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Posted by Maxx MacLeod on February 12, 2003 at 10:49:33:
In Reply to: 6 posted by johnsaunders on February 11, 2003 at 17:11:42:
There are different opinions on some of the questions that you asked...but I'll give you my take on your questions.
:Should I have a place for her to get out of the water? I tried this before and she never came out. Do softshells bask like other turtles?
1) Yes, they definitely bask and you should provide an area for him/her to completely get out of the water and bask. It may take a while for your softshell to feel safe enough to begin basking. Also, many softshells are VERY secretive about basking so you may only catch glimpses of him basking before he hits the water.
:What is the best filter to get? I've tried many different filters including a Fluval 300 (i think) which was around $100. I got tired of cleaning it mainly because the nasty water would get on my carpet when cleaning it so I sold it. Is there a good undergravel filter available?
2) I suggest reading on the internet about how to build your own combination mechanical and bio-filter. I build all of my own filters and I supersize them. Build it a LOT bigger than you would for fish. In my opinion, you can never build a filter that's too big. The bigger it is, the less you have to clean it. You can build a giant bio-filter for an order of magnitude cheaper than you can purchase one. It may not be pretty but it will be highly effective.
:What kind of lighting is sufficient? Would a regular 18" Reptisun 5.0 UVA/UVB bulb be good? How many hours a day should I keep this on?
3) This sounds okay. I prefer to use a higher watt incandescent bulb in a shop light style reflector so that I can direct it on the basking area. This is highly effective and the turtle will also naturally want to bask in the warm, high light area. You can add a second light as an "area" light for the entire tank.
:How often should I feed her? I usually give her about 30 Reptomin pellets every other day. Are there any other good foods to give her? How about guppies?
4) I feed all of my softshell species on a daily basis. This probably isn't necessary but they seem to be thriving. But remember, more food also means more waste products and more filtering. Softshells are highly carnivorous. They love fish, worms, and other invertibrates. Some individuals will surprise you and eat such diverse things as romaine lettuce or even fruit. (I have an African softshell that loves red grapes!) So you may want to experiment with different plant material...but they're mainly meat eaters.
:Would plants like Java Fern or Water Hyacinth be good?
5) Plants would be great if you have enough light for them to survive. Plants will provide cover for the turtle and it will also filter out nitrates. Don't forget to use sand. Softshells love to bury themselves in sand. And hope you don't have a female because they get BIG! :-)