Murray River Turtle Basking Light

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wally3218

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I have just started looking after a juvenile baby Murray River turtle and would like to ask a questions.

The tank is 50 liters and I try to keep the water temp at 25 C and water condition is okay.
Am using a Exo Terra Compact Top Terrarium Canopy with two 13W compact UVB 10 lights.

I’ve just started using a 50W Exo Terra Infrared basking spot light and the turtle seems more active.

He tends to bask a lot on his dock during the day and at night. Can I leave that on all night as the tank becomes cold for him during the night?
 

Shaughan

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Your turtle should have a normal day/night cycle. No lighting should be on after sundown. Turtles can see infra red light.
Please upload a photo of the setup.

I could be 100% wrong but isn't the purple light a moon replacement light and can be left on at night
 

wally3218

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The bulb emits infrared heat waves and is a typical heating lamp. The spot lamp has a special build-in reflector to direct the heat in any direction required. The red glass transmits Infrared waves produced by the special filament of the bulb. The reddish light will not disrupt normal activity during night or day, which makes it an excellent 24 hour heat source.
 

Herpetology

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Notice how it says “suitable for: cute lizard and slithery snake” not turtles?


I’d be taking flaviemys advice over pretty much everyone else on here when it comes to turtlws
 

wally3218

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Thanks for everyone’s advice. This heat lamp says “The reddish light will not disrupt normal activity during night or day, which makes it an excellent 24 hour heat source.“ and it’s suitable for turtles.

It’s all so confusing that’s why I’m asking on here for advice about what other turtle keepers setups are like. I just want to make sure what I’m doing won’t hurt the turtle. At the moment my turtle is spending a lot of time basking during the day and night.
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[doublepost=1594009924,1594004716][/doublepost]Update after turning off the basking light at 2pm today my turtle is now swimming around happily and eating food.
 

Flaviemys purvisi

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There you go... basking HEAT lights (for turtles) should only be on for 2 hours in the morning, 8-10am and then again for 2 hours in the evening, 1-3pm.. UV lighting can be on for 10- 12 hours, (normal day cycle). After sunset, there should be no lighting on at all.
[doublepost=1594013061,1594010384][/doublepost]
. This heat lamp says “The reddish light will not disrupt normal activity during night or day, which makes it an excellent 24 hour heat source.“ and it’s suitable for turtles.
Turtles can see the infra red spectrum so having it on at night would be like me shining a torch in your face all night. It will most definitely interfere with their nocturnal activities. :)
 

wally3218

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The water temperature is set around 25C and goes lower at night because of the cold weather. The turtle stays and sleeps on his dock all night, even tho the dock is colder that the water temp is this okay?

How do you measure the temperature of the dock, is it okay to use a digital LCD aquarium thermometer and leave the probe laying on the dock?
 

Flaviemys purvisi

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Your turtle is sleeping on the dock for 1 of 2 reasons... Given it's small size, you haven't provided it anywhere for it to sleep in the water close to the surface where it can remain hidden, breathe and feel safe AND or because the water movement is too harsh due to your filter setup for it to remain stable. Turtles, specially small ones tire quickly and cannot tread water all night to breathe and sleep at the same time. Hauling out onto the dock to sleep is the best of the worst options it has. Turtles are aquatic, in the wild, they do not exit the water at night to sleep.
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Turtles prefer to wedge themselves in somewhere tight close to the surface and out of sight from above... Pictured here are juvenile Macleay river turtles, sleeping, in a floating mass of thin vallisneria (ribbon weed) and wedged between the structural bracing of a floating dock and the glass of the aquarium (under the dock itself obscured from predators from above). It's basic turtle instinct... although our turtles are captive bred and will never know the wild, 260+ million years of evolution isn't undone over night.

You ideally want your turtle to sleep in the water. You can test the dock temp accurately, day or night by pointing a laser thermometer at it.
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wally3218

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Last night it was a very old night out in my shed that I use as a family room where the turtle tank is located. The water temperature was only 22.5C
My turtle stayed on his dock all night hardly moving the temperature on the dock must have been lower than the water. (I’m going to buy a laser digital infrared temperature gun)
Is there anything I can do to heat up the turtle tank? The water heaters are set to 25C should increase there temp.
The tank has a lot of water condensation on the glass and the UVB light fitting is there anything I can do beside moving the tank into the house?
 

Flaviemys purvisi

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What sized heater are you using?? Generally you want 1.5 watts per litre... to keep it constant especially this time of year... 50 litres of water, you'd want a 75 watt thermostatically controlled heater minimum. Your aquarium shouldn't have condensation at all as it cannot have a lid on it... Turtles that have lids on their aquariums are forced to breathe high humidity air and will develop a respiratory infection.
 

wally3218

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I am using two heaters 1- 100W heater and 1- 50W
Trying to keep the water temperature from dropping over night.
There is only a mesh lid on top of the tank as the photo shows.
Another photo shows the water condensation on the inside of the tank.
The turtle has stayed in the same position all night and this morning.
I’m worried that I might be hurting the little guy.

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Flaviemys purvisi

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Do you have a full water chemistry test kit? I suspect ammonia or nitrite to be present which is why the turtle is hauling out. How long has the setup been set up for? Aquariums need to go through a biological filtration establishment phase known as "cycling" and this process takes at least 6-8 weeks from scratch but can be sped up. Skipping this crucial element of aquarium keeping is the sole reason why so many hobbyists run into problems and lose all their stock. New tank syndrome is real and if the bio filter isn't established, your turtle will feel like it's swimming in battery acid, not water.

https://www.interpet.co.uk/Support/We-can-help-you-with/Starting-out/What-is-new-tank-syndrome
[doublepost=1594178645,1594178472][/doublepost]I suggest getting Seachem Prime and Seachem stability and following the directions on the bottles.
Prime & Stability 500mL Combo.jpg
 
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wally3218

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Thanks for your reply, I use Prime conditioner and have had the water tested just recently. My nitrates and nitrites are pretty good and I was advised to do a partial water change.
 

Flaviemys purvisi

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If the aquarium isn't cycled, you don't want to be doing any water changes until the cycle is complete. Doing changes will just slow the process down. Ammonia and nitrite will be present.

Ammonia and nitrite cannot be "pretty good" they absolutely need to be ZERO.
 
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wally3218

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I’ve cycled the tank and added bio active to the water, I used to have a problem with high nitrates and ammonia but now I’m told everything is okay.

I removed both the uvb and heat lamp from my tank last night and this morning the glass is covered in water condensation. I’m worried that the condensation will cause the turtle to have respiratory infection.

The turtle hadn’t moved since last night he was still sitting on the dock in the same place is he hibernating. I would have thought that if the dock was to cold he would go into the water.

After putting the lights back on top of the tank the turtle moved over under the heat lamp.

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outback

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+1 for what Flaviemys purvisi is saying.

When your turtle is in the water does he try and bite his claws or does he show signs of rubbing his eyes with his claws? This can be a sign of bad water chemistry.

That condensation is to be expected if your setup is housed in a shed which I'd imagine has no insulation.

I'd be concerned if the turtle is staying out of the water all night with no heat lamp on, if you are in Victoria it is bitterly cold overnight, others might not agree but leaving a heat lamp on (get rid of the infrared lamp) might be a good idea just until you figure out why your turtle is spending so much time out of the water.

When he is in the water how does he behave, active? Swims ok? Does his body float to one side when he is breathing in air? This is a sign of a respiratory infection.
 

Flaviemys purvisi

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Please, when you can, show me up close, in focus photos of the turtle itself, especially its front feet. Your turtle will avoid going into the water entirely if its burning it... it will literally sit on the dock until it dehydrates and dies.
 

wally3218

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First up thank you for all your help.
This morning when I checked the tank the water was at 25.5C and the dock was at 17.5C

I had my water tested and everything was normal except for the water hardness which I was told was high and to do a partial water change of 50%
When I picked up the turtle from his dock to take photos as soon as I put him back onto his dock he scampered down into the water and later climbed back onto the dock. I just watched him have a swim and climb back onto his dock then go back into the water. He looks like everything is okay by the way he swims around.

I’m thinking of Buying a 60W ceramic heater and leaving it on all day and night over one end of his dock for the turtle to stay warm. Is this a good idea?
Here are some photos.
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Flaviemys purvisi

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Mate, sorry for the late reply, a lot going on in turtle land, none of it good.
OK, if you're adamant your water chemistry is fine, I can't argue it any further as I'm not there to test it myself to eliminate it as a factor as to why your turtle is hauling out. What I can tell you is it is NOT temperature related... 25° water is far more desirable than a 17° dry dock. It is hauling out because either the water chemistry isn't ideal (you say it's fine so OK), The water is too deep and or too turbulent for it, (it's tired of swimming constantly without adequate resting space near the surface), the tank is quite bare.. it offers your small turtle no security... it feels exposed and vulnerable.
I know it's convenient for you to have a bare tank and be able to see your turtle from every which angle but it's not ideal for your turtle. Baby turtles should be housed in setups where spotting them is virtually impossible when they want to hide.
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PS. Your water cannot be "too hard" for turtles... whoever told you that is a dimwit. The harder the water, the less chance your turtle has of developing shell rot, calcium deficiency syndrome or metabolic bone disease... conditions all common in captive turtles kept in soft water like rain water. The only time where a high pH becomes an issue is when ammonia or nitrite are present... these are far more toxic at higher pH levels.
 
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