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Outdoor pond questions

Discussion in 'Keeping Turtles Outdoors (Ponds & Dams)' started by Ryanboz, Mar 2, 2017.

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  1. Ryanboz

    Ryanboz Egg

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    Hi guys.

    I plan on moving my 3 year old Murray River turtle (approx 16cm) into an outdoor pond and I just want to make sure I'm doing everything right.

    I have bought a 2600l food grade, UV protected polyurethane water trough which I will be putting in a position with half sun/half shade for the day.

    I plan on filtering it with a 70litre gravity filter/shower filter that I made which contains approx 25l foams and 25l bakki balls. (I can add more tubs and media if needed).
    I bought a 10,000 Lph pump to go with it.

    I've got 60kg of calgrit ready to go and will add a bit less than 5gram of pool salt per litre and keep checking salt levels while the pond is cycling.

    I’m going to work out the basking area and netting when the trough gets delivered.

    If anybody has any suitable plant ideas, that would be great. I'm currently spending 20 bucks a week on elodea.

    I'm not too sure what to do in regards to heating. Do I need it year round or just winter? If so, is a high watt stick heater the way to go?

    Would anyone know roughly how long a pond like this would take to cycle? Also, I've googled some ways to test when it's ready but would rather hear ideas from someone's on this forum.

    Just to make this post a little bit longer, I've bought a water tank made of the same material as the trough. I wanted to do the water changes with rainwater.
    I don't trust the materials my roof is made of so I was thinking about lining my carport roof and gutters with UV treated pond liner. I can't find any info on whether this will be safe or not. Worst case I'll scrap the idea as I can still use the water for the garden.

    Please let me know if I'm missing anything. I haven't used any of the equipment I've bought yet so I'm sure I can swap things over if needed.

    Thanks heaps
     
  2. Craig

    Craig Administrator
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    Hi Ryan, I'll answer this in the morning for you.

    Can you please explain what 25l foams means? As well as what are bakki balls?

    It is impossible to keep aquatic plants up to a short-necked turtle in a pond as aquatic plants make up more than 60% of a short-necked turtles regular diet in the wild, so your best option is to grow your own aquatic plants in another tub/pond as I did. That way they can be replenished as needed. You will find that the plants will be uprooted constantly in a pond with a Murray River turtle.

    Duckweed, Vallisneria / Ribbonweed, Elodea and Azolla are highly recommended to be cultivated for your turtle as they are high in calcium, especially duckweed.
     
  3. Rodney

    Rodney Hatchling Turtle

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    Hi Ryan

    Regarding plants, duckweed is great with a high calcium content. I have found it grows very well in a garage I have specifically for fish and turtles. It grows well in low light areas. You may be able to combine the Duckweed with feeder fish. The AFT thread on poisonous plants is valuable. https://www.australianfreshwaterturtles.com.au/threads/safe-and-toxic-unsafe-plant-list.14468/

    Beware of gardening retailers selling plants suitable for ponds but poisonous for fish and turtles.

    Cheers
    Rodney
     
  4. Aussiepride83

    Aussiepride83 Administrator
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    Hi Ryan, I have one question before you proceed with this pond plan. You've told us the volume of the pond but I didn't see you mention it's dimensions. How long, wide and most importantly, how deep is it?? An outdoor pond needs to have a minimum water depth of 60-90cm with 1m being ideal. Anything shallower than this will lead to rapid and excessive temperature fluctuations, (not ideal for an ectothermic reptile that is very in-tune with the seasons.).

    You won't need to worry about heating your pond if it's positioned to receive morning and evening sun and the water is deep enough. During winter, your turtle will most likely brumate (similar to hibernating). This is perfectly normal for turtles and they'll survive just fine provided they have the fat reserves built up as they will not eat during winter.

    Your turtle should not be fed for 2 weeks prior to winter setting in and feeding shouldn't resume until the turtle becomes active again in spring.
    If you don't want your turtle to brumate during winter, you should use a high wattage pond heater to prevent the water temperature from falling below 16°C. Again, water depth is important, I've seen turtles kept outdoors in water too shallow, freeze solid in the dead of winter. You don't want that to happen. On the flipside, in the height up summer, shallow outdoor setups can quickly overheat turning your turtles into turtle soup. At 30°C (water temp) temperate species like Murrays will stop eating and regurgitate the contents of their stomachs.

    Before proceeding, make sure your pond setup is going to hold at least 90cm of water. :)
     
  5. Ryanboz

    Ryanboz Egg

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    Hi Craig

    The foams are just filter mats. 2 layers of coarse, 2 medium and 2+ layers of filter wool.
    Bakki balls are just ceramic bio media. Kind of like the noodles just in the shape of a ball
    That's good to hear about the duckweed as it is so easy to grow. I'll try and grow elodea as well but if it's too hard I'll keep buying it

    Thanks Rodney (and Craig for posting it) that list is really helpful. I'll put a few tubs of the duckweed under my carport.

    Sorry Aussiepride83. It's 2460dia and 750 deep. The calculations say it's supposed to hold 3546l so I'm assuming 2460 is the top diameter and it tapers in lower. I plan on fencing the perimeter of the pond with something so I will be able to fill the water up to about 700mm. Would that still be ok?

    Thanks again to everyone for the replies.
     
  6. Craig

    Craig Administrator
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    Hi again Ryan,

    Heating a pond through Winter can be as simple as placing long coils of Poly Tube / black Poly irrigation pipe onto your carport roof that gets the most sun during the day. You can pump your pond water through the coils thus heating your pond. This can be set up with a thermostat that redirects the water flow onto the roof when your water temperature drops below a set temperature and redirects back off the roof when the water temperature rises to your maximum set temperature. This is how solar heating works for pools.

    Thinner irrigation pipe is better as it heats up much more quickly. Lots of coils are obviously better than just a few coils. A secondhand solar water heating system would also work. You could also have a second pump with its only function to turn on to heat your water as set by your thermostat.
    Yes that would be fine. The photo below is of my 10,000 litre aboveground pond.
    [​IMG]
    This pond didn't require heating during winter as it was located on the Sunshine Coast and every night during Winter I placed an insulated plastic pool 'blanket' over the pond, above the water so that they can still come up for air.
     
  7. Ryanboz

    Ryanboz Egg

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    That's such a good idea Craig. I'll start looking at doing something like that this weekend.

    As far as protection goes. Would a net suspended over the pond be OK or is it not required? I plan on the basking area to cover 1/4 to 1/3 third of the pond so he will have some protection but I don't want the birds anywhere near him.

    Thanks again.
     
  8. Craig

    Craig Administrator
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    It all depends on what kind of birds you have in your area and how big your turtles are. For peace of mind bird netting would effectively keep winged predators out. During Summer I had a shade sail directly over the basking platform to prevent the water from getting too hot. This also served as protection from birds overhead seeing the turtles out on the basking platform. They got the morning sun and the afternoon sun and loved basking. During Winter I removed the shade sail.

    Where I lived I had all sorts of raptors including Wedge-tailed eagles, Sea eagles, Peregrine falcons, Brown falcons, Whistling kites, Collared Sparrow hawks and a few other different species to worry about. I also bred Jack Russell terriers and was concerned every time they circled overhead when I had a new litter of puppies. Having said that the turtles behaved as if they were in the wild and the slightest noise or shadow overhead scared them off the basking platform and back into the water. I also had 40 Macleay River turtles in my pond from 10cm SCL to adult females at 19cm SCL and never lost one.

    You're very welcome Ryan. :)
     
  9. Ryanboz

    Ryanboz Egg

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    Wow. I feel pretty safe now haha. The worst I have in my area are magpies.
    I'll put a net over anyway as I have a spare one, and just in case someone in the street gets a cat.

    Thanks again to everyone. I feel really comfortable now putting him outside. I'll post an update in a month or 2 when it's up and running.