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FAQs About Soft/Shell Rot, Conditions In Turtles 10

Related Articles: Shell Rot in Turtles, Treating Common Illnesses of the Red Ear Slider (& other Emydid Turtles) by Darrel Barton, The Care and Keeping of the Red Eared Slider, Trachemys scripta elegans by Darrel Barton, Red Ear Sliders, Turtles, Amphibians, Red Eared Slider Care,

Related FAQs: Shell Rot 1, Shell Rot 2, Shell Rot 3, Shell Rot, Conditions 4, Shell Conditions 5, Shell Conditions 6, Shell Conditions 7, Shell Conditions 8, Shell Conditions 9, Shell Conditions 11, Shell Conditions 12, Shell Conditions 13, Shell Conditions 14, Shell Conditions 15, Shell Conditions 16, Shell Conditions 17, & Turtles, Turtles 2, Turtle Identification, Turtle Behavior, Turtle Compatibility, Turtle Selection, Turtle Systems, Turtle Feeding, Turtle Disease, Turtle Disease 2, Turtle Disease 3, Turtle Reproduction, Amphibians, Other Reptiles,

RES turtle compatibility and care questions 8/14/10
Hi this is Sonal from Mumbai...
<Hi Sonal,>
I have 2 res turtles now..{male-female pair}
about their age, both of them r less than a year.. she is younger to him by 3 months..
my male turtle acts as if he wants to scratch the face out of my female turtle..
She's larger than he is..he wiggles his finger nails towards her cheeks(I mean the area near her eyes) with both his hands.. it looks as if she's getting hurt by this action.. she takes her head inside her shell n closes her eyes in the beginning... n later on she comes out n pushes him away..
but just a few days earlier found HER doing the same thing, the same way he was doing... I don't understand what kind of behavior is this n what for??
[are they getting matured or something..or is it related to the mating thing!!]
I would really appreciate if you could tell me more about this behavior..(so that I understand them better..)
also could u tell me about how to keep their shell clean,'coz sometimes it really stinks..[I clean the tank everyday..]
Thanks a lot for your help..'coz every time I mail u,u ppl always help..
<Sonal, we'd be happy to answer your questions, but can you first please write us back and give us some additional information?>
<First, about your tank set-up and care? i.e.:
1) # gallons of your tank
2) what type of heating and lighting bulbs you are using
3) what, if anything, you're providing for a basking platform
4) temperature of air above the basking platform
5) temperature of water
6) what, if any, type of filtration you're using
7) what you're feeding your turtles.>
<Next, sexual maturity is best determined by size, not actual age. Can you measure the length of each of your turtles' top shells? Hold a straight edge ruler above their top shell; don't follow the curve of their shell.)
<Also, re: shell - Can you provide us more information about your turtle's shell? i.e. Are any parts of the shell soft, either underneath or on top? Are there any whitish patches anywhere? Is it in any other way discolored?>
<Also, when you write back, can you please also do us a favor and replace your *txt* words with the proper full words and make complete sentences (capitalize 1st letter of sentence, use a period at end of sentences, spaces between sentences, etc.) We ask this because these FAQs get stored and become part of the website's *reference library*. Using properly spelled whole words and complete sentences makes it easier for others to later search for and find this information on our website, as people typically use whole words and/or phrases to conduct their searches.>
Thanks a ton..
<Thank you, Sonal. Please write back and give us more specifics about your turtles, your care and your tank set up so we can better help you and answer your questions.>
<Wet Web Media crew>

Re RES Turtle compatibility, shell concerns and general care 8/18/10
Hi.. Sonal again..
<Hi, Sonal, this is Sue here with you.>
I am sending you photographs of my tank so that you get a better idea about it. The first photograph shows the amount of water (I don't know how to measure it in gallons!) & the other one shows the basking area.
<Thanks for sending us photos, Sonal! It's very helpful to have photos along with the description.>
Tank set-up and care:
<Thank you for also writing back with additional information about your set-up. This really helps us to better advise you. From your responses, I see what some of your problems might be. I'll briefly comment on each of these items below in this email, and then give you more complete feedback and recommendations in the original email you sent which had your actual questions and concerns.>
1) # gallons of your tank= approx 3 liters
<3 liters is approximately equivalent to under 1 (U.S.) gallon. If this is true, Sonal, this is WAY too small a tank for even ONE turtle. It's one of, if not THE main reason why your two turtles are having problems getting along. It's also not good for other reasons. See more about this at the end.>
2) What type of heating and lighting bulbs you are using = I don't use any type of heating, direct sunlight from the window (but since its rainy season here, there's no sunlight).
<Neither of these are adequate. Turtles need basking heat for their bodies to function properly, and they need regular, consistent UVB light for their shell and bone health. You're going to need to make some changes here right away.>
3) What, if anything, you're providing for a basking platform = shown in the picture.
<A couple of questions for you here -- can you write back and tell me --
'¢ Can both of your turtles get up on this rock without any difficulty?
'¢ How often do both of them bask on it? (i.e., every day, every other day??)
'¢ How many hours each day are they out basking on it?>
4) Temperature of air above the basking platform = normal room temperature about 25 degrees C (equivalent to 77 degrees F).
<Nowhere near warm enough. Turtles require much warmer basking heat than 25 degrees C. Unlike us, their bodies/organs rely on the external temperature of the air to function properly, including properly digesting their food. See more about this below.>
5) Temperature of water = normal room temperature (sometimes I add lukewarm water, especially in the winters)
<Turtles like cool water (this is what encourages them to get out to bask which they need to do), so this part is fine, assuming your normal room temperature is around 20-22 degrees C (68-72 degrees F). However, I'm concerned that your aquarium is located next to a window. More on this at the end.>
6) What, if any, type of filtration you're using = I clean the tank every day -- no filtration.
<Depending on how/what you're doing to keep the water clean, this may or may not be adequate -- especially given how little water is in your tank. The less amount of water there is, the more concentrated and toxic it becomes from food, poop and other debris left in it until your next cleaning.>
7) What you're feeding your turtles = a little amount of the turtle food, dried prawns and some small balls of wheat dough (its their favorite), boiled egg white (another favorite), coriander leaves (only the male turtle eats), cabbage leaves, sometimes boiled chicken or fish pieces, and blood worms (very occasionally).
<This is not a healthy diet for your turtles, and likely another part of the problem you're having. If not already, they will become malnourished and ill if you continue to give them this type of food. This also needs to be corrected right away.>
size: male: 8cm (approx. 3 in.) in length and 6.5cm (approx. 2 ½ in.) in breadth
female: 9 cm (approx. 3 ½ in.) and 7.5cm (approx. 3 in.) respectively
<To your original question, neither are sexually mature yet. Males typically start reaching sexual maturity when their top shell (carapace) length is about 4'; females start to reach maturity a little later than males, at around 6' long. See later on below how this relates to your question about their behaviors toward each other.>
The female turtle's shell was a little soft (some parts); now I think its fine, but still not as strong as that of my male turtle. No other problems with the shell.
<A shell that has been, and still is, soft in spots is a sign that your turtle has a metabolic illness, specifically a calcium deficiency that's causing her body to instead have to remove calcium that's already stored in her shell and bones in order to perform its other functions. The shells and bones then start to become soft from the loss of calcium. This condition (as well as the diet/environmental factors that caused it) needs to be addressed right away, otherwise it can lead to much more serious illness and even death.>
Thank you.
<Your welcome, Sonal. Please read my responses now to the questions and concerns you sent us in your original email.>
Hi this is Sonal from Mumbai...
I have 2 RES (red-eared slider) turtles now (male-female pair). About their age, both of them are less than a year. She is younger than him by 3 months. My male turtle acts as if he wants to scratch the face out of my female turtle. She's larger than he is. He wiggles his finger nails towards her cheeks (I mean the area near her eyes) with both his hands. It looks as if she's getting hurt by this action. She takes her head inside her shell and closes her eyes in the beginning. And later on she comes out and pushes him away. But just a few days earlier, I found HER doing the same thing, the same way he was doing. I don't understand what kind of behavior is this, and what for?? Are they getting mature or something? Or is it related to the mating thing!! I would really appreciate if you could tell me more about this behavior (so that I understand them better).
<As I mentioned above, both of your turtles are still on the small side to be displaying mating behaviors. And, they're also still on the small side yet to know for sure what sex they really are. From their tail sizes it does appear your larger one might be a female, but it could also be the angle of your camera so I can't tell for sure. Also, the more accurate way to know is by looking UNDER their tails. So -- either one of two things are happening:
1. You DO in fact have a male and a female. If this is the case, as you might expect with the male species (ha!), males sometimes get an early start, and can exhibit this behavior toward females before either one is sexually mature. What also happens sometimes is that mating behavior leads to aggression. This typically happens when either:
'¢ the male is trying to mate with an immature female (and the female becomes agitated and aggressive in response) or --
'¢ when the male gets more and more aggressive trying to *persuade* the female, hoping that his repeated advances will eventually work -- again, not much different than in the human species! Normally, in nature the male wouldn't likely put this much *pressure* on one female, as he would have other females to try to pursue.
2. It's also possible that you actually have 2 males and they're growing at different rates. It often happens that 1 turtle becomes the dominant one, gets more of the food, and grows faster. If this is the case, sometimes, for whatever reason, when no female is around, males will exhibit this behavior with each other. Because males often compete with one another, each of them may also be trying to assert their dominance toward one another, and becoming aggressive with each other, particularly since you have them in such close confines with each other. Which leads me to --- >
<What's even further adding to the problem of aggression in either case above is that your tank is WAY too small. It's even too small for just one of your turtles. And for 2 turtles, it's not allowing them anywhere to go to hang out by themselves and escape from one another as they would normally be able to do in nature. Having to live/exist almost on top of each other as they are now is causing both of them a LOT of stress -- REGARDLESS of what sex they are. By nature, they prefer being alone. They also like to be able to swim and move freely about, not just sit in the water, especially right next to other turtles.>
<So -- you need to act on this now before one of them becomes seriously injured. Especially given that one of your turtles is already getting hurt by your other turtle's actions. You have a couple of choices here. Either:
1. Separate them in two different tanks (that are both much larger than the one you have now -- see the end of this message for how to determine what size you need). Keep in mind that if one of them is a female, you may need to keep her in a separate tank until she is big enough/mature enough to mate with him, which could be at least 2 or more years away still!
2. Put them in an even LARGER enclosure with separate basking areas and hidden areas to get away from, and out of sight of the other. Some pet stores even sell partitions that you can place in a tank. This option would be less expensive for you than buying 2 tanks and set-ups. But it DOES require you to get a much larger tank than Option 1. And unless you do use a partition, this option also may not work. If it doesn't, you'll need to consider other options, including getting another (mature) female turtle to take the *pressure* off the one (again, if you DO in fact have a male and female right now), or to separate the two of them into 2 tanks (back to the 1st option).>
Also, could you tell me how to keep their shells clean, because sometimes they really stink. I clean the tank everyday.
< A healthy shell should be hard and have no odor to it at all. The odor is a sign that there might be some sort of infection brewing. Fungus and bacteria often seize the opportunity to take advantage of a shell that's debilitated. You mentioned in your 2nd email above that one of your turtle's has had/still has some soft spots on it. Soft shell is one of the conditions that can cause a shell to deteriorate and become more susceptible to infection. And, as I noted above, soft shell in and of itself, can lead to much more serious illness. So both of these conditions need to be addressed immediately (as well as the dietary and environmental factors that caused them).>
<Things that cause a turtle's shell to slowly deteriorate and soften (otherwise known as *Soft shell*), include improper diet/lack of calcium in the diet (as I described above), and not enough UVA and UVB lighting (what you get from the sun or from an artificial light source). UVA and UVB light helps turtles make the vitamins they need for their shell and bone health. Soft shell is also called Metabolic Bone Disease and left untreated becomes 100% fatal.>
<Causes of shell rot/infections include inadequate diet, improper lighting and heating temperatures (both basking and water), and poor water quality.>
<So here is what you need to do right away:
1. Remove (and separate) both of your turtles from your tank and place them each in a separate warm, dry container. Bacteria and fungus thrive in warm, wet environments and will seize the opportunity to take over and make an already debilitated turtle even sicker. You MUST provide them with a heat source (to keep air around 85-87 degrees F or about 30 degrees C), and you also MUST provide them with both a UVA AND especially a UVB source. They should remain in this environment around the clock except for putting each of them in a shallow container of water each day to eat, drink and poop. Below is a link to an article that explains exactly how to do this.
2. Keep your turtles in this environment for the amount of time specified under the 'Soft Shell' section of this guide, and until you make the needed changes to their regular living environment.
3. In particular, carefully read over the sections of this article describing Isolation, Soft Shell, and Notes 1 (about proper diet) and Notes 2 (about proper lighting).
4. Follow the treatment steps listed under the Soft Shell section of this same guide, which include isolation (in #1 above) and calcium treatments. Ideally, it would be best if you could find a herp or reptile vet to administer the calcium to your female turtle in an injectible form. Failing this, besides the other sources mentioned in the link above, I have had good success with Rep-Cal Phosphorous-Free Calcium with Vitamin D. It comes in a powder form. I add a pinch of it to pellets that have been pre-softened in a small amount of water.
5. Read the following additional link, compare each step of your care to the guidelines listed here, and make the necessary adjustments.
6. In particular, fix the things that are most likely causing your turtles to have shell problems and calcium deficiencies:
1. Correct the diet you're feeding them. This is going to come as bad news to your turtles, but you need to stop feeding them wheat dough, boiled egg white, dried prawns, chicken, etc.! None of these foods are part of their natural diet, and it's not providing them with the correct balance of vitamins and nutrients they need. At least 50% of your turtle's diet, even at this young age, should be vegetarian and greens based; as adults that bumps up to 75%. The items listed below are ALL you need to feed them! (The diet is actually the easiest part!):
* A high quality pellet such as ReptoMin or a high quality Koi pellet. Especially right now I'd recommend soaking them in water until they soften, then adding a pinch of calcium powder as mentioned above and mix in well. (Note: only feed them pellets once every OTHER day, and ONLY as much as each of them will eat in 5-10 minutes. One of the most common mistakes people make with turtles is to overfeed. This can also lead to diseases).
* An earthworm (No bloodworms) every week or so for some additional Vitamin A which they also need.
* If you want to add some fiber and give them something to munch on in between feedings, rather than cabbage leaves or coriander; substitute dandelion leaves (some grocery stores actually carry this), red leaf and curly green leaf lettuces (no iceberg lettuce, though). What I did was buy a clip with a suction cup from my pet store to hold the greens in place so they stay in one place and are easier to clean up. Just replace with fresh greens as needed.
Now, it's very possible your turtles are not going to be *thrilled* with this change -- as most anyone wouldn't be on Day #1 of a *Diet*! So don't get concerned if you don't see them rushing to eat these things right away. Just give them time, they'll adjust. If you're still having difficulty getting them to switch over in the next couple of weeks, write back and I can give you some additional tips. Just make sure they get the calcium they need right now, though.
2. Provide correct basking temperature and basking conditions. It is essential that your turtles spend several hours each day basking -- and in the right conditions. Your turtles need:
* Easy access to a basking area. If they're having trouble climbing onto the basking area you're providing, you'll need to switch this with something else. The one I use and would recommend is the Zoo Med floating turtle dock. It comes in different sizes.
* Proper water and air temperatures: a CLEAR choice between cool water and warm air. This is what encourages them to get out to bask every day as they should. They should be spending several hours each day out of the water completely drying off, heating up, and soaking in the UVB rays.
* A heat bulb above their basking area. The air above your turtles' basking areas needs to be MUCH warmer than what you're currently providing. It should be around 88-90 degrees F (31-32 degrees C). Unlike us, turtles need to get this heat from outside their bodies to properly digest their food. Otherwise it will rot in their stomach and eventually cause them to become seriously ill.
* A UVB light bulb, also above their basking area (see below).
3. Fix the lighting conditions: Sunlight through a window pane or screen is not adequate for UVA/UVB. And direct sunlight into a tank runs the risk of making the air too hot and baking them. Given you live in a seasonal climate and can't have them exposed to direct sunlight outside all year long, either, it's best then to provide them with a good quality artificial UVB light that will give them a consistent source of UVA/UVB all year long (UVB automatically provides UVA but not the other way around). This light needs to be placed directly above their basking area. More is written about this in the care link above.
4. Fix any water quality issues. You didn't mention exactly how you're keeping the water clean, but here are some suggestions:
* Turtles are much messier than fish and require even better filtration than they do. I would highly advise you to get a very good mechanical filter that is rated several times more than the amount of water in your tank.
* Water changes can be cut back to 50% water changes every week once your filter gets established (after about a month or so).
* Periodically test your water for ammonium and nitrite before your water changes.
* Suction up/vacuum up food and poop immediately after they're done; don't let it sit around until your water change.
* Until you get a filter, consider feeding your turtles in a separate container of shallow water. This will help cut back on the waste in the water.>
<Some other things I would strongly recommend:
* Do not place your turtles' tanks next to a window. Besides the concern about heat and lighting fluctuations, there is also the risk in the wintertime of your turtles getting exposed to drafts in the air. This is one of the main causes of turtles coming down with respiratory infections, which can also become serious and often fatal. I would instead place their tanks in an interior part of the room or some place where they won't be exposed to cool air drafts.
* As I mentioned above, your current tank size is much too small, even for just one turtle. Turtles like to have lots of room (especially surface area more than depth) to swim about. As I noted above, there are several problems with a small enclosure. Small amounts of water fluctuate much more with outside air temperatures, making it much harder to control, regulate, and keep water temperature within a constant range. It also makes it much harder to maintain good water quality because leftover food and waste is much more toxic in smaller amounts of water. The general rule on size of tanks for turtles is 10 gallons (38 liters) per 1 inch (2 ½ cm.) of shell length. Right now each of your turtles should be in approximately a 30 gallon or 114 liter tank. Eventually, they will need a MUCH larger tank. If in fact you do have a female, she can grow to as much as 12 inches (30 cm.) long; males also can get large, up to around 10 inches (25 cm.) The good news is that *larger* doesn't have to mean expensive. The link above that I gave you to the care guide describes other options for enclosures that don't cost a lot of money.>
Thanks a lot for your help -- because every time I mail you, you people always help.
<I hope we helped again this time, Sonal! Please write back and let us know how things are going.>
Thanks a ton.
<You're welcome!>

Question's about my turtles shells 8/11/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have 2 Mississippi Map turtles and 1 Texas Map turtle. We were living in Morenci AZ but have moved to Hadley NV. Since we have moved I have had some issues with my boys shells. Varga is the turtle in the pictures. He started with little white spots that we could take off of his shell with a tooth brush.
<Sometimes '¦ people get all upset about white spots that turn out to just be water spots (mineral deposits from the local water)>
As you can see the problem has gotten worse.
Only I didn't know how bad it was until I dried him off. He has been doing the sulfa dip treatment for a while now. The box say's only for 7 days but every time it starts to clear up it comes back worse!
<Sulfa is a questionable treatment anyway>
I make sure to place him under running water and clean his shell off with the tooth brush then place him in the treatment for the max period of 3 hours. It doesn't smell it's, not soft, looks better in the water and some of his shell seems to be lifting off. To me it looks like it is eating the shell but when you go to touch it there is no groove. The bottom of his
shell has some white on it to and seems to sink in the middle a little. I think it feels soft to me.
He is eating great!
<Don't feed too much - or too much of the wrong things>
Loves to bask.
Awesome swimmer.
<Always a plus>
Yes he is the smallest of the boys but he seems to do just fine. The water thermometer is set at 75 degrees but with the lamp it heats up to about 82 degrees. They have two basking rocks one that is about 100 degrees and the other at just above 90.
<The basking temp is fine -- the water temp is way too hot. Probably a part of your problem, too. Confine or arrange the basking lamp so that it doesn't heat the water. Even if you have to place it farther away from the basking area. 95 or even 85 is high enough for the basking, but the water needs to be no higher than 75 in general>
It doesn't seem to hot because they go on there a lot. We clean them every week. They have a UV bulb and a Whisper filter which has the carbon (black rocks?) inside. I couldn't find my water strips to see what was going on with the pH of the water.
<Not that big a deal - the pH of tap water is just fine>
They eat the Aquatic Turtle growth formula that hat 35% protein for turtles of 2-6 inches.
<I'm a fan of Kay-Tee Koi pellets. I feed that as a staple to all my water turtles and they grow up to be just fine>
Here are some pictures so that you can see what can be done.
<At the moment, I keep coming back to water conditions. This seems to have happened just as you moved from one state to another - but I think it's wise to treat for a possible fungal infection. Rather than a sulfa bath or anything like that, read the enclosed article on treatment and let's try a topical remedy for 2 weeks. In that time he'll be out of the water and dry, so even mineral deposits will start to fade away. Here's the article:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm treat for fungus>
We just moved here so if he needs to see a vet can you make a recommendation?
<At best you're in for a drive to Reno. Dr Cathy Connelly treats exotics at the Community Animal Hospital>
Thank you so much for your time.
<Hope it helps>
Gianina Roybal

Help, RES shell 8/11/10
I have a red ear slider. He is about 4 years old. I found him when he was a little bitty thing freezing cold. I have been feeding him frozen shrimp and pellets since I have had him. Recently, his shell is peeling a lot and softish on the bottom. He hasn't been eating either. He has been less active too. What can I do to help him?
<Do review you're covering the basics, here:
I read about feeding them liver and beef on your site. Do I cook these first?
<I strongly recommend against both. Meat from warm-blooded animals contains fats that congeal inside cold-blooded animals. Much better to use thiaminase-free fish meat, for example very small morsels of tilapia fillet. Red-ear Sliders are largely herbivorous, so look at plant foods rather than meaty foods. Cheap aquarium plants such as Canadian Pondweed work well; Koi pellets are good too.>
What types of fruits can I feed him as well?
<Avoid acidic fruits; instead things like melon and grapes, in moderation, work well. But these are not necessary, and can cause irritations to the digestive systems of the these animals.>
Thank you so much,
<Cheers, Neale.>

Red eared slider 8/7/10
Dear Crew,

<Hiya - Darrel here>
I bought my red eared slider about a month ago from a mall very cheap. He didn't tell me much about taking care of it so I have been searching online and in and out of fish stores

<Generally, we should all do our research BEFORE we buy & not after.>
'¦ and think I'm doing pretty well but since I've been reading more I noticed that my turtle may have shell rot the end of his sell is lighter all around but he has had that since I got him, I've been noticing more on his actual shell more in the middle, but it just looks like the shell is shedding so I'm confused! but I will attach some recent photos please let me know! :( and if anything is wrong what I should do thanks a bunch!

<He's a cutie and looks healthy. Does he have shell rot? I can't tell from here, but the first thing and usually happens with shell rot is that the shell material itself gets softer. The edge of the shell ALWAYS seems a bit softer, but in truth it's not softer, just more flexible. Here's my suggestion: Read this article
<<Mmm, I don't see the referent link. RMF>>
-- it covers all the basics of caring for a Red Eared Slider and it's definitive. That means that if you run across any source that tells you otherwise '¦ that source is simply wrong. Read. Make sure you're providing the right kind of light and diet. He needs a basking lamp over his land area so he can get warm and he needs UV-A & UV-B to metabolize his food properly. He only needs a simple diet but it has to be a balanced one. (inexpensive Koi pellets are just fine!) Read the article and test your care and setup against the suggestions and your little guy will be around for a long, long while!>


Bleeding carapace 7/29/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have been taking care and reading about turtles for about 10 yrs now and still have trouble.
<I've been doing it for close to 40 and I still have trouble, too>
I have a Cooter that I have had since he was a hatchling. It's about 8 yrs old now.( I am unsure of its gender, would have to go check) He's been living in a pond for about 3 yrs now because it was getting big. Recently, the edge of his carapace looks like it is wearing away(white-yellowish) and is bleeding in areas. I am distressed about what could have happened and I want to save it. He eats well and still swims like always. I feed them romaine lettuce, bananas, and zoo med aquatic pellets. My next step is to take him to the vet but I am not always satisfied when I leave there. I'm guessing SCUD from reading the sites but I get confused with all the ailments.
<For you readers that are acronymically challenged, SCUD stands for Septicemic Cutaneous Ulcerative Disease>
When I take him out of the water to check him, the blood oozes out noticeably.
<Well, that right there is a sign of an acute condition. Oozing blood is simply an EMERGENCY. Period. So off to the vet we go. You are likely looking at a systemic infection and the treatment of choice will likely be Baytril injections. It's not the absolute BEST in my opinion, but your vet will probably have it on hand and knows how to prescribe it. My personal preference would be to administer danofloxacin 6 mg/kg, SQ because the Baytril is so damaging to the tissues at the injection site. However, this case calls for you to get what you can get on-board NOW '¦ ASAP.>
<Meanwhile get him OUT of the pond NOW. He needs to be warm and dry NOT wet. The pond is for him, at this point, simply an invitation for secondary infections. Read here and isolate as shown for bacterial infections '¦ but get him OUT of the pond and INTO the vet immediately.>
I also have some juveniles that I keep in tank whose shells are whitish looking. I am always checking the lights, temps, and feed them baby aquatic food (zoo med) with a rare feeding of romaine lettuce. I change the water about every 5 weeks but try to keep filter clean.
<Surprisingly the #1 cause of whitish-looking shells is simple water spots. Try wiping with a dab of vinegar on a cloth and let dry>
Please advise. I fear I may be too late.
Very upset turtle lover,
<To the Vet Denise, As soon as humanly possible>
Re: bleeding carapace -- 8/3/10

Hi, Darryl,
Thanks so much for writing back.
<No charge!!>
I felt a bit better after reading your response. I did take my turtle to the vet after all when I couldn't wait any longer to hear back from y'all. The vet gave her an injection of ceftazidime btl and I have to bring her in every 3 days for injections until the vet feels that we can stop (I nearly choked). Trying to keep her dry, she makes a mess with the water bowl;
<That's why I don't give them 24/7 access to it. When I'm treating a sick turtle, she gets to play in the water when I place her IN the water. Then when she's had enough, she comes OUT of the separate container and back into her box>
I also have silverdine cream I put on her daily. I have the turtle inside and am working on making a makeshift home for her with the lights so I can take care of her. The vet insinuated that my dogs may have chewed on her. I am almost positive that this is not the case. You have to know these dogs and the turtles I have are quick to get in the water. I suggested that it could have been from another turtle I used to have before it disappeared from the pond. She didn't seem to agree. I want to thank you again for responding to my questions.
<Nature has a funny way of confounding us. We do our best job at prevention '¦ but after that what is important is how we react. The chances are that you'll never know what actually caused it, so as long as we can treat it and heal it, all we can do is be vigilant>
As for my juveniles I inquired about...I did the vinegar treatment and will see how it improves. I would like to try to send pictures of them to you just to make sure that is all it is. I fear it may be something more serious. After close inspection of one of them, although it looks healthy, it looks like a new shell is growing on top, there is like a ridge around the middle of his carapace. I don't know how better to explain it except to try to send a picture. I apologize for the bombardment of questions.
<That's what we're here for Denise!>
<The important thing about pictures is FOCUS. If you're taking with a fixed focal length camera, such as a cell phone cam, it's easy to be TOO CLOSE to get a focus and that's actually harder for us to see that a lower resolution from farther away. Experiment with distances until get what you really want to send>
Thanks, again.

Re New Jersey Turtles 7/24/10
Hello again from the NORMAL Jersey suburbs ( I do cringe when those women are the representation of our state).
<Q: Why do they call New Jersey "The Garden State"?>
One final question..and thanks in advance, will Brunetta's shell recover with time?.I'd hate to think she's slowly being crushed to death from the inside out.
<Most shell deformities don't really heal, but the turtle does recover, but I'm not sure what you mean about being crushed to death. If her shell sheds the scutes as thin, almost transparent sections every so often, then the shell is still growing>
I have tons of water hyacinth for her to munch on..and I've attempted peas, spinach, lima beans..none of which she seems even remotely interested in.
<Also not surprising. Not many Lima beans in the swamps, if you get the picture>
I have been feeding her very sparingly Koi pellets...20% protein in content, in hopes she'll get hungry enough to sample the hyacinth.
<I grow my hatchlings all the way to breeders on nothing more than Kay-Tee brand Koi pellets three times a week and a Night Crawler earthworm about once a month>
Thanks again.
Laurie from NJ and not the insane type like on "Housewives" or "Jersey Shore"
<A: Because "The Oil, Chemical and Toxic Waste State" wouldn't fit on a license plate!!>
<[Editor's Note: {sigh} On behalf of everyone else at WetWebMedia we'd like to apologize to Laurie, to the Great State of New Jersey, to Housewives and, while we're at it - To Oil, Chemicals and Toxic waste]>

Re... Urgent help needed, RES... -- 06/9/10
Hi Darrel,
Thanks for the advise for Savitri. She is doing good. Actually it's been more than 3 months she has been kept dry. Her injection wounds have healed. She eats normally and is very active. However she is walking with a crooked leg (with a bend in her front leg), and refuses to walk with proper leg posture. I will send you a video link of her walking around. May be you could shed some light as to what we can do about it.
<There isn't that much that CAN be done, Samta. Other than to tell you that turtles are remarkable adaptable. I have one in my pond that is missing one entire front leg and half of another (from a raccoon attack) and is thriving very well.>
Another major problem or what it seems to be my other 4 yr RES (name is Khao) is showing excessive scute peeling. In the past she has been in the same husbandry as my other sliders, while others are ok, she is showing scute peeling. I thought it was a shell rot but I am not sure about it. She eats wells, has a hard shell which otherwise looks very normal. I am keeping her dry (just like Savirti) for the last two days. Her shell doesn't smell at all. Even her scutes don't fall off often. They just seem to be peeling and it takes weeks/months for them to fall off. I am attaching a pic of Khao. You can see there is excessive peeling on the outer edges and also all over the shell in sections. Also, some part of her shell have scutes peeling off in layers. Although underneath them I don't see her white bone, but it worries me that it might get to the bone.
<She looks fine, Samta. She's just growing faster than the others>
Khao has her own UV light, Rena filter, 60 gallon tank, water heater and basking spot. She is almost 7" long and eats ReptoMin. One thing came to my mind is - is it possible that my UV bulb is not effective?. Also, one more thing I have noticed since she is a big and heavy girl, it is hard for her to bask in a small basking spot. I couldn't find a large enough one which could handle her weight without sliding inside water. I think this has also discouraged Khao to bask for a extended period of time. Anyways, for now she is in a dry, warm box. I put her in water once a day for 10-15 minutes. I have also started putting her in salt solution (turtle sulpha dip) once a day for 1 hour. Please let me know if I should do anything else to stop excessive peeling.
<I would continue to find ways to allow her to bask more easily -- AND -- I'd check out the specifications on the UV lamp. They all have a fairly limited life and what most people don't know is that the effective UV production drops off years before the bulb will completely fail. Check with the manufacturer to see what the suggested life is.>
<Beyond that, she looks like a healthy girl that's growing fine!>
Thanks, Samta

RES shell concerns... 5/27/10
My name is Samantha
<Mine is Darrel>
'¦ and I recently purchased a red eared slider who I assume is a hatchling (he is only an inch across his shell).
<That would be my guess as well>
In the last week and a half or so the lines between his scutes that used to be light brown have been getting progressively darker. They are now black. Should I be worried about this?
<Nope - as he scutes grow the edges darken. As he gets older, more and more of the scute itself darkens until, but the time he is mature, he's a very dark, DARK green all over.>
His behavior seems normal, although I have also noticed he doesn't bask very much.
<How much is 'not very much'? What is the water temp and the basking temp? I'll enclose a link here that covers basic care. Make sure you offer him cool water and warm basking>
And there's one more thing, the center of his plastron started to turn a little white and I can't remember if it was there when I got him or not. The white seems to be spreading but I could just be paranoid. What does all of this mean?
<That whiteness is not uncommon. It could be as simple as minerals in your tap water. Try wiping it with a Q-Tip dipped in vinegar. A fungus will come off in small pieces (or at least some of it will) if it's mineral deposits, the wiping will just make it seem to fade for a little while>
ps I will attach pictures to my next email.
<always helps us (if they're in focus)>
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
Picture, basking/water temp 5/27/10

Thank you so much for the info it is very helpful. I don't have a good focused pic at the moment but I will so or now here's this one.
<Samantha, that picture looks just fine. The scutes look normal. Don't worry>
You said the white on the plastron could be mineral buildup or from the water but I use distilled water in his tank. Does that change anything?
<Yes. It means (A) it's not mineral buildup and (B) you fuss too much. Any tap water that people are able to drink is fine water for him to live in.>
<BUT -- it doesn't explain the white on the plastron. You described white-ISH -- as like a think white film, didn't you? Try swabbing one small part of it with household vinegar once daily for three days. Let it dry before you place him back in his tank. Let's see if that changes anything>
You asked about the amount of basking: When I'm in the room he doesn't get on his rock much but I can't be sure about when I'm not there. When he does get on the rock when I'm around it's only for less than a minute then he runs off of it and jumps back in the water (even if there's nothing around to scare him). I was told at first to keep my water temp between 75 and 80 degrees but when I talked to the owner of a local pet shop today he said that the turtle may be so warm in the water that he doesn't want to get out.
<Water temp should be no higher than room temp - between 68 and 75 degrees. The idea is to offer him the CHOICE between cool water and a warm back,>
But the basking area is also very warm... The pet shop owner thinks I should try turning of my heater for a few days, especially while the weather is nice and then he might bask more. Would you agree?
<There should be no heater in the water AT ALL unless he lives on your porch and you live north of the Arctic Circle.>

Yellow Bellied Slider Carapace Issue 5/26/2010
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I've recently become a first time new owner of a Yellow Bellied Slider
<Does that mean you're a first time owner?>
<Or does it mean that the turtle is brand new and never been owned before?>
'¦ and I've noticed over the past few weeks that it has developed what appears to be an increasing sized crack between the marginal and costal scutes which almost goes around the entire shell. I haven't seen the turtle shed yet but from owning other reptiles and seeing photos on the web it doesn't appear to be shedding. The cracks are not bleeding currently but I certainly hope it doesn't come to this.
< I doubt that as well. I think what you have is some accelerated/excessive natural growth>
A little short history about this turtle, it's previous owner
<Now we have it. You're the first time owner of a used Slider!!>
'¦ said that she found him on a road and that she had kept him for 3 years in a 10 gallon tank with a tiny pond and UVB lamp. The turtle seems small for being 3 years old and approximately 1.5 inches in diameter but I'm not sure if this is relevant. The turtle seemed to eat regularly and appeared healthy upon me adopting it but this daily inspection is becoming and increasing concern.
<I'm not concerned yet>
Along with the crack in the shell, I've noticed that its been spending an increasing amount of time hiding under some moss that I've place in its tank and not so much time in the water and basking light. Its tank is 50 gallons filtered and the there is adequate water to swim in and adequate dry land with a basking area and a couple of hiding spots. All temps in and out of water seem to be in good ranges but I'm just not sure what the heck is going on! Maybe it's because I haven't named it yet?!
<She has a name. It's just that YOU don't know it yet>
It seems to eat only Repto Min pellets, (I think that's what they're called), but it only eats every few days from what I can tell.
<That's GREAT food and you shouldn't offer anything else. When she gets bigger, you can switch to Koi Pellets which are (A) Identical for ReptoMin (B) a perfectly balanced diet and (C) less costly.>
From every where I've searched, this sight seems to be the most informative.
<That's a sad commentary on the Internet '¦ when *I* become the voice of experience and wisdom'¦. {sigh}>
Can you help me?
<Sure. First, proper diet and proper environment are 90% of the way to raise them happy & healthy. You have diet covered, so let's talk environment. I don't know what YOU mean by "temperatures seem to have good ranges" so read this link and compare every part of your care against the article:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<Next thing. The Red & Yellow bellies are not fans of fast moving water, they like it slow and quiet, so make sure you're not 'over-pumping' the water. >
<another thing is to judge just how MUCH time she spends hiding. DOES SHE bask, swim and eat? If so '¦ let's sit back and give her some space '¦ for all we know she's just shy.>
<At 1.5 inches, she's small for being 3 years old and that leads to the presumption that her previous care was less than stellar. Changing her conditions as you have and providing better care which you seem to be doing, is likely to cause a {relative} growth spurt and this would explain what sounds like an annular gap.>
Thank you so very much for your help.
<Hope it helps!>
<Bottom line: relax, sounds like you and she are doing fine>

Re: Yellow Bellied Slider Carapace Issue 5/27/10
Hello again!
<Hiya - Darrel here again>
Thank you so very much for your response. It is great to get a little feed back on the situation. So, I wanted to answer some of your questions and provide a couple pictures of what I'm seeing. Hopefully you can see that
there is what appears to be a separation scutes and this is what I'm talking about. Also, I've reviewed your link a few times over the past couple of days since I've been doing extensive research and this is what my current tank set up is.
<She looks fine to me!>
Temps fluctuate with day and night cycle obviously but are generally; water = 74, ambient air = 78, and basking temp = 90.
My filter is a Penguin power sponge filter - 170 gph model 660R. The water flow does not seem to be fast flowing since I have the flow nozzle positioned toward some rocks but there is still some water movement. The filter is rather quiet to my ear but I'm not sure how the turtle reacts to it. Good news is that she is eating and basking and still entering the water. Maybe I am just an overly concerned parent:-)
<Yes - welcome to the club.>
I hope the pictures say what I couldn't since I'm relying on YOUR voice of wisdom and experience on slider turtles:-)
<The pictures look great, Gabby seems like she's doing well. The ONLY thing I'd suggest is that you go over the tank setup and makes sure, sure, SURE that there's no place she could get trapped under water. - Beyond
that, let's give her some space and let her settle in and see how she does over the next months>
Thank you,
PS: Her name is Gabby:-)

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