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Well, it's been another couple of weeks so it seemed like time for an update!
The two new adult female musk turtles (Sternotherus odoratus) that I rehomed nearly a month ago seem to be settling in well. I finally managed to document how I've set up their air-driven basket filter, although I've been having a problem with protein build-up on the surface of the water. As many people with turtles or other high-waste aquatics will have noticed, if the surface of the water isn't churned over by a filter output, an oily-film develops, due to the dissolved organic waste in the water separating to the top.
For the time being, a small internal filter to churn the surface will suffice, but I couldn't resist the challenge, and will be attempting to build a DIY-protein skimmer in the coming week! This will be adapted from a system which is used with great success on marine reef enclosures, a bit excessive, but if it works the entire filtration system will remain air-powered, saving a lot of money!
If that doesn't work, I've managed to nab a small Fluval internal filter online for a good price. Internal filters have been neglected as of late, due to their disadvantages of small media-capacity, and taking up valuable tank space, however I find them a great boost to my turtle enclosures which are largely plant-filtered.
Plant wise, my Honduran Wood Turtle (Rhinoclemmys pulcherrima incisa) enclosure is still growing in nicely, and I've managed to get some cuttings of the Swiss Cheese Plants (Monstera deliciosa) which I'll be putting up for sale shortly. I also managed to source a Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) which is growing rapidly along the back wall!
I've also been pricing up plastic enclosures for my two snakes, as both my Bullsnake (Pituophis catenifer sayi) and Colombian Rainbow Boa (Epicrates cenchria maurus) are currently in glass vivariums, which are heavy and inefficient at retaining heat. With heatpads for warmth rather than bulbs, I don't expect to be able to grow many plants with them, although I plan to use authentic leaf litter native to their natural habitats.
I'm also officially another year older, after celebrating my birthday last week. Whilst I didn't manage to get any more critters, I did get a nice electric drill, which I quickly tried out by putting up some new shelving. Funnily enough, they seem to hold about 3 small faunariums, which could come in handy for any future additions!
If you'd like to know anything else, don't hesitate to contact me,
The last few weeks have seen big changes, with more mouths to feed, new enclosures, new experiments into captive care, not to mention a few hearty days worth of sunshine.
Firstly, and most importantly, I decided to rehome a couple of adult Common Musk Turtles (Sternotherus odoratus). I already look after two youngsters, but after seeing these two up for a new home I decided to try and fit them into my menagerie. Both are adult females, and although I normally recommend keep turtles separate as they are solitary animals, females do seem to be easier to keep together than males, or mixed sex groups.
The new Stinkpots have been set up very similar to my youngsters, with a plastic enclosure rather than glass and a host of plants native to their natural range. I've also added a few home-bred Swordtail fry to the enclosure to act as "dither fish" (small fish which calmly and actively swim around the tank to induce a sense of safety). As of yet, I haven't seen either of them try to catch the fish, although they are nibbling the plants and beginning to eat the various brands of turtle pellet I offer them.
I'll be posting more detail on their enclosure soon, as I've been working on a 'still water' pond setup, which is proving very interesting. Stinkpots naturally inhabit slow and still waters, but still water is somewhat hard to recreate in a captive enclosure because of filtration requirements.
The end of March also gave a few lucky people in the North of the UK some sunshine, and a few lucky turtles too. I'm not sure when the sun will next visit the North of England, so I made sure every turtle got some sunbathing time, and they all seem a little bit perkier for it!
Lastly, after investing in some Wheatgerm pellets, which are fortified with a lot of the same Vitamins as branded turtle pellets, but only £2 per kilo, I've decided it might be helpful to compile a list of some of the money-saving tips I use every day in exotic pet care, which is what I'll be working on for the next update!
If you'd like to know anything else, don't hesitate to contat me using the email link below,