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

Aqueon Aquarium Siphon. Draining the tank to be a real pain. This simple item is an enormous time saver, and is mandatory for larger tanks. It's so simple, but as anyone who has a larger aquarium will tell you, they are worth their weight in gold. What it does is allows you to simply pump the water out by squeezing the bulb until the water rises up and over the top of the tank and begins falling down. Once the water has started falling, gravity takes over and causes it to vacuum all the water out. Just place a bucket on the floor below the tank level to drain the old water into.

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.

Refill

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.

microbe lift

Finally, put some Microbe-Lift into the water. Microbe-Lift is a blend of bacteria designed to balance the tank life and provide a healthy ecosystem. We've had bacterial blooms but since my wife has started adding the Microbe Lift it hasn't been a problem. If you're starting a new tank, or just have had trouble with bacterial blooms you should pick up a bottle.