How to make basking areas for turtle tanks

Written by susan lee
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How to make basking areas for turtle tanks
Turtles need a small basking area out of the water. (Getty Creative)

Turtles are amazing reptiles that enjoy swimming around as well as coming out of the water to relax on a basking area. They need to bask under the warmth of a basking bulb, mercury vapour bulb or ceramic heater in the range of 27 to 32 degrees. This is because turtles are cold-blooded animals and need a warm habitat as well as UVB lighting to produce Vitamin D3, which helps turtles properly use calcium and other nutrients. There are several options when it comes to making a simple basking area to meet the needs of your turtle.

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Things you need

  • Large piece of driftwood or small flat stones
  • Waterproof silicone glue

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  1. 1

    Plan the type of basking area you want to build, whether it is made with stones or a small log to give your turtle easy access to the new area. Driftwood works great and comes in multiple sizes. It is also easy to climb onto; gives your turtle ample place to bask on and hide in or under; and is very attractive. The Cool Small Pets website advises you to keep your turtle's safety in mind when deciding which form the basking area will take.

  2. 2

    Boil any stones or tree logs you may find around your home or nearby riverbank to be sure everything is sterilised for the safety of your turtle. If you choose to use a log rather than stones, it must be treated so that it will not float. To achieve this, boil the log to "cook it," place it in cold water and boil again, over and over, until it is "waterlogged" and will not float. Choose a log large enough to place in the water at an angle that allows your turtle to climb out of the water and bask under the warm light.

  3. 3

    Pick a larger stone with a flat surface or smaller stones that can be layered to form an appropriate space above the water if you choose to go with a stone basking area. To form a platform with stones, use waterproof silicone glue to attach smaller flat stones together to build a firm platform angled like a ramp or steps. Do not leave any holes or cracks between the stones where your turtle could be in danger of getting stuck or injured.

  4. 4

    Provide a basking area that's large enough for your turtle. Most aquatic turtles require no more than 25 per cent of the tank for a basking area, with the remainder for swimming, according to the Drs. Foster and Smith website.

Tips and warnings

  • Basking areas should be free of any sharp edges where your turtle might get hurt.
  • Keep the area warm, around 29 degrees. Use a small thermometer to monitor heat on the basking area as well as in the water to ensure the correct temperature for the health of your turtle.

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