Small Outdoor Water Turtles Habitat

kameya

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Orange County, California
There is this small land area about 40"x32" in my backyard where I haven't found a good use for any of my tortoises. Many of them had stayed here and moved on to other bigger habitats. So after a long thought process, I've decided to turned it into a small water habitat to house some of my small water turtles where they can enjoy the nice sunbath instead of swimming in the indoor aquarium all year long.

Lots of cleaning and haul-away to do before the real works begin...


After removing the bricks and the wild weeds, the soil is then loosened and leveled...


Now we have a good foundation to work with when building the wall to form the water area...


A small drainage reservoir is also added at this time to make room for the drainage pipes...


Building a rectangular fortress wall to form the water area...


Using the left-over wall materials as the flooring substrate to protect the pond liner from hard stones in the soil...


Preparing the pond liner to fit around the water area, and then cutout the hole for the drain pipe...


The the next step involves a lots of hands-on works as to fit the liner around the rectangular fortress wall, so I didn't take any picture on the fitting process... just need to make sure to minimize the creases on the liner when it comes to the corners of the wall...

This is how the water area looks after applying the liner, I've also used some existing bricks as the landing platforms in the water for the turtles to climb onto to bask...


A small shelter made with half cinder block is also added on the side...


Since this is a small water turtle habitat, adding additional wire cover and top is an very important step, don't want any rats or birds to get into the habitat and have a feast...


But the cover is designed to have a hinged door so I can get my hand into the water to retrieve the turtles if necessary without lifting up the whole cover...


Same thing on the other side of the habitat, a clear plexi cover can be lifted up to check on the turtles when they are on land...


Overall this is not a difficult habitat to build, but trying to re-use all the existing materials did take me a while to draw up the plan, and the only thing I had to get is the new liner where I picked up at HD. Now I can let some of my water turtles stayed in this outdoor habitat here in So Cal, as we are still getting into high 70s during the day.
 

Yellow Turtle01

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I love it! It the little cement hide heated? I noticed it has door flaps, that would be sweet!
Great job, I bet the turtles will enjoy it! :D
 

Team Gomberg

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James, can you elaborate a bit more on the drain?
It looks like a bathroom sink drain? Like you pull it and the water seeps into that hole? Trying to figure it out cuz it looks neat!

P.s. totally forgot to email you the high res photo....I'll get to that asap ;)
 

kameya

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Orange County, California
I love it! It the little cement hide heated? I noticed it has door flaps, that would be sweet!
Great job, I bet the turtles will enjoy it! :D
No... I didn't use any heater inside the cement block shelter, the turtles can dig into the soil if they want to stay warm. However, I do have a heater in the water keeping the water temp around 70~75.
 

kameya

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Orange County, California
James, can you elaborate a bit more on the drain?
It looks like a bathroom sink drain? Like you pull it and the water seeps into that hole? Trying to figure it out cuz it looks neat!
Hi Heather, I just posted a new thread on how I setup outdoor water tray, and it uses the same drain pipe method I used for my small water habitat.

Here is a simple diagram on how the drain pipe works...
 

juli11

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Which turtle species do you want to keep in this beautiful enclosure?
 

bouaboua

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Very nice! I like it ! ! !!
 

Tatergirl09

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Jan 21, 2015
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47
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Ventura, CA
There is this small land area about 40"x32" in my backyard where I haven't found a good use for any of my tortoises. Many of them had stayed here and moved on to other bigger habitats. So after a long thought process, I've decided to turned it into a small water habitat to house some of my small water turtles where they can enjoy the nice sunbath instead of swimming in the indoor aquarium all year long.

Lots of cleaning and haul-away to do before the real works begin...


After removing the bricks and the wild weeds, the soil is then loosened and leveled...


Now we have a good foundation to work with when building the wall to form the water area...


A small drainage reservoir is also added at this time to make room for the drainage pipes...


Building a rectangular fortress wall to form the water area...


Using the left-over wall materials as the flooring substrate to protect the pond liner from hard stones in the soil...


Preparing the pond liner to fit around the water area, and then cutout the hole for the drain pipe...


The the next step involves a lots of hands-on works as to fit the liner around the rectangular fortress wall, so I didn't take any picture on the fitting process... just need to make sure to minimize the creases on the liner when it comes to the corners of the wall...

This is how the water area looks after applying the liner, I've also used some existing bricks as the landing platforms in the water for the turtles to climb onto to bask...


A small shelter made with half cinder block is also added on the side...


Since this is a small water turtle habitat, adding additional wire cover and top is an very important step, don't want any rats or birds to get into the habitat and have a feast...


But the cover is designed to have a hinged door so I can get my hand into the water to retrieve the turtles if necessary without lifting up the whole cover...


Same thing on the other side of the habitat, a clear plexi cover can be lifted up to check on the turtles when they are on land...


Overall this is not a difficult habitat to build, but trying to re-use all the existing materials did take me a while to draw up the plan, and the only thing I had to get is the new liner where I picked up at HD. Now I can let some of my water turtles stayed in this outdoor habitat here in So Cal, as we are still getting into high 70s during the day.
I wish I could just hire you to come make that for me! :) It looks great!
 

Alex Z

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Ty for the inspiration..that is amazing...dbt looks quite happy!
 

natureguy

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May 27, 2013
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There is this small land area about 40"x32" in my backyard where I haven't found a good use for any of my tortoises. Many of them had stayed here and moved on to other bigger habitats. So after a long thought process, I've decided to turned it into a small water habitat to house some of my small water turtles where they can enjoy the nice sunbath instead of swimming in the indoor aquarium all year long.

Lots of cleaning and haul-away to do before the real works begin...


After removing the bricks and the wild weeds, the soil is then loosened and leveled...


Now we have a good foundation to work with when building the wall to form the water area...


A small drainage reservoir is also added at this time to make room for the drainage pipes...


Building a rectangular fortress wall to form the water area...


Using the left-over wall materials as the flooring substrate to protect the pond liner from hard stones in the soil...


Preparing the pond liner to fit around the water area, and then cutout the hole for the drain pipe...


The the next step involves a lots of hands-on works as to fit the liner around the rectangular fortress wall, so I didn't take any picture on the fitting process... just need to make sure to minimize the creases on the liner when it comes to the corners of the wall...

This is how the water area looks after applying the liner, I've also used some existing bricks as the landing platforms in the water for the turtles to climb onto to bask...


A small shelter made with half cinder block is also added on the side...


Since this is a small water turtle habitat, adding additional wire cover and top is an very important step, don't want any rats or birds to get into the habitat and have a feast...


But the cover is designed to have a hinged door so I can get my hand into the water to retrieve the turtles if necessary without lifting up the whole cover...


Same thing on the other side of the habitat, a clear plexi cover can be lifted up to check on the turtles when they are on land...


Overall this is not a difficult habitat to build, but trying to re-use all the existing materials did take me a while to draw up the plan, and the only thing I had to get is the new liner where I picked up at HD. Now I can let some of my water turtles stayed in this outdoor habitat here in So Cal, as we are still getting into high 70s during the day.
There is this small land area about 40"x32" in my backyard where I haven't found a good use for any of my tortoises. Many of them had stayed here and moved on to other bigger habitats. So after a long thought process, I've decided to turned it into a small water habitat to house some of my small water turtles where they can enjoy the nice sunbath instead of swimming in the indoor aquarium all year long.

Lots of cleaning and haul-away to do before the real works begin...


After removing the bricks and the wild weeds, the soil is then loosened and leveled...


Now we have a good foundation to work with when building the wall to form the water area...


A small drainage reservoir is also added at this time to make room for the drainage pipes...


Building a rectangular fortress wall to form the water area...


Using the left-over wall materials as the flooring substrate to protect the pond liner from hard stones in the soil...


Preparing the pond liner to fit around the water area, and then cutout the hole for the drain pipe...


The the next step involves a lots of hands-on works as to fit the liner around the rectangular fortress wall, so I didn't take any picture on the fitting process... just need to make sure to minimize the creases on the liner when it comes to the corners of the wall...

This is how the water area looks after applying the liner, I've also used some existing bricks as the landing platforms in the water for the turtles to climb onto to bask...


A small shelter made with half cinder block is also added on the side...


Since this is a small water turtle habitat, adding additional wire cover and top is an very important step, don't want any rats or birds to get into the habitat and have a feast...


But the cover is designed to have a hinged door so I can get my hand into the water to retrieve the turtles if necessary without lifting up the whole cover...


Same thing on the other side of the habitat, a clear plexi cover can be lifted up to check on the turtles when they are on land...


Overall this is not a difficult habitat to build, but trying to re-use all the existing materials did take me a while to draw up the plan, and the only thing I had to get is the new liner where I picked up at HD. Now I can let some of my water turtles stayed in this outdoor habitat here in So Cal, as we are still getting into high 70s during the day.
Looks Great and extremely economical!
One question- I notice the stucco on the back side. Is this is a building foundation? You will run into trouble with moisture build up which could lead to structural issues. It looks like you could adjust your tank back side with a small air space open on at least two sides so that there is a breathing space between the tank and the wall.
 

kameya

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10 Year Member!
Joined
Mar 18, 2010
Messages
240
Location (City and/or State)
Orange County, California
Looks Great and extremely economical!
One question- I notice the stucco on the back side. Is this is a building foundation? You will run into trouble with moisture build up which could lead to structural issues. It looks like you could adjust your tank back side with a small air space open on at least two sides so that there is a breathing space between the tank and the wall.
The pond was built against the backyard wall, and when I installed the liner back then, I designed it to have the overflow run to the front of the water turtle enclosure onto the concrete sidewalk. 4 years had passed, and this enclosure is still doing great. A few different water turtle species had lived here in year 1-3, then I moved them to the bigger pond after that.
DSC07908.JPG

Right now I use it as a breeding tank for the little mosquito fishes... they will come in handy in the summer days here in Sol Cal.
DSC07909.JPG
 

natureguy

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May 27, 2013
Messages
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Did you ever consider Rosie-Red Fathead minnows? They can get even larger than Mosquito fish. They breed well with something floating upon the surface (ie Waterlilies or Water Snowflake (Nymphoides ssp.) where the male "sticks" the eggs with his "fat" head. This would be kool if you would like something ornamental!
One word of caution... These minnows are sold as "feeder fish" and often have visible parasites. They would have small whitish protuberances. You could buy a batch and cull out the ones that are reverted to the dull species type coloration and ones with any fungal or parasites.
The Fathead minnows are very hardy... actually can take even more cold than Mosquito fish! They go after food like miniature Trout. They are very colorful as well.
I suggest using a Water Snowflake/Nymphoides as they put down roots as they spread which is additional help in maintaining water clarity. They are a member of the Gin-sing family with delicate, frilly flowers. Nymphoides geminata has a frilly yellow flower with attractively chocolate mottled leaves. Giant Water Snowflake has white flowers and larger green leaves. N. cristata does not have the frilly flower (white) but has attractive mottled smaller leaves than either of the above. Other Nymphoides are available including the so-called alias "Banana" plant or Floating Heart (N. aquatica) which given a rich substrate will produce thick green heart-shaped leaves and white flowers..

My favorite submersed plant to compete with algae and maintain the ultimate water quality is the Hornwort (Cerataphyllum demersum). One never needs water filtration unless the fish are excessively crowded. Since it does not produce roots it is suspended in the water column. Periodically remove all of them and pinch off the new growth discarding the old growth this maintains the water quality.
 

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