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Breigh's Above Tank Basking Platform


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#1 Breigh

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Posted 30 December 2006 - 09:29 AM

My husband and I have been working on an above tank basking area for the past few days. We have 2 x 2.5 inch turtles in a 55 gallon aquarium at the moment and an upgrade isn't in the cards for us for at least 6 months - 1 year. So in order to give them maximum swimming area we decided to make an above tank basking area.

It's been up for almost an hour and the closest we've come to basking action was Frick! climbing to the top of the ramp, looking around and then jumping off.

I need reassurance from the above tank basking people... they -will- use it, right? hehe

Well here it is, hope ya's like it!

Here are some photos during the process of making it:

Testing the frame for size:
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Adding the background:
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Closer views of the background:
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Now for the (almost) finished product (still have a bit of plants to add to hang in and such):

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.. and last but certainly not least. My hubby working hard to make my ideas a reality :)

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****** EDIT ****** UPDATE ****** EDIT ****** UPDATE ******

Ok well we've changed our basking area somewhat, since they weren't using the other area and it the plexiglas was getting bent.

We found an rock aquarium background that we liked and thought would look nice with the background we have on the above structure. The Juwel background we planned on using was far too thick.

Here are some photos of the newer area, we put it on the other side of the tank, not sure why hehe

Oh and don't mind the weird spot the basking light is shining on, I hit the light by mistake when I was moving the UV light unit and pointed it wonky but didn't notice until I was sorting the pics :P

Photos of the whole thing:
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You can see one of my turts (Radar) below in this one, to give an idea of their size in comparison (both turts are almost exactly the same size)
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Here you can see the texture of the platform:
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The ramp was attached to the middle bar using plastic tie wraps (if you look closely you can see them towards the top of the ramp)
It floads so the end of the ramp will always be level with the surface of the water.
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A photo taken from inside. You can see the lighting setup in this one (even though I moved the basking light by mistake) I have a long Arcadia UV bulb in my juwel lighting system across the entire length of the tank as well)
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The best part ... The basking area has been on for a total of 4 hours and just 5 minutes ago I looked over and....

THERE WAS BASKING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

*Edit - Finally managed to get a basking pic!*
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Edited by Matt S., 11 May 2007 - 12:56 AM.


#2 indianaturtles

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Posted 30 December 2006 - 10:22 AM

Really cool! I have the same except half the size...I need to double it like yours. It took mine a couple of weeks to really get good and brave enough to bask in the normal manner they used to...be patient! They will come!

#3 Breigh

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Posted 30 December 2006 - 11:23 AM

Really cool! I have the same except half the size...I need to double it like yours. It took mine a couple of weeks to really get good and brave enough to bask in the normal manner they used to...be patient! They will come!


Whew I really needed someone to tell me that. Now that it's up and I'm looking at it I find myself thinking, uh oh... what if they don't like it and don't use it. I think my husband would throttle me after all the work he put into it! haha

#4 Pi's_Human

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Posted 30 December 2006 - 03:15 PM

Great job Breigh! Be patient, they'll use it. It took my turtles a few days before they'd use the one I built them, but now they love it, stretched out feet in the air and everything.

#5 spoiledpainteds

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Posted 30 December 2006 - 06:21 PM

That is fantastic!!!!!!! Looks great and also looks secure. When we put the turts into the new tank it took a few days before they used the basking ramp at all and even longer before they actually basked. Then they'd still dive into the tank when someone came in. It took quite a while before they were completely back to normal behavior.

#6 RESGuy

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Posted 31 December 2006 - 02:50 PM

Wow that is awesome! In my fantasies of what I COULD have I dream of making one of those but Im too lazy to make it and my Dad doesn't have time to help me do it :D And by help I mean I pass him the tools hold some things and watch him build it :D

#7 Jordan H

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Posted 31 December 2006 - 05:43 PM

That's simply astonishing Breigh. I've always liked your setups.

#8 Breigh

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Posted 01 January 2007 - 06:05 AM

I tried putting them on the basking area, like just so they know it's there...

ZOOOM... straight back into the water. You'd think I sat them on a hot coal!

#9 Puncture.uk

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Posted 01 January 2007 - 10:50 AM

I tried putting them on the basking area, like just so they know it's there...

ZOOOM... straight back into the water. You'd think I sat them on a hot coal!


lol, it wont be long before they're sun-worshiping. Are they tame to you? Do they swim to your hand when you feed them etc?

Sam

#10 Breigh

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 01:36 PM

lol, it wont be long before they're sun-worshiping. Are they tame to you? Do they swim to your hand when you feed them etc?

Sam


Yup they are tame to my hand. I've been making trails of pellets up the ramp and scattering them around the basking area to get them up there.

Problem is only one of them is smart enough to notice so he pigs out while the other is oblivious to what is going on. Then once he's done getting all the pellets he doesn't go up there anymore.

I've since changed it to this:

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and now have taken the cork bark off leaving just the flat cork area. Hopefully this will make them a bit more comfortable to bask :/

Edited by Breigh, 04 January 2007 - 01:37 PM.


#11 PennyPerogi

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 04:03 PM

That is absolutely gorgeous!

I have a few technical questions, as I am hoping to build something similar this summer for my 225-gallon and my 30-gallon. How does the enclosure fit on the top? Does it just sit on the top of the aquarium, or is it fastened somehow? Would you mind taking a few pictures of how it sits on the tank?

Also, how does the filter and heater fit in? How have you arranged the heat/UV lamp?

Thanks! Good luck with the basking!

#12 seven

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 10:40 PM

I keep going back to look at your pics. I love this. What did you use on the back wall of the aquarium below? Do you mind me asking what this project cost? Do you have the exact dementions of the wood and plexi available for those of us who like to have Home Depot do all the cutting. Better yet, would you please come here to NY and build three on them for me? [:beg] :)

#13 Plastron

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Posted 09 January 2007 - 01:46 AM

And THAT my friends...is how one should make an above tank basking area...SPLENDID JOB~!

#14 Breigh

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Posted 09 January 2007 - 02:28 AM

It's now been about 10 days and I still have not seen any basking area. So far the best is that one will go up there for pellets if I leave them there as a lure... and other times he'll go up, walk around and then run off again. The other one is yet to go up there at all, he won't go further than the top of the ramp. I'm trying not to get discouraged but it's hard after putting all that work into it to have them not use it :/

Now to answer a few questions:

What did you use on the back wall of the aquarium below? Do you mind me asking what this project cost? Do you have the exact dementions of the wood and plexi available for those of us who like to have Home Depot do all the cutting. Better yet, would you please come here to NY and build three on them for me? icon_smile_beg.gif smile.gif


On the back wall of the aquarium below, I used a Juwel brand (same brand as my tank) background. Which you can see here: http://www.juwel-aqu...de_felsen57.htm

The project cost about 80 euros in total. That includes the little plants I bought later etc. That's around $100 USD. But bear in mine that plexiglas is more expensive over here. I think you have it more readily available there than we do here. We had to go to a special shop that specifically sells plexiglas, and we had them cut it for us to size.

My tank is 100 cm x 40 cm but has a small inner ridge which we used to measure the bottom piece of plexiglass so it would sit down into it to provide stability.

We bought 2 pieces of wood at our local DIY store, I believe it's pine. They were 2 pieces 100cmx30cm in size. We used one full piece across the back (my tank is 100 cm wide) and then sawed the other piece into to pieces measuring 38cm x 30 cm for the sides. The sides are attached to the front ends of the back piece. So the screws go through the back piece into the very end of the side pieces.

The bottom plexiglas piece is 39.5 cm x 52 cm and is attached to the bottom of the back and side using multi purpose building glue and to the front plexiglas piece using aquarium silicone.

The front piece measures 100 cm x 30 cm and is attached to the two side pieces with wood screws going through the front of the ends of the plexiglas into the very end of the two side pieces.

For the outside of the basking area we went to the section of our DIY shop that has the sticker type frosting paper that is used for giving windows a frosted look. In that section they also had the same type of paper but in black which was called 'chalkboard'. I'm not sure why it was called that but it has the exact texture of the black on my aquarium so we used that to cover the outside.

On the inside we used double sided sticky tape to hold aquarium background paper (in hindsight I would find some sort of glue to spread out to attach this. As the humidity has set in you can sort of see where the sticky tape is... but not drastically enough for me to change it.. thankfully it just sort of looks like shadows on the roots in the paper and adds texture / depth hehe)

How does the enclosure fit on the top? Does it just sit on the top of the aquarium, or is it fastened somehow? Would you mind taking a few pictures of how it sits on the tank?


It literally just sits on top. We had planned on finding a way to fasten it but when we sat it on top after putting it all together we realized it wasn't necessary. The tank has a small inner ridge which was used for the lighting fixtures to sit on, we made the bottom piece of plexiglass to fit onto that ridge (so it sits lower than the rest of the structure. With that in place it doesn't have any give. It doesn't shift around at all. Plus the entire thing is pretty heavy so it's not going to move on its own.

The front piece of plexiglas is also attached to the front of the aquarium by the suction cups of the ramp. If you look closely in the pics you can see it. The top suction cups are on the plexiglas of the basking area and the bottom ones are down on the front of the aquarium.

#15 CLAWS

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Posted 09 January 2007 - 11:23 AM

Breigh.... Your tank setup look awesome. One thing about basking is that a 10F difference in basking dock and water temp. usually encourages turtles to bask. Check to see if you are there. 79F water and 89F dock temp. or 26C water and 32C at the basking dock. Hope your guy gets to stay up there soon. Must be enchanted by all the colors and gets too excited to bask. :lol:

#16 kaktus

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 07:10 PM

Hi, I love your tank. I have been trying to get ideas for our turtle tank. Our turtles are about 7" and their tank is 75 gallons. They love the size of the tank, but our platform is a problem. The water is too deep to build up rocks, so like you, we have the floating ones from the aquarium store. However, the turtles are even outgrowing the largest one and they also enjoy pushing it away from the wall! It's great to watch them in action. I love your idea of using the floating platform as a ramp to acess the platform. I will have to put my husband to work. lol

#17 turtlebrigade

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Posted 17 January 2007 - 09:10 PM

Breigh, I so want to copy you...could you please explain to me where the filter is? I am blind, lol! I can't figure out how or where you put the filter. I'm thinking I'm going to just buy a new tank for Toki & Nathan and copy your basking platform and keep the rubbermaid I bought for my next tortoise, or for a emergency.

#18 Breigh

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 01:00 AM

The filter is built in, it's part of the Juwel system.

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If you look at this photo you can see it in the back right hand corner. It came with the aquarium.

Edited by Breigh, 18 January 2007 - 01:01 AM.


#19 LapuRizal

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 01:06 PM

that is a pretty sweet looking basking spot! I'm looking into building one for my babies too now. lol.

Quick question though, what is the thickness of the wood and the plexi you used? I found the length and width but I might have missed it somewhere. :blink: :P

Thanks!!!

#20 Breigh

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 01:10 PM

I actually can't remember how thick the wood is but he plexiglas we used is 3 mm thick




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