"Try to be like the turtle -- at ease in your own shell..." - Bill Copeland
So last week we left you wondering what the size and shape of the turtles' new digs would be. Well, the wait is over. The materials arrived, coffee tables were purchased, various and sundry decorative (and practical) items were installed. It was like HGTV Red Eared Slider Style.
It all began with a coffee table, picked up from Witch City Consignment for $20, and a sizeable Exo Terra Bent Glass Turtle Aquarium from Dr. Fosters and Smith for a bit more.
Next to arrive were the turtle river pebbles, decorative basking platform with built-in filter, extra filters, additional basking platform, floating decorative log and hiding place, and the heater.
After opening everything up and inspecting for damage, we set about to cleaning. Unfortunately, the Zilla Basking Platform Filter had a piece missing (it had snapped off en route) from the bottom front. However, since it wasn't going to affect the filtration process we decided it would be best to go ahead and use it and just plug up the hole with a medium-sized rock. It's harmless, but we didn't want any little turtle parts getting curious, and as a result, getting stuck.
Now, in cleaning and maintaining turtle equipment, it's absolutely essential that you don't use soap. It's white vinegar only, and lots and lots of rinsing. We began with the tank, scrubbing down the sides and removing all the styrofoam bits, rinsed it a bagillion times (ok like three, just until the vinegar smell was gone), and then moved on to the rest of the implements.
Once the pebbles were set, we added all of the rest of the magic and turned on the filter. We had to wait until the water heater became "accustomed" to the water before we turned it on (a 30 minute process), but we dumped water in that was between 78 and 82 degrees, with the aid of a handy candy thermometer, so that the turtles wouldn't have to wait.
Chimæric filmed as I transported Phineas and Disco to their new digs.
They were super wigged at first, thrashing about and wondering what on earth had happened to their old environment. Then, once they realized that more space didn't mean instant death, they came around and started exploring.
Photos by Chimæric
One thing we noticed, however, immediately after we put them in the tank was that the rocks were too small. We knew this because the little guys were desperately trying to eat them, and almost succeeding. We checked the bag, and realized that we had picked up pebbles suitable for turtles less than 4 inches...and these turtles were at least 6 inches.
Moving quickly, we took the turtles out, and then set to pulling all of those rocks we had so carefully placed in the tank. Chimæric went to the Doctors Foster and Smith website, fast track ordered a larger pebble variety, while I put some large rocks in the bottom of the tank for the time being.
Two days later, a new package arrived and we were able to remedy the situation.
Although they tried to eat these pebbles too, they weren't quite able to do it. Apparently they also try to eat/move rocks when they're bored...there's a whole wide world of turtle behavior that I have yet to learn.