The pond experience is an alternative to turtle care. It basically consists of having a pond area and a nesting area. The concept is quite unique in that it separates the pond section with a large tank area for swimming and then provides a deeper section for burying eggs or just sitting under the heat lamp.
The design is such that it consists of a large tub that is molded out of one big piece of plastic. It is typically labeled a turtle tub or turtle tank. The placement of the unit is usually on the floor or on a counter top type setting.
Because it sits on the floor and can be put in a corner in an apartment or living room; it gives the turtle enclosure more a touch and feel to it.
This style of enclosure is called “the pond experience.” There are some issues however with the pond experience and they are:
– Small children need to be guarded when using this container. They can fall in and more seriously touch the critters in the tub and get serious debilitating illnesses such as salmonella.
-The tank is very large and not transparent (see-through) so it necessitates an over the top viewing for it to be useful. What this means is that it needs to be placed on the floor for optimum viewing, or it must take up counter space.
-Cleaning of the unit requires full evacuation of the tub so that it can be cleaned as one piece.
Turtles, red eared slider turtles or aquatic turtles require a large tank for swimming, so the pond venue works well for that; however, turtles that just bask and do minimal swimming do not need such an elaborate system, but really only need a pool to swim in and a basking area to get thermalized.
An alternative to the pond environment is the aquarium tank with wading pool, or moderate swimming pool. Typically a structure is developed such as a glass partition or escalating racks so that the turtle has a place to climb and bask, and then climb down and swim. These systems have their limitations and usually end with mixed results.
The most favored system is a basking area with an associated swimming pool. This is similar to the pond concept, accept it uses an aquarium with siliconed glass partitions, instead of fully molded tub.
The problem arises for cleaning the pools which can be a big minus from owning any reptile for that matter. The water must be cleaned almost daily in some instances and makes maintenance a labor intensive endeavor.
As with the pond environment cleaning requires a full evacuation of the unit.
A Solution You Might Not Have Thought Of
A final alternative which is to have the pool be separated and removable. Most will use a clay dish, or even a Tupperware container to facilitate the pool container. Trouble with these solutions is that they are ugly and not pet friendly when it comes to climbing in and out of the pool.
Some manufacturers have developed pools that have steps that ascend and descend into the pool. This helps aid the pet in and out of the water. Additionally some are even designed with rock serrated surfaces so they appear real and aesthetically uniform in the reptile environment.
The ideal size pool for most pets is around 3 gallons or more. Shallow pools are usually more suitable for smaller pets such as frogs and salamanders.
A word of final note: some animals are not smart enough to get out of the water and can drown if the water is too deep. Hermit crabs and even some frogs can be this way. Make sure you understand your pets behavior before committing them to a pool environment. Talk to your local pet store or your veterinarian for their basking and soaking behaviors.