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Posted by CJ on July 17, 2001 at 03:10:37:
We have been caretakers for Mark and David, JII Peacekeeping turtles for just over eight years now. After dinking and redinking with tank after tank as they grew-we decided it was time to invest in not only a HUGE tank, but hire an "turtle tank design expert" if it was possible to find one.
For over eight months we traveled weekends, stopping in any "reptile" store-near or far-trying to discover someone who could design a tank for Reeves Turtles. Almost every shop we went into (even some listed as advertisers here) seemed to have the "same standards" of shop keeping-which bordered on horrible to stinking terrible.
Even when we called ahead, made an appointment-to spend 30 minutes at the owner’s convenience-before hours or after-any day of the week, most were disorganized. We took paper charts, graphs and outlined suggestions for the tank. Most mumbled a "general" price range and hurried off to answer the phone.
It was frustrating for us, because cash was not an issue. Proper tank conditions were. We normally explained this was "an idea" but told each potential designer-they would have cart Blanc on the final workings for the tank-just let us know what the bottom line would be.
Simple task 100 prepaid, cash.
Which designer did we go with?
The first one the shop didn’t smell like the back lot of barnyard. The designer/owner wasn’t even in the store at the time-since we discovered his shop by error. But his employee (wife) took our papers and he called back when he returned from his pond maintenance jobs-and worked things through.
His suggestions met along the lines we were thinking, his honesty about lack of knowledge about Reeves turtles was refreshingly honest. However he said, give me a week-I will do a bit of studying, make a few phone calls and lets see what I can come up with.
Three days later-he called back. He had talked to several "Reeves Turtle Owners and consulted with the Los Angeles Zoo Turtle department. He had the facts about water conditions, Reeves habits and habitat conditions written down. He was interested. He followed up and was ready to go! He is simply amazing.
Ordering the tank, stand, and canopy was a snap, the inter-design would take a few additional days to set up.
Two weeks later-he delivered the tank, set it up completely, and tested the water, dosing it to get a good setup. Dropping a few gold fish in to start a biological reaction. 2 days later-returned tested once again and declared it to be "good to go".
Mark and David are now in their new home. Their tank is 4 months old now. We have not had one bit of trouble with any of the equipment-other than one light bulb-and Karl stops by once a month to check on "his turtle friends Mark and David" while doing maintenance-yes, he got a monthly contract from us-out of the deal-not from pure need but for his dedication to detail.
I am writing this post to share with you his service, and say to most "turtle experts out there who run a pet store"-clean up your stores! Pay Attention to your customers-when they are willing to chuck out 3K-and give you free hand, honor your appointments. If you don’t know about a certain type of turtle, don’t just say, “Oh they must be like RES, so no problem.” and then spend an hour studing.
As far as many of your shopkeepers-they need to clean up their "place" because most of them STINK-as in smell! Your websites may rock-but your stores are a disgusting messes! The excuse “we are real busy today”-may be acceptable to you, but the message is clear. “I really don’t care much about this place-lost interest in it along time ago. I am not proud of my work”
Karl has owned the same shop for 24 years. He is a professional with a caring heart, willing to listen and shows incentive, drive, is willing to work for his paycheck and is a creative thinker. 90 percent of the “small turtle shops” could take a lesson. Even his cricket tank was clean!
Now for Karls store information: American Aquariums, 1463 Valley Blvd #G, Industry, California 91746 Phone number: 626-336-4722.
Now for Mark and Davids Setup.
Glass Aquarium with substrate landing-drain system in floor 68X48 deep
Oak Stand with Canopy Top. Canopy Top has brass flat hatch key and hinge lock supports-so the top stays “up” when I am feeding the turtles.
Lighting system on timer-with a series of three light controls-Rep light 50, Triton and Zoo Med bask light for over substrate landing.
1 Magnum 350 connected to:
1 Fluidized Bed filter by Rainbow Life Guard connected to:
1 UV light sterilizing system
1 Optima Air pump
Substrate with live plants on top third of tank-path walkway along side of tank “turtle islands” which float-attached by suckers to glass.
150 watt submergible heater-set at 80F
GE “hidden space” light attached to under stand-for “easy light”. This is a human feature, which really helps let us see how dirty the filters are or locate anything quickly under the tank, such as a net. It also is bright enough we can see if there is any troubles or leaks. Nice ten dollar feature which I never would have though of personally, but now that it is in-I appreciate it.
The surpise part was-the addition of the Fluidized bed filter as literally stopped the rock hidden gross –laying in the bottom-crap that builds up from week to week. You can move the gravel around-at any time-and the WATER stays clear as if it was fresh! Who would have thought!
After seven years of canister filters, power heads and monkeying a war against nasty “floor” build up-due to Karl’s expertise-we now have a LOW maintenance tank-with a quarter water change every week-and that’s it. GOOD to GO.
No Algae-no mess! No “stinky water” surprises-when you lift the lid to the tank!
The only other “GOOD” store I discovered-which was a three hour drive on my part is LLL Reptile in Oceanside! That store is clean and the workers know their stuff! We selected Karl because his store was 20 minutes away from JII, however, -HE has been a SUPER GUY!
To see Karls work (not finished setup-but started) Please visit: Mark and David at: http://www.jungleii.com/flyingturtles.html . This was the first week-during set up. We will get the camera back online this weekend, so you can see what it looks like now.
BTW, even with all the “extras” we came in 1 thousand dollars under one local pet stores bid-with NO extras.
It pays to be patient. Once in awhile you happen upon-Magic.