Mud or musk turtle substrate

LacyJoy

New Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2022
Messages
21
Location (City and/or State)
Land O Lakes
I have a baby mud turtle and for a while I was using a mix of some top soil, fresh dirt from outside, and a small amount of sand as substrate but after a while there were too many springtails so I changed it to aquarium sand. I am not looking for a bottom to fill with water, so the mixing with water isn't a concern of mine. I know my turtle liked the natural ground better and I would like to go back to that in a safe way. For anyone who has a mud or musk turtle, what is your natural set up? I know mine would like it as natural as possible so if anyone has any tips on how to go about that safely it would be much appreciated. Thanks!
 

DoubleD1996!

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2021
Messages
947
Location (City and/or State)
Memphis
I have a baby mud turtle and for a while I was using a mix of some top soil, fresh dirt from outside, and a small amount of sand as substrate but after a while there were too many springtails so I changed it to aquarium sand. I am not looking for a bottom to fill with water, so the mixing with water isn't a concern of mine. I know my turtle liked the natural ground better and I would like to go back to that in a safe way. For anyone who has a mud or musk turtle, what is your natural set up? I know mine would like it as natural as possible so if anyone has any tips on how to go about that safely it would be much appreciated. Thanks!
Springtails were in the water? Play sand works fine at tge bottom of the tank or pond. Just rinse and turn it over in a bucket until it's clear.
 

LacyJoy

New Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2022
Messages
21
Location (City and/or State)
Land O Lakes
Springtails were in the water? Play sand works fine at tge bottom of the tank or pond. Just rinse and turn it over in a bucket until it's clear.
Yeah, they kept jumping into the low container I used for water in there. Ok thanks! I was thinking about using a type of reptile dirt instead of top soil in case there may be chemicals or anything added.
 

DoubleD1996!

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2021
Messages
947
Location (City and/or State)
Memphis
Yeah, they kept jumping into the low container I used for water in there. Ok thanks! I was thinking about using a type of reptile dirt instead of top soil in case there may be chemicals or anything added.
No problem.Have any pictures of your set up?
 

LacyJoy

New Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2022
Messages
21
Location (City and/or State)
Land O Lakes
No problem.Have any pictures of your set up?
I don't at the moment but I can probably get some. It's a low 30 gallon with black and tan sand at the bottom. I kept the leaves and plants (live from outside) for him to hide in. Since he's so young he likes the different places to hide in and dig.
 

Moozillion

Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Apr 26, 2012
Messages
10,644
Location (City and/or State)
Louisiana, USA
Both my mud and musk turtles love a sand bottom. Both species are native to my area, and our streams and bayous have sandy or muddy bottoms, so that would make sense.
I have used both play sand (rinsed VERY well, several times before putting it in the tank) and sand for swimming pool filters.
Have fun with your little turtles! :)
 

LacyJoy

New Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2022
Messages
21
Location (City and/or State)
Land O Lakes
Both my mud and musk turtles love a sand bottom. Both species are native to my area, and our streams and bayous have sandy or muddy bottoms, so that would make sense.
I have used both play sand (rinsed VERY well, several times before putting it in the tank) and sand for swimming pool filters.
Have fun with your little turtles! :)
Thank you! Do you have a lot of hidey areas? Mine seems to like the darker colored dirt (what he was born in) but it's good to know they can do well in both. He really likes to hide and burrow too, which can make it difficult for him to get any uvb rays. Is there any way around that? Some of this specific care is hard to find answers to so I appreciate any advice at all
 

Moozillion

Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Apr 26, 2012
Messages
10,644
Location (City and/or State)
Louisiana, USA
Thank you! Do you have a lot of hidey areas? Mine seems to like the darker colored dirt (what he was born in) but it's good to know they can do well in both. He really likes to hide and burrow too, which can make it difficult for him to get any uvb rays. Is there any way around that? Some of this specific care is hard to find answers to so I appreciate any advice at all
I guess it depends on what you mean by "a lot." Each of my 2 turtles has a specific cave that's open at each end. My mud turtle also likes to hang out UNDERNEATH her basking ramp, so it's kind of like another cave. My musk turtle is bolder- he likes to sleep in the open: in the right front corner of the tank where he's dug himself a cozy spot.
 

LacyJoy

New Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2022
Messages
21
Location (City and/or State)
Land O Lakes
I guess it depends on what you mean by "a lot." Each of my 2 turtles has a specific cave that's open at each end. My mud turtle also likes to hang out UNDERNEATH her basking ramp, so it's kind of like another cave. My musk turtle is bolder- he likes to sleep in the open: in the right front corner of the tank where he's dug himself a cozy spot.
Aww cool! I just meant more than a couple or if there's leaves I guess. I've been trying to replicate outside as well as I can so I appreciate it. My other two turtles are outside all day so the indoor setup for a totally different kind and a baby is a bit new for me.
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
91,841
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
I'm really trying to visualize your turtle set up, and I'm not getting it. Mud turtles live in water. Dirt substrate would make a muddy, cloudy mess. I'm not seeing it.

1670872764710.png
 

LacyJoy

New Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2022
Messages
21
Location (City and/or State)
Land O Lakes
I'm really trying to visualize your turtle set up, and I'm not getting it. Mud turtles live in water. Dirt substrate would make a muddy, cloudy mess. I'm not seeing it.

View attachment 352444
That looks great! I wanted a sectioned off area with water and a sandy bottom, and a more dirt substrate for another area. Because he's so small and can easily flip himself in water (or get stuck) I have just always been careful with that. He does get a good hour of swimming every day as I feed him and let him exercise, but obviously I do want to improve on that, which is why I've been asking others what they do. The care of mud turtles is tricky to find so like I said before any advice on what works for you is very helpful
 

Moozillion

Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Apr 26, 2012
Messages
10,644
Location (City and/or State)
Louisiana, USA
That looks great! I wanted a sectioned off area with water and a sandy bottom, and a more dirt substrate for another area. Because he's so small and can easily flip himself in water (or get stuck) I have just always been careful with that. He does get a good hour of swimming every day as I feed him and let him exercise, but obviously I do want to improve on that, which is why I've been asking others what they do. The care of mud turtles is tricky to find so like I said before any advice on what works for you is very helpful
If you do a search for “Meet Jacques” by Moozillion, and scan through, you can get an idea of the setup I had for my eastern mud turtle, Jacques. I got her (didn’t know she was a she when I named her! ) when she was a tiny hatchling, about an inch long.
I kept her in about 3 inches of water with a sand bottom and lots of wood and fake plants to climb.
It’s my understanding that mud turtles are almost entirely aquatic. Jacques did great in that setup.
 

Moozillion

Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Apr 26, 2012
Messages
10,644
Location (City and/or State)
Louisiana, USA
There are photos of the setup on pages 1, 2 and 3 of that thread.
 

LacyJoy

New Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2022
Messages
21
Location (City and/or State)
Land O Lakes
There are photos of the setup on pages 1, 2 and 3 of that thread.
Thank you! I really appreciate it! I just got some coconut fiber and I'm using it for the dry area and keeping the sand for the water. Going to keep working on improving and encourage him to explore more. Just been a bit difficult because the babies are so small. Do you know at what age you determined the gender? I just call mine a he but I know I won't have an answer for quite a while. Thanks again!
 
Top