Water Changes and Water Quality - Aquatic Turtle Tank Cleaning
The best way to get the water out of a tank is to buy a gravel vacuum - any good pet store should have one. You can drain the water through the hose and out of a window, or into buckets. You can put your finger over the end of the hose while you transfer between buckets. Keeping the water at an optimum level will ensure the health of your turtle.
Water quality is vitally important, not only for the amount of water changes you will have to make, but also for the health of your turtle, to prevent diseases.
It is recommended you buy a water quality test kit at your pet store and test for ammonia, nitrates and nitrites and pH levels. You can also test for chlorine and chloramine. You need to make sure you know what is in the water that you choose to use for your tank.
You can buy items from your pet store to add to the water to balance it out, or you can change the water to ensure its optimum quality.
Turtles are messy creatures; they defecate and drop food in the tank water. A good idea is to buy a filter that is rated for double the amount of water in your tank. A power filter or canister filter are ideal. This will reduce the amount of water changes you have to make, but with this kind of filter system you will still have to do a 25% water change once a week, and a full change every three weeks to a month.
A tank should hold about 10 gallons per inch of turtle. The more water your tank has, the more the waste products will be diluted. Ideally you could feed your turtle at another location so it doesn't drag its food into the water.
As the tank is draining, you can start to remove the items you have in the turtle's tank. Take everything to the sink and wash it thoroughly. Clean the sides of the tank with baking soda. Do not use chemicals to clean your tank - this includes glass cleaner. Some people will tell you that diluted bleach is an option for cleaning, but it's best to steer clear of anything unnatural for the health and safety of your turtle.
Turtles live to be 70 years old, and often for longer when kept in captivity,so it's best you sort out a routine from the start, when cleaning your tank. Aquatic turtle tank cleaning will be something you will be doing for many years, so learning the tricks of the trade early on will ensure your turtle will live for many healthy years to come.
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