Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs About Red Ear Slider Turtle Systems 2

Related Articles: The Care and Keeping of the Red Eared Slider, Trachemys scripta elegans by Darrel Barton, Red Ear Sliders, Turtles, Amphibians, Red Eared Slider Care, Shell Rot in Turtles,

Related FAQs: RES Systems 1, RES Systems 3, RES Systems 4, RES Systems 5, & Turtle Systems 1, Turtle Systems 2, Sliders 1, Sliders 2, Red Eared Slider Identification, RES Behavior, RES Compatibility, RES Selection, RES Feeding, RES Disease, RES Reproduction, Turtles in General: Turtles, Turtle Identification, Turtle Behavior, Turtle Compatibility, Turtle Selection, Turtle Systems, Turtle Feeding, Turtle Disease, Turtle Disease 2, Shell Rot, Turtle Reproduction, Amphibians, Other Reptiles,

Re: RES turtles - Help finding more inexpensive care options 8/22/10
Hey Sue,
<Hi Sonal!>
Thanks for all the information.
<You're quite welcome.>
.. Wanted to ask you more about the heating and lighting bulbs. I can't afford to get a UVB lamp.
Could you tell me how much would it cost approx., and if there is any other option I can go for the cheaper option?
<The good news is that there are lower cost alternatives for ALL of your turtle's minimal care needs -- heating, UVB lighting, larger enclosure, filtration and food -- but -- the important thing here is -- they MUST get each of these needs met one way or the other. The care guide link below that I also sent you in the 1st email tells you how you can do all these things for less money. I'll briefly note some of the options below, but please do read through this guide for more complete information:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<Turtles don't need a lot, but what they do need they absolutely must have or they will become seriously ill. And -- it is significantly more expensive (and harder) to treat a sick reptile than it is to treat other animals -- or than it is to prevent it in the first place.>
<Your turtles' shells have already shown some early signs of illness. Odor is a sign of some underlying rot or infection, soft shell is a sign of calcium deficiency. These will lead to even more serious problems unless the root cause of them is addressed. Almost every single disease a turtle has is the result of inadequate diet or improper living conditions, so prevention and correcting their diet and living conditions is where the focus of your care needs to be right now.>
<Before doing this, though, again, please first remove your turtles from their tank and follow the steps listed in the link here for warm, dry isolation:
The *isolation* container can simply be an empty plastic bin or a corrugated cardboard box with high sides so they can't escape (even though they haven't gone at each other for a while, I'd still keep them separated, even if it's just with a partition). As long as you keep them warm (85-87 degrees F (30 degrees C) or so -- normally this would be 88-90 F (31-32 degrees C) above their basking area in a tank, but lower here because you're taking away their choice to move between cool water and warm air), offer them a source of UVB, and place them in another shallow container of water each day to eat, poop, etc., they can live just fine like this while their shells improve, and while you're working on fixing their more permanent living conditions. It will also be healthier for them than where they're at right now.>
<Here are some ideas for lower cost ways you can provide your turtles with their minimal care needs; again refer to the link above for more information on all of these things:
Larger enclosure: A plastic storage container JUST like the one you're using right now is fine, but MUCH larger than what you have. Choose one with the largest surface area (length and width). Turtles like plenty of room to swim around. This will also allow you to try the option of housing both of them together with separate basking areas and some privacy spots instead of setting up 2 separate habitats.
Heat bulb: Good news here, too! All you need here is a regular light bulb placed over their basking area. You'll just have to try out different wattages and heights as you want to aim for 88-90 degrees F (31-32 degrees C) basking temperature. You can get a cheap digital thermometer at an electronics store or a relatively cheap one at a pet store. The pet store ones are nice because they come with a suction cup so you can attach it to the walls directly above the basking area. Bottom line here though -- you MUST provide heat over their basking spot. They need the proper amount of heat to digest their food otherwise it will rot in their stomachs, and it will lead to a life threatening illness. As a side note, place a screen (one with larger holes than a standard window screen, so the UVB can filter through) between the light fixture and the water to prevent the fixture from falling in the water.
UVB Light: This plus heat above their basking areas are 2 critical things your turtles need to have to stay healthy so some way you need to get this. But the good news is, they're not as expensive as you might think! Just replace the expensive food you've been buying them and use that money instead to buy this bulb! Here is a link below to the one I use, a ReptiSun 5.0 by Zoo Med. It's a top quality bulb, and it's on sale right now on the website below. The 18' is only $15 plus $7 shipping. You simply place it in an (also inexpensive) 18' fluorescent light fixture from a home improvement or building supply store. Again, place a screen (one with larger holes) between the fixture and the tank.
If you have trouble here, write back and I'll give you some more options, but this is what I'd recommend. And especially given you're in a seasonal climate and can't take them outside in the sun all year, you really do need this.
Water quality: You should start to save your money now for a good quality mechanical filter. You are likely going to need it in the future, especially when they get bigger and start producing more waste. Right now, in addition to your daily changes, I'd also recommend you also use a net to scoop up any waste as you see it in between changes (before it breaks down in the water). For tiny pieces of debris, you can *vacuum/suction up*. All you need for a *vacuum* is some flexible clear plastic tubing and a bucket with about a ¾' (2 cm) diameter (both available at a home improvement store or your pet store). You place the bucket lower than the tank, fill the tube with water, plugging one end with your thumb as you fill. Once filled, place your thumb on other end, put that end in the water, the other end in the bucket and release. The tube will start to suction out debris. You can move the tube around and control the *on* and *off* by placing and removing your thumb from the end of the tube in the bucket.
Food: Here is one place where you can now actually SAVE money instead of spend! Just cut out all the food you've been feeding them and replace with just one staple of a container of Koi pellets which are MUCH cheaper! You can find these in the pond section of the pet store or order them online. You can even buy them in larger containers to save more money. Just keep smaller amounts out at a time; and keep the larger container frozen in between. Supplement every week or two with a couple of earthworms each, and give them unlimited greens such as red and green leaf lettuce, dandelion greens (some grocery stores carry these), etc. See if you can find/or if your pet store sells a plastic clip with suction to keep them from floating all around and messing up your water.
Diet supplement: For your female turtle who has some softer spots, I'd also recommend a good quality powdered phosphorous-free Calcium with Vitamin D3 supplement (the one I use is by Rep-Cal). Just add a tiny pinch to Koi pellets soaked in a capful of water, and let sit for about 20 minutes so the powder soaks into the pellets.>
<Again -- bottom line -- you need to do the above things now, especially since your turtles have already been showing some signs of shell problems, illness. This is a warning sign that their diet and living conditions are not adequate and need to be changed.>
Both of my turtles can climb up the rock properly. My male turtle sits on the rock for the complete afternoon and till evening everyday. Many a times at night he sits and it seems like he doesn't want to get
down. My female turtle also gets on the rock everyday but not as much as the male turtle..
<It sounds like the basking rock you're using is adequate, and your male is doing fine with it -- but a couple of other things here to consider:
1. Make sure they can both fit on it at the same time. This is because they both need to be able to bask on it for several hours each day to stay healthy.
2. Make sure your female is not afraid to get on it or avoiding it when he's on it. You mentioned she doesn't bask nearly as much as he does -- and she also seems to be the turtle with more shell problems. My guess is she may be avoiding it either because he's on it, or because it's not warm enough for her. Try the heat bulb first; if she's still not getting out much on it; then you will likely need to get a 2nd basking spot just for her, or separate the two of them.
3. You absolutely need to have both a heat and a UVB light above it as described above.>
Also I wanted to add, about the behavior of my male turtle trying to scratch the face of my female, he does it no more..he has stopped doing that..and female turtle as such have no injuries till now..
Speaking about the nature, my female is more aggressive when it comes to food..
<As you mention here and in your last email, your turtles are already shown some signs of incompatibility. It's very common for one turtle to become the *dominant* one whenever you have 2 or more together. This is only going to become more pronounced as they become sexually mature. The one we're almost sure is a male is already almost there. Just something for you to keep a watch out for. Again, ideally I'd keep them separate, but short of that I'd recommend you feed them separately (you mentioned your female dominates here) AND get a MUCH larger container so that you can provide them with their own separate basking spots, and to enable you to divide up the larger tank with some rocks, fake plants, etc.), so that they can each have their own space and some privacy away from each other.>
<Regardless of compatibility, though -- either way you definitely need to get a MUCH larger enclosure for them.>
Thanks a lot..
<You're welcome, Sonal. We're happy to help. Write us back with any more questions or concerns and let us know how things are going.>

RES, Bruno from Brooklyn... moving out to the NJ shore pond/s... 7/19/10
Good morning crew,
<Hiya! Darrel here>
I adopted a RES, Bruno from Brooklyn, and is it turns out he is a she, and will be living out her life in the quiet Jersey suburbs.
< Years ago, I'd have agreed with you. But lately I'm not sure. There is some sort of show on Bravo TV these days '¦ I don't understand it because I only see glimpses as I surf the channels but it has something to do with women who live in New Jersey and if they represent life accurately, New Jersey is a frightening place!>
Her previous owner fed her mostly crickets and her shell, for lack of the scientific word.. .is messed up.
<That may an unscientific word, but all scientists understand it. A bad diet (which is what that diet was '¦ will absolutely mess up the shell AND do damage inside. Thank your for rescuing her! I'm sure Brunette thanks you too!>
I plan to make her permanent home my 1500 gal pond, complete with beach front property to avoid the egg bound issues.
Do I need to give her an acclimation period before moving her to the great outdoors? I'm anxious to get her on track with the proper foods and lighting.
<Not this time of year, no. She can just go right in. (but read below)>
I read the entire section on the RES and I was hysterical laughing at many times and I also learned a great deal.
<I'm always afraid that people are laughing at the inappropriate spots>
You all have helped me tremendously in the past with my goldies, whom are all doing wonderfully may I add. I appreciate all the effort and time you give, not to mention laughing while learning,
Sincerest thanks,
<no charge!>
<Laurie, there are a few major considerations about outdoor turtles -- all of which I've covered in an article that I've had in my head for almost 4 years that has yet to be put to paper. Maybe later this summer.>
<In the mean time:>
<For reasons no one understands, you can provide a turtle a WONDERFUL home, complete with food, water(duh!), rocks, sun, garden, beach, tiny little 7/11 on the corner .. just PERFECT '¦ and for whatever reason, the turtle just decides to up and walk away. Often we find them in the corner of the yard 6 months later, down in a hole they dug at the base of a bush'¦ dried out, hard as a carp and seemingly dead. We put them back in the pond, they wake up, hydrate, return to what passes for normal in turtle-land '¦ only to do it again in a month or a year or 5. If you can't fence the pond itself with hardware cloth twice the turtle's overall length plus a 4 inch inward lip or some other barrier, scope out the yard to find out what *IS* a perimeter you can secure. Remember all the letters you read where someone said "I found this slider walking down the road?" well, he wasn't on his way to work -- he was out of someone's unsecured yard.>
<Weather is your turtle's friend AND his enemy -- while it's true that turtles can survive over winter and even freeze over winter '¦ it's important to remember that not ALL survive the winters or the hibernation. Have a plan to house him indoors during the cool & cold months. It doesn't have to be elaborate, a tub in the garage with a heat lamp in the corner is fine, but letting nature take it's course isn't the best choice>
<Raccoons, possums and other critters can and do visit ponds for late night snacks. The good news is that they don't hunt while swimming -- they stand on the sides and reach down in -- so try to arrange the beach area so that the sides drop off quickly at water's edge>
<The best thing about a pond, Laurie '¦ is THERE'S ROOM FOR MORE TURTLES!!>

Questions about start-up care requirements for a red-eared slider turtle 6/24/10
Hi, my name is Rianie
<Hi Rianie; I'm Sue.>
I have just recently gotten a RES ( or red-ear slider) and it's still living in the little carry home tank that we brought it (home) in.
<Welcome to the club, Rianie! Sliders are interesting and entertaining pets. You didn't mention how many gallons your tank is or how big your turtle is, but a 'carry-home' tank to me suggests that it's too small, no matter what size turtle you have. Turtles like to have lots of room and water to swim around in. The size aquarium you need depends on how big your turtle is. A common guideline is a minimum of 10 gallons for each inch of shell length. The way to figure this out is to measure your turtle's top shell (carapace) from one end to the other -- do not follow the curve of his shell and don't include his head and legs, only his shell. So, as an example, if his shell length is 2', you would need at least a 20 gallon tank; 4' -- a 40 gallon and so on. A 'long' size aquarium would be better for your turtle to give him more surface area to swim. Keep in mind, though, that RES turtles grow to be about 8-12' long depending on whether it's a male or female, so you are eventually going to need a very large enclosure! However, there are some inexpensive alternatives to an aquarium in case you can't afford a larger size one right now; see the care link further down.>
I haven't had time to go get him a water heater.
<You don't need a water heater; more on this in a little bit '¦>
or even a heat lamp.
<'¦ However, you do need to buy both a heat lamp AND a separate UVB bulb -- right now -- for your turtle to haul out and bask under each day. See more on this below. And whenever your time allows and weather permits, taking him outside to walk around for a while on a warm, sunny day to get the benefit of 'real sunlight' will go a long way toward his overall health and well-being. If you do take him out once in a while though, make sure you don't allow him to leave your eyesight even for a minute or he could escape! As a pet, he no longer has the skills necessary to survive in the wild.>
But, I have been keeping its water clean and ward (warm?) enough for it.
<Water should be on the 'cool' side rather than the 'warm' side -- again read more on this below.>
<What specifically are you doing for filtration and/or cleaning, and how frequently? Water quality is one of the top concerns for a turtle's health as they eat, sleep and poop in their water. My take on filters for turtles is that you either go with a top brand filter that's 'rated' for several times the amount of actual water in your aquarium (because turtles are so much messier than fish!), or don't waste your money on a cheap one. It won't be able to keep up with all the waste, and you won't be saving yourself any 'maintenance time'. However, you do what you're able depending on how much you can spend. Just know that without a top filter, you will need to do much more frequent cleaning. Besides water changes, you also need to clean up any leftover food and poop immediately after you feed him before it breaks down and decays the water.>
My question is......How long can he live like this?
<Your turtle doesn't need a lot, but what he does need, he must have and you should get now, otherwise you're going to land up with a very sick turtle. Below are the minimum requirements you need to put in place right now:
(1) Proper size enclosure: see above.
(2) Proper filtration; VERY clean water (as above) or he will become ill: see the link below and adjust your care if different.
(3) Basking area: An easy to access, dry area in his tank for him to haul out of the water to warm up and completely dry off each day; otherwise his shell can develop fungus or a disease called Shell Rot. I've personally had good results with the Zoo-Med floating dock. It comes in assorted sizes and has 4 suction cups that attach to the glass. However, there are many options; the care link below lists several other good ideas.
(4) Heat lamp above the basking area: Turtles need to bask in warm air to properly digest their food otherwise it will rot in their stomach. See more below about proper temperatures for both land and water.
(5) UVB bulb above the basking area: UVB helps turtles to make/absorb calcium which they need for proper shell health and growth; otherwise they become much more prone to disease.
(6) Proper diet: Diet is simple and can include a good quality pellet like ReptoMin or Koi; various greens or aquatic plants, and an occasional earthworm (once every week or so) as a treat. The most common mistake a lot of people make is to overfeed. Only feed your turtle as much as he can eat in 5 minutes or so; preferably in the morning to give him the day to digest it under his basking light. Turtles under a year old can be fed once a day; after that 2-3 times per week, or every other day is all that's needed.>
<If you're unable to provide all the things listed above right now, the best thing would be to return the turtle. The good news, though, is that none of these things HAVE to be expensive! In fact, below is a link to a very helpful guide that will give you options at both ends of the cost range as well as much more complete information about how to care for your new turtle.>
And how would I know if he prefers water to land? Or is it a fifty to fifty chance that he needs to be able to move between them both?
<Your turtle needs time both in the water and on dry 'land' each day. He will decide which one based on whether he feels like warming up or cooling down. Turtles require the outside environment to regulate their internal body temperature and organ functioning (i.e., as noted above they need the warmth of the basking light to properly digest their food). They need to be given a clear choice between cool water and warm land. A water heater is not needed or recommended. If your turtle's water is too warm, he won't want to get out of the water to bask. His water temperature should be around room temperature, in the low 70's range (around 70-72 degrees F). His basking temperature under the bulbs should be around 88-89 degrees. Pet stores sell both water and land thermometers to make it easier to check.>
I would also like to know how can I tell how old he is?
<At best, you can only 'guestimate' how old your turtle is. You can try to guess his age by his size; however, it's not a reliable indicator as many factors like diet, temperature, and environment affect how fast a turtle grows. You didn't mention his size, but roughly speaking, male turtles reach sexual maturity when they're around 4 inches in length, and become adults when they're around 7-9 inches. Females reach sexual maturity a little later than males starting at about 5' long, and adulthood when they're around 10-12 inches.>
< Rianie, please do read the linked guide above, and put all the necessary things in place right now for your new turtle to assure that you will both have many happy years together! Write back if you have any more concerns after reading everything through. Good luck with your new turtle and let us know how things are going! Sue>

Small red worms in RES habitat 5/21/10
Dear Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
Last year I built a 350 gallon pond in my yard. Within 2 weeks a large (6 inch shell) Red Eared Slider moved in.
<Amazing how they do that, isn't it? People will write in to say that they had a turtle living in a pond in the back yard and one day it just disappeared. Another will write in to say they found on wondering down the middle of the street, and then some write in to say that a turtle moved in and made itself at home. They do that. A 12 inch high fence topped with a 4 inch inward-facing lip in the only way to assure that the turtle stays safe>
I began feeding him HBH Turtle Bites.
<I use Koi pellets. It's 100% perfectly balanced for Sliders, Cooters & family and has the added benefit of being inexpensive>
I now consider him a pet.
<A word of warning - don't let him anywhere near your checkbook or credit cards - Sliders are completely irresponsible with money!>
Yesterday I took the filter system apart for cleaning. Inside the filter I found dozens of tiny red worms. Can you tell me what they are and what I can do about them?
<Hard to see from way over here, so I can't give you a name for them. What I can tell you is that the slider could easily have been carrying their eggs when he moved in, fish - especially feeder fish introduced into the pond and even bird droppings can all introduce a wide variety of worms into the system.>
<How to get rid of them involves a great many issues: You don't write anything about the pond's eco-system. Fish? Plants? If it's just the turtle, you can add a tiny bit of chlorine bleach (1 cup per week) will keep the water inhospitable. If you have plants and/or fish, the best you can do is keep the water clean, do regular water changes -- and keep the filter clean-clean-clean!>
<In any case, take the filter components out -- every part you can disconnect including the pump, prescreens, etc. and wash them separately in fresh water, then give them a soak in bleach (1 cup per 10 gallons) for an hour and then a thorough rinsing.>

Red Eared Slider turtles, sys./pond -- 05/21/10
I found a large red eared slider today and am trying to find a pond to put it in. Hopefully the people up the street will allow me to that. My question is are they generally safe in that environment? I live in the Houston, TX area and the winters can get cold, but not for long periods of time. The pond is quite large but I don't know if there are any other turtles.
<Mmm, if there are resident turtles, and yours is not "too small", in good health, it should go in such a pond/setting. Houston is fine year-round for Trachemys spp.... About the biggest challenge/worry is the presence, likelihood of predators... Perhaps better to offer such a pet on Craig's List, Local Fish Stores... Bob Fenner>
Red Eared Slider turtles, Neale's go
I found a large red eared slider today and am trying to find a pond to put it in. Hopefully the people up the street will allow me to that. My question is are they generally safe in that environment? I live in the Houston, TX area and the winters can get cold, but not for long periods of time. The pond is quite large but I don't know if there are any other turtles.
<Hello Rebecca. You really should contact your local Fish & Wildlife Bureau or Animal Rescue. Releasing animals back into the wild is a tricky problem.
Turtles may not be native to the ponds or streams in your area, so releasing it into a nearby waterway has the potential to cause serious ecological damage. If you keep pet fish or reptiles, there's a chance it could pick up infections from you or the holding equipment, and transport those infections into the wild. If the pet turtle is an escapee from a home vivarium, it will have no idea about predators and dangers, so if released will soon be eaten by a passing dog or squished by a motor car. In short, resist the urge to set it loose, because that wouldn't be kind, helpful, and may not even be legal. Call the right people who know how to handle this sort of problem.
Cheers, Neale.>

Worms in RES tank!! 5/13/10
Hi guys,
<Hiya Dale - Darrel here>
As if I haven't been pestering you enough recently I have another problem!
<never too late to correct that>
I noticed today that there are hundreds of tiny little white worms in my tank! they are clinging to the glass and are floating in the water, they look disgusting and I want to get rid of them. Gonna do a thorough clean and filter/water change this weekend which will
hopefully get rid of them but I'm wondering if they are an internal parasite and if they are harming the turtles.
<Yes and '¦ probably not in "normal" quantities, but as an epidemic, yes>
I did a bit of Googling and checked out some things on Planaria and nematodes, Planaria seem a bit bigger than my guests and nematodes seem scary so I don't want it to be them! I don't feed the guys in the tank and most of there poop is done in the feeding tank which begs the question, what are the worms eating?? I have noticed that I have had zero algae build up recently but I put that down to moving the tank out of sunlight for the summer. I'm going to do an epic clean but just wondering if you know what they are?
<First, regarding the cleaning - find a temp home for the turtles. Fill their tank an extra inch higher than normal and add 1/2 cup of bleach for every 5 gallons of actual water (not tank size, but actual water volume). Remove your filter media and throw it away but keep your filters running during this sterilization -- assume that the worms are everywhere the turtles went and/or everywhere their water touched. Run the system for 24 hours (make sure you have ventilation - chlorine fumes are bad news) and then drain, refill with clean tap water, run for 4 hours '¦ drain & refill again>
I found a thread with a link to this pic which looks exactly like my fellas but the last post in the thread was from a guy claiming to work for a herp vet and he said they have threadworms and will die. I'm hoping he's an idiot! http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v431/buslady/Animals/Cody%20and%20Spot/DSC08531.jpg
<Well, to me they look like most round worms look like in a picture. You could take a few in a baggie to your local vet and ask him to identify them -- but the fact is that identifying them doesn't change anything. We still have to isolate the turtles and clean the system and regardless of what type they are, they got there the same way: either bad food or bad hygiene - both problems you can fix.>
As always thank you so much and I would certainly be lost without your past help!
<You're never lost Dale, as long as you know where YOU are. From time to time the place you're GOING might be lost '¦ but never YOU.>
Tokyo (formerly Essex ;p)

RES and little red worms 4/2/10
<Hiya! - Darrel here>
I have 3 15 year old Red Eared Sliders that I have raised since they were babies.
Last night I cleaned the filter on their habitat and noticed little red worms living in it. I haven't seen any within the tank or basking dock itself. What are these?
<Tiny worms or larvae are not uncommon living in the filters, Rona. The filters are an ideal breeding place for such creatures. There's never any sure way of knowing how they got there, either. Often times it's from eggs that were inside live food (this is one of the reasons we discourage feeder goldfish, etc.) but it could easily be the larvae of the eggs of some insect that just flew in.>
And can they be dangerous for the turtles or me?
<Not Dangerous with a capital "D" no, but not something you want on your hands or body either. Here's the plan:>
<Move the turtles to a temporary home and sterilize the tank by adding chlorine bleach. One cup per gallon of water [approx 75ml per liter] (not the size of your tank, but actual volume of water - including filters).
Let the setup run for 24 hours, drain & rinse well with fresh water, then break it down and wash with soap (such as dish detergent). Fill again and run the setup for 24 hours, then drain, rinse and refill. This is a long process, but you have to kill the worms and any larva and/or eggs that they've left behind. This is why we run the setup with the filter and gravel and basking areas, etc. - every area the contaminated water could touch.>
<Now to prevent this, never introduce wild animals, feeder fish, plants or untreated water into the tank.>
Thanks for your time,
<yer Welcome>
R. Adams

RES.. sys./temp. 2/1/2010
I just want to know....how hot is "too hot" for my two RES..they are about 3 inches, I'm not sure if they are males or females? I keep their water at about 77-81 degrees (temp changes through out the day) and their basking area
ranges from 88-93 degrees depending on how close the light is to their basking area. They eat fine, they bask fine. One of them always bites the other one. I just don't want to over heat my turtles, please answer my question;) thank you.
<Try switching off the heater that warms the water. Let the water get cool.
So long as the water isn't very cold, less than say 60 degrees F, your Red-Ear Sliders will be fine. Optimal water temperature is probably around 68 F, if they also have a heating lamp. What will happen is they will warm up under their basking light, and cool down in the water. Reptiles are VERY good at using behaviour to control body temperature. Do read here:
Darrel explains all the requirements these animals need in terms of temperature. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: RES.. Sys. basking area 2/1/10
Thank you!! Is there a set temperature that the basking area should not get any warmer than?
<Much above 30 degrees C would be bad.>
Or should I just keep the water cool enough so if they do get too hot they can cool off?
<Largely, yes, they will cool down in the water if needs be. But if the air is too hot under the UV-B lamp, they will not be able to produce the vitamins they need, and ultimately, they will get sick. So they need to be able to spend around 8 hours a day basking under their UV-B lamp.>
Sent from my iPhone
<Sent from my Mac. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: RES..
Thank you for your time!
<My pleasure. Cheers, Neale.>

Red Eared Slider, gen. 1/9/2010
<Hiya right back! - Darrel here>
I've just come across this site through a few others whilst looking for help for my Red Eared Slider.
<Fortunate for you!>
I've grown really attached to him and his filter helps me sleep at night so I would like to find out how to help him and fast to be honest because I don't want him to die or get seriously ill.
First question, what filter would you recommended using? Because at the moment, me and my boyfriend know that we are using the wrong filter but we are unsure of what filter is best to have. Some people have told us Fluval and others have said Eheim and now we just don't know what to do.
<I only use filters for water circulation, Louise. Unlike fish, turtles produce so much waste that it's usually foolish to try to get a biological filter going. Primarily you keep their water clean by changing it regularly. As long as it circulates the water and keeps in pretty clear, it doesn't matter which one to use. If you didn't have one and were buying one, I'd go for an external canister filter sized for the aquarium the turtle is in. What I mean by that is this: if you have a 55 gallon tank used for a turtle, that tank is less than HALF as full of water as it would be for fish '¦ so if you buy a filter appropriate for a 55 gallon fish tank, it's more than good enough for a turtle tank. The other thing I look for '¦ is what kind of filters my local fish store carries, because it's frustrating when you need a replacement part for your Fluval and you find that all the stores in your area carry Eheim parts.>
Second question, I think our Red Eared Slider might have a Respiratory Infection or something. He has no mucus or anything around his eyes, they are perfectly fine, the same as his nose as well. But this morning, I noticed that what looked as if he was yawning but it seemed more of him opening his mouth to catch something. He did this about twice, normally it's just a one of thing. No bubbles were released while he did this under water, he hasn't done it above the water.
<So far, sounds OK>
Also, I seem to hear like a click noise or something. Do they make any sound? Because my boyfriend thinks that I'm hearing things but it sounds as if he clicks, again he does this rarely as well. He basks on his island that we have for him,
<Your boyfriend basks on an island????>
but he prefers to bask when were out the room (which is most of the day) or when we are watching TV etc when we can't see/watch him - I've read that this is normal for Red Eared Sliders (?).
<The clicking sound is common, as is the yawning behavior. If there's nothing else wrong, then don't worry>
He is still eating his food and he even swims backwards and forwards looking excited and lifts his head out the water when we go to feed him. We feed him - King British Turtle & Terrapin complete food, King British Tubifex natural food and some bloodworms (these foods aren't given all at the same time by the way either).
<Good. I raise my sliders from hatchlings to breeding adults on a stable diet of Koi pellets. It's completely balanced for them. Repto-min is another trusted brand, identical to Koi pellets - just at a much higher cost>
And he's still swimming etc, so he is acting pretty normal to me apart from at night when we turn his light off, it takes him forever to go to sleep or sometimes if I fall asleep before he settles, I seem to think he's had no sleep at all (but that just might be me worrying). Sometimes he's up about 4-6 hours after I've gone to bed and I can hear him banging around in the tank.
<This is all normal behavior for a Turtle '¦ but kinda weird for a boyfriend>
So is there any sign of a slight Respiratory Infection?
<not so far>
Because as I said above, I really don't want the cute thing to get ill and right now me and my boyfriend are pretty low on cash as well but if he has to see a vet then we're willing to dig into our pockets to get him to one but I'd rather use that as a last resort to be really honest with you, why I asked on here to make sure and to find out some advice.
<no trip to the vet right now!>
Thank you and I'm so sorry if I have confused you or not made any sense anywhere, it's really difficult trying to explain what's going on with him.
<You did very well, Louise! I enjoyed reading about the turtle and to make a joke or two about your boyfriend as well.>
<Your turtle seems fine, so relax a little. Then read this care sheet. It covers all the basics of turtle care. There are many fine resources out there on slider care, and some may even disagree with what's in this sheet. It's important for you to know that if any information disagrees with this care sheet, they're wrong and the sheet is right!>
<As long as you keep him well fed, well lighted and his tank CLEAN, you should be fine.>
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>

Red eared slider questions... diet, sys., the universe! -- 01/03/10
Hi Darryl...What a GREAT service you guys provide!!
<We do it because we like to help. And for the free food>
Unfortunately the only vet we had in our area who specialized in exotics recently retired so it's a very valuable resource that you provide! Thank you so much for your very informative response and hilarious one as well!
<Bob Fenner says that I'm 'funny' but he doesn't smile when he says it, usually he's shaking his head '¦.. hmmmmm><<Hey, where IS that free food? RMF>>
I very much enjoyed your humor (are all of you professional writers as well?!)
<I've been described as an unprofessional writer>
Always good to end the day with a few good laughs, especially after one week off with 2 kids! I hate to confess but I take better care of our turtle than MY kids also!! (though haven't caved to Pop Tarts, soda or potato chips just yet :-) ).
Thanks for the insight about changing turtle's home. I actually thought he would welcome more space! Got an A+ in HUMAN psychology in college, but guess I have a ways to go before figuring out the inner psyche of a turtle!
<Don't ever let a turtle near your ATM card -- they have NO impulse control>
Thank you also for your other ideas; will try them out! Wasn't sure, though, about a couple of them you mentioned - hope you don't mind answering a couple of more questions! Again, thanks so much for taking the time to read all this...
* Re: nocturnal light - Would it be better to not have this? We put this in not for a night light, but to keep the air temp inside his aquarium warm during the night. We keep the regular room air on the cool side - 68 degrees, so air temp quickly drops in his aquarium if no source of heat is provided.
<True, but the outside air temp in most of his natural range drops below 68 at night for 80% of year as well. What we want here is a light and heat cycle that falls into his natural zone. That said, I'm not sure it HURTS, either. Take it out and see what happens>
We chose black because it seemed to emit the least light. The red bulb seemed overly bright.
<And Red Lights have that whole Honky-Tonk 'I'm the cheap kind of turtle you don't take home to Mama: kind of feel, too. With a black light, the worst that happens is that the turtle grows up very laid back, with an almost unnatural affinity for 'stairway to heaven' or 'in a gadda da vida'>
* I also assume that this black reptile bulb is NOT the same as the dangerous black light??
<Yes. Black light is UV-A (long wave) UV-C is germicidal (very short wave)>
* Re: live food - you mentioned not feeding live food but said you
feed earthworms.
<Right -- what I meant was trying to duplicate what appears to be live food within their environment as if they'll hunt their own. Live food that occurs within that system is not really that much of their diet yet are often heavy with bugs and parasites that are bad for them -- very much like my ex wife's cooking>
<Earthworms are not carriers of pathogens that are harmful too them. Just a bit on the fatty side, which is why I use them as occasional treats>
Do you feed these live or cut them up first?
<Saute' in garlic with finely chopped parsley and cilantro>
<NO!!! Just one live one, usually on the basking area>
* Re: aquarium heater: You mentioned removing the heater in the water if we have one. Yes we do have one, and put it in the aquarium back when we got him because we read that young turtles should have a water temperature of around 80 degrees.
<Again, they'd never see 80 degree water in their range unless some backwoods redneck in Georgia was cooking him for dinner. 68 degree water is just fine as long as he has a basking area that's in the mid to upper 80's>
It's a black (not glass) thermometer, good quality one with protective sheath. I know if we remove it, the water temp. will drop quite a bit. Is a lower water temp ok for young turtles, and would it outweigh the potential risk of our thermometer causing a micro-leak of electrical energy?
<yeah -- we want to offer a range and let him choose>
Thanks so much Darryl, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!
<yer Welcome!>
<[EDITOR'S NOTE: On behalf of Wet Web Media and all the rest of the crew, we would like to take this opportunity to apologize to Comedians, Professional Writers, Psychologists, Honky-Tonks, Jimmy Page & Robert Plant from Led Zeppelin, Doug Ingle/Iron Butterfly, Ex-wives in general, Rednecks, the State of Georgia (except for East Dublin) and of course, to you, the reader. Sigh -- we were all hoping that the meds would have kicked in by now]>

Red Ear Sliders question, sys., Algicide use 11/20/09
I have two baby red ear slider turtles in a 10-gallon tank with an overflow filter and a UVB lamp that is on 10 -12 hours a day. The rocks in the tanks are getting lots of algae and I was wondering if it's safe to put
algaecide in the water.
<Neither safe nor sensible. Using an Algicide is like vacuuming a carpet:
it gets rid of the dirt that's there, but doesn't stop the dirt coming right back. Total waste of money. Algae will grow in any tank with adequate light and moisture. The spores come in via the air and presumably drinking water, as well as attached to whatever rocks, filter media, animals you have. The best approach is simply to accept it, and wipe away with a sponge or plastic scrubber whatever is excessive. Nothing you can do with chemicals will stop it coming back. Installing some fast-growing floating plants like Indian Fern will dramatically improve things, and prevent algal grown below the waterline. Algae becomes a pest when there's an imbalance between the number/size of the animals, the amount of plants, and the volume of the water. Big tanks that are lightly stocked and have lots of fast-growing plants rarely have algae problems. The further you are away from that ideal, the more likely algae problems become.>
The local pet shops don't know the answer to that question, so I figured I'd ask you guys. Took the whole thing apart yesterday and cleaned it, but the algae will be back before I know it.
<Indeed it will. As you presumably realise, a 10-gallon tank is adequate for at most three or four months where Sliders are concerned. As they grow, they pollute more and more, and the more nitrate and phosphate in the water, the faster the algae grows. Within a year or two, your two Sliders will need a tank 55 gallons or more. Do not underestimate their growth rate, and do not ignore the fact males are very aggressive.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Question about baby Sliders, sys., fdg. -- 11/09/2009
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I had a concern about my two Red Eared Sliders. I got them as a anniversary gift from my husband from a local girl who's turtles had babies.
<Generally speaking, we don't recommend pets as gifts, but they are great, low maintenance pets!>
They are really small, as in a tiny bit bigger than a quarter. One of them loves the water and is very active, just never seems to want to leave the water. The other is always in it's shell and always basking, never seems to want to go into the water. Just recently he/she started to burrow itself under the rock bank we have set up for them. Is that normal?
<No, it's not. Possibly there's something about the setup that he doesn't like, or that scares him>
I feed them both in a separate container when I put them outside to get some sun, I've never seen them eat though.. I think it might be because they are eating the plant I purchased at the pet store for them.
<That could be -- BUT it's really important that we know they are feeding, so I suggest that you remove the plant for now ... and anything else edible, so that we have control over their food and can eventually watch
them eat.>
I was recommended to get TeraFauna ReptoMin that has 3 foods in 1.
<Great food. Koi pellets are an almost identical food that cost a lot less, but ReptoMin is excellent>
Again, I've never seen them eat it. Their enclosure is a 20 gallon long tank, with a water filter, water heater and bank of rocks set up for basking with a light. I could really use some answers from someone who
knows what they are talking about!
<Well unfortunately, You got me instead!>
<Remove the water heater and let the water become room temperature. The difference between cool and warm is what causes them to swim, bask, etc. Our job is to offer them the choice. As the tank cools, I'd expect the one that swims all the time to start to bask more. We'll get to the other one last.>
<As far as feeding is concerned, feeding them outside of their tank is a good thing to help keep the water clean and at least for now, when we're not sure, gives us the ability to verify that they are or are not.>
<When a baby sits on land all the time all closed up (not basking/relaxing)
it may be because he's sick, weak, afraid ... or simply not happy. It's not easy to find which. I've seen Sliders take a walk from a pond and bury themselves in a garden somewhere -- and each time I bring them back, they stay a day or two and take another walk & repeat the behavior.
Changing basking areas, moving rocks and other rearrangement can often make it seem "new" to them and allow them to settle. You'll have to experiment on this issue.>
<I'm enclosing two links, one on general care - that will give you guidelines against which you can measure your care and one for illnesses, which explains how you can take a turtle out of it's habitat and keep it
warm & dry for a week or so. This isolation technique might be just enough of a change or rest that the shy one needs to kick-start his normal behaviors. Just remember to continue the sun/feeding routine each day.>
Thank you for your time,
<Write back and let us know how they're doing!>
<care: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>

Re: A Slider Age Question -- 11/09/2009
Hey again,
Thanks for the information. Glad to know I now have a baby and not a hatchling. In response to the UV light. I have a lamp on her with a 75 watt UV bulb. I keep a thermometer at it and it does not get over 87f. I
have it placed 12 inches about her platform. Is this warm enough for basking?
<That's perfect! Is the lamp specifically a UV lamp or just a heat lamp?>
I am making myself keep her temp down. Hard to do. She just lays at the heater and does not want to move around much. Which by the way is not glass. I have read the stories about the RES and glass.
<If she won't leave the water even as it cools down, you can first try putting her under the UV & heat lamps and see if she'll stay for a while (this may take many attempts). If not, try rearranging things -- sometimes
there is just some sort of reptilian Fung-Shui going on where they just don't "like" something. Big rock, vibration from a filter ... something that makes them nervous. Failing that, isolate her for a week using the
technique described in the link below. She needs to get dry, warm and under UV light far more than she needs to be wet -- 5 minutes a day in the water is enough to keep her hydrated and healthy .. but we need to get her basking.>
Now about the confusion thing. Your site did not confuse me. Everything is very clear on your site. I have visited probably 50 different sites trying to learn everything I can about the RES. Most sites have the same
info concerning feeding, water quality and safety. The water temp on some sites do say to keep the temp at 80f for a hatchling. Of course being a new mom I was wanting to make her as comfortable as possible.
<I understand. 80 is hotter than any water they'd ever survive in outside. While it's true that I wouldn't let a hatchling into 60 degree water (which is fine for a healthy adult), normal room temperature for
humans (72-75) is perfect water temp for even a hatchling>
Thanks for the response. Great to know there is somewhere to go for answers.
<Thank You>

Re: Age Question, sys. RMF wants to ask, "Whatever happened to books?" -- 11/09/2009
Hello again,
The bulb I am using is All Living Things basking bulb for reptiles. It is a 75 watt UVA Incandescent bulb. I did not really look at it before, just bought it at a pet store. Does she need another kind of bulb?
<Yes - basking lamps are typically UV-A which is essentially the visible & heat spectrum. What you need in addition is UV-B which emit the wavelengths needed to synthesize Vitamin D and many other healthy things.
Look into ZooMed's Repti-Sun brands as they're usually available on-line for reasonable prices>
Tried putting her on the basking platform numerous times and she just swan dives off fast. She is in her old plastic container with her lamp on her now.
<It's a forced method, but at least she's heating and drying off. (make sure you don't cook her) but keep her warm except for a few minutes a day in a shallow bowl of water. Read that link about treating common
illnesses. Even though she doesn't seem to be ill, the warm & dry housing routine is still beneficial for her at this point -- at least for a few days. AFTER you put her back in the water, she probably WILL hide in the
water overnight, so don't let that surprise or discourage you>
And I think you are right about the reptilian Fung-Shui. I had cleaned her tank last week and moved some things around for my taste and did not take into consideration it is her home and not mine. So everything has been put back like it was. Hope this helps. I have even made the comment before about how she doesn't like change.
<Neither do I>
Thanks, TJ

Re: Age Question... RES care -- 11/10/09
Do I keep her completely out of the tank for a few days? Or do I keep her out during the day and put her back in at night? In her plastic container she sometimes ends belly up and I don't want her to get stuck like that.
<The container should be big enough that she can get away from under the direct heat of her basking lamp>
Also, if she is a water turtle why is water bad for her?
<Water is her natural habitat, yes. But nature is cruel to the weak and stressed. If she's weakened in any way that she can't properly regulate her metabolism by heating & cooling she'll eventually be too weak to swim and drown.>
Why can't I make her a dry tank and just dip her maybe twice a day?
<Perfect! here's the link again, read the part on how to keep a turtle warm & dry:

Basking concerns, RES 10/17/09
Dear Crew
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I am a fairly new owner of two red eared sliders. They are active, seem to eat well and generally seem to be doing well. I'm concerned that I do not see them out basking and know this is essential to their health. They are in a 55 gallon aquarium set up where they have both water and land, as well as several other areas they can get out of the water to bask. I do have a calcium bone in the water that I can see they are using. I have pellets that I feed them, as well as some dried shrimp occasionally and some soft meaty food. I have tried to give them some romaine lettuce, but they do not eat it.
<Nor should they. Koi pellets or Repto-min turtle sticks (either one) are a completely balanced diet for Red Eared Sliders. That and an occasional earth worm as a treat (maybe one or two a month) is all they need.>
They also will only eat food if I put it in the water, they will not come out to get anything from the dish in the dry area.
<Sliders are water feeders, which is to say that they primarily eat what they find in the water. The will, from time to time, climb up on a bank and snatch something and then drag it back into the water in order to eat it. You should hand feed them>
I have a basking lamp over the dry land area and a UV light over the water area. It's possible they could be out basking when I am not around, as they are still pretty skittish when there's movement around the tank.
Should I be concerned and/or is there something else I should be doing to encourage them to come out of the water? Also, I have the basking lamp on a timer and do not use the night heating lamp, is that night lamp necessary?
<You should always be concerned .. just not worried. The first thing to do is make sure you have a temperature gradient. If the water is warm enough they won't feel the need to bask even though they need it. The water should never be above room temperature and the basking area around 85-90 degrees. This way they have clear choices..>
<No lights or heat at night ... let everything cool naturally and then it will all cycle again in the morning. Here's a care guide we have -- check your conditions against the guide and correct anything that's not quite in order: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>

RES turtle questions... sys./lambda, hlth. 9/27/09
hello crew,
I have two red eared sliders, like 4/5 months old.
I don't have a heating lamp yet because it is pretty hot out here.
<If you live somewhere warm, i.e., temperature doesn't drop below, say, 18 degrees C/64 degrees F for more than a few days, then a heater may not be required. However, you MUST have a UV-B lamp. This needs to go above the basking rock. Contrary to popular misconception, a plain heating lamp isn't
adequate or even essential. But a UV-B lamp is utterly essential. Without this, their bones and shell, among other things, won't form properly. The UV-B light is used for vitamin synthesis. Outdoors, they'd get this from sunlight, but indoors they won't. Since glass blocks UV-B, even putting the tank next to a sunny window won't help.>
one turtle is much lighter in color than the other one.
Its shell is a little bit soft and sometimes he shakes his head as if he wants to get rid of it. (his head)
the other one is doing fine.
Lately they have been sleeping all day. Hibernating?
<No; these turtles really don't hibernate much, and certainly shouldn't in captivity.>
Not pooping, not eating
But they are not dead. should i keep them awake, or should i just let them do what they want to do?
please help. :( thank you in advance.
<More than likely a lack of calcium in their diet and a lack of UV-B light for vitamin synthesis. First step is to call a vet, so your sickly turtle can get a check-up and a vitamin booster shot. With that done, install a
UV-B lamp over the basking spot. Note you're after a UV-B lamp, not a UV-A
light, not a heating light, and not an aquarium light. Cheers, Neale.>

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

Red Ear Sliders... sys. 8/18/09
<Hiya - Darrel here>
We just purchased three very small red eared sliders for our children ......
<Meaning that they get to ooh and ahh over them for a while before they lose interest and then you and your wife get to care for them forever, right? Well cheer up, they're fun and easy to care for and with the exception of a very few individuals, Red Eared Sliders will NEVER borrow your car and back it into a post, start dating people you find totally creepy or decide that DAD is a 3 letter synonym for ATM>
..... and we are wanting to ask a few questions about setting up the tank.
We used to have salt water fish that were in a fairly good sized bio ball filtration tank. The tank has been thoroughly cleaned (including the balls being removed and hosed clean) and empty for more than 4 months. Our question relates to the safety of using this tank for the turtles. We understand that there needs to be a 2/3 v. 1/3 water v. ground area, which is fine, but we are concerned that the previous use may impact the safety of the water for the turtles.
<AS long as it's been rinsed thoroughly I wouldn't see it as a problem.>
Should we fill the tank and let the filter run for a few days and test the water before we move the turtles or should we simply start in a basic glass aquarium?
<It never hurts to run things for a while, just to check on how things settle (pumps, hoses, leaks, etc.) but in general the only thing I'd tell you is that it's almost a fantasy to get a biological filter in balance in a reptile environment. The biowaste they produce easily overwhelms all but the mightiest biofilters. Filtration is GOOD and it's IMPORTANT, but get used to the idea of bi-monthly siphoning and refilling and monthly to quarterly draining and cleaning.>
<here is a like that contains everything need to know. The information in here is enough to raise hatchlings into fully grown adults that produce their own babies:
Thanks in advance for your help.
<Worth every penny!!!! Keep in touch as things progress!>

Re: Red Ear Sliders and lizards in plastic container... tog.!? 8/18/09
<Yes!!!!!!! Not like you win anything for the correct guess, but you're right! It's me!!!!>
Thanks for the reply.
<That's why I'm here! That and the free food>
I forgot to ask you one other question. We also have an anole (just 1) which is rather small....maybe 3-4 inches long. Could the three sliders co-exist in the same aquarium?
We are also contemplating using our glass aquarium for the sliders as opposed to the acrylic one and if we keep the anole in the same aquarium, we will probably have a 50/50 ratio of land versus water. Any thoughts?
<I have lots of thoughts, Mark, but over the years I've learned not to give into them or listen to those little voices ......>
<Um..... OK, first. Sliders and acrylic aquariums are a bad combination.
No matter how small they are, they manage to scratch the inside of almost every square inch of the tank in a very short time. I think they work in shifts and one may even stand on another's head to reach the hard to get places, but in less time than you can imagine they'll have the whole tank looking like someone sanded it.>
<Second, putting an Anole into a vivarium sounds like a good idea, since turtles and anoles occupy different niches within similar eco-systems, but the problem is that sliders are called "non specific feeders" which means that -- much like my brother in law -- they'll eat just about anything they can find as long as it's easy, cheap and doesn't require leaving a tip.
As soon as you start mixing animals in this manner you're creating an eco-system and eco-systems come with a thing called a food chain.>
<So .... no.>

UVB light 07/23/09
Hi crew! It's me again, Felix from Malaysia XD
<Hiya Felix, Darrel here is Los Angeles!>
I have 3 Red Ear Sliders, I got everything except UVB light, it's super hard to get it here, just wanna ask, those full spectrum fluorescent light for fish tank, do they give UVB? I saw a lot, like those that kill germ, those for aquarium plants... I plan to keep them outside under the sun, but they're still small, their shell less than 2.5 inches long... Any better idea
<Natural sunlight is by far the very best and only UV the turtles need, Felix. That is IF they can get it directly -- it can't be filtered through glass of any kind and even screen the size of window screen or mosquito netting. Also, if they are outside, make sure that they have shade where they can get away from the sun -- and lastly, that there is enough water that the sunshine doesn't make the water too hot. Remember, a small tub of water left in the summer sun will easily reach 120 degrees and that can kill your little friends.>
<Inside the house, they really should have a dedicated UV bulb, but on the other hand I have used full spectrum bulbs myself for many years. The Vita Lite by Duro is a full spectrum bulb that I used for many years and should
be easy to get since they have many uses. Just remember that the effective range of the UV declines significantly beyond 8 to 10 inches and place the bulb accordingly>

Re: Answer hazy: ask again... RES question 7/22/09
<Hiya- Darrel here>
I have another question for you. Last night the water in my tank was crystal clear. After a four hour time span, the water went from clear to cloudy. My filter seems to be working fine. Do you have any idea on what could be causing this to happen?
Thank you.
<It's really hard to say without knowing some background. How long has the vivarium been set up? When was the last time anything new (substrate, rock, etc) was added? The obvious first place to look is something that was added like a rock, a branch, etc. that simply wasn't clean. Second is an explosion of microorganisms due to sudden change in temperature and too much organic matter (food & feces) in the water. This often happens when a filter is turned on again after cleaning -- people don't realize that the insides of the tubes and hoses slowly build up a mucus layer and when a filter is stopped, cleaned and turned on again, these small growths dislodge and cloud the water.>
<The problem is, without knowing what was different 24 hours ago, it's just random guesses. Write back with more info .. more details .... and I'll try to make more specific guesses.>

Re: Answer hazy: ask again 7/22/09
Dear Crew
<Hiya - Darrel here>
Sorry for not giving you any information to work with. The whole tank has been set up for almost two days.
<In that case let's not worry about it. Drain it, rinse it out along with
everything in it, set it up again and let's move forward>
I got my Red Eared Slider as a gift.
<I hope it was a gift you asked for and not an impulse purchase>
The tank doesn't have much in it. 3 rocks that we previously cleaned before we put them in the tank. An artificial plant that came in the kit. Finally the turtles and the filter. The Temp of the tank seemed to have dropped also. I don't know if that has anything to do with it. I am worried that I may be harming my turtles, the temp. at the moment is a low 70. It was 60 when the lamps were not on and with the lamps on its still a low 70. Do you have any suggestions on how to raise the temp.
<The water temp should be whatever your room temperature is. 60 to 75 degrees is fine, because the turtles climb out on the basking area to heat up under the lamp. The point is to let them choose to be warm or cool>
<Here's a link that covers all the basic aspects of care. Turtles don't need much ... but they absolutely HAVE to have what they need. Please check all aspects of your care against this article and I'd bet they'll
live long and healthy lives.>
Thank you for any information you can give me.
<Yer welcome!>

RES question, sys., gen... 7/21/2009
Hello. I just got two RES today as a gift. Along with the turtles i received a "Zilla deluxe aquatic turtle kit".
<Interesting product. The 20 gallon tank should hold in you in good stead for a few years, but do bear in mind Red-ear Sliders get to dinner-plate size eventually, and will outgrow that vivarium.>
It cam with 2 8.5 dome fixtures and a 75W day blue light blub and a tropical 25 13W UVB fluorescent Coil bulb. i was just wondering if at night do i turn off those lights or should i keep both on?
<Switch them off at night; indeed, a timer set to 12 hours on, 12 hours off would be ideal. You can pick one of these for a few quid (or dollars, or whatever) from most hardware stores, and a two-way adapter stuck into the timer would mean you could control both lights from the same timer.
I have no idea on how to take care of these adorable turtles and i hope you can help me.
<Do read here:
Red-ear sliders are pretty easy to keep, but there are some things to watch for. You've got the UV-B issue covered, and presumably warmth too with the daylight bulb, but the other issues are regular water changes, a greens-based diet, and a regular source of calcium so that they develop their bones and shell properly.>
Thank you,
<Good luck with your new pets! Cheers, Neale.>
RE: RES question
Thank you so much. You were a huge help! I'm sure my turtles would thank you also.
<Glad to have helped. Cheers, Neale.>

slider turtles... sys., gen. 7/18//09
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I recently became the owner of two red slider turtles. I sort of inherited them. I was a teacher at a middle school in mid-Michigan. I got laid off at the end of the year. I had two turtles in my classroom the entire year that have been there for about 7 years. They were extremely mistreated by students, the former teacher did not seem to care too much about them, and the janitor informed me he was responsible for caring for them only because he felt bad that they were so poorly taken care of. They were in a tiny tank, no filter, and most of the time the students threw food, gum and candy in the tank. After a few breaks, when I returned, the tank smelled and looked like an outhouse. So, needless to say, at the end of the school year, I brought them home with me.
<Thank you -- on behalf of them!>
Now, having said that, I currently do not have any intentions of returning them to the school at the beginning of the year. However, I do not have the accommodations for them at my house. I do have a small fish pond that I was setting up in my back yard that I have sort of placed them in for the time being. I will keep them there if it is the best option.
<Over wintering becomes a problem in your climate and then we have to protect them from predators (raccoons, etc.) as well. You'll have to do that with fish as well, but fish are in some ways 'easier' than turtles.>
I do not have the money to buy a tank, filtration system, chemicals, and all of the other things I have read about on your website.
<You don't need much money. We'll get to that in a minute>
My first instinct was to release them in my backyard, which leads to a small creek. But, given that they have never been in the wild, I was not sure how they would survive.
<Survival skills would be a small issue, but climate, predators and diseases are. Believe it or not, captive turtles can carry respiratory infections that they can deal with quite well but that can be devastating to wild animal populations.>
<This is an important note to all pet keepers>
<Never ever EVER release a captive animal, fish or reptile into the wild.
It's almost always fatal to the fish or animal you're trying to help and when it's not it's devastating to local populations of all kinds of different animals, damaging to the ecosystems ... and ALMOST ALWAYS ILLEGAL!!>
They were able to survive in a very bad school environment for so long with students that do not have much care for human life, let alone that of a reptile.
<Tell me about it>
They have been in my back yard for a little over a month and seem to be enjoying it. But, my concern is that when winter comes, will instinct take over and they will automatically know to hibernate, or are they going to just freeze?
<The hibernation is instinctual, yes. But on the other hand, not every animal that hibernates lives through the winter and even fewer animals that over-winter in a freezing pond survive it. These animals CAN survive -- it's technically possible -- but by no means all DO survive it>
I had them in the classroom and know that they were active the entire school year. When I inquired to the former teacher (now principal) what to do with them over the summer break, she informed me that she never took them home and they were always fine when she returned in the fall. Of course, the janitor informed me that he was feeding them over this period of time and periodically changing their tank water.
<Red Eared Sliders are remarkably hardy animals but what that means is that they can SURVIVE a remarkable amount of mistreatment and neglect. That's not at all the same as saying that neglect or mistreatment are in any way 'good' for them!>
I have never had turtles before, but want to do right by them. I think I have a male and female (one has a longer tail than the other) and I know they were both babies when they were given to the former teacher. Okay, one last concern I have, since I have put them in my back yard, their back claws have seemed to wear down to nothing and periodically bleed. I think it is because they are constantly trying to escape (which also makes me think I should just let them go).
<Again .. NO!>
There were rocks on the bottom of the pond (a plastic pre-form), but I have since removed them and have not noticed the bleeding since then, about 3 days ago.
<My guess is that they're bleeding as a result of metabolic bone and tissue problems stemming from long term diet issues. Let's fix that first. Go find a high quality Koi pellet at your local fish store. They're inexpensive and are a completely balanced diet. Second, assuming they're outside I guess they're getting lots of natural sunshine? And they have a place they can haul out and completely dry off? If so, we're covering the basics. Enough of this and they'll start to heal themselves>
Okay, I know this is a lot, but I just want to help these little guys out the best I can. I would hate for me to try to do them right and end up harming them more than when they were at the school.
<Here's a link to a basic care article that will help you cover the basics.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<the important thing to know is that you don't HAVE to spend a lot of money. For example, turtles of any size will almost always outpace a filter system. Eventually, even with the best filters, the water has to be siphoned and changed. So ... if you can't afford a filter, then you simply siphon and change more often (This goes for ponds as well as in-home setups). When they come inside for the winter, a simple Rubbermaid tub of sufficient size in your garage, laundry room or enclosed porch will be fine. Suspend an ordinary 60 w light bulb over the basking area and you've covered the basics. Proper UV lighting is suggested, but if they've been outside all summer and fall they'll be able to tolerate a few months with minimal environment. Keep the setup simple so that it's easy to break down and drain the water, etc. When things start to heat up in the spring .. be patient. Don't jump at the first warm spell -- let the weather stabilize, maybe late spring and THEN put them outside for the summer.>
<It really doesn't take much money to give a good home to a few turtles ... it just takes someone who cares!>

RES... sys. 7/11/09
<Hiya -- Darrel here>
I was just wondering what your thoughts are on leaving a Red Eared Slider in a covered tank in the backyard. It would be on a covered patio that does not get direct sun.
<OK so far. My first thought was that it doesn't take very long at all for sunlight to heat a glass tank and all it's contents to the point of cooking them ... but as long as no sunlight shines on the tank sides, this might be OK>
I want to give her more room to run and swim and I just don't have the space indoors. I can also bring her in during extreme weather.
<An enclosure on a porch is still and complete environment and must supply all the elements - water, basking area, etc. The main benefit to an outdoor enclosure is that it can be larger but if it's not comprehensive ..
if she can't bask until she's warm and then drop into the water to cool off, etc. then I really don't see the point.>
She has slept with me many times before!
<Presumably she doesn't snore?>
There is 1 thing that just occurred to me and that is we do get raccoons in our backyard from time to time. Will they tear the screen top off to get at her, I wonder?!
<Yes, they will. They can even open gate hasps. In instances like this the entire top of the tank needs to be covered. What I'd so is as follows:
Set the entire tank on a piece of plywood that is 2 inches bigger than the tank all the way around (so, 4 inches longer and 4 inches wider).
Construct a wooden frame just larger than the tank itself from 1" x 1" lumber and attach 1/2 hardware cloth to that with screws or nails (so now you have a screen "cap" that will fit down over the tank top just like the lid of a shoe box. Now at either end, attach a piece of wood or wire that stretches from the bottom wood to the top wood that can be attached to each end of the top with a tiny padlock. Done right, this will confound the raccoons and they'll just move on.>
And is it actually fine for them to be out of the water for 8-10 hrs at a time?
<That's perfectly OK as long as they don't get too hot OR too cold.
Remember, water changes temperature a lot more slowly than air does>
Thanks for the help!
<happy to do it!>

A Slider, Mon? 7/8/09
Hi I'm Kelly from Jamaica,
<Hiya -- I'm Darrel from California>
I have a Red Ear Slider that I bought in may from a pet store and I was told that it was one year old at the time. I was told that it is fed on a pellets known as Aquamax 300. However, at the time of purchase the store did not have these in stock and I was given another pellet known as beta bites. The turtle seem to enjoy both, but I'm wondering if this would be enough for it. I've seen in some of your articles where reference is made to turtles being fed crickets and stuff however I'm not seen where these are available at local pet shops. I do have access to fishes. Would just the fish and pellets be enough for it?
<No fish, no crickets, no stuff like that. Koi pellets are a perfectly balanced 100% diet for all of the Sliders and other Emydid turtles. I raise them from hatchlings to adults that breed their own babies on JUST that and an occasional earthworm as a treat. Fish is not part of their natural diet, can contain parasites and .. because the turtles usually can't catch them, the fish thrive and you end up taking care of them as well!>
Also, indication is made in some articles posted that meat can be fed to them, is it any kind of meat?
<Nope. They're scavengers and opportunistic eaters to be sure. If you give them a steak or a pork chop they'll eat it ... but that doesn't mean it's good for them.>
And may I know the types please. Another thing that your articles suggest as important is an UV lamp, but given the type of climate we live in (tropical), would that be a necessity for my turtle? I do ensure that he gets sunlight everyday or every other day, will this be enough for him? Our temperature range is generally between 27-32 degrees Celsius year round.
<Your climate is perfect for him ... but the sunlight needs to be direct.
Coming through glass does no good at all ... even through screen reduces it's effectiveness quite a bit. The very BEST is a UV lamp that you can place over his basking spot (next to the lamp that provides heat) so that he gets both UV and heat when he needs it and then can cool off when he doesn't.>
Thanks in Advance for your help,
<You're welcome. We enjoy helping!>
<Kelly, I'm sending you a link to a BRILLIANT article that covers the entire basics of keeping Sliders and similar turtles. The author is experienced, well regarded in his community (did I mention he was brilliant?) not to mention good looking. EVERYTHING you need to know about the basics is in this article and you can compare every aspect of your care to what this brilliant article mentions and you'll be just fine.>
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>

Tank change affecting turtle? 6/27/09
Dear Crew,
<Hiya -- Darrel here today>
I've had a red eared slider for about 2-3 months now. We just moved him to a 10-gallon tank and used water from the tap. I've noticed that he keeps blinking and closing his eyes and "sleeping" on one of his rocks for long periods of time. His rock is under the water but close to the surface for warmth.
<I'm hoping you also have a rock or platform OUT of the water for him!!!!
A Red Eared Slider will spend 60% to 70% of his day OUT of water, warming and drying himself. They climb out of the water to seek warmth and slide into the water to seek cool.>
He lifts his head up for air but keep his eyes closed. He also hangs his head down like he's bowing. I've never seen him do this before and I'm worried he may be sick or he may be shocked from the tank change. I thought it might have been the pH level of the water, but its the same water we've always been using and has seemed to work fine. He ate when we first put him in the tank and seemed to have normal energy but now seems to be more lethargic.
<Water Ph is not usually a problem for most water turtles. Any water that you'd drink is within PH and Chlorine ranges for a normal, healthy turtle.>
I've seen him blow a few air bubbles from his nose also. I've read a lot on this site about eye and respiratory infections and didn't know if this may be the same situation. His eyes don't seem to be swollen... We fed him a minnow for the first time today also.
<Bubbles from the nose is most probably a respiratory infection and it needs to be treated right away! Obviously the first recommendation is a qualified veterinarian. Failing that, take him OUT of his tank and place him somewhere warm and dry. A temporary shelter can be anything from an empty aquarium to a plastic bin or trash can or even just a cardboard box with high sides (keep in mind a determined turtle is an incredible climber). Add a heat source, which can be a regular electric heating pad (if you're lucky enough to be able to find one without the annoying 'automatic off' feature) to a light bulb suspended over head. Ideally you want to achieve a constant temperature of between 86-90 degrees. Since we are deliberately taking away the turtle's choice to move from cool to warm, we have to pick a constant that fits both needs. NOT having to move between temperature zones and not having to swim or climb is the first step on giving the turtle the ability to direct his attention more toward healing. You must also provide UV-A and UV-B light sources, which perhaps can be moved from his original enclosure or -- in the alternative, a minimum of 10 minutes of direct (NOT filtered through any kind of glass or screen) three times a day. Assuming he is healthy enough to be moving, the regimen will be to place him in a shallow container of luke warm (room temp) tap water every day for 5 minutes in order for him to drink, poop and possibly eat. Shallow means no more than half his shell under water when you place him in it -- and really only enough to cover his tail and cloaca.
Assuming that he is being treated for his actual condition and improving, he can go YEARS in this condition without ill effects.>
<This is not, strictly speaking, a "treatment" for a respiratory infection.
What we're doing is creating a condition that will ASSIST the turtle's own immune system in fighting the infection and healing. It will take 6 to 8 weeks of this isolation and treatment to help him beat it. Remember that the infection will remain for several weeks AFTER the last bubble is visible. If he doesn't respond or if his condition appears to deteriorate, veterinary care will be about his only hope.>
<Meanwhile, review your care and keeping conditions against the article in the link below and correct anything that is wrong.>
Please help!
<I hope we did>
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm

Turtle Tank Question 6/25/09
<Hiya! Darrel here>
Here's the situation. I have two Red Eared Sliders each in their own tank.
They are still relatively small and are in 10 gallon tanks until I can afford bigger ones. Each tank has a 30 gal filter on it. The problem I'm having is this, Mak's tank has been going through a filter every other day.
The water is crystal clear but when you pull the filter out it is covered in a slime.
<A very efficient filter>
I've tried cleaning out the whole thing, scrubbing and all that and that made the new filter last for maybe a week. Yertle on the other hand has a partly cloudy tank but the filter will last a good three weeks or more.
<since Yertle's filter isn't clearing the slime out of the water as efficiently, the slime stays in the tank and not so much on the filter>
So my questions are, What is the slimy stuff in Mak's filter and how do I get rid of it?
<It's slime. There is, of course, a technical term depending on it's actual makeup and considering what organic residue, protozoa and/or microscopic worms & all that are mixed in ... BUT we professional Herp people use the term 'guck.'>
Is there a way to keep Yertle's tank clear?
Hopefully I will be able to get each of them bigger tanks soon but I just don't have that kind of money right now.
<Here's the thing: When you scrub the tanks, you're probably not scrubbing inside the filter tubes, impellers. groove where the filter slides in, etc. are you? The problem with 'guck' is that if you don't clean and sterilize ALL of the water-portion of your tank, you leave a colony of it behind, just waiting to reproduce. So here's what you do: Get Mak and Yertle a nice box to live in for about a week. Somewhere warm and DRY .. when they can get and stay completely dry so that any guck living on them will dry up & die. Don't worry about Mak and Yertle ... if they get a 15 minute bath in a bowl or tub of shallow, room temperature water every day .. for say ... 15 minutes (so they can drink, poop and eat) they can live for years without being back home.>
<Meanwhile, put 1 cup of chlorine bleach per 10 gallons of water in the tank>
<NOTE EVERYONE!!!!! 1 cup per actual gallons of WATER ... NOT how big the tank is!!!! A 10 gallon tank (usually about 8.5 gallons actual capacity)
half full of water would be 4.25 gallons of water! Do the measurements and the calculations>
<Be sure to leave the filters running during this period. After 24 hours, you can drain the water, break the tanks down & scrub them with soap and water ... and then rinse, rinse, rinse.>
<When I do this ... I repeat the whole process -- bleach for another 24 hours and then a second wash and second rinse, just to be sure.>
<After the rinse, refill and restart the filters and allow them to run for another 24 hours before putting Mak and Yertle back. From then on, if you keep the feeding to no more than what they will eat in 5 minutes 3 times a week and keep the water changed regularly ... you 'll be guck-free.>
Thank you!
<Yer Welcome!!!!!>

WATER DEPTH, RES sys. 6/9/09
I have 2 RES in a 20 gal. tank.
<Need much more room than this>
They were hatchlings when they were given
to me and in a little over a year one is about 2.75" and the larger one is 3.25". The friend who bought them for me also bought her daughter 2. One of hers died and the survivor was deposited in my tank. That one, the same age as mine, was still the size of a half dollar. In two months, it is now the size of my larger one. Here's my question. Their basking ledge is out of the water and the little one fell off one day. She seems fine, in that she eats and basks and begs, but she doesn't hang out with the larger ones
<Are not really a social species>
and when she swims, she tips to one side. As a result, I don't keep the water too deep because I'm afraid she'll drown.
<Mmm, not likely to drown... and more water may be of benefit in diluting wastes, maintaining stability>
Am I being over protective. Should I fill the tank deeper so they can swim or should I accommodate her
apparent weakness. I appreciate your suggestions.
<I'd use more water... Please do read here:
and the linked file above in the series. Bob Fenner>

Red-ear turtle... pond, sys. 6/7/09
I just finished having a pond put in my back. I purchased a red-ear slider he is beautiful and makes a great addition to my pond.
<You will need a fence to keep terrapins/turtles in place; they [a] walk about; and [b] like to burrow, so unless the fence goes down a good 15 cm or more below the soil, there's no guarantees the thing won't escape.>
On day two he got out and I found him wondering around the yard, I returned him to the pond the next day I could not find him after two days I gave up. While attending to the fish he popped his head. Anyway I was happy I went ahead and built a wall of rocks that I did not think he could climb because they are straight up I thought if he tried to he would just fall back into the water.
<I see. Terrapins can climb rather well, and in the wild, will clamber onto rocks and wood to bask.>
Well now he is missing again, could it be he is hiding and didn't get out.
It has been rainy and cloudy out (no sun for a couple of days) but he hasn't even came out for food. In short my question is could my slider just be hiding under water in the rocks waiting for the sun and heat to come
<Perhaps. Would certainly look about your garden a bit, and be open minded to the possibility of escape.>
Thank You for any help you can offer
<Cheers, Neale.>

Red Eared Sliders and slime 6/1/2009
Dear turtle crew,
<Hiya, Darrel here>
I have two Red Eared Sliders (about 6-7 inches in length, 2 years old) that I think are sick. Recently they have been covered in white slime and gobs of the slim are on the bottom of the tank. Is this common or does this sound like an illness? Could you offer me some insight on this?
<White slime on a turtle is usually a fungal infection, but "gobs of white slime on the bottom of the tank" sounds like just plain terrible water quality. Turtles shouldn't swim in any water you'd rather not swim in and
it sounds like you have a cesspool going.>
<First, take the turtles out of the tank. Using a bowl of lukewarm tap water and a toothbrush, gently scrub & wipe as much of the slime off of their shells and limbs. Naturally they'll tuck in so you won't be able to
get much off their heads, but do the best you can. Rinse the brush under running water as you go and rinse the turtles by short, quick dips into the bowl. When they're clean, put them in a warm, dry place -- a box or
container with high enough sides that they can't climb out. They'll be here for a few days, so a hanging lamp for heating would be a good idea .. as long as they can move out from underneath it to cool down. Every day, put them in a shallow bowl of lukewarm water for 5 minutes so they can drink, poop and maybe eat... then a quick scrubbing with the toothbrush and finally back in the warm, dry place.>
<By the way>
<Did y'all know the toothbrush was invented in Arkansas?>
<If it had been invented anywhere else it would have been called the TEETH BRUSH!!!!!!!>
<Meanwhile .. take the tank apart and rinse it out to get as much of the slime out as possible. Wash everything you can reach with dish soap and rinse again. Then put it back together with everything that touches the water ... including the filter running ... Add one cup per gallon of water [approx 75ml per liter] (not the size of your tank, but actual volume of water - including filters). Let the setup run for 24 hours, drain & rinse well with fresh water, then break it down and wash with soap (such as dish detergent) again. Fill again and run the setup for 24 hours, then drain, rinse and refill.>
<This is a long process, but the slime is everywhere and while it's easy to remove enough that you can't SEE it, it's harder to remove enough that it won't simply grow back.>
<Once you have everything set up properly and the bleach has been rinsed away and the tank left running for 24 hours, put the turtles back. Please read this link carefully and adjust any or all of your care to meet the standards.>
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>
Thank you,
<Yer welcome!>
[Editors Note: WWM would like to apologize to any and all Arkansans, people with missing teeth, any and all persons meeting or offended by the Ozark/hillbilly stereotype and/or anyone, in general, that is offended by this crewmember's jokes. Obviously we have very low standards ... but we're working on it. Ed.]
<<Darrel... you are a hoot! RMF>>

Red worm & UV light question 05/29/09
Hi, I'm Felix from Malaysia.
<Hiya Felix. I'm Darrel here in California>
I have 3 little turtles in my tank for almost 2 months, have a basking spot with a 100W light on it and a filtration system.
<Sounds good. Should I make the general assumption that you have emydid water turtles such as Red Eared Sliders?>
This afternoon I changed my tank's water and wash my filter. I was shocked because there are worms in my filter, and I noticed tat my turtles been eating them, they are small, red and the length of it is about 0.5CM. Are they dangerous to the turtles? Most importantly are they dangerous to us humans?
<There are hundreds of small worms and also worm-like creatures that could be introduced into your tank, Felix. They could be some form of Tubifex that came in as eggs inside a feeder fish or even inside the turtle's gut when you got them. As far as harmful to the turtles, generally no danger except that if left alone they will over populate and pollute the tank. All creatures like this could potentially be harmful to humans, which is
why it's important to always wash your hands after touching the turtles or any part of their enclosure.>
<The proper course of action is to remove the turtles to a temporary home and sterilize the tank by adding chlorine bleach. One cup per gallon of water [approx 75ml per liter] (not the size of your tank, but actual volume of water - including filters). Let the setup run for 24 hours, drain & rinse well with fresh water, then break it down and wash with soap (such as dish detergent). Fill again and run the setup for 24 hours, then drain, rinse and refill. This is a long process, but you have to kill the worms and any larva and/or eggs that they've left behind. This is why we run the setup with the filter and gravel and basking areas, etc. - every area the contaminated water could touch.>
<Now to prevent this, never introduce wild animals, feeder fish, plants or untreated water into the tank.>
Another question is, my basking area doesn't have a UV bulb/lamp, should I get 1 or is it ok if I bring them out at the sunlight sometimes? How often do I have to bring them out? and for how long?
<they need sunlight or UV light every day, Felix. Twice a day for at least 15 minutes each day -- and during this time you have to watch them closely because if they overheat they will literally cook to death in their shells. I strongly urge you to purchase a UV fluorescent light -- there are brands out there that are quite inexpensive and work very well.>
Thanks crew, u have a very very nice web page, and it's very very very helpful ^.^
<We appreciate your compliments, Felix!>

Re: UV light question 5/30/09
Thx Darrel for your advice...
<No problem, Felix>
There's another simple question I want to ask, I bought a new Exo-Terra Sun Glow Neodymium Daylight Lamp 60 watt, it says that it creates heat gradients for thermoregulation & Increases ambient air temperature, with another 100 Watt light bulb, will it be too hot for my little red ear slider turtles?
<Yes and no, Felix. Combined, you're putting 160 w of incandescent light on the basking spot. In order to get the basking spot to a constant temperature of 85-95f (29-35c) you'll have to place the bulb(s) so far from the basking area that you lose the benefit of the Sun-Glo bulb.>
The info of the product is :
http://www.exo-terra.com/en/products/sun_glo_neodymium.php just wanted to know is it safe for my turtles?
<Felix, if you read the site section on lighting products, you see that the one you picked out is UV-A (visual light spectrum) which includes the spectrum of the regular 100W incandescent that you already have. IN THEORY the wider spectrum bulb is providing much more "natural" daylight than a typical soft-white household bulb ... but there are so many factors at play. I don't see on the site there they specify the AMOUNT of output across the spectrum -- in other words, if we could see a graph of the intensity at each wave frequency, I'd bet that the amount of additional output doesn't justify the cost. It's a great incandescent bulb, and if close enough it would work fine IN PLACE OF your existing 100w bulb. However, when it eventually burns out, you should go back to the cheaper household bulb plus some UV-B bulb, or possibly their SOLAR-GLO bulb, which claims to supply UV-A and UV-B in one bulb. As long as it can be placed far enough away to get the proper heat on the basking area and yet not greater than 30cm (11 inches) it might be a great single solution>
Thank You...
<Yer welcome!>

URGENT: My red eared slider water temperature problem 4/16/09
Dear Crew
<Hiya Wicky -- Darrel here>
Okay, I need to a solution and some information , I have a Red Eared Slider who is 2 inches . He/she eats daily. I feed him pellets which he/she loves to eat and is always begging for more but the problem is I read on various sites that Red Eared Slider need 80F temperature but its so hot here that my water temperature is 86F now is that dangerous for my turtle?
<It's not the best, but it may be a bit much to say "dangerous." Typically I like the water in the low to mid 70's and the basking area in the mid to high 80's and let the turtle choose which temperature is best at any given time. 86 degrees is quite high for the water temperature, but not necessarily life threatening>
And how can I prevent this?
<Prevention depends on cause! Is the basking lamp so powerful and so close to the water that it heats it? Is the air temperature actually 86 degrees or is there sun hitting the tank and heating the water? Can the tank be moved into the shade? Or a cooler room? Even in Canada, people have been known to keep Sliders in large plastic tubs in their service porches (sealed from the weather, but not heated) as long as the basking lamp is on. Look around for ALL the factors leading to the high water temperature and write back so we can consider each one.>
And another problem is when my turtle basks I notice his skin gets dry like on his nose and face I can see some dry white patches like we humans get on her skin in winters when we don't use lotion. I hope you understand what I'm trying to say here I don't have any VET here and I really love my turtle and am doing everything I can for him.
<You sound very concerned and I hope we're able to help. The whitish coloration can be a fungus, usually due to poor water quality and VERY possible given the high water temperature, so search this site (we have a Google Search Bar on the home page) for Turtle and Fungus and you'll see lot's of possible solutions. Two things: 1) If the water temperature is really that high, the water QUALITY needs to be perfect. Make sure the filter is good, changed frequently and do a 50% water change every week.
Remember, if it's just your turtle, you don't need any kind of water conditioner ... just old water OUT & new water IN. Now, remember I said TWO things? The other thing is this: Sometimes the white is nothing more than water spots!! Just mineral deposits from the water that show white when the skin or shell is dry. For the moment, focus on the reasons for the water temperature and what we can do about that.>
He is in a 15-20 gallon aquarium please reply me ASAP! Will be highly appreciated!
<Hope this helps>
<read here for other care info:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
with best regards

Turtle tank smells 12/01/08 Hi Neale, I have two red ear sliders, and I just cleaned out my turtle tank a day and a half ago. Last night I noticed that my tank smells sour. What could this be? This has never happened before. Thanks Christine <Do a 100% water change and give the filter a quick rinse. If the smell goes away, you're fine, and it's just dirty water. Turtle tanks need as much filtration as you can afford, and as many water changes as you have time! If the smell is on the turtles though, might be Shell Rot (rotting shells smell fungusy). Cheers, Neale.>

Re: turtle tank smells 12/01/08 Thanks Neale, I have two eheim filters with a 75 gallon tank. The water is a little more then a half full. Last week I cleaned out the filters and changed the water. Two days ago I cleaned almost 100% of the water. The water that was left was just the water in the filters. I did find the water is constantly turning green. Could this be it? And how do I get rid of it? Thanks Christine <Hello Christine! Hmm... I'd change all the water, even the water in the filter. Put the turtles aside in a bucket or box. Give the mechanical media a really good clean in running water, and then clean the biological media in room temperature, ideally dechlorinated water in a bucket until all the silt is squeezed out. Give the gravel a really good clean, until it's spotless. Put the tank back together again, but don't feed the turtles anything but pondweed! See if that improves things. If the tank gets smelly again within, say, a week, get back in touch. Cheers, Neale.>

Hatchling Hibernation 11/10/08 Hello, <Hiya Sandy - Darrel here> I have some Red Eared Sliders born March 2007. <Cute little guys, aren't they?> I kept them in the house until June 30, then in a pond outside. <The pond was both fenced [they are amazing climbers] and covered [they make great snacks for any number of birds, raccoons, possums, etc], right?> I live in Sacramento, CA. That winter of 07, I put them in a large Rubbermaid container in a insulated out building with proper lighting, filter and temp. Then back in the pond when weather warmed. <I've done the same thing many times, Sandy and I live in Los Angeles -- far south of you. The only thing to watch for is that we wait until the weather is actually warming ... not just a warm 'spell' that turns cold again and distresses them.> If I leave them in the pond outside this winter, will they freeze to death? Water temp today now at 2:00 pm is 59 degrees. <Important points here, Sandy. In northern climes, some lakes and rivers freeze over and the turtles simply shut down [hibernate] and get through it. But what's important is that not all survive it! They CAN and DO die from hypothermia! But freezing isn't your concern, Sandy. The real killer is that "too cold to metabolize food but not cold enough to hibernate" weather that Central and North-state are famous for. When they're too warm to hibernate but too cold to digest food, the food rots in their gut and they die from internal infections... and being reptiles, just like most fish .. they LOOK just fine ... right up until the hours before they pass on.> Should I put them in the out building again this winter? Shell size is 2" to 3". <I certainly would. 4 inches minimum for outside wintering and even then make sure that your pond is big enough [mostly deep enough] that the water resists "sudden" changes in water temp from our "oddly warm" days to "amazingly cold" days -AND-AND- this is very important .... stop feeding them about a month before so that the food has time to pass through.> Thank you so very much for being there for be to ask you this question. <Yer welcome! We like being asked!> I want to do the right thing. <In your case, the "Right Thing (tm)" is to continue to house them over-winter for at least another two years ... maybe even longer.> Sandy

Separating Red Eared Sliders 7/17/2008 Hello, <Ave,> I have been reading and scanning your site for any information pertinent to my situation. I have 3 red eared sliders, 2 females and 1 male. My male turtle is becoming aggressive towards my 2 females, and from what I have read so far it seems the wisest choice would to be to separate the male from the 2 females. <May well be if the habitat is too small. Sometimes a bigger vivarium with at least two "islands" of land will mean the females can rest away from the female easily enough. Most problems happen when they are crammed into a too-small enclosure.> My concern is, after doing a lot of reading, will the two females "miss" the male or will the male "miss" the females? <They won't miss him at all. Though do be aware that females can produce (infertile) eggs away from the male, and this can lead to "egg binding" if they can't lay them, a potentially fatal situation. http://redearslider.com/reproduction.html Obviously this causes a great deal of pain to the reptile, so you should be aware of the symptoms and prepared to fix things should the worst happen.> Is there such thing as turtle depression? <If there is, it isn't something known to science.> I got them as babies 4 and 1/2 years ago and they have never been separated since, and I don't want them to feel insecure or lonely by me separating them. <Reptiles are generally pretty phlegmatic animals and Red-ear Sliders at least aren't social animals in the wild.> Also, I have read that female red eared sliders are more aggressive than males. <Not heard of this.> Would leaving the 2 females together be a recipe for disaster? <Nope, assuming the habitat is big enough for two dinner-plate sized animals.> They have not had a problem with each other at all so far, only with the male. It seems that it would be ok to leave the 2 females together as long as they don't fight. Any advice and suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thank you so much for your time! <Hope this helps, Neale.>

What kind of algae is this? White threads, turtle sys. 7/10/08 I have this white string, very thin squiggling all over my tank. Do you know what this could be? Could it be because the lighting is to high. I had to separate them with a divider in the tank. With that I had to add more lighting. Will it hurt my turtles. They are red ear sliders. I noticed something was going on the other day when they were rubbing their eyes. I cleaned their water and noticed that when I filled the tank and started the filter all these white things appeared. I have two eheim 2217 filters running. What should I do next. Christine <Hello Christine. If the threads are white (particularly off-white or grey) then they almost certainly not algae, but either fungus or bacteria. In both cases, these imply organic matter that is decaying. In fish tanks you usually see this stuff on wood that hasn't been properly "cured" before use. It isn't in itself harmful, but it does reveal a less-than-clean aquarium, and that in turn implies you may have a background problem. In the short term at least, I'd fill a bucket with water, switch off the filters, move the filters so that their inlet/outlet pipes are in the bucket, and turn the filters back on so the bacteria are happy with water flowing through the filter media. Then I'd move the turtles to the same or another bucket. Now I'd do a "deep clean" of the tank, scrubbing it right down and siphoning out any detritus. While this will likely take the best part of an afternoon, it'll be worth it if the tank is nice and clean afterwards. Reconnect everything, put the turtles back, and then see how things go. Make sure you aren't overfeeding the turtles, and pay special attention to removing uneaten food. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: what kind of algae is this? 7/10/08 Thanks Neale You don't think I should clean out the filters or any parts in the filter? I also so one of my turtles eating these things could that be harmful. Also there eyes what should I do? Thanks Christine <By all means clean the filter if you wish. Just take care not to harm the filter bacteria: rinse the sponges/ceramic noodles in buckets of aquarium water, and once the media is back inside the filter, make sure the filter isn't switched off for more than 20 minutes. If the turtles eat the fungus or bacterial threads, it will do them no harm. Re: eyes, read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/turteyedisart.htm They may casually scratch their eyes if you don't dechlorinate the water, or the water is dirty, but if persistent this can be a sign of a serious problem. Cheers, Neale.>

Red ear slider habitat - 06/08/2007 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> Regards, Suyi <Best of luck, Darrel> < http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>

Re: feeding res Anacharis... now Sys. - 6/3/08 Hi Neale Thanks for the information. I have a couple of more questions. I have two eheim filters running. (2017). So I am like a little more then 6x's the turn over. <Sounds ideal.> How do I keep the green from growing inside my tank? <The algae? Basically you can't. The easiest way to control algae is to use a pad to wipe away algae every week. Although low tech, this actually works fine. Do a water change after each clean, siphoning out the loose bits of algae. If you need to, you can switch the filters off for 5 minutes while doing this without fear of the bacteria dying.> Also how often does all the media need to be changed? <Changed, hardly ever; cleaned, probably every 4-6 weeks. It's usually obvious when the filter is clogged because the water becomes murky with bits of detritus floating about.> I am a little confused about that. <The important thing is to remember the filter media is "alive" with bacteria. Rinse the sponges in buckets of aquarium water, or perhaps under a luke-warm tap -- but never under a hot tap.> And most important how do I tell if my turtles are two fat or not? <You can't really because of their shells. Realistically, underfeeding a reptile isn't all that likely because of how little they need to eat, especially if plant food is there for them to graze. Turtles will eat until they're ready to burst, but a sensible amount of food for a 15 cm/6" specimen would be 3-4 portions per week of meaty/dried food plus all the green foods they can eat. By all means offer them more if they're still hungry, but make any extra food green foods rather than high protein foods. Green foods have almost no impact on water quality, and will not cause any problems in terms of constipation, fattiness, etc. that we worry about with reptiles generally. Just do make sure the green foods offered are safe: there are some greens that are potentially harmful, especially in excess. Do see here: http://redearslider.com/plants.html Unshelled, high-fibre meaty foods like unshelled shrimp are also good "fillers". Really, think about the ideal human diet, and it's really not all that far from what reptiles want -- lots of greens, lots of fibre, and a modest amount of sugary and protein-rich foods.> Thanks Christine <Cheers, Neale.>

My RES: Abbott and Costello 05/20/08 Hello There, <Hiya Leeana, Darrel here> I have had my 2 RES since they were hatchlings. Now, about 3 years later, they seem to be active adults in their 120 gallon tank. I would like to make them a pond in the near future, but that's not in the budget at the moment. The tank remains about half full, with a heat light, a f.s. light, a basking area with a tunnel underneath. <Sounds really nice!> Here's the situation. The tank is ALWAYS cloudy. I empty the water through a gravel siphon once a week out my patio door. Its smells of ammonia. TERRIBLE. I'm afraid to let guests into my home just because the smell is getting worse. And yet the tank never seems to get any cleaner. It's almost a green-white color, I can hardly see them at all! I can't tell you how many filtration systems I've tried but NONE of them work. My turtles like to take things apart, and charcoal would always end up in the tank. I've given up on filters, and I've seen no better/no worse without them. <Sounds really stinky. The problem is, I think, that you're using the wrong KIND of filter. With turtles of that size, in that large a tank, you need an external/canister filter. Something around 100 to 150 gallons per hour. You can read a lot about filtration as it relates to fishes here on WWM and a great deal of that will center on the nitrogen cycle. In the world of turtles, while we don't complete discount that ... our efforts are waste REMOVAL, not waste breakdown. The waste output of turtles is an order of magnitude greater than that of fish. The reason I bring this up is that when you set up the "baskets" of a canister filter, use them for (1) Mechanical filtration (2) Mechanical filtration (3) Activate Charcoal. In other words, forget the bio beads. If you set up the filter properly and run it 24/7 I'd guess you can change the filter media every other week, the charcoal once a month and partial water changes every week -- or so.> <Take them both out, drain the tank, 1/2 fill with water, 1 cup bleach & scrub every inch that comes in contact with water. Then drain, fill again & rinse. Then drain, fill again & rinse. Then drain, fill again & rinse. Let sit dry for 24 hours. Fill, filter & add turtle (just Abbott)> Costello, one of my RES, seems to have a dry-rot spot (I think?) Part of his shell is constantly shed in the same spot. I don't know if this is the cause of the smell or what might be keeping it cloudy, but I can't get this turtle (Costello) to bask. Abbott, my female, has no problem at all. She loves to bask. I take the two of them outside for two to three hours every week, which forces them both to get out of the water for at least a little while, but I'm not home to do that more than one day a week! Abbott runs around, but Costello hides in his shell until I put him back in the water. He's very unhappy when he's not in the tank. Sometimes, he'll stick his head out, only to run into bushes. <I'd put Costello in a box with high sides and ordinary light for a week of so. I'd get him out of the water and DRY, DRY, DRY while I treated the suspected rot. A daily coating of Lotrimin, Tinactin, Miconlazole or any anti-fungal ending in "-azole" for a week -- see if it improves. If so, keep it up for anther TWO weeks (3 total) or if not, try wiping the area with Betadyne daily for a week and see what THAT does. -Or- Betadyne in the morning and antifungal in the evening. The important thing is to take Costello out of the environment that encourages fungal and bacterial growth and keep him out until other forces help heal his problem AND while the basic water conditions are being treated as well! Put him in a shallow container of water for 5 minutes every three days to allow him to hydrate and poop. You can offer food -- he probably won't eat -- and don't worry about that right now.> I run all their 'toys' through the dishwasher, so I don't think its a bacteria buildup issue? I don't use bleach because I'm afraid it will harm them, but I've tried different environmentally friendly cleaners along with Dish soap. Still nothing. <Unlike fish, you can use bleach on turtle equipment as long as it's thoroughly rinsed and dried afterwards.> Abbott has also laid eggs in the past. Does this require mating or is it a general 'female' thing? Maybe that's a probable cause? Anytime I find an egg its broken. It's not SO regular that its a def cause, but it has happened before. <Females will lay eggs when kept in the presence of males even if no mating occurs. Eggs absolutely fowl the water and once the eggs get wet they would never be fertile in any case. We can deal with egg layer and nesting ... and even some more habitat modifications later, after we clear up the water and get Costello's shell clear. Fix this stuff & then write back, OK?> RES are illegal in NJ, and it very hard to find anyone that knows anything about them here. <When you outlaw turtles, only criminals will have turtles!> <USUALLY, although New Jersey may be different, it's illegal to SELL a turtle and/or you need to apply for a permit to KEEP turtles ... which is not the same as it being illegal to HAVE them -- our "official" suggestion is that you find the exact wording of your state and local laws and ordinances especially if you plan a pond at some point> Please tell me your suggestions! I don't mind cleaning the tank, I just wished it would appear clear!!!! (Plus, Id like to get some help for Costello if it is dry-rot!) <That should be enough for now -- write back and tell us how it works!> Thank you for any advice! <Satisfaction guaranteed -- or double your advice back!> -Leanna D. Mays Landing, NJ <two links: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm > < http://www.xupstart.com/wwm>

Filtration needs for outdoor RES habitat 05/08/08 Greetings and salutations WWM Crew, <Hiya Kathy -- Darrel here> Thank you for your wonderful site! Very informative. <And you show a great deal of wisdom and taste for noticing!! Congrats!> After an exhaustive, yet entertaining, search through the pond, turtle (slider) and filtration pages, I am left with a few remaining questions as to how to provide the best outdoor environment for our RES. <You have questions? We have ... um ... well .... let's wait & see> A bit of background may be helpful. Our RES "George" joined our family quite unexpectedly one day. One of our dogs discovered George wandering through our backyard and kindly alerted us of his presence by barking like mad! Given that we live in a Central California suburban subdivision and have a fenced-in backyard, his arrival was something of a surprise. After a fruitless canvas of our neighborhood, we determined that George was to become part of the family. <so far, so good> George is a male RES with a carapace of approximately 6 inches. Right now, he resides in our 167 gallon outdoor pond. The pond has a 450 gph in-pond pump, a biological filter, pond plants (including very tasty water lilies, water hyacinth and duckweed) and a small fountain nozzle. The water temperature ranges from 65 to 75 degrees for much of the year; in summer, however, the water temperature can reach the mid-80's. Since George's arrival, we have also added a floating, basking platform for his sun-worshipping pleasure (of which, he makes great use). George eats Koi pellets and occasional "Turtle bites", which he enjoys quite a bit, as well as plenty of water lily foliage and spinach/greens. <sounds nice!> And, now, at long last, my question(s)... The biological filter seems to be handling the addition of George very nicely. In reading through the turtle pages, however, I see that it may be inadequate for his long-term health and well-being. In your opinion, should I look to add a mechanical filter as well? If so, what type/size would be best suited to the task? Also, if I do need to incorporate the mechanical filter, should it be used in-line with the biological filter or independently? The filtration pages have so much information that I must confess to being a bit confused and in dire need of clarity. <Hmmm .. clarifying pond filter questions! A veritable fountain of puns (OH DARN!!! I just did one!)> <If, by a Biological Filter, you mean one of those in-pond basket thingies attached to the pump, then I'd say yes it could probably need augmentation. That said, remember that the surfaces of the pond, plants, etc. are ALL part of the biocycle. Just like in an aquarium, the thing we call a biological filter is often adding some amount MORE biological filtration to a working system> <To keep it simple, it is a practical impossibility to have a substantial enough biological filter to keep up after turtles the way you can for Koi. With JUST GEORGE it may be possible, but if he writes to his family in Denver and invites them over ... or if you're minding your own business at the pet store when a Slider or Cooter leaps from the tank and into your shopping cart (don't laugh -- it happened to me last week) then you have to augment your system with more mechanical cleaning AND ... begin more frequent water changes. What I'm suggestion is more like a canister power filter that you can fill with physical filtration as opposed to something like a 'barrel' type filter filled with bio-balls.> <Also, please keep in mind that you are working in partnership with Mother Nature in any pond and Mom is the senior partner. Research your options for "over wintering" George out of the pond, because even in Turlock and even for an animal that can survive in frozen ponds much further up north, it's still very hard on them and our job is to always look toward improving his odds.> I thank you, in advance, for your advice. <You're welcome. We hope you like it.> Thank you, Kathy in Turlock, CA <If the advice doesn't fit, bring it back & we'll fix it for free!> <Darrel> Re: Filtration needs for outdoor RES habitat 05/14/08 Hey Darrel <Hiya Kathy!> Thanks you for your speedy reply! I think I have a clearer idea of how to manage George's pond, now. In reviewing your response, however, I realized that I hadn't been nearly as clear in my description of the existing system as I could have been. Sorry if my lack of clarity, muddied the waters, as it were...(I believe the puns may be contagious...pass the word!) <They certainly are! And once good humor starts and takes hold, the only known antidote is to watch Sister Act 2 - Back in the Habit> Re. George's system, in addition to the previous info, I should have mentioned that there is one of those pre-filter box thingies (as an aside, may I just compliment you on your grasp of technical terms like thingie...I knew immediately to what you were referring since I, myself regularly use equally technical terms like thingamajigger & doohickey). The box has 2 layers of filter media, around the pump. I clean this out regularly since George's addition as it gets fairly mucky, fairly quickly -- I think he does it on purpose! The outlet line from the pump, runs to the exterior biofilter, which is one of those barrel deals, with 2 layers of filter media as well as a layer of bioballs. From there, the water returns to the pond in a bit of a spillway/fall to add aeration. I check the water quality weekly, using the same type of test kit that we have for our indoor aquarium(s). So far, the water quality has been excellent...am I missing anything beyond the mechanical filtration? <You haven't missed a thing. At the risk of repeating myself and being redundant (again) for our reading audience, Turtles are not a percentage increase in filter load, they are a paradigm shift in .. um ... solid waste output and the very best way to deal with it is mechanically - get it out of there.> Also, given that our little corner of California is in the scenic Central Valley and regularly has summer temps in the upper 90's/low 100's...I am planning on providing a shade over part of the pond, to hopefully help moderate the water temperature. Will this, in your considered opinion, in addition to continued water changes, be sufficient to keep George happy and healthy thru the summer? If not, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. <I think you're right on the money, Kathy! Everything we discuss is textbook "quality care"> Thanks again for all your advice. <Worth every penny you paid for it!> <here's some of my stuff: http://www.xupstart.com/wwm >

Red ear sliders, sys. 5/2/08 Hi I have two red ear sliders. They will be a year mid - summer. I had them in a 10 gallon tank. They were the size of a quarter when I got them. They are now about 3 1/2 inches long. <Grow fast, don't they!> I just upgraded there tank to a 75 gallon. (figured they would grow into it). <And how!> I have it set up with a 50 watt basking light, 5.0 UVB light and a florescent light that came with the tank. The air temp is around 80 during the day give a little more as the lights heat up and 70 at night. The water temp is 70 during the day and less when the lights are turned off at night. I have two whisper bio filters going up to 40 gallons running right now with two turtle docks under the basking and UVB light. I have the tank half way filled up. <All sounds great.> Now my questions are is this to much water? <Nope; so long as they can easily climb out of the water onto the land, they're fine.> is the light o.k.? <Sounds good to me. Do keep ahead of light bulb changes though. Different brands have different life spans, so check with the manufacturer on this issue. But all lights "wear out" over time, and typically need to be replaced once a year. After this time, the amount of light (including UV-B) can drop below a useful level. Lights used purely to illuminate the tank can be changed when they fail, but the UV-B light is critical, and needs to be monitored and replaced as required.> and my most important question is I need to know exactly the name of the best filter to use and buy. I am so confused over this. If you could help me out that would be great. <No one brand stands out as "ideal". But Eheim filters are often said to be the most reliable, so that's perhaps the direction to go. I'd recommend any messy fish having a filter that offers 6 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour. I see no need to reject that rule for terrapins/turtles, so if you have around 40 gallons of water in the vivarium, then a filter rated at 40 x 6 = 240 gallons per hour would be about right. External canister filters are the ideal for terrapins, being better able at handling large amounts of solid waste without ridiculous amounts of servicing.> Also is it o.k. if I take them out in the summer. I live in P.A. I would love for them to get natural sunlight if that is o.k. How long should they go for if it is o.k. <Where's "P.A."? Doesn't mean anything to me here in England, except "Personal Assistant"! In any case, if you're in the temperate zone outside of the subtropical natural habitat of this species, then you can't leave it outdoors all year round. But across summer, provided the air temperature doesn't drop below 15 degrees C at night, that's no reason not to leave them in a secure pond area from which the cannot escape. I do this with some tropical fish, and it actually does them some good. Now, your main issue is that terrapins are superb escape artists, and can burrow and climb surprisingly well. Also, they are vulnerable to predation by things like cats and foxes, so make sure those sorts of things can't get into the enclosure.> Thanks Christine <Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: red ear sliders 5/4/08 Thank you for all the information. I live in the U.S. and during the summer days it gets pretty warm. So that's when I was wondering if I could take them out. Maybe put them in a kiddie pool and keep an eye on the water. It would only be for a couple of hours a day of course while I am out there with them. Christine <By all means put them outside for a few weeks when it is hot. But don't carry them in and out for a few hours each day: animals don't like to be man-handled and suddenly placed in a different environment. They aren't like us, and think differently. To your eyes, a sunny garden is a tranquil place to sunbathe, but to a pet reptile its a bizarre and frightening place filled with strange sounds and smells. So if you want them to have a "vacation" outdoors (in itself not a bad thing at all) create a safe, sheltered environment that they can settle into around about May and then be brought back in once it cools down in September. Make sure there are resting places and hiding places, and of course the water still needs to be kept clean. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: red ear sliders, shell issues 5/5/08 Hi - Neale Thanks for all the information. I have one more question. Since I changed over the tank 4 days ago I took my turtles out and noticed that their shell very slimy. They never felt like this before. Is this bad for them and what do you think it is. Is there something I should do? Thanks, Christine <Hi Christine. Odd shell textures can be caused by a number of things. Hard water can cause a crusty (limescale) deposit to develop on the shell. In itself not dangerous but should be cleaned away gently with a toothbrush. Fungus is more serious, and forms a fuzzy, slippery or slimy deposit. Related to poor water quality, and potentially lethal, so needs fixing. Treat the animal with a reptile safe anti-fungal medication, and review water quality management (filtration, water changes, overfeeding). Algae is common, and forms a greenish slime. Easily wiped away with paper towel. Not dangerous, and probably normal in the wild. Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: red ear sliders -05/07/08 Hi Neale Thanks for the information. How would I be able to tell between a slippery slimy deposit of fungus or and algae that is also slimy and slippery? Thanks Christine <Hello Christine. Simple: algae is typically greenish brown, but can run from reddish through to blue-green; fungus is off-white, perhaps grayish. Hope that helps, Neale.>

Re: Red ear sliders 05/08/08 Hi Neale I am so sorry to bother you again but I really need help. I don't know what to do next. I don't want my little turtles to get sick or die. <Indeed not!> It has been a week since I put them in the 75 gallon tank. I have the two filters working up to 40 gallons each. (order another for 130 gallons). Have 75 watt basking light, florescent light, and 5.0 ubv light. O.k now I know this green slime because my basking dock has green algae on it. <Algae is harmless, but most easily removed with a pad or scraper.> There is a film on the water. Now my filters are making soapy looking bubbles on top of the water. <Ah, likely too much organic material in the water (consider what polluted lakes look like -- froth!). So, reduce the food DRAMATICALLY, do a big (90%) water change, rinse the filter media in aquarium water. Switch to low protein (i.e., plant) foods from now on, and use high protein foods (pellets, seafood) once a week and only in small amounts.> Water is turning cloudy with what looks like white flakes in it. <Do remember turtles (like all reptiles) shed their skin, and this looks like big, transparent flakes of dead skin.> It kind of looks like when the turtles shed. Could it be that they are shedding so much from going from a 10 gallon tank to a 75 gallon tank. <No idea.> Please help turtles and me in desperate need. Thanks Christine <Hope this helps, Neale.> Re: Red ear sliders 5/10/08 Hi Neale <Christine,> Thanks for the information. I changed the water and hooked up another filter. I purchased an eheim 2017. <An excellent purchase; I have the Eheim 2217 (a similar unit) and while "old school" in design, these filters are reliable and very effective.> So now I have the three filters going. A noisy little filter. <You can perhaps phase out any small filters after 3-6 weeks (to give the bacteria time to colonize the new filter media in the new filters). Provided you're offering at least 6 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour, you're fine. With turtles, have one really big external canister filter is what you need, and the less clutter inside the tank, the better. I bought a useful little unit called an Hydor ETH, basically a heater you put into the outflow tube from the canister filter. When I kept turtles, I found myself replacing the heaters once a year, because the turtles would eventually smash them. So perhaps worth considering.> I have given them romaine lettuce for the first time and they are really not sure what to do with it. They are looking for their pellets. <I bet. The issue is this: imagine someone who loves steak. And then their doctor tells them they need to eat salad and cut out the red meat. Yes, the steak is bad for them, and yes, the salad is good for them -- but does that mean the person would be happy to eat only salad? Nope. Same with animals; when they get used to high protein diets, they can be very sniffy about switching to the greens they should be eating. But your job as the pet owner is to be strong, and give them what they need, not what they want (like kids, I guess).> What other kind of green is good for them? And I really don't know how much I should be feeding them daily? <There's a great article on "salad options" here: http://www.redearslider.com/plants.html Note the point that as turtles age, they need more greens. And also, not all greens are equally good: some are 100% safe, some are best used as treats, and others should be avoided altogether.> They will be a year in at the very end of July I think. Every time I go over to them its like they are hungry and looking for food. I don't want them to be fat and I don't want them to be starving. <Absolutely no risk of them starving at all. In common with all reptiles, turtles can go for long periods without food. Many carnivorous reptiles will literally only eat a few big meals per month. Herbivores and omnivores eat rather more, but still only less than 20% what a similar sized mammal or bird would eat. So provided you are offering the right foods and otherwise keeping them in good shape, they will eat when they're hungry.> Have a good day Christine <Likewise yourself, Neale.> Re: red ear sliders 5/15/08 Hi Neale How loud is this Eheim 2217 filter suppose to be. <Eheim filters should be pretty quiet. But if you configure the thing wrong, it can "rattle". Air bubbles get caught inside the pump and you get a very distinctive rattling sound. Do also check the impeller itself is seated properly in its housing. The little "stick" the impeller sits on can get worn or deformed over time, and again, if this prevents the impeller from whirling around in its socket properly, you'll get noise. Finally, kinks and constrictions along the pipes can make the pump work harder, and potentially this can result in extra noise. But otherwise, all you should hear is a gentle whirring sound.> Mine is really loud. Also I am a little confused about cleaning the filter. When you change the water, and I clean the filter wouldn't I be cleaning out all of the bio out of it that has built up? <There's two or three aspects to cleaning a filter, depending on your configuration. If you have just mechanical and biological media, these are the two steps: First, you rinse the biological media in a bucket of aquarium water or under a lukewarm tap. The idea is to rinse off silt without upsetting the bacteria. I always clean media in aquarium water, but supposedly lukewarm tap water is fine. The second step is cleaning the mechanical filter media. This can be rinsed in the same way but more aggressively as required, and filter wool pre-filter layers may need to be replaced entirely. The third step is if you have chemical media, such as carbon. Depending on the medium in question, this will need to either be cleaned aggressively or else replaced entirely. Some chemical media wears out within a few weeks (carbon, Zeolite) while others will work fine provided any silt and bacteria are washed off (peat, calcium carbonate).> How do I do this? <In the Eheim filter, the mechanical media are normally at the bottom and the biological media towards the top.> Change the water and filter? <Some folks do indeed do both at once. Normally I change water every weekend (or every other weekend if I'm feeling lazy!) and clean the filter every 6-8 weeks. It will be obvious when the filter *must* be cleaned because the water flow will drop substantially.> Thanks Christine <Cheers, Neale.>

I need your help! RES care, humanity 3/30/08 Ok, I need some help convincing my mom that my red eared slider turtle is important enough to have all of the right habitat stuff. I don't want my little Jimmy-Hendrix to die!!! <As always review water quality, diet, and basking environment before panicking. Almost all reptile deaths come down to not observing these rules. RESs need a large aquarium with a filter (certainly no less than 30 gallons for an adult, plus a filter with a turnover of not less than 4, and ideally 6, times the volume of the aquarium in gallons per hour). The diet should be 50% green foods when young, and 75% green foods once more than half grown. Finally, these reptiles MUST have a UV-B source to bask under. The tube or lamp WILL need to be replaced periodically; check with the manufacturer on the recommended interval, but typically its something like once a year.> My turtle is only one and a half inches both long and wide, I have a 10 gallon tank, two basking spots, some Zoo-Med Reptisafe Water Conditioner, Zoo-Med Turtle Treats, Zoo-Med Aquatic Turtle Food. <Too small, wrong food.> I also have another kind of food witch he seems to like better, it's called Tetrafauna ReptoMin, is that as good for him as the Zoo-Med stuff? <Neither is what you need. These turtles are HERBIVORES, like sheep and cows. They want lots of plants to eat. Pellets can be used once or twice a week. Suggested plant foods include Elodea (pondweed) and curly (not iceberg or red) lettuce.> This is all that I have for him, no special lights or anything. Are those necessary? <Yes.> Anyway, my question is what other stuff do I need, habitat wise, to keep my little Jimmy-Hendrix healthy? <A heater is also important unless you live somewhere it rarely gets below 18C/65F. Because these reptiles are super-destructive, get a heater with a plastic guard. Over here in England these are standard on many of them anyway. When I kept turtles, it seemed to me I was replacing the heater once a year!> And do I need to add anything to his diet besides the turtle pellets and treats? <Yes.> I need you guys to help me prove to my mom that turtles are important enough to spend a few extra bucks on. So please help me be a good turtle owner/pal. <Start by telling your Mom you need a book. There are plenty at the library, book shop or pet store. Read, my friend, so that you can do the right thing. These turtles get VERY BIG, VERY QUICKLY, so be forewarned! Cheers, Neale.>

Green Water -- 03/18/08 Hey there! My RES is a little over 6 years old and everything has been going great!! All of a sudden after the last water change my water has turned green! So green that I cant see my turtle swimming in tank, and that can't be fun for him either! He's no where near the window so there is no direct sunlight and the tank is as clean as it could possibly be! Is there any other things that it could possibly be??? Thanks Hillary <This is, as you seem to suspect, algae. It means you aren't doing enough water changes and the filter is inadequate to the task. Sunlight + nutrients in the water = algae. So do more water changes, and upgrade the filter. For terrapins, you need a filter providing not less than six times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour, and I'd recommend at least 8-10 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour. A bigger tank will also help by diluting the problem. Nothing else will work. While the terrapin likely doesn't care about the algae as such, the fact you have algae at all indicates poor environmental conditions, and long term that opens you up to healthcare issues that are expensive to treat and painful for the animal. Cheers, Neale.>

How big of a tank. RES sys. 12/25/07 Hi my name is Russell <Hi my name is Darrel> I have three red eared sliders, one male, one female, and one I'm not sure about yet but I think its a little girl. <Sliders are sexually dimorphic, which means it's very easy to tell the difference once they're mature. Males are smaller than females and develop very long front claws (fingernails)> I was wondering how large of a tank will all three of them need when they grow up to full size. I want to keep them together like they are now and want to use a glass aquarium. Is this even possible? <Yes it is, Russell. But when they mature, a glass aquarium isn't exactly the right enclosure for them -- they need a wide surface area of water, even if it's only a 3 or 4 inches deep, which is the opposite of most aquariums. Using the Internet, I'd research what they used to call indoor ponds -- small ponds made out of barrel halves or various tub shapes -- that can be combined with land, dirt and slanted areas. You can make some very attractive water gardens and planters that would be great for adult Sliders.> thanks. <Yer Welcome!>

Re: Big trouble in Little Turtletown 12/7/07 Well because we bought them off Chinese people in Chinatown.. <Yes, street merchants aren't known for their animal husbandry expertise> They obviously couldn't speak much English and didn't mention anything what so ever about a basking lamp or any temperatures... but most definitely I will take you advice with the information you sent me! <Here's some more complete advice for you -- a short article on how to keep them & keep them healthy. You'll notice that it doesn't have to be expensive to keep them well -- you just have to understand what's being said and then DO it> < http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm > And he usually is very active but for the past few days he's just bin slumped. The food the Chinese had sold to us is called floating turtle glammarus pellets. It says in the back that its specially made for all turtles <<There is no such thing... RMF>> and provides complete diets. <It may very well be true, but since I don't use it or know anyone who does, all I can do is tell you what I personally use because I know that it will solve that problem. Best of luck to you -- Darrel>

Re: Big trouble in Little Turtletown 12/7/07 I honestly am very grateful for going out of your way and giving me the advice you gave me... thanks and take care <No problem, Cilenie, that's why we get the big bucks!> <oh wait .... we don't GET the big bucks. Actually we don't get ANY bucks -- we do this because we like helping people and their pets. So I'll accept your thanks with great pleasure and at the same time thank YOU because without good folks like you, we wouldn't have these jobs.> <The jobs that don't pay anything. That we like. And the people. {sigh} I need an aspirin!> <> <All kidding aside, Cilenie, it's our pleasure!>

Re: Big trouble in Little Turtletown 12/9/07 Oh by the way how much would the lamps go for?? And what am I better off getting? The lamp or the thing that warms the water up? <> <For those of you that just joined us, we're discussing some small turtles and one that appears lethargic and/or ill very possibly due to housekeeping issues> <> <UV lamps are not all that expensive in the over-all scheme of things, but you'd have to check both on line and in your local pets stores to see what is available. I've used Vita-Lite fluorescent bulbs for years, mainly because they used to be the only ones that published actual scientific data on their bulbs. Recently I've been using Repti-Sun from my friends at Zoo-Med with good results. Sorry, but that's as close as I can come to being your personal shopper.> <For turtles, it's not a good idea and almost any level to heat the water. Let the water remain at room temperature and heat their basking area to between 88 and 93 degrees using a conventional incandescent bulb for the heat in addition to the aforementioned UV bulb for health. There's a link below that explains in more detail.> <For reference, that thing that heats the water is called heater.> < http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>

Is an over-active Slider too hot? -- 11/16/07 Hey Crew! <Hiya Jamie!> I read through your Faq's and I really enjoyed the site. Thank you for the great info! Well onto my questions... My first question is about my female RES that I bought about 6 months ago, she's been very healthy and always active and friendly. We keep her in long 20 gallon tank, with a heater/filter, heat kept around 78 degrees, basking platform that she can easy climb on, and a UVA/UVB lamp. She's about 4 inches now, maybe slightly bigger. 1) First problem encountered with her was that she refuses to eat any kind of pellets, we tried 3 different kinds and even soaked tem in tuna to entice her. She dislikes them so much, she even acts like they aren't there. After many tries, we finally decided to try to keep a balanced diet (as best as we can) with veggies and extra stuff (usually feeder fish, crickets, krill..etc.) Any suggestions on how to keep a good stable diet? <The first problem is that the water is too hot. Water temp should be around 65-73 and the dry land/basking temp between 85-93 -- She needs to have a choice as to be warm & dry or wet & cool and so far you've taken that choice away from her. -- I'll address the feeding concerns a little later on> 2) For some reason lately she has become extremely active and loves to climb onto her basking platform and then attempts to climb out of her tank, sometimes getting too close for comfort. She even ends up back flipping into the water and one time got stuck. Any explanation as to why she is doing this and how we can prevent it? <My guess is that she's active because she's a bit over heated and her behavior will change when you provide her the proper temperature gradients. Also, you'll find that the water stays a bit cleaner and clearer at the lower temperatures> <Now, as far as diet and diet fixations go ... Sliders are not usually very picky. If she's otherwise healthy and after about 3 months of correcting her temperature situation ... you can just stop offering her any other kind of foods .... and offer the Koi pellets once a week, scooping them out if she hasn't eaten in 15 minutes, and after about three weeks, she'll wake up & smell the writing on the wall (to mix metaphors) and start eating the pellets. If she's otherwise healthy, 3-6 weeks in nothing to HER ... but you'll be beside yourself with needless worry. Just for comparison, I've had a box turtle so fixated on strawberries that she refused any and all other food. When I finally started offering her a proper diet or nothing at all ... she went for TWO YEARS and three months!!!! It was a real test of wills with an animal that will likely outlive me.> <Start by correcting her environmental issues and read the link below -- check all your husbandry against the guidelines and then ... when it's all perfect. Just out-wait her ... and she'll come along.> Thank you again, and I hope to hear from you soon. -Jamie in Chico, Cali. <Nice town, Jamie -- my son went to college there! -- Darrel> < http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >

Help with a slimy Slider 11/1/07 Hello - <Hiya Kassie! -- Darrel here today. My 100th reply on behalf of Wet Web Media!!!!!!!> <Sorry, you don't win a contest or anything, but I thought you'd like to know> I have a red-eared slider - female, 9 years old - who shares a tank with four small Danio fish (they've been in the tank with her for 3 years). I have questions about her water/tank. <I need to remind you that it's not really a good idea to mix fix and turtles for a lot of reasons, the most common being that on very rare occasions the turtle will, given the opportunity of a sick or weakened fish, make it into dinner. It doesn't happen often, and after 3 years, she's not likely to try to chase them -- but it needed to be said.> 1) Attached is a picture of some algae I've been fighting to eliminate (unsuccessfully; the water in the picture is a little cloudy b/c I just re-filled the tank). I have taken out all the rocks and scrubbed them clean. I do water changes about every 3-4 weeks or so (so her water stays clear). I have 2 Fluval canister filters in the tank (330 and 400 series) - I clean them about once every 6 months. The algae is mainly dark green, slimy and covers everything - it leaves an oil-like sheen on the water surface. I can literally peel sheets of it off the rocks, etc. <It's called, appropriately enough, SLIME ALGAE. It's usually a green-blue but also can be a deep green> What causes this? <It's usually attributed to a bacteria (Cyanobacteria) that thrives in dirty water especially with an over abundance of organics. This is why we see it so often in turtle tanks because total amount of food and turtle waste quickly overcomes almost any biological filter you're likely to set up. The Cyanobacteria secretes a substance than encourages the growth of sympatric algae that is particularly slimy. Sort of like my brother in law> What can I do to eliminate it? I have algaecide that I use for my fish tank - can I use that for the turtle tank as well? <The reason you've had such a hard time eliminating it is that our typical cleaning techniques aren't effective against a bacteria that is colonizing virtually every surface of the tank, filters, the inside of the filter HOSES (didn't think of THAT, huh?), air lines, stones, heaters, cords ... ANYTHING in contact with the water. An algaecide will kill off the green matter itself, but does nothing for the underlying cause. As soon as the bacterium get another whiff of food or waste and go back into production mode, the algae will appear faster than a lawyer at the scene of a car accident.> <You can treat the bacteria with erythromycin, but it's expensive through the vet and (in my opinion) the commercially prepared stuff sold at pet stores is next to useless. So do it the old fashioned way:> <What you need to do here is a total break-down and initialization. Move the turtle and the fish to a separate tank, tub or enclosure -- anything from a glass tank to a Tupperware tub (this is just for 3 or 4 days). Use the existing water and lamps and provide some sort of basking area for the turtle. Meanwhile break down your tank, wash the components in salt water (or ordinary table salt mixed in ordinary water) and get them as clean as you possibly can. Rinse the tubes and hoses in hot, hot, HOT water and then set it all back up -- gravel, filters, logs ... just like usual ... but OUTSIDE somewhere. Fill it with the normal amount of water and then add 2 cups of chlorine beach for every gallon of water. Make it stink. Then run the full system, pumps, heaters, whatever ... for two days. This will kill the bacteria, fungus, most viruses and almost anything organic.> <Now we're half done> <Now rinse. Rinse again and then rinse more. Drain all the water, refill with fresh water from the hose, run the system for an hour and drain THAT ... and then repeat.> <Now dry it off as needed, take it back inside and set it up just as you would a brand new system (because it is) taking care to condition the water (for the sake of the fish) and remember to feed lightly since you'll have no real bio-cycle set up for a few weeks.> A few months ago, my turtle had a shell issue - hard white spots (calcified shell) that were a result of an infection. As per the vet, it was NOT shell rot. I imagine it may be related to the algae problem and I don't want it to happen again. <Probably not related, but as we address the root cause of the algae, this too will pass> 2) I usually fill my tank straight from the tap (using one of the gravel vacuums), using a thermometer to check the temp (about 76 degrees) - do I need to add a water conditioner to the tank? If so, what should I look for? <Treat the water for chlorine and/or chloramines for the benefit of the fish> 3) How important is it for my turtle to eat a varied diet? I have tried giving her something besides turtle food (meal worms, crickets, veggies) but she won't touch it. <She doesn't need a varied diet, but a healthy BALANCED diet ... of which meal worms and crickets really aren't. Try to switch her to a diet of Koi pellets, which are inexpensive and the fish enjoy them too, or something identical in composition to the Koi pellets only more expensive, such as Tetra Repto-min. I raise a couple ponds filled with water turtles including hatchlings that grew into adults than in turn produced more hatchlings (you can't swing a cat around my place without hitting a couple dozen turtles) and they ALL are fed Koi pellets as a basic diet. 100% complete and balanced> <SPEAKING of 100& ..... Did I mention that this is my 100th response to Wet Web Inquiries?> 4) I have two lamps (the aluminum half-dome shaped kind) with bulbs that provide UVA and UVB but I'm having a hard time getting the air temp on the basking rocks to be warmer than about 82 degrees. I can't move the lights any closer to the top of the tank. Is there a different type of light fixture I should use? <In my opinion, yes. I use fluorescent UV bulbs for my indoor UV needs. The relatively weak power of man-made UV means that the bulbs have to be very close to the animal (8-12 inches) in order to be of real value and incandescent bulbs can generate too much heat at that range, so I use Zoo-med Repti-Sun bulbs in inexpensive fixtures I get at the local home supply store. Then, for heat, I use an aluminum cone spot lamp, as you already have, with a standard 100 watt household bulb suspended and just the right height to get 88-90 degrees on the basking rock. > <Speaking of 100 watts ..... Did I mention that this is my 100th response to Wet Web Inquiries?> Thanks so much for your help! <You're most welcome, Kasie, we truly enjoy helping!> Kasie

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: