All the information listed here is based on my own experience, please carry out your own research before attempting to replicate anything on this site.
Live plants in a Red Eared Slider enclosure? Impossible - well, sort of.
The trick it seems, with live plants and Sliders, is to keep them out of reach. I would have prefered to have had some flora growing in the actual tank (other than algae!), but having spent the last year, and lots of money, trying to find a plant that my slider would leave alone, the best I can manage is to grow some marginals in a planter just out of reach of my sliders hungry mouth.
So I'd like to introduce you to a few pictures of what I've come to call my "Flowerpot model". Technically it's not quite a flowerpot, more of a windowbox, but I've incorporated a few neat features, including a biological filtration system, a live food culture, and the ever important live plants. These photos are still of the early stages, and the plants especially have only been growing for ~1 month, so it still has a lot of maturing to do, but the incorporated bio filter and live food culture are well established.
The plants in question are Pickerel Weeds (Pontederia sp.) which are native to the range of the Red Eared Slider. From my own research, I have found them to be suitable, but I would suggest anyone willing to use them in their own enclosures does their own independent research.
These plants, as you can hopefully see from the photos, grow pretty tall, and hopefully as they become established and fill out a little more should begin to hide the plastic planter.
I'm saving the details of the biological filtration and livefood culture for a full article, but so far both seem to be working well, with both the fish and the slider appreciating the benefits!
Since the Common Musks Turtles are also from the USA, I have planted a smaller Pickerel Weed plant in their new plastic tub enclosure, in a pond basket with attached cork bark. Hopefully if this thrives too they could make a great addition to many American semi-aquatic habitats, at least in my collection!
Finally, I had a friendly email this week asking about posting livefood orders outside the UK. Currently I can only offer UK shipping as I am just an individual and not a business, so I'm not clued up on the laws or regulations for each country concerning livestock imports, however Virginia Cheeseman may be of help to you.
Any questions, dont hesitate to email me,
Rather a big step this week, as I emptied and removed the aquarium that started my involvement in exotic pet care, from my reptilarium. It's been a home to a variety of critters since I got it (last millenium!), including my Red Eared Slider, a host of tropical oddball fish, and up until this weekend, my Chinese Softshell Turtle.
I haven't scrapped the tank, although being over a decade old and frequently scratched up by the softy's claws mean that it's going to require a new silicone job and some TLC before I try and make anything else from it. I've seen the tank evolve into so many habitats, I'm not ready to part with it yet!
Anyway, out with the old, in with the new! My Chinese Softshell seems to be appreciating the larger footprint of the new storage tub, and some speed-DIY this morning allowed me to fashion a nice surround to prevent escapes. I'm still not decided on whether to cover the sides of the tub in cladding, but it's functional for now. I've only got a household spotlight for basking, without UVB, as he gets dietary Vitamin D3 and rarely basks.
Hopefully I'll be able to get some plants in there soon, as I'm seeing promising things from the planter in my slider enclosure.
I haven't yet built the surround for the Musk Turtle tub but that will be coming soon, once I find a few more scraps of wood. The Musk Turtle's water level is a little lower than the softshell, as they are much smaller, so they're not in need of a surround so urgently!
Still no progress with the Congo Green Praying Mantids - I've been trying to pair them up every other day but they're around 6 weeks into maturity now, and getting a little too old. I've written up a guide on breeding Drosophila fruit flies, which you can view here, which explains how I've been culturing them with great success!
Everyone else in the zoo seems to be fine, a few of my rarer cockroach varieties have reproduced so I might have some unusual ones for sale soon. The snakehead fish (Channa gachua) is still eyeing me up for it's next meal, but happily posed for a macro shot which seems to have come out quite clear considering I shot it through plastic!
As usual, if you would like more detail, or have any questions, don't hesitate to send me an email!