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Related FAQs: Turtles, Turtles 2, Sliders, Turtle Identification, Turtle Behavior, Turtle Compatibility, Turtle Selection, Turtle Systems, Turtle Systems 2, Turtle Feeding, Turtle Disease, Turtle Disease 2, Turtle Disease 3, Turtle Reproduction, & by Species: Musk/Mud Turtles, Other Sliders/Emydids (Pond, Painted...), Softshells, Snapping Turtles, Mata Matas, Tortoises, & FAQs on Red Ear Sliders: Sliders, Sliders 2, Red Eared Slider Identification, RES Behavior, RES Compatibility, RES Selection, RES Systems, RES Feeding, RES Disease, RES Disease/Health 2, RES Reproduction, & Other Reptiles, Amphibians

Related Articles: Red Eared Slider Care by Darrel Barton, So your turtle has the Flu? Recognising and treating respiratory infections in pet turtles by Neale Monks, Freshwater Livestock

Turtle Stocking & Compatibility
Part 1

To: Part 2, Part 3

by Sue Garrett  







Red Eared Sliders

Painted Turtles

Yellow Bellied Sliders

Red Bellied Turtles

Map Turtles

Side/Snake Neck Turtles

Long Neck Turtles


Pond Turtles

Golden Thread Turtles



Soft-shell Turtles




Species Not Specified





Box Turtles

Wood Turtles









Multiple Turtles




Other Animal Species


·         Turtles of all species are not social by nature and prefer to be alone.  It is generally recommended that you only have 1 turtle per enclosure unless you have a much larger enclosure or pond with separate areas for them to eat, haul out and bask.


·         Snapping turtles, in particular, should never be mixed with ANY other animal or turtle species, including its own.


·         As far as owning a single turtle, male turtles are usually easier to keep than females because they tend to be smaller, and there is not the additional worry of nesting, egg-laying, and egg-binding.


·         If you are going to house multiple turtles together, it is recommended that:

§         they all be the same size to avoid the potential for bullying or domination

§         there be at least a 2:1 ratio of females to males to reduce stress on the females

§         only sexually mature females be mixed with males.  If not yet mature, a female turtle can become aggressive with any male trying to mate with her.

§         you have a very large enclosure with separate basking areas so they can have their own separate areas to hang out

§         you feed them separately to avoid competition, potential aggression or domination

§         you be prepared to house them separately if it turns out they are not compatible


·         If adding a new turtle in an aquarium with an existing turtle:

§         Make sure the new turtle is disease free.  Quarantine the new turtle for about a month before placing it with an existing turtle(s).

§         Consider changing the aquarium environment (i.e. mixing up plants, décor) to make it seem like a new environment for the existing turtle(s).  This reduces the likelihood of them exhibiting territorial and aggressive behaviors toward the new turtle.


·         As a general rule, do not house different turtle species together.  Semi-aquatics, mostly aquatics, semi-terrestrial, and terrestrial turtles have very different care needs and personalities (see below for designations).  Even certain turtles within these same groupings may have different needs such as water quality or temperature (see individual FAQs below).  Always carefully research each type of species first before considering mixing them together.


·         Do not mix turtles with fish or other animals/non-turtle species.  Turtles will try (and often succeed) in either eating or injuring them.  Sometimes even in the reverse; i.e. crayfish should never be mixed with ANYTHING else including with each other.


Note:  Some of the above points are stated in context and elaborated on in the FAQs below.  Any key information relevant to this topic is highlighted in blue within each FAQ to make them easier to find.




Trachemys scripta elegans


·         See Key Points at top of this Topic Page for general information on turtle stocking & compatibility.







Adding a female in with two males  Comp., Repro. 5/23/10

(Original heading:  Need Red Eared Slider help, please! Comp., Repro.  - 5/23/10)

Dear Crew
<Hiya - Darrel here>
We have 2 male Red Eared Sliders that are around 4 or 5 inches and have been together in the same 75 gallon tank most of their lives.
<So far, so good. Just about the right size environment for 2>
About 6 weeks ago we were given a female slider that is around 8 inches and have kept her in a kiddy pool for quarantine purposes.
<A big girl>
This afternoon we decided that it was time to finally put her in the tank with the two males.
<Queue the menacing music ..>
Everything was fine for the first half hour or so,
<Just like in the movies things are quiet .. TOOOO quiet!>
then things went downhill fast and got really scary. As males will be males (LOL) they were trying to "court" her to the point of her needing a restraining order, LOL! She finally started biting at them and even started chasing them around to bite them.
It was when she got hold of one of their front feet and took it and her head inside her shell that we grabbed her up and finally got her to release his foot.
<Yeah - turtles play rough>
She is back in the kiddy pool, but to be quite honest, the kiddie pool has got to go soon as we have a small house and it is taking up way too much room. Not to mention the cat and two Labs that are just way too interested in her.
<Between two Labs and a cat - my money is on the turtle.>
Is there ANY hope of them co-existing in the same tank at all???
<there is some, yes>
If so, how do we go about getting them there?
<What you've experienced is to some degree normal behavior for Red Eared Sliders. At the size differential you've described she has a clear advantage and when she gets snappy, the others are usually wise enough to get out of her way. Usually this little bit of combat is to establish limits and the bites aren't hard enough to break the skin (sometimes the males will lose a fingernail or two). While sliders do fine on their own, they also do just fine in colonies and other large groups with little or no serious combat. There are two concerns here. First, when we house groups of any kind of animals we should always give them ways to get AWAY from each other. In aquariums we put big rock formations in the middle to more or lass make a right & left half. When we dig turtle or alligator ponds, we make them "U" or even "Z" shaped, etc. That way, two animals that aren't getting along can go to places that are out of visual range of the other and both can feel like they've "escaped." This is a bit hard to do in a 75 gallon turtle tank, but see what you can do. The unknown here is the female. She may settle down after everyone settles down, or she could be just mean. My guess is the former and here's what I'd do>
<One at a time, while you have the time to baby-sit, take the males out of the tank and put them in the pool with her. Let her learn to tolerate them in her own territory - and just one of them. The pool is likely not deep enough for her to drown the little one and there is enough room for them to get away from each other. A couple hours of that each day gets them accustomed to each other AND the disruption of their routines tends to "reset" a lot of their territorial and combative instincts. After they've all become bored with fighting each other, you can try moving them to the tank again>
Thanks in advance.
<yer welcome>


RES Mixing Adult with Baby  Comp.  5/11/10

(Original heading:  RES Turtles. Comp.  5/11/10)

Dear Crew
<Hiya Alix - Darrel here>
So I was wondering how my turtle would react if I got another one.
<The short answer, in your case, Alix - is no.>
<read on>
My friends gave me a red ear slider about a month ago. They rescued it from the side of the road and she's gotten very big. She's about 11 inches.
<That's big for a Red Eared Slider. Very big.>
She's never bitten us but she does love feeder fish. What would she do if I put a baby in there? Oh. I have a 60 gallon tank.
<Sliders are not particularly social creatures, Alex - they seem to do just fine in groups or colonies, but they don't have any NEED for such social connections. They can be a little snappy toward each other at times and this is where size comes in. In the wild, hatchlings hide themselves in the weeds and floating grasses and don't even approach the basking logs and stones that the larger animals share until they reach approximately the same size. What I'm saying is not that your big one is a cannibal but she MIGHT see it as dinner or in the normal course of interacting with a hatchling, one snap to show it who's boss would spell the end of the little one.>
<If you have an 11 inch Slider, I wouldn't consider placing another one with her that was less than 4 inches long. Also, 60 gallons is a bit small for an animal that size - it sounds like she can barely turn around. Finally Feeder fish are NOT good for her and you should stop feeding them to her. Beyond being basically bad nutrition they tend to carry parasites that could have the effect of shortening her magnificent life. Here is a link on basic care: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >



Compatibility with faster fish  5/8/10

(Original heading:  General RES questions  5/8/10)

Hi crew!
<Hiya - Darrel here tonight>
I've been reading through the various postings on your site and they are fantastically entertaining and informative, you have helped me on various things including today's departure of pecker after his fall :-(
<I read about that, Dale. On behalf of Bob Fenner, Neale Monks and the entire crew, we're sorry for your loss. The loss of any of our little friends leaves the world a slightly darker shade of gray.>
I have some questions, it seems you're busy so a speedy reply isn't necessary.
<Never that BUSY Dale, I'm just a poor typist. I typo 80wpm>
I live in Japan (originally Essex, England)
<Japan was originally Essex???? In England??>
. where it seems Red Eared Sliders are widely kept for a short period and then thrown out, no one seems to really know how to care for them,
<OUCH!! All the sadder that they're among the easiest of all pets to provide and care for>
. but anyways, in the attached picture you can see my setup(60x34x30cm) which admittedly is horribly small for three turtles but I was very uninformed at the time of purchase.
<No, you weren't, not it's not and it looks pretty cool!>
Is this too small for these 2(midori and LB)? At a guess (as they are still a little too small to tell) they are either both females or one of each (they seem to get on fantastically BTW)
<While Sliders, Cooters & the like can be a bit snappy from time to time, they are also excellent tank mates and can get along wonderfully in large groups. You have plenty of room here & I'll get into a bit more detail below>
They also have a large balcony(recently turtle-proofed) with a water source and places to hide/plenty of shade/sun. also the basking area in the pictured tank is just under half the size of the tank itself(kind of decking with a ramp)
<It looks pretty nice, but here are my comments: (A) the water is far deeper than it needs to be. Nothing WRONG with deep water, but it's not necessary for their well-being. Whenever you have a choice with turtles go for a larger surface area (length & width) and don't worry about more than 5 or 6 inches of depth. (B) Make sure that the lighting provides for their need for heat AND for UV. (C) The tank decorations are nice looking, but take a look with a critical eye any place a turtle could work his way into, under or behind and then get stuck? (D) If it was me, I'd rework the ramp area to allow for more dry-land area (unless there's more than I can see here) because they don't have a lot of room to really haul out of the water and bask in the warmth of the basking lamp.>
If not already too small, how long before you thing ill need a new tank?
<They could easily be double in size before I'd think about a new tank You could even think of adding one or two more at this point. By the time you need to think of a bigger tank, the next step up is probably more like an indoor pond than a tank (we'll talk about that another time)>
I finally found success with the live plants after many being ripped to pieces within a day but would really love to have some kind of fish in there(without the trial and error massacre) to liven it up a bit. do you know of any small durable and fast tank mates for them?
<The problem with fish & turtles is this: When you put it feeders and WANT them to be eaten, the turtles don't catch them and the feeders grow and become pets you have to worry about (I have 2 goldfish that were once 'feeders' that are now 7 inches long and the dominant animals in a 2500 gallon Koi pond containing 24 inch Koi) -- or the opposite, when you put in two fish you really DO care about and the turtles .. for whom fish is NOT a major dietary component .. suddenly get lucky. In other words, Dale there is no solution to this problem>
<A decent sized Plecostomus (common name 'Pleco' or 'Plecostomus') would hold it's own against turtles of this size, but it's an algae eating, bottom dwelling more-or-less boring fish.>
I was thinking small goldfish but have read that if eaten they are quite bad for the turtles.
<The problem is that feeder goldfish are kept in horribly unsanitary conditions and tend to be loaded with parasites. Fancy goldfish are usually much 'cleaner' but their elaborate tails & fins do make attractive targets for the turtles. So no.>
Ah and I am feeding them every other day a mix of pellets and they are nibbling the plants a little every now and then is this enough?
<Sounds good. I feed mine almost exclusively Koi pellets>
Thanks again for all your help
<You're welcome>


RES compatibility with goldfish  8/24/09

(Original heading:  Out door pond     8/24/09)

Dear Crew,
<Hiya Melissa, Darrel here>
I have purchased some red eared Slider turtles from a good pet store they approx 5-6 inches long.
<Yanno, Melissa, without punctuation after the word "store" -- you are technically telling me that you shopped at a good pet store that was 5 to 6 inches long.>
<I guess today I'm just Mr. Language Person ... >
I did my homework on these fun creatures to add to my outdoor pond. The issue I am having is that they have plenty of food and places to bask in the sun, the pond is approx. 20 feet long, 15 feet wide and 3 1/2 feet deep to 4 foot deep at the other end, however my pond does not get full sun light at all times
<How many hours of direct sunlight reach the basking area or shores on an average spring or fall day? The amount of sunlight and UV they can absorb even from a slightly indirect source may be plenty. How many hours a day to they bask in direct sun?>
as well as I have found some turtles escaping the pond area. Once they get out they can't get back in. Any ideas on why they keep trying to get out?
<Yes, Melissa. Turtles wander. No one knows why, exactly, but they do it.
If they are not confined they'll often wander out and never come back.
I've found escaped turtles that were gone 3 months and buried themselves in a corner of the garden under a plant. A pond area in which you plan to properly keep turtles will require a hard barrier around the perimeter. I use 1/2 inch mesh hardware cloth buried 3 inches down with a 4 inch lip bent inward 90 degrees at the top. Then I plant tightly all around the outside, so that the little fence blends into the background. Waterfall areas can be lined with brick, stone or cinder block to create a barrier, but however you do it, it must be done.>
Should I be worried about nights getting colder since they are located in a pond outside and we are located in Iowa?
<Yes. While it's true that the literature says that all the sliders (Trachemy scripta) can over-winter in a pond, even a frozen one, the truth is that not all do survive it and even if they do, it is hard on their physiology. You should have a plan for over wintering them in your garage, porch or house in some sort of big plastic where you can control the temperature. Best is to set them up like any indoor environment like in our care guides, complete with basking lamp, UV lamp, etc so that it's summer to them. Also, in the spring, don't be too quick to put them outside. Wait until you're done with the sudden cold snaps of early spring and well into the growing season.>
Also some Goldfish have seem to be safe with the turtles however my grandson just bought a Bubble Eyed Goldfish, brought it out Saturday and it has been eaten already. Any idea on why some Goldfish ok and other's not?
<Turtles are opportunistic feeders, Melissa. (Just like my brother in law, they'll eat anything that's easy, cheap and doesn't require leaving a tip!). While fish are not the main part of a Slider's diet in the wild, the bubble eye was available and easy to catch. At the same time, the opposite is true --- all of us long term Turtilians (and yes I probably just made that word up) have stories where we intentionally filled our pond with goldfish for the turtles to eat and instead they thrived, grew, got names of their own and became pets we have to worry about! I have two "feeder goldfish" that are now 11 years old, almost 7 inches long and now live in my girlfriend's Koi pond where they hold their own with a couple of 28 inch monster Koi.>
<So as a general rule, turtles and fish make a bad tank or pond mates>
Also how many turtles would be too many for this size of pond?
<That's a huge pond for turtles, Melissa. If the water condition is good, you could hold more turtles in the summer time than you'd ever want to have to collect and house during the winter!>
<Assuming that you solve the fish problem, the sunlight problem and the
fencing problem, I'd put 4 Red Eared Sliders (Trachemy scripta elegans) and maybe 4 Pseudemys (Cooters, Red Belly turtles, etc) -- but again .. no more than I can house and care for over the winter. And this is AFTER I'd fix the other problems>
<Yer welcome!>
IOWA Outdoor Pond


Does my male slider need a female companion?  7/27/09

(Original heading:  Red Ear Slider Behavior/Reproduction  7/27/09)

My name is Char.
<Hello Charlene,>
I have 2 red ear sliders that I got last December when they were about the size of a quarter and was told they were about 2 months old. So, I believe them now to be 8 months in age and one is 4'' long and 3.5'' wide and the other is 3.5'' long and 3.25'' wide. I noticed last night that the smaller of the 2 was "fanning" himself and now today the other has also done so.
My question being: in males does size or age play a role in their sexual maturity?
<Appears to be both, with males needing to be a certain size and a certain age. But, as with most animals, males are probably more "flexible" in this regard than females. In any case, males will be at least 2 years old before they are sexually mature, at which point they should be a good 10 cm or so in shell length.>
I know that females need to be at least 6'', but I can't seem to be able to find anything pertaining to males. I've started to wonder if the smaller of the 2 is looking for a female companion as he also tried to mount
himself onto the larger male.
<As with male animals generally, sexual behaviour tends to appear from quite an early age, even if the male animal in question wouldn't be big enough to attract (or fight for) a sexually mature female. Sex-play
behaviours will certainly be exhibited, as will aggression, long before the male animal will be able to secure access to a mate, or, where relevant, protect the nesting site or offspring. What your Red-ear Slider is doing
falls comfortably into the range of normal behaviours exhibited by the species. Nothing to worry about. Keeping two males won't cause any problems if the habitat is big enough, though as you'd expect, sexually mature males are aggression and will fight if overcrowded. Most people find keeping singletons best. They certainly don't need "friends".>
<Cheers, Neale.>


Mixing new with existing RES  7/1/09

(Original heading:  My res came home 2yrs later 7/1/09)

<Hiya -- Darrel here>
I really like your website.
<Why thank you! We're pretty proud of it too, but it's always nice to hear adoration from our fans>
I have 2 Red Eared Slider turtles. On mother's day, my husband picked up a Slider heading back to our house.
<Was your HUSBAND heading back to the house when he picked up this turtle or was the TURTLE heading back to the house when your husband, presumably out picking up other things ... happened to see him?>
I really believe it is Squirt, my turtle that ran away 2 years ago to the day. I believe this because I could always pet Squirts head whenever I would take her in and out of the house to her pool.
<It happens to me, too. Turtles are amazing climbers and eerily fast why no one's watching. I've "lost" a turtle or two and given up after searching everywhere ..... only to have them show up again months or years
later ... often in EXACTLY the spot they were last seen.>
I scrubbed off the algae, and took a stool sample to a qualified vet, followed by a visit. I brought to his attention, her underbelly, it had a sort of rubbed off area, a little redness but not so much soft. He gave us
silvadine ointment, and injections to take care of it on the inside and outside. One question I have is, is this contagious to my two other turtles? We have been doing both cream and injections for 2 weeks. There
is not anymore redness on her belly. I would like to know if this is still contagious to my other turtles.
<NO, you should be fine. For the most part, infections that affect reptiles are commonly occurring in their environment and don't affect a turtle until that particular turtle is debilitated by something else.
After the redness is gone the infection is pretty much in check.>
We want to integrate both in our pond. We have a beautiful 700 gal. But we are also afraid that our female "TIM TIM" will be territorial and not allow another turtle. We also have another 2yr old waiting to attend the pond. Tim Tim and our Squirt that came back are both 4yrs old.
<Sliders are usually affable enough in groups. They can be snappy and a little territorial from time to time, but if the pond is big enough that they can get away from each other when things get tense, then yes, by all
means put Squirt in with Tim Tim. It will, of course, take some time to adjust and just like any other mom, you should resist the urge to interfere when they first start to get to know each other. One suggestion is that
you make sure there are two different basking areas, so they can haul out separately if they so choose. Another is to rearrange what you can (rocks, branches, etc.) to make it a little unsettling for Tim Tim. If Tim Tim is even a tiny bit unsure of her surroundings, she's less apt to get nippy with a newcomer. This way, they both reestablish themselves at the same time.>


Wild and tame Red Eared Sliders 4/16/09
Dear Crew
<Hiya Kaleb -- Darrel here today>
I am about to receive a captive born and raised hatchling Red Eared Slider turtle
<Congratulation, K -- of all my animals, I STILL regard my tiny green sliders as special. I hope you do, too!>
I was wondering if a Red Eared Slider hatchling acquired from the wild, like a local pond, would have any hope of compatibility
<In Sliders and their relatives, compatibility is mostly due to size. If two Emydid turtles (Sliders, Cooters, painted, etc.) are pretty much of the same size, any behavior problems usually get worked out and everyone gets along fine.>
Would I have to worry about diseases being transferred from the wild RES to the captive RES?
<Another stroke of luck Kaleb. Unlike so many of our more fishy friends, our turtle cousins are generally much less susceptible to induced pathogens (bugs & such). If the water is CLEAN and the care is GOOD then whatever diseases a wild caught animal may be harboring are unlikely to transfer to the captive raised .. and usually those excellent conditions will help the wild turtle fight off the disease as well!>
The plan is to raise them in the same tank that is big enough for both
<Excellent Idea. Read the link below and compare your care to the suggestions there. Write back and let us know how it works out>
<<Oops... forgot the link: RMF sent along: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>>

More re: Wild and tame Red Eared Sliders 4/17/09
Thanks a lot for the info before,
I am preparing my tank now for the hatchling slider and was wondering what plants (real or fake) will be best suited and the safest option for my turtle.
Thanks, Kaleb
<Hello Kaleb. Most Sliders eat plants, and in the wild, some 75% of their diet (when adults, at least) will be soft aquatic plants. So anything you add will likely be viewed as dinner! Elodea for example is a superb food for Sliders, and expert hobbyists add this stuff to the tank, leaving their Sliders to eat this stuff several days of the week rather than pellets or meaty food. If you want "permanent" plants, your best bets are going to be plastic plants, though floating plants can grow fast enough under bright lights that they provide both shade and food without problems. Cheers, Neale.>


RES and softshell turtles not compatible  4/5/09

(Original heading:  Turtle question, RES, Softshell incomp.   4/5/09)

Hi, I have a red eared slider and a Softshell turtle together in an aquarium.
<Mmm, not compatible>
They've peacefully coexisted since I got them both as babies last July, but for a couple of weeks now the slider has been taking bites out of the softshell's shell!
A man at the petstore suggested I buy a bigger tank so I upgraded from a 10 gal to a 29 gal,
<Still too small>
but the slider is still doing it! What should I do?
<These two need to be kept in separate systems>
Thanks so much for your help,
Brandi Davis
<Welcome Brandi. Bob Fenner>


Mixing sliders with Pleco and catfish  3/25/2009

(Original heading:  Re: Turtles in a 75 gallon tank 3/25/2009)

Thanks for the reply Darrel!!
Dear Crew,
<Hiya Billy - Darrel here (again)>
Can I ask a couple more questions?
<You bet!>
I got both of my turtles when they were very small, only 1 1/2-2 inches big. The first was found just over 3 years ago and the other about 6 months later. Looking at them in the new 75 gallon tank, they seem to have plenty of room... could Red Eared Sliders really outgrow a 75 gallon tank in just over 3 years?
<That depends on the layout of the tank, Billy. Remember, turtles primarily live in two dimensions -- they need length and width of an enclosure, not so much depth so a 75 gallon "Tall Show" tank is not as useable as a 75 gallon standard, etc. Basking spaces, under heat ... yet enough room to get away from under the heat, etc. are all factors>
Also, the catfish and Pleco were residents of the 49 gallon tank before the turtles. The Pleco has continued to grow and is now huge and the catfish has also thrived in the environment with no signs of stress for the 3 years. I know you said they hide their symptoms, but do you think that the two would have shared the same fate as the Oscar by now if they were having similar problems? I only had the Oscar for about 8 months before he fell victim to the poor environment I caused.
<Catfish and Plecos (to a lesser degree) are more tolerant of water quality issues than open-water dwellers, so it's not as much an issue for them. My comment was simply that, in general, there are enough reasons to NOT keep fish with turtles to outweigh any desires to house them together.>
Finally, for the new 75 gallon I bought a Eheim 2215 Canister filter suggested for fish aquariums up to 93 gallons. Do you think this is sufficient for my 75 gallon tank (which is only filled about 3/4 full to give basking room)? I was thinking of adding the underwater filter back into the mix to help keep the water clean, but also help with water circulation??? I do plan on following your water cleaning/changing suggestions immediately.
<that filter is adequate IF you do the water changes as we discussed before, but not NEARLY enough for trying to maintain an aquarium in balance. As far as undergravel filters are concerned, I'm not a fan of them and never really have been. Try as they might to make a biological filter out of a gravel bed, the bottom line result (that may be a pun) is an ultra-fine layer of detritus that lays on the bottom of the tank.>
<Change the water and clean the filter regularly, don't feed more than they will eat in 5 minutes three times a week ... and enjoy!>
Thanks again for your help!
<you're welcome!>


Mixing baby turtle with guppies  3/16/09

(Original heading:  Newbie Guppy and Turtle Raiser... reading  3/16/2009

Hi, guys.
This is my first time ever raising fish of any kind, and I am absolutely totally ignorant of what to do. I have a 1.5 gallon tank for my 5 male guppies and 1 female (yes, I know if I want to breed I should have gotten more females), and I'm kind of worried that the tank is way too small (after reading all I possibly could on that subject).
<It is way too small... such little volumes of water are just inherently too unstable to be healthy>
My mom wants to save as much money as possible, but I just want the advice so that I can save up to buy stuff for my fish.
<I agree with your plan>
I also have a really tiny turtle (I think it's a red eared slider, not completely sure)
<Appears to be...>
that I don't know it's gender of.
<... not easily sex-able at this size... but see WWM re...:
So here are my questions (I have a lot, is that ok?)
1.Do I need to have a heater?
<Likely so... and posted... Start reading here:
and then the linked files above>
2.What does Ph stand for, and why do I have to measure it?
<... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwph,alk.htm
and the linked files...>
3.Is it likely that my female will kill the males that aren't 'good' enough for her?
<Keep reading>
4.Can I play with my guppies(i.e. put my fingers in the water and stroke them after scrubbing my hands)?
<Not a good idea... too likely to scratch them, wipe off necessary body slime, perhaps introduce pollution...>
5.How often should I clean the cage?
6.Can I put in my really small turtle(about 2" to 2 1/2" from tip of head to tip of tail) with them in their cage, or will my turtle attack the guppies(or vice versa)?
<and more reading...>
7.According to the pictures, is my turtle a female or male?
If you can answer these questions, that would be awesome.
Thanks in advance!
From Janny
P.S. Sorry for the bad quality of the pictures.
<Please, learn to/use the search tool, indices on WWM ahead of writing us... What you ask, and much more, need to know is already posted/archived for you/all's use. Bob Fenner>


Will turtles and catfish coexist? Give fish a chance? 2/18/09
Hello, my name is Russell.
<Hiya Russell, Darrel here>
I once again have a question for the WWM crew.
<Let's see if our answers improve with time>
I have a 100 gallon turtle pond with three red-eared sliders that are all around six inches in length, as well as a southern painted turtle that is probably 4 inches in length.
<And plenty of filtration, we hope>
Could I put my 5-inch albino channel catfish in the pond as well?
<That answer is in three parts, Russell. >
<and NO! >
Is there a possibility the catfish could "sting" one of the turtles severely injuring it?
<That's possible, but not as likely as the turtles will continually nip at the catfish until it becomes so stressed that it fails to thrive. >
I am wanting to add something extra to the pond and figured the turtles live with catfish in real ponds, so why couldn't they in mine?
<Here's what most people don't realize, Russell. Fish and turtles aren't compatible in nature, either. They don't even occupy the same environment -- they occupy DIFFERENT environments that happen to overlap. Turtles are
opportunistic feeders that don't generally eat fish ONLY because fish are streamlined and speedy in the aquatic world and turtles just aren't (unless of course, you're trying to net one ... then they develop temporary light-speed and even some invisibility properties). >
<In the wild, all sorts of diverse animals can live in what APPEARS to be harmony -- because they have virtually limitless space to escape each other. This is never the case in a pond or aquarium and that then requires us caregivers to become referees and hall monitors. >
<Lastly, regarding what works in the wild, also remember that not every animal in the wild survives. Sliders commonly survive in frozen lakes and streams over winters .... But not EVERY one does, so leaving yours out in a frozen winter might be "natural" but that doesn't make it responsible care taking.>
<Russell, I even gave up putting feeder goldfish in my turtle ponds because the turtles fail to catch & eat them, the goldfish thrive to become large pets in their own right .... and then that one day .. when one turtle just gets lucky, it's heartbreak. >
<I wish I had more promising news, but that's the view from this pond>
<Bob? Neale? Anyone else? Your go? ><<No way Darrel J! RMF>>
Thanks for the help,
Russell Cook
<No charge, Russell! > 


Mating and Compatibility with Snapping Turtles?  1/25/09

Snapping turtle mating & comp.  1/25/09

Dear Crew,
<Hiya Sucari, Darrel here tonight>
I have a 2 year old 7 inch snapping turtle and, age unknown 5 inch Red Eared Slider in a 50 gallon tank.
<Actually, what you have there is a tragedy just waiting to happen.>
They lived in the same tank for about a year now with no problems they get along great.
<Get along great? Tell jokes? Like the same movies? Enjoy lively political debate without crossing the line?>
For about a month now I have noticed that they are trying to mate. I was wondering if I should have any concerns?
<I sure would have concerns, Sucari. For one thing, these mixed relationships rarely work out. What would the neighbors think? What about the in-laws? And the kids? Red Eared Snappers? Snapping Sliders??????
And the kids! Think of the kids!!!! How sad to have a clutch of babies that swim into the pond to try to lay in wait to ambush a piece of river grass or hyacinth?>
<OK, seriously, Sucari. All kidding aside, most turtles are very tolerant of dissimilar species. They don't compete for food, no mates to speak of and no territorial issues that really matter. Neither see each other as a threat. And I too have seen Sliders and Snappers and Soft Shelled turtles all kept together in relative harmony ... until that day when one of them is just GONE. Sliders are non specific scavenging herbivores and Snappers are ambush predators with very short tempers and an instinctive, vicious 'ambush' strike that pretty much destroys what it touches.>
<This is not to say that all snappers are mean or evil, Sucari. My snapper, Biff, is mild tempered and easy to handle and he puts up with a LOT before he starts to show any signs of stress. But still, I never EVER forget that he is a wild animal with a tiny brain.>
<My point ... if there is any chance it has escaped anyone so far ... is that everything will be just fine right up until JUST the moment that the snapper attacks and kills the slider. Will it ever happen? Maybe not.
But how will you feel if it does?>
<Please separate them as soon as possible>
<Regards, Darrel>  


Mixing baby with larger RES  06/08/2008

(Original heading:  Red ear slider habitat - 06/08/2008)
Dear crew,
<Hiya Suyi>
I recently bought a little infant red ear slider, which I think is illegal as it was really small.
<The original FDA regulation attempting to stem the transmission of salmonella poisoning among children made it against the law to sell or offer for sale any turtle with a straight carapace (shell) length of less than 4 inches (approx 10 cm) except for educational purposes, but that regulation doesn't extend to your ownership of them. Some states and even some localities have other and more restrictive laws regarding ownership. It's always wise to check the regulations in your state, county & city>
The measurement of the shell from head to tail is only 3.7cm. However my other two 7 mth olds measures around 6cm and 6.5 cm. They are now housed in a 2 ft tank. I was thinking if I could put the little
one in, but I am afraid the other two will attack it. Do you think it is a wise idea to put them together or have them housed separately?
<Suyi, housing any animal of different size and/or maturity is a question that faces aquarists and keepers of all types and it's a question for which there are as many answers as there are pets and keepers.>
<Generally speaking, the Pseudemys (Sliders & Cooters) and Chrysemys (Painted Turtles) are a friendly and affable bunch and get along well at all ages and sizes. In the wild, the babies instinctively head for the weeds and embankments and stay there until they are 5 cm or more (2 In) but that is due to predation from frogs, snakes and birds, not other turtles. In my larger pond, I very often have hatchlings from egg clutches I failed to notice and collect... so the babies hatch out and join the pond with their fully grown parents, feeding and sunning and basking right along side comparative giants -- and everyone seems to get along fine. And in your case the hatchling would be housed in a more controlled environment and they are much closer in size. It's LIKELY that your only real concern will be making sure that the little one gets his share of food and basking area.>
<The reason I said "likely" is because there is always a chance for things to go wrong. Turtles DO have personalities and one snappy little yearling could ruin your hatchling's whole day -- if you understand what I'm saying. Beyond giving you general information, I'd keep the hatchling separately until she is around 2 inches (5 cm) and then introduce her into the tank with the others, who will only be around 3 inches (8 cm) by then. I'll enclose a link here describing some basic and inexpensive housing options>
<Best of luck, Darrel>
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>


Should I keep RES together or separate; finding companion for little turtle? 5/18/08

(Original heading:  Quick Question About Turtles and One Comment.  5/18/08)

First off right now I have a 75 gallon tank set up with a Jebo canister filter for up to a 250 gallon aquarium as well as Jebo UV Sterilizer to keep the water nice and clean.
<Sounds great.>
I have 4 sliders, 2 musk, and 1 mud all are under 4 inches. When they get a bit bigger I will be moving them into a larger tank. Right now they all get along great although in the past few days I have noticed the 3 larger RES have begun to flutter their claws sometimes in a triangular formation all three at the same time - since they are not sexually mature yet - I wonder if they are just playing or trying to see who will be the dominant turtle of the aquarium - from reading a lot of your questions and answers on here I fear that may change - before going out and purchasing the huge stock tank that I was going to get them for all of them to grow into I was wondering if I should at some point think about separating them.
<Males do this "fluttering" thing with their front flippers. You can sex Red Ear Sliders by looking at their front flippers: males have dramatically longer claws. Males also have a longer/thicker tail.>
I don't want to yet since the sliders especially seem to be such buddies as well as the 2 musk turtles - the only one who seems to be a loner is the mud turtle he or she seems to hang out in a corner by a side of the tank where he can see his own reflection which makes me feel bad and almost makes me want to get him a companion.
<Juvenile reptiles may well coexist, and may indeed stick together on the basis of "safety in numbers". After all, juvenile turtles/terrapins are often easy prey for water birds and other predators. It's doubtful whether they form "friendships" as we know them, but there may well be an instinct that keeps them together. That said, captive turtles of all ages do fine on their own.>
I can tell for sure that one of my sliders is going to be a boy his tail in the past few months has gotten extremely long - the other two are still up for debate.
I don't want to bring any more slider hatchlings into the world so would it be the smart thing to do when they get to be mature to separate the males and females for good or only during mating season?
<No risk of unwanted babies. Reptile eggs are difficult to rear without an incubator, so if you don't want the babies, then simply collect and destroy the eggs. The females can become egg bound under certain circumstances, so it isn't all easy going, but that's a discussion for another day.>
I also had a comment about a question sent to you in 2005 about a turtle that wouldn't grow (see: Two Turtles One Problem 12/5/05).
I have a red ear slider that I got in July 07 at the same time as another turtle here is a picture of my 4 sliders basking - they are all around the same age - Squirt to the left will not grow is just over an inch.
<Sometimes happens in animals just as with people -- for whatever reason (diet, genetics) the animal fails to grow normally. In fact there's often a lot of variation in adult size among animals, particularly "lower" vertebrates that don't have a fixed adult size (as mammals and birds do) but grow continually through their life. Maximal growth is during the early stages of life, and if for some reason the animal doesn't eat enough during that phase, it may never "catch up" with its peer group even if it otherwise lives a long and happy life. Bullying is actually quite common when juvenile animals are kept together, with males (being more aggressive) often monopolizing food to the detriment of the females. This happens with fish a great deal, but can be observed with many other animals too. Anyway, assuming it is healthy, I wouldn't worry too much.>
I have had him to the vets and tested for parasites and everything else under the sun which cost a fortune. And nothing is wrong with him.
He is not being bullied in the tank - I feed in a separate feeding tank and he is fed first so he gets all the choice food and usually if they pyramid on the other basking site he will climb on top of the other guys and be the top of the pyramid.
<All sounds fine.>
In fact as I am writing you right now he just climbed up on the basking ramp and squeezed in next to the larger one. So I don't think he is not growing from bullying. I know at some point I will have to remove him from the tank for his own safety because I will be afraid they will crush him as they get bigger but right now he seems to be doing okay and they are not aggressive towards him at all.
<See how things go. In a large enough enclosure there may never be problems, but too keep an eye out for trouble. Making sure everyone has easy access to a basking spot will help, for example.>
My vet said that although she has never come across cases like this she assumes that it may happen in the wild and that some turtles like people just don't grow and that in the wild he would have just been eaten by now by a predator.
I just wish I could find him another little mini turtle to keep him company.
<Not required; reptiles generally are not gregarious and do fine kept on their own. Indeed, by forcing them to live together in small containers *because we think they need company* we're more likely stressing them.>
<Thanks for writing, and all very interesting. Cheers, Neale.>
Here is one of squirt alone you can see he is a nice looking little turtle - nice and healthy - trust me he goes to the vets.
<No photographs came through at this end!>


RES compatibility with fish, frogs, etc. in pond

(Original heading:  RES in pond -04/11/08;
Getting Rid Of Two Turtles)

Hi, I have two red eared sliders that I have owned for about 10 years now, that are quite healthy and large. However, at the end of this month I have to move and can no longer have them in my new home. My aunt has a home made pond in her yard which is quite large and has some fish and frogs and so forth, but does not have any other turtles, it's mainly for her garden. I was wondering if it would be a bad idea to let them stay in there, as it will probably get to cold for them in the colder months (we live in southern Ontario Canada)? They also have never hibernated. The pond is roughly 800galons and about 2 ft deep, it have some water plants in it and leaves and things tend to fall on its surface, and quite a bit of mud on the bottom of the pond. My aunt offered to feed them over the warmer months as well, and I don't think it will come into contact with any of the natural wildlife as there really aren't any other turtle in this pond. Let me know what you think. My other option is to follow up with the reptile rescue and have them put the turtles up for adoption. Thank you for your time.
< During the warmer months they would create lots of trouble nipping at the others in the pond. During the cold winters they would probably not survive. I would recommend the reptile rescue.-Chuck>


Turtles, RES and Soft Shell incomp.  4/5/08
Would it be ok to stick a red eared slider and a soft shelled turtle in the same tank?
<In a word, No. These turtles have different needs and different temperaments. Soft-shell Turtles get big (the Florida Soft Shell Turtle for example has a shell length of 60 cm/24", and the Spiny Soft Shell is only a bit smaller) and are very bad tempered. They bite at everything, including their keepers and any animals unfortunate enough to be placed in the same tank. They are not a suitable species for the home, and if you haven't bought this animal yet, think very VERY carefully before you do so, because you will likely regret it. Red-ear Sliders are generally fairly easy going and don't get nearly so big, so provided you have a heater, UV-B lamp, filter, lots of green foods, and space for the 55 gallon aquarium adults require, are quite easy to keep. If you don't have these things and don't want to buy them, please don't bother with turtles at all. Cheers, Neale.>


Re: Turtles... mixing species  4/15/08
thank you for the info, we now have them in different tanks and the soft shelled turtle is very interesting and likes to bury himself into the sandy bottom.
<I love it when people don't write to say "thanks" until they want more information... gives me a nice warm glow knowing that good manners are still a part of the modern world.>
But recently the red-eared slider stays on the turtle dock and does not swim and has not eaten in a few days is she sick or what should we do? thanks
<First tell me about the vivarium and care. How are you supplying UV-B light? What foods are you using for the 50% plant material portion of its diet the Red Ear Slider needs? How are you filtering the water? How much water are you changing per week? What temperature do you keep the water at? The reason I'm asking these questions is that virtually all problems with Red Ear Sliders come down to people not providing UV-B, not feeding them a plant-based diet, not filtering the water, and not changing the water regularly. If you aren't doing ALL of these things properly, then your first "thing to do" is fix them. Cheers, Neale.>


Re: Turtles, WWM, manners/normative beh.   4/15/08
Are you always an ass when people ask you for information? Because your the one with the website so if you don't like people writing to you with questions then maybe you shouldn't have one. Oh yeah and by the way thanks for the info!
<Hello Amanda. Good manners cost nothing. Simply because you're getting a service doesn't mean your manners should be neglected. When you get a drink at a bar, or pay at the checkout at a grocery store, I'm sure someone as well mannered as yourself would always use those magic words "thank you" at the end of each transaction. When you're getting something for free, such as the expert advice from volunteers like me trying to help you care for your animals, then being polite is even more important. I enjoy helping out here at WWM because most of the people who write are fun to communicate with. Humour, good manners, and a shared interest in animal welfare are the things that keep me coming back. Cheers, Neale.>


Getting a companion turtle for RES  3-24-08

(Original heading:  Red ear slider questions. 3-24-08
Matching Up a Red Eared Slider)

Hello, After reading your pages, I have found it very informative. We still have a few of the questions though. We have a female who we have had for about three years and her shell is about ten inches long now and was about 4 inches when we got her. She lives in an 80 gallon tank, kept about 76 degrees, with a heat lamp and a place to haul out of the water, and with a few minnows who have stayed clear of her and one large plecostomus in the tank. We were thinking about getting her a companion, but have heard conflicting opinions. Is the tank too small for two turtles?
< Two turtles can physically get around in an 80 gallon tank. The tank will foul twice as fast so you will have to clean it twice as often. If the turtles get very hungry they may fight over food. A male turtle will try and mate with her during the warmer months. If she is not ready them she may bite him.>
Will she be fine by herself because she has been for so long now?
< I personally recommend keeping a single turtle by itself. Two turtles may get along with an occasional nip of the tail or a foot. These nips heal but do not grow back leaving a slightly imperfect animal for you to care for.>
She has a very timid personality and likes to hide in the little underwater cave whenever someone is moving around the room (unless she wants food, then she is right at the edge of the tank). Also her diet is in question, she only ever eats the turtle pellets (the ZooMed, and the floating turtle sticks).
We have tried lettuce and various aquatic live plants and she seems not to be interested. Only the few fish who are not smart enough to evade her live and the few small snails that were place in the tank were ever eaten other then the food pellets. Is this an diet ok for her, it has worked so far, but would could be done better?
<The ZooMed diet is very complete. Look at her shell. It should be round and smooth. Turtles with too much protein in their diet tend to have very bumpy shells. I would still offer some Anacharis since it will absorb some waste from the water until it is eaten. I would recommend that you change the fluorescent light bulbs every 12 to 18 months. They weaken over time.>
We are also wondering if there is anything else we should do to keep her healthy and happy. Also what kind of fish would you recommend for the tank for her to chase and eat in her leisure time.
< Fast moving fish like the shiners or local bait fish should be OK. Stay away from stiff spined species like sunfish.-Chuck>
Thank you for any information


Turtle with Baby Fish   1/28/08
I have a Mickey Mouse Platy and 16 baby Platies. I purchased a two way breeder to protect the babies but I also have a small red eared slider turtle in the same aquarium. My question is, Will the turtle eat the baby fish? Please let me know ASAP!
<Yes, the turtle will eat the baby fish. Turtles and fish should not be kept in the same quarters for lots of reasons, the least of which are these: Firstly, turtles need a land area under a UV-B lamp for basking, which is not really compatible with a fish tank. Secondly, turtles produce a LOT of waste, and this will overwhelm most filter systems, meaning that there'll be ammonia in the water, and this will lead to Finrot or worse. So, your next step is separating the fishes from the reptile. Cheers, Neale.>


Mixing Frogs with Turtles   1/9/08
I have a red eared slider turtle and I also have bull frog tadpoles an they are now turning into frogs, can I put the frogs in the same aquarium the turtle is in? Thank You Brenda
< Not recommended. Turtles eat frogs as part of there natural diet.-Chuck>


Invite a frog home for the holidays! Sys...    12/24/07
<Hiya right back!>
I really hope you can help me out.
<We'll try>
A very generous friend of mine just gave me three red eared sliders, the aquarium, food, filters, all the trimmings.
<A nice friend!>
I've read a lot of information about these turtles on the internet, and I feel pretty comfortable caring for them.
<I'll also give you a link below just for more reference>
However, my ecology teacher begged me yesterday to take home her albino African clawed frog over winter break. She keeps her frog with two turtles at school, so I figured it would be okay to put Albie, as I began to call the frog, in with the turtles for the ten day break. I worry, however, that the bright heat lamps that the turtles need may hurt Albie's eyes, and that the rather noisy cascade type filter might be bothering his sensitive ears. Please supply me with peace of mind, and let me know if this living arrangement is okay for the frog and the turtles.
<It's nice to hear that you care enough to worry. Here are my initial concerns for Ablie 1) She needs a tight fitting top to keep her from deciding to go exploring 2) Unlike a turtle, a frog should have a hiding place where it can get out of sight and feel secure (it's called 'visual privacy') and if you can accomplish this it takes the worry out of the bright light issue with the turtles. 3) Lastly, and this is the big issue - just because Albie is kept with two other turtles doesn't mean that YOUR three turtles would look at Albie and think "Hey Scabber!!!! Look! Cuisses de Grenouille!">
<But there is good news. First, Albie and her brethren (African Clawed Frogs) are pretty hardy as frogs go and unless stepped on, run over or eaten Albie will make it through these 10 days just fine and return to class with a story to tell!>
I just can't take seeing Albie kept in the tiny carrying case my teacher supplied me with to bring him home for the entire duration of the break.
<My suggestion is that you split the difference -- Let Albie spend time in the aquarium when you are there to be a referee but put her somewhere else when you're not. I've rigged many a temporary home for all kinds of reptiles and amphibians from a cardboard box with a water bowl sitting on top of an ordinary heating pad set on 'low heat'>
Thank you for any help you can give me.
and have a great holiday. :)
<Thank you Amanda - may your wishes come true>
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm


Mixing RES with ghost fish  12/15/07

(Original heading:  Can I mix together with ? 12/15/2007)

Hello ,
I'm 19 , male , Yangon (Myanmar).
<I'm male, VERY old .... Southern California, USA>
I would like to some question to you Sir. I have 4 ghost fishes and 4 red ear slider turtles. I would like to mix together with the same tank. Could I do ?
<I do not think that is wise. Fish and turtles live in water worlds but have very different needs. What is best for Ghost and Knife fishes is not the best for Sliders. If you compromise to accommodate both, neither will be happy or healthy. The link below points to an article that has man suggestions on inexpensive ways to house turtles.>
Thank for reading my mail.
<I enjoyed it very much>
God bless you
<Thanks - I need all the help I can get>
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>


Red ear slider and catfish 10/16/07
I recently set up a turtle tank for 2 Red Eared Sliders. They were babies and one died about a week and half after arrival.
<Sorry for your loss>
I also have in the tank a small catfish I purchased from Wal-Mart since the guy at the pet store told me that it would not hurt. However, since the fish has been in the tank the remaining turtle just does not seem as interested in hanging out in the water like he used to. I am thinking that maybe it's coincidental that when I check on it he's always basking. Although usually in a different position so I worry less when I see
this. Last time I changed the tank and took the fish out, Speedy (RES) instantly became more active. I don't know if it was the excitement of the new water or the absence of the fish. I have only had him for just a little more than a couple of weeks so I don't have much behavior history to go on. While at work I ask my husband to check on him and he tells me Speedy is swimming. I know he eats. I have witnessed it. What is your opinion on this situation? I feel so paranoid since the loss of the other turtle. I love this little guy.
I never realized just how much personality turtles had until I was able to sit and really watch one!
<Yes, I agree with you. Many turtles MORE than make up for their lack of conversation with tons of personality and for as many different kinds of wet, scaled and shelled creatures are around me, I always am drawn back to the little green Red Eared's of my youth.>
<Ahem. Now down to cases. My standard advice is to resist the urge to mix fish and turtles. As much as it may SEEM that they occupy the same environment, they really don't and their needs are quite different. In your case, I have no doubt that Speedy would rather bask than share the water with a catfish. Catfish are often the Disgruntled Postal Workers of the freshwater fish community -- a short temper, a scavenger's "eat whatever and whenever I can" mentality AND .... and this is the most concerning .... they're not very fearful. Most small fish would see a large (to them) green scaly thing with feet and claws & stuff and simply decide to move to the left, at least until they're large enough to see things differently. But the smallest catfish can look at a full grown turtle and try to see if it's for dinner. So I think you're on the right track. Find a new home for the catfish so you & Speedy can spend quality time together.>
<regards, Darrel>


Re: red ear slider and catfish 10/16/07
I want to thank-you for your response.
<You're welcome! We all truly enjoy helping>
Since sending you my letter, I did some MORE online reading and realized (and how obvious) how beneficial it is to feed your RES outside of it's tank in another container.
<You'll read many different opinions on this. On one hand it's a nice way to keep the tank clean, on the other if feeding becomes a hygiene issue in the main tank it means that you're over feeding her and how soon the tank needs cleaning is a good indicator of how well she's being kept.>
I decided to do this every evening when I get home from work now. Speedy goes in a special bowl for a private swim and dinner. She loves it! (I think she is a she the bottom of her shell is caved in) Also, now, since I started this Speedy has become more active in her regular tank.
<All sounds well!>
Another question I now have is that she seems to REALLY like a picture of other RES on a box from her floating dock. Is this a good thing for her? I have heard in the past that sometimes this isn't good for birds because then they get depressed realizing it's not real. Could this be true for turtles as well? If not then do you suppose it would be ok to put up more pictures?
<Turtles don't get depressed that way, so I don't think that will be an issue. As far as more pictures are concerned keep in mind that Speedy would be most 'at home' in a tank that was like her natural home>
As far as the catfish goes I have not relocated it yet, however, since Speedy has been getting some "free time" in her special bowl she now swims right along w/ that catfish and she is sooooo.... very attentive to anything that moves. Even the cat watching her! (of course I have a secure lid on things)
<As long as Speedy and Doinkus (I just made up a name for the catfish) are happy and you're happy, then all is good>
Thank-you again for your input! I think I might be at a turtle owning point now that a discussion board might be good for me!
<There are many good ones to choose from -- a surprisingly common hobby>
My sons birthday gift has turned into a new love for myself! Who ever would have thought!
<A lot of us think that! http://www.lantera.com/wwm/ >
<best wishes to you and ... keep in touch>


Baby Map Turtle and Juvenile RES in Same Tank?   8/23/07
We have juvenile RES (about 1 ½ yrs) in a tank. We have purchased a Mississippi Map turtle that is a baby and would like to put them in the same tank. Do you think this would be a problem? The RES is about 5 inches from the top to bottom of shell and the Map turtle is about 2 inches.
<It is generally recommended that you don't mix species for a number of reasons. One big difference between them is that the Mississippi Map turtle (Graptemys sp.) is much more aquatic than the Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) and consequently much more sensitive to poor water quality. Things that don't really bother Sliders, such as small mounts of ammonia in the water, can prove fatal to Map turtles by promoting bacterial infections. So you need to make sure the water in its vivarium is very well filtered and changed regularly (I'd suggest 100% weekly). Your other big problem is that the two species have entirely different diets. Sliders are omnivores when young and almost entirely herbivores when adult, so juveniles need 50% green foods when young to 90% green foods when mature. Map turtles, on the other hand, are specialist predators that feed on snails, crayfish etc. Finally, there are differences in temperament. Map turtles are pretty snappy, while Sliders are more laid back. If you have a really big vivarium you might choose to give it a go anyway and see what happens, but otherwise best keep them separated. Good luck, Neale>


Question... Can two fire belly toads and a red eared slider turtle live together in the same aquarium?  8/10/07
I think the tank is 20gals and is a terrarium. we have a filter, heater and a filter/water circulator. I have had some bad experience with previous turtles and don't want the same to happen. A few years ago two of my turtles that I had for approximately 2 years were eaten by a craw fish that was supposed to be a treat for my painted turtles. the crawfish was living under a rock eating the turtles fish and other food sources for a couple months, ate one turtle then a few days later the other. It was a big surprise when I drained the tank and found a crawfish about three times the size it was when we bought it. Especially since I thought it was already eaten because I didn't see it for two months. Anyway if I put the two toads in the same tank as the turtle which is about 2 and a half inches will they stay away from each other and be able to live healthy? I know the kinds of environments they both need and am just wondering about having a variety of species living together. Is there any species that can coexist with a red eared slider?
<Greetings. No, you must not mix frogs/toads with your sliders or for that matter crayfish. Sliders are largely herbivores and 75%+ of their diet should be plant food, particularly when they are adult. But that doesn't mean they aren't opportunists, and in the confines of an aquarium they will catch and eat anything. Even if they don't manage to kill the toads, their nipping are likely to damage them and let fungus or some other infection set in. Furthermore, your terrapins are very messy animals and pollute the water heavily; the toads, by contrast, are largely aquatic and require good, clean water. Bottom line, you can't mix them. Now, you're mentioning feeder fish, and I'm just going to remind you that [a] sliders don't need to eat live fish; [b] live goldfish and minnows especially are a source of thiaminase, a substance known to harm reptiles in the long term; and [c] your terrapins should be mostly eating greens anyway. I mention all of this because of your story with the crayfish; if I'm feeling charitable I'd suggest you hadn't done your homework on how to keep terrapins in captivity. Crayfish don't mix with anything, period. Not even each other. Terrapins and turtles cannot be mixed with anything but other terrapins and turtles of comparable size. Please understand a red-ear slider get to the size of a dinner plate, so before adding "tankmates", consider whether you have space enough already for the ones you have. Realistically, you're after something around 55 gallons for one or two specimens. So, be sure and read the articles here at WWM about keeping red-ear sliders; there are several of them, all good, and brim full of useful information. Cheers, Neale


Red Eared Slider and a Fiddler Crab  8/2/07
Can a small fiddler crab survive in the same tank as a small red eared slider. We purchased the fiddler crab today and wanted to know if they would both survive in the same tank before we try to combine them.
Thanks in advance for any knowledge you may lend us.
<Hello Sonia. No, fiddlers and red ear sliders cannot coexist. Fiddler crabs require brackish water conditions to live for any length of time. In freshwater vivaria, they die after a few weeks or months. They need something like 25-50% seawater to do well (SG 1.005-1.010), and that water needs to be made up with marine salt mix, not "tonic salt". Too many people try to keep them in freshwater set-ups, and they're disappointed when they die. If you want companions for fiddler crabs, the best choices are salt-tolerant or brackish water fishes that are too small to cause them harm. Guppies and mollies are ideal, but small gobies work well, too. Fiddler crabs are sometimes mixed with mudskippers, though this tends to have inconsistent results, the mudskippers sometimes bullying the poor crabs. Red ear sliders are sometimes found in (low salinity) brackish water in the wild, but like many opportunistically brackish water reptiles they will regularly make use of freshwater for drinking and so cannot be safely confined to a brackish water vivarium unless there way, perhaps, a brackish water pool at one end and a freshwater pool at the other. Bottom line, no, you can't mix them. Please do enjoy your fiddler crab in its own vivarium. Kept in groups they are lively and fun animals. Not difficult to keep, though many people mess up by not giving them the conditions or food they require. Cheers, Neale.>


Slider and Cichlid together 07/26/07
Help Please!!!!!!!!!!
<That's what we do here!>
I have a Red Ear Slider named Dave. He's been alone in a 25 gallon tank for 2 1/2 yrs. I have never put anything else in there with him, until now and except the little feeder fish he eats.
<Turtles do well in groups, but they seem perfectly happy to be alone as well.>
I recently purchased a Red Devil, without knowing it's history.
<We here at WWM are assuming that you mean a Red Devil Cichlid Fish (Cichlasoma labiatus) as opposed to something else, right?>
She's very aggressive, do you think she'll survive? Or will Dave eat her? Or I fear she'll eat him!!!!! What do you think????????
<Well first, I think you should conserve on the use of multiple exclamation points and question marks. You never know when there will be a shortage of punctuation and you'll wish you hadn't wasted them.>
<Seriously, it's best not to try to keep fish and turtles together because their needs are quite different. While fish can be part of a turtle's diet, they are so BAD at catching fish that it's almost comical. I tossed some feeder goldfish into my outside turtle pond 8 years ago and they've grown to be almost the size of small Koi and on the rare occasions that the turtles try to catch them, they scoot away without even seeming concerned.>
<In your case, if it came down to it, I'd bet on Dave. Turtles are tough little guys when it comes down to it. My main concern is to see that Dave is so well fed that he just can't be bothered going after Victoria (You didn't tell us your Red Devil's name - so I just made that up). The same goes for her. If she's otherwise well fed and well cared for, she'll probably just think of Dave as an annoyance and nothing more.>
<With that said, Diana, wild things are wild things and when you keep them together you'll always run the risk of something unexpected happening.>
Thank You
<I hope that helped. Here's a link for you to read -- the first paragraph applies.


Are RES and Box Turtles compatible?  6-29-07

(Original heading:  Mixing turtles 6-29-07)

Hello, Crew
<Hello Pat -- Darrel here today>
I have owned Box turtles for at least 6 years now. I have added 3 Red Eared Sliders to the large outdoor pen. So far so good, they all get along fine. Should I be expecting some change?
<Not really. I have a large pen that's half pond & half land and I keep my water turtles, box turtles and Russian Tortoise together without problems. Two things to keep in mind (1) Their dietary issues are very different and (2) even though the SPECIES are compatible, that doesn't always mean that individuals are -- many years ago I have a big, belligerent male box turtle that tried to attack and kill all the other MALE turtles (Box and water turtles alike) so keep in mind that these are, after all, wild animals and strange things happen>
I also have a 20-gallon tank which holds 1 Red Eared Slider and 1 Box. They are both a couple months old. I put them together this morning. Was this a good choice
<Not really a good choice, no. At this point the Slider is primarily aquatic and needs just a basking area, while the baby box is terrestrial and needs room to roam. The footprint of a 20 gallon tank would be the minimum size of a small box turtle's roaming area.>
and what do I feed them? The Red Eared Slider eats feeder fish and the Box eats banana right now. Should I change their diet?
<Yes. Please do. The Red Eared Slider (actually, ALL of your sliders big and small) needs a good basic food such as Koi Pellets or Repto-Min (by Tetra) with an occasional treat of night crawler (earth worms) -- All three available at your local pet shop. Feeder fish are not nearly as much of their natural diet as you think and aren't really all that good for them. The BOX Turtle, on the other hand, needs a VERY mixed diet. Bananas aren't a good source of nutrition and they can very easily fixate on only one food (like Strawberries or Bananas) to the exclusion of all else and then you have a real problem. Strawberries, Bananas, melon, collards, carrots, green peas should be offered either in mixture or in rotation and then .. as a REAL TREAT ... some of the same night crawlers you feed the Sliders.>


Mixing red eared sliders with goldfish  5/18/07

(Original heading:  I need to ask about the Red Eared Slider turtle, sys. mostly   - 5/18/07)

hi my name is Lisa and I have a couple of questions that I need to ask about the Red Eared Slider turtle.
<welcome Lisa, I'm Darrel - let's see if we can help>
My daughter Ashley brought home a Red Eared Slider turtle from the lake out in East TX. However, I am trying to find the right one of the research on these Red Eared Slider turtles.
<for pet purposes they're pretty much all the same. If he has red patches near his ears, that's good enough for now>
The turtle we have now, I guess it's a he and he's about 2 3/4" just a small baby Red Eared Slider, I am having problems with him, he's seem like he doesn't want to bask, but I also don't have the extra $$$ to buy all of this stuff for him.
<they don't need very much, let's see what we can do>
I have a 10 gallon tank along with my goldfishes I have about 8 of them, would it hurt him to be in that tank with my fishes?  Will he drown and won't be able to get back up for air?
<better not.  Water levels and temperatures and a lot of other things are different>
I have a small container that I just recently bought a couple of days ago, will he be ok in that container until he will get bigger to be put outside?
<as long as he can't climb out of it and the cat or dog (if you have them) can't get to him, it should be fine for now>
How high does the water need to be for him to swim? I have notice that he just like to swim, he's not interested in the food I offered him. But he will poke his head out of the water and look around.
<for now, all we need is enough water to that he can get wet (but they do like deeper water) and a space where he can easily climb to get completely dry.  The first thing to do is see that he can get him warm to about 85-90 degrees when out of the water.   I'd like you to put some sort of light bulb over his "dry area" so that he can warm up -- that will probably also help him start to eat (they eat and digest when they're warm, not cold).  Warm ... but not HOT.    If you don't have a way to let him get warm when he's out of the water, you should at least take him outside for a few times a day and let him walk or warm up in the sun.  Just remember they can heat up very quickly and they can get away from you if you don't watch them>
Can you please respond back at this email address:
I really need some help on this little guy, this would be my first time having to raise a turtle.
<they're fun and interesting pets>
1 more question, will he be mean and aggressive to us and other people around him?
<usually if they're well fed and happy, they're easy to get along with>
thank you for your time. Lisa
<You're welcome Lisa.  Make these first few steps and then write back and let us know how he's doing!>


Compatibility of RES and multiple species of turtles  5/15/07

(Original heading:  Comments & Questions, Turtle/RES comp.   5/15/07)

Good Morning Gentlemen & Ladies
And ... as always ... many thanks.
<As many welcomes>
First a comment about Red Eared Sliders.  I've been raising them and breeding them for almost all my adult life and I can tell you that all types of sliders, cooters that you're liable to run into in the local pet store will live together famously if they have enough sun, enough food and enough clean water.  Although I wouldn't normally put hatchlings in with adults, eggs that I missed collecting have hatched out and the babies spent as long as a month with the adults with no ill effects as long as the adults are happily fed.   Heat 'em, Feed 'em & Clean em.    As far as food goes -- forget the packaged turtle foods in the cans and remember two words:  "Koi Pellets."   From hatchlings that have to take several runs at even a small one to adults that can eat a dozen in one gulp ... they'll live, thrive, grow and reproduce on that one staple.  Softshells & Mud/Musk turtles, too.  Once in a while when I'm at a pet store I'll buy a container of night crawlers (worms) and toss some around and they seem to like the treat and it rarely affects their basic appetite.  Once in a while they get finicky, but after a week or three they'll give in and eat again.  Box turtles are another story -- I've seen them 'fixate' on something like strawberries and go as long as a YEAR refusing any food at all if they can't have their favorite.
<Thank you for this input... Please do consider joining us if you have time, interest... if for nothing else to help with such captive Chelonian questions> Darrel
<Thank you for writing, sharing. Bob Fenner>


RES compatibility with same/other turtle species  5/13/07

(Original heading:  Regarding some turtle question, RES fdg., comp.   5/13/07)

Dear crew, I have several questions and I hope you can help me.
Recently I tried feeding my red ear slider with new food, dried Red Shrimps, or at least that's what the bottle said. Anyway, after I fed the turtle with it , it appears that it refuse to eat the usual turtle pellets. My turtle will only eat those pellets if I haven't fed them for some period. If I throw in some shrimps , they ignore the pellets, is it normal ?
< Your turtles are actually quite fond of the shrimp. It is in their best interest to feed them the pellets first. As they start to slow down you can add a couple of shrimp. An all shrimp diet is not good for your turtles overall health.>
Could I introduce a new turtle or different species to my turtle? Is there anyway I could do it safely , assuming their size varies greatly?
Thanks for ur time and reply
< I would recommend one turtle per container. RES's are very aggressive turtles and see other turtles as competition. Smaller weaker turtles would be hiding from the established turtle and not be getting enough food.-Chuck>


Will RES and Snapping Turtle get along together?

(Original heading:  Mixing Turtle Species Together 04/30/07)

I have had an adolescent red eared slider for a couple weeks now. Its shell is just about an inch an a half to 2 inches round. Today I got a adolescent snapping turtle that is 3 1/2 to 4 inches long. I know that snapping turtles are nippy and have short tempers but I was curious to know if they would get along together and if they would be healthy together? Both seem to be healthy and I am not sure of the sex of them thanks for the help Alex =)
< I would not recommend placing these two turtles together. The snapping turtle is actually a poor choice as a pet. The risk of injury to the other turtle and to yourself is too great.-Chuck>


Temporarily mixing RES hatchlings with baby Yellow Bellied Slider  3/31/07

(Original heading:  Mixing Turtles   3/31/07)

Right now, we have 2 hatchling red eared sliders, and a baby yellow bellied slider. Is it ok for them to be in the same tank for a couple of days? Will the bigger yellow belly and the small red ear get into a fight? And when I separate them, will the yellow belly be lonely or depressed when the red ears are gone?
Thanks, Emily
< As long as the turtles are well fed they should be OK for a couple of days. Turtles don't get depressed so the yellow belly will be fine.-Chuck>


Mixing fish with red eared sliders in 50 gallon outdoor pond  4/4/07

(Original heading:  Moving Turtles To An Outdoor Pond   4/4/07)

I have two red ear slider (6 inches/1.5 years old) turtles I adopted from a friend in a 40 gallon tank with some small feeder fish and some small tetras and a 5 inch black and white gold fish (he came as a feeder fish but obviously was mixed up and is getting big...there are also some various freshwater plants roaming around (you can't keep plants tied down with any turtles I have learned).  The tank is only filled up 75 percent as there is a water fall and I also don't want the turtles to get out.
Anyway I did some research and learned these turtles can live 10-30+ years so I figured I better read up and give them the best home as possible.  I eventually want a large pond in my back yard in a few years which will house them.
I have recently come across a 50 gallon black tub that can be put in the ground as a pond but I have set it up on the corner of my outside deck.
I want the turtles to have a place outside and keep them out there so they can get some sun and want to have a nice habitat for them.  I have run water in
it for a week and there are no leaks. I have been reading about ponds on your website (most knowledgeable website
I have every been too and am hooked on this site) and have recently put a rectangular grid out of some large pvc pipe and have weighed them down so they have a place to escape raccoons, cats, dogs, kids, etc.
I also have a Rio 2100 for water movement.
Anyway, I was wondering what kind of fish (any will do, just something hardy) I could put out there and how many can I keep?  Fifty gallons is not a lot of water and freshwater fish get huge.  Is it the same rule of thumb as salt?  What's the hardiest freshwater fish I could put in there?
Also, with the temperature changes outdoors, I am sure that water will fluctuate with temperatures ranging from 50's to 100's.  I can bring the turtles in (although I would think they can easily handle that) but is there a fish you could recommend or a certain type I can experiment with?  What would be the max number of fish?
Also, any type of hardy plants you could recommend just for nutrient export that is also very hardy?  I was originally just going to keep the turtles in there (but I will bring them in from time to time as I am setting up a 90 gallon now just for them and also in the winters).
Is it terrible to do run a hose to do a water change or to dilute the water with?  I could treat the water but would rather treat it after I diluted it. Thanks for the help!
< A 50 gallon tub is not really that big. If you are not interested in what the fish look like then I would go with a few Gambusia or simple mosquito fish. Being outdoors you don't want this tub to be a breeding ground for mosquitoes. They are small and fast but very attractive. Another interesting fish to try would be the common paradise fish. They can actually be quite hardy in the temp. range you described. They are colorful and can actually breed outdoors when conditions are right. As far as plants go I would look at any of the pond plants that grow out of the water. They provide shade and are very effective at removing toxins from the water. If you are going with the hose technique from replacing water, you will need a water conditioner to treat the chloramines for the fish.-Chuck>


Red Eared Slider Babies. Turtles Need Bigger Tank     2/23/07
I have a question about turtle tank size.   Last November, I bought my kids 2 baby sliders.   Sadly,  they both passed away.  Of course I took over the care of them and bought books on how to take care them.  ( I should have done this before I bought them, but I believed the idiots that they could live in a death bowl).   After reading so much about it on the internet , it makes me mad that they even sell them like that.   Anyway I really fell in love with them so after they passed I thought well I can get 4 and maybe raise one to adulthood.   Well it has been a month and all for all doing really really well.  They are fat and happy, thank God.  They are so cute and funny. I feed them, mealworms, collards, pellets, apples, carrots, crickets and last week they started eating tiny guppies by hand.    I have them in a 10 gallon tank, with basking and sunlight lamps and the water heater.   Well, they are getting big, three are about 2.5" long and very stocky.   The 3rd has been sick, it had swollen eyes but I raised the water temp and he is finally feeding and doing well.  His little eyes are back to normal.    My question is since they seem do be all doing well and I will need a bigger tank soon , what size will they eventually need?  I was to going ahead and get the maximum size for them  so I won't have to keep buying new stuff.     After the first 2 poor things I am very dedicated to these Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ( duh, what else would you name 4 of them lol)   Thanks in advance for any advice that you can give.
< As your turtles get bigger and more mature , you are going to start to run into some problems. Chances are you are going to have both sexes. Females get bigger than the males. Some females will get up to 11 inches while male usually remain much smaller. The males will want to breed with the females when they are older. RES's are very aggressive turtles and will fight with one another over food and basking sites. You may be seeing that already with the turtle with the bad eyes. If you decide to keep all four turtles you will need a very large aquarium close to 200 gallons. This is assuming the worse case scenario with four very large female turtles. If you had only males then you would only need a 100 gallon. You will also need very good filtration and be prepared to do lots of water changes too.-Chuck>


Mixing RES with Western Painted Turtles  7/27/06

(Original heading:  Is my red eared slider lonely ... Nope . Is your English bunk? Yep   7/27/06)

I  had two red eared sliders, we got them when they were little and they been together for about 4 years, recently my other turtle wondered
<And wandered?>
off when she/he  was in the yard and I haven't been able to find it, I need to no
if it would be a  good idea to get another slider because my other turtle is not eating like he  use to and he spends most of his time in the corner of his tank. Would a Western  Painted turtle and a Red Eared slider turtle get along in the same tank
<Mmm, about as well as a conspecific>
and if  so if one is bigger or smaller then the other would that be a problem.
<... about the same size is a good match. Please read here:
and the linked files above.>


Tankmates for red eared sliders 07/02/06

(Original heading:  Tankmates For Turtles  07/02/06)

Hello, I had a question about my 2 Red Eared Sliders. I know its not a good idea to put fish in the tank with them but I was wondering if there is anything else I can put in the tank with them like crabs or little frogs or anything like that. Please help. Thank you
< Unfortunately they will eat all the little critters you have mentioned. Anything in their tank becomes a potential meal.-Chuck>


Mixing Yellow Bellied Slider with hatchling RES  6/15/06

Mixing Turtles  6/15/06

Hello Turtle Crew, Thank you in advance. We inherited a YBS a couple years ago. His shell size now is approximately 5 inches long. We just purchased a hatchling RES (shell size 1.5 inches). The pet store owned said they would get along fine and the large one wouldn't pick on the small one. I just read on your site when a turtle wiggles his front legs in front of his face towards another turtle, it is doing the mating dance. We are nervous. We don't leave them in the tank together unless they are supervised (which is a huge hassle). Would our older turtle try to mate with a hatchling? Will he hurt the baby? I don't know the sex of either turtle. Many thanks!
<I do not like to mix turtles. The YBS is probably a male with long front claws and try to coax the new turtle into breeding. When the urge to breed is over they will view each other as competition and will fight over turf and food.-Chuck>


Are Sliders compatible with each other?

(Original heading:  Keeping Turtles Together  - 04/19/2006)

I had a slider named Titus who turned out to be female when she was 25. After she started laying eggs she got more wild. One day in June when I was cleaning my house she ran out the door & went to live in the pond next door. Even though it was mating season, I used to think she was lonely sometimes because she was alone with no one else in the house a lot. I got her a male, Trajan, about 12, who didn't seem  
to think the pond was his thing last year, but this year made a bee line for it on the first warm day. That was why I thought 2 turtles, either 2 females or a male & female might work better. Due to Titus' size I have an extra large kiddy pond (maybe 600 gallons) with a ramp so they can run around the house if they want to. What is the problem with more than 1 turtle? Thanks, Stephanie
< Many times pet owners give human traits to animals. Turtles really don't require the companionship of fellow turtles unless they are ready to mate. As you have found out that the turtle's drive to mate can be very strong, but over a few weeks the drive will subside and the turtles will look at each other as competition. Over 90% of the turtle questions we get are dealing with younger turtles in a small aquarium condition. In this instance  I still recommend a single turtle per container.-Chuck>


Putting quarter size painted turtles with 3-4 red eared sliders  3/22/06

(Original heading:  Poor Painted Turtles  - 03/22/06)

I have 2 red eared sliders that I've been raising for about a year now and their doing awesome but now my sister brought to me her 2 painted turtles she got this summer and they have not grown at all! Their probably the size of a quarter still. She never had a light or warm water or anything for them and now I have to take care of them. I have no clue what to do with them and I feel bad for them! All I have right now is one cage, so I put them in with my red eared sliders. They're probably 3-4 inches and their a male and female but I don't think their even one yet? Can they reproduce?
< Probably not until next year.>
Is it okay for the baby painted turtles to be in the tank with them?
< No, red eared sliders are very aggressive turtles and will hog all the food and intimidate the smaller turtles to the point to they will not eat.>
What should I do to help them grow?
< Start treating them like you RES's when they were small and give them the TLC they deserve.>
When I pick them up I can actually feel their legs moving through the center of their shell on the bottom in the center. I think their not in good shape? What can I do? Help me please!
< Start by giving them their own tank. Set up a basking site that gets at least 85 to 90 F. Start to give them ZooMed Aquatic Turtle food for hatchlings along with some small washed earthworms. Basking and proper diet with start to harden the shell and get them back on track.-Chuck>


Dont mix turtles of different sizes  2/6/06

(Original heading:  Little Turtle Staying Little   2/6/06)

Hi, I have 1 RES and he is only 2". I have read that they grow like 2 or 3 inches in a year. But anyway I've had my RES for 2 yrs now and I was wondering if at 2" long that's the right length for being 2 to 3 yrs old? I have 2 baby YBS coming in 3 or 4 days so I want at least get a good start with these 2 little 1s (I had my RES in a 10 gallon tank and then just recently upgraded to a 20 gal with filter heater etc. . I am going to put the 2 babies in with her). Does tank size matter to how big they get or is it in how u feed them??     Please help me I really need. Thank you!
< Typically a turtle that old should be bigger.  Get some ZooMed Aquatic Turtle Food and feed him three to four times a week as much as he will eat at one sitting. Siphon out any uneaten food so it will not pollute the tank. In between the big feedings you can give him some washed earthworms, mealworms, crickets and king worms. Older turtles require less protein and want more vegetable matter in their diet. As they grow you can increase the tanks size to accommodate them. I would not recommend mixing turtles of different sizes.-Chuck>


RES and algae eaters or other fish  2/5/06

(Original heading:  Turtles and Fish 2/5/06)

I have two RES and I was wondering if I can maybe get an algae eater to help me out in between cleaning.  If I can't then what kind of fish can I put in there if you can tell me everything I need to know PLEASE!!!!!!!!
<Hi, I would not recommend any fish for your Turtle tank.  Turtles are dirty and foul the water too quickly in average sized aquariums; this creates poor living conditions for your fish.  The turtles will also try to eat whatever fish you keep with them.  For cleaning the tank I would recommend a magnetic algae scrubber, the kind that float, it will do a much better job than any fish would.  Please see the link below and related links at the top of the page for more information on Red Eared Sliders.  Best Regards, Gage
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/redearsliders.htm >


Turtle Will Eat Fish  1/1/06
Hi, my family got a Red-Eared Slider Turtle and we also own a Chinese Fighting Fish. My family was wondering if it would be wise to put them in the same tank. I don't think it is a good idea but they are persistent to find the truth. Would my turtle eat my fish?
< In a heartbeat.-Chuck>


Turtles With Crabs (Not What You Think)  11/23/05
Can hermit crabs live in the same tank as a red eared slider turtle?
<Turtles are pretty good eaters and will try and eat anything including hermit crabs. The hermit crabs will go back into their shells when provoked so may lose a leg if the turtle can get hold of it. The turtle may pull it out of its shell too. I would not recommend it, but a well fed turtle may leave it alone for awhile until it gets really hungry.-Chuck> 


Questions about adding turtles

(Original heading:  Red Eared Slider Questions  11/10/05)

I just got my Red Ear Slider on the 30th of Oct. I don't know how to tell their age or sex and I would really like to know.
< Females get larger than the males. Males have longer front claws and a longer tail.  They grow pretty fast until they get around 6 to 8 inches and then slow down a bit.>
I named him Tom, but I don't know if that is right. He is currently living in a five gallon tank w/ a UV ray light and a basking light. He has a turtle dock to get out of the water and bask, he has a bubble maker and other decorations. I feed him Zoo Meds Hatchling aquatic turtle food. I also put in Reptisafe in the water to get rid of the bad stuff. The water is about 3/4 of an inch above his shell. 
I have a picture of a turtle sitting up facing his tank. He loves to sit on the rock and look at the turtle.. too cute! I am thinking about getting another RES, how many and what sex should I get?
< I would recommend not adding another turtle.>
Is there anything else that I can feed him to make him feel better?
< He will appreciate live foods such as washed earthworms, mealworms and kingworms.>
I think he may be constipated. What color is normal for turtle feces and urine?
< The color is a reflection of the items he has been eating.>
I have not seen any in the tank so I'm thinking he may be constipated. How do you know and if he is what do I do?
< A small turtle fecal material may be small and caught up in a filter.>
He is shedding and I want to know if it's ok to be shedding this young, he is still a hatchling.  Thank you, M. L. 
< A young turtle should be shedding. It is a sign that he is growing.-Chuck> 


Mixing same size RES with Painted turtle  11/6/05

(Original heading:  Mixing Turtles at the Turtle Mixer 11/6/05

Hello, I have 4 red eared sliders and 3 of them are being adopted. I wanted to know if I could put the red eared slider that is left with my painted turtle. They are around the same size, but I don't want either to get hurt. Please let me know. They will have a 75 gallon tank.
< As long as they are all the same size and you spread the food out all over the tank at feeding time they should be OK. Larger turtles get quite temperamental. The larger the turtles the more feisty they become.-Chuck> 


RES turtles will eat Newts; Newts may also be toxic to turtles  10/22/05

(Original heading:  Turtles Will eat The Newt 10/22/05)

Hello, I would like to thank you for your extensive question database which has provided me with many answers!
I was wondering  just how long one red-eared slider baby would be alright in a ten gallon tank. I've been researching and planning for providing a great home for one of these guys for a long time and realize that one day it will need a nice happy pond.
< A ten gallon tank would only work for a few months depending on the temps you turtle is kept at.>
Would a Whisper internal (10i) filter be good for about 5 gallons of water for the little guy?
< Turtles are messy feeders. A filter helps but only as long as you are willing to clean it. Clean it often and do many water changes.>
I also have one fire-bellied newt and was wondering (although I am quite doubtful) if they would be okay in the tank together until the turtle grows larger, or if a separate tank right at the beginning would be necessary.
< Turtle will try and eat the newt every chance it gets. The newt may also be toxic to the turtle.>
If this is possible, my newt tank is planted heavily with live plants. I would not mind if the turtle ate them, but have heard
that some plants are not okay for a turtle to eat. I have Mondo grass, Anacharis, java moss, and a few other plants (I don't know the names of the others.)
< Turtle would pick at the Anacharis and probably leave the others alone but it would be a bull in a china shop with all the plants being uprooted every chance he gets.>
I also have a five gallon tank at home that is not being used and think that either the newt or the turtle could stay in it for a while. (I think the newt would be happier there than the turtle since it would only have about 2-3 gallons of water.) I previously had three newts, but the other two were VERY young and, like many pet store fire bellies, had a rough beginning and came to me with rot which I was unable to cure. 
I eventually separated them from my adult, who is still living a happy and healthy life hanging out in her favorite plant, the Anacharis bunch. Also, what is your opinion on the occasional snack of a ghost shrimp for aquatic turtles?
< Great.>
(I know I am asking many questions here.) There is a very large debate over whether to use gravel or not. Of course cleaning is easier without it. I read where someone had used no gravel but had vinyl flooring in the bottom to give traction. Do you think the turtles really care?
< No not really.>
Like fish do, would turtles eat their own poo if there was no gravel to trap it?
< They have been known to eat their own fecal matter if they are hungry and no other food is around. Many fish stores carry gravel vacs that will do a great job of cleaning your gravel while siphoning the tank water.>
Thank you in advance for you time and patience with my plethora of questions. I appreciate what you do in an attempt to rid the world of people who improperly care for their pets.
< Just plugging away one question at a time.-Chuck> 


How Many Red Eared Sliders in a 75 Gallon Tank  10/4/05
Hello, I have a used 75 gallon aquarium that I plan on resealing in order
to use for red eared sliders.  We got one RES about 2 months ago and he
is currently in a 29 gallon tank with a variety of fish (all of which
are fine by the way).  Unfortunately we had not researched RES
thoroughly and didn't realize he needed to be separated.  He spent his
first month in a one gallon tank with some water before we moved him
into the bigger tank so he hasn't grown quite as fast as he could have.
I have 2 questions.  First, can we add more RES when we put our
current RES into the 75 gallon tank?  Second, how many RES should I
plan on having total in a 75 gallon tank?  I was planning on having 3
total but don't want them being overcrowded in the future. Thank you,
< When they are little and under 4 inches shell length the number is up to you depending on filtration and water changes. At around 4 inches they start to get a little defensive of their food and will start to bite other turtles. I would trim it down to three  max because they will continue to grow and the shells of some females may get up close to 10 inches long.-Chuck>


Which sex turtle is better to pair with male RES?  9/12/05

(Original heading:  Lonely Turtle  9/12/05)

I have a red eared slider turtle that looks pretty lonely.  He constantly stares at his reflection in the glass on his tank.  So I am thinking about getting him a friend.  But I have a small problem.  Am trying to figure out if I should get him a guy or a girl turtle.  Am afraid that if I get him another guy that they might fight and hurt each other.  But if I get him a girl they would probably mate and then I would have to take care of baby turtles and eggs.  I need an opinion on what I should get to better suit him.  Thanks.
< My best answer would be to not get another turtle. We get questions all the time about turtles biting, fighting or intimidating other turtles in the tank. Your turtle is probably less lonely and more concerned about if the "other" turtle is squeezing in on his territory.-Chuck>


Re-mixing RES after past aggression  9/3/05

(Original heading:  Keeping Turtles Together  9/3/05)

Hi! There have been similar questions before, but I also have an idea of what may have happened to another readers turtle.
I have two female red eared sliders (shortish tails, short claws, flat plastron) - one is slightly smaller than the other 3.5 inches and 4 inches, both 3 years old. They are in a 50 gallon tank with a 120 gallon "waterfall" filter, basking lamp, "cave area", and a large basking area. They have never had health problems, are very active, and are good eaters - variety of food items. However recently the slightly smaller turtle (Maggie) is displaying the male mating behavior (fluttering claws in the face of the other).
This seems to be an aggressive behavior however because she then tries to bite the neck of the other turtle (Lisa). Maggie has succeeded twice in biting Lisa and I had to separate them and give Maggie a "timeout".
Lisa has "adapted" to this behavior by drawing in her neck when Maggie is bothering her, but Lisa has also started biting at Maggie's claws (may explain what happened to your other readers male turtle claws that is housed with a female).
I've temporarily separated the turtles, but my questions are....
1. Why is the female presenting a male behavior? I know some animals can switch sex - is this possible for turtles?
< Don't think they change sex but the smaller turtle may still be a male despite many sexual characteristics that show other wise. The difference in size may indicate that the smaller turtle is/will be a male.>
2. Will I ever be able to house the turtles together again.....maybe a
larger space? During the warmer months when the days are long, turtles may exhibit some breeding behaviour. When things cool down and the days get shorter then I would try placing them back together. In the spring they may act up again and need to be separated.-Chuck>THANKS!


Mixing new 4 slider with two 6 sliders

(Original heading:  NEW TURTLE)

Hi you guys.
I have enjoyed reading your replies to what seem to be some of the lamest people on Earth, I am sure (helllloooo....you think your turtle has a broken leg? You don't even think of taking her to the vet??).  Here is our situation: I work in the Biology Dept of a community college. 2, 6-inch Sliders (both males) were donated along with their 150 gal tank about a year ago. They are thriving-eating, growing, very social. Someone found a small (4-inch) Slider in their yard and asked if we could take it. I have
him here, separated from the others. He is eating reptile sticks, soaking in a small tub of water and enjoying the warming light. I read in the forums to keep him separate for at least a month, which is fine. 
I wonder, not knowing anything about this guy, if I need to worry about any parasites or other diseases. The new guy seems healthy, bright, clear eyes, very active, decent appetite. Should I do anything besides the quarantine? I also noticed that someone mentioned to keep the introduc-ee in a bare-bottomed tank. I assume this means no water? He has a tub within the tank so he can get in if he wants. The rest of the tank is medium sized gravel.
Thanks ahead of time for your help.  Your forum is terrific.
Dandelian Tucker
Teaching Assistant II, Biology/Environmental Science
< New turtles should be quarantined for a month in a clean aquarium. Add a sulfa block to the water for the month. The sulfa will dissolve into the water and inhibit any bacterial or fungal growth due to trauma.-Chuck>


Mixing RES with other species of animals

(Original heading:  Don't Buy Turtles From Street Walkers)

Hello experts!
< The definition of en expert is someone who realizes how little they know.>
Long time listeners, first time callers.
< Thanks for dialing in.>
I think my husband and I have gotten in over our heads.  About four months ago we thought it would be fun to get a small hobby aquarium.  We started with a 20 gallon tank, which we cycled for about 6 weeks and have since had a pretty good success with our fish.  About a month ago, we were walking in the city, and a woman on the street was selling baby turtles.  We asked her if we could keep it in a tank with our tropical fish, and she said it would be ok.  (I realize now that buying a turtle on the street was a huge mistake, but it seemed so small and harmless.)  We brought the turtle back to our tank, set it up with an appropriate basking island, and everything was okay.   
He even learned to take food from my husbands hand.
After a few weeks, we decided to add some silver dollar size angels  to our tank.  They died within a few days of each other, and we saw the turtle (and the other fish) eating the remains.  We figured our tank just wasn't suitable for angels, and thing were okay again for a while.  Currently, we have the following in our tank: 2 zebra Danios, 2 black fin tetras, one iridescent shark, three guppies, a molly and a red tailed sword, one catfish and (my favorite) a very small elephant nose fish.   We haven't had any real illnesses - one case of ich a month ago.   We just added two Plecos, who have been producing really long, stringy white feces.  Really long (inches).  But, I  digress.
Last night, we looked up to see the turtle with the elephant nose's face in its mouth!  We were shocked, and didn't know what to do  - I was practically in tears.  The elephant nose had not been sick - he was attacked unprovoked.  We put the fish net in the water and tapped the turtle until he let go.  Dazed, the elephant nose headed back into his ship for cover.  We immediately removed the turtle to a quarantine tank.  We decided not to return the turtle to the tank  that night.
< Good idea.>
We did some research, and read online that goldfish (large) and  turtles can live together peacefully.  We bought an inexpensive 20g setup (filter, gravel, heater) and put turtle and three large shiny goldfish in.  Well, about a half hour ago we saw the turtle grab onto one of their tails!  The goldfish shook him off, but now we don't know what to do!  We don't want to keep a small turtle alone in a twenty gallon tank.
Meanwhile, in the original tank, the elephant nose came out to eat earlier, and his nose is shredded to bits! I feel awful, and totally unprepared to handle this situation.
Here are my questions:
Can we keep anything with a turtle, safely?
What about crawfish,
fiddler crabs
or frogs?
Is there anything I can do to help the elephant nose heal?
< Keep the water clean and watch for any infections. Redness indicates a bacterial infection while a whitish cottony growth around the attacked area is a fungal infection.>  Will he make it?
< If the wounds heal and the mouth is still functional then he will probably live. If the mouth is too damaged and it cannot eat then probably not.>
Do you think our Plecos are sick?
< No, Plecos are vegetarians with pretty long digestive systems. While they are eating it is not too unusual to have long sting fecal matter following behind them.>
I really appreciate any help you can give. Thanks Rebecca (and Sal)
< In the wild, turtles eat everything you suggested. The crustaceans may have a hard exoskeleton now, but when they shed their new skeleton with be soft for a few hours. In this time the turtle could easily have them torn to shreds and eaten.-Chuck>


2/3 Dead Hatchlings; Is it safe to buy more?

(Original heading:  Trouble with New turtles)

I was recently searching the web for some information on the turtles that I purchased and came across your sight, in which you had a lot of helpful advice. Well I'm new at this so here goes, about 2 weeks ago I purchased 3 baby red ear sliders about an inch long from a local flea-market. I got the home and purchased a 20 long gallon tank, a basking light, and a dock for them. I was feeding them Tetra ReptoMin Baby and Zoo Meds Turtle Treat. After having them for a week 1 of them died, then 2 days later another died. I was wondering if it would be safe to buy more and put them in there with the 1 remaining baby turtle because he really looks lonely. Or should I wait in case there is an infection in the tank from the 2 dead turtles?
< Don't add any more turtles until you have figured out why two out of the three turtle have died. Don't worry about the last turtle getting lonely. He probably prefers to be alone.>
And also can you please tell me if I have everything that I need for my baby turtle (as far as the tank, the basking light and the dock)? Please respond back a.s.a.p. Thanks and have a great day!
< Your turtles are very young. I would get a water filter and maybe a heater to keep the turtles warm for awhile. Look into getting a good book that may give you some insight on why the first two turtles died.-Chuck.>


Compatibility with other turtle species

(Original heading:  TURTLE PALS)

Hi! I am putting my 7 year old Red-Eared Slider up for adoption. Two people are interested in him. One has a 5 year old Yellow-Bellied Turtle. The other has a 1 year old Red-Eared. Which situation would be a better fit for my guy? Thank you 
< Match him up with the yellow belled turtle. Turtles being kept together should be close to the same size.-Chuck> 


Red-Eared Turtle with Catfish
I have a 75 gal. plastic pond in my backyard, is it possible for my red ear slider turtle to live with my catfish?
< Your turtle will probably constantly be taking nips and bites out of your catfish. It may not kill it but it may damage the catfish enough so that it gets sick and dies.-Chuck>


Large RES turtle mixed with Koi in pond

Turtles and Fish

<Hi, MikeD here>
Please help...I was given (by a pet store) a RES about 12" long<It took me a considerable amount of time to deduce what a RES was, aka Red-Eared Slider. That borders on cruelty to ME, you know! **grin**>.  About a week later ALL of my Koi (15 large) died.  I did not realize I needed to treat the water with antibiotic before I introduced the turtle<You don't. Who told you that?>.  Anyway, I also think the turtle has a bit of ROT<OK, I'll bite, is this just rot, as in an infection or is it another acronym?>.  About 2" long diamond shape, whit sot<White spot?> on the shell.  Also, shell peeling around the area <I'd use either Iodine or Mercurochrome on the spot initially, drying it with a paper towel after it soaks in, then return the turtle to the pond. Also, make sure the turtle has plenty of room to get completely out of the water. If this basking spot is not in sunlight, then you'll need to get a full spectrum light bulb to train on this spot. Sunlight is Mother Nature's first line of defense>.  My question...is this ROT toxic to fish?<NO>  I am wanting to re-introduce Koi as I have treated the pond with medication for 10 days.<Introducing the turtle should have had no ill effect on the fish, and I've never heard of adding antibiotics for this purpose. I'd seriously have to re-think taking advice from them if this is what they are telling you.>  Thank you!<You're very welcome>


How many RES should I get?

I'm Looking to getting a RES

<Hi, MikeD here>
     Thanks for taking the time to actually read this. I have been searching online for quite a while researching Red-Eared Sliders. I have a 50gal. tank already.<that could work for several years> I'm figuring that I could possibly have 3 in there, however they can grow up to 12 inches.. so should I just get the one?<they get along well together and are easily sexed at an early age, and bred in captivity so that would have to fall into the individual choice category> Could I have two?<Sure> I'm still a little shaky on this. Also what kind of rocks should I use?<Any, as  along as they can get completely out of the water.> Does it matter if the water is 2ft. deep now, or should I make it smaller and get bigger when it grows?<I'd go shallower initially, then deepen it as they grow.> How much dry land should they have until they reach the water?<They need to be able to get completely out of the water to bask and a good daylight bulb for same  is almost essential.> What should I use for a spot for them to come out?<A landscaped dry land area, flat rock or even a piece of driftwood all work well. If you're planning on breeding them, the female will need a dry land area upon which to lay her eggs. The male have extremely long front fingernails which they wave in the female's faces while underwater and actually NEED to be fed in the water> I have read so much info and yet none of this has been answered for me.. So Like I said I have a 50gal. tank, what can you tell me about how I should go about this?<It depends largely on the size when you get them. As adults they are often kept in kiddy wading pools with an island set in the middle and again, with a basking area MANDATORY!
Like most reptiles, FOOD CAN'T BE DIGESTED BELOW 70 degrees F. They occur wild down here and are often seen basking on the banks of ponds, lakes and rivers or on logs rising out of the water.  Meaty foods work best and be careful of many prepared turtle foods, such as dried insects (no food value), krill (contains salt that they can't excrete) and Spirulina sticks (good for BMs, but they need meat as they are scavenger/predators> ANYTHING Would be greatly appreciated.<Hope this helps a little> If  I have anymore questions I will email you.
~RES Newbie

Red Eared Sliders (continued)
<Hi, MikeD here again>
Thanks Mike! For all of your help!<You're very welcome> I did have another question... If I only had one RES Could a 50gal work for it's entire life?<Here I'm almost inclined to say no as these get to a fair size, sometimes dinner plate or larger> How would I set up the kiddy pool inside away from animals?<Animals, as in dogs or cats? Sometimes there's no need to be away from them. that shell is pretty tough and cats aren't likely to get wet to begin with. Most dogs simply ignore them.> Thanks for your help!<You're very welcome>
~RES Newbie


What fish can I put in with my RES?

(Original heading:  TURTLES WITH FISH)

Hello. I was wanting to know if there are any kind of fish I can put with my red- eared slider? Another question was that I was reading your info on red-eared sliders and the staff said not to feed them feeder goldfish, which I did for the first time last night is this bad for them?
< Large active fish that stay off the bottom work best with turtles. They will eat anything that they can catch. Fish are part of a turtle's natural diet but it should have other things in it too. Too much protein forces the turtle's shell to grow at a different rate than the rest of the turtles body. Earthworms, crickets, mealworms, kingworms and commercial aquatic turtle food make for a well rounded diet.-Chuck> 


Mixing larger RES with smaller Map turtles

(Original heading:  MATCHING TURTLES)

Hi, I have a male red eared slider who's about 5-6". I recently got a young male Texas map who is about 2". At first, I put the Texas map in with the RES in a 100g stock tank filled with about 80g of water. The RES did not bite, but he was always doing what looked like his mating dance right in the face of the Texas map and also pushing him around  constantly, but there was never any biting. Never the less, I separated the two and put the Texas map in a 20g long tank for now because I was worried about the behavior of the RES, but I was wondering if there was a process I should go through before adding him into the RES tank again? Is the Texas map just too small to be added in with such a large RES? Should I start feeding the RES outside of his tank in order to maybe lower potential aggression? Or will it always be the case that I need to keep them separated?
Thanks for your time.
< It is always best to try to match up turtles according to size. I would not try and keep the smaller turtle in with the larger turtle. Eventually you will be away for a period of time and the bigger turtle will try and eat the smaller turtle. If not eat then he will take bits out of him and might bite off a limb. Even if the turtles are well fed the larger one will continue to dominate the smaller turtle. If you must put them in together then wait for the weekend when you can spend some time watching them. Put them in together and then feed them. Hopefully this will distract the larger turtle and he will leave the smaller turtle alone. watch them carefully and decide if it is safe to leave them alone.-Chuck 


Mixing 2 new babies with bigger RES

(Original Heading:  Question about baby red -eared sliders)

    Hello my name is mike, I have 2 red eared sliders that I bought in May,
and they have gotten bigger since. One is about 4-5 inches and the other 4
inches.  And just recently I bought two more babies (red eared sliders).  I was
wondering if it is ok to put them with the bigger ones. Thank you for taking my question.
< Turtles should all be close to the same size. They are incredible eaters and the larger ones would eventually pick on the smaller ones as food items when they got hungry and you weren't around. They may not be able to kill the smaller ones but the could bite off a leg and then you will be taking care of a imperfect turtle for the next 15+ years.-Chuck>                                                                            
              greatly appreciated,                                                                              
                      Mike D


Amphibian and Chelonian mix 8.27.05
I keep my red ear slider in an aquarium with 3 Firebelly toads, a tree frog, and a chubby frog. I have the aquarium so one side is water and the other side is land. I have been wondering, however, if the mix of reptile and amphibian is safe.  I do have a filter and light source and the animals usually keep away from each other. Also, I used to have a soft-shell turtle; I had kept him with the frogs (but at that time I had one Firebelly). Sadly, he died in a weird way. A large, black, tube like thing with feathery ends came out of his anus, and hung out about an inch. We suspected that it had to do with the turtles eating habits, for it ate up to six fish a day. Recently, I have been wondering if it had to do with the frogs. I really don't want my red ear slider to die, so please help. Also, we have been feeding the slider a more reasonable amount of food. PLEASE HELP!!
<I am not sure what the large black feathery thing might have been, but it might be worth contacting a reptile Veterinarian to find out.  I would not recommend keeping frogs with turtles.  Turtles foul the water very quickly, frogs and toads are very sensitive to the quality of their environment and will not tolerate less than optimal conditions for very long.  I am not sure if the frogs and toads you are keeping are toxic to animals that ingest them but it is definitely something you will want to look into, I am sure a turtle would sample a frog if given the opportunity.  I would definitely keep the turtle in a separate tank. I would also get some care sheets on the different types of frogs you are keeping to ensure that your setup is meeting their needs as well, heating, lighting, feeding, etc. -Gage>


Mixing Map and RES turtles  7/29/05

Mixing Turtles 7.29.05

Hi, I have recently found a Common Map Turtle and I was wanting to keep it in the same tank as my Red Eared Slider. But when I put it in the tank with the Slider, the Slider bit the Map Turtle and when I separated them he kept trying to bite him again. I am not sure of the gender of either turtle, but I would really like to keep them together. Is the Slider being mean or was it just being playful? And if I do have to get rid of one of them which would be the best one to keep as a pet?
<Sounds like there are definitely going to be some problems with aggression.  I would keep them in separate tanks or release the map turtle back to where you found it.  Best Regards, Gage>


Should I buy one or two sliders?

(Original heading:  Housing Red Eared Sliders)

Hi, I asked you if you should put two males or a male and a female together before. One more question, I have never had red eared sliders before, but have cared for 2 of them for about a month. I was wondering if I should adopt just 1 male turtle? ( I wanted male because I don't have the space for a female.) I will either get 1 or 2 but either way I have a 45 gallon tank with fish in it now, but when the turtles get bigger they will have to move to that tank (by then the fish will have died).
<I would go with 1 male in the 45, that should last him a little while, you might find new homes for the fish instead of waiting for them to die, most aquarium fish have a long life span.>
When I get them they will be in the12 gallon with NO fish. I have read on other sites that beginner turtle owners should get only 1 turtle (and that 1 turtle will not feel lonely in a tank). Is this a good idea?
<I'd start with one, it will be easier to keep the tank clean and under control.>
My dad said 2 would be better (they can stack on each other on their basking rock and will have a buddy to play with, but is this better for the turtles to be social?) I don't want to have 2 male turtles fighting each other when they are mature. Other web sites do say that 1 turtle will not feel lonely and getting another turtle after a few years can result in the older one picking on its new friend. I am going to get my turtle(s) at once and put them in a tank together when they are hatchings.  Please let me know!!!!    
<The social behavior can be fun to watch, but I think starting with one is a better idea.  One turtle will outgrow the 12gal tank in no time, let alone two.>
Can I put plastic plants in the aquarium? (I am going to buy a 12 gallon for now, and it will have a UVB fluorescent light, water heater, rocks and wood for land area, and I'm planning to leave the tank with very few plants if any because they will try to eat them.)
<Yes, the turtles will tear up the plants, not so much when they are young, but definitely as they get older.  Plastic plants will work ok because you can always replant them.>
Second, I was wondering if putting a male and a female together, or two males, I have read on some web sites that males will bite each other or fight over territory. Some web sites say that a male will sometimes harass a female nonstop during mating season and may bite each other. Thank you for your help, I want to know which would be better before adopting them when it's too late. -Sarah>
<Hi Sarah, I combined your two emails, hope you don't mind.  I commend your efforts to research these animals before you make a purchase.  If I were to start out with turtles again I would start with at least a 55gal tank, this will give them some room to grow and you will be more cost effective in the long run.  First you buy a 10gal, then a 20gal, then a 29 gal, then a 55gal, then a 125gal, believe me, that's the way it works in this hobby.  Start with one turtle, it will be more manageable, you will not have to worry about aggression, and it will be a lot less messy as it gets older.  Best Regards, Gage>

Snapping turtle and red eared slider compatibility

(Original heading:  Turtle Mixes)

Is it ok for a snapper turtle and a red eared slider to be together  in the same tank?
<Not a good idea, you would need a huge tank for the snapper, and there is a good chance that your slider could get hurt.  Best Regards, Gage>


Pairing up bigger and smaller sliders

Re: res turtle and ick

hi I have a RES turtle and I feed him goldfish feeders.  About 2 weeks ago I noticed that the fish had ick. I called the vet and they told me to clean everything In the tank with a diluted bleach mix and not to give him anymore of those fish.  I do all of that and I bought new fish. I bought the fish from a different store in case that was the problem. The fish look fine when I put them in the tank. I noticed that the fish now have ick. How do I get rid of ick for good?
<feeder fish live a stressful life, no way to really get rid of ich without quarantining and treating for ich before feeding them to the turtle.>
Is ick bad for my res turtle?  Could my turtle be infected with ick and is giving it to the fish?  and if so how do I treat my turtle?
<I have never heard of turtles getting ich, but I'm sure it cannot be great for them.>
and one more question.  can older bigger res turtles live with younger smaller res turtle in the same tank? will the bigger one try to eat to smaller?
<should be ok, just make sure the smaller one is getting enough food.  If the larger one shows any aggression I would separate them.>
thanks for the time cause it seems like none of the vets around here know that much.
<Honestly, I would start feeding the turtles prepared turtle food, frozen food, veggies if they will take them, and worms (I get mine from a bait shop).  That way you will not have to worry about dirty fish.  Best Regards, Gage>


Fish Compatibility with RES
I was just wondering if there is any kind of fish that would be okay to put in the tank with my res turtle.
<Hmm, you will want to choose a fish that you will not get too attached to, incase it gets munched by the turtle, also, something that is forgiving to poor water quality, turtles are messy.  I kept some Giant Zebra Danios with a RES for years.  The second time I attempted the combination all the Danios ended up as food.  I think if I were to try it again I would try Rosy Barbs, they are active and colorful but I am not sure how good they are at dodging turtles though.  So my official answer is no, it is not a good environment for the fish, and there is a great chance they will be eaten.  If I were to try it, I would pick something from the fish store that is very common, very cheap, and a fast swimmer.  Best of luck, Gage.>


Adding very large RES and soft shell to a pond with 2 smaller adults

(Original heading:  Turtle Quarantine)

I have been a turtle fanatic since I was a small child and have renewed my interest in the last two years. 
<Awesome, I have been thinking of having a turtle shell tattooed on my back, ok, not seriously but the thought did cross my mind.> 
I was given two young RES two years ago and they are now 5-6" from back to front. I have built a small pond and they cohabit with some feeder fish that are now 7-8" long. I am in the process of increasing the pond size and would like to provide them with land area in case they want to leave the pond and "stretch" their legs. Can you provide some direction on designing this area for them? 
<Anything that has a nice slope into the water will work fine, a large rock, an upside down pot with rock on top of it, a large piece of wood, a pile of rocks, whatever looks good to you and is functional for them.> 
Also today a large RES, 2-3 times larger than my two found its way into my back yard. 
<I had a duck run into my garage once, blew my mind.> 
There are no ponds, lakes close by although several homes have pools. No one in the area claims the turtle so I would like to adopt it. At this time it is living in a large "tub" but I don't want this to last too long so therefore the urgency of my questions. My question is can all three turtles live together since there is a considerable size difference? If so what can I do to ensure that the new found turtle does not contaminate my others? 
<If the pond that they are living in is large enough they should be fine, aggression is a possibility and you need to be prepared to separate them if one of them gets too rough. I would keep the new turtle separated for at least a month, possibly in an aquarium, preferably bare bottomed. This will allow you to observe the turtles behavior, and watch for signs of disease. If something does come up you can treat the turtle before he infects your other two. Quarantine is important in reptiles as well as fish.> 
I also have a Florida soft shelled turtle that was given to me that is living in an aquarium at this time but will be relocated to her new pond this summer. Will all my turtles live together or will they need separate homes? 
<I am not up to date on my soft shell husbandry, if they enjoy the same environment as the sliders it might be ok, you will still need to watch for aggression. I do not think I ever see these turtles mixed, there could be a good reason for that.> <Darrel, can soft-shelled be mixed with RES if in a small pond?  Shes increasing the size of it apparently, but didnt say how big it would be.>
I want to make sure all is right because I would be devastated if I did anything to harm, injure or cause death. 
<Quarantine is the way to go. Best Regards, Gage> 
Thank you for your time and assistance - Todd Hunt



Should I get a companion for my turtle?

(Original heading:  Turtle Behavior)

I have a red-eared slider, I've had him for a few years. But whenever someone enters the room he gets scared and runs into the water. and if someone touches him, he hides in his shell. he also seems depressed. what's a good way to make him happier? Would getting another turtle work? Or what?
<This is really just their natural behavior, I am not sure if there is a way to train it out of them, you could start hand feeding some yummy treats like night crawlers, after a while it will probably beg for food every time it sees you, which can get annoying.  My old slider would splash in her tank to wake me up to feed her.  I would not add another turtle unless your system can handle it.  Gage>


Mixing baby RES with adult

(Original heading:  Mixing Sliders)

I have had a male red ear slider for 5 years (he's 7 now) and he's around 7 inches long, today I was given 2 quarter sized red ear babies, I assume its not a good idea but wanted to ask someone else if they could all live together?
<I would not mix them just yet, there is a good chance that the little ones will get injured by the larger one.>
If yes, how big do the babies need to be to be safe, and will my 7 incher not like having company now since he's gone all his life alone? Please let me know. Thank you
<I would wait until they are around 4 or 5 inches, I am not sure of the size of your tank, but it will need to be large to house 3 adult sliders.  Best Regards, Gage>


Mixing baby RES with adult

(Original heading:  Slider Company)

Thank you for the reply. I figured that they were to little now but knew it would be a very long time before they were all equal in size and wanted to eventually put them in one tank. I am trying to get a used 100 gallon but know that for 3 that still isn't probably big enough. Do you know if these guys enjoy having the company of another turtle or because my adult has always been alone will he be bothered by sharing his tank in a few years? Thanks again, J.G.
<A 100gal tank is a great start, that is for sure.  I am not sure if the turtles will actually enjoy each others company, but I would try it when they get big enough, just watch out for aggression from the larger one, he may pick on them, which is fine as long as no serious damage is inflicted.  Best Regards, Gage>


Adding pastel turtle with 2 RES in 150 gallon tank  1/9/04

Female Turtle Bit Off Male's Claws?   1/9/04

<Hi, Pufferpunk here>
We recently came back from vacation and while cleaning the 150 gallon tank that holds our two red eared sliders (6 inch male and 10 inch heavy female)
<What a nice sized tank for 2 turtles!  So many folks don't give them enough room to live.>
We realized that the male's long beautiful claws had been replaced with some awful wounds. There may be one or two claws left but they look like stumps now.
<What leads you to believe the female caused this?  I've never heard of turtles attacking each other's claws like that.  Maybe his foot got caught in between some rocks?>
They seem to be healing fine (not much red left on them). Is there anything I should do to shorten the healing process (like antibiotics, extra vitamins, or separating them)?
<You could try adding Melafix (sold in the fish dept.) to the water.>
He harasses her constantly and always seems to be fluttering her face. I have not seen him do this since we've gotten home but he is still continuously trying to get it on. I even saw "it" out
today. It is the middle of winter and I am wondering why he is still trying to mate.
<Sorry to say, that is the male of most species' behaviour!>
The temps in the water are about 69-71 degrees. Should I change
the water temps. I have yet to turn the heater on because I thought they still have yet to calm down for the winter but can do so if recommended. (They have had eggs in past and once we incubated them and about 40% hatched but are not hoping to do this again at least until the house is warmer -spring/summer if not until next year 2006).
<My opinion is that if you are not planning on seriously hibernating them for at a least a 6 week period, I'd keep them warmer.>
They eat well - lots of goldfish, pellet food, and snacks like worms, crickets, etc. with extra reptile powder vitamin on some of their food. They seem to get along fine except when he's incredibly horny. What can we do to give him the equivalent of a cold shower when he's getting out of hand? OR is it possible the wounds
are something else?
<Sorry, I don't know any way to "cool" him off.  There is a possibility that his nails just got too long & shed naturally, or got caught on something.  I try to trim mine when they get overgrown.>  
His eyes look clear and he seems to be fine with
exception to his swimming skills decline do to the actual wounds. Can you recommend a good book that would cover these topics - I may need to learn more even though we've had her for 9 years and him for 7.
<It sounds like you are taking great care of your turtles--even breeding them!  I like this site to search for info: http://www.turtletimes.com/>
On a side note, we've always wanted to get a pastel and are wondering if another male or female would be safest to introduce?
We will be sure to wait until it is large enough to go in their tank and disease free but what would get along best (a female we guess would be better)?
<Actually, getting another female would probably take the "heat" off the other one.>
How often are you supposed to feed them - we are sometimes erratic with a feeding schedule and while we are writing in were curious if this is bad for them.
<Binge & purge feeding is most natural.  Feed well every 3-4 days.  You could save some $$$ by buying the cheapest fish you can find at the produce market.  I cut up into bite sized strips & freeze,  then thaw in warm vitamin water, as needed.>
Thanks, Sara Yule
Producer Wiggle Puppy Productions
<What are Wiggle Puppy Productions? I really love my new JRT, Kalvin the Krazydog!  ~PP>


Community Fish with a Turtle
Hello everyone at www.WetWebMedia.com,
I am setting up my red-ear turtle tank and am wondering if I can add schooling fish like neon tetra's, and also a algae eater?
<Only if you want them to get eaten.>
Will the turtle be able to catch the tetras in such a large tank?
<What else does it have to do besides try?>
Petco has a smaller turtle tank with many red-ears and soft shells and a single goldfish that I have yet to see them catch, or chase.
<I would bet you that goldfish was one of several feeder goldfish thrown into the tank. He is the last survivor, for now.>
Thanks for your help!
<You are welcome. -Steven Pro>




 Chrysemys picta

Shown on right:  Eastern Painted Turtle


·     See Key Points at top of this Topic Page for general information on turtle stocking & compatibility.


Painted turtle and Algae eater compatibility   5/23/10
<Hi, Brendan. Melinda here tonight.>
I am sure you get these kind of questions all the time and I do apologize but I have been searching for an answer and heard contradicting stories.
I own a Painted turtle approx. 1 yr. old in a 30 gal. tank and I am wondering about the compatibility with an algae eater.
<Generally, it is thought best not to combine fish and turtles, for a number of reasons. The first reason that comes to mind, for me, is the difficulty of maintaining good water quality when you've got an animal such as a turtle in the tank. It would require a lot of upkeep to provide what fish require, which are Ammonia and Nitrite levels at zero, and Nitrate below 20. In addition, turtles are usually happy in room-temperature water, because they're able to get out and bask, and return to the water after they're nice and warm. The difference between the warm basking area
and cool water allow them to effective regulate their body temperatures.
However, when it comes to fish, often, a heater is required to keep water temperature elevated and/or steady. Therefore, often, the situation is such that someone is going to be uncomfortable!>
I understand that fish are a part of a turtles natural diet but I have also been told that turtles will usually not bother an algae eater.
<Well, turtles will eat fish, but obviously, that's not what's best for them, especially on a regular basis. It's also not much good for the poor fish, who is being constantly chased around a 30 gallon aquarium! Also, there are many fish which are considered "algae eaters." Some would grow as long as your 30 gallon tank, and some only reach an inch! Therefore, the term itself is such a broad one that I'm not sure which fish you're thinking of housing with the turtle. In addition, most of the fish which your local pet store might call "algae eaters" may not eat algae at all,
may only eat algae as juveniles, or may have additional nutritional requirements which must be fulfilled in order for them to be healthy.
There are many aspects to consider, but ultimately, I would leave your tank as it is, and enjoy your turtle.>
I would very much appreciate a professional opinion before spending money on an algae eating fish.
<If you are experiencing problems with algae, it is likely due to one or more of several factors: an overabundance of light, an overabundance of waste products, or overfeeding/ lack of maintenance. If you'd like to clean algae on glass, your local pet store will probably stock various scrapers and Mag-Float type tools that will help. If it's algae on large rocks/decor, feel free to wash them and place them back in the tank. Without knowing more about your situation, I can't give a lot of advice, other than to avoid adding any fish to the tank, and to read here on algae:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwalgcontrol.htm and
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_6/volume_6_3/fwalgae.html, and to read
on turtles, and their incompatibility with fish:
Thank you
<You're welcome. Please do write back if you have any questions after reading.>

Re: Painted turtle and Algae eater compatibility5/26/2010
<Hi Brendan!>
Thank you so much for your prompt response I had been struggling to get a straight answer for quite some time.
<I'm glad you found it helpful.>
I'm happy to have found your website.
<I'm happy I could help!>


painted turtles... Comp. w/ own species, diff. sizes   5/23/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have 4 2" baby turtles, 1 4" turtle and 1 8" turtle. All of them are painted turtles and well taken care of.
<Glad to hear that>
The 8" one I just got and was wondering if it would be ok to put her in with the rest. I do put her in with them now but only when I can be there to supervise and so far everything is fine.
<Usually that is the case>
I just don't want to come home to some dead or injured babies one day though so I would really appreciate your input.
<That also is a distinct possibility, Stu. In general, the 4 inch turtle is a bit bigger than I'd put in with babies. It's not that they're cannibals or even predatory on each other it's just that, as you already suspect, one snap of an adult in a 'bad mood' meaningless to another its own size, is deadly to a baby.>
<The 4 inch turtle is fine to be with big one, but I wouldn't put a fully grow adult in with two babies>
thank you!
<And Stu? Thanks you very much for thinking of this ahead of time. All too many of these questions we get are long after it's too late to do anything about it>

To: Part 2, Part 3  

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