Tank Options: Materials
Your red eared slider tank doesn’t necessarily have to be an aquarium. Aquariums are the default choice for most slider owners because they are relatively cheap, readily available and popular, and you can watch your turtle swim around underwater. Though this is by far the most popular choice, you aren’t limited to just glass when it comes to what sort of material you want to make your enclosure out of.
Plastic and rubber are both very viable choices when it comes to finding a place to put your slider. In fact, most slider breeders opt to use these materials because they 1) aren’t concerned with watching their sliders swim around underwater, and 2) these materials are simply sturdier and easier to manage. Rubbermaid© makes a lot of storage containers, bins, and tubs of various sizes that can easily accommodate sliders. You can also use a kiddy pool, plastic livestock trough, or prefabbed pond.
Most of these containers will have a volume measurement somewhere (usually on the bottom) telling you how many gallons the container holds. It’s very important to know how many gallons your tank holds when you have a slider in it (especially if you suspect that it may not be large enough), so there is a relatively easy way to measure the volume of such a container if it is not printed on the container. First, measure the container from the inside left edge to the inside right edge, in inches. Next, measure the container from the inside top edge to the inside bottom edge, in inches. Last, measure the container from the inside back edge to the inside front edge, in inches. Using a calculator, multiply these three measurements to get the cubic inches of your tank. Finally, multiply that number by 0.00433 to convert the cubic inches to gallons.
The most important thing to remember when using a plastic or rubber red eared slider tank is that you need to protect them from your heater and heat lamp. Don’t let either one of them rest up against the side or top of the tank, as they will eventually melt or even catch the tank on fire. Even if actual flame doesn’t break out, you don’t want your slider inhaling the fumes from melting plastic or rubber.
Whatever sort of red eared slider tank you go with, always make sure you take the proper precautions when dealing with that sort of material options. Glass can easily break of course, but rubber and plastic can be scratched, creating small pieces of material that can be ingested by your slider. It isn’t a huge threat, but you should always make sure you thoroughly inspect your tank before putting your sliders in it for such an occurrence.
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