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FAQs About Red Ear Slider Turtle Disease/Health: Environmental 

Related Articles: Treating Common Illnesses of the Red Ear Slider (& other Emydid Turtles) by Darrel Barton, The Care and Keeping of the Red Eared Slider, Trachemys scripta elegans by Darrel Barton, Turtle eye diseases; Recognising and treating eye diseases in pet turtles by Neale Monks, So your turtle has the Flu? Recognising and treating respiratory infections in pet turtles by Neale Monks, The Care and Keeping of the Red Eared Slider, Trachemys scripta elegans by Darrel Barton,  Red Ear Sliders, Turtles, AmphibiansRed Eared Slider CareShell Rot in Turtles,

Related FAQs: RES Disease/Health 1, RES Disease/Health 2, RES Disease 3, RES Health 4, RES Health 5, RES Health 6, RES Health 8, RES Health 9, RES Health 10, & Shell Rot, Turtle Disease 1, Turtle Disease 3, Shell Rot, Turtle Respiratory Disease, Turtle Eye Disease,
FAQs on RES Health by Type:
Diagnosis, Traumas, Social, Nutritional, Growths/Tumors, Infectious, Parasitic, References,

& Sliders 1, Sliders 2, Red Eared Slider Identification, RES Behavior, RES Compatibility, RES Selection, RES Systems, RES Feeding, RES Reproduction,

Healthy, active RES - but stopped eating/eats very little the last few weeks      1/6/15
Hello WWM Crew,
<Hiya – Darrel here>
First of all, thanks for all the wonderful information you have on your website.
<You’re welcome. And may we say that you show a great deal of style and intelligence for noticing!>
Yes, I have read, and read, and read about possible reasons for RES not eating. I am only writing because so far, I haven't read about a red-eared slider which is active, basks normally in unfiltered sunlight, appears completely healthy (eyes are clear, no bubbles from nose, no spots anywhere, shell is smooth, swimming normally, etc), but has simply stopped eating/ eating very little these last few weeks.
<sure you have.>
Current Habitat/Situation:
I live in the UAE where the summers are brutal (but only in the high 80F's to mid 90F's on my balcony), and winter lows are about 60-65F at night, with day highs in the upper 70F's to low 80F's.
<Sounds like places I’ve lived in Florida>
Lily, my RES, came home with me when it was a hatchling in June, smack in the height of summer. It lives in an open baby bathtub on my balcony with a rock for basking, and a tile for walking up to the rock (so there is shade under the slope). Very active, ate like a horse, and grew quickly. Then the weather started cooling down in November and dropping into the high teens at night, and I did not have a heater immediately, and I noticed it slowed down its eating. I got a heater for its water a couple of weeks after that,
and almost immediately saw its appetite coming back. Then, I tried getting it to eat plant food since it was now about 7 months old. It would not eat. Tried re-feeding it turtle sticks. But no luck there.
<Turn off the heater>
Apart for not eating, or eating one or two bites and then stopping, Lily is active and apparently healthy, with a nice hard, smooth shell and plastron. My hubby thinks Lily is fine and that its appetite is just slowing down due to the overall cooler temperatures.
<Guess what? Hubby is right. But be SURE to tell him this is a fluke occurrence and to NOT get the idea that he’ll ever be right about anything, ever again>
I know that for a while there last month, it seemed very, very stressed when I tried to feed her separately in another tub as many people recommend, to keep the water cleaner. It would not eat in that separate container, and would frantically claw and claw and claw the side of the tub. I tried doing this for about a week and finally gave up as it simply
wouldn't eat in that separate tub. From then, it seemed, it stopped eating.
<She’s not hungry!>
Please advise. I am worried because it's more than a month now, and it has eaten maybe 25 bites of food in this entire month, where, as a tiny hatchling, it would eat between 15-20 sticks of turtle food each day, and 2-3 heads of tiny anchovy heads, which it LOVED. Now, it won't even eat the beloved anchovies anymore. :(
<Ok – as odd as this may seem – fish are not part of Lily’s natural diet and not all that good for her. So use them as a treat only.>
I have tried feeding it greens, and it wouldn't eat those. Nor carrots, nor strawberries, nor boiled egg whites, nor anything else. So, I thought, ok, maybe it's not eating veg yet, so back to the anchovies and the turtle sticks. Nope. Thanks and look forward to any ideas you may have. Have a happy new year!
MiowLin Y.
<there is a great scene in an otherwise obscure movie called “Other People’s Money” where Danny DeVito offers Piper Laurie a donut and she says “no thanks, I’m not hungry.” DeVito replies one of the greatest lines every uttered: “What does that have to do with eating a donut? Do they taste better when you’re hungry?”>
<My point is that most of us keep eating long after we’re no longer hungry and when someone (or a beloved pet) stops eating before the food literally bulges out of our stomach we think something is wrong.>
<Lily has stopped eating because she’s not hungry. The seasonal cycle has triggered an instinct in her – NOT to get trapped in winter with a full stomach. If they bruminate over winter with a full stomach the food can rot and cause a fatal infection, which is why they stop eating a month before it gets cold. This is all normal>
<If Lily is active and alert, let her enjoy life. And YOU enjoy life, too>


Res turtle; hlth., sys.          7/2/15
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have a female red eared slider turtle that's almost a year old now. I just bought it from an aquarium store about a week and a half ago. I have a 20 gallon take along w a light, filter bridge so she can bask and go under.
<Read this article from start to finish - it tells you everything you need to know about keeping a Slider happy & healthy. Make sure you understand every part. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
I bought 10 little fish at the aquarium to put in there so she can hunt and eat them whenever she wants.
<Nice idea, but in the wild, fish are not part of a turtle's diet and probably not all that good for them.>
I feed her romaine lettuce and those turtle pellets.
<Leafy greens are good - but a PROPER Turtle pellet or, as I use, Koi food, is a complete and balanced diet for them>
Recently (about two days ago and still continuing), I've seen bubbles coming out of her nose and she rarely comes out from under the bridge only to eat when I feed her. She was eating the fish but there only five left and she hasn't ate one in about three days.
<Remember, she has little to do and lots to eat - she may be just 'full'>
Ever since I've gotten her she has NEVER basked over even tried to go on top of the bridge. I'm not sure if something is wrong with her that's why I am emailing you guys. I don't really have the money to take her to the vet or anything unless it's something really serious. I've also noticed that her stool (I've only seen once) was very big with like a fuzz at the end of the stool that idk if it was there before or after it came out of her. I am she her stool is normal but I'm mostly concerned about the bubbles and not moving a lot.
<Behavior is one of the ways we gauge the health of our pets, so it's a good thing that you're noticing and questioning what you see. It may be nothing or it may be something, so it's worth talking about.>
<The first mistake most people make is putting a heater in the water. A slider is best when the water is 68-73 degrees (more or less room temperature) and the basking area is 88-93 degrees. This way she has a choice of warm or cool. Some people heat the water to 80 degrees and then wonder why the little guy doesn't bask.>
<The other thing is that a week and a half is not a long time. It may be that the turtle simply hasn't adjusted to the new surroundings yet … she mat still be scared. The bubbles and poop don't concern me yet.>
<As I said, the first thing is to check all your care against the article above and correct anything that's wrong. Something people often overlook is outside distractions. If the tank is in the same room with a jumping, barking puppy, a little brother and sitting next to a loud stereo, the turtle may simply never have a chance to calm down.>
<Next thing you can do, say, once a week or so, when you have the time … take her outside for a while. When you have the time to be with her and watch her AND NOT TAKE YOUR EYES OFF OF HER -- put her outside, somewhere safe, in the sun, and observe her. After a few minutes, does she come out from her shell, look around, blink her eyes, move her head and then move around? Or does she stay retracted for the entire time? What we're looking for is an active, alert turtle (plus the sunshine is good for her). If she spend the entire 15 minutes retracted in her shell, then she may be ill and we have further investigations to do>
Thank you for taking your time I really appreciate it.


Turtle help?    12/23/14
hey guys, This is the first time I've ever messaged a website for help. I'm sorry if I'm a little weird. I wanted some help with my boyfriends RES. He has had the turtle for 9 years, and has had him in a, what we think, 20 gallon tank.
<Too small.
Given the age of this turtle, his shell should be about the size of a side plate, 15-20 cm/6-8 inches across. Varies for sure, but he should be pretty big. Assume he needs a basking rock at least that big, as well as swimming space, and it's hard to imagine all that fitting in a 20 gallon tank.>
Im worried about the size of the tank myself, but I don't actually know a lot about turtle care.
<Do read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/RESCareBarton.htm
The basics are not hard to understand or even expensive. A few non-negotiables, like UV-B, a heat lamp, and a greens-based diet, but the rest is pretty flexible.>
The biggest thing is the turtle claws at the tank...A LOT.....he is constantly trying to crawl out it seems, as I've read that's what they do when hungry, but he tries so hard to claw out that he turned himself over and was stuck on his back!!! I worry that he needs more room and a better filter.
<Quite so. You read the situation well.>

There is another issue with the turtle's eye, and it seems to be...puffy?
it seems half closed almost, but he doesn't itch at it or anything. He eats just fine and normally basks in the lamp. His diet is normally pellets but he has been getting treats of tried shrimp and mealworms.....is there anything we need to change about his diet also?
<Puffy/swollen eyes are extremely serious
. Get to a vet as soon as possible, but in the meantime, review diet (vitamin D specifically) and check the last time you replaced the UV-B light (they last 6-12 months depending on the brand). Turtles need both vitamin D and UV-B to stay healthy. In the wild the vitamin D comes from the diet, but pellets are pretty rubbish in this regard, so you need a vitamin source such as cod liver oil. UV-B would naturally come from basking for hours under the sun, but that doesn't work indoors (for one thing, glass cuts out the UV-B from sunshine) so we need the UV-B lamp over the basking spot. Do read:

Help with turtle, sys. and env. hlth.  4/8/13
<Hi Mike, Sue here with you.>
I have a red eared slider who is about 10 years old. It lives in a 40 gallon tank with a floating rock to rest on
<Is the rock large enough for him to be able to get completely dried off? >
bask under the lamp light.
<What kind(s) of lights?  Heat AND UVB I hope? >
The tank also has some small rocks throughout it and a large filter that is big enough for the tank.
There also is a heater in the tank. I'm not positive how warm the water is, but I'm almost positive that it feels above 80 degrees.
<Too warm; you should yank the heater. The water should be on the cooler side, around 68-70 degrees F (what amounts to room temperature for most people). Since turtles have to rely on their external environment to regulate their internal body temperature, this allows him to decide whether he wants cool/wet or warm/dry at any given time.>
Because the tank is so large and heavy, instead of changing the water I just add water to the tank after some has evaporated.
<Leaving it up to evaporation is not enough, even with a filter.  You need to also be doing at least a 50% water change at least once a week or more often if necessary. This is easily accomplished without lifting the tank. All you need is a siphon tube and a bucket of water (placed below the water level in the tank). You plug up one end with your thumb, fill the tube with water, plug the other end with your other thumb and place that end in the water. You then release both thumbs and start “vacuuming” the waste and water into the bucket.>
I also change the filter regularly.
<Given he’s an adult in a 40 gallon tank, “regular” should mean at least every 2-4 weeks, determined by the water quality.>
However, lately my RES has been sleeping throughout the day and hardly moving, and each day is getting worse. I fear it may be dying. It also hasn't been eating because it sleeps all day.
<Unfortunately, those aren’t good signs.>
However, many times in the past, especially during the winter, my turtle doesn't eat very often, so that's nothing new.
<While an indoor turtle’s appetite can diminish somewhat in the colder months, they don’t get affected in the same way that an outdoor turtle would. He should still be hungry/eating every few days otherwise you should be starting to suspect that he might be ill.>
The sleeping all day is new though in the past month. It looks limp in the tank, but wakes up from time to time.
<If he does survive this, the next time you want to take action much sooner – after only a few days. This is because turtles are very stoic by nature. By the time they’re showing actual physical signs of illness, they’re likely very sick and have been sick a long time. And unfortunately once they do show signs like this, they often go downhill fast. >
Also, in the past couple of months the tank has accumulated more waste and has not been cleaned.
<I’m sure you know that you can’t keep a turtle this way (or any living creature) and expect them to stay healthy. Even the best filter on the market can’t keep up with turtle waste. And weekly water changes also aren’t enough, especially if you’re feeding him in his tank vs. in a separate container. You need to remove any waste you see each day, or after feeding him, with a net and not allow it to break down in the water. >
<Assuming he makes it through this, if your schedule doesn’t allow you time to properly take care of him, the most humane thing you can do for him is try to find someone who can and would be willing to adopt him. And at the least, never leave him in dirty water. Better to take him and keep him in a dry enclosure with heat lamp, UVB light, and access to clean drinking water (see more about this below) until you can get around to cleaning his enclosure. Just make sure if you do this that you allow him to completely dunk in some cool clean water for a while each day. >
I'm fearing the worst for my turtle, please help me.
<Will try, but if you want to save him, you need more than us right now. First, take him out of the tank immediately and dry-dock him until his appetite and behavior is back to normal. See the linked article here for how to do that; look under the section entitled, “Isolation and Dry-Dock” (and I’d also suggest reading the whole article) --
(Note:  You didn’t mention specifics of your lighting but when you dry dock him, in addition to a heat lamp or heating pad (see the article for how to use the heating pad if that’s what you choose), you MUST have a UVB light over him. If you don’t have a UVB, get one now. And if it’s warm where you are, I’d also suggest taking him outside and letting him get some sun (real UVB) each day.) >
<Next – you need to get him to a vet – ASAP. Given how ill he is, and also how long he’s been ill, dry docking alone won’t be enough. And nothing we can suggest here will replace what a vet can and should be doing for him right now, including:
• Get some basic blood work on him, in particular to check for a systemic infection.  Once a turtle’s body gets run down from not eating or from poor conditions such as poor water quality, they become much more susceptible to opportunistic pathogens and infectious diseases. 
• Prescribe injectable antibiotics if he does have an infection.  This will be the quickest and most effective method.
• Give him injectable forms of Vitamin A and Vitamin D.  Given what you’ve said about his eating, it’s likely he’s deficient in both. As with the antibiotics, the injectable form of these vitamins is what you want at this point, so a vet visit pronto is in order.
-Thanks, Mike
<You’re welcome Mike; write back if you have questions on any of this. I do hope you can have him in to see a vet right away, and that he starts to come around. Also, while you have him in dry-dock, read our basic care link here and make whatever changes necessary in his care:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >

RES shell problems? Help!      10/2/12
Dear Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have two red eared sliders and up until recently they were doing awesome. They are very active and really enjoy eating and basking. They jump in the water when scared like normal. I'm not sure why their shell is turning white-ish but it is really concerning me. I have the UVB light and a heat lamp (over their basking area). Their water is 80 degrees which I monitor with a thermometer.
<Basking temp should be 88-93 degrees and water temp should be 68 to 72 - basically unheated room temperature.  Your water is WAY too hot.>
I feed them the pellets and on occasion the red dried shrimp. I have also given them small fish which a pet store worker suggested.
<This is why we don't listen to pet store workers.   Koi pellets & Repto-min make a good, basic diet with an occasional earthworm as a treat.>
They really enjoyed it. I have looked throughout your site but I wanted your professional opinion before I come to any conclusions.
<OK - first the water is WAY too hot.  Remove the heater completely>
<Second: read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm  >
<Third - if they are eating and active and the shells are firm and don't smell - it may just be mineral deposits (water spotting) - it happens all the time>
I added a second picture which I thought was really cute.
<OH SURE!!! They're ALWAYS cute at that age … wait until they grow up and take your car one night without permission and back it into the neighbor's tree - THEN we'll see how cute they are!!>
Please help!!
<No worries>

Re: Darrel rants.  Again.     10/3/12
Dear Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here.  Again>
Also, every single site I have looked on says that the water should be 75-80 degrees
<Well then - every single site on the internet is wrong.   Period.   I've been where they live, Melissa - and they range from Pennsylvania to Mexico and the only time a body of water would get anywhere NEAR 80 degrees is during an unusual dry-spell/drought or other condition where the body of water is being terribly heated by an unrelenting sun.>
<Of the many problems and drawbacks to the Internet, the equal weight given inaccurate and dangerous information is right there at the top.   Worse, one source on the net is used by 10 other sites on the net, making it appear as if 11 sites have the exact same information - when in fact it all comes from one stupid person who's mom got him a copy of Dreamweaver.>
<Another problem is that the internet has given people the attention span of fruit flies - but I'll address that another time.  Right now it's 80 degree water.  Where, in nature is the water 75-80 degrees except in a hot spring?>
<The water should be 68-72 degrees and the basking area air/surface should be 88-93 degrees - this allows the turtle to CHOOSE between heating up when he feels cool and cooling off when he feels warm.  Remember … your turtle is an expert at being a turtle.  He/she knows what he needs - you have to give him the choice>
<What you've given him is a choice between being warm and very warm>
This is what I feed them, is that okay?
<It's fine.  Zoo Med makes quality stuff.  Koi Pellets are cheaper and have the same basic formula.  I raise them from hatchlings to breeders on Kay-Tee brand Koi pellets and occasional earthworms.

Please help - Red Eared Slider in distress! Sys./env.    1/15/12
Dear Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have had my red eared slider turtle since last May.  He was the size of a 50 ct. piece when I found him in a lake nearby, and I was afraid the herons there would eat him.  So I scooped him up.
<That does happen>
I had him in a large tank (125 gal.) not knowing if he would grow fast or not.  He seemed lost in it,
<Well, I bet it wasn't as big as the lake he was in, was it?>
So I recently put him in a smaller tank, which I thought I had thoroughly cleaned, and put some of the old water in with the new, which has the same safety chemicals I use for all my fish, some of which I've had for years.
<Turtles don't require the water conditions that fish require>
Anyway, yesterday he was completely listless and floating on his back.  We put him up on a rock, so he would not drown.  I really thought he was dead.
He started moving very slowly but is still not eating and not quite up to snuff.  At least he will lift his head and has opened his eyes.  I have turtle safe fluids which are supposed to eliminate any problems with waste and bacteria - any time I add water, I always treat it with a combo of Aqua safe, ph7, and Prime, due to the caustic Fairfax Co. water.  This has worked well for me, but maybe turtles are different.
<Something you would have known had you researched turtles back when you first got him>
I put a heater in for him and the aquarium has a standard light.  I put another lamp close by to try and warm him up further.  He has responded, but is not really quite the same. His diet is a good blend that I bought from Petco, but he has not been eating so far.  Should I try some spinach or kale?   Or an eyedropper?  I tried to give him a little fresh fruit months ago but he never touched it.
<The environment isn't set up correctly for him and he's probably debilitated and in a weakened condition now>
I really don't want to lose this little guy, so any help would be appreciated.  We do not have a herpetological vet available, so I'm pretty much on my own, but am willing to do whatever it takes.
<OK, Adele: Here's what it takes:  READ AND LEARN>
<First, read this: 
 get him OUT of the water entirely.   Read here about isolation treatment. 
Keep him warm and dry and under UV-B light for at least 12 hours a day.  
Feed him in a shallow bowl of water once a day for 5 minutes or so.   From what you've told me, I'd offer him tiny (VERY TINY) pieces of beef liver - it has a very high concentration of vitamins and other nutrients that we need to get into him ASAP.  Get OUT of the water and someplace warm and dry!>
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm this article describes in simple detail everything he needs to be healthy and happy.  
He doesn't need much, but he NEEDS everything discussed.>
Thanks so much for any help you can give me.
Adele Partlow
<You're welcome, Adele - but I WILL say that it's a shame that you've had him since May and are just now attempting to learn about him.  If you'd read these two articles in May, he'd be healthy, happy and bigger by now.>

Red eared slider in Indian Conditions   12/11/11
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have a Male Red Eared Slider for the past 3 years.  He is kept in a big enough tank with pile of rocks as basking area.
Recently My turtle has developed swollen eye for which I am using "Ciplox-D" Eye drops 3 times a day, this has brought down the swelling a bit, But I  want your help to get him fully cured.
<Swollen eyes are typically a sign of Vitamin A deficiency.   The best way to correct this naturally is to feed him with small pieces of chicken liver or Koi pellets soaked in Cod Liver Oil.  Make sure he has plenty of IV-b and/or natural sunlight>
He is generally feed on 2-3 small dry fish
<Believe it or not - fish is NOT a part of a turtle's natural diet.>
and 2-3 sticks of Taiyo's Turtle Food, he refrains from eating any leafy vegetables.
<So do I.>
He is healthy and active as before .I also want to know about his long nails, should I get them trim..??.
<No, they're just fine.  Males just grow them when they become mature>
I would also like to know what environment should be provided for Red Eared Slider in India, I stay in Bangalore City where summer temperature is  28-30 C and winter temperature is 16-22 C.   Please suggest me medicines and other required things according to availability in India market if you can.
<Certainly, Anuroop.  If you read this article on basic care, you'll find that a Red Eared Slider doesn't need very much - and what it needs is not expensive.  But it ABSOLUTELY MUST HAVE what it needs. 
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<UV-B lighting is essential.  The challenge you will face is having the water in his tank cool enough that he will choose to leave that water and bask under the heat & UV lamps.  If he does not bask frequently, it may be necessary for you to remove him from the tank once or twice a week and place him in a small, dry enclosed area where you can direct the UV-B over him.>
<A basic diet of Koi pellets is cheap and a completely balanced food for him.  You may wish to add in an earthworm once a month and a piece of chicken liver once or twice a month for variation.>
-Thanking You
Anuroop Satle
<You are most welcome>

wet feces, RES   12/7/11
Hi! I'm Cristy.
<I'm glad ONE of us is!!  I'm not - I'm Darrel.>
I have a red-eared slider, female. Her shell's length is about 8". I rescued her from the flood two years ago.
<Thank you!>
Her diet consists of pellets and lettuce...
<Not sure what kind of pellets.  I feed mine Koi pellets.  Lettuce? Not so much.  No real nutritional value in lettuce>
I noticed, her feces are liquid if , for instance, I put her in a basin today with water enough to fully submerged her then the following day she have these kind of feces...
<That's normal>
We don't put her in an aquarium or pond.
<Her natural environment is aquatic, Cristy.  She should have access to water she can submerge in all the time>
She lives in our terrace which she loves to roam around to.
<She MAY be looking for a larger body of water>
We provide her a shallow basin with water where we feed her.
<Can she climb into and out of it any time she wants?>
She goes there every time she sees someone and looks like she's begging for food.
<She's probably made the connection between that basin and food - so yes, she IS begging for food>
She doesn't want to be submerged but sometimes the temperature is so high that we put her in and let her stay in the water for few hours.
<The proper care is for a Slider to have a choice between water and basking.>
I'm from the Philippines so our temperature sometimes is so high.
<Yes - and that's a problem with smaller containers of water.  The DEEPER the water to more likely it will remain cool in the hotter hours>
Our terrace doesn't have a roof so she can get enough sunlight that she needs...
<That part is great.>
What do you think seems to be the problem? Another concern of mine is, every time we put her in the water, she looks like she is swimming...
<She's an aquatic turtle - she's SUPPOSED to swim!>
The water is enough to cover her shell so it's funny to see her doing that.
She does it for hours I think... My mom said, maybe it's good for her for it can serve as her exercise since we put her in a diet since she gained weight.
<Mom's right!>
Is this a problem?
<Over feeding and gaining weight is very definitely a problem, Cristy. 
Especially for an animal that doesn't get the routine exercise of swimming>
<I'd like you to start reading here: 
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm  about the basic needs for Sliders and their family - then continue your research on our site.  An adult Red Eared Slider should permanent access to water that is at least 8 inches deep, 24 inches wide by 24 inches long - and that is just a minimum!   Her long term health is better suited if she has a choice at any time of swimming or resting in the cool water or basking in the sun.>
Thank you so much...
<Yer welcome>
God bless you!
<You and your turtle as well!>

living conditions of sick red eared slider turtle    11/22/11
Hello dear WWM team,
<Hiya - Darrel here!>
I want to first thank you for even thinking about reading my very long letter.
<Well, if you took the time to write it - the least we could do is read it '¦>
You are truly amazing for giving in such time and effort to help us deal with our animals and also helping our animals have a better quality of life.
<Yes we are, aren't we? But I must say that it takes a person of great style and wisdom to notice '¦ so we tip our cap to you as well!>
People like you make the world a better place.
<My ex-wife has an opposing opinion and often demands equal time>
I bought 2 baby red eared sliders from a pet store stand in a festival I went to. With the turtles they gave us some turtle pellets made in china ( picture1 attached) and told us to put a little in there water everyday.
<Well - there are no pictures attached. Hmmm. Oh well - we press on!>
I bought them in a plastic bowl with palm trees.
<I LOVE THOSE LITLE BOWLS!!!! When I was a kid in Florida that's what they sold the turtles in. I still have one which I use on occasions. It's NOT a place to keep them for any length of time, but when you have company coming and you take a couple turtles from the real tank and place them in the little bowl - with some pink-colored stones in that tiny little center compartment '¦ and then you have Iron Butterfly's Inna Gada Davida on the turntable '¦. Good times!!>
I kept them in it with new food, water everyday and a desk lamp during the day and in the evening I put them on a shelf and turn off all the lights off. After a week I got them a 20 gallon aquarium, with filter heater, air bubbles, normal and UV light. I filled 75% of it with dechlorinated water. They had pebbles and big stone ornament. They did not have a basking area so they would attach to the filter or thermometer most of the time, until their basking area was shipped to me. After a while some algae started t grow on the pebbles in the bottom of the tank, so we took them all out. 1 of the turtles "Sunny" got sick or maybe because I did not give them the right environment or maybe I bought them sick because they were too young and usually pet shops don't treat there animals right or because reptiles usually do not show signs of sickness at the beginning of there illness and so you wouldn't really know if they were sick when you buy them.
<You've gotten all the assumptions right, La Reine. They may have been sick when you got them, but certainly they were under stress.>
They both got sick one before the other because they did not have enough sun light, heat, or diet or because did not frequently change there water as I should or because of the cold water and basking area, however I did not know any of that and was trying my best to take care of them.
<This would be a good time to remind ALL our readers that you should thoroughly investigate and research all the care information about your pets BEFORE you buy them - so that a proper home is available as soon as they arrive. It's a cruel thing to subject a pet to a "learn by doing" method of care>
Sunny started moving rarely and obviously got sick.
<Yes, probably not well when you got him - and the stress and non-optimal care made it worse>
On the other hand, Bambix was active and moving and eating. I read on the internet that hatchlings need only little water, so I decreased the water level ( attached picture)
<Again - not picture attached>
In weeks Sunny got sicker and sicker and the other one got sick, swollen eyes/ no movement/ soft shells/
<Bad diet, lack of UV-B and heat - ALL PREVENTABLE>
Sunny had yellow mucus like patches ON and not in her skin it is not a discoloration of her skin but some kind of growth in different places on her body, I changed their aquarium to the attached picture 10/13/2011 because it was easier to clean.
<What she has is likely a fungal infection>
I took them to the vet were the vet treated them with vitamin A and told me to feed them, she gave me a flexible plastic tip of a needle to open there mouths and a syringe to put blended food in there mouths and gave me a dietary schedule and told me that I need to sunbath them everyday. I added a table lamp to there aquarium, it increased the basking areas temperature to 29- 33 degrees Celsius, they occasionally left the basking area to hide behind things.
<Yes - they do that when they get too warm - that's the point of this>
I did what the vet told me, I would usually mix what I can find together ex: cabbage carrot grilled chicken tomato water egg shells all blended together, then I would feed it to the with the syringe (kind of force feed them because they do not like it) although feeding them is hard I did feed them everyday once although I had to do it twice and the last 3 days before the sickest one of them Sunny died
<Sorry for the loss, La Reine>
I took them to the same vet, she examined both, and gave the Bambix a vitamin A injection as she did for both of them in the 1st appointment. She also checked Bambix for the yellow patches that were on Sunny, and said he didn't have any, and told us to bring him back if these yellow things appear on him and she will give is an antibiotic.
However Bambix still is touches his eyes with his hands, the vet says he will get better with time if you feed him well, which I do not see happening.
<He needs the sun baths - and UV-B lamp>
I attached pictures of Bambix now with the state of the aquarium he is in. The diet I am trying to follow and the cod liver oil human supplement capsules which I sometimes add to his food blend.
<Cod liver oil is a very good source of Vitamins A & D, both of which he needs>
I apologize for such a long letter, You guys are the best and you truly care about these animals and I am doubting the ability of my vet or any vets around here to deal with semi aquatic turtles so I don't really have anyone else to ask?
<Well to be honest, it's not the vet whose competence is in question, La Reine. You're the one that bought them without understanding their needs>
Please tell me what I should do to keep Bambix alive and in best health and is my nutritional plan and living conditions good enough?
<I'm going to give you two links>
<This one is on the needs and basic care -- your job is to read them both THOROUGHLY and make sure that you understand them COMPLETELY'¦ and then that you DO everything that it says to do, OK? Measure EVERY SINGLE PART of your care against this article and correct EVERYTHING that isn't right. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<this next link is about treating illnesses. You clearing have a vitamin deficiency problem - which you and the vet are addressing -- but you also may have a fungal issue: turtles that don't bask properly (not enough heat or UV light) get sick and when they get sick it's easier for the fungus to grow.>
<Particularly, I'd like you to keep Bambix warm and DRY while she's recovering. Place her in water once or twice daily to drink, swim and maybe eat -but while recovering she needs to be in a place with a heat lamp only at one end and a UV-B lamp covering the whole thing. It's all explained in detail in the article. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >
<If you read, understand, fix things and take the time to care for them - Bambix should be OK>
Re: turtle help   11/26/11

Hello, thanks for the response!
<Yer welcome!>
OK, His shell is right around 4-5inches from edge to edge.
<Nice size for an adult>
He's about the same size as all the other ones I've seen in the pet stores. The filters, when they're clogged, are solid light brown and gunky looking. In his tank, it's him, some stacking stones for basking, a decorative fake plant with a wooden L-shaped log base.. (the only thing in there brown, really) And a fake lily-pad. (He had those when he was in the pond. So we got him a fake one for the tank..) And one rock from outside. We cleaned it off first. There's some algae near the basking stones.. And something reddish in the corner under the basking stones.. And those tiny rocks for the floor. The water is 95% completely clear.
<I don't know what 95% completely clear means>
It's just a little cloudy by the fake wooden log.
<Do you mean like there is something leeching out from the fake wooden log?>
That's all that's in the tank. Food: I've never once seen him eat, but those pellets we give him always disappear. One time, one was stuck to the filter still in one piece. We give him these: Tetra-ReptoMin-Sticks
<A fine foot. Koi pellets are cheaper and exactly the same formula>
I usually drop three in twice a week because all the sites say exactly what you said. But again, he's never rushed to eat anything I drop in so.. I don't know. Now, last night I had an epiphany. I realized that the reviewer who said he changes the filter once a month also said that his turtles use the top of it as a basking area. I thought, how the heck do they turtles climb all the way up there? Mine can barely get on his basking stone that's half an inch out of the water'¦ I realized that that reviewer has A LOT more water in his tank than I have in mine'¦.. I've got about five inches of water in my tank. He must have 9-10 inches in his tank and they can practically walk up onto the top of the fountain. If I had twice the water in my tank, then the water on the dirty side of the filter would be higher, thus using more of the surface area of the filter, right??
And if it used more of the filter instead of clogging 3 inches of it at the bottom, it would last longer, yes?
<Also correct>
So today I'm going to get him something bigger to bask on and I'm going to add more water and see if that helps.. However you think its other things at work that are clogging it'¦So let me know what you think.
<I believe that everyone is entitled to my opinion!>
Thanks for your help, really appreciate it.
<sure. Here goes:>
<As a general rule, I use filters in turtle tanks to remove odors and to circulate water. I'll use an external filter with perhaps some floss in the first chamber and the remaining 2 filled with activated charcoal. The reason for this is that turtles are such poop machines that it's not really possible to have an efficient biological filter system - they just make more waste than a biological filter bed can process. For this reason, I don't place my filter intake where it will pick up a lot of debris - for just the reason you have - the filter would get clogged too frequently. So I just use the filter for the charcoal to take any smells out of the water and then, every Saturday morning, I siphon the detritus from the bottom of the tank and replace the water.>
<So you may be on to something, except for this: One turtle, large tank, 3 pellets twice a week is NOT a lot of food to make a lot of waste>
<So what *I* think you should do is this: Raise the level of the water, remove one item at a time to see if you can find which item in your setup is disintegrating and adding to the filter load. Start with the fake log for a week, then the rock from outside.>
<Good luck!>

Baby RES turtle, sys., env. dis.  -- 11/07/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I've looked all over the site trying to find the answer to my question. So I hope I don't sound like a broken record to you. I had 2 Red Eared Slider turtles (Snaps and Num Nums) I got them in July of 2010. They were 1 inch in diameter and are now 2 inches. They started with a 55 gal tank with silk vegetation and a water heater.
<OK '¦.>
Living in Washington state it starts to get cold in October needless to say it starting to get cold (down to 50's during the day and the mid 40's at night). I had turtles in California and never had to get them a basking lamp
<Well yes, you DID have to '¦ it's just for some odd reason, they didn't get sick and die>
so it never occurred to me to get my baby turtles one. So my problem is both babies stopped eating about two weeks ago. The little one of the two had started basking and one day I went to see them and he was completely limp. He didn't move and so I called my vet and he said I need the heat lamp and a UVB light so I rushed out and got both lights and placed them in there. Sadly Nums did not make it :( but now my other baby turtle is doing the same thing the other one did now all she does is bask and she doesn't go to the water. She won't eat at all I even tried flavoring her pellets with tuna water(as suggested on a site and she didn't even look at it) I have her on ReptoMin pellets. Her water temp is 74degrees. And how close should I have the basking light away from the basking rock? It's a 100watt bulb and it's the night one so I can keep it on all day and night.
<I don't understand what a 'night one' means. A basking lamp is normally a regular old incandescent bulb. You CAN use a heat lamp if you have one, but it's not necessary. Both the basking/heat lamp should be on approximately 12 hours a day as should the UV/B lamp. The basking area should be around 88-93 degrees. You can measure that by leaving an oven thermometer on the spot, under the lamp, for 5 minutes and then check the reading. Move the lamp up or down depending on the adjustment and test again. Then be sure to clean the thermometer.>
<Here is a link that coverers the basics: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
How long does it normally take baby turtles to bounce back? I'd like to know if she will eventually go back to normal or if I should do something for her. I really don't want to have a second baby turtle funeral :( thank you for your help.
<We'll do what we can>
<The first bit of bad news is that by the time ANY fish or reptile shows outward signs of illness, they've already been ill for quite a while and by then are VERY sick. The second bit is that it's more acute in babies.>
<First, get the baby OUT of the water completely. At this stage all that would do for her is offer the opportunity to drown. What she needs is a vet visit, an injections of vitamins (A& D mostly) and calcium and a drop or two of some liquid food.>
<Then she needs to be warm and dry, where the warmth is coming 24/7 from a heating pad on the bottom and 14 hours a day of UV/B from above.>
<Please read this link, get her warm and dry IMMEDIATELY and then see what you can do about a vet visit.>

The Story Of The Bad Owner Who Wishes To Repent For His Actions, RES hlth., env. 9/7/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I've got a Red-eared Slider Turtle that I've had since I was 5 (I'm now 17) so that's 12 years.
<Basic math: check!>
I would like to inquire about my turtles health. I have a female, not sure of exact size but very big, I'd estimate 6-7 inches maybe, in what I believe to be a 55 gallon tank. There is a UV light, a basking raft, which used to be suctioned to the wall, but I guess she didn't like that and bit off the suctions so now it just floats there, a water heater thingy which I keep at about 80 degrees, and an Aqueon filter.
Sorry for my rudimentary description but we got these things years ago and I don't remember the exact product names as I was not as mature as I am now, and didn't think to remember them. I've been around your site and you're right, turtles are NOT for children.
<Not without parental support, no>
I sucked as an owner and my parents didn't do a thing. Years ago we had no filter and I rarely clean the tank, and when we had to keep her in the basement for 2 years, I'd forget about her for weeks, and then go back and dump what I'd imagine now to be half the tube of food into the tank.
<Sad tale and all too common>
Another time when I was maybe 8, I put 2 miniature Red-eared Sliders (maybe 3 inches? I don't remember, really small) that I'd got from Chinatown in the tank with her because I thought she'd be the mommy and take care of them.
She ate them both and buried their shells in the gravel. I was horrible and I apologize and I've been trying to repent.
<Thank you>
Well, until about a month ago, for maybe a year, the tank's filter was broken and my mom was saying we were too poor to buy a new one, and I couldn't clean the tank because it's too big for me to pick up alone because I'm skinny, frail and
weak, and no one else wanted to help me. So for about a year, my turtle sat in maybe 3-5 inches of extremely bad water, and I couldn't do anything about it. But about a month ago I was able to get a new filter and someone finally helped me
clean the tank. I am EXTREMELY SORRY, and I know you guys probably hate me as an owner by now but I'm going to try and keep everything well for her as I'd like to have her as a life long companion.
<Red Eared Sliders are very resilient, Heru. When conditions improve, they often improve>
First of all, I wanted to know, could the bad conditions she used to be kept in have lowered her life expectancy?
<Not as long as no serious infection developed>
She never seemed to be in bad shape, surprisingly, and now she seems fine for the most part. Another thing is on her shell, There are small shiny patches. They don't look like anything bad. Have you ever seen a plastic like saran wrap (sorry if I spelled that wrong) stretched tightly over a smooth flat surface with a thin layer of water under it? It looks like the little areas of air that shine when the light hits them. The one's on her shell also only shine when light hits them. Should I be concerned about this?
<It's really hard to say without seeing her. As she grows, the scutes of her shell shed - and in the process they become very thin layers that would shine when the light hits them. It could also be a fungus starting>
Another thing is occasionally I'll catch her biting at her left arm. She hasn't broken the skin, and sometimes she only rubs it against her head instead of biting. She stops after a while though. What does this mean?
<That sounds like something they do when they have a skin condition, like a fungus. It's their version of scratching>
And also, I won't lie. The filter is pretty loud even though it claimed to be extremely quiet, and sometimes, I HAVE to unplug it at night in order to sleep.
<That's not a problem, either. Unlike fish, turtles have a high tolerance for variable water conditions. We're not trying to make a nitrogen cycle like we do for fish. For turtles, filtration is more about straining the particles out of the water so we can remove them by rising the filter material. The filter can be off overnight with no ill effects at all as long as the water is more or less clean again during the following day>
Sorry to bother you and sorry I was such a sucky owner, but I'm mature now and I understand that a life is in my hands and I need to take specific steps to make sure that life stays existent.
<Thank you for that>
Please don't hate me.
<We don't hate you, Heru - we appreciate you and we're hear to help.>
<With that said, I have a few suggestions>
<First, read this link on basic care. Check the suggestions against your setup and think about what you may need to change. Nothing needs to be expensive - there are ways to accomplish everything without great costs if we take the time to think about it>
<Now, there ARE some things to change -- but what we want -- and this is IMPORTANT -- is to change things SLOWLY. As unusual as her care has been, she's survived 12 years of it, so we don't want to change anything too quickly unless it's life threatening>
<Start turning the heat DOWN on her water heater. The goal is to try to have it off completely and removed from the tank within 2 weeks. If she lives indoors then plain old room temperature is good enough for her water.
What we want to do is create a situation were she gets to CHOOSE between a warm basking area and cool water -- then she'll go to wherever she needs to go.>
<For a basking lamp, a plain old 60 watt incandescent bulb will work just fine. Take a wire coat hanger and bend it in some way to wrap around the floating dock and then snake up the side of the tank to the top and hook it over. This is to try to get the floating dock to stay under or near the lamp. The lamp can be held in a very inexpensive 'clamp lamp' from any local hardware or building supply store and set 10 to 12 inches above so that when the lamp has been shinning on the floating dock for an hour, put your hand on the dock and the light shinning on it should feel pretty darned warm>
<She also needs a source of UV light, but for the present time, you can accomplish this for taking her outside for walks. 15 minutes of moving around in the direct sunlight will help her immune system fight off any fungus, her metabolism manufacture Vitamin D, etc.>
<Here is another link to possible treatments for illnesses. In your case I don't hear any real illness, but reading about them might help you recognize one early at some time in the future. Also, the isolation treatment, where we keep them warm and dry for a few weeks, can be like a "vacation" even for a healthy turtle.>
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm>
Now, it seems to me that, at present, water quality is your biggest issue.
Sliders can endure a great range of water qualities because they haul out under warm lamps and dry out -- most of the pathogens in the dirty water that are trying to get a foothold on the turtle are kept at bay by the heat and dryness. But that presumes proper UV lighting and basking temperatures and other things we're not sure of yet.>
<But here's the thing: You don't HAVE to move and dump the tank when it needs cleaning: an inexpensive siphon tube will suck the water out or failing that you can bail a great deal of water out with a plastic cup.
Just stir up the water really well as you siphon or bail so that you're getting as much of the big particles out as you bail.>
<Here's another thing you can do on water changing day: Take the turtle out first thing in the morning and place her in a box or container. Move the basking light to one corner of that container (so that she can get directly under it OR get pretty much away from it). Now clean the tank like I suggested: siphon or bail and refill with clean water. Now assuming a 55 gallon tank and approximately half full, put in 4-5 tablespoons of household bleach. Make sure the filter is on and running
(to keep the water circulating). At night, turn the basking lamp off and let her sleep in the dry box. In the morning, the bleach will have killed a lot of pathogens then dissipated and it's safe to put her back in and replace the lamp.>
<everything that she needs to live a long and happy life can be given to her with very little cost if you're willing to put in the effort>
<Lastly, and I really think this is a good idea, is to look around for the local turtle and tortoise club in your area. If you can find one, I'm betting that you can find and experienced "old hand" who would be happy to help you.>

RED Eared Slider sick?
Poor care leads to illness? 7/29/10

<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have had a red eared slider for approximately 30 yrs, previously belonged to a friend of mine, so I believe he is at least 40 yrs old. In any event, he is in a 30 gallon glass aquarium, no heat lamp, no sun lamp and has been this way for the whole time I have had him and my friend had him. I change his water approximately 3 x a month.
<It's hard for me to decide where to begin to tell you how wrong and unhealthy that is. Without thermoregulation, his metabolism can't properly digest and absorb nutrients from his food. Without natural sunlight or an artificial substitute, he can't synthesize the Vitamin D he needs to help absorb the calcium that his bones need. Since calcium is necessary for muscle movement, his body is actually slowly 'eating' his bones in order to keep his heart beating.>
<Honestly, PW -- we don't recommend all these accessories because we're afraid that you have too much extra money, OK? He doesn't need very much, but he NEEDS what he needs. Read here - and FIX what's wrong: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>
I just 'adopted' a new slider, I believe very young, with a wound on his/her neck that Petco suggested I treat w/triple antibiotics as they sometimes see that and use that to fix the problem. He is not the issue however, and he is being kept separate from my first born (so to speak).
<The new arrival should have the wound treated while being kept warm and dry. Read HERE also (and follow the instructions): http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm>
MY older one, the 40 yr old (more like 46) has recently increased his eating enormously, - non-stop it seems. Every time I go near tank, he comes over for food, and I oblige.
<Poorly kept, improperly housed AND over-fed. Hmm '¦ I wonder what's next?>
However, tonight, I changed his water and noticed that where his shoulders would be his skin seems to be a sort of ash white color (and a bit on the 'thighs" as well) and the skin itself seems puffy.
<That would be the fungal infection that comes from being cold and damp and poorly fed>
I am scared to death for him as I love him dearly and am quite proud that he has stayed with me for all these years (since 1986) - my friend gave him to me after finding him in a bucket in a basement, and the turtle had lost a good deal of his shell.
<It's not surprising that he's lost shell, what's surprising is that he's alive at all>
My friend John took classes at the Bronx Zoo and was able to restore the shell and the turtle (and his brother, who died 20 yrs ago of liver problems, he was autopsied to make sure I was doing all I could) - has continued to thrive even w/out a heat lamp/rock etc. he does bask and has rocks to climb out of his water onto.
<Actually '¦ he's not thriving. He has a fungal infection and puffy skin from being cold, damp, improperly fed, improperly housed in poor conditions>
I am terrified re this skin thing , never seen it before. His shell is hard and normal and appx once a year, he sheds some scutes, which like any proud parent I collect and save.
<Well, let's see what we can do>
Any help you can give would be appreciated. I discovered this late, and the exotic vet has odd hours and hard to get appt w/, though I will try to get one at the earliest. I just don't want him to wait or suffer or make it worse for Wind.
<The good news is that, unless things have gone too far, everything you mention is correctable! Get Wind warm and dry. Read the treatment article and treat the skin for fungal infections (wipe with Tolnaftate, etc.) but keep him warm and dry -- AND GET HIM SOME NATURAL SUNLIGHT!!!!!! Start at around 15 minutes twice a day while you buy a UV-B bulb from a pet store and set it up in his dry box (that's in the treatment article)>
<Put him in a shallow bowl of room temperature water every day for 15 minutes. During that bath, give him as much as he can eat in three minutes (no more).>
<This will all come as a shock to his system, but necessary to get him healthy.>
<Meanwhile, read the ENTIRE care article and supply him everything he needs - because he truly does NEED that stuff>
Thank you immensely.
Re: Poor care leads to illness? RES hlth.   8/1/10

thank you for your response - he's going to a vet tomorrow - but I do need to correct a few impressions you apparently have
1) he had lost his shell before I got him, over 36 years ago and was corrected by my friend john, who taught me how to care for him as he had been doing.
<That's what I gathered from your letter>
2) I've had Wind since 1980 and he has never had a skin or other problem - he's always been fine till now. (I just got back from a vacation so perhaps the interim person overfed or whatever)
<the problem with ALL our pets '¦ is that unlike our kids, they can't tell us where it hurts or what they need. It makes it hard on them to receive what we know how to give AND hard on us to know what's right.>
3) it's not at all an issue of money with this guy, and I will correct to place in direct sunlight 15 min a day etc. and the dry box -
<I appreciate that -- and so does Wind!>
4) thank you for your help and I'm sorry you seem to have the impression that I am either cheap, stupid or non-caring about him.
<That wasn't my impression at all. In fact, I don't do impressions -- my training is in other fields.>
<What I thought, PW, was that you were giving him the care that had always worked in the past -- all of us, every one, are very respectful of 'whatever works' so no, I did not get the impression that you were uncaring OR stupid. The impression I got was someone that cared very much and simply didn't recognize the signals he'd never seen before.>
<But the one thing we ALL want '¦ is for Wind to live a happy, healthy life. As long as we're all after that same goal, you have our full support>

Red Eared Slider Swims Funny After Eating 1/26/10
Dear Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have a 5-year-old red eared slider, and about a month ago, she started shedding her scutes. The scutes were thin and didn't seem to bother her, and the shell underneath seemed to look fine, so after some research, I just figured it was normal, and let it be.
<Very normal. Growth. Your little girl is growing up!>
About three days ago, after she ate her dinner, she started swimming funny, and freaking out by tucking her arms inside of her shell, and curling her tail in and swimming backwards in the tank. The episode would last a few seconds, then she would calm down, and a few minutes later, she would do it again. I watched this go on for about an hour, then decided that I would go to bed and check her out in the morning - because it was late, and there was nothing I could do at that point. The next morning, when I woke up, she was perfectly fine and basking like usual. She was fine all day until night time when I fed her again. About 5 minutes after she ate, the same thing started happening with the arms and tail tucked in, swimming erratically.
The next morning, she was fine again. Today, I just fed her, and again, the same thing happened, so now, I'm very sure it is somehow linked to her eating. I'm just feeding her some greens, chopped-up carrots, and turtle pellets - her regular diet.
<The technical term for this is "weird">
I mentioned the scute shedding just because she had never shed a scute before until last month when she shed about 10, and I didn't know if it could be related in any way to this new issue. Her tank temperature is about 80 degrees like it's always been, and her basking temp is around 85.
Today, turned up her water temp to around 85, and I moved her heat lamp a few inches closer to her basking area to bump up the temp there a bit to see if it would help, but it didn't seem to make any difference.
<way way WAY too hot!>
<Um, did I mention that the water is too hot??>
<Water temp 70-74 MAX and basking temp around 88-90>
<Her problem is that you have her metabolism jacked up so high there's no 'off' time. She's digesting too fast, growing too fast and shedding too fast.>
I'm worried about her, but I don't have any money to take her to the vet.
What's wrong with her? Is this something I can treat on my own?
<Not vet needed. Let the water assume room temperature (unless you live north of the Arctic Circle) and set the basking temp around 88 to 90 and let her choose -- and she'll be fine>
<Also, standard rule here with turtles: NO IN-TANK HEATERS. Ever.>
Thank you very much.
<No problems NOW! Read here:
Re: Red Eared Slider Swims Funny After Eating -- 1/27/10

Hi Darrel,
Thanks for the advice. I've re-adjusted her temperature, and hopefully she'll get back to normal soon. The strange thing is that this has been her tank temperature for years - I had never adjusted it, and never seemed to bother her before. I was watching her yesterday after feeding time, and it almost looked like she was maybe choking on something. Her mouth kept opening after she ate. I observed her, and after an hour of slamming herself into the walls of the tank, she finally calmed down and rested at the bottom.
<Try to examine her and see if perhaps she has a swollen throat. It's unusual, but this could be a manifestation of a medical condition.>
Also, I noticed you mentioned to not use an in-tank heater. That's what she currently has. What do you recommend as a good heater instead?
<I don't heat their water. 68-73 degrees is fine for them as long as they have a basking area, so let the water just be at room temperature. The other reasons for not having a water heater: (1) Turtles can burn themselves by resting directly on it. (2) Turtles can break them as they get bigger and cut themselves on the glass.>
Thank you!


Turtle keeps scratching his face 11/17/09
I have a river map turtle named Too Fast. I changed his aquarium water and afterwards he kept scratching his face like something was bothering him. I used "Start Right"
<This is some type of dechlorinator? That should be safe, if used in the correct amounts. Not especially toxic, so slightly going above the recommended amount won't cause major problems.>
and "Algae Control."
<Useless poison... wouldn't let it in the house, let alone use the stuff>
Would that be what was bothering him?
<The latter chemical, possibly.>
I took out about 20 gallons of water and added more untreated water just in case I had used to much, but he is still scratching...
<Scratching of the face can be a sign of irritation. Water that hasn't been dechlorinated can cause these symptoms, but so will (more likely) non-zero levels of ammonia and nitrite. So check water quality, and act
<Cheers, Neale.>


Illegal Turtle, RES not on the lam, but sick-env.    -- 08/26/07 Hi Crew, I got my Red Eared Slider in Chinatown and later found that he was illegal. <Hi Amanda -- First, you need to understand that your turtle is NOT illegal. He has done nothing wrong, broken no laws and is not subject to any penalties. Please make sure he understands this, OK? I'd hate to have him go through the rest of his life looking over his shoulder. Same goes for you. Nothing illegal about having him. It's illegal to sell or offer for sale any of a group of turtles with a carapace length of less than 4 inches except for a few purposes, one of which is educational. Are you learning? Then everything is fine -- so tell him it's OK!> I've had my Red Eared Slider for about 6 months and it hasn't really grown. It's a hatchling about 1.5-2 inches in size. It's shell has gotten really soft and slightly deformed one side is caved in a little the other side is rounded), and he has pyramiding. This is probably due to not getting his UVB rays so I've begun taking him outside more and have ordered a UVB ray bulb. But lately he's been acting really strange, he's slow and lethargic and hasn't eaten much in the past few weeks, and within the last few days he's stopped eating all together. He also gets really stiff and doesn't always move when he is touched, even if his head gets touched. I don't know what is wrong with him or what to do, please help! <I'm sorry to hear that, Amanda. And I agree with you, it seems like a lack of proper lighting, maybe diet and general conditions, too. I'm enclosing a link that I'd like you to read and really REALLY measure your care against this outline. Heat, light and proper diet is all it should really take. I'd like to think that if you read the enclosed guide and adhere SCRUPULOUSLY to what it says, you can help your little guy out and get him back on the right track.> < http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm> --Amanda <Regards -- Darrel>
Re: Illegal Turtle -- 08/27/07
thanks for responding but its already too late, he died today. thanks anyways I appreciate the time you took to respond. <On behalf of everyone here, Amanda, we are truly sorry for your loss. As responsible pet keepers we all have a responsibility to learn everything we learn and do everything within our power to see that our little friends get the best lives possible, but sometimes it's not enough or we're too late or we just make a mistake.> <I think that a very good way to honor the time you had with him is to read the links and learn more about what is to be done and to make yourself ready and more prepared just in case another opportunity comes along.> <All the best from all of us.> <Darrel>

Sick Little Turtle With Soft Shell  9/6/06
Hello, I have a sick little red eared slider.  I'm not sure what is wrong with him.  I looked at some articles on shell rot and I can't seem to find an answer.  His shell is extremely soft, but I don't see any visible cracks in his shell.  Also, on his underbelly there are two red sores almost like he is bleeding internally.  He is very inactive, only swimming and eating maybe an hour a day.  Please if there is anything we can do to help save him I would greatly appreciate it.  Thank you so much for your help. < The basking site should be at least 85 F. The heat from the light helps harden his shell and builds vitamins. Add a Zoo Med Calcium Block to add calcium to his diet and add a Zoo Med Sulpha Block to the water to keep the bacteria from eating away at his shell. The heat lamp will help. Make sure it is one made for turtles to bask.-Chuck>

Turtle Not Moving, Too Cold   6/11/06 Hi I just got a baby RES turtle, she's a girl, and I went to check on her awhile ago and she was all tucked inside her shell and when I picked her up she wouldn't come out!! After about 10 minutes she had moved from where I had put her but I am concerned that I am doing something wrong! I am buying a thermometer and heater for her tank tomorrow because I am afraid she is too cold but I am not sure!! I hope that u can answer my questions! Signed, a concerned parent. < The basking site should be at least 85 F. Check that you have the proper lighting and that the basking site is warm enough. Turtles need to go between hot and cold to stay healthy. Too hot or too cold is not good.-Chuck>

Turtle With Skin Lesion  - 05/20/2006 Hi, I've had my res for about 13 years now without any problems Last week I noticed this spot under it's mouth. I know it's hard to see in the picture but it looks like a few layers of skin are gone. I thought I'd leave it alone for a while but it seems to be getting redder and bigger. The turtle is acting normally and is eating fine. Do you have any idea what this can be? < Sometimes an abrasive substrate can irritate the lower jaw area as the turtle forages for food. If the other turtles are experiencing a pinkish skin along with the soar then their may be a bacterial problem with the container. I would toughly clean the tank and add a Dr. Turtle Sulfa Block to inhibit the bacteria. Check the temp. of the basking site and make sure it is up to at least 85 F.> Also, I have two other turtles in the same aquarium and they all seem to have a pink tint to their skin. I've only noticed this after I moved. Is there something wrong with the water? What can I do?   < Check the water at a local fish store for nitrates. High nitrates may be coming directly from your tap and can contribute to bacterial problems-Chuck>

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