We have a 4,000 gallon manmade pond with fish and frogs already living in it in addition to plants. It has a small upper

Expert's Assistant chatimg
Customer: We have a 4,000 gallon manmade pond with fish and frogs already living in it in addition to plants. It has a small upper pond, a waterfall and a filter system as well . The fish were imported (9 various types) and produce a dozen or so babies a year and the frogs just moved in and also produce but in limited numbers. The pond has a rubber liner, not a preformed plastic one. I am wondering if I will damage the pond, or upset the habitat if I introduce two small painted turtles to it. I love the fish and frogs and don't want to screw things up for them. My husband is concerned the turtles may dig through the liner trying to hibernate later.
Answered by Anna in 11 mins 11 years ago
imglogo
Anna
30+ years of experience
logo

17,040 satisfied customers

Specialities include: Reptile Veterinary, Herp Veterinary, Exotic Animal Medicine, Amphibian Veterinary

Hello,

You're wise to research this before adding turtles. Turtles have been known to damage pond liners with their claws, so that is a valid concern. It doesn't happen often, but it is a possibility.

There are bigger problems, however. Small painted turtles don't stay small. As they grow, they will eat your fish. Even as babies, they are likely to chase them and damage them. Fish are one of their natural foods. The fish pose a danger tot he turtles, too. Domestic fish often carry bacteria which don't hurt them, but will make a turtle sick. As the turtles grow, they will produce a tremendous amount of waste, making it difficult for your filter to keep up and maintain clean water.

People who keep turtles in ponds usually have only turtles, and the ponds are especially designed for the turtles. Turtles are somewhat difficult to keep in small ponds. Hibernation is a dangerous time, even for wild turtles who have adapted to outdoors and can find the optimal places for hibernation. For domestic turtles in man-made ponds, the risks are even greater. Turtles can suffocate, starve if they don't have enough fat built up, develop fatal bacterial infections if they eat too close to hibernation time, and be killed by toxins that build up in the water. There is no way to absolutely ensure that turtles will survive the winter. There are ways to increase the chances that he will. There must be at least one foot of unfrozen water at the bottom of the pond. There must be something to dig in on the bottom, so an earth-filled box would work. The water must have adequate oxygen in it - turtles absorb it through their skin when hibernating. It's a good idea to have an electric de-icer on the pond's surface to allow oxygen in and the detrimental gases out. The following site has more details on turtle ponds:

http://www.fishpondinfo.com/turtles/turpond.htm

Turtles also must be properly conditioned for hibernation, and should be examined by a reptile vet in the fall to be sure they're fit to hibernate. There's more about that here:

http://happyturtle.ms11.net/hibernation.html

The time leading up to hibernation is also risky. If you have an extended period of damp weather with temperatures in the 40's to 60's, the turtle will become less active, but it's not cold enough to trigger hibernation. Skin and shell infections and respiratory infections are common in those circumstances.

Besides hibernation, there are a couple of other problems you may encounter with outdoor housing. One is that a turtle is likely to simply leave. They go off seeking mates the first chance they get. A small fence a few feet out from the pond will be needed. Many people make a rock or concrete block wall just tall enough to keep in a turtle. Predators often injure or kill turtles that live outdoors. Raccoons are the most common offenders, and they will chew off feet, and destroy shells. Dogs will grab a basking turtle and carry it off, thinking it's a toy. The site I gave you above on pond design has some tips to minimize these problems.

My recommendation to you would be to stick to the fish and frogs, unless you want to go to a lot of additional trouble for turtles. At some point, you may want to consider constructing a turtle pond. The site I gave you above will help if do that.

If you have more questions, just let me know by clicking on REPLY. I'm not trying to discourage you, but just want you to be aware of potential problems so you can avoid them.

Anna

(If you find my answer helpful, please click on the green ACCEPT button. Thank you.)
Read less
unlike
0 Likes
logoBack
logologo
Anna
logo
logo
17,040 satisfied customers
logo
30+ years of experience
imglogo
Anna
+ years of experience
logo

17040 satisfied customers

Ellen

Ellen

Licensed veterinarians

31,131 satisfied customers

Pearl avatar
Pearl Wilson, Veterinarian's Assistant
116 Veterinarians are online right now.
Related Veterinary Questions
I have a turtle. She's lived already in a very wrong
9.24.2022
img
Anna
Reptile Expert, Biologist
14,871 Satisfied Customers
We live in central and have a yellow belly slider in a 20
7.12.2022
img
Anna
Reptile Expert, Biologist
14,871 Satisfied Customers
Pond for turtles I would like more info on this because I
4.23.2022
img
Anna
Reptile Expert, Biologist
14,871 Satisfied Customers
I have a home made pond about 900 to 1000gal. Pond with fish
7.18.2020
img
Anna
Reptile Expert, Biologist
14,871 Satisfied Customers
I have a 1800 gallon pond installed in my back yard. What
11.3.2016
img
Anna
Reptile Expert, Biologist
14,871 Satisfied Customers
How it works
logoAsk for help, 24/7
Ask for help, 24/7
Members enjoy round-the-clock access to 12,000+ verified Experts, including doctors, lawyers, tech support, mechanics, vets, home repair pros, more.
logoExpert will respond in minutes
Expert will respond in minutes
After you reach out, we match you with an Expert who specializes in your situation. Talk, text, chat, whichever you prefer.
logoSave time & money
Save time & money
No scheduling hassles, missing time from work, or expensive consults.
A JustAnswer membership can save you significant time and money each month.
Sarahesq and 87 other Veterinarian specialists are ready to help you.
Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.
Why you’ll love JustAnswer
JustAnswer is the best way to get expertise on-demand from doctors, lawyers, vets, mechanics and more. Since 2003, we’ve helped more than 9 million people in 196 countries and have an A+ rating with BBB and a 9.6/10 rating with TrustPilot.
Highly rated, verified Experts
We pride ourselves in our 8-step verification process including license and credential checks. Vetted by us and rated by customers, like you.
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal ...leave nothing to chance.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
JustAnswer, Professional Services  General, San Francisco, CA
Google reviews
TrustPilot Reviews