To read more about water quality please go here
The clean water, as for us clean air, is the most important factor in keeping the snapper or
any aquatic turtle happy. It has to be of proper quality. But what does it mean ?
Well, actually it's not that complicated. Basically it means that it should be clean, chemicaly balanced and at proper temperature.
The filtering and heating are all well explained in the
heater and filter sections, but just as a reminder,
water should be kept at temeratures between 72 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit (22 to 28 C) -
the best optimum is 23 - 25 C and thoroughfully filtered by a powerful filter (the bigger the better).
The PH levels should be kept at 6.5 to 7. This can be easily
achieved by checking and adjusting it periodically using the inexpensive and sold at any pet store kits made especially
for this purpose.
With turtles, unlike fish, the ammonia levels will rise very quickly, and the best way to
keep them down is to, again, have sufficient filtration allowing the growth of nitrates - a " friendly "
bacteria which reduces the ammonia level.
On part of the keeper, the everyday maintenance of the tank should include - removing of any uneaten food,
excrements produced by the turtle, and partial, periodical changes of water.
In a set up for baby snappers, or any small turtles turtles, a good addition would be a couple of gold fish
which will clean any of the leftovers after feeding (just for a time being - once the turtles become
a bit bigger the gold fish will disappear from the tank very quickly!).
The whole set up should be cleaned whenever the water becomes cloudy, or the filter gets plugged. Depends on the set up,
the necessity of complite cleaning might come after just one week or a as late as one month or two with larger and well
organized set ups.
After removing the turtles, the parts of the filter, any rocks or driftwood and the tank should be washed with brush and sponge, and thoroughfuly rinsed.
After setting the enclosure up again, the tank should be filled with tap water (rain water the best), the PH level checked
and treated if necessary, and the filter and heater turned on. The turtles can be put back as soon as the water reaches the appropriate temprature.
Caution: before removing the turtles get the temporary enclosure ready, filled with
water at about the same temperature as in the tank. A good idea though would be to let the turtles dry up complitely, and treat
any cuts or places that indicate the growth of algae or fangus.