They are just turtles. Fairly low maintenance, just keep them fed and keep their habitat clean. For our pair of river sliders, that means an aquarium about 75% full of water and an area for them to crawl out of the water and relax under the basking lamp on occasion. What they don’t tell you is that turtles will continue to grow until they outgrow the size of their tank, meaning you will have to keep getting bigger and bigger tanks, until you need to remove all the furniture from the largest room in your home and install something like they have at Sea World for the whales. Thankfully we haven’t gotten quite that large yet, but this week we did “upgrade”.
It all started when a cousin posted online that he had a tank to sell. Now, this particular cousin has kept salt-water aquariums for several years, and just recently decided to increase to 150 gallons. He no longer had any use for his 75 gallon tank or the stand for it or the high-powered filter or the water mover that went with it. We are all friends of his on Facebook, so when his post about having a tank for sale showed up, my husband called the turtle-daddy into the room and said, “What do you think about this?” Our would-be herpetologist’s eyes began glowing, he started to drool, and was entirely speechless for about 48 seconds before an enthusiastic “Oh, Yeah!” issued forth from his mouth. After that, it was all the two of them could talk about – would that tank work, where would it go, how would he (translate: WE) pay for it, how would we get it here, would the cousin maybe take a little less for it – you get the idea. Then it escalated.
This is the point in our little story where I can justifiably disdain technology. If there were no computers, or cell phones, or communication devices of any kind, we would still be blissfully in the dark about our cousin’s extra tank. Alas. As it is,my husband took the opportunity to begin an IM session with said cousin to discuss the finer details of this pending transaction. When all was said and done, all that was left was a matter of making arrangements to get the van, remove the seats, get the manpower and go move this tank and stand. This is also the point at which I got roped into this whole thing. I was thrown into white slavery by my husband to become part of “the manpower”.
Most non-aquarium people have never given any thought to how a fish tank gets to where it is when they see it or what it takes to set up and maintain a large-scale aquarium. The combined weight of the stand, the glass in the tank and the water (approximately 8 pounds per gallon) requires a fish tank to be somewhere that has good structural support underneath it. The stand only weighed somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 pounds, but being large and awkward, it still took two people to move it. The tank, on the other hand, with its large panes of tempered glass, was more like 75 pounds. And each piece was over four feet long, two feet wide, and two-to-three feet tall. Three adults and a high school sophomore combined their efforts and managed to relocate the tank and stand the 10 miles from one house to the other. It took two trips, but finally everything was here. That’s when the fun REALLY began.
We had the stand, the canopy for the stand, the tank, the tank lids, the filter, the water-mover, but no hoses. No hoses meant there was no way for the water in the tank to get to and from the filter. My indentured servitude continued in the form of a trip to Menard’s to buy tubing. I took a portion of the filter with me, but when I looked for the tubing size the cousin had told me to get, I could not get it to fit properly onto the part I had. And the local pet store, that specializes in aquariums, was closed that day. The next destination was a pet store in another town. The three-year-old volunteered to go with me (he will go anywhere if it involves riding in a car), so we loaded up and off we went. Of course, that store didn’t carry any of the accessory items to go with our brand of filter. They recommended we try this pet store in our home town that specializes in aquariums, but they thought maybe they were closed that day . . .. My husband suggested Lowe’s.
Went to Lowe’s, bought the tubing, brought it home, got the filter all set up with said tubing, and discovered we were missing an 0-ring for the filter and one of the clamps for one of the in-line quick-connect units. Texted the cousin, he dug around his stuff, and came up with the missing pieces. Got the missing pieces to our house, hooked everything up, and the hoses weren’t right. On the phone with Menard’s – turns out I had been looking at the wrong thing the first time I was there. Back to Menard’s to buy MORE tubing, and finally, 36 hours into this little endeavor, the system was up and running. While I have never been able to “read” a turtle, they seem happy. They have a lot more room to swim around and the new filter is doing a much better job than the old system.
Now my husband is drawing up plans for a sort of turtle loft that will sit on top of the new tank, to give them more basking area. I wish him luck with that. I’m out.