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can Musk Turtles live with larger, peaceful fish?

Discussion in 'Not So Spineless Wonders' started by Godzillaalienfan1979, Jun 6, 2018.

  1. Godzillaalienfan1979

    Godzillaalienfan1979 Arachnoknight

    Like, I know they'll eat smaller fish and crustaceans, but what about larger, peaceful fish? I was thinking a Black Ghost Knife and Rope fish?
  2. Beedrill

    Beedrill Arachnoknight

    Hmmm, well I don't think that they would cause the Turtle any direct harm. Though both fish are carnivores, they would not be large enough to eat the turtle, and therefore would probably leave a Musk turtle alone for the most part.
    The Knife Fish would concern me just a bit though. My reasoning is this; it may pic at the turtle during sheds. Aquatic Turtles almost NEVER have issues with sheds, due to their life style, but as with all reptiles, their sheds should be allowed to fall off naturally. If the Knife Fish was able to accidentally open up a wound in the turtles skin, it could get infected.
    As for the Musk turtle harming the fish, I really doubt it. Thought musk turtles do eat fish, the turtle would only be around 4-5 inches at adulthood, while both fish grow to be just over a foot long. I have to say though, I would be worried that both of the fish would be too big and scare the Musk Turtle frequently. That may not be the case, but I'm not sure.

    My personal recommendation would be to opt for fish that are approximately the same adult length as the turtle and preferably do not have a strong territorial response. A bit larger would be fine, but I think 1+ foot is pushing it. The main reason I would recommend smaller fish is that Musk Turtles are among the smallest Turtles around, and they tend to be fairly skittish.
    Another good reason would be the impracticality of the set up. For 1 Musk Turtle, 1 Ghost Knife, and 1 Rope Fish, you would need a 200 gallon system with both aquatic and dry portions. Not to mention the necessity of both Heating (75-80 degree F water and a basking lamp for the Turtle that keeps the basking area in the 80's - 90's) and Lighting (whatever lighting you would want for the fish and UVA/UVB Lighting for the turtle at his basking spot). However, if you decided to use smaller fish, you could make a smaller system or you could easily fit not only more fish, but maybe even more turtles, making it a more worth while endeavor.

    Some examples of fish that I have seen housed with small Turtles, i.e. Musk, Mud, Juvenile Sliders, in the past are:
    Bluegill (any Sunfish really)
    Goldfish and Koi/Carp (Large/Adult - no long finned varieties)
    Catfish (Bullhead and Channel - no Blue Channel)
    Plecostomus (Adult - There are likely other sucker catfish that would work as well)

    With Large Turtles like RES, other Sliders, Side Necked, and other large, non-aggressive varieties:
    All of above
    Bass (Largemouth, White)
    Catfish (Any)
    Gar (Needlenose)
    Paddlefish (Probably not an option because they are a protected species)

    Turtles that really can't be kept with any fish ever:
    Babies (It's just not a good Idea unless the fish are feeders for the turtles)

    One of my great projects I have planned (for when/if I ever get rich :T) is to eventually create a massive 1000-2000 gallon Paludarium or Indoor Pond that will house all my Aquatic Turtles, some Needlenose Gar, and a few other large predatory fish. But that is just a dream for now...
    • Informative Informative x 1
  3. Godzillaalienfan1979

    Godzillaalienfan1979 Arachnoknight

    what about just the musk and ropefish? Would that still be impractical?
  4. Beedrill

    Beedrill Arachnoknight

    No, I could definitely see that working out just fine. It would still be an 80-100 gallon system, but that's a LOT easier to handle. Same temp and lighting requirements, but because of the smaller tank size, it would be easier to keep stable. Also, since the Rope Fish is said to be fairly docile, there would be little or no risk of injury to either of them. Filtration might still be a pain, but it could be done.
  5. Godzillaalienfan1979

    Godzillaalienfan1979 Arachnoknight

    AGAIN, bringing up the fish question, sorry man.

    I noticed you said Catfish for Musks might work. What about Dwarf Goonch? I heard they’re about 6-7 inches. I know Goonch are predators, but they probably wouldn’t be able to swallow a fully-grown R. Back. Same with Freshwater Needlenose? Not a catfish but I heard they feed exclusively on small fish and crustaceans.
  6. schmiggle

    schmiggle Arachnoprince Active Member

    I bet they would try to tear off a limb.
    The needlefish seems unlikely to attack the turtle, but at that point you'd need to take care of a needlefish, which I just read can be challenging.
  7. Beedrill

    Beedrill Arachnoknight

    I second what @schmiggle said. Unfortunately, most predatory catfish are pretty voracious and tend to have pretty feisty attitudes. When you say Needlenose are you referring to a Needlenose Gar (Lepisosteus osseus) or to a Needlefish? (Xenentodon cancila) Both would be difficult to care for.

    I know a good Catfish that would work really well though. They are called Madtoms. They max out at about 3 inches long usually and look just like the larger predatory varieties. The best part about them though is the fact that they thrive in almost any water conditions.