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Heating for stock tank?

Discussion in 'Water turtles' started by Toddrickfl1, Jan 4, 2019.

  1. Toddrickfl1

    Toddrickfl1 Well-Known Member TFO Supporter

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    Im about to start setting up a 300 gallon stock tank for my sliders in my basement and I don't know what would be the best way to keep the water temps correct. The basement is not heated or insulated and it can get pretty cold down there. I'm not sure if aquarium heaters will do the trick? Any advice or suggestions?
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  2. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Supporter

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    It's hard to use aquarium heaters with turtles because turtles are rough on them and break them easily. How cold does your basement get?
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  3. Toddrickfl1

    Toddrickfl1 Well-Known Member TFO Supporter

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    I'm not entirely sure I've mostly used it for storage up until now but I know it's a lot colder than the house. The house is built on an incline so only half of the basement is under ground. It's more like an unfinished first floor with a garage door and windows so it does get pretty cold down there some nights.
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  4. Blackdog1714

    Blackdog1714 Active Member

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    You technically have an enclosed crawlspace and will need it like being outdoors just with cover. Good luck
  5. Will

    Will Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    1) wrap the tank in the kind of blankets used for water heaters, set the tank on insulated foam board.

    2) there are aquarium heaters in a canister like a canister filter, that draws water from the tank, circulates it around the heater, and returns it to the tank. No interaction with the turtles/heater that way.

    3) I had a similar situation and I used large seedling heat mats (or a water bed heater will do as well, if you can find one), on the sides of the tank, under the insulation. They will keep a minimum temp, but only as supplemental heat so the canister heater does not have to work so hard.

    You will need to use some kind of cover. I did not do this myself, but it would seem that the plastic flexible greenhouse covers that are used to make a closed enclosure for tortoises might be good. They have zipper doors in them, many many many many times posted here on TFO.
  6. Toddrickfl1

    Toddrickfl1 Well-Known Member TFO Supporter

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    That is some great info thanks. I'm going to look into those canister heaters.
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  7. Will

    Will Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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  8. Toddrickfl1

    Toddrickfl1 Well-Known Member TFO Supporter

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    That is pretty awesome actually. It can be hooked right up to the inlet or outlet hose.
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  9. Pastel Tortie

    Pastel Tortie Well-Known Member

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    How often do you use the garage door? Could you maybe install faux wall panels with heavy duty insulation to help increase the ambient indoor air temperature?
  10. Markw84

    Markw84 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    I use regular aquarium heaters for my turtles. I do get the ones that are protected inside a plastic case. Here is the one I use:

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001VMSK0I/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20

    The general rule of thumb is about 3 watts per gallon of water. That should be able to give you up to a 15 - 20 degree increase over ambient room temperature. I keep a few tanks in an unheated separate garage I use only for turtles and tortoises. This time of year it is about 55° in that room. I do not insulate the tanks for the turtles and the heater does a good job, but I have allowed about 5 watts per gallon. Keep in mind that is the actual gallons of water in the tank, not the capacity of the tank.
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  11. natureguy

    natureguy New Member 5 Year Member

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    There is one comment about not using submersed aquarium heaters. I totally disagree! The advantage is that should the ambient water temp getting lower when heat and UVb lights are turned off (or when the sun goes down) is that water turtles will settle near the water heater that is laying horizontally upon the bottom. I usually purchase titanium heaters to be sure although I have NEVER had problems with glass heaters. Most of the newer ones specify very impact resistant glass. I enclose the heaters in a cylinder of 1/4 inch plastic mesh "hardware cloth" (normally it is metal... but definitely do not use metal!). This keeps the turtles from possible burns, protects the heater and keeps the heater suspended above the substrate in its horizontal rather than the recommended vertical position. I have used up to 300W heaters. For large stock tanks like yours I recommend using two or more 300W heaters rather than getting a greater wattage! There are many advantages to this.

    Cover your tank at night! If you cut a hole in your tank cover you can place a lamp with an infrared lamp (creates no visible light) commonly available. This would be positioned over the sunning log/platform. Can be left on all night. Obviously this will raise the air temp as well as provide a hot spot for the turtles.

    I currently have a 150 gal stock tank out of doors that is about 2/3 full. I cover it each night- however when there are cloudy, cool days or rain the turtles do not have enough infra-red light to warm up. I am thinking of rigging an infrared heating element over the sunning log attached to a board that spans the tank. Care must be taken so that no water seeps into the electrical connections or onto the element or bulb. For safety reasons I am not recommending this in a general sense. I am skating on thin ice if I were! I will look into heating elements used for "farm" animals. [Using Electrical Tape, no matter how carefully applied, will eventually wick water. There is a product out now called "Liquid Electrical Tape" in different colors that is available at Home Improvement centers. Out of doors everything must be plugged into a nearby GFI (ground fault circuit interrupter) receptacle. If you absolutely need an extension cord there are "plug-in" GFI or extension cord GFI's available for around $12. It is advisable to use this whether you are indoors or outdoors!]

    I have designed a three tank system which will have a 350 gal turtle tank, a fish/waterlily pond and an aquaponic grow-bed. The turtle and waterlily ponds will be covered each night while the grow-bed will be covered with a cold frame in cooler months. I currently use 1" styrofoam (4'X8' sheet cut to size) which is non-toxic. Mounted a couple pieces of plywood reinforcement. BUT there is insulation material like styrofoam that still "breathes" but has much better insulation against the cold! Toxicity is a concern so be careful of the material being used however I plan to laminate 1/8" underlayment plywood (about $10 a 4'X8' sheet) on the top side and waterproofing it. If doubt about toxicity- can easily laminate the underside with 6mil plastic.

    The estimated cost for the turtle tank alone including pump, submersed heaters etc is about $450 to$500. What I would really like to build is a tank with a glass side so that underwater activity can be observed. This would require using a special paint that acts like a rubber pond liner. I am still looking into using a pond liner if there is some way to mount the glass side that is absolutely water-tight. The paint for this purpose is two or three times the cost of a rubber liner! Of course I will be using plate glass as I believe acrylic will eventually be scratched out by the turtles and exterior elements (ie dogs, debris etc.). There are many examples on the internet for building an outdoor aquarium using wood and glass.

    Before I get to this sophisticated system I am covering the outdoor tanks with a cold frame made out of 1/2" PVC pipe and UV resistant plastic film as used for greenhouses. Since this cold frame has a dome over the top and extends all the way to the ground there is not as much heat loss. In colder climates than San Diego providing double layer plastic (an inside layer of plastic) creates an air space that provides some extra insulation. This allows heat retention even on cloudy days and in cold weather where remains permanently covered. Top portion can easily be removed or propped partially open.

    When all of this is done one way or another I will be posting with pictures as well!
  12. GardenDmpls

    GardenDmpls New Member

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    This might be off base, but here in New York City, plenty of Red eared sliders overwinter in Prospect Park and Central Park lakes. Some overwinter in shallow ponds on golf courses.They do well enough to be considered an invasive species here. I am sure there are plenty of them living outside in Georgia, too. As long as the water doesn't freeze to the bottom of the tank, I don't see why a water heater is needed. Another choice might be a heat lamp above a basking log. In our high school vet science program, we have a large rubbermaid tank with a big log balanced inside on bricks. Have a ceramic heat lamp and a UV lamp suspended on a lamp stand over the log. We have a heater in the room that cuts on when the temps get low (we have other reptiles and birds in the room). If you are worried, you could put a supplementary heater in the basement room where the tank is, to keep the temps above freezing in the winter.
  13. Toddrickfl1

    Toddrickfl1 Well-Known Member TFO Supporter

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    I realize they can withstand really cold temps I kind of wanted to keep them up though. I think I am going to go with a heater in the room.
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