Tools and Tricks to Simplify Turtle Care
The Hard Parts
Caring for a turtle is generally pretty easy. Turtles are low maintenance, simple creatures. If you're like me though, there are the occasional trying parts. I particularly hate aquarium cleaning. Luckily, there are some nice tools to help with that.
Cleaning your Tank
Drain the Tank
Aqueon Aquarium Siphon
Rinse your Substrate
Get a scoop and put any pebbles or sand if you have it into a bucket and rinse thoroughly. Only rinse it! If you disinfect the substrate or your tank you'll either end up with a poisoned turtle, or an algae bloom.
Scrub the Tank with a Sponge
This is the annoying part. It takes some time, and there is no real short cut. Don't use any chemicals, they can be dangerous to your turtle! Just knuckle down and do it.
Rinse the Tank
When you get the tank all clean rinse it a couple times with some fresh water, and siphon it back out.
Get some fresh (preferably mildly warm) water and condition it with you favorite conditioner. Then reinstall your heater and thermometer first to bring the water back to a normal temperature.
Fixing Bacterial Blooms
Wondering why your turtle's water is cloudy and smells bad? Did it happen right after a thorough cleaning? If you said yes to both, you probably have a bacterial bloom. This happens when the natural, helpful bacteria in the water goes wild and over corrects. If you've recent cleaned the aquarium, you probably killed all the other bacteria and algae that was keeping this particular strain in check. So with nothing to compete against the bacteria goes crazy and takes over.
Luckily the fix is pretty simple. Do a complete water change. If you really like, clean the cage, but don't use soap or anything that might kill the bacteria again.