Friday, May 3, 2013

Turtle Pond

The turtles have finally out grown their indoor tank!  Harriet and Franklin have grown so much, that I cannot pick them up without using both hands.  They hate being moved and hiss loudly in disapproval.  I don't want to be bitten and quite frankly, I am tired of cleaning the filter on a daily basis.  So, I began making preparations for their outdoor facility a few weeks ago.

The three amigos when we first brought them home.

Harriet has definitely outgrown the floating dock.

Franklin, Ozzy and Harriet.
When we moved into our home nine years ago, the previous owner had left a molded outdoor pond.  I have always wanted to use it, but just couldn't decide where to put it.  So, it has sat.  That is until three weeks ago.  I cleaned it up and found the perfect place to put it.

Once I had it in place, I began taking inventory of the items I would need to create a turtle pond.  A durable filter was a must.  I scoured the internet and found many homemade filters and I began to seriously think about building one.  Then, I went to Lowes and found a filter and pump.  The pump was rated at 300 gallons per hour and the filter had all the components the homemade filters recommended.  It wasn't cheap, but it was convenient.

I filled the pond with water.  Added some quartz rocks we have dug up a few years ago, so the turtles could climb on the ledges of the pond.  I then placed the pump/filter in the pond and let it run for twenty-four hours.

The turtles love digging in the rocks of the the aquarium and I didn't have rocks covering the bottom of the pond.  So, another trip to Lowes solved that problem.  While there, I purchased plastic hardware cloth to cover the pond.  I figure I needed to try and keep any animals out of the pond and the turtles in it.  I don't really think the turtles would be able to escape, but you never know.

I also stopped by PetsMart and purchased a dozen feeder goldfish for the pond.  Turtles are such messy eaters and I thought the fish would be perfect to eat the remaining bits of food.  Little Man was excited to get fish for the pond.

Once home, we floated the fish in the pond.  I washed the newly purchased rock and added it to the pond.  The rocks were the perfect size for the turtles to dig in.  Little Man helped me with the hardware cloth and I secured it with screws.  Everything was finally ready for the turtles.

Harriet and Franklin were not fond of being uprooted out of the aquarium.  A few hisses of disapproval were emitted.  Each one was transported to the pond.  Both turtles seemed to like their new surroundings.

Harriet immediately shoved the filter/pump and turned it on its side.  Then, Franklin decided to help her.  I had to reposition it.  As soon as I turned the pump back on, they did it again.  Ugh!  I decided to add rocks to the filter and hoped it would be too heavy for them to move.  Luckily, that worked.

They still wanted something to hide under and weren't thrilled with the flower pot I had placed in the pond.  I took an old swimming kick board and put it in the pond.  That did the trick.  Both turtles swam under it and began digging in the rocks.

Poor little Ozzy was left in the aquarium.   I had planned on leaving him there for a month and try to get him fattened up.  However, he wouldn't eat.  I think he missed his two friends.  So, out went Ozzy a couple days later.  He is definitely happy in the pond.

Hopefully, all goes well with the turtles.  They are constantly scratching around in the rocks and dart about.  They have yet to bask on the ledges.  They should adjust and enjoy their outdoor home.