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Female turtle digging in rocks

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by Ellatheturtlelady, Feb 16, 2017.

  1. Ellatheturtlelady

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    Hey everyone!
    So I recently got a new turtle, she is quite big and I have a large tank with everything a turtle could want or need. I have 4 turtles, (2 juveniles and 2 adults.) The female has recently dug all the way to the tank and there's just nothing there. I was wondering if I could get some opinions or advice about why she may be doing it? Please note that I am putting grit in the bottom but as I went to do it I was unsure whether I should put it in that corner. They are Murray River turtles. :)
    Thanks,
    Ella.

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    #1 Ellatheturtlelady, Feb 16, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 16, 2017
  2. Aussiepride83

    Aussiepride83 Super Moderator
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    Hi Ella and :aftwelcome:

    Unfortunately, your tank is far from "everything a turtle needs", it's actually the exact opposite and is everything it DOESN'T need. All those rocks are going to need to come out and be replaced with a 3cm deep substrate of natural river sand mixed with calgrit.

    Please tell me you don't have all 4 of your turtles, (the 2 adults and 2 juveniles) all in the same tank together?

    How big is your tank exactly, what are its dimensions??

    What a captive turtle's tank "should" look like.

    3908-1445503762-e2174d14e87035748b13f53f3a427e71.jpg

    3909-1445503772-1f93f12820b5928edc0bb2bb29b9f313.jpg
     
  3. Ellatheturtlelady

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    My turtles have 5 plants, 2 basking areas, I had built a hidey hole but she's moved all the rocks. As I stated. I have the grit waiting to put in, I just didn't know whether to put it in the corner. I spend every cent on these turtles, they are not hard done by. The tank was custom made, it's 6ft across the front and 2 foot to the back and 2 foot high.
     
  4. Ellatheturtlelady

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    Also, about your fish, do the turtles eat them??
     
  5. Aussiepride83

    Aussiepride83 Super Moderator
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    Hi Ella, unfortunately at the moment your turtles ARE hard done by because of the situation you have them in. ALL the rocks are going to need to be removed completely from the tank and left out. You need to use the AFT calculator here to work out how much sand, grit and salt you need to add to the tank. https://www.australianfreshwaterturtles.com.au/custom/calculator/

    Your tank is also too small for 4 Murrays. You need a minimum 8X2X2 for 1 Murray and the water level needs to be much much higher than you have it, your tank is far too shallow for one of Australia's largest species of freshwater turtle.

    Adult Murray. Can reach this size in 5 years.
    4386-1481454094-fb4551ac19eb67f6dc092282a5bf11bb.jpg
    [doublepost=1487238574,1487238364][/doublepost]Your turtle is digging in the rocks because it's trying to exhibit normal turtle behaviour of covering itself with sand. Turtles live in sand and mud, not rocks. Your turtles are at a huge risk of injury while the rocks remain in the tank.

    Flaviemys purvisi digging itself into river sand and grit. Normal behaviour that can't be exercised in rocks.
    4378-1481314671-2676fb83a428f2fd47d9000ed939dc2d.png
     
  6. Ellatheturtlelady

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    Yes I understand. I'm 14 and I'm working this out on my own so please be reasonable. I have put grit in and the water level is high. I have another tank waiting to go for the little ones. From many of the turtle tanks I looked at, I thought this was normal. The lady I bought my girl off had 3 her size in a 4 foot fish tank with no basking area, heat lamp or grit just rocks no plants.
    I did think that the rocks were normal so do you think I need any large rocks or just the grit?

    Thank you.
     
  7. Aussiepride83

    Aussiepride83 Super Moderator
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    You must have NO, ZERO, NIL, NONE rocks, stones, pebbles, gravel etc in a turtle tank, period. A turtles shell is covered in scutes which are made from keratin, the same stuff as your fingernails. When rock and keratin comes into contact, where do you think the wear and tear is going to be, on the rocks, or the turtle's shell?? You guessed it, the turtle's shell. The damage done from the rocks allows anaerobic bacteria to enter the shell which causes pitting and then ultimately, shell rot.

    All the rocks need to go. You MUST use 3cm substrate of NATURAL river sand MIXED with calgrit and driftwood only.

    The lady you got your turtle off obviously has no idea about turtle welfare. The tanks you've looked at previously were inadequate for turtles. This site is where you'll find the ONLY credible information on keeping freshwater turtles in captivity.
     
  8. Ellatheturtlelady

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    Check your inbox. :)
     
  9. Aussiepride83

    Aussiepride83 Super Moderator
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    I've no message from you...

    Please read the following thread for more information on keeping turtles in captivity.
    https://www.australianfreshwaterturtles.com.au/threads/i-need-help.15133/

    Please then read the AFT care guides. :)

    Below are some of the standard posts and threads we ask new members to have a look at:

    Please read the 'AFT Turtle Care Guide' :arrowright: AFT Freshwater Turtle Care Guide

    Why you Shouldn't Keep Two Turtles Together :arrowright: Keeping Two Turtles Together

    To understand why we make the recommendations that we do in the Care Guide
    please read this informative post :arrowright: Why we make the recommendations that we do here on AFT Part 1

    Also, it would be best to familiarise yourself with the skin infections care sheet located here :arrowright: Skin Infections

    After that, you can read the Most Common Mistakes made by novice keepers thread here :arrowright: Common Mistakes

    If your turtle is sick or injured and needs dry-docking :arrowright: Important Tips for Dry-Docking Sick Turtles

    If you have any questions about why we recommend Calgrit/Turtle Grit and River Sand instead of pebbles and small rocks,
    please read this thread as well :arrowright: Gravel Blockage-Very sick turtle!

    How to measure the
    Straight Carapace Length (SCL) of a Turtle's Shell :arrowright: Measuring the Straight Carapace Length of a turtles shell

    If you have any specific questions after that, please go ahead and ask. If you want to search a particular subject, look at the top of the page for the Advanced Search link and type in the word or topic you wish to learn about.
     
  10. Rodney

    Rodney Hatchling Turtle

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    Hi Ella.

    How long have you kept the other 3 turtles? What are you actually feeding the turtles?

    Cheers,
    Rodney.
     
    #10 Rodney, Feb 16, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 17, 2017 at 5:17 AM
  11. smoyle

    smoyle Sub-Adult Turtle
    Staff Member Silver Level Supporter

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    Hi Ella - welcome to AFT! The good news is that now that you're here, you no longer have to work this out on your own. :) There are lots of folks here who are experienced turtle keepers who just want the best for your turtle to give you advice and encouragement. Obviously it's up to you whether you take it, but some of the advice has been 40+ years in the making, so it's well worth listening to!

    Definitely read the care guide, it has all the info you need to keep your turtles happy and healthy. Do be aware you're likely to need to make some changes, perhaps even major changes from what you've been doing. We've all been there - when it comes to turtles in captivity, there's a lot of bad advice out there, but this place won't steer you wrong. Take it a step at a time. We're glad you're here.
     
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