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Posted by NathanA on August 08, 2002 at 11:13:36:
In Reply to: baby soft-shell turtle posted by anton on August 08, 2002 at 10:38:28:
:I just found out that my sister's new turtle is a florida SS.
:It's shell is at most 2 inches long.
--get ready... if female you are going to need to build a pond (I hope you live in florida), if male you'll at least need a couple hundred gallon tank by adulthood.
:What kind of foods can I feed him other than the pellets?
--worms, crickets, mealworms, wax worms, superworms, pinky mice, minnows, shiners (bait fish), goldfish, guppies, shrimp, beef heart, cooked chicken, crayfish, snails. Having a bunch of anacris floating in the tank is a good idea for two reasons... one is that they can munch on it (though this is very rare) the other is that they can hide in it or float resting on it.
:How warm does the water have to be?
--78 degrees. Have a basking spot of mid 80's. Basking spots for softies do not need to be large, but they do occasionally use them.
:Do I absolutly need a heater?
--Yes. Florida softshells have little tolerance for cold water. Unless you plan to heat and maintain 78 degrees in your house, you will need a water heater. You will also want to use a cover on the tank to prevent cold drafts. A turtle in warm water breathing cold drafts will soon be a dead turtle.
:Should there be shallow and deep parts in the tank?
--there should be a sizeable area where the turtle can reach the top while resting on the bottom and extending it's long neck. This is a bit more than the length of the shell usually. The turtle will certainly appreciate more space, and deep space to swim and exercise in, but will need to rest in the shallow space at minimum. A basking area like a piece of cork bark wedged into the tank is a good idea. These guys rarely bask, but when they do they need to.
:What if the sand in the tank clouds the water a bit; is that ok?
--yes, as long as you check and maintain PH and ammonia levels in safe zones, and generally keep waste cleaned up, you will do fine. Try feeding the turtle in a separate bin, like a rubbermaid cat litter pan, while it is small enough to handle easily (they won't be at adult size you pretty much need armor and a couple of strong men to move them)