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November 7, 2008 at 6:02 am Leave a comment

Rex is a boy!!

He’s a boy!!

SCL is almost 4″, tail looks bigger than Cinderella’s, claws seem bigger too. This all made me think Rex was a male turtle. But, It’s possible the claws and tail looked bigger since he’s a much bigger turt than Cinderella.

But wait no more, Rex showed us he was a male. He fanned (showed his manhood) to us! So now there is no more doubt. He’s a boy!!

I’m relived too, I’m glad he’s male so he won’t get too large…not that a male RES won’t get large, he will. But just up to 8″, not 12″.

So now we wait for Cinderella…. I’m hoping she’ll be a boy too so she won’t get so big…She’s much shyer and smaller than Rex. We’ll just have to wait a few more months when she’ll be over 4″ so we can tell what she is.

Anyway, Rex is a boy!!

July 22, 2008 at 3:25 am Leave a comment

February 15 size

During a fit of boredom today, I measured the turtles.

Measuring the length of their carapace they are:
2 and 11/16 inches – Rex
2 and 1/2 (2 and 8/16) inches – Cinderella

They’ve grown in the past two months…the growth rates have slowed, but it hasn’t stopped.  And it won’t for a while.

February 16, 2008 at 6:22 am Leave a comment

first Chinese New Year

Just posted this in the Turtle Times forums…just thought I’d share it here too:

first off, some pix of my turtles tank with the holiday (Christmas trees) background on…

Me and my girlfriend went to a place that was doing calligraphy of peoples names in Chinese for free in celebration of the Chinese New Year. Rather than having our names done like normal people would, we had our turtles’ names done. This is Cinderella:

…and this is Rex:

…and their tank with their Chinese names as decoration



I know the tank they are sharing is way too small for them and I’m tired of doing 100% water changes all the we bought them a ginormously humongous 150 gallon tank…

…but it’s too big and really overwhelms our small living room. We’re trying to switch it to a smaller more manageable tank that should be big enough for them for a few years

And a pic of a snail riding a napping Cinderella. The turtles have killed several other snails, but this one is a survivor. It has really learned to protect itself from two very friendly, biting turtles

Hope you enjoyed the pix!!

February 15, 2008 at 6:32 am 2 comments

Zoo Med 501 Filter review

I’ve been using the Zoo Med 501 filter for several months now and here’s what I think about it:

Overall: a good ‘first’ filter for small turtle habitats. The filter will eventually need to be replaced with a stronger, bigger filter when the turtles grow and the habitat is upgraded to a larger size.

Strength: Rated for up to 30 gallons of water with a max flow rate of 79 gph (gallons per hour). The max flowrate is the rate that water is pumped through the filter without any filter media. The circulation rate would be the rate with the filter media actually installed. It’s typically about 80% of gph, so flow rate would be roughly 63 gph (79 x 80%). This means that for 30 gallons of water, it will circulate all the water just twice (63/30 = 2.1). Not bad…but for turtles circulating all the water 3 times or 4 times would be more preferable, but twice isn’t bad.

Filter media: Comes with all the media you need and is ready to use right out of the box. It comes with a sponge (mechanical media), a carbon bag (chemical media), and ceramic rings (biological media). Carbon isn’t really needed in a turtle tank, but if you really wanted to continue using it, it would be cheaper to buy your own carbon than to keep buying the Zoo Med branded carbon packs. I prefer to ditch the carbon and just use more biological and mechanical filter media instead.

Noise: It’s a quiet filter. You’ll hear it running if you’re right next to it, otherwise you won’t hear it at all. The waterfall sounds from the spraybay can be avoided by putting it underwater or by aiming the water to spray right on the wall of the aquarium.

Complaints: My main gripe with the filter is that you don’t have much flexibility with how to arrange the media. The canister is divided into two parts, one for the biological and chemical media and the other for the sponge with the water flowing only in that direction. Because of the design, you can’t adequately have the water flow through the sponge first (which makes the most sense) then through the other media next. Because the water will flow through the carbon or rings first, the filter will clog a lot quicker than it otherwise would.

By the way: there is no right/wrong order in inserting the carbon and ceramic rings. They each filter out different things from the water and it doesn’t really matter which one cleans the water first. In the case of this filter though, it would be better to keep the carbon on the bottom and the rings on top. Doing it the other way around will only make the filter clog quicker.

My experience: I’ve used this filter for two RES turtles for when they were hatchlings to about 2.5″ in a 5.5 gallon tank starting with 1 gallon of water which slowly increased to 4 gallons of water. It has done an excellent job. It isn’t strong enough to suck most of the debris out of the water, but it keeps the water looking clear and clean. Spot siphoning everyday or so is needed to keep the tank looking clean. The spray bar does a passable job of providing surface water agitation in a small aquarium but isn’t enough to remove the oil film that forms. All the ammonia and nitrites are completely removed from the water with the filter, but with two turtles a weekly 100% water change was needed, as nitrates only took a week to get to 40ppm. The filter can get clogged fairly easily, so I usually clean the filter media every time a water change is done. Also, the tubes accumulate algae and dirt fairly quickly. It is very easy to prime (start), and will even start even if the canister isn’t completely filled with water.

I will continue using this filter in the small tank long after the turtles have been moved to a much larger tank. It did a good job with the turtles and I’m positive it will do an excellent job with fish and shrimp.

Mar.19, 2009 Update: I’ve made an updated review of the 501 filter. See it here: 501 Zoo Med Turtle Filter review, appended.

December 29, 2007 at 6:58 pm 8 comments

Red-eared slider turtles in Turtle Pond, NYC

In the summer, almost a whole month before me and AG got our turtles, we found ourselves in Central Park. At that time I didn’t like/love turtles and had absolutely no interest in getting any. I didn’t actually start liking turtles until after we got them. AG wanted to get them, but now I do all I can to take care of them and I watch them for hours and hours. Anyway, back to the story…

We went to Turtle Pond and saw all these Red Eared Sliders…

Someone threw an apple in the water, which is why all the turts are crowding that one spot

There was this huge female with “RUDY” painted on her carapace.

I took some video too. Enjoy!!

Click on the image to view the video

Click on the image to view the video

Can’t wait to see all those turtles again in the summer!!

December 27, 2007 at 3:20 am 1 comment

Happy Holidays

Happy holidays everyone!!

December 26, 2007 at 4:10 am 1 comment

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