Aquariums are ideal for keeping young tortoises. The easiest way to adapt your basic aquarium for young tortoises is by glueing a smooth edged piece of glass, the same size as the width of the inside of the aquarium, and only a quarter of the length. You can use a silicone rubber sealant to glue the glass together. Also glue a small piece of glass to the edge of your platform, to form a lip, for easy access in and out of the water. This platform is your dry area. The water level should always be right up to the platform as tortoises can't jump!
Hygiene is very Important! You must install an aquarium water filter, to keep the water clean. The water will also have to maintain a neutral level of pH 7, to reduce disease. A pH testing kit, together with chemicals to adjust the pH level, can be purchased from most pet shops.
All young tortoises must be kept in heated water, the ideal temperature is 22-25 degrees celsius, at low temperatures they do not eat, or their food is not digested properly, and in winter, they might even hibernate, which can be very dangerous for young animals. At high temperatures they will over heat and painfully die, so the addition of an electric glass tube-type aquarium heater is ideal for keeping the water heated, this will have a thermostat built in, to maintain the desired water temperature, but a water thermometer should also be added, just in case the thermostat is faulty.
Aquarium gravel is fine for on the bottom of the aquarium, remember if it is basic it is easy to clean.
Ultraviolet Light must be provided for proper shell formation, Reptisun 5.0 UVB tubes aid in preventing `soft shell` problems in captive tortoises, also helps in all round growth and health. Reptisun 5.0 and fixtures are available through URS (Ultimate Reptile Suppliers) in a variety of sizes. Lighting fixtures should be mounted to the lid of the enclosure and the tubes should be renewed every 6 to 12 months even though they still show visible light, they do have a limited life.
Only have these lights turned on during daylight hours.
Do not ever put the aquarium into the Direct Sunlight, the water and tortoise will over heat and the tortoise will die. Ultraviolet tubes imitate the sun and are not harmful.
It is very important to provide young tortoises with a variety of nutritious foods. They grow rapidly and need a good diet so they can produce a strong shell. Food should be cut up into tiny pieces and it is best to provide as much variety as possible.
These foods are suitable Raw lean meat ( e.g.: steak with the fat removed, lambs heart), Raw fish, Mealworms and Earthworms ( chopped ), Pond-snails, Mosquito larvae ( wrigglers ) and Aquatic Turtle food (available through URS) which is vitamin enriched floating pellet food for tortoises it is a low protein food and the pellets float on the surface of the water, makes cleaning much easier. Vitamins are an important part of your tortoises diet if not using a supplemented food, vitamin supplement should be given weekly. Also try to establish various Water Plants, with these plants you will find small invertebrates upon which the tortoises will feed, wrigglers and plants are in most pet shops.
Do not leave any uneaten food in the aquarium, it will foul the water providing an unclean environment for your tortoise.
Feed tortoises daily for the first few months, decreasing to three times weekly at two years of age. Dr Turtle (available through URS) is a slow release medicated sulfa block that helps to prevent common bacterial and fungal diseases a must for tortoises, one Dr Turtle block treats up to 15 gallons of water simply drop into water supply.
Clean Your Aquarium Regularly !