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FAQs About Red Ear Slider (RES) Turtle Disease/Health 9

Related Articles: Treating Common Illnesses of the Red Ear Slider (& other Emydid Turtles) 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, RES Disease/Health 2, RES Disease 3, RES Health 4, RES Health 5, RES Health 6, RES Health 7, RES Health 8, 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, Environmental, 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,

My turtle Sam   12/17/11
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I'm writing in regard to my Red Ear Slider Turtle Sam.
<Sure, because he can't write for himself>
We've had him for approximately 20 years, and as you can well imagine, he's one of the family.
<There's a huge difference, Amy.  I've had my kid for almost 20 years and I can't wait until he's NOT part of the family.   He just eats, sleeps, poops and lies around the house.   Come to think of it, I should just put him in a tank and put a basking light over him '¦>
The reason I'm writing is that Sam won't stay in his water anymore, nor is he eating as well as he used to. He sits on top of his filter, which he's never done before, usually on his rock or log, and I've noticed lately that he rubs his neck. Just before all this started, he was shedding some of his shell.
<Make a very close inspection of Sam's skin and shell.  An aversion to water is sometimes an attempt to clear up a fungal infection.   The thing is - you can read this and then TREAT for a fungus infection (even if he doesn't have one).  "Dry-dock" him, treat his skin for fungus, etc.  It's like Chicken Soup when you have a cold: It may not help, but it can't hurt.>
I need help, as my heart will be broken should he not survive. I place him back in the water each day so he hydrates, and he'll stay in the water for about 10 minutes and then climbs back up on his filter. He hasn't even come off to ask for food.
Thanks very much,
<*OR* take things out of his tank.  Heaters, the filter, anything that draws current, makes noise or runs.  Do it one at a time and see how (or if) it changes Sam's behavior.  If Sam basks on top of his filter, replace that with a board or brick or something else for him to haul out on.>
<A possibility is that something has changed at a level that you and I can't sense.   Something like: a device in (or NEAR) the tank is making noise or vibrations that are making him uncomfortable (turtles don't "hear" because Red Eared Sliders, ironically, don't have ears - but they DO sense the vibrations associated with noise).>
<Another possibility is micro-electrical current leaking into the water, so remove anything that has an electrical cord that touches the water>
<With each change, see how Sam reacts - and maybe he'll show us>

Is my Red Eared Slider sick?   12/17/11
Dear Crew,
<Hiya, Darrel here>
I've had this turtle for maybe six months, it was given to me by my aunt and was about the same size when I got him. I didn't know much about caring for him when I got him but I have been trying to improve as I go.
<Read this: It's all you need to know: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
About a month ago I got him a 20 gal tank and recently I just got him a new basking light (I got a 75 watt bulb because my house is very very cold) and a new UVA light.
<Well, UV-A is basically visible light.  What you need is UV-B which is a different light>
I noticed that he quickly took to the basking light and would bask for long periods of time.
<Yep!  That's a good thing!(tm)>
Initially I thought this was good until I notice the color his shell turned as it dried and the fact that it was peeling.
<That's normal, too>
I read that turtles shed a bit but I don't know if the way his shell is looking is normal and I never noticed him shedding before. I don't usually rinse off peter (my RES) when I clean his tank so I don't know if the color is from dried on scum or a fungus. I added some pics of him under the basking light. The dark spot is where I picked off a piece that was peeling (it came off easily, I didn't pull it or anything).
Please help, I love my turtle and I want him to be as healthy and happy as possible.
<Tiffany, the first thing to tell you is that Peter is an adult female.  No need to change her name or anything - turtles don't have Gender Identity issues or ears - so she can't hear you calling her name anyway.>
<As these turtles age, their shells retain history of their growth and care.  My guess is that Peter has had good years and bad years, good food and bad, high fat food - and her shell shows the wrinkles from this uneven growth.  Come to think of it, that applies to me, too!>
<The black "chip" is a piece of the shell that died and fell off.   It's not terribly common, but by itself it's not a big issue - it happens.   Regarding the color change, there are two things to remember:  (1) As they age, their shells turn from bright green to dark green - almost brown or black.  (2) As the years go by their shells get discolored and worn-looking.  Just like anything else that gets old and discolored, it WILL look better under water.  This is also normal.>
<For right now, see that Peter has a heat lamp and a UV-B lamp for around 10 hours a day (read that link!!) then see that she gets proper nutrition.>
<Now look for the basic signs.  Does Peter appear bright and alert?  Occasionally active (as they age they slow down - just like me!) and ABLE to be active?  Does he regularly eat and poop?>
<If Peter seems to be happy and active, eating, basking and pooping, skin looks clean (not gray patches of fungus) and his water is clean and clear '¦. Just enjoy her.>


Red ear slider needs TLC  12/9/11
Hi there,
<hey there, Ho there, Hiya & all that.  Darrel here>
I've read quite a bit on your site about shell and skin issues with red eared sliders.
<It's good to know that people search first before writing.  We appreciate that!>
But I haven't quite found what's going on with my own. I own 4 of these turtles, I bought them in china town NY where they sell them in poor conditions. I felt bad for their current living conditions and wanted to give them a better home.
<That's how I ended up with 60 or so assorted animals - you're lucky you just felt sorry for four of them!>
They now live in a 40 gallon breeder with 2 water filter, a mid water level stone structure under water, a large floating bask area, and a hot lamp above the tank.
<Sounds good>
Oh and they're named after the ninja turtles, ha-ha. Today upon feeding them I noticed Donatello has this strange mark on the fat of his neck. The area of the neck that rolls/folds when they put their heads in their shells. It has this white lesion with pink speckles, as though he was injured, it bled, and is now a wound. I've attached a picture of it, it's the best shot I could get since they move so quickly.
<What that is - is just what it looks like.  An abrasion that continued to be irritated until it became a full-on wound.  What Donatello (Or Donnie to his close friends) needs is to be kept warm and dry for a week or so '¦ placed only in a shallow bowl of water at feeding time.   It's all detailed here:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >
I've had them all for about 2-3 years now, they're much larger now, but I've never seen this before. Donatello (the turtle in question) or Leonardo had a respiratory issue early 2011, that seems to be over now as I haven't noticed any more problems.
<Keeping their water clean and cool and their basking area dry and toasty warm is a good way to prevent respiratory infections.   Also -- be on the lookout for behavioral changes:  A lethargic turtle that stays at the bottom of the tank most of the time is setting himself up for debilitation.   If you see that, give him a warm & dry vacation for a week (as described above)>
But I haven't a clue what this lesion on his neck is.
<Sometimes it can be that a turtle is so fat that the skin rubs on the shell scute directly above the neck.   Remember - these 4 are KNOWN to send out for lat night pizza after everyone else has gone to bed.>
<Seriously '¦ keep an eye out for obesity.>
The turtle get along very well, but when it's feeding time they all flail (as they beg for food). Maybe one of the other scratched him accidentally on his neck? I'm concerned for his health, thank you for your time.

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!>

turtle inflamed limbs   12/3/11
Dear Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
My red ear slider has inflamed limbs and tail.
<By inflamed, do you mean swollen?>
He has a little bit of pink around his tail area (hard to notice) and when he walks he makes an air sound as if he was to deflate.
<Sounds like his tissues are swollen and he's having trouble breathing - the way our noses sometimes wheeze when we have a cold>
His shell is also not looking so good as if he had a case of soft shell.
<This all fits together>
I'm on a budget and cannot afford to take him to the vet, what can I do to help him?
<It seems like the turtle is suffering from a long term of poor care, Vanessa.  Soft shell comes from poor conditions and/or poor diet and a general swelling of the tissues usually comes from a secondary condition brought on by the poor care.>
<First, take him out of wherever you keep him.  For the time being, he needs to be warm and dry.    Read this article COMPLETELY.  Read it multiple times if you need to  - to make sure you truly understand what to do.  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm    This article tells you how and why to keep him warm and dry.>
<Now '¦ the bad news '¦ is that without proper medical care, he may or may not recover.  Proper diet and exposure to sunlight (UV-B not filtered through glass or window screen) will firm up the shell.   Vitamins A & D will help clear his lungs reduce some swelling - BUT if a secondary infection has developed or any number of internal conditions have gotten hold, these measures may be too late.>
<Also, read HERE and measure your care against what may have been wrong: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<Your best bet is to keep him warm and dry (with daily baths) so that with proper diet and in a lower stress environment his body may be able to heal itself>
<Once again, to all our readers - this is another example of why it's important to check out pets EVERY DAY.   Look for the smallest sign of change EVERY DAY - and when we see anything out of the ordinary, investigate it RIGHT AWAY.   Almost all these problems are SO EASY TO CURE when they first occur and yet are so hard, long and expensive when we let them go for too long '¦>
<Our thoughts are with you>

Red Eared Slider, hlth.   12/1/11
<Hiya! Darrel here>
About a month ago my mother gave me a Red Eared Slider (named Pearl) that is about 2". I have been taking care of my roommate's RES (Squirt) that is about 3" because she never took care of him and had him in a DRY tank with no light in the corner of her room.
<On behalf of Squirt '¦ Thank you!>
My mother got me my turtle so I combined the two turtles and got a 20 gallon tank, filter and proper lighting with a large floating dock for basking. The turtles were doing just fine and were eating properly. I went out of town for Thanksgiving and had my other roommate feed the turtles for me while I was gone. When I got back however, I noticed that Pearl wasn't herself. She usually likes to swim and hang out on the basking rock with Squirt and eats very well. But when I saw her she was very still and looked paralyzed almost. I picked her up and she looked fine and looked semi back to normal. But today when I cleaned the tank and put the turtles back into it, she was swimming erratically in circles and upside down even. I kept checking on her and noticed that she was not eating and was in a very still and just letting herself float around the tank. I picked her up and when I put her back she again started swimming crazy but then I noticed that she kept bulging her lower neck and would bend it back in a very sharp angle... She won't move her legs and will just float around with her bulged neck. Her neck seems to be bent back towards the left mostly and I don't know what to think of it. I don't know if she's just in shock because she didn't like being moved so much or if she has a big problem... Should I separate her from Squirt?
<Yes - right now she needs to be warm and dry>
For all I know she'll be back to normal in the morning but I'm just very worried for her. I hope this was enough information. Thank you all for all you do to help people like me and our animals!
<The problem you describe is unusual, but we do see it from time to time.  It appears to be neurological '¦ maybe a stroke or other disorder, but sometimes it may come from something akin to a pinched nerve.  I've seen similar behavior in animals that were flipped over (upside down) for extended periods and other time seeming to be related to a cold or infection -- we simply don't know for sure.>
<Moreover, since there's no real diagnosis, there is also no real treatment.  THAT SAID, the problem with ANY behavioral or medical condition is that their normally friendly aquatic environment can become their enemy: Pearl can become so tired or cold that she can't climb up to bask '¦ and eventually drown.  OR she can become so debilitated from the constant exposure that she contracts a secondary fungal or bacterial condition.>
<What I would do here, and what you should do here, is take Pearl out of the water and place her somewhere warm and dry until we see if she recovers or not.   The Isolation treatment as described here is the way to go: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >

Red Eared Slider pop-quiz, hlth.   12/1/11
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I am a teacher and our class pet is a Red Eared Slider so the kids are responsible for feeding him every day.  I got him at the beginning of the school year and all of a sudden he seems a bit sluggish and stays under water a lot when about a week ago he was very active climbing up on his rock and stuff.  Is there something more I can do for him or give him right now he has a filter and light for a basking spot?  He climbs up on a foam rock, which is right under the light and the rest is water.  So the rock floats but is attached which suction cups to the side of the tank.  Any ideas???
<Miss Grossman '¦ I am SO tempted to "grade" this letter.  Unfortunately, I typo 120wpm myself - and I'm never responsible enough to look for my own missing punctuation and/or spelling errors.  And I routinely tell people "Due knot Re: lie two much on spell Czech">
<It looks like you have the basics covered.  A light for a basking spot may or may not have a UV-B output, which is clearly necessary for his long term health, but I'll get back to that>
<The first place is to assess the bigger situation.  "A bit sluggish" by itself isn't enough to cause any great concern.  Does he appear alert and aware of you while he's basking?  Do his eyes follow you as you get close - or does he react to your presence by dropping off the dock and swimming?   What I'm asking is -- can you assess that he's "with us" in every rational sense and ONLY a bit sluggish?  Or is sluggish a way of describing a generally debilitated, unfocused, lethargic animal?>
<In cases like yours, if you've let it sit long enough that you believe there is a real problem - the first thing to do is move him to someplace warm and DRY.   HE can go weeks without water and MUCH longer if he's given baths on a regular basis.>
<Keep him warm and dry for a few days.  Then give him a bath in a bowl of shallow water and gauge his activity level.  Offer him a few food sticks or Koi pellets and see if he feeds.  Either way, back to "dry dock" for a few more days and try again.  Usually the turtle will "let you know" when he's back to himself and raring to get back to a normal life.>
<Meanwhile, please read this and compare your quality of care.  Light, heat and food are critical components>
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
Thank you!
Re: Red Eared Slider Pop-Quiz  12/1/11

Dear Crew,
<Darrel here again!>
I spoke with someone at the local pet store yesterday and it might be because the water is not heated.
<Nope.  Sorry.  Turtles do not live in heated water.  The point of offering them cool water and a warm basking area is so that they can CHOOSE as they feel the need.>
<The first thing we need to do here is stop listening to pet store people>
I noticed the heaters were $30.00 and unfortunately the school I work at is rather small and isn't high on funds because we are relatively new.
<Moreover, the money can be better spent>
I would purchase one myself but on a teachers salary that is hard to pay for EVERYTHING for the turtle so I think my class is going to have to do some fundraising for it to be purchased.
<Hmmm.  Like I said - no need.  Unless you live north of the Arctic Circle '¦ room temperature water is just what he needs!>
<"No Capes!"  - Edna Mode, The Incredibles  (2004)>
<"NO Heaters!"  - Darrel Barton '¦ just incredible! (2011)>

red eared slider swallowed paper   11/28/11
Dear WWC:
<Hiya - actually WWC is off today - we're his cousin, WWM.   I'm Darrel>
I have a red-eared slider that I rescued from the road a few years ago.  It is about the size of an average woman's hand.
<Closed fist like she's punching me?  Or open palm like she's slapping me?>
Yesterday while cleaning his tank I dropped a very small piece of paper towel in the tank, which he swallowed.  I am worried that it will cause him difficulty in breathing or digesting/processing through.  Can you please tell me what, if anything, I should do?
<No worries.  It will be just fine>
Veterinary care is unavailable in my rural area.  Thank you for any advice you can provide.
<The advice is not to worry.  Paper towels are highly degradable and break down very easily - even in water, so in a turtle's digestive system they break down to basic fibers in no time.>
I am most grateful for your kind consideration and assistance.
<Yer welcome!>

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!>

My read ear slider 10/20/11
<Hiya - Darrel here>
Well for my birthday my friend got me a red ear slider.
<That was nice, but as a rule, live animals don't make good gifts - unless you'd wanted one and had read up on how to care for it>
I have had him for about three weeks now and he has been doing perfectly well, A couple of days ago I noticed that he wasn't opening his eyes or moving so much.
<Then he's not doing well, is he?>
He usually is very active and it worries me seeing him like this.
<Yes, he's sick!!>
Do you recommend anything? Medicine or should I take him to a vet?
<No need for a vet right now, but he needs treatment right away. Here are two links:
<This one is the basic care and needs of a Red Eared Slider.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm  If you read all of this article, which should take you about 15 minutes, it should be obvious what has been missing from his care - and knowing what was missing from the care will give you an indication of where to read in this SECOND article
Which is an article about treating common illnesses.>
<Start out by getting him out of the water and keep him someplace warm and dry. (I can't stress enough that you can read BOTH these articles start to finish in less than an hour and increase your turtle knowledge by an order of magnitude)>
<My guess is that he hasn't been getting enough vitamins A & D in his diet and not enough UV-B or natural sunlight.>
<Read and learn - and then you can help him>

Red Ear Slider with growth near his ear.    10/15/11
Hi my name is Laken.
<Hiya Laken - I'm Darrel>
I have a Red Ear Slider named Tots. I've had him for about a week now and he was all good until yesterday I noticed a yellowish growth (looks more like a pimple) on or near his ear (but it is on the red strip). It's mostly covered by his extra skin around his neck but u can see a slight bulge under the skin and only if he stretches his neck all the way out you are able to see the growth.
<Typically that's a pocket of infected skin. Sometimes it can be a benign cyst, but the yellow color indicates fluid under the skin.>
I don't have a heater, UVB light or heat lamp at the moment, could that be the cause for the growth? I have done research and read other cases on your site, but because this is yellowish in colour I wonder if it's something else?
<No. You probably don't need a heater unless you live somewhere terribly cold, but you should have a UV-B lamp and a basking lamp.>
<In any case, those are not the cause of the infection.>
I've become really attached to him and I want to take the best possible care of him. I understand I need the essentials, such as, the UVB light and heat lamp, which I am going to get straight away, but what can be done in the meantime to treat him?
<The infected area needs to be lanced and then treated with a topical disinfectant, Laken. This is specifically the kind of case that calls for a trained veterinarian, but I also have another suggestion. Search the internet in your area for a Turtle and Tortoise Club. I'd bet you will find one within a reasonable distance and it's very likely that you can find someone who has been keeping turtles for years '¦ someone who has the experience and can lance the wound and disinfect it for you.>
I appreciate the help.
Thank you
<Your welcome. Laken - here are two links that cover EVERYTHING in the basics that you need to know about Tots and turtles like him. You can find much more information on WetWebMedia and on the Internet in general and you should read as much as you can - but anything you read that is contrary to these two articles '¦ is just plain wrong. So please start here:
Best of luck to you!>
Please help! Betta in a bowl   10/11/11

I bought my 2 year old son his first fish for his Birthday August 16, 2011.
The Beta fish is a beautiful blue color and we love him. He has been doing well until a few days ago when he started staying at the top of the tank.
He lives in an "old school" fish bowl with glass rocks (easier to clean) and a plastic plant.
<Mmm, most Bettas don't live long or well in such...>
He still is eager to eat. He stays at the top of the tank and up against the glass and at times rolls on his side. What is wrong with him??? I called the pet store and they suggested adding salt which I did but no change. They also suggested his tank might be too cold, so I bought a tank heater and it stays close to 75 degrees.
<Needs to be a bit warmer... see the link below>
Can you please help, I don't
want him to die!
<Please read here re practical husbandry of this species:
Bob Fenner>
Re: Betta in bowl 10/16/11

What about all those Bettas living in vases at peoples office, I would think a large bowl like I have would be better than that.
<You may well think that. But while a 1 gallon bowl is "better" than a half-gallon bowl, that's much the same as saying losing just half your arm is better than losing the whole arm -- it's a difference without a distinction. Bettas do best, and live longer, healthier lives in aquaria with heaters and filters. While breeders may well use bowls in heated fish-rooms and will change the water daily, taking care to keep water chemistry constant, this isn't a viable way to do things for hobbyists. Most of those Bettas in bowls and jars die prematurely, and the fact they're kept that way -- and people are happy buying new Bettas every few weeks or months -- says more about how callous people can be when it comes to animals that can't bark, squeal, or otherwise show their distress. I'm not trying to sell you anything, Alberta, but I am trained as a marine zoologist and have spend the best part of 30 years keeping fish. So when I say that a fish will be stressed, or killed, by being kept in a certain way -- I'm simply stating facts. Whether you choose to ignore reality and go ahead and do your own thing is your own choice, like those nutcases who believe President Obama is a Muslim born in Kenya.>
I don't have another tank or the space for one'¦'¦
<Ultimately, the point is this: if you don't have the space or money for a pet animal, whether a German Shepherd dog or a little Betta fish, you shouldn't keep that animal.>
Thanks again AN
<Cheers, Neale.>
Betta in bowl 10/16/11

<Hello Alberta> I just finally got all my fish happy in 2 different aquariums, where everyone is getting along. Now I have a large 10 inch in diameter and 6-8 inch deep fish bowl..will a Betta fish be happy in there
and if so what type of water should I use. We are using RO water for the other aquariums and adding water conditioner to it .Thanks AN <I wouldn't suggest putting a Betta in a bowl. Water volume isn't the only consideration here. These fish are tropical and consistent temperatures of around 80 degrees. With a bowl there is also the added risk of the fish jumping out. You are far better off having a Betta in a 5-10 gallon tank with filter and heater. You might even be able to put in some live plants and shrimp. It can turn out quite pretty. I have had a just such a tank for a long time and it is fascinating to watch. As for your question on water, RO water is good for use but do check the water parameters such as pH needed for the livestock you plan to have. In the case of Betta for instance, you would want the water to be slightly acidic. You can start to read about Betta care here -
Good luck, Sugam>

Red Eared Slider likely sick   9/13/11
Hi there!
My name's Darrell,
<Hiya - so is mine!! Only with one "L." There was an alphabetical shortage the year I was born, I'm told, and my parents could only afford one R and two L's or 2 R's and one L.>
-- and I'm really hoping you can help, as I've just found out about one of my Red Eared Sliders that's acting a bit on the strange side.
<Taking quiet phone calls late at night? Unexplained needs to travel out of town? Covering his desk every time you come into the room? No wait '¦ maybe that's projection on my part>
I just got out of college and for the past 5 years (it was an...extended stay)
<Well, was it worth it? Did you come home with a degree in something useful?>
-- my parents have been taking care of my turtles at their home. There's two of them, female,
<Your parents are both female? >
and I'm pretty sure they've grown to full size as they're about 5 years old now, maybe close to 6, and they're huge.
<First they're awfully young to be parents >
<Seriously - you attended 5 years of college and didn't learn about misplaced modifiers and dangling participles? '¦ or else you went to UC Santa Cruz where the wild 'Shrooms are legendary and you're still feeling the effects?>
< One, however, is sleeping a lot (during the day), not swimming around very much, and just generally being lethargic. When she does wake up, my mom says she bats at her eyes and my mom is convinced it's to get this white stringy stuff away from her face (which, from your site, I think is either shed skin or fungus of some kind, I'm hoping the former?).
<Probably not that lucky here>
Also, once she wakes up she starts to cough. I've never seen a turtle, or any animal for that matter, cough before, but that must be what it is.
<Turtles don't have a diaphragm, so they can't actually cough>
It looks like she's choking when it happens, almost, but I know she hasn't eaten lately so that can't be the case. She eats, but not much.
<How long has it been? Weeks? Days? Months?>
The other turtle is very active, swims around, is very responsive to my presence, and eats like there's no tomorrow I put food right in front of the sick turtle (Zippo) and she just kind of sits there, looks around, sometimes grabs a piece. Mo, the not-sick one, gobbles it up. This morning I came down to find her napping in the same spot in the tank she always does, and she didn't respond to me talking to her, tapping on the tank wall, or even being stood on by my other turtle. I'm a bit worried at the unresponsiveness...When she does swim, though, she swims straight and doesn't list.
<She's sick, Darrell '¦ she's just not "very" sick>
I'm really concerned beyond those symptoms....because this was just brought to my attention last night but my mom says it's been happening for what feels like about two weeks. Is it bad and to the point where I should try to find an exotic vet?
<An exotic vet? Like ... one from Singapore or Belarus? A singing Veterinarian?>
What's wrong with her? By the way, at this point in their lives, they're in a 120 gallon tank, water temp looks to be at 78 deg F and the basking area is about 81 deg F. The water is the same water kind of water they've been in for the past 5 years, so nothing's changed there, and this hasn't happened before, to my knowledge, in the last 5 years. I've included some pictures of her asleep in that corner of the tank she's always in. From what I gather on your site I'm inclined to think its some kind of deficiency or respiratory infection? I just don't know :-(. What's wrong with my poor turtle?
<Darrell - your parents have done a great job - both with you AND the turtles. Please give them my regards.>
<What we have here is a small problem because you caught it before it became a Big Problem. From the pictures they have nice clean shells, clear water, good skin and other things that indicate general health AND healthy conditions. The water temp is a bit high and the basking temp is a bit low, so what has likely happened is that Zippo has gotten a mild fungal or possible low level bacterial infection.>
<Good news #1: we can treat at home without having to seek out a vet that treats exotics>
<Good news #2: it's an easy treatment>
<Read here about basic isolation and treatment. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm Get Zippo (and take Mo too - can't hurt) into a warm and DRY environment for the next three weeks and her issues will probably clear right up and be back to her old self>
<When they get back 'home' get the water down to 68-72 and the basking up to 88-92>

Re: re: Red Eared Slider likely sick   9/15/11
Thanks for the advice!
<No Charge!>
Just had another observation that I wanted to share in case it meant anything more. I just fed Zippo and Mo...they both responded to me taking out the pellets and came to the part of the tank right under the hatch, however, while Mo was eating everything she could
grab, Zippo almost seemed unfazed by the fact there was food floating above her. She seemed almost like she couldn't see it...she'd grab at it and miss...seems like her depth perception is off?. She also seems to close her eyes like you or I would when we're in pain and thinking to ourselves "owwwwch...".
<I'm guessing that she IS sick>
Should I be doing anything more than dry, warm environment for three weeks? Or should that be sufficient for these additional symptoms?
<Did you read the article about treatment?>
Also...they can only eat while underwater, correct? I assumed in order to feed them I should put them back in the tank and take them out after they've eaten...is this the correct way to go about it?
<I guess you didn't - because the article suggests that you put them in water for a few minutes every day to drink, poop and eat. It's all in that article>
<As she feels better, I'd try feeding her foods high in vitamin A in case she's developing eye problems '¦ but please - read that article. Study it. There's gonna be a test!>
Thanks again!

Red Eared Slider- Urgent Health Problem   9/11.5/11
Hi all,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have a question about the health of my red-eared slider (Moses). Before I launch into my question, let me just say that I have visited your site many times in the past, and I greatly admire your expertise and helpfulness in this field. If I could find an answer to my question online or on your site, I would not be posting this question.
<Bless you for that step, Andrew. We get quite a number of letters from people asking questions that are already so well covered that we can't imagine how they missed them>
First, let me start out with my tank setup:
38 gallon tank
75 watt night/day heat bulb, keeping basking spot at 85F, 24/7
Water temp is 75F
12" UVB bulb, on 12 hrs a day
Floating dock
75 gallon rated canister filter
Hiding spots, plants, and decorations galore.
<Basking temp is a bit low (I like it around 88-92) but otherwise it all sounds good>
I have (had) two red-eared slider juveniles about 1 1/2". I feed them a varied diet of black worms, and Hikari Staple Koi pellets (95% vegetable matter), 3 times a week as much as they can eat. I have kept fish for about 4 years now, and am no stranger to the hobby, but this is my first experience with turtles.
<So far, sounds good>
Now the question.
I had one turtle for 3 months, who lived happily and showed no signs of stress or illness. About a month ago I recently added another slider to keep him company, who up until now has also showed no signs of distress. This afternoon I came home, and the new slider was dead floating in the water with his head and limbs out. The other looked exactly the same, but upon inspection was alive. The dead turtle shows no sign of shell rot, disease, fungus, or growths. The only thing that appears wrong with the other is his scuttles are red/brown discolored on the fringes of his bottom.
<On behalf of Bob, Neale, Sue and the rest of the crew, we're sorry for your loss, Andrew>
I have performed a complete water change, and isolated the surviving turtle on the dock in a container under the heat with a small amount of water in the bottom. On the land he is conscious and aware, but when he tries to walk he now uses the tops of his feet (almost like he is a sea turtle) and is very clumsy. When I let him into the water he spreads his limbs out, closes his eyes, and looks dead. I am afraid to let him swim, and I have heard it
is good to give them extra heat if they are sick.
<Yes it is: read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >
The only thing I can think of is that I recently introduced Duckweed into the tank, to give them a place to hide and to provide them with vegetable matter to snack on. Could this be a case of over eating? Or did the other slider introduce a disease to the tank? I am very concerned, and don't want to lose the turtle I have had for months now. I have scoured the internet, and especially your site, and have not found an answer. Most of your
solutions involve fixing tank problems (such as add a UVB, add a basking spot, raise the temp, etc.). I think I have a fairly good setup, and my turtles have not displayed any signs of illness until now.
<Yes, you do>
I would appreciate any help you can give, and I will take any advice you have to heart.
<Andrew, the reason so much of our advice is about fixing the conditions is simply because most of the problems are CAUSED by incorrect conditions. Reptiles and Fish DO neurological issues, coronary & liver disease, etc. but these are so infrequent as to be almost immaterial to a pet-keeper's frame of reference AND there is always the question of what to do: Let's say your fish DID have a stroke and let's say we could diagnose that. What would be doing about it? Not medicines or treatments exist for it anyway. SO '¦ we concentrate on making the best environment we can>
<Your case is a bit of a puzzler, since none of the obvious culprits exist. The mention of 'slight red discoloration' of the scutes COULD be a sign of septicemia. That's a $5 word for when an infection spreads directly into the blood stream and then infects the entire body. BUT in could also be an artifact of him being dead for a while. There is nothing conclusive here, unfortunately>
<So now let's concentrate on doing what we can for Moses. Keep him warm and dry '¦ arrange his "dry dock" as we call it so that the warm area is around 90 and the cooler area is around 80-85. Limit his food to one or two Koi pellets a day, fed in a shallow bowl of water (read all about it in the treatments article) for a few minutes every day. Meanwhile, break down and sterilize the entire setup. Use the soap & rinse & bleach & rinse & rinse method.>
<Give Moses at least 3 & maybe 4 weeks of dry-dock in the hopes that the warmth and controlled conditions will help him beat whatever is ailing him.>
<As a last item, when and if (our fingers are crossed for you) he pulls through, don't feed him black worms, meal worms or any other live foods that come from an 'aquatic' type environment. Beyond his Koi pellets, give him an earthworm once or twice a month as a treat. You can alternate that with a very small piece of beef or chicken liver fed in a separate shallow bowl of water>
Thank you in advance.
<We hope it helps!>
Andrew F.

Red Eared Slider has an infection   9/7/11
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have a Red Eared Slider, he is about 5 months old & about 2 1/2 inches big. A few weeks ago, I noticed that he had been floating sideways & had not eaten for 5 days, but continued to be active. So I did my research & found that my best bet was to go to the vet.
<Always the best bet>
So I took him. The vet gave me some antibiotics.... 2 weeks worth. He started getting a little better (not floating as bad, he started eating, he continued to be active). I'm just about to start week 3 of his antibiotics, but I noticed last night that he was floating sideways again, maybe worse than before. This doesn't seem right & I cannot find anything on the internet about this. He still eating, still active, he basks for a couple of hours a day. Other than the floating, Id say he's a healthy-ish turtle.
<The first thing I'd do is get him out of the water. Keep him warm and dry for a while>
<The thing is, antibiotics work by preventing the bacteria from reproducing and bacteria reproduce in cycles connected to temperature. In a human, at 98.6 degrees, the reproduction cycle can be as little as 24 hours '¦ which means that in 24 hours YOU can start feeling better after taking some antibiotics. A drop in temperature of just 4 degrees can make the bacteria life cycle into WEEKS instead of days.>
<What I'm saying is that the warmer you can keep your turtle, the faster he'll beat the bacteria! Here is an article that explains the care of an ill turtle -- essentially you make a basking area and a shaded area, but no water or "cool" area: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >
Also, would his antibiotics cause him to shed a little more than normal?
<Yes. Baytril, especially, is hard on the animals in other ways. Injections can even kill the skin around the injection site, which is why oral is the preferred method. Beyond that, turtles with bacterial infections often develop secondary fungal infections that also cause skin shedding. THIS IS ANOTHER REASON why you should take him out of the water and keep him warm and dry. In fact, read the article and treat him for skin fungus while he's healing from the infection - you have nothing to lose>
I have another turtle in the tank with him. The other turtle is a little bigger (about 3 inches), but is completely healthy. I have a tank that has about 8 gallons of water, which I clean once a week. I have a heater, filter, UVB light, and a basking platform w/ a basking lamp above it.
<That all sounds fine. Make sure there is no glass between the UV bulb and the basking area '¦ make sure the diet is balanced. In fact here's a link to all the basic needs: Check your care against this article and adjust anything that needs correction or improvement.>
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
Kristi Eaves

Depressed Turtle  9/4/11
Dear Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
We got a Red Eared Slider turtle almost a year ago and for the last 2 months he has been looking depressed.
<Turtles don't get depressed the people do>
So we decided to go buy another one so he wouldn't be depressed anymore.
<They don't get lonely like people do, either>
We had the new turtle for like 4 days and when we went to sleep I guess they started fighting. When we woke up the new turtle was floating in the tank, dead.
<If the two turtles were about the same size, that is an unusual thing.
Normally they fight a little bit until one backs down. Sorry for your loss>
Henry, our first turtle, was swollen, his neck, arms, feet, and tail. He started biting his arm and I guess he popped his arm and he started bleeding. I don't know what to do. Will he heal himself or what can I do. I hate to see my baby Henry like that.
<It's unlikely he'll just heal without some help from you. Henry may have an infection, in which case he needs to be seen by a veterinarian, or he may be suffering from problems relating to care, diet, lighting, etc.>
<I'm giving you two articles to read completely. This first one is about treating illnesses. What you need to do is get Henry out of his tank, some place warm and DRY and keep him there for a few weeks (at least) while he tries to heal. Read the entire article please:
<This next article covers all the basics of turtle care. Read the article and compare your care and keeping with the information there. The most LIKELY reason for Henry's change in personality is that something is missing, or not right, in his environment.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<Best of luck to you>
Re... something re Turtle hlth.     9/6/11

I took Henry out of the water but every time I pick him up he farts.
<That's not a gas build-up. As he pulls his arms and legs in, gas in his internal spaces is expelled.>
And is it okay to give Henry baby penicillin and Tylenol?
<NO!!! ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!! (read below)>
I went to PetSmart and bought Henry Repti Wound-Healing Aid do you think that will help with his arm he was biting.
<I sent you an article that tells you how to treat cuts, bruises, abrasions, etc. Let it dry, coat it with Povodine (Iodine), etc. You can use the Repti-Wound Healing antiseptic if you like, it's essentially just
more money for the same thing>
<PLEASE read the article on treating illnesses.>
<PLEASE follow the instructions.>
<NEVER give human internal medications to an animal without a veterinarian's recommendation.>
<Here's a fun fact: Reptiles don't have the same brain/blood barrier that most other animals and humans have. Drugs that circulate in a human body but never reach the brain can go straight to a reptile's brain and cause severe damage. -- NEVER give human medications internally>

Red eared slider does not go into the water  8/27/11
Hey Guys,
<Hey there, Sue here with you.>
I recently purchased a baby red eared slider and put it into a 10 gallon tank with other fish.
<I hope they aren't/weren't pet fish!>
After a couple days the turtle got used to the water and habitat. It would eat pellets in the morning and evenings and it would bask in between. One day I noticed that the turtle was eating one of the guppies that I had in the tank, so I decided to buy a bigger tank and set that up just for the turtle.
<Good idea; turtles view fish as food rather than tank mates; and we don't recommend feeder fish for turtles as they are often infected with, or carriers of, disease.>
While I was buying the tank I decided to buy another baby slider as well. I set the 30 gallon tank up and put both the turtles in. My original one is doing just fine, same routine he was doing in the 10 gallon tank, but the new one will not go into the water at all. It sits basking all day, and when I do put it in the water, even at the far end, it swims frantically around the tank until it gets back to the basking spot.
<He's clearly stressed; what we need to determine is whether it's his new digs, having a roommate, or both!>
One time it even scared my original slider into hiding in the plants for a while. They both do bask together just fine when my original one does decide to bask.
<Turtles are usually fine with each other out of water. If there are compatibility problems, it's in the water where we see that.>
The water is 80-82 degree Fahrenheit, and the basking area is at 90 degrees.
<Basking temp is fine, but wow; water is WAY too warm! Turtles need to be given a clear choice between cool water and warm dry land in order to thermo-regulate. Water temp. should be in the 68-70 degree range. If you're using a water heater, remove it. Cool water is what you need. Ignore what you might read elsewhere to the contrary!>
The only thing that I have seen the other one do is drink water by leaning its neck over from the basking area. It has not eaten ever since I have put it in the tank.
<Again, this is likely stress from one or both of the above reasons.>
The eyes, shell and feet look just fine, just not as dark in color as my original slider. Is there anything that I am doing wrong? Or can I try something different? Maybe some vitamins or something that you can recommend if you think it is sick. Anything would be greatly appreciated.
<How long have you had him, and that he hasn't eaten? If it's just been a couple of days, it's more likely the reason for his behavior is the stress of being in a new home and/or with another turtle than because he is ill. Turtles actually prefer being alone!>
<To try and pinpoint the true cause, for now I'd narrow down the list of possible causes by temporarily separating the two of them. Either put a divider in your tank (they sell them in pet stores) or remove your ORIGINAL turtle (to keep things as consistent as possible for your new turtle) and place him in a separate container. It can be as simple as a plastic storage container. Set the two enclosures up so that both turtles can share the same UVB and heat source to bask. Then wait and see how your new turtle responds to being alone. If he goes in the water and starts eating, then his stress may have been driven by the other turtle. If that's the case give him a few days to just adjust to his new home before trying to introduce the two. Then, once he seems adjusted to his new home, try again to place him with the other turtle. You may need to start with some short supervised visits until they become more familiar with each other. >
<Even if/when they can eventually live together, you'll want to set it up in such a way that they can get out of the other's visual range, by using plants and other décor. Separate basking areas are sometimes also needed. And I would suggest feeding them separately as that can be a main cause of aggression.>
<You're welcome. If he hasn't eaten for weeks or he continues not to eat, it's possible he might be ill and we'll need to go to Plan B. But my first guess from what you've written is that his behavior is due to stress. And lower that water temperature! That may also help calm him down as well when he is in the water. Good luck; let us know how it goes! ~ Sue>
Re: Red eared slider does not go into the water  9/4/11

I tried all of the suggestions with now change. I took it to the vet yesterday. He said since the turtle is very young it was really hard for him to hear if he had a respiratory infection. But the doctor did notice a couple bubbles when he did submerge the turtle in water, so he prescribe 5 doses of antibiotics.
<It's common for turtles to blow bubbles when you submerge them or when they're in water. It's when they blow bubbles and show other respiratory symptoms on land that we normally start questioning respiratory infection. However, your vet has the advantage of getting to see him and we don't, so he may have seen other symptoms that caused him to think this. Here is a good link to an article that lists the symptoms and covers respiratory disease in turtles:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/turtrespart.htm >
<Normally if we suspect a respiratory illness, we'll recommend removing the turtle from the water and putting him in warm, dry environment according to the directions outlined in this link under the section called 'Isolation':
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >
<Nothing you've said so far would lead me to suggest that you do this. However, if your vet feels strongly that this is what he's got, or if you notice him getting worse and showing the symptoms of respiratory disease mentioned in the 1st link above, then I'd say go ahead and isolate him because warm and dry is the place he needs to be if he's sick.>
<On the other hand, if he's eating fine, is basking, active and swimming around (not lopsided) and has no clear signs of any respiratory illness, then I'd say hold off for now on the isolation, and just continue to observe him for any changes.>
He administered the first dose, and taught me how to do it as well. he told me to inject a does every other day. When I woke up this morning both turtles were in the water doing fine.
<Glad to hear that. How has he been the rest of this week? Has he finally eaten?>
Thanks for all your help. Are there any other suggestions you may have that I can do just for the turtles to have a happy home, food, vitamins, etc?
<As a matter of fact we do; that's one thing we're never short of! Below is (another!) link to a general care guide that covers diet and other basics:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<Vitamins aren't necessary if they're eating a balanced diet and getting plenty of UVB, but you can if you want once a week or so dust some (phosphorus-free) calcium with Vitamin D3 on their pellets and place them in water for a few minutes before feeding them so that they absorb the powder. A couple of earthworms every few weeks also offer them an additional (and natural) vitamin source as do dark leafy greens. Besides a good diet, the key things they need to stay healthy are cool and clean water, warm dry land, and a light above where they bask that's specifically UVB (make sure it is). They don't need a lot of things, but what they need they really have to have. The article describes all this better, but please do let us know if you need further guidance on any of the items mentioned there. We want your turtles to have a happy, healthy home also! ~Sue>

New turtle first pet   8/28/11
I just bought a turtle for my son.
<Likely a Red Ear Slider... or related species of similar care>
The turtle seem to swim around and active at the pet store. When we brought him home I notice that he always hiding under the rock or when we take him out the tank his hiding he hasn't been swimming around or getting on top of his rock.
<... Mmm, what does this system comprise?>
I also notice that the turtle hasn't been eating. Is my turtle getting sick or is there something wrong with the turtle?
<Likely environmental. Do read here:
Last thing I don't have sand or anything like that for my turtle in his tank does he need to have sand or something in the floor of the tank? Pls help w my question I don't want my son first pet to die just yet.
<And feel free to write back after reading if there's anything unclear. Bob Fenner>

red-eared slider worms & setup   8/15/11
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I recently acquired a red-eared slider from a little girl who is moving and not allowed to have it at her new apartment. I knew absolutely nothing about the animal when I got it a week and a half ago. The turtle came in a one gallon tank. The turtle is about 2 inches long and it looked like the tank was way too small so now I have it in an old 10 gallon tank.
It didn't have a basking rock but my dad cut a piece of slate from the yard. I have yet to see the turtle get on it, though it is clearly capable of doing so, and I have even put it on there a couple of times myself. All it does is hop right back into the water a second later!
<He's scared, nervous and using the water for comfort>
The light it came with is a UVB/UVA light I believe. I put the light on the Plexiglas lid of the aquarium above the basking rock and I leave it on all day, but turn it off when I go to sleep.
<The Plexiglas {or as we SHOULD call it "the Plexiglas Brand Acrylic Sheet"} will filter out almost all of the beneficial UV rays. The lamp should shine directly on the basking rock '¦ say '¦ from 8 to 12 inches above>
The tank also came with a little bubbler (I'm not sure what it is called). It is foam-looking and releases bubbles into the water. It is connected with a clear, thin tube to a little pump outside of the tank. I have been using that.
<That circulates the water a bit, but otherwise not a lot of good>
The girl I got it from hasn't unpacked the food yet, but I fed it grasshoppers from my yard until the day before yesterday, when I finally bought some turtle food. I read that they eat crickets, so I thought grasshoppers would have relatively the same nutritional value :D The turtle eats whatever I feed it and appears to be in good health.
<The best food for a Red Eared Slider is Koi Pellets. Virtually identical to the world-class "ReptoMin" food sticks, just less money>
So, that's my setup. I would like to know if that is all right for the needs of the turtle.
<Here is an article that you can read that covers every part of the basic care & needs for water turtles. It's not only complete, but as you'll see - nothing relating to their care has to be expensive: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
Also, the one-gallon tank the turtle came in had worms in it today. Little red, wriggling worms, about 3 or 4 mm long, and smaller than a mm wide. The turtle hasn't been in the tank for two weeks. The tank has been sitting on the floor of my room... yuck!
<Some sort of worm eggs were laid, eggs hatched, it happens>
The worms looked like they couldn't get out of the water, so I think my room is un-contaminated. I was wondering if turtles could get that type of worm (whatever that may be), and if so, how to take care of it myself (I live very far from a vet that does reptiles) I wish I had thought to take a picture of the small tank today before I dumped it in the yard (oops!!!).
<No need. The turtle likely does have some parasitic worms in his intestines. All you have to do is keep the water clean: break down the tank once a week, drain it, wash it with soap and water and rinse well. Then refill, etc. A couple weeks of that and the problem will take care of itself. After that, just see that some water is changed every week and the entire volume changed monthly or so>
Thanks for your help in advance!
<No Charge!! Again: read up: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >

Disoriented, Floating Red Eared Slider    8/12/11
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have had my red eared slider turtle for almost three months, and he is approximately 1 3/4 inches across his shell.
Some background info first, in case it's helpful: A few weeks after I got my turtle he became extremely lethargic and listless and would not eat or go in the water at all. After looking around online I determined he probably had some kind of bacterial infection and took him to a vet who prescribed a 5 day course of oral antibiotics (Baytril, I think) with instructions to administer the antibiotic 3-5 times a day until that day's dose volume was exhausted. I did as instructed by the vet and my turtle recovered fully - by the 5th day he was so lively that administering the antibiotics had become quite a challenge, and his appetite and swimming abilities seemed good. Almost exactly a month ago, however, he suddenly began exhibiting strange movement behaviors: walking in circles, with a strange high-stepping gate; swimming frantically in circles at the very surface of the water; craning his neck and extending it awkwardly at strange angles; floating lopsided (left side higher) at the surface of the water; pawing at his face and neck; and experiencing difficulty biting his food (he will lunge and "miss" the food, as if he cannot see it well or is dizzy) though his appetite seems normal.
<And yet all of these can be 'typical behaviors' as well as 'symptoms'>
When I noticed these symptoms, I immediately reduced his water level to approximately 2/3 his shell height and made sure he had very easy access to a low, dry basking area, since he seemed a danger to himself in the water. Two weeks ago I took him to a local vet who claimed to treat exotics, including reptiles. I described my turtle's behaviors in detail to the vet and she observed him moving on dry land, but said she had never seen a turtle behave that way before. The vet then prescribed a series of 7 antibiotic shots at 3 day intervals to treat a potential ear infection - her best guess, though the turtle has no visible ear abscesses or swelling. So far four of the shots have been administered (the most recent injection was Sunday morning) and I have not seen any appreciable improvement in my turtle's condition; quite the opposite of his respiratory infection treatments which had a marked effect even in a single day.
<It was an interesting guess, but probably not an accurate one>
Tonight, while Google searching for possible answers, I stumbled across a question and answer on your page from 2006, which concerned a turtle with symptoms identical to those of my turtle. The diagnosis you provided in 2006 was "protozoan infection," with a suggested treatment of neomycin. Could you possible elaborate more on this diagnosis, as I believe it also applies to my turtle, and perhaps explain how these symptoms are caused by protozoan infection?
<Generally we try not to "diagnose" medical conditions. A "protozoan infection" is a broad term for many different kinds of single-celled organisms that can cause as many different symptoms as there are organisms. The only indication here is that certain Protozoans infecting the nerves, ears, eyes or brain can cause what appear to be erratic behavior. But remember this is just a general explanation. I've had turtles exhibit the symptoms you describe for no other reason than they were acting weird>
I have read online that neomycin can be nephrotoxic if administered generally; will this be a risk for my turtle?
<Generally speaking ALL of our treatments for diseases and afflictions are toxic to beneficial organisms within the host. This is why we generally don't recommend medical treatment for non-specific conditions>
Are there any questions I can ask my vet, or details I can give to assist them in diagnosing and treating my turtle, since they obviously are unfamiliar with this condition?
<Let's not go there yet>
Can you provide any information on recovery odds, given the length of the infection (a month)? My turtle still seems strong and has a good appetite apart from his other symptoms. Any other information you could provide in addition to the answers to these questions would be greatly appreciated.
<Take your turtle out of his/her normal environment and 'dry-dock' him for two weeks. In this article it's called 'isolation treatment.' Don't treat for any of the CONDITIONS '¦ just keep her warm and dry for two weeks, with a short daily bath & feeding. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >
<Two weeks of being warmer than usual will speed the life cycle of anything that might be affecting him and it also encourages their own immune system to help battle the little buggers - which is not to say we KNOW she has anything.>
<After two weeks, put her back in her normal tank and report back>
My apologies for the length of this letter and all the questions - I just want to be well-informed and give my turtle the best shot at survival and wellness since we've already been let down by the vet once.
<We appreciate that.>
Thanks so much for your time.
<Yer welcome>

RES question   8/9/11
Dear Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have a seven year old Red Eared Slider. He started vomiting one day, several times.
I noticed that he was also starting to not swallow completely. I took him to the vet and had an x-ray done. There were some little spots in his stomach. The vet said to give him mineral oil and Metamucil. I did that for about a week.
<That's long enough>
I am suppose to take him back to the vet for more x-rays, but don't really have the money.
<I hear you. So let's hang on for a while>
I haven't seen him defecate and the filters aren't getting dirty. I am afraid that I am just packing him full, with nothing coming out.
<That's possible. If he's impacted that may be the symptom>
Any other suggestions?
<Well, Cher, that's a tough one. First, stop feeding him. If he's seven years old and been healthy and eating all along, he can go MONTHS without food. So lets' just stop that.>
<Second, give him a warm water bath every day '¦ say 90 degrees or so '¦ about an inch deep (no more that to cover the upper part of his tail) in a pan. Let him soak for 10 minutes while the water cools.>
<Third, exercise. Place him on the floor and let him walk. Take him in the sun, grass, garden, etc. [ALWAYS SUPERVISED!!] and let him walk around. Everything that warms him up and makes him move his muscles works in your favor.>
<As far as the x-rays are concerned, this is a tough one. Over the years I've spent more money on a few on my exotic animals than I have on my car '¦ but not everyone has that luxury and not all of us have it all the time, either. The problem that crops up in my mind is this: let's say you DID find the money to take him to he vet for X-rays. We find one of three things:
1) He's no longer impacted, via natural causes and returns eventually to normal
2) He is impacted and requires surgery
3) He has some other form of obstruction that requires surgery.
If Outcomes 2 & 3 are beyond the reach of the normal person and Outcome #1 happens regardless of the X-rays '¦ what is the possible UP side of more X-rays?>
Thank you, CMD
<Turtles are remarkable and durable animals. Give him warm water baths, no food until be defecates for you and lets see if it's a phase he's going through (or a phase that goes through him!)>

About a Red eared slider's respiratory infection   7/30/11
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I gave my Red eared slider 10 Baytril shots (first 7 shots in a row, the rest every other day) because she started to whistle while surfacing to breathe.
<Not 'HAPPY' whistling like a TV Show theme, right?>
There is no other symptoms, eyes are clear, she eats well and is behaving normally. The whistling sound remained and I took her to a vet quite much in vain, because the vet thought the respiratory infection has gotten chronic, so they didn't do anything there. They didn't want to prescribe more antibiotics either because it's not good for the turtle's
kidneys and I understand that, too.
<Yeah. Baytril is still the treatment of choice because of its availability and cost, but it's hard on the kidneys and - if not diluted at least 50-50 with saline, it can cause skin damage at the injection site>
I still would like to know if this arrangement is really ok. The whistling got less severe and less frequent after the shots, but would it be better to get rid of it completely (if possible, of course)? I don't want to put too much stress on the kidneys, but I'm not sure if it's best to just do nothing (but to observe) either.
<There is also the chance that it's not a bacterial cause, in which case the injections are a waste of time. I have a Galapagos tortoise that has a nasal obstruction and every once in a while, she just '¦ sighs. It sounds bad and very medical, but after a long series of investigations we found that it's a physical condition, not a medical one>
I don't know much about the turtle's past, she has been with me a little over a year now.
<But it's not likely it was a shady past, right? Not like she was a showgirl in Vegas or worse '¦. a Republican?>
She's a rescue turtle, someone had abandoned her on a pet shops floor. I think she's about 15-20 years old. I have a UVB-light and a normal light in her basking place, the temperature rises up to about 40 Celsius degrees (104 F). The tank is about 300 liters (80 gallons) in size. I'd like to get a bigger one in future. The water level is as high as it is safe to keep (so that she can't escape from the tank or fall over the edge). I try to keep the water as clean as possible, I change the water every week or more often if needed. She has a heater in the water.
<She shouldn't need heater water, Christine. Room temperature water is perfect for her. The idea is to give her cool water and a warm basking area and let her choose which is right for her at the moment>
She eats European Cisco (and few other fishes), occasionally a bit of pigs heart, different vegetables and salads and sometimes pet store's turtle food. I add calcium and Nutrobal (vitamin supplement) when I feed her the fish.
<I wouldn't feed the fish. Surprisingly it's not part of her natural diet. I raise mine from hatchlings to breeders almost exclusively on Koi pellets. It's a complete vegetable-based diet that is already fortified with iron, calcium and vitamins '¦ and it's cheap. The Pig's heart (or beef liver) makes an excellent once a month treat. So does a plain old earth worm>
I got my first two turtles 18 years ago. Sadly, the other one died last year (perhaps partly due to old age) and she is still greatly missed.
<We're sorry for your loss, Christine - but the two things we know for sure is that she wasn't lost to poor care or lack of concern. You're being an excellent turtle mom>
The other one is fine, but I house the rescued one and my "old" turtle separately. I hope my explanations aren't too confusing, my English is not that great.
<It's actually better than mine!! And I apologize for the distinctly American references, they probably make no more sense than my poor sentence structure!!>
Thank you in advance.
<What I suggest is this. If you will read this article on treat common illnesses, and then treat the rescue turtle with warm, dry isolation for four weeks, you'll either see an improvement if it is a chronic respiratory condition or no change if it's a physical condition. It turns out that the warm and WET environment that is their natural habitat becomes an enemy to them when they are sick. Warm and DRY (with daily baths) for four weeks will give her a chance to rest (she probably won't LIKE it, but it will be good for her) and recuperate>
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >

New Red Eared Slider - Sick   7/18/11
Dear Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
My family and I just bought a little red eared slider turtle. We got a great "turtle starter kit" that came with the tank, filter, lights, basking rock and turtle pellets.
We've only had the turtle for 6 days and something is not quite right with him. He was fine until this morning. He has been swimming and eating well. Now he is just listless. He was on his basking rock and his neck was stretched right out, his eyes were closed and he was not moving. I picked him up and he still didn't move. I put him back on his basking rock.
After about ten minutes, he lifted up his head, swam off his rock and now is just listlessly floating in the water. I don't know if he is dead or in the process of dying.
<He's definitely sick. Very sick.>
<Get him out of the water and someplace warm and dry>
<Read this article about treating common illnesses. Treat for Respiratory Infection even if we can't be sure - mainly the only treatment we can give is to make an environment that is less taxing on his little body while he heals himself>
I don't know what to do and we don't have a reptile vet in our area.
<Any competent vet can treat with an injection of Baytril. (Enrofloxacin)
10 mg/Kg im once a day for 15 days in a 50-50 saline solution>
<Failing that, a nice warm (but don't cook him) dry place where he can just rest while his body fights off whatever is ailing him - may be the best we can do>

RES... shedding skin    7/14/11
Hi my name is Kelly,
<Hi Kelly, I'm Sue.>
I brought my mum some red eyed slider turtles a few weeks ago
<How many is 'some'?>
and I noticed one was shedding a little on his neck. Only now his she seems to have gone waxy and he is very sticky. His shell looks like it has got a light grey covering on top? can you please tell me why this is?
<Shedding is a natural process as turtles grow, but shedding on the skin shouldn't be so noticeable. And any sort of issue with a turtle's skin and/or shell is nearly always the result of something amiss in their diet or environment (in particular water quality; possibly also water and land temperatures that aren't quite right.>
The turtles have a big enough tank, lamp and dry land. They are given a various diet of veg, greens, fish, etc. and are well cared for. Hope you can help as I've search the internet and can't find anything.
<Kelly, I'd like to help, but I'll need more specifics about your set-up and care -- problems with the following things in particular can lead to skin and shell problems:
1) How many gallons of actual water is in your tank? What are the actual dimensions of your tank -- length, height, width? How many turtles do you have in it? How large (straight length of top shell/carapace) are each them?
You said your tank is 'big enough'. A 'big enough' tank when it comes to turtles is really a relative term that is dependent on how big your turtles are, and how many of them you have sharing that same water/space. The waste from 1 small turtle in a 40 gallon tank is quite different than the waste from 2-3 large size turtles in that same size tank. Turtles produce a considerable amount of waste. And if you're also feeding them in that same tank, eventually food debris will start to build up as well, even if you do have a good filtration system. The more water you have in the tank/the larger the tank, the longer it takes to build up concentrations of waste.
2) Also, what are you doing to maintain their water quality?
'¢ Are you using any sort of filter? How often are you doing water changes? What percent of the water are you changing when you do? Even with a good filter, you'll still need to do frequent water changes; the frequency and amount depending on how quickly the water fouls up.
'¢ Are you netting up larger debris and suctioning up smaller debris right away when you see it, or is it sitting a while before you get rid of it?
'¢ Are you also feeding them in this same tank? If so, you may want to feed them in a separate container and give them a few minutes after they eat to poop in it before putting them back in their regular tank.
3) What is their water temperature? Water that is too warm can also land up increasing their growth rate which can result in more than normal shedding -- as can poor water quality also. It can also discourage them from getting out of the water to bask. Water temperature should be on the cooler side, around 68-70 degrees F.
4) What's the temperature under their heat lamp? It should be around 88-90 degrees F or so. Besides good clean water, they also need this amount of heat along with the ability to completely dry off, to discourage bacteria and algae from building up on their shell and skin.
5) When you say 'lamp', what do you mean? A UVB lamp? A heat lamp? Turtles need both for good shell health. If you don't have a UVB light specifically in addition to a heat lamp, you need to get one right away or they will become sick.
6) How long are each of the turtles completely out of the water and basking under the lamps for each day? They should be basking (directly under) the heat and UVB lamp for several hours a day.
7) How much and how often are you feeding them? Over-feeding is unhealthy for them and can cause growth spikes and excess shedding. They should only be fed once every other day and no more than they can eat in 5-10 minutes.
8) Also, re: their diet - Are you giving them a good quality turtle or Koi pellet? That should really be the main 'staple' of their diet. And I'd replace the fish with an occasional earthworm or two every few weeks. That's a healthier treat for them.>
<Also, check out the following link-
It covers everything I mentioned above (and more!) about all the basic aspects of care that they need.>
Kind regards and Many thanks Kelly.
<You're welcome, Kelly. Hope this helps. As you're going through the list of the items/questions above that I raised, as well as in the care article, if there are any of them you see that you're doing different, make the recommended changes and see if that helps. And if you want to reply back to us with all the specifics about your current care and set-up (questions I raised above) to get our feedback on it, that's fine too!>

Ill turtle   7/11/11
Dear Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
We have a female red/yellow belly slider about 11yrs old, Chomper. The last few days we have noticed that she has not eaten and as not been moving around much (and she hasn't pooped since we brought her in). We have a 1,000gl pond outside that she lives in with 11 other turtles and 6 Koi. I noticed Chomper went to swim across the pond but could not submerge. I took her out of the pond placed her in a plastic tub and placed a heat lamp on her. Her eyes and hears are normal. She is sitting on a brick on a towel that is about 1.5inch thick and about 1/2 inch of water on the bottom. Not often but every now and then she will stick her nose in the water for a few minutes. Can you tell me what else I can do for her? Would she get like this after she laid eggs? About a month ago she was digging and her backside look fairly bigger, not sure though if she actually laid or not.
<One possibility is that she's egg-bound. Usually, if a turtle can't lay eggs for some reason, they'll reabsorb the eggs. If the eggs have already shelled inside her (formed the harder external shells) then they'll just expel them in the water or land or wherever. Must less often they can get egg bound - the eggs are formed and, for whatever reason, can't be expelled. This can cause loss of appetite, lethargy and odd swimming characteristics.>
<The solution is easy: Take Chomper to a vet and have her hind quarters X-rayed. Eggs in the oviduct will show up on the graph. If they are there, the vet can administer Oxytocin in the hind leg to induce labor.>
<warm bath/soakings of the hind quarter '¦ say '¦ 15 minutes of warm water twice daily might also free up the eggs or any intestinal impaction>
We've had ill turtles in the past and we have been able to help them but I'm at a loss with Chomper.
Thanks for any guidance you can give us.
<Hope it helps - D>

odd turtle behavior   7/1/11
Dear Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
Background info: Red eared slider, approx 5-6 years old, lives in an indoor 6' ft x 3' pond (2' x 3' land area) with 2 other adult females. Frequent water changes, UVB, basking, water temp. 80 degrees.
<Water temp is too high (should be 68-73 & no higher) but everything else seems fine>
I'm hoping that you may be able to identify some odd behavior my Red Eared Slider is exhibiting. I took her to her vet and even she is stumped. My turtle is extending her neck and arms, and floating with a completely gaping mouth. One time, when I picked her up to see if she was OK, projectile water flew out of her mouth, and her head was extended and limp. Then in a flash, she snaps out of it and everything is fine. I have seen her act this way 3x in the past month. Her vet got a really good look down her throat and did not see anything out of the ordinary, no mucus, obstruction etc. She also got a good feel of her stomach and did not feel anything unusual; She has not lost any weight since her last visit. The vet says she seem to be in good health and is really strong. Her appetite is on and off and she is eating at least one time per week. The vet says her appetite is normal for mating season. There are no small rocks or decorations in the pond. Thank you very much for your time, as it is greatly appreciated.
<This one's a stumper, Jacqui. I ran this behavior past a world-class reptile vet (He LITERALLY wrote the book on Reptile Medicine and Surgery) and the short answer is that there's really no way to know for sure.>
<The longer answer is: the behavior sound neurological. It's as if there are mini-strokes '¦ or seizures '¦ or neuro-transmitter deficiencies of some sort. More to the point, even if there was a way to test for these, there would be no way to treat it. The only wild hare that either of us came up with '¦ and this is a REALLY long shot '¦ is an underage or overage of vitamins or minerals. You might try assessing the diet and possibly supplementing with a multi-vitamin (grind up a Flintstone's chewable and mix it with some bread -- not kidding!!). If, on the other hand, you are already supplementing, discontinue for a month.>
<One other thing '¦ remove the water heater it you have one. Unplug and remove it completely. Stray micro-currents can cause strange effects that some animals react to more than others>
<Beyond that '¦ treat her well, give her the best care you can and keep good thoughts.>

Re: RES care India   6/23/11
<Hiya - Darrel again>
One of my turtle died soon after the last mail.
<On behalf of Bob and the crew, please accept our condolences>
The other one is doing fine. He just prefers to sit in an enclosed corner(for e.g. burrow himself under the rock, to find small gaps and to basically hole himself there). Just wanted to check if this behaviour is ok.
<It's not a huge problem - at least not yet>
His diet is ok he his forever hungry and can eat as much as I can give him.
<That's a good sign. very good>
I also give him multivitamin drops sometimes (once or twice a week) after he has basked in the sun (just mix it with water and let him soak it up).
<Turtles don't absorb vitamins through their skin, Ruchika. To be of any value, you need to coat their food pellets or food sticks in it. My suggestion - as always - is feed a high quality Koi pellet, or ReptoMin food sticks and an occasional earthworm. That's a stable basic diet that will raise them from hatchlings to adult breeders>
Re: RES care India    6/27/11

Thanks for the last reply.
<No problem>
I had taken both my turtles to vet earlier. He was the one who prescribed vitamins. Now am doubtful about his other suggestions.
<Don't be too hard on him Ruchika, by the time the turtles showed any symptoms at all, their case was already fairly advanced. Plus veterinarians are the only doctors whose patients can't tell them where it hurts.>
He had said that both have them congestion in their chest. Hence the lopsided swimming and open mouth breathing.
<Very possible>
They were too small for a injection so he didn't want to take a chance. He did however put them on a nebulizer for few minutes. That is to make them breathe steam. He also said that reason for congestion was that water level was too high (4 inches) they are not expert swimmers as captive babies so therefore sometimes tend to inhale the water.
<Now that much I don't agree with. Reptiles are primitive creatures that come out of the egg with all the skills necessary to survive. They don't need lessons of any sort.>
<What they DO need is 68-73 degree water (that 20-23 c for those of you in the rest of the world) and a warm basking area, around 88-94 (31035 c) along with UV-B lighting. These are almost certainly NOT the conditions they were kept in from hatching to transport, storage to sales floor. What this means is that by the time you get your baby turtles, they've already been stressed and kept in sub standard conditions.>
Hence the congestion. He told me water level should be somewhere in between the two shells (upper and lower)
<That's OK. They seem to like and enjoy deeper water, but they certainly don't NEED it. What should have been done is that they should have been taken out of the water completely and kept warm and dry during their recovery. Those basics are covered in this article: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm consider reading it in advance >
and he gave me multivitamins. He wasn't too sure about the survival about the bigger turtle since his left lung according to him was totally gone. The smaller turtle he said might survive since his congestion was slight. Bigger turtle passed away few days after that.
<Sorry for your loss>
Its been 2 months after that. Smaller turtle has grown in size. He doesn't breathe from his mouth. Can't say anything about lopsided swimming since I have kept the water level as suggested by the vet. I also feed him blood worms at times (earthworms are not easily available).
<Try chicken liver instead of blood worms. HOWEVER '¦ feed him the liver in a separate container, like a shallow bowl of water. This way you don't foul his tank water>
Only issue is he hides behind rocks constantly. He used to be a great swimmer and very interactive say about 2 months ago. Last I measured he was 1 and half inches in size. (Upper shell flat length)
<My guess is that he's still recovering. Just like they were both sick for a while before they showed symptoms, during recovery they appear better before they are completely well.>
<With any sort of pulmonary condition, HEAT is critical. Make absolutely SURE that he has access to a warm basking area and that he uses that area regularly. If the water is too warm, they don't get the urge to bask and therefore don't dry out or get the UV light.>
Re: RES care India 7/10/11

Hey Darrel,
<Howdy, Ruchika>
I don't have a heater in the water. Even with Air conditioner on room temperature is minimum 24 degree Celsius it never falls below that. So I don't think issue is water being warm for him and don't worry he has a basking area with 40 watt bulb.
<We all have to deal with natural conditions. Just make sure there is a temperature difference>
I have tried to understand what exactly he does in enclosed areas. He sleeps!!!. I took him out of his aquarium and put him on my palm. He is very restless whenever he's outside. I just cupped my palm with my other hand so that it was dark for him. So now he was between my two hands (how you hold a small bug when you're a kid) at first he was restless. He kept digging at corners. Then he snuggled and was completely calm after that. After few minutes I suddenly opened my hands to find him sleeping !!. Have repeated this procedure several times with same result.
In fact I got a little cave for him. He sits under it 24X7. It doesn't make a difference whether it's in water or dry land. He just likes to sit under it and I guess to sleep.
So he basically hates light. Prefers to sit in dark enclosed corner smaller the better.
I don't understand this behaviour. Is something wrong with him ???
<My guess is that he's frightened. I know it doesn't seem logical because you've had him long enough, but the likely reason he wants to find a tight, enclosed space is that he feels protected. It's not all THAT uncommon.
His diet is healthy. He's forever hungry . In fact I recently introduced him to mangoes and tomatoes and he loved it.
<Make sure he get a variety>
So please help me to understand why is he so lethargic. Is it normal. What can I do to prevent it.
<Well, if some giant picked YOU up and cupped you in his hands, you'd probably curl up in a corner too, so let's not use that as an example. Maybe there is something about his enclosure that doesn't make him feel secure. Could it be movement outside the tank? Vibration could be causing problems. What you'll have to do is look for small reasons, make a change - and then wait long enough for him to start to adjust to it before making more changes>
Ruchika Rawat

Red eared slider question, hlth.     6/8/11
Hi there,
Laura here from New Zealand!
<Darrel here from Los Angeles!>
I've had my red eared slider turtle Schnell for about a year and a half, lives in a big 80x30x40cm tank (sorry for the NZ measurements!)
<No problem. I will herewith convert those to Imperial - or as we Americans call them "REAL" measurements: 32 inches by 12 inches by 16 inches>
-- with a great platform, good basking light and uv light, filter etc. We feed him ReptoMin pellets and blood worms every second day. Today I noticed that he was extremely lethargic, won't go into the water at all and seemed to be itching himself a lot, the skin looks quite flaky and dry. All of a sudden his shell is starting to shed a lot and the skin around his legs are quite sunken in and have a pinkish tinge. I'm sensing something might be wrong?!
<Me too>
Had a big read up on your site and Google and can't seem to find much about these symptoms combined. We're going to give the tank a big clean out, but just wanted to know what might be wrong and what else we might need to do?
<Laura. I don't have a lot to go on here. He was FINE yesterday? Eating, active, swimming & basking and suddenly in ONE DAY his skin gets flaky and he's acting lethargic? If that's the case, a trip to a qualified reptile veterinarian is in short order!!>
<Assuming that it's not really such sudden onset, I'd remove Schnell from the tank and place him somewhere warm and dry. When our water turtles get sick, water becomes their enemy and not their friend. I'd make sure he gets daily access to natural sunlight, not filtered through glass or screen, although that may be hard in New Zealand right now because seasons is another thing different that here: You're having WINTER right in the middle of June!!! Not to mention that one quick look at the globe and it becomes clear that you guys are UPSIDE DOWN!!!!!>
<What I want to do is let Schnell dry out for a few days while you clean his tank and disinfect it with bleach, etc. Use vinegar to wipe any areas of his skin that seem to be flaking or discolored and allow it to dry. Put Schnell in a shallow bowl of room temperature water for about 15 minutes every day to allow him to drink, poop and eat.. Offer two ReptoMin sticks and see how eagerly he eats them. While he's out, see how long it's been since the UV-B bulb has been changed, then read up on the internet for the useful life of that bulb -- they lose their UV output LONG before they actually burn out. Also check his basking area for a constant temp of between 88-93 degrees. (OOPS, that's 31-34 degrees to rest of the world.)>
<Here is a link that covers most home treatments. Nothing specifically covers the pink tinge, because that can be staining from environment, staining from dies in food (the natural color of blood worms) all the way to a serious systemic infection. That said, almost all the treatments have a common thread, so read up.
Thanks a bunch!!
<You're welcome, Laura.>

Red Eared Slider Question   12/30/10
Dear Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have had my turtle for about 4 and a half years. I bought him when he was the size of a quarter, he is now between 5 and 6 inches long. After having him for a year in a shared tank with another turtle the same size (my roommate's turtle) I moved him into a larger tank by himself and then I adopted him a girlfriend. His girlfriend, who started of the same size as him, is now double his size and I suspect that she took a bite out of him. I noticed he had a large cut at the base of his nail and immediately separated him. He is now in a smaller tank with shallow water, a heat lamp and basking spot. He seems to be in better spirits, is eating and basking, but I'm not sure that the wound is healing quick enough. Is there anything you would suggest to speed up his recovery?
<Please read this:
and check out your treatment options>
His girlfriend seems a little lonely (maybe she shouldn't have bitten him!)
I would like to reunite them as soon as possible so they don't become aggressive towards each other. I have tried applying Silvadene ointment that the vet gave me last time his girlfriend injured her self, I have also tried some regular antibacterial ointment, neither seems to be doing the trick. I am being too impatient?
<Probably. Healing takes time. It's a much longer healing process in reptiles than in humans. Make sure the wound gets time to be completely DRY each day as he basks. If not, take him out of the water for a week or so - as the illness article suggests>
I have also attached a picture of him, you can see the big red spot. (I hope it was the right file type and you don't have trouble opening it)
<It opened perfectly and shows a nail lost at the root. Ouch>
<The healing will go along find, Natalie, as long as it doesn't develop a secondary infection. As long as he's eating, basking and otherwise healthy - and you're keeping his tank nice & clean, this shouldn't be a problem>
<The problem will be when you try to re-introduce them to each other.
There are three possibilities here
1- It was just "one of those things" that won't happen again
2 - The tank is too small for them and he doesn't have enough room to get away from her when she's in a mood.
3- She's just plain mean and it WILL happen again.>
<You'll have to consider those options, make changes as needed. #1 is the easy one, #2 is a big harder (but it's my guess the RIGHT one) and #3 requires rehoming one of them and trying to find a suitable replacement>
Thanks in advance for your words of wisdom,

Red-eared Slider breathing problem   5/29/11
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have a red-eared slider that's 8cm long (from head to tail) and 5cm wide, I'm not sure how old he is but I got him in January. He lives in a tank that is 7 inches wide by 12 inches long by 8 inches tall, with a floating dock, with another red-eared slider that's 9cm long and 6cm wide.
<Well, I see your problem right here: You have METRIC turtles (8cm & 9cm) and you're keeping them in an IMPERIAL tank (7 inches by 12 inches), no wonder there are problems. Metric turtles should be kept strictly in metric tanks.>
They both eat the same pellets that contain fish meal and shrimp meal and yeast.
<OK '¦ Before we get 300 emails '¦>
<I just made that Metric/Imperial thing up. I didn't mean a word of it.
That said, these two need a LARGER tank (metric OR imperial) for their optimum health>
The other larger red-eared slider is still behaving and eating normally, but the smaller turtle started behaving strangely recently. I'm not sure about his appetite,
<Well, Christie, diet is a serious indicator here. When you say you aren't sure, are you saying that he isn't eating? Or you don't know how much he's eating? More importantly, when it's feeding time - does he show an interest in the food, try to eat it, etc.? Or is he ambivalent or indifferent to the food?>
-- but the webbed part between his claws on his back legs are a bit reddish as if they'd been scorched with hot water (though it's healed now, I still want to know what it was so I can watch out for it),
<Again, I'm unclear what you mean here. The skin is reddish but it's healed? The worst care for reddish skin is a condition known as Septicemia, which is an infection of the blood and therefore of the entire body '¦ but it's unusual -AND- there are usually many other serious signs that present themselves first. So skipping that, the most common reason for reddish skin? Simple stains. From the dyes in the food or sometimes from the organic materials in the pebbles in the substrate or even from the water itself>
-- and he keeps stretching his neck out and opening his mouth and closing it for no reason, as if he's fighting for air. He sometimes makes weird squeaky noises when he opens his mouth, and I've tried to look inside his mouth, but there doesn't seem to be anything stuck in his throat, so I don't think he's choking. I've tried researching the problems, and most of them say it could be a respiratory infection, though the symptoms are a bit different.
<That's where I'm headed too.>
Please help, I really want to save the turtle I've had for five months.
<Christie, I'm going to guess that the turtle is developing a respiratory problem. You don't mention water temps or basking temps or UV lighting, all of which are critical to the care of turtles in captivity, so I'm going to send you two links. The first link is how to care for a respiratory infection at home. This will mostly involve removing him from the aquatic environment and keeping him warm & dry and seeing that he gets adequate UV lighting. Please read the entire article:>
<This next article covers the basic care they need. Water temp and UV lighting are explained in enough detail to help you decide if changes are needed in your setup & care>
<http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<I hope it helps!>

700 Responses!!   5/22/11
Hi my names Sophia
<Hiya - I'm Darrel>
<Guess what???>
<This is my SEVEN HUNDREDTH LETTER on the WWM crew!!!!!>
<Imagine that!! 700 people have written in and had the fortune to get ME as their letter-answer-person!! 700 people!!>
<700 times I've given people advice on turtles, fish, aquariums. Illnesses, investments, relationships and car repair. The law of large numbers says that I must have been right at least a few of those times!!! LOL>
<Then again, every time I get proud of answering 700 letters over 4 years, I remember that Bob Fenner and Neale Monks answer that many every month>
<Anyway '¦ enough about me!>
I have a red ear slider that is 4 1/2 inches wide and 5 1/2 inches long. He lives in a 100 gallon tank and has a great basking shore. We have a heating lamp,
<Great. The temp under the lamp should be between 88 and 93 degrees>
-- the water is in great temp,
<Should be between 68 and 73 degrees - normal room temperature>
and he is right by the window so the sun is always shinning down on him.
<Well, there's a problem. UV/B radiation, the kind that reptiles need for good skin and bone health, does not easily pass through glass - or even window screens. By the time that sunlight passes through the window glass and then the tank glass, I'm afraid that almost all the healthful UV/B radiation has been filtered out.>
<There are two ways to go here. Companies like ZooMed make UV/B bulbs that screw into normal lamp sockets, just like his heating lamp. You can count one right next to his heat lamp. There are also florescent bulbs that produce a bit more of the same UV/B and mount lengthwise across the tank. These are generally a bit more beneficial, but more expensive as well.>
My dad knows more about this than I, and my mom doesn't want to go to a vet so you are my only resource please help me!
<Yes, a trip to the vet is expensive, especially when we have such general symptoms>
My red ear slider turtle seems to have some type of white clear slime all in his shell that floats out when he is in the water. Also his skin is bulging out of his hind legs and a little on his tail. What is wrong with him? Does he need some type of surgery?
<No surgery, Sophia.>
<We have two separate things here. The floating white slime sounds like the beginning of a fungal infection. This is easy and inexpensive to treat. I'll tell you how to do it a little later.>
<The bulges are more concerning '¦ but then without seeming him or knowing more detail, there is also less I can help you with. Bulges can be a sign of edema, which is swelling of the soft tissue. That's very serious, but then again it's not usually general either. Edema usually presents as ALL the soft tissue looking bloated. If he's being over-fed, his soft tissue would look '¦ um ... pudgy every time he retracts - back AND front. In any case, we need to treat what we see and correct any conditions that are not optimum>
<Here's a link to basic care. I covers UV lighting and diet. Make sure you read and completely understand both topics (as well as the rest of it) and do further research here on WWM (Google search box on the bottom of the home page - check "search WWM") to get more information>
<Now as far as the slime and the bulges, I'm going to start with the basics. He needs to be kept warm and DRY for a few weeks -- and treated for a fungal infection exactly as described in this article:>
<If you're Dad knows more about these things, you might ask him to scan the articles, too. They're short and hopefully to the point>
<During this time, see that he (the turtle, not your dad) gets some direct sunlight EVERY day. That means taking him outside for a walk. Let him sit on the grass or sidewalk under direct sun. He'll want to walk around '¦ you can't take your eyes off of him for a second (you'd be amazed how fast these guys can be when we're not looking!) so you may need to follow him, or keep bringing him back from wherever he wanders. You can put him in a box that he can't crawl out of, but you still can't leave him alone. If you can, I'd like him to get 15 minutes of sunlight, twice a day, while he's in treatment.>
<Meanwhile, fix the UB/B problem in the tank, read the articles, attend to whatever's wrong - and see how he does.>
<Write back if you need more help><<Congrats Darrel. B>>

RES care India   4/23/2011
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have two 8 months old RES. I reside in India where temps are between 40 degree Celsius (summers) and 20 degree Celsius winters.
<Ah - Metric temperatures!! That's 104 Degree Summers and 68 degree Winters for those of you still in The Old Dominion>
It is difficult to get uvb bulbs here.
<I've heard that. Still - it is well worth your while to try>
You guys have already got many mails on that.
I just want to know can I do without it if every day I place them under direct sunlight from 8:30 A.M to 9:30 A.M and provide them adequate vitamin d3 in their food.
They do stay in the sun for 20 min max after which they start feeling hot and move over to shaded area. When they do this I place them in their feeding bowl and feed them. After they have cooled enough I place them again in direct sunlight area for another 20 min.s or so. After which I quickly put them back in their main tank.
<VERY nice care, Ruchika - and more than adequate. Just remember that they can cook so quickly in the sun '¦ make sure you don't ignore them even for a few minutes.>
<They do have a BASKING light in their main tank, correct (a heat generator) so that the can thermo-regulate during the rest of the day?>
<Other than that, your care is more than adequate and will keep them healthy.>
Re: RES care India 5/3/2011

Hey (Darrel)
Am facing a tough a situation.
<Uh oh>
Both my turtle are breathing through their mouth, although not consistently but say after a minute or two sometimes longer. Earlier they used to do that just after eating but now that is not the case.
<That isn't actually bad. But are they breathing from their mouths because of bubbles or discharge from their noses? THAT would be bad. But JUST opening their mouths and breathing, which is known as gaping, isn't bad>
One of them is swimming Very lopsided (his side point the shell is touching the sky!!) and prefers to sit on the rock whole day, the other one has slight lop-sidedness but is very active and most of the time manages to hide it ...that is he swims so fast!! and he does submerge himself. None of the have either mucous or air bubbles. We don't have vet who specialize in reptile here so would require lots of your help.
<Well, let's see what we can do. FIRST get them both warm and dry. Read here about keeping turtles in isolation: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >
<At this point, good UV is important. As I recall you have them outside for around 20 minutes, twice a day. That should be adequate - but the REST of the time they should be warm and dry. When you give them a bath each day to let them drink, poop and eat, try to find some food in your area that is very high in vitamins A & D and alternate between those two. After two weeks of this type of treatment you can try putting them back in their normal tank & water and notice if their behaviors has changed>

Red Eared Slider Soft Shell   4/30/11
Dear Crew
<Hiya - Darrel here>
We have two Sliders and one has soft shell. We already know it is due to the lack of calcium.
<Oh? How do we know this? Does that one eat a different diet? Or a lot LESS than the other? Does that one bask under a different UV bulb? Or bask a lot less often?>
<I'm not saying that I have that answer from all the way up here in the cheap seats, but part of the process of investigating any anomaly is making sure we've asked all the questions>
We had a vet come over and look at them and at our tank setup etc. Only concern I am having is the soft shell on the bigger one.
<And the cause of the soft shell>
WE bought REP-Cal calcium w/D3.
<A fine, high quality supplement and a great one to use on an animal that isn't feeding as well or basking as often as the rest --- otherwise we also need to find the root cause.>
<Seeing a theme here? TREATING the soft shell is priority #1 but if we don't find the CAUSE of it, then we don't know what we're doing, see?>
<Let me answer another way. I have no problem with vitamin & calcium supplements. But if the diet is healthy and right and the lighting is healthy and right and the environment is healthy and right - then the turtles are getting everything they need naturally '¦ and don't need the supplements! Metaphorically you can bail water out of a leaking boat and stay afloat forever '¦ but you still have a hole with a hole in it. If you fix the hole, no need to bail>
We will be buying the other with all the vitamins. My question is can a shell conditioner help with the soft shell issue too?
<Well '¦ in a word. NO>
<In MULTIPLE words '¦ what the turtle needs is calcium, Vitamins A&D and SUNSHINE!! UV-B if the bulb is fairly new (they stop giving off useful UV long before they stop producing light - most are around 10,000 hours or so (maybe 18 months to 2 years?). Also, if the bulb is more than 10 inches from the shell or filtered through ANY kind of screen or glass - then the UV is not getting to the turtles>
My brother has box turtles and uses that on his and suggested we try that on ours too. <Interesting. Box Turtles (Terrapenes) don't get soft shell the way the hard shelled water turtles do. So we'd be talking apples and oranges>
Thank You
<Yer welcome!>
Life is to short not to go out and do something crazily insane from time to time!
<Um '¦ I've been married, had two kids, owned my own business, divorced and bought 5,000 shares of AMR stock. I think I'd done my part!>

red eared slider with ear problem?   4/28/11
Hi there,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have a female Red-Eared Slider named Shelldon (I named her before I realized that she is not a boy).
<Given that they never come when you call them and in fact don't even have ears, you could call her anything you like and she'd be fine with it>
I have been in contact with a reptile vet over the past few weeks and have been treating her for shell rot.
<The vet has shell rot?>
During her treatment, she is in a 58-quart Rubbermaid bin with one inch of water, which I change daily.
<Must be a tiny veterinarian '¦ wait '¦ unless you meant Shelldon?? THAT makes more sense! OK, I'm with ya now '¦ please continue>
I also scrub her daily with Hibiclens antiseptic to treat her shell rot. She has a full-spectrum UV lamp, a heat lamp, and a fluorescent, all of which are on for
approximately 12 hours each day.
<You're certainly taking significant steps, Charlotte. I'm wondering about the water, though. When I treat a sick turtle, I prefer to keep them warm and DRY during treatment except for a daily bath. If you're putting her in any water at all (assuming that water isn't itself medicated) I wonder why you don't keep her in a more natural setting where there could be psychological benefits to the habitat?>
She has a healthy appetite and is very active. I give her about 10 ReptoMin food sticks every 3 days, and I usually coat those with Vitamin A oil because her eyes get puffy
and her skin sloughs off sometimes and that always clears it up within a few days.
<Again, excellent steps. That's about the right amount of food and the right feeding schedule. Yet '¦ it's interesting that you have to supplement with Vitamin A to keep her from having eye problems. Generally speaking, a well balanced diet is enough to prevent that if the other conditions are right, and they sure seem to be! A puzzler>
About once a month, I give her a live meal-usually crickets, but sometimes feeder fish. She loves those.
<Hmm. Well, here's the thing: Crickets are natures Peanut Butter Cups. High in fat and not in nutrition. Fish are not, oddly enough, a big part of a Slider's diet. They usually learn early on not to bother even trying to chase them. More importantly, Feeder fish are usually kept in the world's worst conditions and are known to be carriers of parasites. If you want my opinion (this is America! And everyone is entitled to my own opinion!) I'd change the monthly treats to earthworms. They are closer to a part of a turtle's natural diet and are healthier for them, too>
Tonight, as I was scrubbing her shell, she was thrashing around (she usually does
and I don't blame her), and managed to smack the side of her head against the end of the toothbrush I was cleaning her marginal scutes with. Now, her right ear appears slightly sunken in, but she is still acting the same as she was before. Should I be worried?
<She's long since over it - you should be as well. They take INCREDIBLE tumbles, rolls and all manner of other physical pratfalls in stride.>
Do you think it will rise back up, or will it need treatment?
<It will be fine. Put it out of your mind>
Thank you,
Re: red eared slider with ear problem?   4/30/11

Hi Darrel!
Thank you so much for your quick response.
<Quick - I do really well. Accurate? Well, time will tell.>
Shelldon's ear does look better now that a few days have passed. Thanks for your advice-I will definitely switch to earthworms for her monthly treats! I haven't given her feeder fish in several months because I heard they carry disease and they are usually too fast for her anyway. I usually just give her 4 or 5 crickets once a month for a treat and some extra protein and calcium, but if earthworms are better for her, that is what I will do!
<Shelldon will thank you>
I think the reason she got shell rot and that I need to supplement with Vitamin A is that I don't have a very good filtration system. I do have a Tetra filter for her tank and clean everything weekly, but I'm not sure if the pH and ammonia levels are quite right, and algae gets built up on her basking dock.
<Not worried about pH. Ammonia just requires more frequent water changes>
My vet recommended that I soak everything in a bleach solution and then let it dries overnight. It seems as though that cleared up all the algae, but she is still living in the Rubbermaid bin until her shell rot begins clearing up.
<When you do the bleach-soaking routine, what you do is add bleach to the running system (after the animals and plants have been evacuated) so that the water circulates everywhere, including the filter & tubes, etc. That way you're killing ALL the bugs. THEN you rinse & bleach the basking area separately, etc.>
Her current tank is a 20 gallon long because I live in a college dorm and can't have anything larger (actually it is much larger than is allowed). She is pretty small, only about 5 inches long. However, I am moving into an apartment in a few months and just purchased a 45-gallon tank for her a few weeks ago.
<She'll like that a lot>
I can't move her into it until August, and will be getting a larger, higher-quality filter then. What is your opinion on Zoo Med external canister filters? I am thinking of buying either the 501 or 511 models.
<Filtration for turtle tanks is a whole different kettle of fish than a filter for a .. um '¦ actual kettle of actual fish. Turtles are, among other things, eating and pooping machines. In a fish tank or pond, we strive for harmony by growing a biological filter system. If you look at any canister filter, you see the ceramic media. Those ceramic things are porous and intended to grow bacterial for a bio-filter to help break down the fish's waste products. In the case of turtles, the surface area would be, basically, the Okefenokee Swamp! Both those filters will do a good job of keeping the water CLEAR '¦ but to keep the tank healthy you'll still need to siphon the bottom and replace with fresh water on a regular basis. With one 5 inch turtle in a 45 gallon (say '¦ filled w/18 gallons of water) I'd probably siphon about half the water every week or 10 days and then drain, wipe & refill every month & a half. That SOUNDS like a lot of work, but if you give the idea some serious thought while setting the tank up, you can do it is such a way that breakdown & cleaning is easy. For example, for the bottom of the tank '¦ leaving it bare is perfectly fine for Shelldon, but if it's not aesthetic for YOU '¦ use medium to large sized river rocks (from your local builder's supply) and place just a few in the bottom - so that you can siphon around them and easily pick them up and take them out when needed. Things like that>
<As far as pH and ammonia levels, Red Eared Sliders are IMMENSELY tolerant of not only differences, but sudden variations. They are extremely hardy and adaptable, so I'm not going to imagine those are responsible for her shell rot. Generally FOUL water would do that, but not if you clean the tank/change the water regularly. The main thing a turtle needs to do to avoid shell rot is to eat regularly and be able (and willing) to completely dry out under the basking & UV lights>
I will also ask my vet the significance of keeping Shelldon in an inch of water instead of completely dry and if that should be changed. Also, you mentioned making her habitat more "natural" for psychological benefits. How would I accomplish this?
<Your actually tank setup sounds fine. What I meant was that sitting in an inch of water in a big Tupperware tub is a bummer. At least it was for me during that weekend in Atlantic City. My point was that when you're treating an infection or a fungus and you want to keep them DRY then you have to take extraordinary measures, but if you're keeping her in water ANYWAY '¦ I can't imagine an advantage to the tub - over her normal tank. It's the same environment, only a bit more bleak. But then, maybe I'm projecting Atlantic City>
<read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >
Thank you again!

RES urgent help!!  4/15/11
<Am jumping in here... to urge you to read:
and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm
immediately. Bob Fenner>
hi, we got two RES about a week back... supposed to be male and female but I really cant tell!.... they're a little over an inch long... from the first day one of them would just sit in the basking area hardly moving, I
haven't seen him eat even once! the other one was initially fine... would swim around and eat the minute I'd give it food. but for the last two three days she also now mainly sits in the basking area with her eyes shut tight... even when she's in the water she swims for maybe 5 min.s a day... otherwise just floats with her eyes closed, when does open her eyes only one is open and the other one she seems to keep scratching as if its bothering her... and she hasn't eaten either... the other one for the last two days has just been sitting out of the water in the basking area, with his eyes closed... if I even put him in the water he quickly gets out... I do have a water filter for them and they don't have a UVA OR UVB light they have a normal 100v bulb.... is that okay?? I really don't want them to die... p.s where I live there isn't any proper reptile care place.. .as in medicines and stuff!...so what can I do to make them better? do I need to separate them?
the one who was doing okay at first always sleeps on the other one in the basking area... ?
would really appreciate any help!
Re: RES urgent help!!  4/15/11
hey thanks for the really quick responses, I read both the link and will try keeping them in a dry warm enclosure and taking them out in the sun tom...(
its night here right now!) will also try the cod liver oil... thanks I hope it helps them
<I as well Najia. And another here will respond to you w/in a day. Cheers, BobF>
Re: RES urgent help!!  4/16/11
I took them to the vet and she said that they have a vitamin A deficiency, so she gave them a shot for that... and then one she said had a respiratory infection so she gave him a shot for that... after which the
leg was bleeding and they cleaned it up with a tissue ... the turtle went completely into its shell as if in shock and he hasn't come out... looks kind of swollen... if I touch his tail he moves it otherwise not at all...
what do I do???? and is this vet a quack!!!!??
<Hi Najia, Sue here with you. Sorry to hear you're having so much trouble with your new turtles. From where we are, and the limited information we have to go on, it's really impossible for me to comment on your vet's advice. Here is what I'd suggest:>
<RE: the turtle your vet says has a respiratory infection:
1) Read over this link:
2) Has this turtle been showing any of these symptoms?
3) Call your vet, explain the symptoms your turtle has displayed since she gave him the shots, and ask her the following:
'¢ What specific antibiotic did she administered to him for the respiratory infection?
'¢ What dosage did she give him of that medication?
'¢ How many grams does he weigh?
4) Get a 2nd vet opinion if you have any concerns about her advice (preferably a vet who specializes in turtles/reptiles - even a vet who cares for birds can be knowledgeable about questions concerning turtles). Provide the 2nd vet with the above information regarding current symptoms, the specific medication and dosage he was given, and how much he weighed.
5) If you have trouble locating another vet who specializes in turtles/reptiles, try the following links (or if no luck with these, write back and let us know what area you're in and we'll see if we can come up with something -- we often have when people said they couldn't find anyone):
6) You can also try locating/contacting a local aquarium, zoo or nature center for their help, or for a vet recommendation. Also check to see if there is a turtle or tortoise club or society in your area to see if you can speak to an experienced hobbyist who might be willing to look at your turtles.
7) If you write us back with the additional information above (such as more exact symptoms listed in the article above, the medication information, etc. we can offer you our thoughts. But really given how sick your turtles appear to be, there really is no substitution for an expert 'on site' who can physically examine your turtles.>
<Re: the Vitamin A deficiency: I suggest you read the following link:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/turteyedisart.htm >
<From the symptoms you've described, I agree with your vet that they both likely have Vitamin A deficiencies. It's also likely they have Vitamin D deficiencies as well from lack of UVB light. A Vitamin A injection offers the quickest relief, but even with this you may not notice a turn around right away. I'd still continue trying to get some cod liver oil into them if you can, especially if you see no improvement with their eyes after a couple of days. Assuming they're eating anything you can also try shredding up some sweet potato and some of the plants referenced in the link above (though given how young they are, they may not go for plants/vegetables yet). Again, it may take several days before you see any improvement with their eyes.>
<RE: Other Vitamin D deficiencies and related health/care items. While you're looking into fixing the immediate health problems, I agree with both the links Bob shared with you, in particular the following recommendations in those links:
1) Keep them both warm and dry (follow guidelines in article for this), except for 20 minutes or so each day in shallow water to drink, poop and eat (if they can).
2) You MUST get a UVB light right away for their long term care, unless you plan to have them outdoors most of the time all year long. I personally use the ReptiSun 10.0 fluorescent tube bulb for my turtles; the UVB quality is better than most. Here is a link to one source that sells them if you are able to order it online:
3) Even if you take them outside now, given how debilitated they seem to be, I'd still suggest you supplement the sun with the artificial UVB light, while continuing to give them as much sunlight as you can. There is no substitution for the sun, but UVB supplementation is still essential if they are indoors most of the time.
4) Assuming you can get them to eat, I'd also get a good quality calcium with Vitamin D powder, sprinkle a bit on a good quality pellet (like Koi pellets or ReptoMin) and let it soak into the pellets for 20 minutes or so before feeding them.
5) When you do put them back in the water again once they are feeling better, they need to be offered a clear choice between warm/dry and cool/wet. The water temp should be kept cool, around 68-72 degrees F. A regular light bulb is OK for their heat source, but what wattage you use depends on how effectively the bulb warms the basking area. You want to aim for around 88-92 degrees F, so you may need to play around with wattages, depending on the distance their basking area is from the bulb/heat source. Put a suction thermometer right above the basking area to make sure the temperature is within correct range.>
<I'll forward this along to another crew member as well to see if has any other suggestions to offer you.>
<Try the above things and write us back to let us know how it's going. I wish you and them the best.>
Re: RES urgent help!!    4/17/11

<Hi Najia>
first I just want to thank you for your quick and detailed responses its really helpful and I really appreciate it... its Saturday night here so I wont be able to speak to the vet till Monday unfortunately, but before any of that... I think one is dead... im attaching two images of the same turtle... he's been in this positions from the vets... which was over 8 hours ago.... I don't want to busy him alive... but he's been in that position since.. his body feels stiff... and he's is completely unresponsive... no matter what you do there isn't even a slight twitch..... if you put him in the water he just floats in the exact same position btw... im in Karachi, Pakistan.... if you have any information on centers here that would be great....
PS I realize it'll be hard for you guys to see a pic and tell me if he's alive or not... but anything that you can give... as I said I don't want to bury him alive
<I'm so very sorry to hear about your turtle. You're right, I cannot tell from your photos, but from your description of his body being stiff, it appears your turtle died. If he is dead, his eyes would also appear sunken into his eye sockets, and of course you'll also start to notice a decaying smell. However, I've passed your email along to another one of our crew members so he can further advise you about that and any other recommendations about your other turtle besides the ones I've already sent you.>
<I also sent you (below) some additional links for vets that I found for your specific area. You may want to call the Karachi Zoo and ask to speak to one of their exotics experts to see if they can either assist you, or recommend any of the vets on the links I sent you as far as someone who has special expertise with turtles.
http://www.pkdogs.com/page/pages/Animal-Care-Center-Veterinary-Doctors-in-Karachi-Pakistan.html  >
<If your remaining turtle is the one who just had the problem with his eyes closing, you should start to see some improvement in a couple of days if the problem was in fact due to a Vitamin A deficiency. But I'd also assume he has a Vitamin D deficiency as well if he's been without UVB. Definitely purchase a UVB bulb especially if he will be kept indoors most of the time.>
<Again, I'm so sorry about your turtle. Best wishes, and please let us know how things go with your other turtle. Sue>
thanks again
Re: RES urgent help!!
Dear Najia,
Below is some additional input from another one of our crew members about your turtles. Hope this is of help to you also. Let us know how things go with your remaining turtle. Best wishes. Sue
Subject: Re: RES urgent help!!
> hi,
> first I just want to thank you for your quick and detailed responses its
> really helpful and I really appreciate it...
> its Saturday night here so I wont be able to speak to the vet till Monday
> unfortunately, but before any of that... I think one is dead... im attaching
> two images of the same turtle... he's been in this positions from the vets...
> which was over 8 hours ago.... I don't want to bury him alive... but he's
> been in that position since.. his body feels stiff... and he's is completely
> unresponsive... no matter what you do there isn't even a slight twitch.....
> if you put him in the water he just floats in the exact same position
> btw... im in Karachi, Pakistan.... if you have any information on centers
> here that would be great....
<We're all sorry for your loss, Najia. The problem with turtles (actually with all reptiles, fish & amphibians) is that they do not quickly show signs of illness -- by the time we notice that a turtle is
sick, he's already VERY sick -- and he's already been sick for a LONG time. What I'm saying is that there is little you OR the vet could have done for him at this late stage>
> PS I realize it'll be hard for you guys to see a pic and tell me if he's
> alive or not... but anything that you can give... as I said I don't want to
> bury him alive
<By the time you receive this letter, if the turtle hasn't moved at all, you can be certain that he has passed. Again please accept our condolences>
> thanks again
<Now, Najia, it's time to turn our attention to the remaining turtle.
Keep him warm and dry for the next two weeks. See that he gets plenty of UV-B (preferably sunshine - and sunshine can't be filtered through glass or window screen). Put him in water once a day for about 15
minutes - a shallow bowl, just up to - but not over- his nose, so that he can drink, poop and perhaps eat. 15 minutes once a day, then back into a warm dry place. If you have proper lighting in your normal
turtle tank, move the basking lamp and the UV lamp and run then 24 hours in his new warm dry place. Read here:
Re: RES urgent help!!   4/19/11
hi Sue and your team!
sadly the other turtle passed away this morning too, I'm guessing he didn't just have a vitamin A deficiency and there was more to his illness that the vet or I didn't pick up on. I had just put him in the sun, and when I cam back after 10 min.s he looked like he had gone... by the night I was sure...
the poor little guys.... really wish I had been able to help them....
but your whole team has been so great and sooo helpful I really couldn't thank you enough! sitting half way across the world you guys have managed to help me out as much as possible and I really really appreciate the effort!
you guys are really doing an amazing job and I am honestly amazed and happy to know that people like you guys exist and do what you do!!!
thanks again with for everything
<Hi Najia, Thank you so much for your kinds words! I'll pass your comments along to Darrel also. I'm sure he will be as sad as I am to hear that your other turtle also passed.>
<Darrel's right that your turtles were sick before you got them; they would not have become this sick in only a week's time. Signs of a Vitamin A deficiency are often just one telltale sign of more significant, underlying malnutrition problems. If left uncorrected over time and/or when other poor care conditions are also present, turtles eventually become debilitated and succumb to infections and other diseases. The kinds of conditions most of these poor turtles have to live in before they are sold are absolutely deplorable.>
<So please don't blame yourself! You did all the right things by seeking out immediate care for them and writing us for additional advice. Again, we're all very sorry for your loss, Najia, and thank you again for your nice note. Sue>
Thank YOU Sue. BobF
Re: RES urgent help!!   4/19/11

Actually, you too, Bob. I forgot you were the one who initially led the chain of responses! One of the things I enjoy the most about helping out with WWM is the reach that it has to people around the globe. Sue
<Mmm, well... when I saw the title, scanned the call for help, thought the best for us/WWM to do w/o you, Neale or Darrel about was to refer him to the latter's excellent written pieces on gen. care and disease. I AM so glad that we have/provide help to others in such desperate need. Cheers, B>
Re: RES urgent help!!   4/19/11
Yes, it's nice we have articles already written on the most common topics/problems. And with the most recent query, once the problems become more involved, really the only option left at that point is to
see a vet, which unfortunately even in this case still wasn't enough.
It's too bad there aren't more stringent controls placed on the people who sell turtles, fish, etc. I just hope in my next lifetime I don't come back as a "pet shop" pet!
<Ah yes, I mean NO! B>
Sue, would you be interested in writing two articles (for pay, publication in our online 'zine, CA, and posted, linked on WWM) on RES Systems, RES Foods/Feeding/Nutrition? B

Re Red Eared Slider - lump?   4/5/11
Well, since my last email I've been keeping a closer eye on that one. he is active and seems to definitely be shy. If I dangle a worm in the water the 2nd one will gladly come after it, but I can't get the other one to bite at it no matter how close I dangle it. I have noticed however that the shy one also seems to have a rather large lump on the back of his neck. The other one doesn't have any lump there and neither did the 3rd one that a coworker of mine has. I've taken pics... and that wasn't easy... I managed to get one pic that shows it before I had to hold his head out in order to get more. Any idea what that is on the back of his neck? it feels hard, but not hard like his shell. and he still seems to be able to retract his head fully without issue.
<I see it in the pictures and no, it's not normal. It could be an infection but if it's hard, it's more likely to be a cyst. Unfortunately, the treatment requires a trip to an experience veterinarian. One suggestion I can make is that if you can find a local turtle & tortoise club, you might find an 'old hand' that has treated enough of his own turtles to be able to give YOU a hand without a trip to the vet>
<As far as his shyness goes '¦ once the treatment is over and things can settle down a bit, you might find that he relaxes a bit more. But right now, we have an immediate symptom we need to address. Best of luck>

Urgent question: legs of RES falling off! 4/3/11
Dear Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
My sister had a baby red ear slider (3 inches shell) and hadn't been taking care of it properly. It wasn't eating anything and was extremely lethargic, so I took it from her. It's now in a 10 gallon tank, heated to around 78 degrees F, and with a large basking stone that the turtle goes on for about half the day and a full spectrum UVA/UVB light. I coat all pellets in Repti-Cal calcium before feeding, and have cuttlebone in the tank as well.
<Good basic care so far>
While it did take me a few days to get her to eat again, now she eats 3-4 pellets a day. However, her feet have curled up and turned black, as well as the tip of her tail. Yesterday, the tip of her tail fell off, and today her front right foot fell off. It looks like her front left foot is the next to fall off. I suspect the blackened limbs are due to lack of circulation for whatever reason.
<The poor turtle has a septic infection - one that has spread to all parts of her body through her blood>
As she is a very small turtle, I don't think the vet will take care of her....
<A good vet WILL take care of her, the problem is - should you do it? It will cost hundreds of dollars and in the end you still may not be able to save her>
I'm wondering what I can do to save her, or should I let her go? Is she in pain? She still eats fine every day but her swimming is awkward. Even before anything fell off, her swimming was lopsided (a sign of a lung infection??) What is the cause of her blackened feet? The rest of the limb does not seem to be black.
<hmmm. It's hard to say. Turtles deal with and overcome huge obstacles.
Someone brought me an adult turtle that lost both its front legs to a raccoon. I treated the stumps and let her heal and she's not only lived, but thrived - she STILL beats out smaller turtles to get to the food first and has produced two clutches of eggs.>
I also have another baby turtle in there, about 3 inches, which on 2 separate occasions I have found this turtle attempting to bite the limb of the other turtle. Could this be why my turtle is losing circulation?
<I would separate the injured turtle, Lori. I'd keep her warm and dry and isolated. Put her in shallow water every day to drink, poop and eat. Let her rest that way for 1 week and you'll probably get an idea if she is going to pull through or not. Read the two links below -- and best of luck!>
I'm not looking for info on how to raise turtles. I will change the tank size, of course, when the turtles get bigger. The issue at hand is what does my turtle have and how do I treat it?
<Basic care: for reference:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<treatment of wounds:

RES making whistling sounds, beh., resp. dis.   4/1/11
My name is Parul
<Darrel here>
and I have 2 red eared sliders.
<Cool - I have about 20 of them>
I have attached 2 pics.
<Nice pics too. Good quality and the right size. They look healthy!>
Image 385 is of the lil one that is worrying me. He eats fine. Basks well.
I give them their vitamin drops regularly. They walk regularly for an hour.
But of late the lil fellow has started making some whistling sounds, like whining sounds is that normal? No sign of respiratory discomfort that I can see, unless I am missing something.
<Nope. By itself that sound means nothing. Some do it and some don't.
There doesn't seem to be any specific reason for it, but it does not mean there is a problem>
<Respiratory distress will show as bubbles in the nose & mouth, listlessness and loss of appetite>
There tank is clean and layered with filters. No bubbles from the nose unless he slides off the rock into the water or when I place them back in their tank after their walk. Eyes fine.
Shell fine. Appetite fine. Balance fine as in no lopsided swimming. Am I being paranoid about the sounds or is this whistling sound normal?
<You're being observant, Parul - which is the very best thing you can be.
Every time we notice something different with our pets, it gives us time to ask questions and check web sites and write for help. Saldy, the first thing too many people observe is that their pet is dead. Congratulations on your EXCELLENT care!!>
I did go through your site before asking this question and I did not find anything for this kind of an issue. I just want him to be healthy and happy.
Thank you for taking the time.
<No problem, Parul - it is a pleasure to hear from someone who is doing such a good job>

Re: RES making whistling sounds 4/3/11
Hi Darrel,
<Hiya Parul>
Thank you for your revert. I took my RES to 2 Vets. One says he is ok (vet for reptiles) and one says he is not (general vet).
<I hate when 2 vets disagree, but an experienced Herp (reptile) vet is the one to trust>
I did notice tiny air bubbles from her nose since 2 days, sorry didn't mention it in my earlier mail. But appetite is fine. Though the doc says its normal unless the bubbles come out stringy. Its just this feeling I cant shake.
<I also trust feelings>
She is on her way to RI I feel, I want to curb it before it flares up.
<I can help you!!>
Thanks once again Darrel for taking the time. You have answered me earlier as well for miley and Jackson(RES I was babysitting for a friends daughter) and you were spot on.
<I AM that good!!>
God bless you for taking the time to answer so many people.
I hope all your 20 are rocking as well. They are such a joy.
<I agree & thank you!>
<Here's the thing. When In Doubt, Dry Them Out!>
<Their natural "warm & wet" environment becomes their enemy when they are fighting any type of wound, fungus or bacteria. So what we do is make them a warm DRY place, around 88 to 90 degrees. The higher heat increases their metabolism and helps them naturally fight off the infection. Read all about it here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm > Re: RES making whistling sounds   4/5/11
Hi Darrel,
<Hiya Parul>
Thank you once again.
<It's what we're here for, Parul. That & Bob gives us free food><<Earthworms for all! B>>
The herp vet advised I should feed them dried blood worms, fresh blood worms and shredded chicken. I do give them finely chopped cabbage and peas from time to time but I am not sure about the worms and the chicken.
Many thanks and regards
<Parul - nothing the herp vet suggested is even remotely what those turtles would encounter in the wild. I can assure you however, that I raise hatchling sliders all the way to happy breeding adults on a diet of Koi
Pellets (almost identical in nutrition to what they would eat in the wild) and an occasional (once a month) earthworm>

Red ear slider turtle -- 3/9/11
Dear Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
My turtle isn't eating since 3 weeks. I put a heater of 27 C, it has some brown color on his shell and body
please help me
<OK Arodi. Your turtle seems like he is generally sick and getting weak and that is why he stopped eating. Read the article link below regarding the treatment of general illnesses. You should take him out of the water and keep him some place warm and dry. See that he gets some direct sunshine every day - not through glass or even screen.
By keeping him warm and dry, he may start to heal and get his appetite back.>
<I need more of a description of the brown. Is it hard? Soft? Can you gently scrape it off? Does it have an odor?>
<Read both article - treatment to isolate him someplace warm and dry and then care. Make sure your basic care covers everything the second article suggests>
<Care: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >

Question regarding my RES 3/2/11
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I've been reading over your website for quite a bit now, very informative!
<Thank you! You show a great deal of taste, style and intelligence for noticing!>
I've had my Red Eared Slider for about two years now. (His name is Bender) I originally got him from a flea market where he was kept in very poor conditions. It took a month or two for him to get properly adjusted and has been doing very well since. In the past few days, about two days after I had cleaned his tank and purchased a new upgraded filter I noticed that he appeared to be shedding his skin a bit more than normal and he had what appeared to be a white moss or algae growing on the sides and back of his shell. I scanned through a lot of your posts on the website and searched Google but all the photos I found of fungus or other shell problems seemed to be solid masses of white fungus; whereas in Benders situation it was a pale white-gray and it flowed when he swam. I put his heat lamp on a higher setting and left it on for about four hours. When I got home I noticed that whatever had been on his shell had disappeared. He still has the same white, flowing moss on his legs. Is this just skin shedding?
<Dead skin comes off as a grayish film-like thing, not white>
I'm just not sure if it's normal or not.
<Not normal at all>
A friend told me it may be calcium build up?
<Calcium doesn't flow like you describe>
He has a heater in the tank that regulates the water at the temperatures you've suggested on the website, a good filter, basking dock and heat lamp.
<Unlike some others, I never suggest a water heater. No turtle I've ever seen would have access to heated water in the wild. Water should be not warmer than room temp (say 63 to 68 degrees) and the basking lamp should heat the dock to around 88-93 degrees - that way Bender has a CHOICE. He swims in the nice cool water until he wants to climb out and warm up.>
<And this is why it's important: The thing on his shell (my guess is a type of fungus) dried out and died when Bender was under the heat lamp. That's one of the many benefits OF the heat lamp -- the wet skin and shell dry out, the heat and UV tend to kill parasites, etc. If the water is so warm that a turtle rarely feels the need to bask, that turtle loses the other benefits of drying off & heating up.>
<So - lose the heater, please>
He's been eating normally and seems content, I haven't noticed any change in his behaviors.
<Those are the most important indicators -- although it's really hard to tell if a turtle is discontented. I've had some that seemed happy on the outside, but were secretly plotting against my cat on the inside>
Any information you could provide would be great!
<MY guess is a slight fungus. Based on the fact that the shell-crud died off when he was subjected to a heat lamp (& hopefully you have a UV lamp as well??) So I suggest that you just see to it that Bender does enough basking to really DRY out and let's see if the skin variation also dries up>
Also, a bit of a side question, Bender adores blueberries; are they healthy at all for him to eat?
<They're OK - not great. Berries would rarely be part of his diet in the wild>
Lately he's been rejecting his ReptoMin food sticks. I feed him shrimp and blueberries, he still munches on his food sticks but it's rare. I tried feeding him leafy greens and other fruits and veggies but he's always disinterested. I give him worms in the spring and summer when I can take him out. Are the food sticks necessary in his diet? I've always fed them to him but I've heard conflicting views about them.
<Here's the deal: If you read the ingredients on Repto-Min food sticks you'll find it's virtually identical to a decent Koi pellet -- AND you'll find that it's virtually EXACTLY the kind of plant-based diet we recommend for turtles in the first place. I feed my water turtles Koi pellets from the time they're hatchlings all the way up until they're adult breeders - with an occasional earthworm (once a month or so) just for a treat. So your sticks are a perfectly balanced and complete diet for bender>
<The PROBLEM is that if Bender likes the berries better or the krill (krill is truly useless as a food source for turtles) better '¦ he won't eat the sticks. My suggestion is that you slowly reduce the berries, discontinue the krill completely and offer Bender more and more sticks. In other words "Bender, you can have a berry for desert AFTER you finish dinner!! Which should be "all the sticks he can eat in 5 minutes, 3 or 4 times a week">
Thanks for any help you can give! It's greatly appreciated.
Jennifer R & Bender.
<Yer welcome!!>
Re: Question regarding my RES   3/6/11

Hey again!
<Hiya back again!>
Thanks for all your suggestions.
<No charge!>
I'm actually in school for biotechnology and managed to take some swabs from the infected areas to check out in a bit more depth. We determined that it was a bacteria that was causing an infection. I bought an iodine solution and have since done one application to his top and bottom shell, his skin doesn't seem to be affected and I don't want to risk getting any near his face so I've avoided those areas. (He seems annoyed enough when I apply it to his shell) I've removed and thoroughly cleaned everything in his tank and replaced all his filter media. I didn't previously have a UVB/UVA lamp but I did go out and purchase one which I've been leaving on during the day.
<Cleaning is good - but we'll talk about the diagnosis later>
Now the problem I'm having is that I don't really have anything to put him in at the moment. I put him in his tank, emptied out so that there is just a layer of cloth on the bottom and placed a rock bridge inside. Now the tank is made of glass which worried me. It seems like a pretty bad idea to have his heat lamp running in a glass aquarium, I don't want him to cook. So I've been leaving it on for very brief periods at a time and monitoring the heat level. He's completely miserable being in the dried tank, but I left him a shady spot to retreat to when he doesn't want the heat anymore, in which case I turn it off. I'm leaving the UVB lamp on to try and give him some good vitamins for his shell.
<The thing about heat lamps is that the heat is a function of distance. If the cloth or rock that is the focus of the heat lamp reaches more than 93 degrees, just move the heat lamp UP a few inches and test again in two hours. You'll find the perfect distance AND you'll see how well the tank dissipates the excess heat, too.>
I have an old rabbit cage (plastic bottom and plastic bar cage half on top) but I think it's too shallow and he'd be able to climb out and I couldn't leave the top on because then his light source and heat lamp wouldn't be able to be on, same with the tub that I usually put him in to change his water.
<Unless the lamps were ABOVE the top wire mesh '¦>
Do you think that the aquarium will be okay?
<Yes. If you make sure that the heat lamp is off to one side, so that the other side will always be cooler, it will be just fine>
And how many applications of the iodine should I do before I can put him back in his water filled tank?
<I was hoping you'd ask! Here's an article that covers it specifically:
There's a specific section on Bacteria '¦ but please read the whole thing>
I did notice some white spots on the bottom of his shell, I'm assuming these should also clear up with the iodine application. I just feel bad for the bugger not having his water. He looks so unhappy. I know it's for his health but I'd prefer to have him cozy and swimming as soon as I can.
<Take your time. He'll be happier in the long run>
As for the blueberry situation, he's such a pig that he started eating his pellets as soon as he realized he wasn't getting the krill and berries anymore, I'll still give the berries on random occasion as a treat. Also, I know I should take him out for five minutes a day and put him in water to let him eat and poop but he gets really stressed out when I continuously remove him from his tank. So would it be fine to feed him and whatnot, then apply the iodine solution immediately after that? In that case it would decrease the amount of times I'd have to remove him from his enclosure, hopefully reducing the stress.
<Sure. Do the daily bathing/feeding, then apply the iodine, then back in his dry dock>
According to my microbiology teacher, the bacteria closely resembled pseudomonas, which she said was waterborne and thrives better in wet conditions, which is why I had started dry docking him. Any information you could give me would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks so much for all your help!
Jennifer Roger n' Bender.
<Now let's talk a minute about the diagnosis. Swab most sick reptiles and you'll come up with a bacteria called pseudomonas. When you can swab a HEALTHY reptile you'll come up with a bacteria called '¦ pseudomonas! If you swab the inside the your garden hose faucet you'll come up with a bacteria called '¦ pseudomonas! If you have a patch of fungus or even algae on Bender's skin or shell and you swab that spot, you may very well come with pseudomonas. My point here should be clear by now: I do not in any way question your microbiology teacher's ability to find, culture and identify a bacteria, fungus or virus '¦ it's his or her medical degree that's at issue.>
<Like a dog chasing a car and the car stops in the middle of the street. The driver gets out and stands in front of the dog and says "OK, you caught me. Now what are you going to do with me?">
<Put another way '¦ if your cat has six kittens in the oven, it doesn't make them a half dozen bran muffins>
<Going back to your original letter '¦ a colony of pseudomonas large enough to appear to be "flowing?" To the naked eye? Not unless Bender were living in the actual Petri dish>
<All that said, the cleaning, the dry docking, the iodine (alternate with hydrogen peroxide, too!), etc. will still help him kick it - and in 4 to 6 weeks he'll be healthy and ready to resume his normal post>

red-eared slider, hlth.    2/19/11
Dear Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have a red eared slider around 3 months old. Last week his cheek is swollen so I took him to a vet... they gave him antibiotic because they said he got an infection.
<That is very likely>
During the injection, he is bleeding. Before the injection, he is very active and quiet energetic but after the injection, he totally change and doesn't eat for 2 days already..
I don't know what happen to him. Can you help me please?
<The injection of antibiotics is often painful for reptiles. Baytril particularly can cause great pain and even dead skin at the injection site unless it is highly diluted with saline. This often makes the turtle unresponsive for several days.>
is it just ok and its me who worried to much or do I need to prepare for anything bad?
<An infection in a turtle that size & age is always a danger and yes, this could be the start of recovery or the start of a worsening. It is too early to tell.>
<PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE read this article on caring for sick turtles!!!
The very first thing you should do with your turtle is take him OUT of his usual habitat and make him WARM AND DRY. Place him in a very shallow bowl of water for a short time every day so that he can drink, poop and maybe eat -- it's all outlined in the section called ISOLATION.>
<Best of luck to you and your turtle>
Re: red-eared slider, hlth.    2/26/11

hi... just want to inform you that my little boy died last night.. the swollen area had been cured but he still died... anyway, I want to thank you for the info... at least he died in a good shape.. : |
<On behalf of Bob Fenner and everyone here at Wet Web, we're very sorry for your loss. Even the smallest loss of the smallest of our friends makes an impact on us all. We all hope that the sadness is balanced with the wisdom that we will know better and respond sooner at our next opportunity.
We wish you all the best>

Re: RES problem, HK    2/15/11
Hi Christie,
I found this additional link (below) to the Tai Wai Small Animal & Exotic Hospital in Hong Kong (top link is a description of each of the vets who work there). You may want to give them a call and see if they can help you out. The top 2 vets listed look as though they may have a special interest in turtles. Hope this is of additional help.
Re: RES problem   2/15/11
Hi Sue,
Thanks for the info, but it's too late, the turtle died a few hours just after I sent you the previous e-mail.
<I'm very sorry to hear about the loss of your turtle, Christie.>
To check that she was alive I ran her under some water and the bubbly stuff on her legs just slipped off like paper and the skin underneath looked weird, it was all stiff and black. The other limbs looked fine, but underneath all the bubbly stuff all the skin had turned rock-hard and black. I just wanted to thank you for the information as I know I can help the other turtle if the same problem occurs,
<You're welcome. The key here, though, is to prevent that problem from ever re-occurring so you (and especially your remaining turtle) don't ever have to experience it. If your other turtle did die from Metabolic Bone Disease, she died a very painful death. Turtles are very stoic and hide their illnesses well as a survival instinct in the wild. By the time they show actual signs of illness they are often far along in their disease process and in many cases, it's already too late to save them. So prevention is the key.>
<Unfortunately we don't know what kind of conditions your turtle was living in before you got her and you didn't mention what you're providing as far as diet and also heat and light above her basking area (all 3 which are critical to proper digestion and metabolism of the necessary vitamins like Calcium), so I can't say definitively what caused your turtle to die. However, nearly all turtle illnesses are caused by improper diet and/or environment. Though her illness more than likely started before you got her, it's important now to make sure now that you're doing all the right things necessary for your remaining turtle. Read over the care link I sent you in my original email, and make sure she's getting all the critical things she needs to stay healthy.>
<You also want to become very familiar with what her normal 'appearance' and day to day behavior patterns are, such as her skin, shell, appetite, activity level, basking, overall behavior, etc., and make a note to check them every day so that you can immediately start to address any sudden changes well before she starts to show actual signs of illness.>
and do you know why the deceased turtle's limbs were black and stiff?
<I'm going to pass this along to our other crew member for his thoughts. The bubbling, stiffness and black color you describe could be swelling, abnormal tissue growth and/or necrosis that occurred around her leg bones as a result of her body (unsuccessfully) attempting to replenish the bone loss. MBD often affects the long bones in young growing turtles. It's also possible she developed a secondary infection as a result of her being in a debilitated state from either the illness and/or nutritional deficits.>
<You're welcome, Christie. Again, I'm so sorry to hear about your turtle. Please feel free to write us any time you have any more questions or concerns about your other turtle.>
Darrel - An update to the other email. Any other thoughts or advice you want to add or share with her about what happened?
Re: RES problem   2/17/11

Darrel - An update to the other email. Any other thoughts or advice you want to add or share with her about what happened?
<Sue - you hit every nail right on the proverbial head. The sad truth about our fish and reptile pets is that they are stoic - they make every effort to conceal their health problems until, by the time the condition is unmistakable, it's life threatening. By the time Christie noticed the condition, it was fairly advanced and hard to treat & recover.>
<Check your pets EVERY DAY. Observe their behavior EVERY DAY. Learn what's normal and what's not. When a pet isn't normal, check it out RIGHT THEN.>
<For water turtles: cool water to swim, warm basking area to dry, UV-B light while basking and a balanced diet (Koi pellets) & that's the basics>

RES, young... fdg... floating lopsided...   2/8/11
<Hiya!! Darrel here>
I have a Red Ear Slider who is approximately 3 months old, the size of a silver dollar, named Timon (as in Lion King).
<Did you know that The Lion King was based on a Japanese cartoon of the 1960's called "Kimba the White Lion"?>
He eats so much!
<It's good that he has an appetite. That said -- overeating and obesity is a HUGE problem in pet care. We feed our guys too much. Timon should get all he can eat in 15 minutes, three times a week.>
I have noticed that his left side is constantly higher than the right side of his body while he is in the water. When he basks he lies evenly but as soon as he slides back into the water he has what I have termed a "ghetto lean". I am very worried for his well-being. Is this normal? If not, how can I help him?
<It's not normal, but it's not uncommon, either. Usually, in a healthy critter - which Timon seems to be, it means nothing more than he hasn't expelled all the air from his lungs evenly, maybe he has some gas in his intestines '¦ but nothing to worry about!!>
Thanks so much, Concerned Turtle Parent.
<Yer welcome!!>
<Read here for general care '¦ see if you've got everything covered: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >

My RES is very ill    2/1/11
<Hi Shishir, this is Sue with you.>
I bought 2 RES hatchlings about 6 weeks ago. They are roughly 2 months old now (from what the seller told me). One of them was only slightly smaller than the other. The smaller one was slightly less active as compared to the larger one, but not by much. They were both very enthusiastic eaters, and loved to play in warm water.
The one month that I've had them, the larger one has visibly grown, while the smaller one has remained the same. Also, about 3 weeks back, the smaller one stopped eating.
<Unfortunately, it's a sad fact that most of the baby turtles sold are either malnourished or otherwise ill because of being raised in deplorable conditions. The article below only begins to describe it:
http://www.tortoisetrust.org/articles/res.html >
Initially, I thought that he was just bored of the food sticks, so I tried giving them some dried prawns, and a different brand of food sticks. They loved the prawns, and refused to eat anything else for the next few days. I slowly changed their diet back to the food sticks, with an occasional prawns treat. A week later, the smaller one became very inactive. He preferred to just sit around and not swim.
<You mentioned the diet, but not the other aspects of their care. What instructions did the person give you who sold you the turtles? How often/how much have you been feeding them? Did you set them up with a basking platform for them to bask under a heat and UVB bulb? If you did, what is the temperature above their basking area (should be around 88-90 degrees F)? Turtles need heat to digest their food properly or it will rot in their stomach. They need UVB to properly metabolize vitamins from food or they'll become malnourished and sick. What have you been doing to keep their water clean? It sounds like you've done some research already, but just in case, here's a link to our care guide below. Check it over just to make sure you're on the right track and providing them all they need:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
And when he did, he was swimming lopsided. (Listing, I think it's called.) I thought he was just favoring one side or something. When this continued, I looked up this behavior on the net, and figured that he has a respiratory infection (RI).
<It sounds like this might be the case. Swimming lopsided is one of the common symptoms. Improper basking and water temperatures and/or exposure to drafts can often bring on a respiratory infection, especially in turtles that might be already debilitated to begin with. This article describes the symptoms, common causes, and the disease in more detail:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/turtrespart.htm >
Since then, I've tried to look for a reptile vet in and around my city, but haven't had any success. I took him to a normal vet, and he did give me some advice, but I don't think he really knew what he was doing. He recommended that I separate the 2 turtles, which I did. He also recommended that we put some Vit E drops in the water.
<Vitamin A or Vitamin E? Either way, any vitamin or medication added to the water would be way too diluted to be of any benefit to your turtle.>
I've done this, but he has shown no improvement. He also said that it could be a birth defect and there is probably nothing we can do (which I think is complete bullshit, but I could be wrong).
<You need to find another vet (Now!) one who specializes in exotics like turtles.>
He has not eaten anything for 10 to 14 days now. He has also developed swollen eyes and some reddish tint on his shell. From what I've read, the swollen eyes could be attributed to the nutritional deficiency,
<There can be other causes but swollen eyes are most commonly associated with a Vitamin A deficiency. Read over this article to find out more about the disease and common causes for the disease:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/turteyedisart.htm >
but the reddish tint indicates blood poisoning (septicemia). Am I correct?
<Hard to know for sure without actually physically seeing your turtle or any photos of your turtle, but yes it's possible, given some of the other symptoms you've described.>
I don't have access to a reptile vet. Please tell me what to do.
<Regardless of whether your turtle has a respiratory infection, septicemia, etc., your first course of action is pretty much the same in either case: Your turtle sounds very sick and needs to see a (knowledgeable) vet IMMEDIATELY who can provide him the correct care (if it's not already too late), which will most likely be a course of antibiotics (and vitamin injections). I see you're in India; I've attached 3 links to vets all over the world. See if you can find any nearby; it's possible you might have to travel a bit to find one who specializes in exotics such as turtles and reptiles. Failing these links, I'd try to contact local nature centers, museums, even other vets to try and locate a vet who specializes in exotics:
http://www.herpvetconnection.com/ >
<Second - and equally important -- while you're trying to locate a vet, if your turtle has any sort of infection going on, the last place you want him to be is in a warm, wet environment. This is the same environment preferred by bacteria which will seize the opportunity to take advantage of a debilitated turtle. You need to remove him immediately and place him in a WARM, DRY (preferably a heating pad with no automatic shut-off, rather than a heat bulb; you also should have a UVB light) environment 24/7 except for a few minutes each day to drink and poop. The following link tells you exactly how to go about this (scroll down and see under 'Immediate Treatment - Isolation'):
The dry, warm temperature will help give his immune system a little boost --- But -- given how sick he appears to be, his best chance right now is to get him to a vet for immediate treatment.>
I don't want my smaller turtle to die, but so far I haven't been able to come up with any solution. Also, could you please tell me roughly how much time my little turtle has? The reddish tint on this shell appeared just yesterday, or the day before that.
<Your little guy needs to be seen by a competent vet IMMEDIATELY. >
The larger turtle is quite active, and is eating properly. He is completely stable while floating, and does not list. Sometimes when I approach his tub, he swims around quite frantically. But this is only sometimes. Not every time, so I'm assuming this is normal? Please let me know if I'm wrong.
<Yes, this is normal behavior. It can take them several weeks to adjust to a new environment. But please review the first link I gave you above which is our basic care guide. Read it over carefully, and make sure you're providing them everything they need. Turtles don't require a lot (cool clean water, a basking area with heat and UVB above it, the right diet). But what they do require, they really must have or they will get sick.>
Also, I read somewhere that turtles don't exhibit symptoms until the problem becomes severe.
<Turtles are stoic by nature because they don't want predators to see that they're ill. By the time a turtle is showing signs of illness it is usually only after they're very sick and can no longer hide their symptoms.>
Could you please suggest some ways in which I can ensure that my turtles are healthy? I mean, is there any way to check if there is anything wrong with my turtles, if they are not showing any symptoms.
<The link I gave you above that describes Isolation will get you off to a good start. Basically, the key is to observe and learn their normal (and individual) behavior patterns (such as eating, basking, activity level) as well as their physical appearance; and to check them every day for any signs of change.>
I hope you can help me in some way. I'm looking forward to your reply.
Thanks a lot,
<You're welcome, Shishir. I hope this information can help your turtle as well. We'll keep our fingers crossed for you and hope you can get him the appropriate medical attention he needs ASAP! Please keep us posted and write back with any more questions and concerns. I'll also pass this along to another one of our crew members to see if he has anything else to add.>
Shishir Srivastava,
Mumbai, India
Dear Shishir,
After I sent you the other email, I remembered that someone else from Mumbai wrote in a while back also asking about veterinarian referrals. Below is a copy of my reply. I hope one of these will pan out for you. Try the other links I sent you also. And don't forget the warm, dry treatment until you can get him seen. Please let us know what happens. Sue
<Email sent to past querier:>
I live in Mumbai, India. It'll be great if you could refer me a vet here.
<Actually, I did a little searching here for you for some vets in your area who may have additional training with exotics. An exotics veterinarian should have the appropriate training to be able to treat turtles. You should, of course, find out more information about each of them before deciding on which one, if any of them, that you'd like to use.
1) http://petturtle.htmlplanet.com/turtleaid_exoticvetlist.html
Dr. Percis A Ghiara
4. Perojbai Building , 19,Sleater Road, Mumbai 400007
Tel : 022-3819865
2) http://mumbai.justdial.com/rrsc-(reptile-rescue-and-study-center)_Mumbai_kyqsvcePrsq.htm
3) http://in.88db.com/mumbai/Pet/Veterinary-Clinics/ad-769179/
4) http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search? q=cache:xG1LkFfPL94J:www.vteams.org/associates.html+turtle+veterinarians+mumbai+india&cd
5) http://www.herpvetconnection.com/india.shtml
6) http://www.tortoisetrust.org/articles/herpvets.htm
7) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taraporewala_Aquarium
(This aquarium has turtles so should be able to refer you to a specialty vet.)>
<If any of the vets are not located near you, they may be able to give you the name of someone who is. You can also try asking your local *regular* veterinarians for recommendations of veterinarians that specialize in exotics, reptiles. A local zoo, aquarium or university may also be able to

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