Turtles are definitely very fun and interesting animals. If you have been taking care of turtles for quite some time, then you already know how rewarding it can be to keep turtles as pets.
The majority of turtle owners keep their turtles indoors. You’ll usually find turtles being kept in small aquariums indoors.
Your turtle can definitely live a good life in an indoor aquarium, but this doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t like to have an outdoor pond. Turtle enthusiasts often dream of being able to create a nice pond area where their turtles can live.
It’s possible to do this and get good results if you know what you’re doing. You just need to do your best to create a pond that has everything that turtles will need to thrive.
Read on to learn how to keep turtles in a pond. This should help you to better understand what is required to make an outdoor turtle pond a success.
You Want the Pond to Be Large Enough for the Turtles
One of the first things that you should consider is how large the pond should be. Building a pond is going to require you to have enough space, and you should probably make sure that you can build a big enough pond for the turtles to thrive before moving forward.
It’s recommended to build a pond outdoors that is at least 50 gallons. You could certainly go with a larger pond than this if your backyard is large enough, but just know that at least 50 gallons is recommended.
This is considered to be enough space for your turtles to be able to swim around and play. It’ll be a substantial upgrade if you were keeping turtles in an indoor aquarium that’s only 10 gallons or so.
Remember that turtles get larger as they grow older. If you’re planning on keeping multiple turtles, then you might wish to build a larger pond so that the turtles will have a bit of room to spread out.
There are a few different ways you can go about creating a pond for the turtles as well. You could try to build something custom for your turtles that has high walls that are very solid.
People that go this route will need to line a custom structure and then turn it into a pond. It’s probably going to be easier to just buy a prefabricated pond to get started.
Prefabricated ponds are also easier to use if you’re looking to place some of the pond below ground level. It shouldn’t be too costly to get a 50-gallon prefabricated pond either.
Sometimes Concrete Might Be Better
You should know that making your own pond that is made out of concrete can be better in some ways. It isn’t going to be as easy or convenient as buying a prefabricated pond, but it’s worthwhile to consider the benefits.
A concrete pond will be substantially more durable than a standard prefabricated pond. This means that it will stand the test of time and is something that your turtles could use for a very long time.
It’s also going to be easier to make a pond that has an interesting shape if you build your own pond using concrete. You’ll have artistic freedom if you choose to go this route, but the process is a bit more involved.
The Pond Needs to Get Enough Sun
You should know that turtles need to get sun in order to thrive and be happy. When you care for turtles indoors, you’re going to use basking lights so that the turtles can bask, but you won’t be doing that outdoors.
The outdoor turtle pond needs to be positioned properly so that the turtles are getting enough sun. However, you don’t want the pond to get too hot or your turtles might not do too well.
Generally, it’s going to be best to find a spot in your yard that is sunny for several hours out of the day. You’ll also want to ensure that the turtles have enough shade for when it gets too hot.
Try to consider where the best place for your pond will be before you go too far. You want to find a spot that has the right balance of shade and sun so that your turtles can enjoy the pond area to the fullest.
Build a Fence Around the Pond
You’re going to want to do your best to protect your turtles from potential threats. This is why it’s imperative to build a fence around the pond.
Having an enclosure around the turtle pond is going to help to keep predators from getting to your turtles. There are actually many more predators than you would expect even in a standard urban area.
Stray dogs and cats can wind up being very problematic for your turtles if they aren’t in an enclosed space. Raccoons have also been known to prey on turtles, and you’ll need to keep an eye out for other threats such as opossums, rats, and even moles.
Don’t let the presence of predators deter you from making a turtle pond, though. You can protect the turtles very well by just creating a good enclosure for the pond.
Ideally, you should make your turtle fence high enough to keep most predators from practically being able to get to the turtles. It’s recommended to make the fence at least two feet high, but going higher than that might be beneficial.
Aside from having to worry about predators, it’ll be good to have a fence to keep the turtles where they’re supposed to be. You don’t want your turtles wandering off and getting into dangerous situations.
Ensure That Your Turtle Pond Has a Filter
It’s likely going to be best for your turtle pond to have some type of filter. If you’ve been taking care of turtles for a bit, then you know that they can make messes.
Turtles will produce quite a bit of waste over time, and this waste will build up in the pond if you don’t have a filter. Buy a strong filter for your turtle pond so that the water can stay pure and clean for your turtles.
If you have a good enough filter, then the pond should stay cleaner and it’ll smell better. Ponds that don’t have filters are going to wind up being quite stinky after a while, and this won’t be pleasant to have in your backyard.
Getting a good filter isn’t going to be tough and it won’t be all that expensive. It’s well worth investing in a quality filter if you’re going to be keeping a turtle pond in your backyard.
There are turtle owners out there who try to go the route of creating natural ponds that don’t use filters. This can potentially be fine, but you’ll have to make an effort to clean things yourself.
It’s also likely going to smell quite a bit in comparison to a turtle pond that is using a filter. Most turtle owners will prefer using filters to keep things clean and presentable.
Change a Portion of the Water Regularly
You’re also going to need to change the water out semi-regularly. It isn’t necessary to change all of the water out regularly, but you’re going to need to change a portion of the water sometimes.
What this means is that you should try to change out an amount of water in the pond that will help to keep it clean. Smaller ponds will require less water to be changed out frequently.
You could probably get away with changing out 10% of the pond water in a small pond every week. A larger pond might make it so that you’ll need to change out 50% of the water every two weeks to keep things clean.
This means that maintaining a turtle pond will involve some maintenance on your part. You’ll get used to it and changing out the water isn’t all that tough overall.
Ensure That the Pond Has Many Ramps
Another thing to keep in mind is that the turtles are going to need ramps. You should try to place many different ramps in the pond at different levels so that the turtles can utilize them.
You want your turtles to be able to easily climb in and out of the water. If ramps aren’t conveniently located in the pond, then a turtle could get stuck and it might even drown if it gets tired.
Ramps are good safety features for turtles and they can also make the pond look more visually interesting. Having several different levels of water can be fun for the turtles, too.
If the turtles have different depths that they can play around in, then they’ll be able to submerge themselves and have a good time. It’ll always be easy for them to climb out of the water so long as you have ramps positioned nearby.
Give the Turtles Hiding Spots
Your turtles are going to appreciate it if you take the time to add hiding spots to the pond area. Turtles will feel more at ease when they have places where they can go to hide.
There might be times where the turtles will feel threatened or they just might want to be alone for a bit. Hiding areas give them a good place where they can go to get away for a bit.
Even just placing logs and plants in your pond area will be good for this. The turtles will love utilizing the logs and plants to hide themselves away for a while.
Sometimes turtles use hiding spots when they need to warm themselves up or cool themselves down, too. They’re an important part of making a successful turtle pond that you shouldn’t forget.
Learn About Different Turtle Species
Different turtle species are going to have harder times surviving outdoors during the winter months. In fact, some turtles could easily die when kept outdoors during the winter.
Depending on what species your turtle is in, it might not be good to keep your turtles outdoors permanently. This can also depend on where you live in the world because some areas don’t get as cold as others during the winter.
It might be easier for you to buy turtles that are from colder parts of the world. They’ll be better suited to surviving during the winter months even if you live in the northern portions of the United States.
If you own exotic turtles, then it’ll be necessary to ensure that the turtles will be able to survive outdoors in your region. Doing research ahead of time will help you to avoid making big mistakes.
Taking care of a turtle pond can be very satisfying when you get things right. You’re definitely going to need to learn how to approach things the right way to get good results, though.
When you’re creating a turtle pond in your backyard, you’ll need to ensure that you’re making it big enough. If you have multiple turtles, then you’re probably going to want to have a larger pond.
You can choose to go with a prefabricated pond if you want to have the easiest time getting things started. These can work nicely and they allow you to easily have a pond that is partially below ground level.
Making a pond yourself that is made with cement will last longer. If you’re concerned about durability, then it can be worthwhile to create a cement pond.
You’re going to need to consider many things no matter what type of pond you go with. The pond needs to get enough sunlight while also having shady spots where turtles can hide when it’s too hot.
Placing hiding spots in the pond for your turtles will be a good idea. It’s also going to be necessary to give them many ramps that they can use to get in and out of the water.
The water needs to be kept clean and this means that using a filter is a good idea. It’s necessary to change a portion of the water in the pond every so often or else things will start to get messy.
As long as you’re keeping all of this in mind, you’re going to have a good experience with the pond. Your turtles should be very happy and you’ll be able to enjoy watching them play in the pond moving forward.
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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