Substrate. Yes or No?

Substrate is a very touchy subject when it comes to chelonians. I have read many articles, and have spoken to keepers regarding substrate for red eared sliders. First and foremost there is gravel! the person at the local pet shop will say ” this is great for your turtle”, but is it? The answer is no! gravel is small and most red eared sliders love eating it. Eating gravel can cause a blockage in the intestines and Prolapse (see Illnesses) which can result in death. I recommend medium sized river rocks. You can buy a 50 pound bag for 15 bucks at your local greenhouse. These rocks are colorful, and impossible to swallow. It will also bring a more natural look to your aquarium. Another thing you can do is have no substrate. This makes cleaning your turtle tank very easy and it also leaves nowhere for bacteria to grow. Many keepers prefer this method over substrate. They also tend to put more wood, live plants, and other decorations to make up for no substrate.
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