Are Indoor Turtle Pond Kits Really Necessary?

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Building the first indoor turtle pond can be a little confusing for you as a beginner. You really do not know what to buy, and eventually, you purchase unnecessary kits. I will clear some of your doubts in this article. Specifically, I will discuss whether buying a pond kit is a wiser decision.

The commercial pond kits make the turtle enclosure setup easier for the newbies. You can build the turtle’s home without these packages, too. Buy all the necessary supplies (tub, substrate, heater, light, filter, dock) separately. Then, attach them to prepare a lovely home for your turtles.

The following article explains the easiest way to make an indoor turtle pond.

Key Takeaways

  • Commercial indoor turtle pond kits are helpful to beginners.
  • You can buy supplies separately and build the pond from scratch.
  • A tub, substrate, filter, heater, light, and dock are necessary for a turtle pond.

Do You Need Pond Kits To Build An Indoor Turtle Habitat?

Many keepers prefer buying ready-made pond kits when planning an indoor turtle pond. The packages include all necessary supplies for the pet’s enclosure. Generally, a standard pond kit comes with,

  • A tub/ surface mound pond
  • Lampstand
  • Dome light fixture
  • Mercury lamp
  • Water filter
  • Substrate
  • Water conditioner
  • Natural plant
  • Commercial dried diet
  • Supplements
  • Care guide

So, the kits have more or less everything you need to raise your turtle. These packages are suitable for beginners.

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Newbies mostly struggle to glue all the pieces together and build a nice home for their turtles. Hence, buying these kits will clear their doubts. Then, they can simply follow the care and maintenance guide for future confusion.

Well, the commercial pond kits may sound convenient. But I personally do not like them. Why?

Firstly, the customization options are limited. You can not go for the bigger tub or a specific plant, even if you want.

Secondly, most kits include a mercury bulb. Yes, these bulbs work fantastic to provide UV and heat simultaneously. Yet, these can not compete with the separate UV and heat hamp setups. Lastly, you will not find a separate basking dock, ramp, or tank heater in many of these kits.

In short, the pond kits may be helpful to build an easy home for your turtles for a temporary time being. But these are not mandatory.

With a turtle tub kit, you need to buy other supplies separately to customize this habitat over the months. So, your expenses will be more in the end.

Thus, I suggest buying the turtle indoor pond supplies separately and building the home from scratch.

How Do You Make An Indoor Turtle Pond From Scratch?

You can easily build a turtle pond without the tub kits. Do not worry if you have zero knowledge of this. Below, I will tell you the ins and outs of making an indoor turtle pond.

1. Select A Spot

You should keep the turtle pond in a well-ventilated area with sufficient light. Do not put the tub directly under sunlight. There should be enough space around the tub. Also, keep your valuables away from the pond to avoid any accidents.

2. Gather Materials

Necessary supplies to make an indoor turtle pond are,

  • Surface mound pond
  • Light stands
  • Light fixtures
  • UV lamp
  • Heating bulb
  • Basking dock with ramp
  • Decorations
  • Heater
  • Filter
  • Aquatic plant
  • Substrate
  • Cleaning kits, etc.
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3. Pond Setup

Wash the newly bought tub properly and dry it under the sun. Select the pond size according to your turtle’s height and length. Experts advise adding 10 gallons for each inch of the turtle’s carapace.

Lay out the tank bottom with a suitable substrate. Sand is a preferable bedding for many turtles. I recommend using topsoil with coral crush, gravel, sphagnum moss, etc., as a substrate. Well, you can ignore the bedding altogether if your turtle is not a bottom dweller.

Owner: April Kelley McGallion

4. Install Devices

Turtles must have access to fresh water all the time. That is why you must set up a canister filter with the tub. Decide on the filter capacity, depending on the pond size.

Besides, a tank heater is also mandatory to maintain a comfortable water temperature. A drop in the temperature will make the turtles inactive and sick. Nowadays, you will find heaters available for both glass and plastic surfaces.

Finally, you need to install two types of lights in the pond, a UV bulb and a heating lamp. Both are mandatory for the immunity and growth of the turtles.

After installation, make sure the wires are insulated and appropriately hidden. Otherwise, any leakage will lead to electrocution and kill the pets.

5. Basking Arrangements

You also have to add a basking dock to the pond. It can be a commercial one or a homemade platform. I usually stack rocks against the walls and use them as the dock. The rocks also act as a hiding spot for the turtles.

You can use logs instead of rocks. Provide the turtles with a ramp if they struggle to get on the dock.

6. Do The Decorations

Turtles thrive in natural environments. Hence, keepers try to grow aquatic plants inside the pond. These plants add a wild vibe to the environment and act as a rich oxygen source for turtles. Some popular plants for turtle ponds are water hyacinth, duckweed, moss fern, java moss, etc.

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7. The Final Run

Fill the pond with fresh water. Remember, the water height should be 2x the length of the turtle. Deeper water can eventually drown the pet.

Turn on the filters, heaters, and lights. Let the entire setup run for a few days.

Check the water condition with the test kit. Ideal water composition includes a pH of 6 to 8 with 0 ammonia and chloride. The filter is enough to restore the water composition to normal. You can also use a conditioner to eliminate the harmful elements.

Within a week, the pond will be ready for the turtle.

8. Cleaning And Extra Tips

Many keepers build a frame and barrier around the pond for extra security. Turtles are climbers who might try to climb out of the pond. Well, you can avoid this situation by keeping the water level and dock height checked.

Next, you should be really considerate about maintaining hygiene in the turtle pond. Turtles can not stand dirt and may fall victim to infectious diseases.

Do some regular cleanups. For example, remove the droppings and leftovers.

Besides, replace 25% of the dirty water with fresh water using a siphon every week. Perform a deep tank and filter cleaning at least once a month.

Before You Go…

It is clear that making an indoor habitat is not enough for turtles. But you have to ensure a suitable environment and clean surroundings. I have discussed maintaining hygiene in a turtle’s enclosure in the attached article below.

How Do I Keep My Turtle Pond Clean [Step-By-Step Guide]

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About Author

Muntaseer Rahman started keeping pet turtles back in 2013. He also owns the largest Turtle & Tortoise Facebook community in Bangladesh. These days he is mostly active on Facebook.


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