Talk me out of this (or into it!)

Renee_H

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I purchased an aquascape type kit for a disappearing waterfall. I have everything including the rocks on hand now but I’ve yet to break ground because I don’t know if I would regret it. Would it really be a nightmare maintaining even with daily poop scooping? I’ve found other options that would still be aesthetically pleasing but wouldn’t give direct access to the water feature and could visually include a standard brush out and refill cement pond. To me this just looks so cool and I want to do it. But I’ve already invested a lot financially into the materials and I don’t want it to stop working right away because the equipment is pooped out. Give it to me oh wise ones!
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ryan57

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What is going to poop in it? Birds?

The only thing that you have to do is hose it off to clean it and the only thing mechanical is a simple pump that can be replaced cheap at harbor freight. It's simple and you'll enjoy it.
 

jaizei

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If it looks like the picture, I'd probably go with the other options that would still be aesthetically pleasing but wouldn’t give direct access to the water feature. Or use stones/bushes to create a border and keep the tortoise out of the water in this one and have a utilitarian one for the tortoise. in addition to cleaning, I could see the elevation changes as a tipping hazard.
 

Yvonne G

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I agree with Jaizei. Fix it so the tortoise can't get into it. Tortoise poop is pretty big and dense and would plug up the motor. Also, the tortoise stands a good chance of ending on his back in the water. I would really love to have something like that in my yard, but not for the tortoises.
 

Tom

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Most of us have no experience with this sort of thing, so we are just throwing ideas out there. I love the idea of this, but I would want to see a large pool for the tortoise. I recognize the tipping hazards, so fewer steps would reduce that. I would be too worried about the poop clogging it as you only have one small leopard tortoise and the gravel/rocks will filter it out to some degree.

My biggest concern is the rocks/gravel itself. The tortoise is likely to swallow those and get impacted. If you do this, be sure ALL of the rocks use are much too large to be swallowed.

@Markw84 is a master of pond building and water features. I'd love to hear his thoughts on this.
 

Markw84

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I've had a great pondless waterfall and loved it. Practically no maintenance at all. Cleaned extra dirt from basin once in 3 years.

But... I did not have tortoises with access to it for drinking water. I see no way to avoid the buildup of their poop which would quickly clog up the pump and make a mess of the catch basin. There is no filter you can put on that small a total water volume that can eliminate that waste problem.

Enjoy the look and sounds of your great pondless waterfall, but make it separate from the tortoise area.
 

ryan57

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I missed the part of this where it had anything to do with a tortoise because... a tortoise was not mentioned at all.
 

SinLA

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OP (I assumed She but as @DoubleD1996! can tell you, I'm often wrong, lol) has numerous posts about building their tortoise scape, so I think for those who knew that, knew the connection
 

Renee_H

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Hahaha! Sorry everyone. I just assumed everyone would get it since this is a tortoise forum and I posted under enclosures 😆 I will be more specific moving forward. I don’t have a tortoise yet, I’m still in the building growing preparing phase! 🙃
 

Renee_H

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Okay I’ll move forward with no access for Leonora. Yes I named my not yet mine unidentified tortoise. Lol
Thank you all for your patience with me. Trying to do this thing right the first time and it really helps getting advice from those with lived experience!
 

wellington

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Hahaha! Sorry everyone. I just assumed everyone would get it since this is a tortoise forum and I posted under enclosures 😆 I will be more specific moving forward. I don’t have a tortoise yet, I’m still in the building growing preparing phase! 🙃
See, I did know that you didn't have a tortoise yet. I guess that's why I didn't relate it to a tortoise.
Although you did post in enclosure section, I and probably others, don't pay attention to that lol
Also, almost anything can be talked about on this forum, almost, so don't let it being a tortoise forum fool you into it's all tortoises all the time lol

If you laid the rocks differently, so it wasn't a flip hazard,I think it would be great for certain species of medium size. I'm not sure I would put a smaller species with that much access. But, I'm not sure it could be a water fall and it be safe.
 

Renee_H

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See, I did know that you didn't have a tortoise yet. I guess that's why I didn't relate it to a tortoise.
Although you did post in enclosure section, I and probably others, don't pay attention to that lol
Also, almost anything can be talked about on this forum, almost, so don't let it being a tortoise forum fool you into it's all tortoises all the time lol

If you laid the rocks differently, so it wasn't a flip hazard,I think it would be great for certain species of medium size. I'm not sure I would put a smaller species with that much access. But, I'm not sure it could be a water fall and it be safe.
Thank you! I have some other ideas that wouldn’t give any access. I’m hoping for a “regular” leopard tortoise, but I’m really not interested in raising a baby(raised a house full of human babies, enjoying my mostly empty nest!). Therefore, I’m hoping to find an adult sometime next spring. Tom opened my eyes to Burmese stars as well so I am reading everything I can as time allows on both (stars/leopards) and considering both as I plan my layout, plants etc. my enclosure is only just above 700sq ft so I need to stick with a medium sized tort.

As for side chat, that’s the best part! I will be more mindful moving forward!
 

JeffR

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I've had a great pondless waterfall and loved it. Practically no maintenance at all. Cleaned extra dirt from basin once in 3 years.

But... I did not have tortoises with access to it for drinking water. I see no way to avoid the buildup of their poop which would quickly clog up the pump and make a mess of the catch basin. There is no filter you can put on that small a total water volume that can eliminate that waste problem.

Enjoy the look and sounds of your great pondless waterfall, but make it separate from the tortoise area.

This semi-pondless water feature has been up for a few weeks and does not seem to be a problem . With an autofill feature and stronger pump and a larger reservoir made with plastic pallets. It is only an about 6 inches deep at deepest and has a buried barrel filter on top. The pen has 9 adult leopards
 

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Renee_H

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This is beautiful and what I had originally wanted to do. Instead I did an elevated one that won’t allow access for my future tort. The current rocks in the front I will build up to a solid unclimbable height I have a few different ideas to try out before I bring home a tort. Still a work in progress
 

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Radnoisseur

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I'd say DO IT! Haha

Building my entire home + yard next year and I plan to incorporate something very similar to this for my adult Rads. This is very cool and detailed but not budget friendly. My pond guy say something almost identical to this is gonna be around $8K.

 

wendigo

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Just as a heads up, I recently added a small Universal rocks preformed pond for my redfoots and we only left it in a week before we removed it. Almost immediately it became a hand and food washing station for all the neighborhood raccoons, they couldn’t resist the swiftly moving water. I went back to a pot saucer, as they aren’t attracted by that. If you have raccoons in your area you might get them visiting daily, which isn’t ideal. It was pretty while it lasted.
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