Aqueon 40 Gallon Breeder Turtle Tank

  • With this being my first attempt at having an aquatic turtle (or really, just a turtle at all) I figured that I would let you all into my journey from setting up the tank, to getting things going, to hopefully seeing this upgrade into a bigger tank that just 40 gallons (since they need about 10 gallons per inch of shell, and this species gets to be around 8-12 inches resulting in a 120+ gallon tank when full grown).

    Detailed Information

    Tank: Aqueon 40 Gallon Breeder
    Stand: Imagitarium Brooklyn Metal 40 Gallon Stand
    Filter: Polar Aurora 265GPH Canister Filter (SunSun HW-30X Rebrand), Eheim Skim 350 (2x)
    Lighting: NICREW Submersible LED Aquarium Strip (2x), ZooMed Aquatic Turtle Dual Dome Lighting (Combo UVB/UVA Bulb 10.0 13watt & 50watt Splashproof Heating Bulb) - Supported by Exo Terra Light Bracket w/ Additional Adhesive Support Bracket

    Substrate: Generic Black Sand (Black Diamond Blasting Sand Medium Grit)
    Flora: Anubias (various varieties)
    Fauna: Female African Sideneck Turtle (1x), Convict Cichlids (?x), Pink Convict Cichlids (?x)


    Edited 6 times, last by Avery (May 22, 2024 at 6:48 PM).

  • I LOVE that DIY basking area made from driftwood - do you by chance know if the specific type of screws that you used? Also how difficult was it in order to make the pieces stay together, and do they sway back and forth at all?

    I can’t wait to see more photos of either any upgrades or changes you make!

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  • I LOVE that DIY basking area made from driftwood - do you by chance know if the specific type of screws that you used? Also how difficult was it in order to make the pieces stay together, and do they sway back and forth at all?

    I can’t wait to see more photos of either any upgrades or changes you make!

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    Hey Gilbert,

    Yes! I added a new photo to the gallery album on which specific type of screws that I used. I only went with those that are stainless, and designed for a deck (wood specific), plus these have a lifetime warranty so nothing can really go wrong there in my eyes.

    The platform does sway if you put your hand and try to move it on the top, but it’s nothing major. I’m sure once I move tanks (when this turtle is way bigger) and add more driftwood pieces, this will eliminate it (since it sways since it only has 2 support pieces that are somewhat in the middle but kinda not weight wise).

    It wasn’t too hard in order to screw then together, when the wood got wet I did have to tighten it more since it got loss as the wood expanded outward - but everything was overall easy to make. Just make sure if you do try to copy this, that you use wood that is already waterlogged or pretty heavy otherwise this may try to float (as some types of driftwood does).

    I also added in a photo of how I did the submersible lights (since they aren’t under water at all - but hidden if you view it from the front or sides somewhat). Let me know if you want to see anything else specific and I’ll take a photo!

  • Looks cool! How much did you say that you spent on the tank and all of the equipment? Do you have a plan once the turtle gets bigger on a new setup?

    In total, I probably spent about $370 for everything that you see. I never really thought about pricing everything out since I mostly bought it all on sale from various different stores (including some local only stores for items that most big chains do not carry). I can always do this, but I don't think you can look to buy all of this at once (it took me a good month overall for everything to line up price wise where it made sense for me to do it).

    Once the turtle gets bigger, it will honestly probably move into it's final home of a 150/200 gallon tank (and not the tall models but the wider ones). I'll obviously have to redo the basking platform (will end up adding more driftwood to it to make it more stable and taller/wider), and will more than likely add in another turtle just to keep the one company. Ideally, this won't happen for another 3-4 years, at which point this tank will probably become just a standard one (or possibly a saltwater tank).

  • This is great. I have a friend who rescued a turtle. She's just now to the stage of preparing to upgrade to a larger tank, she wasn't expecting it to get so large. I love that you're adding more driftwood. Her turtle really doesn't care to swim so much since it was injured.

  • Well, looks like one of my submersible lights just burnt out (does not turn on at all, even using another outlet or another charging box). Sadly, it’s outside of the warranty window but makes me wonder if this was underwater how it would have handled.

    Just ordering another one of the same kind so I’ll give them another shot to see if maybe I just got one on a fluke.

  • I’m not too sure - possibly make this a goldfish tank or even try out something more unique/not commonly kept (African Dwarf Frogs or Red Claw Crabs). I’d love to try another Fire Belly Toads setup if I could get enough stuff for them and find a nice seller in my area.

  • Any new updates?! How big is the turtle now?

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    Good point, no big updates minus the one Chinese Algae Eater got eaten (and some of the danios shockingly), and a movement of the filter output to be onto the wood itself and moving some of the river rocks around.

    I’m still awaiting for some more driftwood to appear at my local fish store, so I can add a new platform on one side so the turtle can be in the water and resting on a level platform.

    Turtle is probably a good 1-1.5” inches longer, maybe slightly wider. The mark on its shell from when I got it appears to be the same (slightly bigger now as the shell grows), but it’s been having a great diet so no other health issues or concerns yet! I’ll have to share more photos once I get the driftwood pieces I need and clean up the glass a tad since the hard water out there has already left some deep calcium deposit spots all over.

  • Do you have any updates on where you added the driftwood at? I’m curious since I’m thinking about getting a turtle after reading that article guide on here.

    Yes! I just added in 3 more photos, to show the updates. I took the piece of driftwood from my column tank since my local store that has driftwood in bulk has been out for awhile now, and have added in some Anubias since the turtle ate all of the Anacharis that was in there before. Additionally, you can see the nice calcium lines forming on the glass and on the equipment (which I won’t really take care of until I move this turtle into its final, bigger aquarium setup).

  • No big updates, just has to change out thee UVB bulb to another bulb since it was almost a year since the last change - I moved some plants around from the column tank to this tank (just still trying to find a nice way to tie them down since the turtle keeps moving them all over the tank). Once I do another tank cleaning (as the substrate is somewhat dirty again due to the breakdown of lettuce over time), I'll throw up some more photos!

  • Just a small update, I completely cleaned out the tank from all of the leftover lettuce over time leaving a lovely mess (drained about 30 of the 40 gallon tank). I’ve also purchased another surface skimmer to help push water around and moved the direction of water from counterclockwise to now clockwise. I’ve also stabilized the driftwood slightly more by adding more sand and fixing the rock points that it is surrounded by.

    I still need to clean out the canister filter, but that will be at a later date. I’m also now down to just 4 of the original zebra danios, with the Chinese algae eater being eaten (it’s gone) recently. Turtle is a little bit bigger and doing healthy, no issues so far!

    I might add some additional stocking of faster fish, possibly some of the smaller cichlids in order to add volume in the water column compared to the 4 danios that now school together throughout the tank. I need to also add in more plants, so far it’s left the Anubias alone but it still seems not so green compared to what I think it could be. Possibly thinking of Amazon swords (fast growing), Water wisteria (fast growing) or Java fern (bad taste) to add in around the driftwood.

  • Have been fighting a battle with some of this lovely black beard algae, so I'll have to grab some more photos and attach them to this gallery album for this tank now that it's pretty cleaned up (although some of the plants have taken a hit in growth or their thickness). Otherwise, the cichlids have a ton of fry that the turtle seems to not want to eat - so I've handed them out to other shops/stores around me that want some free fry to either sell or use as bait for others. The cichlids completely ate the danios as they started to mate, and would be aggressive with the turtle but it stood its ground (no damage done whatsoever to either).

    Cleaned out the canister filter, and skimmers after I had to do a bunch of doses of hydrogen peroxide and threw out a bunch of the sludge that has collected over time (and some filter pads just completely in terms of them being reusable). Added in some more filter media sponges to the skimmers to allow them to work and will just clean those out weekly now instead of having no filter media within them. Will need to buy another new o-ring seal for the filter however, as it started to gush out water like many people complain SunSun canister filters do after being cleaned out (plumber's tape solved this when placed thickly around the o-ring and where it connects). Have no issues with water dripping or leaking out at all.

  • I wish you the best of luck with Black Beard Algae, since it seems to be the worst algae to remove due to it being so persistent even when dosing with various chemicals.

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    Sadly, I thought I had removed it all but it is back again. I think dosing daily with hydrogen peroxide and doing a few more deep cleans of this tank might help out - but what is really confusing me is that every time my cichlids have babies, I tend to get this algae back. Otherwise, I just have the common algae from sunlight hitting the tank for a few hours each day (but that is to be expected).

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