Surface Mount Pond For Turtles: Are They Good?

Surface Mount Pond For Turtles

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

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Trust me when I say glass tanks are not suitable for turtles. I had experienced leakage, broken aquariums, and whatnot! On top of that, the transparent glass walls seem to confuse the turtles. So, I have switched to the surface mount ponds for indoor turtle habitats.

Surface mount ponds are made of sturdy plastics and easily carry the habitat load. There is less risk of water leakage and cracks. The overhanging areas can be used as land. Besides, the water drainage system is smooth and hassle-free. So, these setups are low-maintenance and convenient.

Should you buy a surface mount pond for your turtles? Let’s find out.

Key Takeaways

  • Surface mount ponds are suitableand safe as both indoor and outdoor turtle habitats.
  • The installation process of these ponds is easy. Just dig a large hole and bury the surface mount tub.
  • Avoid glass tanks because the see-through walls confuse the little pets.

According to a survey by the American Pet Products Association (APPA) in 2019-2020, turtles were the third most popular type of reptile kept as pets in the United States, after bearded dragons and leopard geckos.

Are Surface Mount Ponds Good For Indoor Turtles?

Honestly, you only have 2 options to build the indoor pond from scratch (if you are avoiding glass tanks). You can use either a plastic tub or buy a commercial surface mount pond.

The plastic tubs are indeed a good option. They come in a variety of sizes. So, nothing stops you from expanding your indoor turtle pond.

However, tubs come in basic sizes and include no steppings inside. Hence, you have to build separate frames and brainstorm to bring the wild vibe.

On the contrary, the surface mount ponds or preformed garden ponds are blessings. Though these are designed for garden areas, they excellently serve as indoor ponds.

Here are some features of the surface mount ponds you must know,

  • The preformed garden pools are available in a wide range of sizes. For example, the smallest one is under 60 gallons, and the medium can hold 150 gallons of water. Of course, there are large surface mount ponds with capacities above 150 gallons. They can go beyond 1500 gallons and more.
  • There are steppings inside the ponds. You can turn those flat surfaces into the land area. So, less work for you.
  • You do not need to build the bulky framing around the surface mount ponds if you use those steps as land areas. Well, there are mount ponds that include no overhanding steps. In such cases, framing and additional land arrangements are mandatory.
  • The surface mount ponds ask for support at the uplifted surfaces. You can use blocks for this purpose. However, ponds with no overhanging areas will do just fine even without the support.
  • Setting up the base or bottom drainage system is easier with the preformed garden ponds. It lessens the hassles during enclosure clean-up and water change.
  • The surface mount ponds are made of soft plastics. So, there is no way that the turtle will get hurt.
  • These plastic ponds are strong and nearly indestructible. There is no chance of leakage unless you have overloaded the tub.
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In short, surface mount ponds allow you to build a turtle habitat with less planning.

Can You Use Surface Mount Ponds As Outdoor Turtle Pools?

I have already mentioned how you can integrate the surface mount ponds into indoor setups. What about the outdoor habitats?

Well, these preformed garden ponds are designed for outside turtle or fish pools. In fact, the installation is easier outdoors. You just have to bury the tub in the soil, and that is all.

You get many advantages when you use the surface mount ponds as an outdoor turtle enclosure. For example, if you decide to dig a pond from scratch, you have to layer the perimeter with bricks. Otherwise, the turtles may escape the pond.

But with the preformed ponds, there is no need to brick the side walls. Besides, cleaning these tubs is easier and less time-consuming.

Generally, owners aim for ponds above 750 gallons when building turtle pools outdoors. The good thing is that surface mound tubs are available in almost all sizes and shapes. So, you do not have to brainstorm over the garden turtle pond. 

Finally, you do not have to worry about pond leakage. The preformed garden tubs come with a 10 – 15 years of anti-perforation guarantee.

How To Install The Surface Mount Ponds?

The installation process varies from the indoor to outdoor setup. Follow the instructions below if you want to build an outdoor turtle pool,

  • Dig out the grounds 4 to 6 inches deeper and wider all around. Then, pour sand at the bottom. It will help to even the pond. Use a level from side to side and end to end to ensure the ground is leveled.
  • A sand base is necessary. It prevents any rock or stones from puncturing the pond’s bottom when a load is added.
  • Add the preformed liner to the pond.
  • Pour sand from every side to tightly secure the pond to the ground. It will ensure the pond does not move or rock when you add water or the turtles swim around.
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For indoor installation, place the surface mount pond on an even table or floor. You need no fencing if you use the steppinds as a land area. Set up the basking dock at a considerable height.

Again, using the steppings as land can limit the pond’s capacity. Sometimes, the turtles might feel the enclosure is a little too congested for them. In such cases, build a fence around the pond and fill the gap with substrates. While the substrates act as land areas, the barriers prevent the turtles from escaping.

Here are two things you must remember. First, the land areas might not always serve as a basking platform. So, place a proper dock under the lights if necessary.

Second, rinse the surface mount ponds thoroughly before use. It will wash out any residual chemicals. Finally, wrapping the pond surface with a liner is recommended.

According to the Turtle Survival Alliance, approximately 60% of the world’s turtle species are threatened with extinction, making conservation efforts and responsible pet ownership important to protect these fascinating creatures.

Known Disadvantages Of Surface Mount Ponds For Turtles

Are surface mount ponds good for turtles? Absolutely. But it does not mean these setups are flawless.

In reality, you may face a few drawbacks with these preformed ponds. However, you can eliminate those with a little adjustment. For example,

  • Improper equipment selection can cause poor ecological balance in the pond. Hence, the water quality will degrade.
  • Upgrade to a bigger surface mount pond if you want to add more elements to the enclosure. Installing a waterfall or adding plants requires more room.
  • A low water level might lead to overheating the pond.
  • Low-quality surface mount ponds may cause cracking and unwanted accidents.
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You can avoid water quality issues by installing a powerful canister or pond filter. Likewise, buy a digital water heater that allows you to regulate the temperature. Also, always check the surface mount pond quality and warranty before purchase.

Where To Buy A Surface Mount Pond For Turtles?

The surface mount ponds also go by preformed garden ponds. These pools are available extensively at pet stores and superstores. You can also find these ponds in the online shops.

Prices of the surface mount ponds depend on the quality and size. You will get a 200-gallon pond at around $200 to $250.

Why Do I Avoid Glass Tanks For Turtles?

I prefer indoor habitats to keep the smaller turtle species. Also, from my experience, indoor enclosures are the best for babies and young turtles.

At the beginning of my turtle-keeping journey, I used to keep my pets in glass tanks. But soon, I realized aquariums and even fish bowls are a terrible idea. Let me point out why.

  • The glass tanks are too fragile. A single thud can lead to cracking on the aquarium walls.
  • In many cases, the tank wall joints are not up to the mark. As a result, you will experience water spillage.
  • Glass aquariums have hard bottoms. Walking on the surface can bruise the turtle’s plastron and carapace sides. It raises the risk of shell infection. 
  • The standard tanks can barely provide enough space for large turtles. You can switch to a bigger glass tank. But those are super expensive.
  • Turtles do not understand the concept of glasses. The see-through walls make these creatures realize they can go beyond the boundaries. So, they try hard to trespass the glass walls. Hence, sometimes, they end up injuring themselves.

Therefore, I soon switched to an indoor pond setup from the tank arrangements.

Before You Go…

You know the significance of using a surface mount pond instead of a glass tank. But how do you plan to decorate the habitat? Get professional tips on building an indoor turtle pond from the below article.

How Do You Make An Indoor Turtle Pond? [Step By Step Instructions]

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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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