Painted turtles in koi pond

Discussion in 'Garden Pond Talk' started by Smaug, Nov 11, 2015.

  1. Smaug

    Smaug God makes perfect. I just dug the hole

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    I've often wandered if it's safe for the fish? Do turtles ever try to take a bike out of any fish? I have a pretty good pond to have a few turtles and since I removed my big lily for good I have thought about introducing a log of some sort and turtle would love that.


    Edit. Nevermind,I decided to use the search feature after the fact and saw plenty of warnings against!
     
    Smaug, Nov 11, 2015
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  2. Smaug

    addy1 water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins Moderator

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    I get turtles in my pond now and then, but they are land ones.

    They do add to the bio load and might snack on your fish.
     
    addy1, Nov 11, 2015
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  3. Smaug

    Dave 54

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    Have a chat with Marshall he has turtles in his koi pond no doubt he'll let you know either way if its a viable thing for you to do


    Dave
     
    Dave 54, Nov 11, 2015
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  4. Smaug

    Marshall Aquatic Turtle Rescue & Adoption

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    I would not recommend it unless you are experienced with turtles because the challenge of keeping one healthy in a pond is more trouble than keeping it from biting/eating your fish which generally is easy to do.
    Painted turtles are not as aggressive as other aquatic turtles. If your koi are at least 12 to 14" and the turtle is under 8 or so inches then you might be alright. The main thing is making sure you feed the turtle so he has no reason to go for a koi. I have been keeping koi with painted turtles, red eared sliders and map turtles for a long time and as long as the koi are not small then the turtles should ignore them altogether. Also if you are going to add a turtle make sure your filtration and water capacity is suficient as turtles will produce unique bacteria that the koi don't produce and they will create as much waste as 8 to 10 koi on average. If you have any questions or run into any problems let me know or you can visit my website where there is information about turtles. www.msatr.org
     
    Marshall, Nov 11, 2015
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  5. Smaug

    gliebig

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    What do you feed the turtles?
     
    gliebig, Jul 25, 2016
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  6. Smaug

    Marshall Aquatic Turtle Rescue & Adoption

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    Fruit, veggies and fish.
     
    Marshall, Jul 25, 2016
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  7. Smaug

    mrtrumpet

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    I had a Red Eared Slider visit my pond once. He was probably about 3-5 pounds and 15" or so long. At the time my fish were about 16"-18". Turtle hung around a few days, would bask on a rock and come up from the bottom when I fed the fish. Other than that he didn't cause any trouble, probably because the fish were big. I was told they can go after smaller fish, however. He left after visiting for about a week.
     
    mrtrumpet, Jul 26, 2016
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  8. Smaug

    Marshall Aquatic Turtle Rescue & Adoption

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    15" is very large for a semi-aquatic such as a slider. I can almost guarantee that was a female though as the males rarely go over about 10 to 12 inches. She was probably about 8 to 10 years old as my 15 year old RES is about 11 inch.
     
    Marshall, Jul 28, 2016
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  9. Smaug

    julieblain

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    I have 2 ponds, side by side...my koi is 3k gallons and I have 22 koi all over 15", the biopool next to it is 7k gallons. We "rescued" 3 RES last year and everyone has got on well, the turtles will try and compete at feeding time (they go back and forth between the 2 ponds), the koi always win. We got 2 more 1 a RES and the other is unknown (yellow neck, not the red stripe and more yellow in the shell....anyhow, they are all 8-10". They have eaten all my mosquito eaters from the biopool and I've been getting them some "feeder fish", I find whenever we clean out the filter media in the biopool the turtles take off, so I'm guessing it's a food hunt they are going on (yeah, they come back, the neighbor always finds them in her yard). I read what you said about the amount of waste they produce and I'm concerned about what to feed them as obviously I want as little waste as possible as I swim in the biopool. So, what would you recommend? How often? Etc. Weather is hot, I'm in SoCal, we don't really have a winter (just snowflakes)....any advice is appreciated.
     
    julieblain, Jul 13, 2017
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  10. Smaug

    Marshall Aquatic Turtle Rescue & Adoption

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    You have to remember that turtles by nature are going to take any chance they get to eat because their dna is tuned to survival and not designed for captivity and a steady and sure food supply. My general rule for feeding is as little as possible and the only way to really figure out how much that is would be to start with a liberal feeding and then slowly taper that down until the turtles are able to consume all the food in under five minutes but not sooner than say three minutes. If they have been eating for 5 minutes and there is still food left it is too much. Temperature also plays a role as they rely on external heat to fuel their metabolic system so in very warm conditions they will eat more and do so more often. That is my advice so try the 5 minute rule and go from there. As far as what to feed them I would probably recommend staying away from feeder fish mainly based on principle as I personally find the idea of introducing a living fish into an environment they will certainly be killed in as unethical but don't get me wrong I am not judging anyone just saying my personal belief. Really any pellet or stick food should be fine especially in an outdoor environment where they will get all the uv benefits and natural flora & fauna to supplement the artificial feed. I would stay away from so called "treats" since these are usually made of some very cheap and unhealthy fish and loaded with dyes and flavor/scents to attract the turtles but provide little to no benefit and can actually be detrimental too their health.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2017
    Marshall, Jul 13, 2017
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  11. Smaug

    herzausstahl herzausstahl

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    Do the red eared painted turtles overwinter in the bottom of the pond or dig into the soil? Prettty sure I've read they are native to my area but not sure. Was curious about them but not sure how many fish they would try to catch. Mostly curious about the overwintering part as I'm in zone 5 & close to the border of being zone 4.
     
    herzausstahl, Jul 15, 2017
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  12. Smaug

    Jhn

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    Semi aquatic turtles like sliders and painted turtles over winter in the bottom of ponds. I am in zone 7a/b and have kept a pair of terrapins for 10 years or so that overwinter in my pond. Also, rescued a juvenile red ear slider that has been in the pond for 2 years. All ignore the fish, or i should say at least the larger fish, all the little fish in my pond may be fair game, but i don't notice if they are. Usually, if the turtle can catch and eat something it will.

    Before I moved I had a pond dedicated to painted turtles, I could observe them moving around under the ice in late winter.

    You would need a strong filter system, or a large mature pond with a turtle or two in it. Turtles are very messy and could throw an improperly set up water garden out of balance quickly. Adult Painted turtles IME are very destructive to plants, mine were constantly uprooting and eating them.

    You should check with your state laws on keeping native species of turtles. It may require a permit for you to keep them, if allowed at all.
     
    Jhn, Jul 15, 2017
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  13. Smaug

    herzausstahl herzausstahl

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    The mess is what deters me most. Around here I believe they are most concerned with people dumping animals or non natives into natural water ways but a good point though.
     
    herzausstahl, Jul 16, 2017
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  14. Smaug

    Marshall Aquatic Turtle Rescue & Adoption

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    Update:
    They will brumate in the bottom but only if you live in an area that gets a true winter (consistent temps under 56 F) but it is not at all a must as if it is warm all the time or the are indoors then they won't brumate and wont really care either since it is more of a as neede reaction and a survival trait but the urge does not come every year outside of cold. Basically if it gets cold enough they will brumate regardless of time of year. For brumating you will need either a natural pond (no liner) or you will have to manually add a clay and dirt mix layer yourself that is deep enough for them to get about 2 to 4 inches under it so if they are approx 3.5 inches tall they will need approx 7 inches or so of substrate to succesfully winter.
     
    Marshall, Jul 20, 2017
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  15. Smaug

    herzausstahl herzausstahl

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    I'm zone 5 borderline zone 4 so yes they would need the substrate! A few years ago we had weeks where the daily temp never went above 0. Sadly after awhile I got used to it! Minus 5 felt like 15 degrees!
     
    herzausstahl, Jul 22, 2017
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  16. Smaug

    Marshall Aquatic Turtle Rescue & Adoption

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    Yes you will for sure need to get them squared away and you will want to have it ready at least 30 days before the cold hits because the turtles will need time to realize it is there and explore to find a spot they like. If you put in too late they may not be able to realize it is there so 30 days is a pretty safe window of time. Depending on the size and number of turtles as well as the space and money/time I personally always try and recommend that people who have them in an artificial outdoor pond to first try and set them up with an indoor winter habitat such as a terrarium etc. It is much easier to properly set up a tank for a couple or 3 months than it is to get a natural outdoor area done correctly. Just do whatever is convenient really but if possible I recommend wintering indoors as first choice and only if that is not possible then go with the prep of the outdoor area. I don't wanna discourage you but I am also not going to lie so it is a rather tough task to get the brumation area right in a lined pond and even in a natural pond it can be tough. If you run into any issues I will be glad to help along the way so just reply here and I will try and get to it as soon as possible.
     
    Marshall, Jul 22, 2017
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  17. Smaug

    Nyboy

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    How do turtles breath during brumation ?
     
    Nyboy, Jul 22, 2017
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  18. Smaug

    Marshall Aquatic Turtle Rescue & Adoption

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    They absorb oxygen through the coelomic cavity. To put it more frankly they quite literally breath through their butts :p although as an amateur turtle doctor I would probably characterize it more as infusion or absorption rather than breathing per se.
     
    Marshall, Jul 22, 2017
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  19. Smaug

    Marshall Aquatic Turtle Rescue & Adoption

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    Also you have to take into account that when brumating they are on the knife edge of death really so they shut down their metabolic rate and all the infrastructural elements such as respiratory and circulatory slow down along with that. That is why it so important they get well fed before brumation and also why they need to be securely anchored in the substrate as they literally would not have the surplus of energy needed to even breath and eat should they be woken during cold season.
     
    Marshall, Jul 22, 2017
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  20. Smaug

    herzausstahl herzausstahl

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    Good point about overwintering indoors. Never thought of that. For me though this would be a long ways off in the future. The filtration requirements alone will most likely deter me. My only other pond ambition is a wildlife pond without a pump & I don't think that would be suitable for turtles on the scale I'd build.
     
    herzausstahl, Jul 29, 2017
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