How to Make an Inside Pond for Turtles

Written by anne woods
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How to Make an Inside Pond for Turtles
Your indoor turtle pond should contain a flat rock or log for basking. (turtle image by Canoneer from Fotolia.com)

Indoor turtle ponds are a relatively low-cost, attractive and roomy alternative to conventional glass aquariums, which are fairly expensive and usually too small. With an indoor pond, you can create a spacious, safe environment for your turtle and add natural beauty to your home.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Pond container or shell
  • Filter(s)
  • Air pump(s)
  • Aquatic heater
  • Flat object, such as a rock or board
  • UV lights
  • Sand or moss
  • Optional:
  • Supports, such as sturdy wood or breeze blocks
  • Gravel or soil substrate
  • Aquatic plants

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Decide on the size of your pond. It should fit into your living space but also provide enough room for your turtle. See the article "Surface-Mount Ponds for Slider and Other Aquatic Turtles" on the Tortoise Trust website for information about turtle and pond sizes. You can find pond containers at many home improvement, landscaping and aquatic supply stores.

  2. 2

    Determine whether the pond will sit on the floor of your home or will be elevated. If you have dogs, cats or small children, you may want to raise the pond for the turtle's safety. If you do choose to elevate the pond, or if the pond container has different levels, you will need to rest the container on sturdy supports that can withstand the heavy weight of water when you fill the pond.

  3. 3

    Set up the pond container in the spot you've selected, with necessary supports. Add a substrate of gravel or sand on the bottom of the pond if you want. Then fill the pond with water, leaving 6 to 8 inches between the surface of the water and the lip of the container to prevent your turtle from escaping.

  4. 4

    Set up the air pump, filter and aquatic heater, and ensure that they're running efficiently. If you have a large pond, you may need two of each of these items.

  5. 5

    Set up basking and nesting areas for your turtle. The basking area should be a rock or log placed beneath a UV light. You can use sand, moss and similar materials for the more secluded "nest" area. Affix gravel, rocks and other objects with an aquarium sealant.

  6. 6

    Let the pond settle for three or four days before introducing your turtle to its new home.

Tips and warnings

  • If you're concerned about your turtle escaping, you can install low fencing made of sturdy boards and chicken wire around the pond. Arrange potted plants around the exterior of the pond to hide the fence.
  • Add aquatic plants to the pond to enhance nutrient balance and for aesthetic appeal. Plants also create cover when the turtle wants to hide.
  • Consider installing a small waterfall or fountain.
  • Carefully monitor the UV light and heat to ensure that the basking spot doesn't become hot enough to burn the turtle.
  • Make sure you secure the nesting and basking spots, as well as other floating objects, to avoid trapping the turtle underwater. According to "Surface-Mount Ponds for Slider and Other Aquatic Turtles," turtles can drown if they're unable to reach the surface for air.

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