1. Welcome! Are you interested in tortoises? If so, we invite you to join our community! Our community is the #1 place for tortoise keepers to talk online. Once you join you'll be able to post messages, upload pictures of your tortoise and enclosure, and discuss any tortoise topic with other tortoise keepers. Get started today!

Small Outdoor Water Turtles Habitat

Discussion in 'Water turtles' started by kameya, Dec 9, 2014.

Help Support Tortoise Forums by donating:

  1. kameya

    kameya Active Member 5 Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2010
    Messages:
    236
    Likes Received:
    240
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location (City and/or State):
    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...
    [​IMG]

    After removing the bricks and the wild weeds, the soil is then loosened and leveled...
    [​IMG]

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

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

    Building a rectangular fortress wall to form the water area...
    [​IMG]

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

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

    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...
    [​IMG]

    A small shelter made with half cinder block is also added on the side...
    [​IMG]

    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...
    [​IMG]

    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...
    [​IMG]

    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...
    [​IMG]

    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.
    Momof4, Blackdog1714, Alex Z and 7 others like this.
  2. Moozillion

    Moozillion Well-Known Member 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2012
    Messages:
    10,213
    Likes Received:
    23,892
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location (City and/or State):
    Louisiana, USA
    (These ads do not appear for registered members.)
    WOW!!! Looks great!!!:)
    Alex Z likes this.
  3. Yellow Turtle01

    Yellow Turtle01 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2013
    Messages:
    7,787
    Likes Received:
    5,538
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location (City and/or State):
    OH, USA
    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
    Moozillion likes this.
  4. Team Gomberg

    Team Gomberg IXOYE 5 Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2012
    Messages:
    7,637
    Likes Received:
    3,099
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location (City and/or State):
    Southern Oregon
    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 ;)
    Yellow Turtle01 likes this.
  5. kameya

    kameya Active Member 5 Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2010
    Messages:
    236
    Likes Received:
    240
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location (City and/or State):
    Orange County, California
    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.
    Yellow Turtle01 likes this.
  6. kameya

    kameya Active Member 5 Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2010
    Messages:
    236
    Likes Received:
    240
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location (City and/or State):
    Orange County, California
    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...
    [​IMG]
    Team Gomberg likes this.
  7. juli11

    juli11 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2013
    Messages:
    1,452
    Likes Received:
    852
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location (City and/or State):
    Europe
    Which turtle species do you want to keep in this beautiful enclosure?
  8. kameya

    kameya Active Member 5 Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2010
    Messages:
    236
    Likes Received:
    240
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location (City and/or State):
    Orange County, California
    So far I've only got one yearling Diamondback in there with bunch of feeder fishes... and it seemed like its new habitat very much and constantly chasing after those feeder fishes...
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Toddrickfl1, Alex Z, carolc and 2 others like this.
  9. turtlemanfla88

    turtlemanfla88 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2014
    Messages:
    443
    Likes Received:
    146
    Trophy Points:
    43
    looks good. Just a suggestion I would put some water plants in the pond.
  10. bouaboua

    bouaboua Well-Known Member 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2013
    Messages:
    11,593
    Likes Received:
    7,310
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location (City and/or State):
    San Jose CA
    Very nice! I like it ! ! !!
  11. Tatergirl09

    Tatergirl09 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    17
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location (City and/or State):
    Ventura, CA
    I wish I could just hire you to come make that for me! :) It looks great!
    Moozillion, Alex Z and carolc like this.
  12. TortsNTurtles

    TortsNTurtles Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2013
    Messages:
    1,308
    Likes Received:
    362
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location (City and/or State):
    North East
    I like it too! Thanks fir the step by step instructions.
  13. stojanovski92113

    stojanovski92113 Well-Known Member Tortoise Club

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2014
    Messages:
    2,543
    Likes Received:
    3,024
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Wowzer!!! I love seeing stuff like this! Even though i don't keep water turtles! The creativity never ends here! Great job!!
    Moozillion and Alex Z like this.
  14. DerpyRedFoot

    DerpyRedFoot New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location (City and/or State):
    California
    Looks great.
  15. Alex Z

    Alex Z Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2016
    Messages:
    787
    Likes Received:
    418
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location (City and/or State):
    NYC
    Ty for the inspiration..that is amazing...dbt looks quite happy!
  16. natureguy

    natureguy New Member 5 Year Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2013
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    3
    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.
  17. kameya

    kameya Active Member 5 Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2010
    Messages:
    236
    Likes Received:
    240
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location (City and/or State):
    Orange County, California
    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
  18. natureguy

    natureguy New Member 5 Year Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2013
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    3
    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.
    kameya likes this.
Similar Threads: Small Outdoor
Forum Title Date
Water turtles New small pond for sliders. Apr 19, 2019
Water turtles Small waterland land tubs for spotted turtles Nov 13, 2016
Water turtles Found Small Turtle in Yard Apr 4, 2016
Water turtles 55 gallon tank versus small waterland tub Nov 1, 2015
Water turtles Small Painted Turtle Hit By A Car Jul 17, 2015

Share This Page