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Pebbles in tank? Why is it bad?

Discussion in 'Keeping Turtles Indoors (Aquariums)' started by Trent Ryan, Jul 12, 2017.

  1. Trent Ryan

    Trent Ryan Hatchling Turtle

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    So people tell me having pebbles in the tank is frowned upon. I'm curious as to why?

    Also what kind of turtle is he?
     

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  2. Craig

    Craig Founding Member/Administrator/Public Officer
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    Below is a link to one of the threads Kev asked you to read last Sunday.
    https://www.australianfreshwaterturtles.com.au/threads/gravel-blockage-very-sick-turtle.10231/


    The extract below is also from a post Kev asked you to read last Sunday.
    Also, When it comes to keeping turtles in indoor aquariums, using aquarium gravel as a substrate is a big no no for. They require a substrate of natural river sand mixed with calgrit to a depth of no more than 3cm. Turtles in the wild, especially baby turtles don't live in rocky, gravel sections of rivers. They live in mud and silty sections that provide cover. Turtles instinctively dig into sand and mud to avoid predation or to rest/sleep. They cannot do this in gravel. Also, a turtle's shell is covered in scutes made from keratin, (the same stuff as our fingernails.) Keratin is easily damaged by gravel and rocks which are obviously harder. If the scutes are compromised, anaerobic bacteria then has easy access to your turtle's shell and before you know it, your turtle has shell pitting and then shell rot. Below is a photo of a turtle that's been kept on gravel it's whole life. Notice the pitting in the plastron (lower half of the shell) this is caused by anaerobic bacteria attacking the turtle. Using sand and calgrit prevents this from happening.
    4542-1497585348-88b93e130e0a9673b1a03b83f794fdf9-jpg.jpg

    Here's the plastron of an Eastern Long-Necked turtle - Chelodina longicollis kept in an aquarium with a substrate of river sand and calgrit. The shell is smooth, free of pitting and damage.
    4546-1497587165-893e3ba7a804226fae7fb3edb9ece916-jpg.jpg
    The river sand won't damage their shells like gravel, stones and rocks do. The sand and calgrit can be safely ingested and passed whereas gravel will cause intestinal blockages and most importantly, the sand and calgrit will not trap detritus and harbour anaerobic bacteria. It will also buffer your pH, KH and GH within the recommended levels whereas the gravel will not.
    A captive turtle can safely eat calgrit which will be digested and is a great additional source of calcium.

    A gravel/rock/pebble substrate will also cause pressure sores (like brown blisters) on your turtle's legs and feet. Imagine yourself trying to get comfortable all day on a couch or bed made from cement. Sand and calgrit is a lot softer and more comfortable and natural for turtles, like couch cushions and a mattress is for us. It also allows them to safely exhibit normal turtle behaviour like digging and fossicking for food without injuring themselves.

    Here's an X-ray of a turtle kept on aquarium gravel. It's entire digestive tract is full of gravel. Captive turtles kept on gravel will accidentally ingest it when hunting live prey items, they can also intentionally ingest it purely out of boredom and displacement behaviour from being kept in unnatural conditions. The turtle requires an operation to have it surgically removed or it will die.
    4514-1497414131-1512c819ef90863242bca4782306ddc7-jpg.jpg
    Here's an x-ray image of a turtle kept on a substrate of river sand and calgrit.
    [​IMG]

    Using calgrit is recommended as it will buffer your pH (potential hydrogen), KH (Carbonate Hardness) and GH (General Hardness).
    The recommended readings set out by AFT are as follows :
    pH - 7.4 to 7.8
    KH - no less than 80ppm.
    GH - 180ppm - 200ppm.



    It's a short-necked turtle. You never told us what river you took him from.
     
  3. smoyle

    smoyle Adult Turtle
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    Gravel isn't the only problem with your setup Trent, you really need to read the threads you've been provided with as a matter of urgency and make the changes they recommend, for your turtle's sake. Craig and Kev give you free advice, the best in the business, but it's up to you to make the changes, and answer their questions so they can help you best.

    What are the dimensions of your tank? Is that internal filter your only source of filtration?
     
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  4. Trent Ryan

    Trent Ryan Hatchling Turtle

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    Clarence River, NSW.
     
  5. Craig

    Craig Founding Member/Administrator/Public Officer
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    As suspected it is one of the Northern NSW Emydura.

    It is a Clarence River turtle.
     
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  6. Aussiepride83

    Aussiepride83 Administrator
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    Trent, if you actually take the time to read the links you were provided with, all your questions will be answered.
     
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  7. Trent Ryan

    Trent Ryan Hatchling Turtle

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    Thanks again guys I'll go back and read the links, cheers for the help.
     
    The tank is 120x38x46 and the turtle has a shell length which is only 4.5 inches and no I have a canister filter on its way, waiting for it to arrive.
     
  8. Craig

    Craig Founding Member/Administrator/Public Officer
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    AFT recommends aquariums that are a minimum of 60cm wide (front to back) for all turtles as they spend a lot of time on the bottom of the tank. Anything less than 60cm width is a fish tank.
     
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