to set up the tank for about a week, during that time, good bacteria grows. I know that's weird to think of good bacteria. But that bacteria actually combats the ammonia that a turtle will release in those first few days. Also, you're going to need to use heating devices. So instead of just having a typical hood that you might use for a fish aquarium, you're going to need a heat resistant screen that you can place those lamp fixtures directly on. Keep the take away from windows, because that sunlight can truly get the tank temperature all out of whack for that turtle.

For any more questions you might have about how to set up a tank for a red-eared slider, check us out on the web, at About.com. Special thanks to The Pet Stop in Shawnee, Kansas. www.petstopkc.com
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