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How to Keep Turtles in a Backyard Pond

By Lizz Shepherd | Updated September 26, 2017

Turtles make fun pets that are interesting to watch, but it can be difficult to keep them healthy. Turtles need a specific type of habitat that provides them both water and air time. A backyard turtle pond can be created that will take care of these turtle needs and more.

Set up a pond that is at least 50 gallons. The size will allow for the turtles to swim freely and for the water to remain clean longer. Turtle ponds can either be lined enclosures with high, solid walls or prefabricated ponds. A pond made from a liner and concrete or brick walls can be made in any shape, size and configuration, but a prefabricated pond is far easier to set below ground level.

Keep a fence or wall around the pond. The minimum for the wall should be about 2 feet. This will keep the turtles from crawling away and also keep away larger predatory animals.

Use a water filter to keep the water clean. Turtles produce a lot of waste. A powerful filter is needed to keep the water from getting dingy and smelly.

Set up a number of ramps that the turtles can use to climb in and out of the water. The water should provide a few different depths to allow the turtles to sit under the water and stick their heads out, to submerge themselves and to be able to climb out of the water when they want to.

Provide hiding areas in the pond. Turtles will have some instances when they feel threatened or when they need to get warmer or colder. A few plants or a log can provide hiding spaces for your turtles.

Change out a percentage of the water frequently. How much water you change out will largely depend on the size of the turtle pond. For a small pond, a 10 percent water change each week is enough to keep the water clean. A much larger pond, however, may need up to 50 percent of the water changed every one or two weeks. Watch the way the waste in the water builds up to see if you are changing it often enough.

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