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Having a proper basking area is real important for your turtles health. There are comercially available basking docks available or you can opt to build your own. Some people like to go with a natural look and use cork bark curls that have been cut down so that they can be wedge inside the tank. If you decide to make your own you shoud avoid the old fashioned method of piling up rocks or pebbles to form a "beach". This takes up way too much tank space. By using something that just sits at the surface (whether siliconed inplace or floating) you give your turtle all that room to swim underneath their basking area.
Another option is the "clubhouse setup". A clubhouse setup is a basking area that is built on top of the tank. There are a few advantages to this, primarily because you can fill the tank all the way to the top. Since the tank is filled you can use cheaper power filters and clamp on style heaters. By filling the tank all the way up you also make the most out of the tank space and can get away with a tank that is 10 gallons per inch of turtle.
No matter if you buy a premade basking area or build one it should meet a few requirements. First, your turtle should be able to haul out and get completely dry. Drying off helps your turtle prevent fungal or bacterial infections of the shell reffered to as "shell rot". Secondly, the basking area temperature should be maintained between 85 and 90 degrees either with a basking bulb, mercury vapor bulb, or ceramic heater. Our first two pictures show the store bought dock and Brian's use of corkboard.
Both of these two basking areas were made by college students.
They are in a dorm and are allowed only a small area to keep
the turtles in so they used totes
and as they are on a budget, they have really used their
One used her flip flops and a frisbee and tied them together.
The other used legos. Yes, legos....
The next two are made from PVC pipe and
a piece of plastic.
These one were made with plexiglass.
This is a Statue that she had around the home.
The problem with this one is that it takes up too
much of the swimming area.
This last one is called a clubhouse. It is made
from plexiglass and it actually sets up top of the tank.
This way you can fill your tank all the way to the top with water.
It gives your turtle more swimming area and with the plexiglass,
you can watch your turtle bask.