Last week I set up a species tank for my musk turtles with that aims to simulate their natural environment with sandy bottom, plastic log to climb on, fake plants. They loved it and really enjoy digging up the sand and plants. The only problem is keeping it clean. I changed most of the water a few days ago and today noticed the water not only looks cloudy but the tank smells. I had to replace most of the water and rinse the sand out. Only founds a few bits of dried fish uneaten in the sand so I don;t think the problem is overfeeding/uneaten food.
This is my first sand turtle tank, all the rest have bare bottoms. I don't have any problem with any other tanks, not even the big one with several large sliders in it. My fish tanks have sand substrates too but I only need to clean sand once a month and the fish tank water is clear and odourless The musk tank filter seems to be working OK but I;m getting them a more powerful one
How do you keep your sand substrate clean if you use sand in turtle tanks? Do you have any helpful hints or cleaning procedure to recommend? I just siphoned off most of the musk tank water as i do with fish tanks
hi, this is most certainly the filter not being up to the job, sand is very clean and wont harbor turtle waste or uneaten foods and the fact that your water is cloudy tells me that the filter is not doing its job properly... i would still expect to do regular water changes as always but not as quick as your doing... a better filter system in this tank will sort your problem....
Right, scrap the answer from Wayne. Sorry wayne, but it sounds like you have zip experience with sand substrate, else you wouldn't have said what you have.
Sand will always make the water cloudy to start with, because of the fine silt which gets stirred up and suspended in the water. With nothing saying what filter you have it's impossible to say if it's up to the task, however if you're changing all your water every few days then they filter is pointless as it's not having time to establish. You need to do either very small water changes, or none at all, until the tank and filter have "cycled" and developed the bacteria they need to function correctly. If it's getting smelly quickly, then they tank is too small, even the best filter in the world will struggle to keep an overly small tank clean!
Musks are more carnivorous than other species and so will create more waste, and you can't have too large a filter as they don't do well in strong current. Get the filter set up right and with decent media, an air stone to ensure there is plenty of oxygen in the water, and every couple of weeks rake the sand with your fingers to prevent any "dead spots" where bad bacteria can build up. Sand looks great, and if done right (spot-cleaning is very helpful!) is very easy to keep clean.