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Re: Florida Softshell

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Posted by Maxx MacLeod on February 12, 2003 at 20:20:05:

In Reply to: Re: Florida Softshell posted by johnsaunders on February 12, 2003 at 16:03:22:


:I will look into making a filter. I was looking at the XP3 FilStar Canister filter. It is made for up to 175 gallons. Do you think this is good or is it too much? The tank is a 40 gal breeder but I keep it about halfway full. Would the thrust be too much?

1) I don't know much about commercial filters so maybe someone else on the forum can comment on this. Just make sure your filter has a mechanical filter component (for filtering out particles) and a bio-filter component (for breaking down ammonia). You can find everything you need to know on the net about this. I build giant filters out of 5 gallon pails, 50 gallon trash cans, and pond pumps. They aren't pretty (you can hide them) but you can make a great, giant filter for little money. Don't worry about water flow, softshells like water flow.

:How deep do you recommend that I keep the water level?

2) They can handle themselves very well in deep water but they need water somewhere in the tank that's shallow enough that they can completely bury themselves in the sand and still reach the surface of the water for air. For simplicity sake, I keep mine a uniform, fairly shallow dept (based on neck length).

:You said to use sand instead of gravel. Is regular playground sand from Lowe's good or is there something better? How deep should I make the sand?

3) DON'T use gravel! This will scrape softshells up. Standard Home Depot play sand works fine. The depth depends on turtle size. I'd probably put 3 or 4 inches in for a 6 inch softy. The sand will also work as a biological medium...and the turtle will stir it up enough to kick up debris for the filter to catch.

:What is a good thing to use for her to bask? I used to have slate in there on top of the gravel. About a year ago I came home one day and saw she was stuck so I pulled her out. She wasn't moving and I laid her upside down on carpet. I pushed on her belly and a bunch of water came out. She didn't move for several minutes and I put a ziploc bag next to her to put her in (because i thought she was dead). Then all of the sudden she started to get up. I was so relieved!

4) Use slate, rock, wood, or whatever, as long as there isn't anything sharp on it. Just don't use cement (the PH is too low). If you have problems with the turtle knocking it around (that was a close call!), dry your tank out and epoxy it into place.

:Do I need to get a UVA/UVB bulb or will jsut a regular 18" shop light work?

5) Use a UVA/UVB bulb for basking. It doesn't matter what you use for an area light. But if you want to be really perfectionist about it, you can use a long herp bulb for this also.

Are you aware that female Florida Sotshells get to over 20 pounds???!!! Hopefully, you have a male.


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