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FAQs About Turtle Compatibility

Related Articles: Turtles, Shell Rot in Turtles, AmphibiansRed Eared Slider Care

Related FAQs:  RES Compatibility, Turtles 1, Turtles 2, Red Ear Sliders, Turtle Identification, Turtle Behavior, Turtle Selection, Turtle Systems, Turtle Feeding, Turtle Disease, Shell Rot, Turtle Reproduction, & by Species: Cooters/Mud Turtles, Softshells, Snapping Turtles, Mata Matas, Tortoises, & AmphibiansOther Reptiles

In groups some turtles are very gregarious.

With other turtles?    Depends on species, system size, layout, and relative sizes
With fishes? Almost never... turtles eat them, and are too messy to cohabitate. Ditto Often not.
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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Turtle question      4/1/14
Hi my name is Sara.
<Hiya Sara - Darrel here>
I was hoping you could please help me out with a question about my turtles.
I have a 3year old painted turtle about 4 in shell in a 75 gallon tank and I also have a baby map turtle. About the size
of a quarter in a separate 40 gal tank . Could they ever live together?

<Hmmm. They CAN .. but I'd be concerned about the size difference. Both species are colonial... which is to say they live in areas where others
live and as a rule they don't really fight. The problem is that a single territorial "nip" from the painted turtle -- just a reminder who is boss -
could be deadly to the map turtle... so my suggestion is to keep them separately.>
<As a side note, Map turtles are more sensitive to water quality issues than sliders, Cooters or Painteds ... so pay close attention to her water

My turtle was bitten, and incomp. f's     10/16/13
I really hope you guys are still answering peoples questions!
Last Thursday 10/10/13, My yellow bellied slider had his penis bitten by our soft shelled turtle when he was fanning... it bled for a few minutes and then stopped.. this isn't the first time it's happened and usually it just goes right back in after a few hours but today is 10/15/13 and it's still out.. there is swelling and the skin around the cloaca is all ripped... I called around today and could not find a vet in the area that takes turtles... I'm really worried about my little man.. i tried the honey trick I read online but that didn't work.. and there's no way I could manually try to put it in because it's just too swollen.. is there anything I can do?? I really don't wanna lose him :(
Thank you,
<Angela, you really need to get this guy to a vet. If it's still bleeding some hours after the damage, then there's a very high risk of bacterial infection (e.g., septicaemia). Chances are he'll need to be kept out of water for a while until he heals. The vet will fill you in with the details here. Also, and I cannot stress this too strongly, Softshell Turtles (Trionyx spp.) should only ever be kept alone. They are extremely nasty animals that bite first, ask questions later. They're dangerous to their owners, let alone any other poor animal trapped in the same glass box as they are. There's a pretty useful summary here:
Cheers, Neale (bcc'ed Darrel, our turtle expert).>

Yellow belly slider and Florida map turtle compatibility     8/25/13
Dear Crew
<Hiya - Darrel here>
We have a yellow belly slider in a 55 gallon tank with feeder fish, we just recently bought a Florida map turtle and want to put them together. The slider is about 3.5 inches and the map turtle is about 1.5 inches. How should we introduce these two? We believe the slider is male but aren't sure about the map turtle b/c it's still pretty much a hatchling...from what we know...
<OK - if you do your research, you'll find that feeder fish are not any major component of a Slider's diet.  In general, because of the conditions in which feeders are raised, they're not even healthy fish, more prone to spread disease than nutrition.  If you read the article linked here you'll find better nutrition options.  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<To the issue of introducing them, my suggestion would be "No".   Sliders, Cooters, Maps and their families all get along just fine except when you have one individual that may just be mean … but they all need to be relatively the same size.   The problem here is that they could get along fine day to day for quite a while and be very used to each other and then suddenly in a single instant there is tragedy.  With an adult Slider and a hatchling-sized Map … a tiny little warning "go away and leave me alone" nip could be fatal to the map.>
<On the bright side, housing the tiny Map Turtle separately isn't expensive (read the article above)>
<Two items of note:  Map Turtles are normally a bit more nervous and skittish than Sliders, so they tend to spend more time in the water when people are around -- so a Map is best housed in a room where they can get "alone time" under the basking lamp.   Also, they are a bit more susceptible to skin fungus than Sliders.   Two things prevent this - the alone time/basking time mentioned above AND more frequent water changes and cleanings>
<Yer welcome!>

Large Pleco and baby map or musk, incomp.       12/10/12
Hi my name is Tim from Georgia
I have a spotted Pleco that is a little over a foot long in a 75 gallon tank with a Fluval 305 filter no gravel as of yet. I was wondering if I can add baby turtles I plan on getting to the same environment. I plan on getting maybe 1 razorback musk and two Texas map turtles.
<Mixing dissimilar turtle/terrapin species isn't usually a good idea. In this case, the Map Turtles have the potential to reach around 20 cm/8 inches in shell length, while the Musk Turtles are only about two-thirds that size. They also have rather different diets, the Map Turtle being a definite omnivore with a requirement for fresh green foods and only limited offerings of meaty foods (though not quite so herbivorous as "Slider" type turtles) whereas the Musk Turtle is a definite carnivore that eats little green food. With this said, if you carefully controlled what sort of foods were offered and provided adequate space, they might cohabit. Razorback Musks are among the most tolerant of the Musk Turtles, and (males) Texas Map Turtles aren't nearly as prone to aggression as some of the Sliders like Red Ears, so they could get on just fine. A lot will depend on the size of the tank (I fear 75 gallons might be pushing your luck) and the availability of basking spots under the heat and UV-B lamps.>
I doubt I will be able to keep the razorback with the Texas Map pair from what I have been reading on this website. If I am wrong on those two species not being able to coexist please let me know. But my main question would have to be can I keep either of these turtles in the same 75 gallon tank as my large Pleco?
<Even if you managed to keep two adult turtles in 75 gallons -- and it would require frequent water changes and a very large aquarium filter, I seriously doubt that the humble Fluval 305 would be able to keep ammonia and nitrite at zero. Remember, turtles aren't really too bothered by ammonia because their skin is impermeable, and provided the water doesn't smell and is kept clear enough for you to watch your turtles easily, then the filter is doing its job. But that's a world away from the excellent water quality fish require. Even on its own, the Plec (as an adult at least) would put a heavy strain on the Fluval 305 and needs an aquarium around the 55 gallon mark! Plus, the Musk Turtle especially is an opportunist predator, while the Map Turtle mostly eats snails, so a Plec substantially smaller than them might be viewed as "live food" by either species of turtle. As you know, feeder fish aren't necessary or even a good idea for pet turtles, so the bottom line has to be fish in one tank, turtles in the other.>
I plan on getting a turtle topper and plenty places to hide for the musk.
Can either of these guys exist with the Pleco or can they call exist together?
<Few turtles work well with fish, and those that do tend to be demanding varieties such as the Pig-Nose Turtle (Carettochelys insculpta). It's quite common to see them in giant (200+ gallon) systems with all sorts of tankmates, even Rainbowfish and Clown Loaches!>
Thanks for your time and sorry if this question has been asked but I could not find it.
<Maybe not asked recently, but a perennial question nonetheless. Cheers, Neale.>

Nothing but a shell, YBS, Soft Shell incomp.     9/2/12
Good afternoon.
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I was out of town for 10 days and had a friend look after my 7" yellow belly turtle. When I arrived home, the water in the 100 gallon outdoor pond was too green. I took the water out and found three baby soft shell turtles, and it remains a mystery as to how they got in there (the pond is ten inches in height from the ground).
<Unless someone put them there, I agree>
They have lived together just fine over the last 3 weeks. So, after finding more soft shell turtles in my pool, I transferred them to the pond.
<OK, a mother laid her eggs somewhere close by>
But today as I went outside to feed the turtles, one was dead! He was missing his arms and head, and was only a shell with legs. Would my yellow belly do this, it seems quite vicious.
<Yes he could>
 I do believe this little soft shell turtle may have been sick because he was basking on top of the water for the entire day. Does being sick or dead change anything in the turtle world, or did my turtle just get annoyed by the little guy?
<It could have been either.  Turtles are what are called 'opportunistic feeders' which mean that they will eat anything that doesn't fight back or run away>
 I have now removed the soft shell turtles and put them in the lake (I didn't want to take any chances), but there are still two more in the cave area, hopefully alive, that I cannot get to. Should I be concerned?
<Softshells make very interesting pets.  As they grow they develop short tempers and with their long necks it's best to have them where they don't have to be handled very much.  Also, they need much cleaner water that a Yellow Belly or Red Eared Slider would need>

turtle tank mates, Map and RES comp.     7/31/12
I was recently on Hilton Head Island and had purchased what were supposed to be 2 RES turtles however after examining both of them and doing some research I have discovered that one of them is actually a Common Map turtle.
<Now called the Northern Map Turtle, Graptemys geographica.>
Will there be any problems keeping the two of them in the same tank?
<Provided it's big enough, no. 75 gallons should be adequate for one, 125 gallons for two, with two males being less likely (and therefore needing more space) than females.>
they are both about 1 1/2 - 2 inches in length at the moment and I have them housed in a 10 gal tank with about 3 inches of water in it. I know I will have to get a larger tank soon but its much bigger than the enclosure they were purchased in.
<That may well be the case, but "less bad" doesn't equal "good"! So you will need a larger tank fairly soon -- within a couple of months -- and it would be completely pointless buying an aquarium smaller than 75 gallons even as a short-term home (a 75-gallon tank will be adequate for a year or two, until they reach the 6-8 inch mark). If money is tight, go straight to the big tank, 125+ gallons. Do bear in mind these turtles get HUGE when grown up, anything up to a 10-inch shell length. And please trust me on this: if you buy a small tank, it will soon get dirty, cloudy, and stinky!
In turn the turtles get moldy and sickly, and if you think a 75-gallon aquarium is expensive, try paying for vet bills! There's a really good summary sheet over at the Californian Turtle Home adoption/rehoming site, here:
Cheers, Neale.>

Injured Painted Turtle, incomp.       7/5/12
I have a painted turtle that I took from the wild when it was quarter sized.  It is now a year old and my cat brought me another painted baby turtle the same as the other's original size.  I supervised them together for a few days to be sure they would get a long and then put them together to live.
<Not compatible if there is a large size differential>
 The little one doesn't seem to be too skittish around the older one, but I notice the other day that it looked like his tail was injured.  It had the end hanging off.  I watched them and didn't notice ANY aggressive behavior. 
<... not right then>
So I thought maybe he hurt himself.  I took noticed a few days later, that when in the water together, the baby turtle doesn't stick his back legs out of his shell, like he is hiding them from being bit.  So I took him out of the water and looked him over, he now has a smaller nubby tail and is missing parts of his back feet.  He has nubs for them too, with only one claw left on each back foot.  I separated them right away,
but I don't know if the baby is ok or not.  It doesn't seem to slow him down with swimming or running...but is he going to be alright?
<Can't tell from the data presented. Please search on WWM... re turtle aggression, injury... Treatment may be advisable depending on the extent of injuries>
  I've seen a lot of posts about injured turtles, but I don't know if he will heal on his own from the injury or if I should be doing something special.  Thank you very much!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

RES and Dragonfish Together as well as health problem  4/27/12
Hello, My names Nicole.
I am writing you all for 2 reasons. First is I have a baby RES and today my lovely Boyfriend brought home a small Dragonfish and put it in our 50gal tank with Mr. Turtle. (I know very original name) Can the 2 of them survive okay together?
<No. The "Dragonfish" is, I assume, a Dragon Goby:
These big, ugly but very good fun fish are brackish to seawater animals and cannot live for long in freshwater (despite some of the more unhelpful retailers selling them as freshwater fish). If you add enough marine aquarium salt mix to the water for this fish (between 5-10 grammes per litre) you'll severely stress, perhaps kill, the turtle. On top of this, Turtles and Fish DO NOT GO TOGETHER! Turtles make so much mess (urine, faeces) that water quality in their tanks gets very bad, very quickly.>
Second is I noticed that my RES' shell is soft. I had no idea because he seems normal, very active.
<Poor diet; lack of calcium; no UV-B lamp for him to bask under.>

Only problem is I have had him for a month now and still have yet to see him eat. I have used pellets, dried shrimp, freeze dried blood worms.
Calcium supplements for the water and UVB light. What else can I do.
<Read. Start here:
I have "Googled" and cannot seem to find anything that I have not tired.
Please help. :)
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Turtle in a Fish Tank?
Hello, my name is Reba
--Reba, I'm Darrel
and I went to a pet store today and got a baby yellow bellied slider.
-- it's pretty
I also bought a mini size floating dock. The lady in the store said it would be fine for the turtle until it got bigger. I have a 30 gallon tank.
I also have two algae eaters. My turtle isn't going on the floating dock (the basking platform) I put a picture of the turtle in the bowl that she came in. As soon as I got home I put her in the tank.
-- tropical fish tanks are usually not good for turtles, Reba. The water for a turtle should be 68 to 73 degrees (no heater) while tropical fish like it warmer.
-- the turtle will not bask on a floating log unless it wants to get warmer and there is a heat source above the log.
-- read the article. Read and understand all of it, then write back if you have more questions:

Re summat to do w/ chelonians recently...  6/23/11
The lady at the pet store said I didn't need a lamp? Just water, a basking platform, and food.
-- I'm sorry, the lady at the pet store is wrong. Reptiles, which include turtles, regulate their body temperature by swimming in cool water and then basking in the warm sun, or the heat of a basking lamp. It is absolutely NECESSARY that the turtle have a place to haul out, dry off and get warm - otherwise all kinds of health problems will crop up. The lady at the pet store is not giving you correct information. EVERYTHING that I gave you in that link to the article on basic care is ABSOLUTELY necessary.

Female turtles?... biting... incomp.   3/26/11
I have two female aquatic turtles, one is much older than the other. The second moved in a few years ago as a baby. the older larger one has now started chasing and biting the smaller one, she even bites her shell and neck area. this has been going on now for a few months.
<Yes, does happen. Are you sure they're females?>
I tried separating them but the smaller one goes back to the larger pond with the larger turtle. Please tell me what I can try to do.
Thank You
<Unfortunately JoAnn, there's no quick fix. Turtles aren't social animals, and in the confines of a small vivarium, they may choose not get along.
Assuming these are standard sorts like Yellow Belly Sliders or Red Ear Sliders, they're going to expect their own rock for basking under a UV-B light source (possibly one lamp over each rock); and you do need to allow a good 200 l/50 gallons per specimen. Do read more:
Cheers, Neale.>

small turtle compatibility in aquariums 10/31/10
Dear Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I am in the process of setting up a turtle tank and am seeking input/suggestions.
<Welcome to Bob Fenner's house of suggestions><<Add Wonderful in front of house and we'll call it quits>>
The main turtle I would like to get is a southern painted turtle. I've read quite a bit about aggression between turtles of the same/similar species in an aquarium(I originally wanted a western, eastern, and southern painted, but was told that could cause issues), so I was wondering about keeping a musk turtle and possibly a Mississippi map turtle with the painted.
<Let's start with your original palette of turtles.>
<Get it? A palette of painted turtles??? LOL I should be on the stage!!!!>
<[Yeah - it leaves in an hour] - Ed]
<The Chrysemys (Painteds) and Pseudemys (Sliders, etc.) are not specifically aggressive turtles. That is to say that they are not, by nature, mean or predatory. Many times, if not most times, they can live happily in a colony. Which means that "in general" (notice the quotes) you can mix & match Painteds, sliders, etc. in any way you want.>
<But even though the species will mix just fine, the INDIVIDUALS may not mix well at all. Some individuals can be snappy, all of the group can be snappy at times '¦, etc. The important thing is to make sure the sizes are proportionate, so that whatever combat takes place is more or less "fair." Beyond that, look out for aggressive individuals that may have to be segregated or re-homed.>
<The important thing is to make sure that the tank is big enough and arranged well enough that animals can get out of eyesight of another from time to time.>
Since musk turtles like to "walk" under water instead of swim, would washed play sand be a good substrate, I'm not a real fan of bare bottom tanks and the "larger than their adult sized mouth" gravel sounds like a cleaning pain. I've been looking into substrates and everyone seems to say opposite things. Then there are the impacted intestine scare stories about turtles eating sand/small gravel.
<First, while I like the mud and musk turtles, they are far less likely to work and play well with others. My best experience with the entire Kinosternidae family is to keep them singly and alone. Again, size matters, smaller mud/musk turtles seem to get along well with larger sliders, but a fully grown Mud or Musk turtle kept with anything less than a fully grown female slider (6-8 inches) is usually a disaster waiting to happen>
Another side thought, do these smaller turtles even care if they have a companion or not?
<They do very well alone. In the wild they live in colonies primarily because the resources (sunny banks, floating logs, etc. have to be shared.>
Would it make them more active having tank mates?
<Sometimes yes and sometimes not. I my large outdoor turtle pond, I'll see them spend one day as far apart as they can get and the next day clumped like one large mass.>
The tank size they will start in will depend on their size when I get them, I had planned on using one of my 55's, but they look pretty small, so a 20L or 40B may be easier to care for them until they grow a bit. I'll upgrade tank size as they grow. I would also like to stock some captive bread Ramshorn snails in the tank for waste cleaning aid and turtle snacks (if it's safe, haven't found many straight answers on that topic yet).
<Regarding tank size, go for length and width rather than depth. It's not they turtles don't seem to appreciate water deeper than 6 inches, because they do -- but a bigger "pond" is more beneficial than a deeper pond, so to speak. I'd almost go as far as to say that the more room they have to separate themselves when needed, the better they will do as a group. (Come to think if it, that sounds like my family, too!)>
<Regarding substrate, the biggest problem you'll find is that it's a practical impossibility to create a biological filter big enough to assimilate and process the amount of waste these turtles will produce. They HAVE them of course '¦ their called swamps. In captivity, any enclosure you have will require some amount of manual cleaning and that is where a substrate comes in. Fine aquarium sand is OK as far as they are concerned, but starting the day you put the first turtle in, it starts to trap the detritus. By the third time you've siphoned it all out to wash it in the bathtub, those large, smooth river rocks start looking awfully good.>
Thanks for your time and knowledge.
<Time is free! Knowledge is questionable '¦ but hope it helps!!>

Re: need help with turtles and fish    8/7/10
<Hi again>
I was wanting to know what type of fish I can put in my turtle tank. I don't care if they eat the fish.
<Well, I kind of do. In the first place, fish aren't part of a turtle's basic diet. Fish and Turtles have an overlap in their natural environment, but they don't cohabit well together.>
I put a filter in my tank the water looks good put the bottom of the tank still stays dirty and I was wanting to see if the fish will help maintain the bottom of the tank.
<Unfortunately '¦ no. The waste product (detritus) from turtles is usually not appealing to even the hardiest scavengers. As far as I'm aware, the only recourse is to siphon the water periodically to remove that waste before it causes an explosion of bacteria and then you run into other problems>
I now have 3 sliders and I know they are very messy.
<Yeah - they are. One of the things fish keepers have that turtle keepers don't have is the ability to grow a biological filter. Turtles are so messy that the biofilters we would need are called lakes>
thank you for helping me with two of them. I sent you a email about swollen eyes and not eating. one of them didn't make it. but the other one is very healthy now and growing fast. I have learned a lot about taking care of them from your web site. please let me know what type of fish I can put in the tank that's safe for my turtles. Thanks
<Sorry, Derek, no answers for you on this one>

Red eared slider... Munching pond plants... what they do  -- 07/17/10
<Hey-there, hi-there, ho-there! Darrel here>
We have a small pond with a red eared slider turtle. Now we have no plants in there... he eats them all.
What pond plants can survive living with a red eared slider??
<Plants with fences around them>
<Dave -- Sliders are not fond of eating reeds or reedy-type grasses, so you might try that. What I do is construct barriers with rocks or plastic fences to make little pools or backwater areas where I can grow some water hyacinths. Beyond that, Sliders are omnivorous trending toward herbivorous as they mature, so you're fighting a battle you can't win. The only other tactic is simply to have enough plants that one slider can't eat them all '¦ but then (and I speak from experience here) that plants THEMSELVES become a problem, since they have to have enough nutrition to survive .. so you end up fertilizing the water to feed the plants, which starts another whole bio-cycle explosion, etc.>
<I gave up long ago -- and just replace the hyacinths when they disappear>
Need help... thanks!

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

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

Two baby turtles together aggression or love?  5/11/10
I have two baby turtles -less than a year old in a breeder tank. They are a central American slider and painted turtle. The painted turtle insists on being right next to the Cas and will often place on leg on the shell of the shell of the slider. He even will place a leg on the shell of the slider when she is boarding their perch for basking. At times he will sleep on her back. Should I be worried that the painted is being aggressive. She was there about a week before we got the painted. Thank you
<Turtles and terrapins are not particularly sociable or gregarious. Males can be very snappy. Many turtle keepers end up keeping them alone. But generally if they sit on top of each other and there's no biting, there's nothing to worry about. It's quite common for turtles to "compete" in this way for the best basking spot under the UV-B lamp you're hopefully providing for them [and without which they won't stay healthy for long].
Cheers, Neale.>

RES turtle aggressive toward another in pond 5/5/09
<Hiya, Darrel here today>
I have a 1000 gal pond/water garden that houses a few koi, goldfish, 2 Red Eared Sliders (both female) and 1 yellow belly slider (maybe male-not sure yet). There are plenty of plants, feeder fish, and they get fed every day.
The females are at least 4 yr old. One is about 7 inch and the other closer to 9in. The yellow belly is only about 4 -5 in. The sliders have lived in this pond together now at least 3 or 4 yrs now. Last summer, I
noticed the biggest one starting to bite the other slider shell and drag her under to the bottom. (doesn't mess with the yellow belly- yet) She seems to start this behavior when I'm standing by the pond. (maybe she's
doing it other times too!) Also when the weather warms up. The smaller slider is constantly trying to swim away from her to avoid being caught. I rearranged all the rocks in and out of the pond last year to create more basking areas for them hoping it would help. They even have their favorite island rock in the pond. Now, the turtles CAN get out of the pond to bask on the surrounding rocks/flower beds any time they want (and in). (I find the smaller one in my swimming pool quite often right now-away from the bigger one, I guess. She has the cleanest, prettiest shell right now--not chlorinated pool, but not good for long term) I even found the smaller turtle in the pond skimmer Box one day, happy as a clam!
<You're describing a setup that is idyllic from the look and feel standpoint, but one that is quite dangerous from a care and conservation standpoint. The very 'natural' quality of your setup introduces some of the
dangers that we, as responsible keepers, are supposed to guard against.
That said, I'm not going to suggest changes to the general setup -- just a few notes to make sure that you're aware and forewarned.>
<The one that jumps out at me (maybe making a pun in the process) is that the turtles can get into the swimming pool. The chlorine isn't a problem for them, but the twice yearly chemical 'shocking' that comes with proper pool maintenance could be very damaging to them. Additionally, care must be taken to shield any high suction areas in the skimmer. Better yet, what I did in a similar situation, is placed a couple of small brass rods in the skimmer intake, sort of like fence pickets, to block the turtle from getting into the skimmer. Beyond that, please take all 3 turtles aside and give them a stern talking-to about staying out of the pool. Also, be aware that sometimes a turtle will just get the notion to "take a walk" and either leave the property completely or find itself at the mercy of the raccoons, possums and cats in the neighborhood.>
<Now to the smaller stuff. Feeder fish really have no place in a Koi pond, as they are the #1 source of infectious disease. Neither Koi nor turtles need or should have fish in their diet.>
<Goldfish ALSO don't belong in a Koi pond for the same reason .. but they're already there, everything is going along fine so lets just leave it. One of the reasons I say that is because, as I type this, two 'feeder
goldfish' that were placed in my turtle pond 11 years ago grew so big that they were chasing the turtles and now occupy my girlfriend's Koi pond. I assume that a hard life, growing up in the mean streets (so to speak) has given these goldfish some survival instincts and some attitude because although the Koi outsize them by 15 or 20 times, they are the undisputed rulers of that pond.>
It's really strange to have your turtles running up to you from OUTSIDE the pond to be fed! They stay outside year round here. (Louisiana) I feel so helpless when she starts this aggressive behavior, and try to block the bigger one sometimes, but I can't be there all the time. So far, no injuries have occurred. Mostly just bullying, I guess. Is there anything I can do or will they work it out themselves?
<There isn't really a rhyme or reason to their behaviors. The Pseudemys family are often very sociable and can get along in groups large or small with just an occasional flare-up. On the other hand, some individuals are just mean/aggressive and that aggression is often very targeted. I've seen large females target specific individuals (usually just their own species)
while living in harmony with Cooters, red bellies and Painteds.>
I would hate to have to re-home one, they were all raised as babies in an indoor aquarium, and cannot be released into the wild or ponds where they are not fed. And I don t know which one should go if I did have to do this.
<Now here is the other edge of the sword. That turtle clearly has choices:
plenty of room to get away (and stay away), out of the pond entirely and even another pond (the pool) if it so chooses. I'm not suggesting that the pool is an option for you or for her, just mentioning that from HER
perspective it's one of many options for escaping the aggression.>
<I assume that they eat the Koi pellets as a diet staple? If not, that's what they should eat. My suggestion is to get some night crawlers from your local bait shop and when you see the aggressive behavior, toss a few
worms into the fray to see if you can distract them -- sort of like tossing a bowl of buffalo wings into a bar fight.>
<Beyond that just watch for signs of physical damage or stress (listlessness, lost of appetite, etc.) and otherwise let the girls be themselves.>
<No Charge!>

Turtle question, beh./comp.    5/2/09
We had 3 smaller painted turtles in a 90 gallon tank (2 males and a female) the one male started biting the smaller male so we found the smaller male a new home. Now months later he has been biting the female. At first it was just her feet. But today he had her by the neck where she could not get away although she is larger than him. Do you think we need to find him a new home or is this normal behavior?
<Yes and yes. Terrapins are not noted for being sociable animals, and in small tanks, the males can be quite aggressive. Dominant males will often harass smaller males, and their breeding behaviour can be quite violent.>
We have had them around 2-3 years and this is the first we have seen of this.
<It's taken this long for them to reach sexual maturity.>
<It's actually not uncommon for sexually mature males to be kept singly, in their own tanks. Building two or more basking rocks above the water line may help the terrapins to space themselves out, or you could use a divider (plastic mesh from a garden centre) to keep the aggressive male away from the other two. Cheers, Neale.>

Turtle question, RES, Softshell incomp.   4/5/09
Hi, I have a red eared slider and a Softshell turtle together in an aquarium.
<Mmm, not compatible>
They've peacefully coexisted since I got them both as babies last July, but for a couple of weeks now the slider has been taking bites out of the softshell's shell!
A man at the petstore suggested I buy a bigger tank so I upgraded from a 10 gal to a 29 gal,
<Still too small>
but the slider is still doing it! What should I do?
<These two need to be kept in separate systems>
Thanks so much for your help,
Brandi Davis
<Welcome Brandi. Bob Fenner>

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

Xanthichthys auromarginatus/freshwater killer... fdg. and turtle incomp.   2/4/09 Hi crew. It has been a while since i sent an email. The lionfish survived the Ich along with the eels because i was able to acquire some quinine sulfate from fishpharmacy.com. anyways, I bought a blue throat trigger on Saturday (2.5" for $30) and he is now in the quarantine tank. (i cleaned and disinfected the tank from before, let it sit, then rinsed with hot water, then used fish safe, then filled it again) anyways, the trigger is starting to swim around the tank and look at his reflection and such, but will not notice food. i cracked a clam and a mussel and put it in the tank but he ignored it. i also tried some freeze dried krill and some frozen silversides. How long before you think he will start eating. <Maybe a few days...> all parameters are fine, and i assume it is because he has only been in the tank for a couple days. Should i even feed him now, or wait until the end of the week or until Wednesday/Thursday for him to get more comfortable? <I'd try some food daily> He doesn't show any signs of Ich yet, but the place i go to shares water so I'm almost expecting it now. (6th Ave. and Clement San Francisco aquarium and fish. have you heard/ been to this place?). <Mmm, maybe. I get out and about in towns I visit...> I also had a question about my 180 gallon freshwater tank. I have a 12" clown knife, 6.5" black ghost knife, a king tiger Pleco, tire track eel, 2 silver dollars (one is 5.5" diameter, the other 3.5") and a soft shelled turtle (5" diameter). <Mmm... a tenable mix... turtles are to put it mildly, a bit "dirty"... and often scratch fishes getting about, will eat them if they can> I had 2 parrot cichlids, they were ha[[y and swam around together, but this morning i come upstairs to see them both lying dead on the bottom of the tank, half eaten, I am suspecting the turtle, <Me too> because the smaller silver dollar has a bite mark that is too small for both knifes mouths. I am looking for a home for the turtle. My question is what would you recommend for my tank, now that i have lost a the parrots, and the turtle? I'm thinking an Oscar, and some other fish. <Mmm, not a good choice... too rambunctious for the Eel and BGK... Perhaps some Juraparoids, larger Barbs or Rainbowfishes...> They will only be in the tank until mid June, then i am upgrading them to a 250 gallon "hot tub". something is broken with and it has been sitting in our back yard, <Neat!> so my dad said i could fix it up over the summer and use it if i want. the jets still work, and so does the light, so all i need is a good filter or two, and some general supplies to fix/make a new hood and I'm set. How long do you think the clown knife will last in a 250? <Indefinitely with regular maintenance, water changes...> He seems content in the 180 but i know he is going to grow in the next 5-6 months. Then i am going to use my 180 for the lionfish, 2 eels and blue throat trigger when they get bigger. Will that be enough tank for those fish? <What species of eels?> I am thinking i will still have to upgrade to a bigger tank, and it will be safer/better for the fish. <Agreed> Anyways, thanks for the info, Will <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Snapping turtle mating & comp.  1/25/09 Dear Crew, <Hiya Sucari, Darrel here tonight> I have a 2 year old 7 inch snapping turtle and, age unknown 5 inch Red Eared Slider in a 50 gallon tank. <Actually, what you have there is a tragedy just waiting to happen.> They lived in the same tank for about a year now with no problems they get along great. <Get along great? Tell jokes? Like the same movies? Enjoy lively political debate without crossing the line?> For about a month now I have noticed that they are trying to mate. I was wondering if I should have any concerns? <I sure would have concerns, Sucari. For one thing, these mixed relationships rarely work out. What would the neighbors think? What about the in-laws? And the kids? Red Eared Snappers? Snapping Sliders?????? And the kids! Think of the kids!!!! How sad to have a clutch of babies that swim into the pond to try to lay in wait to ambush a piece of river grass or hyacinth?> Thanks <OK, seriously, Sucari. All kidding aside, most turtles are very tolerant of dissimilar species. They don't compete for food, no mates to speak of and no territorial issues that really matter. Neither see each other as a threat. And I too have seen Sliders and Snappers and Soft Shelled turtles all kept together in relative harmony ... until that day when one of them is just GONE. Sliders are non specific scavenging herbivores and Snappers are ambush predators with very short tempers and an instinctive, vicious 'ambush' strike that pretty much destroys what it touches.> <This is not to say that all snappers are mean or evil, Sucari. My snapper, Biff, is mild tempered and easy to handle and he puts up with a LOT before he starts to show any signs of stress. But still, I never EVER forget that he is a wild animal with a tiny brain.> <My point ... if there is any chance it has escaped anyone so far ... is that everything will be just fine right up until JUST the moment that the snapper attacks and kills the slider. Will it ever happen? Maybe not. But how will you feel if it does?> <Please separate them as soon as possible> <Regards, Darrel>  

Bluegill bullies turtle 8/31/08
hello my name is Tiffani,
<Ave, Tiffani.>
I'm having a problem. About three weeks ago, I caught some sunfish at the lake and decided instead of eating them I would keep them in my 75 gallon turtle tank, where I have a painted turtle and a false map turtle.
<Ah, not usually a good combination, turtles and fish.>
When I first put them in the tank, all was well.. The fish would avoid the turtles, and the turtles could care less that they were there. My turtles have always shared a tank with fish, and since they are so bad at catching them for food, they ignore any fish they see. (oh and I guess I should mention I put three bluegill/sunfish in the tank)..
<Do remember that live fish are a minor component of the diet of most freshwater turtles; for maximum health, you should avoid using live fish altogether because of the risk of introducing parasites. Live aquatic plants, various soft vegetables and salads, plus a certain amount of meaty food items works much better.>
anyways, the fish have settled in quite comfortably, they each have their own little territory and hiding places, but the biggest fish in the tank keeps bullying my painted turtle.
<Centrarchids -- that is, bluegills, sunfish, crappies and their relatives -- are territorial fish. Or more specifically, the males are, because they guard the nest.>
My painted turtle wont swim to the other side of the tank where the bullying fish has established its territory. (my map turtle on the other hand is unaffected by the bully fish)... Every time my painted turtle tries to swim to the other side of the tank, the fish swims at him, and bites him (it doesn't hurt the turtle, but she is still frightened by him.)... what should I do?
<Nothing you can do. It's instinct, pure and simple. So pick and choose what animals you want, and remove the rest. Moving rocks about and adding plastic plants might break up the territories just long enough for the fish and turtles to accommodate one another. But there's no guarantees. Adding more fish can also prevent territoriality by making it difficult for any one fish to hold a territory: instead they spend their time figuring out the hierarchy. But this doesn't always work the way you want it to (you could get all-out war) and it'll mess up water quality too.>
should I return the bullying fish back to the lake where I got him from?
<Returning fish from captivity into the wild is certainly unwise and possibly illegal because of the risk of taking parasites/diseases into natural waterways. So you'll want to check that with your local Bureau of Fish & Wildlife. I'd simply pass the fish on to someone else with a pond or large aquarium.>
or should I just let the dummies work it out on their own?
<If no-one is being harmed, then sure, give it a few weeks or months more.>
my painted turtle had this same problem when I put a crayfish in the tank. she was afraid of it until she figured out that the crayfish was food, and gobbled him up leaving nothing but the claws. (my turtles are not small/babies so why is my painted turtle acting like such a wimp?)
<You're thinking like a human instead of a fish or turtle. Animals don't think the way we do. This turtle evolved to react to animals as being threats, food, or harmless. He doesn't know which the fish is, so reacts as if it is a threat, just to be on the safe side.>
please help me.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Lonely painted turtle 6/13/08 Hello, my name is Russell. <Hiya Russell, I'm Darrel!> I have a very simple but kind of stupid question. <Hmmmm Contrary to popular opinion, there ARE such things as stupid questions ... so let's see what happens next.> Let me give you the facts first. I have three red eared sliders and I am wanting to add a painted turtle to the pond, which is about 500 gallons . My question is will the painted turtle be lonely since there is no other painted turtles in the pond with him, or will the sliders keep him company? <Russell, that is NOT a stupid question. In fact, that question is the OPPOSITE of a stupid question and here's why: First, admitting that you don't know something is a sign of education and intelligence. The more someone learns, the more they realize that there is always something new to learn. Second and most important to your friends here at Wet Web Media ... is that you asked a question about compatibility and the ultimate happiness of a pet in your care BEFORE you purchased it and not AFTER. That's not only intelligent, but compassionate as well. Third, nature is filled with species that get along with themselves but not similar species, so it's a valid question just on it's face. Give yourself a big pat on the back from all of us here that all too often have to solve problems that were created when no one asked a question first!!!!!!> <Ahem> <Now the good news! Sliders, Cooters, Painteds, Chicken Turtles, Map Turtles, Red Bellies, Yellow Bellies and the like ... almost all the Chrysemys, Pseudemys, Graptemys -- get along just fine. The Graptemys (Map Turtles) need somewhat more attention to water quality and some of the South American and Mexican sliders can be a bit snappy ... but that aside and assuming similar sizes .... a Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta for example) will get along well with your sliders and be a part of the happy family in your pond. Thanks for the intelligent question and the great timing, Russell!> <Darrel>

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

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

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

Slider and map turtle relationship... comp.  -- 03/18/08 Hello, <Hi there> I have two young turtles (sex unknown): one yellow bellied slider, and one Mississippi map turtle. They're just over a year old (i bought them a year ago, when they were very small but i don't know how old exactly they were then). The slider is about a centimeter bigger than the map turtle, when measuring across or down the shell, but this is because last autumn the map turtle didn't want to eat for a while (the heater had stopped working as well as it had been and the slight drop in temperature made him stop. As soon as we got a new heater he was back to his old self again). They are about 7cm (slider) and 6cm (map) across the shell. They are both active and energetic, swimming and basking, and seem to be in generally good health. They have plenty of space to swim and bask separately. <Good> After a few months of having them there were a couple of small fights over food, both times with the slider attacking the map turtle (he is the more aggressive, and more hungry one). I now feed them separately, which has been working well, and i have had no more problems. When they were younger they used to just ignore one another, swimming and basking on different sides of the tank, <Mmm, how big is this tank/world?> but now they seem to have become friends, but i don't know if this is just to my uneducated eye. If one is on a rock, the other will come and sit next to it, and they will bask together, sometime posing with their necks slightly outstretched, crossing each other, as if hugging. They will often bask one on top of the other as well. Now sometimes when they are sitting together in the water, or hanging onto the side of a rock together, they will look at each, and the slider will stretch out his neck to reach the other one, and they'll just touch faces then just look away. When i first saw this i thought he was going to take a bite at the other but he never does. I have even seen them taking little gentle nibbles at each other when the other is shedding slightly - never actual bites, just taking the loose skin off - again, at first this really alarmed me. I'm just worried that all this 'friendliness' isn't friendly after all, and is maybe territorial or something else, and could lead to fighting. <Me too> I would say the slider is the more dominant one, but not excessively - barely noticeable really. From the sounds of it, do you think these turtles are happy to be living with on another and are they actually getting along? <Mmm, most of the common aquatic turtles used as pets (including these two species) "get along" well enough by default of being placed together... esp. as small individuals... However, they do need room... psychologically... I think the root problem with these two is too little space.> Is this normal turtle behavior? Thank you for reading all this - I am sorry if its a silly question, but i just want them to have the best lives i can give them. Thank you again, Leanne <Then please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

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

Dwarf Gourami couple, dis.... and a turtle? Incomp.   10/23/07 Hi, I just populated my 60l tank about a week ago, I have 10 neon tetras, 3 Kuhli loaches and a male and female dwarf Gourami. I also have a tiny turtle, roughly 4cm. About a week ago, the female Gourami had a white patch on her back, I assumed it was a bite from the male since he seemed to follow her around. It appeared to heal, and two days ago had turned somewhat dark. But then yesterday morning, I found the fish dead, missing the entire tail. I assumed it was the turtle, but I can't help wondering why he didn't eat more than the tailfin. Also the width of the tail is quite large, so I suppose it could have been gnawed off after the fish perished. Throughout the day I watched the dead fish to see if someone tried to eat it, and while I didn't see any culprits, around dinner time it did have a hole in the abdomen roughly the size of the turtle beak. I then took the body out, but unfortunately didn't take pictures. It's hard for me to tell if the fish have acted unusual since I only had them for a week, but the female did seem particularly shy, and the male chased her on occasion. The male had a period of very energetic swimming in bursts yesterday evening. Is it likely the turtle killed this fish? I was told in the petstore a turtle this size should pose no problems, and he does rest along with the small loaches and has not appeared to bother them. -Magnus <Magnus, whatever the fish store guys are saying, turtles will nip at fish. Red Ear Sliders for example are primarily omnivores that feed mostly on plant matter and invertebrates, but in the limited space of an aquarium, they will definitely go for fish. Move the turtle to its own enclosure ASAP. The other issue is "Dwarf Gourami Disease". This is an epidemic among Dwarf Gouramis from Southeast Asia especially. It is an untreatable viral disease and usually ends in death. The symptoms are consistent: shyness, loss of appetite, lethargy, loss of weight, red sores on the skin, dead patches of skin, and then death. Be on the lookout for these. Buying Dwarf Gouramis that have NOT been locally bred is, in my opinion, a very risky gamble. Hope this helps, Neale>

Fighting Turtles or Le Miser-Tortuga? 9/6/07 Hi, <Hiya right back!> I was reading your FAQ's and noticed you frequently mentioned not to put turtles together. I have 3 turtles that I put together for 15 years. <I'm sure there's a penalty for violating an FAQ on the internet, Cindy. Maybe your download speed is restricted for a few minutes (first offense!)> At one time I noticed the largest turtle biting the claws of the others so I separated it for a couple years. <When my kids were young and misbehaved, we gave them timeouts for a few minutes. I have a female Galapagos tortoise that is in the middle of a timeout of almost a decade. Time is relative.> A few years ago I put it back with the others. I haven't noticed any of them being aggressive since. Are they miserable together or do you think its fine to leave them together at this point? <My guess is that they're doing just fine, Cindy. If you're happy and they are thriving, don't look for trouble -- if trouble is coming, it will have no problem finding you all by itself!> <Seriously .... turtles can be territorial (and you didn't tell us what KIND or send us pictures) but I have several ponds with dozens of turtles. Sliders, Cooters, Mud, Musk and Soft Shells all living together in perfect harmony (hmmm ... I have this odd urge to buy them all a Coke) and they do just fine because they have enough food, enough water and space to get away from each other when territorial issue arise. In your case, with no description of the world in which they live ... it's up to you to be the judge: Are they eating and active? If they are, assume they're happy, assume that you must be doing things right, pay attention to water quality and basking temperatures and relax. And send us pictures at the end of next week ... when I get back from Hawaii.> <Can you tell I have short timer's attitude?> <Double seriously, Cindy .... after physical violence, which you didn't mention has happened since, turtles that are stressed and miserable stop eating, become lethargic ... or simply... fail ... to ... thrive. If you think everything is fine, I'd bet everything IS fine.> <Mahalo! .... Darrel> < http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>

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

Turtles and koi mixed -- 07/18/07 Hello, Crew, I have a few questions. Will a 5-year old female Eastern Painted turtle eat koi that are larger than her? And will she leave an unfenced pond? What about a 3-year old male? Thanks, Joe <Hello Joe! Chrysemys picta picta is one of the nicest North American freshwater turtles (what we call "terrapins" in England, bizarrely enough after a Native American name for these animals apparently not used by most North Americans!). In fact, this was the second species I ever kept, and good fun it was too. Lived for many years before being passed on to a zoo when I went to college. Anyway, in common with other species in the genus, these animals are primarily herbivorous, which is why their optimal diet in captivity is one based on green foods. Juveniles will eat small fish as well as insect larvae, but the adults are too slow and clumsy to catch fish, though they certainly eat carrion. The problem is that in a pond the odds are biased towards the turtle because it is more difficult for the fish to swim away to safety. Feral red-ear terrapins have been reported eating ducklings in London ponds, apparently being released into the ponds by irresponsible owners bored with these large and somewhat difficult pets. So while you might be lucky mixing koi and turtles, and it's certainly be done, there are no guarantees at all. As for your turtles upping-sticks and moving out: yes, very likely. Even if they don't get out, there's nothing to stop predators like mink or cats getting in, so this is something to consider carefully. Cheers, Neale>

Mixing turtles 6-29-07 Hello, Crew <Hello Pat -- Darrel here today> I have owned Box turtles for at least 6 years now. I have added 3 Red Eared Sliders to the large outdoor pen. So far so good, they all get along fine. Should I be expecting some change? <Not really. I have a large pen that's half pond & half land and I keep my water turtles, box turtles and Russian Tortoise together without problems. Two things to keep in mind (1) Their dietary issues are very different and (2) even though the SPECIES are compatible, that doesn't always mean that individuals are -- many years ago I have a big, belligerent male box turtle that tried to attack and kill all the other MALE turtles (Box and water turtles alike) so keep in mind that these are, after all, wild animals and strange things happen> I also have a 20-gallon tank which holds 1 Red Eared Slider and 1 Box. They are both a couple months old. I put them together this morning. Was this a good choice <Not really a good choice, no. At this point the Slider is primarily aquatic and needs just a basking area, while the baby box is terrestrial and needs room to roam. The footprint of a 20 gallon tank would be the minimum size of a small box turtle's roaming area.> and what do I feed them? The Red Eared Slider eats feeder fish and the Box eats banana right now. Should I change their diet? <Yes. Please do. The Red Eared Slider (actually, ALL of your sliders big and small) needs a good basic food such as Koi Pellets or Repto-Min (by Tetra) with an occasional treat of night crawler (earth worms) -- All three available at your local pet shop. Feeder fish are not nearly as much of their natural diet as you think and aren't really all that good for them. The BOX Turtle, on the other hand, needs a VERY mixed diet. Bananas aren't a good source of nutrition and they can very easily fixate on only one food (like Strawberries or Bananas) to the exclusion of all else and then you have a real problem. Strawberries, Bananas, melon, collards, carrots, green peas should be offered either in mixture or in rotation and then .. as a REAL TREAT ... some of the same night crawlers you feed the Sliders.>

4 RES, 7 Koi, 14 Goldfish, 2 frogs living happily together until today. Turtles Ate The Pond Fish   5/10/07 Hi there, I wish I had ran into this website before the adoption(s). I must say, this is a very informative q&a site for turtles and have learned plenty from reading the q&a's. < Glad to hear we could be of some use.> Well, all was well until, this morning... when my favorite shrunken goldfish *Sharky* was found floating with multiple bites on him.  Sharky is horizontal two toned gold fish, white on top and gold or red on the bottom.  Colors separated by a silhouette of a shark fin and he is one of the fastest fish in the pond and was about 9 inches long (11 including tail).  I have a 2500 gallon outdoor pond in my back yard. Two biological filters with 1000gph pump operating each filter.  The pond for the most part is chemical free (only using chloramines breakdown when adding water in the summer. Last year, I adopted (rescued) two RES living in a ten gallon tank for 3 or more years (as the previous owner told me).  Coup is 9 inch long and Crush is 5 inches long.  A couple of weeks ago, my brother had brought over 2 out 4, 2 inch RES (nia and mia) from one of his girlfriends.  I was happy to take them in since, they also were fated with a 10 gallon existence. The RES eat water hyacinths, water lettuce, Anacharis, lily stems, parrot feather stems and on occasion, cucumbers, carrots, bananas.  I also feed them turtle staple, dried shrimp and on occasion, night crawlers.  I've seen them also eat fish food, flies, crickets, spiders and once seen Crush eat two tree frogs.  Like I wrote earlier, everyone was happy...turtles basking together on the rocks bordering the pond, fish swimming around the turtles, with no fearful behavior, even the fish were being aggressive with the smaller three turtles during feeding time.    They are being fed properly...why did they go after *Sharky*?  I am also wondering, did the larger turtles have something to do with it or the smaller ones?  Thank you in advance for your answer and again for your site.  Sorry, to be so long winded. < Turtles eat what they can catch. Turtles that are well fed are usually slow and docile. Hungry turtles seem to continue on until their bellies get full. I think that a  healthy goldfish would be able to get away from a turtle. If the goldfish was sick or injured , then the turtle is doing its job and removing sick or dead animal from the environment.-Chuck>

Mixing Turtle Species Together -- 04/30/07 I have had an adolescent red eared slider for a couple weeks now. Its shell is just about an inch an a half to 2 inches round. Today I got a adolescent snapping turtle that is 3 1/2 to 4 inches long. I know that snapping turtles are nippy and have short tempers but I was curious to know if they would get along together and if they would be healthy together? Both seem to be healthy and I am not sure of the sex of them thanks for the help Alex =) < I would not recommend placing these two turtles together. The snapping turtle is actually a poor choice as a pet. The risk of injury to the other turtle and to yourself is too great.-Chuck>

Turtles Not Getting Along - 04/04/2007 Hi.  I have 3 turtles (2 RES-one male/one female) and 1 musk turtle (not sure the sex) living in the same tank.  I've had the 2 RES for about 6 years, and I introduced the musk turtle to them about 2 years ago.  They've always gotten along fine, kind of minding their own business.  But lately, the musk turtle has started harassing the male RES.  The musk will climb on the RES back and just grip onto his shell and try to get his face in the RES face.  The RES will flail around for a while trying to sling the musk off his back, but the musk just keeps coming back relentlessly.  It's been going on for about a week now, and just last night I saw the musk try to bite at the RES head (while on his back).  I've never seen this before, and I really have no idea what to do about it.  The musk does not seem to be bothering the female RES at all.  Right now it just seems annoying, but should I separate them?  Could the musk actually be trying to 'mate' with the male RES?  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks so much. < I think this is more of a territorial dispute for dominance in the tank. Spring has a way of making turtles act strange because a lot of repressed hormones from the long winter chill. For safety sake I would separate them for a couple of weeks. Then try putting them together and see if they have settled down.-Chuck>

Mixing Turtles   4/1/07 We currently have 4 adult turtles, 1 female RES, NW pond turtle, musk, and a painted in a 200 gal, tank and 4 young, not much bigger than hatchling size) in a 100 gal. tank. We are building a large indoor pond complete with waterfall and underwater shelving and rocks etc. Our question is this: can the we put all the turtles in this pond together? Will they be able to coexist, or will the larger adult turtles  harm or eat the younglings? How does it work in the wild when there are new turtles born into the group? We are the ones who wrote you last year asking for advice on our painted pursuing the RES and nipping her. That behavior has continued even after turning off the heaters. We put a divider in the tank, but he still tries to get to her. Do you think this behavior will subside once they are relocated to the much larger pond and the RES can more  easily get away? <I don't like the idea of mixing adult turtles. The RES female will get up to 12 inches, the musk turtle maybe 5 inches, painted turtle up to 8 inches and I am not sure about the pond turtle. RES's are aggressive turtles and tend to bully the other turtles around. Hopefully with an indoor pond there will be enough room for them all to get along. I think placing the smaller hatchlings in with the adult turtles will be a big risk. When the adults get hungry and cannot find food they will go after the smaller turtles just like they would in the wild.-Chuck>

Mixing Turtles   3/31/07 Right now, we have 2 hatchling red eared sliders, and a baby yellow bellied slider. Is it ok for them to be in the same tank for a couple of days? Will the bigger yellow belly and the small red ear get into a fight? And when I separate them, will the yellow belly be lonely or depressed when the red ears are gone? Thanks, Emily < As long as the turtles are well fed they should be OK for a couple of days. Turtles don't get depressed so the yellow belly will be fine.-Chuck>

Mixing Older And Younger Turtles Together   1/7/07 I have a yellow belly Cooter, adolescent, and today I bought a baby ybc.  We are unsure of either sex.  When we put them together all the older ybc does is shakes its front claws in front of its face and sometimes spits water out its nose. It looked like it tried to bite the baby once, but didn't. The pet shop owner said it would be safe to put them both together. Will this go away, or what should we do? Thanks. <I don't recommend mixing turtles. Turtles are very territorial and the larger turtle was demonstrating to the new smaller turtle who is boss. If they were red eared sliders the bigger turtle would have snapped at the smaller turtle for sure. These turtles are not as aggressive but the smaller turtle will surely be bullied until he catches up in size.-Chuck>

Deformed Fry.  - 11/09/06 <<Hello, Kelly Marie. Tom here.>> I really like your website.   <<Thanks.>> Well, about two months ago I got a 40 gallon tank.  I thought that it looked empty with just my turtle in it so I bought 7 Tetras.   <<Interesting additions'¦>> My friend also told me that she no longer wanted her 10 guppies she so she gave them to me.  She wanted them to die, so she had stopped feeding them, turned off the heater and the filter. <<About as inhumane as you can imagine but that would do it'¦after the suffering ended.>> She told me that she had kept them like that for at least a week.   <<Sigh'¦>> So I took them, 3 males and 7 females.  Since then 1 male has died (he was bit by the turtle). <<I'm not surprised.>> 6 of the females have died, I ended up leaving the males in the large tank, and put the females in a 5 gallon tank.  Earlier this week my last female died suddenly.   <<Sorry to hear about all of these deaths, Kelly Marie, but the entire situation, thus far, was fairly predictable.>> In the 5 gallon tank I have 2 female fry that are about 10 weeks old, and I have 5 fry that are 5 weeks.  I have noticed that 3 of my 5 week old fry have tails that are bent upwards on almost a 30 to 45 degree angle.  I am wondering are the fish deformed, (it might be a stupid question but I really don't know) or are the male fry built differently then the females? <<They're 'built' differently but this shouldn't apply to their spines. There are a variety of causes for a fish's spine to become deformed/bent ranging from genetic abnormalities to disease to vitamin deficiency (vitamin C in particular).>> I thought that the fish with the funny fins were males, but they don't have the spots or the color that my other males do. <<Coloration can be a good indicator of gender with Guppies but the general health and well-being of the animal can/will affect its coloration, as well. Under these circumstances, you really need to check for the presence, or lack thereof, of the gonopodium to be relatively certain.>> I am not planning on breeding my fish. <<Keep them separated. Guppies have a funny way of making up their own minds about breeding.>> If the fish are deformed what should I do with them?   <<At this point, leave them be. Someone serious about breeding these fish would cull them and end their lives humanely. This isn't what you plan on doing so I'd let some time pass. Provided they survive, you'll have a better idea of how these little fish are faring in a short time, anyway.>> I don't really want to kill them (or feed them to the turtle as my mother so kindly suggested). <<As your mother, no doubt, recognizes, the turtle would have little trouble 'disposing' of fish that aren't able to swim well. Something to keep in mind here, though, is that a significant diet of 'feeder' fish isn't good for your turtle. There's little nutritional value to them and you stand a chance of infecting your turtle should the fish be diseased.>> I know I will eventually put some of the fish into the large tank (as there is not enough room in the 5 gallon one.)  Will there spines being deformed affect there quality of life, and what kind of life span can I expect them to have.   <<Frankly, I wouldn't expect these fish to live particularly long lives but this may depend on what course of action you take with them. Leaving them in the 5-gallon tank -- provided you keep the water conditions suitable for fish to live in -- will obviously give them the better chance of living as long as possible. Personally, I'm not 'keen' on the idea of keeping fish with turtles. I realize it can be done, and is done in some cases, but you'll find yourself trying to maintain conditions that are appropriate for both. 'Compromising' on conditions means that ultimately both species will have a less-than-ideal environment to live in. Having a 'predator' in with your Tetras and Guppies is sure to increase stress which can lead to poor health and disease, also. Not good for either. In my opinion, if you're going to 'err' here, do so on the side of the fish. Condition the water for changes properly (which you should be doing for the turtle, anyhow) and pay close attention to filtration in the tank. Keep in mind, too, that frequent water changes may be necessary for the turtle but won't necessarily be good for the fish. You could find yourself with a bit of a 'balancing act' going on.>> Thank you for your advice.  Kelly Marie. <<Good luck with your pets. Tom>>

Turtles/Raccoons   8/8/06 Would a raccoon(s) eat a red ear slider turtle that is approx 8" in size and that was in a pond? <Yes, is possible> This morning my turtle was gone, and some items on both sides of the pond were knocked over, and a paver stone in the pond was moved.   The pond is one of those precast, black heavy duty plastic, that is approx 8" deep on the first level, which turtle used for sunning himself.  He would stay in the water in deeper part of pond which was approx another 8" deep.  I kept the water about 2 " below that level and used paving stones piled together so he could climb up to eat his food on a dry area and for him to access the first level for bask in the sunshine.   I know he did not climb out of there, walls are too steep for him to do so. I have known that there are a couple of raccoons in the neighborhood. We live in a very suburban area, but there are older trees and I'm sure some hiding spots around sheds and such for them to hide/den in.  We don't see or hear them often but I did see an adult and young about 2 months ago crossing street in front of my house. <Are largely nocturnal> Unless someone came into our locked backyard last night, I feel the raccoons could responsible for his disappearance.   Is this possible? <Unfortunately, yes> Thank you very much for any information you can provide.  It's very upsetting to think he was eaten. <Very sorry for your loss... The planet is indeed "crowded"... and thankfully so... I do not want to live in a world w/o wildlife... I just wish they wouldn't eat our pets, so much of my garden... Bob Fenner>
Re: Turtles/Raccoons  8/8/06
Thank you, it's not the response I wanted to hear but understandable. We were foolish to think that that those animals didn't have enough to eat and hence would take a large turtle. <Suspect you mean/t the opposite... that the Raccoons had enough to eat and therefore would not go after the turtle. A sad loss just the same. Cheers, Bob Fenner, hoping to squeeze some time out to go "fight the squirrels" in their garden out back later.>
Re: Turtles/Raccoons   8/11/06
Mr. Fenner, <Maria> Sorry to bother you again, but if indeed a raccoon got our turtle, shouldn't have there been some sort of sign of a struggle? <Mmm, not necessarily. Your turtle might have left of its own accord... the evidence you mention might be from something else... but raccoons will carry off turtles...>   There is no evidence in the pond, nor in/around it, and I haven't found the shell, so far anyway.    Of course, I don't know the eating habits of the coons, but since a 6 ft fence surrounds our yard and there is no way for them to crawl underneath, <Can indeed climb over> I'm hoping that if they are behind the turtle being out of the pond, he may have gotten away and burrowed somewhere in our yard.  Again, he was at least 8" round and estimate his being 5-6 lbs. <Wow!> We found him a month ago crawling from the curb onto the grass in the front property.  We believe he may have been dropped off by the people behind us who moved on 7/1, as they had a large pond for several years. Since the new people did not move into the property until last week, we think that the former owners-knowing we have a pond, although smaller - may have dropped him off, otherwise we have no idea where a turtle that size came from in our area.  Our neighbors on both sides of us do not have ponds. Again, I thank you for any information you can provide. <I do hope your turtle is alive, healthy and happy somewhere. Bob Fenner>
Turtles/Raccoons   8/8/06
Would a raccoon(s) eat a red ear slider turtle that is approx 8" in size and that was in a pond? <Yes, is possible> This morning my turtle was gone, and some items on both sides of the pond were knocked over, and a paver stone in the pond was moved.   The pond is one of those precast, black heavy duty plastic, that is approx 8" deep on the first level, which turtle used for sunning himself.  He would stay in the water in deeper part of pond which was approx another 8" deep.  I kept the water about 2 " below that level and used paving stones piled together so he could climb up to eat his food on a dry area and for him to access the first level for bask in the sunshine.   I know he did not climb out of there, walls are too steep for him to do so. I have known that there are a couple of raccoons in the neighborhood. We live in a very suburban area, but there are older trees and I'm sure some hiding spots around sheds and such for them to hide/den in.  We don't see or hear them often but I did see an adult and young about 2 months ago crossing street in front of my house. <Are largely nocturnal> Unless someone came into our locked backyard last night, I feel the raccoons could responsible for his disappearance.   Is this possible? <Unfortunately, yes> Thank you very much for any information you can provide.  It's very upsetting to think he was eaten. <Very sorry for your loss... The planet is indeed "crowded"... and thankfully so... I do not want to live in a world w/o wildlife... I just wish they wouldn't eat our pets, so much of my garden... Bob Fenner>

Turtles Nipping At Each Other   6/27/06 Okay, here is the scenario, we have 4 turtles in a 125 gal. tank with all the proper set up, (i.e. UV basking lamp & dock, Fluval 404,heater,etc.).1 musk or mud turtle,1yellow belly NW pond turtle,1 painted, and 1 Red-eared slider who is presumably female and larger than all the others. They are all healthy, eat well, etc. until recently the painted and NW pond have begun relentlessly pursuing the RES and nipping at her rear feet. They have even made some bite marks and the RES is trying to swim around with her rear legs tucked in. She is larger than both of them, why doesn't she fight back? < Two against one are difficult odds to overcome.> Is this a seasonal thing? < Could be. Time will tell.> Like maybe she is in season and they are nasty little boys looking for action? <It is early summer and the timing is right for males to be courting females.> What can I do about this behavior? <Pull the heater to the tank and cool them down. This may slow down their metabolism enough so they won't feel like breeding.> There is no dirt or nesting material in this set-up, so if she is in season will she need an area to lay eggs? < If there is no where to lay her eggs she will abort them in the water where they will be eaten by the other turtles.> We don't need her to reproduce, but does she need to? < Well conditioned mature female turtles may still produce eggs.> Do I have to separate her? If so, for how long? <I would separate her if the cooling down idea doesn't work. Reintroduce her once every couple of weeks and see how the others react. When they leave her alone then you can try to put her back.> Should I treat the small nip wound on her, and with what? <Keep the water clean, add a Dr Turtle Sulpha Block by Zoo Med and treat the wounds with Repti Wound Healing Aid by Zoo Med.> I hope that this too shall pass as this set-up is nicely done and we have hopes of building an indoor pond for them, and our hatchling size turtles when they are larger, to cohabitate with each other. < Keeping groups of turtles can present problems as you have found out.-Chuck>

Mixing Turtles  6/15/06 Hello Turtle Crew, Thank you in advance. We inherited a YBS a couple years ago. His shell size now is approximately 5 inches long. We just purchased a hatchling RES (shell size 1.5 inches). The pet store owned said they would get along fine and the large one wouldn't pick on the small one. I just read on your site when a turtle wiggles his front legs in front of his face towards another turtle, it is doing the mating dance. We are nervous. We don't leave them in the tank together unless they are supervised (which is a huge hassle). Would our older turtle try to mate with a hatchling? Will he hurt the baby? I don't know the sex of either turtle. Many thanks! <I do not like to mix turtles. The YBS is probably a male with long front claws and try to coax the new turtle into breeding. When the urge to breed is over they will view each other as competition and will fight over turf and food.-Chuck>

Three Turtles Not Getting Along... good name for a bar...    6/14/06 Hey guys, I am not too sure who to go for on help with this as I have rung local pet shops and they aren't too sure how to help me as they have not experienced this problem I have 3 turtles of 1 year of age (2 Eastern Long Neck and 1 Short Neck - I am not too sure of the exact species name as I don't have my handbook handy). < I am not sure either.> The problem is the short neck turtle is growing fast. The tank is more than sufficient in size to accommodate the 3 turtles, the eastern long necks are about 8 cm in diameter and the short neck is about 12 - 15 cm. The short neck has become quite aggressive and over the last two weeks I have noticed well, I wouldn't say fighting but meal times have become a bit aggressive. This has furthered to the short neck attacking and biting the foot of one of the longnecks consistently (this started 3 days ago) and I have noticed that it is still in good health but it is staying on the turtle dock out of the water. I am sure that it is more than them just playing and I am worried that the longneck is going to end up hurt. Tomorrow I will be buying a heater for my other spare tank and it has a filter and all, however, this leads to one of my questions, am I able to put goldfish in with the Longnecks while they are small and will not eat them? if need be I will give them to the neighbours next door it is not an issue just I am checking to see if they can be put in the same tank?) <Turtles eat fish in nature. Usually they cannot catch them on their own and end up eating the dead and sick ones. The turtles would probably continually chase them until they finally caught one to eat. Turtles are very messy and their waste would soon pollute a tank to the point where fish would find it difficult to live. I would go without the fish.> I am sure that the long neck and the short neck are not getting on and it is more than just playing, and I am sure the long neck is not going into hibernation as it is moving around and quite awake (we have just gone into winter here now) Thank you for your help Michael < Turtles are not social animals. In nature and in your tank they actually view each other as completion and will continue to harass each other until they are separated. I often recommend only one turtle to a tank.-Chuck>

Aggressive RES  - 05/29/06 Hi, I have one RES and one painted turtle living together.  The RES is much bigger than the painted and seems to bite and claw at it.  My painted turtle also seems scared of the RES and has sores where its nails should be.  I think the RES is biting the Painted turtle's nails.  The RES is very aggressive toward the painted and I don't know what to do.  Please help me.  Thank You < As far as turtles go the RES is a very aggressive turtle and is not likely to change anytime soon. They are even this way with each other. Many times people think they get lonely and need the company of another turtle. They actually view each other as competition and need to be separated for good.-Chuck>

Run Away Turtle   5/15/06 Hello, For a couple of months I have been letting my 2 yellow-bellied turtles roam the back yard each day for about an hour. I keep an eye on them and they usually go to the same places and sleep. The male is much more active, but follows the same path, where as the female finds a spot and digs in and sleeps. Well for the last week the female has been burying herself under bushes making it difficult to find her. And 2 days ago I lost her in the yard for good, I was working in the garden and turned for about 10 minutes and we can't find her anywhere. There's no access out of the back year since its all cement wall, so I'm thinking she's nesting. Is it that time of year? < She may be looking for somewhere to lay her eggs.> What I don't know is, is how long is the nesting process and will she come back? < If she has found a way out then she may not come back.> I have 2 pools in the backyard, all natural, no chlorine, and I figured she would head to the pool when done. If she doesn't come back, I would like to get another female for the male but I'm having a hard time locating a 3 year old female of the same size. Seems red sliders are more common. Is it okay to get a red slider female to put with the male? Or is the male better off alone? I assume they get attached to each other and he would like a companion, but I have no idea if turtles are "family-oriented".. Appreciate your help, Celeste < Turtles really don't get along except to breed. The rest of the time they are considered competition to each other. I would still give it a few months before I gave up. Look at Kingsnake.com to find a replacement turtle.-Chuck>

Keeping Turtles Together  - 04/19/2006 I had a slider named Titus who turned out to be female when she was 25. After she started laying eggs she got more wild. One day in June when I was cleaning my house she ran out the door & went to live in the pond next door. Even though it was mating season, I used to think she was lonely sometimes because she was alone with no one else in the house a lot. I got her a male, Trajan, about 12, who didn't seem   to think the pond was his thing last year, but this year made a bee line for it on the first warm day. That was why I thought 2 turtles, either 2 females or a male & female might work better. Due to Titus' size I have an extra large kiddy pond (maybe 600 gallons) with a ramp so they can run around the house if they want to. What is the problem with more than 1 turtle? Thanks, Stephanie < Many times pet owners give human traits to animals. Turtles really don't require the companionship of fellow turtles unless they are ready to mate. As you have found out that the turtle's drive to mate can be very strong, but over a few weeks the drive will subside and the turtles will look at each other as competition. Over 90% of the turtle questions we get are dealing with younger turtles in a small aquarium condition. In this instance  I still recommend a single turtle per container.-Chuck>

Larger Turtle Nipping At Smaller Turtle  03-21-06 Hello!!! I have a turtle and his shell is about 2 1/2" and I put another turtle that had a shell of about 1 1/2 inches. The bigger turtle bit off his tail and nibbled at his claws. The people at the pet store told me that they would be fine together but I just separated them. The smaller turtle is still eating and moving. I was just curious if I should get anything for him so he doesn't get infected. Thanks a bunch!!! < Keep the water clean and add a Dr. Turtle Sulfa Block By ZooMed to prevent infection.-Chuck> Don't Put Turtle With Bettas  - 01/09/2006 Dear Crew, Thanks for your very informative site.  I've learned a lot from it while looking for answers to my particular "problem".  Unfortunately, I was not able to find anything that addresses the circumstances that I'm trying to work with.  I would appreciate any information that you could offer on the following situation. I have a 30 gallon freshwater tank with two small turtles in it (1 inch).  The tank has enough gravel to have a 3 inch layer at the bottom and a dry spot at one end when there is about 7 inches of water in it.  The gravel sits on an UGF plate and the water is pulled through it into a Marineland Magnum 350  filter with filled with charcoal.  Right now, the water is returned below the surface and there is no real aeration happening.  There are a couple of live plants and a few large rocks to provide cover and resting places for the turtles.  The water we use is straight from the tap and not treated in any way.  I clean the filter approximately once every two weeks and the water generally stays clear. I also have a Betta living in a 1 gallon tank and would like to give him the opportunity to live in the tank with the turtles.  I know that I will need to do something about aeration and ammonia wastes, but would like to know if the turtles and the Betta will be compatible before making the changes/investment. Please reply to this e-mail address directly if you are able to. Thanks in advance, Phil < The turtles will eat the Betta the first chance they get.-Chuck> Mixing Turtles Of Different Sizes   12/28/05 Dear WetWebMedia: Can you put baby turtles in with older turtles or will the older turtle hurt the baby turtle? Teresa Day? <Older larger turtles eventually pick on or intimidate smaller younger turtles to the point that they will be afraid to eat. When hungry older turtles will pick on younger turtles as food.-Chuck>

Separate Turtles Of Different Sizes   12/28/05 So I should separate the turtles? Teresa < That would be best for the smaller turtle.-Chuck>

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

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

Turtles Will eat The Newt 10/22/05 Hello, I would like to thank you for your extensive question database which has provided me with many answers! I was wondering  just how long one red-eared slider baby would be alright in a ten gallon tank. I've been researching and planning for providing a great home for one of these guys for a long time and realize that one day it will need a nice happy pond. < A ten gallon tank would only work for a few months depending on the temps you turtle is kept at.> Would a Whisper internal (10i) filter be good for about 5 gallons of water for the little guy? < Turtles are messy feeders. A filter helps but only as long as you are willing to clean it. Clean it often and do many water changes.> I also have one fire-bellied newt and was wondering (although I am quite doubtful) if they would be okay in the tank together until the turtle grows larger, or if a separate tank right at the beginning would be necessary. < Turtle will try and eat the newt every chance it gets. The newt may also be toxic to the turtle.> If this is possible, my newt tank is planted heavily with live plants. I would not mind if the turtle ate them, but have heard that some plants are not okay for a turtle to eat. I have Mondo grass, Anacharis, java moss, and a few other plants (I don't know the names of the others.) < Turtle would pick at the Anacharis and probably leave the others alone but it would be a bull in a china shop with all the plants being uprooted every chance he gets.> I also have a five gallon tank at home that is not being used and think that either the newt or the turtle could stay in it for a while. (I think the newt would be happier there than the turtle since it would only have about 2-3 gallons of water.) I previously had three newts, but the other two were VERY young and, like many pet store fire bellies, had a rough beginning and came to me with rot which I was unable to cure.  I eventually separated them from my adult, who is still living a happy and healthy life hanging out in her favorite plant, the Anacharis bunch. Also, what is your opinion on the occasional snack of a ghost shrimp for aquatic turtles? < Great.> (I know I am asking many questions here.) There is a very large debate over whether to use gravel or not. Of course cleaning is easier without it. I read where someone had used no gravel but had vinyl flooring in the bottom to give traction. Do you think the turtles really care? < No not really.> Like fish do, would turtles eat their own poo if there was no gravel to trap it? < They have been known to eat their own fecal matter if they are hungry and no other food is around. Many fish stores carry gravel vacs that will do a great job of cleaning your gravel while siphoning the tank water.> Thank you in advance for you time and patience with my plethora of questions. I appreciate what you do in an attempt to rid the world of people who improperly care for their pets. < Just plugging away one question at a time.-Chuck> 

Bigger Turtle Picking On The Smaller One - Watch Your Toes! 10/22/05 Hi. I have 2 red eared sliders, I am unsure of their sex. 1 is bigger than the other and I believe it is responsible for gnawing and tearing the nails off the other turtle. I noticed the smaller ones' nails were missing and has wounds on it's back feet. I started to watch them closely and noticed the big one was very aggressive towards the smaller one, it kept trying to bite it. I have now separated them but I am concerned about the wounds. What can I do to help with the healing and to prevent infection? I keep the tank very clean (Changing water every 1-2 weeks). Any recommendations will be helpful and appreciated. Thank You Janette < Add a Dr. Turtle Sulpha Block by Zoomed to the water. It will help prevent infections. Keeping the water clean is a major step in preventing infections. Bigger turtles often pick on smaller tank mates. Separating them is a good idea.-Chuck> 

Please help my wounded goldfish 10/7/05 I've had a little turtle (the tiny ones you can get in China town about the size of your palm) for 3 years and a goldfish I got in July. The turtle has grown some, not huge but of comparable size to the fish. I was reading online and heard you can put them together in a tank. I just built a 30 gallon tank and put the turtle and fish in together. I monitored their behavior for hours and days and they were just fine. All of a sudden about an hour ago the turtle decided to attack the fish!! <What they do usually> It bit part of it's tail off and by its upper body. It was bleeding and I took the fish out quick, put some 10% Povidone-iodine on his back and fin with a cotton swab. He kind of swims but mostly has his head down in the corner of the new tank. Is there any way he can heal??? What do I need to buy to help him? Please help me save my fish... <Mmm, only you can do this. Please read on WWM re goldfish disease. Bob Fenner> 

Lonely Turtle  9/12/05 I have a red eared slider turtle that looks pretty lonely.  He constantly stares at his reflection in the glass on his tank.  So I am thinking about getting him a friend.  But I have a small problem.  Am trying to figure out if I should get him a guy or a girl turtle.  Am afraid that if I get him another guy that they might fight and hurt each other.  But if I get him a girl they would probably mate and then I would have to take care of baby turtles and eggs.  I need an opinion on what I should get to better suit him.  Thanks. < My best answer would be to not get another turtle. We get questions all the time about turtles biting, fighting or intimidating other turtles in the tank. Your turtle is probably less lonely and more concerned about if the "other" turtle is squeezing in on his territory.-Chuck>

Mixing Turtles  9/7/05 I have a smaller painted turtle and I was just given a baby snapper. For now I understand my painted is safe but in the future would it be ok if the shared a tank? thank you Alex D < I would not recommend ever putting these two turtles together. Snapper gets too big and much too mean.-Chuck>

Keeping Turtles Together  9/3/05 Hi! There have been similar questions before, but I also have an idea of what may have happened to another readers turtle. I have two female red eared sliders (shortish tails, short claws, flat plastron) - one is slightly smaller than the other 3.5 inches and 4 inches, both 3 years old. They are in a 50 gallon tank with a 120 gallon "waterfall" filter, basking lamp, "cave area", and a large basking area. They have never had health problems, are very active, and are good eaters - variety of food items. However recently the slightly smaller turtle (Maggie) is displaying the male mating behavior (fluttering claws in the face of the other). This seems to be an aggressive behavior however because she then tries to bite the neck of the other turtle (Lisa). Maggie has succeeded twice in biting Lisa and I had to separate them and give Maggie a "timeout". Lisa has "adapted" to this behavior by drawing in her neck when Maggie is bothering her, but Lisa has also started biting at Maggie's claws (may explain what happened to your other readers male turtle claws that is housed with a female). I've temporarily separated the turtles, but my questions are.... 1. Why is the female presenting a male behavior? I know some animals can switch sex - is this possible for turtles? < Don't think they change sex but the smaller turtle may still be a male despite many sexual characteristics that show other wise. The difference in size may indicate that the smaller turtle is/will be a male.> 2. Will I ever be able to house the turtles together again.....maybe a larger space? During the warmer months when the days are long, turtles may exhibit some breeding behaviour. When things cool down and the days get shorter then I would try placing them back together. In the spring they may act up again and need to be separated.-Chuck>THANKS!

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

Box Turtle with Greek Tortoise  8/27/05 We currently have a Greek tortoise.   Someone dropped off a box turtle in our yard, and my sons want to keep it.   Are we able to keep them both in the same habitat? < I would not recommend it. The box turtle requires a higher humidity, slightly lower temps and an area to get wet. The tortoise comes from dry arid areas while the box turtle comes from a moist humid forested type of habitat. The increase in humidity could cause respiratory problems for the tortoise over a  long time.-Chuck>

Mixing Turtles 7.29.05 Hi, I have recently found a Common Map Turtle and I was wanting to keep it in the same tank as my Red Eared Slider. But when I put it in the tank with the Slider, the Slider bit the Map Turtle and when I separated them he kept trying to bite him again. I am not sure of the gender of either turtle, but I would really like to keep them together. Is the Slider being mean or was it just being playful? And if I do have to get rid of one of them which would be the best one to keep as a pet? <Sounds like there are definitely going to be some problems with aggression.  I would keep them in separate tanks or release the map turtle back to where you found it.  Best Regards, Gage>

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

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

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

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

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

Red- ear slider My Uncle works for the water dept and last year brought a turtle to me and asked to put it in my 500 gal pond. It appears to be a male, long tail short claws. He just found another one in the street and brought it over, I think it is a younger female, long claws, shorter tail, will they get along? I have several koi and about 6 smaller goldfish, my original turtle never bothered them and I'm hoping they will all get along. Any problems with this situation? <Shouldn't be - though you may want to feed them from time to time with prepared foods, or they may snack on your goldfish if they can catch them (which isn't too likely). M. Maddox>
Red- ear slider - part deux
Thanks for the quick response, but I went this morning and checked on everyone and my larger turtle has the little one cornered and is biting at its head, feet, tail whatever he can get a hold of...I got worried for the little ones safety and took her out. Is this a mating thing or is he that aggressive?? <Hmm, no luck with them together I guess...if he doesn't like her, I would wait until spring to re-introduce her and see how it goes. Good luck! M. Maddox>

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

Aggressive Turtle I have two Red Ear Slider turtles.  One has red markings and the other has yellow markings.  I have raised them for approximately 3 1/2 years, since they were babies, both probably the size of a silver dollar when I got them.  They started in a 10-gallon tank with a wooden stand to sun themselves on.  As they grew, I slowly upgraded the tanks, and now have a 60-gallon tank with a custom built 6 x 6 inch platform.    The yellow ear has grown to approx 5 inches long and the red ear has grown to approx 4 1/2 inches.  For as long as I have raised them they have been healthy and happy and cohabitated beautifully.  I have over time vacillated about their sex, however I believe them both to be males.  They both have very long front nails, and long tails.  Additionally, over the last couple years they both have performed what your site refers to as the male mating ritual, i.e. the wiggling of the nails in front of the other's face.  From my reading, it appears only male turtles do that....I think? < Yes> Anyway, now that you have sufficient background of my turtles and their setup, I am hoping you will be able to diagnose the problem.  Specifically, the red ear (slightly larger turtle) has in the last 6 months become extremely aggressive.   He will approach the yellow ear as if he were about to do his mating routine and then bite the back of the yellow ear's neck and hold on to the point that I must physically separate them.  Over time he actually drew blood.  Thus, I bought a separator and kept them apart for about two months thinking he would grow out of it and allowing the yellow ear to heal completely.  Unfortunately, although the yellow ear has completely healed, the red ear has not grown out of the behavior, and the second I take down the barricade, he immediately goes after the yellow ear.  It is odd, both are very friendly to me.  I feed them by hand often and they are very gentle, and the red ear even pretty much leaves the fish in the tank alone.  Nonetheless, I can not leave the tank separated permanently and am now pondering giving the red ear away.  Please advise.  Is there something else I can do?  Is there something wrong with the red ear?  If they are both males, is that the problem?  Any help would be very much appreciated.  Thank you. < You are treating you turtle well and they are indeed displaying a breeding behavior. It is springtime and males are looking to court females and drive other males away. You could separate them for a few months and then try and put them back together again but I am afraid you will have the same problem every spring. For a long term solution I would cut back to one turtle.-Chuck>
Aggressive Turtle - II
Thank you Chuck for your help. I contacted a local Pet Store and they have agreed to adopt the red-ear. Hopefully he will find a good home with someone eventually. I know he can be a good pet, especially if he has a tank for himself. < Sounds like a win/win situation for all.-Chuck> 

Two Turtles Too Many 7/26/05 Hi I'm a 1st time turtle owner, About a month ago I purchased 2 red eared sliders in Florida and brought them home to NJ, one is bigger then the other.  The small 1 is the size of a half dollar and the larger 1 is a little smaller then my palm.  I have a 10g tank set up for them: basking area, light, heater, filter.  The smaller 1 would never eat while the bigger 1 was in the tank and would never go into the water while the big 1 was swimming.  I would just take the bigger 1 out to give the smaller 1 a chance to eat and swim. ( But while they were basking they seemed comfortable together and the small 1 would climb up on the big 1's back.)  I didn't think this was a problem until about a week ago when the big 1 got aggressive and went after the little 1 and nipped his foot.  Will the big 1 eat the small 1? < Turtles will eat anything, even each other. The little turtle knows that the bigger turtle feeds in the water , so it stays away from the larger turtle while the bigger one is in the water.> Since then I divided the tank in half with a piece of pollex glass and they each have there own basking area but still 1 light,1 filter,1 heater and the lil 1 still seems afraid to swim as if he was still in danger of the big 1. If the small 1 goes into the water it gets frantic to get out, so this causes another problem, the small 1 hasn't eaten in a few days.  Last night it finally ate a little when I took him out and feed him in a smaller carry tank.  Is there something else that I should be doing? Will the small 1 get more comfortable and realize it's safe of the big 1?   Does the small 1 miss the big 1?  Am I just too paranoid and should I put them back together?  Thank you for your time and hope to hear from you soon.. < Do yourself a favor and help the little turtle out too and give him away to a good home. The bigger one will always be after the little one. They don't get lonely and will do fine on their own. If the bigger turtle bites off a limb of the little turtle then nobody will want it. you will be taking care of two turtles in two separate containers for many years.-Chuck>

Turtle Trauma 7/27/05 Thank you for your response.  So you don't think the separation wall I created is a good idea? < Eventually you will have to keep them permanently separated. They will get big in a couple of years and the damage from bites will become more severe.> Will the smaller 1 never feel safe on his own side of the tank? < Turtles are pretty smart creatures. When the smaller one gets hungry it will eventually go back into the water to feed and figure the other turtle will not bother him.> I haven't put them together since the nipping incident.  I don't really want to give 1 up yet. < Good Luck-Chuck>

Mixing Turtles and Fish 7.24.05 I just got 2 hatchling turtles last week. When I got them, the guy told me that I could put them in my aquarium with my fish as long as I had something for them to dock on. He gave me a floating rock that goes in my tank allowing them some where to dock. My question is WILL THEY EAT MY FISH? I ask this because I saw on the net while I was trying to do a little search on them, that they eat worms, fish, shrimp, etc. <Yes yes yes, if they can catch your fish they will eat them.  The other problem is that the turtles will foul your water in a bad way.  You will need to do water changes weekly to bi-weekly as your turtles grow.  For more information on aquatic turtles please read the following article.  Best Regards, Gage http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/redearsliders.htm >

Turtle question My sister recently bought 2 baby red ear sliders that are currently being kept in a 10 gallon tank. I am now setting up they're new 55 gallon tank though I am wondering if I will be able to have any type of plants. <None where they can get to them.> I know they will demolish the plants but I am wondering if there are any types of plants that will be able to grow faster then they're diets? <No> And will these guys uproot plants or will they simply chew them up? <Both> Thanks for your help! <Let me suggest you consider building a plant refugium or bog. I have built such a thing before for my turtles older/smaller tanks and they work well. The simplest thing I did was use a powerhead with a prefilter on it. This pumped water up above the tank into a long plastic planter box (the kind used for window sills). Inside this box, I placed gravel and water loving houseplants. Unfortunately, I do not know the names of the plants. I can just pick them out at the nursery, but staff there should be able to help you. Anything that can live with its roots submerged. To the planter box, merely drill a hole and fit it with a bulkhead fitting to drain the water back into the tank. This helps export nutrients and they look good, too! Now that I am thinking about it, I am going to have to build another one for my turtles new, big tank. -Steven Pro>
Turtle question
Hi! I'm the guy who wanted plants in with my turtles. <I remember.> Well, I have a big enough land area in the tank for non-aquatic plants, like grass or anything I can plant in soil. Will these guys thrash plants outside the water too? <If they can get to them and think they can eat them, yes. When mine are outside in the pond, they routinely climb up onto the Pickerel Rush and weight it so that it falls into the water. They then climb back down and eat the leaves, leaving the broken stems behind.> Wouldn't it be harder to do that since they can't swallow out of water? <They will find a way. Just for clarification, my previous idea was to grow plants for nutrient export primarily, secondary for looks. I have used Peace Lilies, Sanderiana, Palms, and this creeping vine house plant. Actually, there is a good list of potential plants here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PlantedTksSubWebIndex/hsepltsag.htm> And also, what about not so tasteful plants like java fern? <They just wreck so much. I finally gave up and keep their tank bare bottom now.> Would the turtles just demolish the plant for the fun of it? <They are just being turtles.> Thanks for all your help, Jace <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>
Re: turtle question
Well thanks for your help. These guys are funny. I'll just give them their greens and figure something out. Actually what about bamboo? <Anything that can grow submersed in water, but most importantly located away from the turtles.> The leaves grow at the top leaving the stem underwater and the leaves out of reach? <They will merely grab a hold and drag under.> Well, my turtles thank you for all your help. <You and they are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Turtle and fish Question Hello there Lovely site, easy to use and actually helpful and accurate, I just wanted to add some of my experiences and a question or two (smile). I have owned turtles since the 1980's, at the moment I own a 17yr old and 1yr old RES <Red Eared Slider> and a 1yr old snapping turtle (common), all housed separately and if there is one thing I have found is that each turtle, even same species, in same tank, develop very different personalities, likes and dislikes. Both of my RES are as opposite as night and day. I found that by giving my turtle his basic needs, for a week or two, while he adapted, allowed me to watch and learn, and set up a better, more personally suited tank. My 17yr old, likes to eat gravel and anything else that fits in his mouth, so he gets sand and large rocks (had I not watched and learned, it could have been disastrous) <Very common, usually most small rocks will pass, but who wants to take the risk, my turtles do not get gravel for that very reason, not to mention cleaning Ugh.> He is presently housed in a 90gallon open, sandy bottom tank, with some (hardy) submerged (oxygenating) plants, and some very hardy fish (they're my question). The oldest turtle also likes to keep one goldfish, after a "feeding frenzy", so it fattens up I think (smile), he also loves grapes, apples and cucumber. My other RES, prefers dying fish only (and I swear expensive ones), and won't touch a grape or apple. The older one is very outgoing and the other is very quiet, leave me be attitude, yet both are relatively docile. I've never performed a manicure on my boys (all 3 are males), I found rocks seem to keep it under control. My snapper is nothing like what you read about and eats like a bird <eats like a bird, or likes eating birds?> , but is fat and healthy and active. Even though they are only "turtles", they have very distinct personalities and attitudes, if he/she is a cankerous turtle at a young age, it always will be, they do not sweeten with age. <Do they splash in the morning to wake you up to feed them?> Turtles grow no matter what size tank you put them in, My 1yr old RES and Snapper are housed in a 35 gallon (tall) and a 40gallon (long wide), with lots of filtration, plants and driftwood. I personally would not dream of starting a turtle in anything less than a 30gallon. RES are active swimmers and the ones I have owned do more swimming than basking. On the topic of plants and turtles, they really do not mix well, so put your wallet away and walk away from the $25.00 plant (smile). The only plants I have any success with are the hardy submerged plants, like Hornwort, Anacharis, Java Moss, and Elodea. Don't expect them to stay planted (if you do plant them). They do just as well, just free floating around the tank. Another good plant (although only seasonal (I'm in Canada here :D> and needs lots of light) is the water hyacinth and water lettuce (which help remove harmful nutrients from the water - nitrates or nitrites), they are floating plants, usually found in places with ponds, some local nurseries etc.... Anyways that is some of my experiences, just please research before buying a turtle, and not only online, go get a book, talk to other turtle owners and have fun (smile). My first question is I feed my turtles (and a small mouth bass I have, as well as the unidentified fish) Rosy Reds and Feeder goldfish, I always inspect or look at closely, each fish, before putting it in the tanks (if it looks bad, it goes into quarantine), Anyway, one of my Rosy Reds that I brought home 3 weeks ago (the Rosy Red is actually grey and black) has developed, I'd say in about the course of three days, a tumor on its back, near the head, just off to one side has developed. The fish seems unaffected, no other fish have it (has isolated already), upon closer inspection of it, it is rock hard (like sticking your tongue in your cheek, hard but skin moves), its the size of a pinhead. What in the world is this? There's no puss, no squishy stuff, no fungus looking attachments. <It is hard to tell without seeing it, if you can get a picture feel free to send it along.  It sounds like maybe a parasite or tumor, but regardless, I think this is the least of the fishes worries considering where he is going to end up.> Question 2 - I have researched and researched and questioned people, but no one seems to know what my fish are, the ones housed with the older RES. Someone once told me they were (go by sound, not spelling) Coreyopsis or Koryopses, no common name, when you type this into a search engine and alt spellings, mostly you get info about a plant. They are light golden colour, mouth brooders (my largest almost 9" had what looked like Styrofoam balls in her mouth and then nothing, I was told they were eggs and she was protecting them) When in dark, or aggravated they get dark stripes like a tiger, and one going across, they also have a dark dot on end tip of gill?? Do you know what these are? I could email you a few pics of them, just let me know. <Pics would be excellent, or we could talk about Coreopsis tinctoria "A hardy, upright annual, native to the southern United States"> Thanks, enjoy your pets, and sorry for being so long winded (smile) <A fellow Chelonian lover, please write as often as you like.  Sorry I could not answer your questions more specifically, but get us some pics and we will get to the bottom of this.  Thank you for sharing your experiences with us, our turtle page could use few more FAQs.  I agree with you wholeheartedly, turtles need lots of water, lots of swimming room, and heavy duty filtration, and that is just to reduce the maintenance to weekly.  These are filthy creatures, I mean that in a  loving way, that require constant maintenance.  Do you ever feed night crawlers? Turtles love worms.  Careful with that snapper, our fingers tend to look like tasty treats. Best Regards, Gage> Laura

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

Turtles and Plants Hello! I just wanted to ask you if you knew what kind of plants I could put in my turtles tank. <None, turtles enjoy eating or otherwise wrecking everything. I have two Yellow Bellied Sliders and have resorted to leaving their tank bare bottom.> I wanted to put bamboo in but my Mom said to ask someone who knew first. And I wanted to ask you something else, if I could put some of the fishes that keep clean the tanks the ones that are always sucking in everything. <It is better for the turtles if you just keep the tank clean with regular water changes versus trying to use fish. Turtles are known to eat fish, so anything you put in there may become lunch. I have my turtle tank located near the laundry room so I can drain the tank water using a Python water changer into the floor drain and so I can fill it right back up using the faucet on the laundry tub. It works extremely well and keeps the tank clean and smelling fresh.> Hope you answer me fast. <I hope this was fast enough.> California P.S. I know a lot about turtles but I don't know what plants I can put in their tank that are not toxic for them. They are only hatchlings, and they are red-eared sliders. I am 13 years old so I am not an expert that's why I am asking you. <We have archived a bunch of other turtle Q&A's. These may be of interest to you. They can be found here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/turtlefaqs.htm> Thank you! <You are welcome, my young friend. -Steven Pro>

Turtle Buddies Are there any other aquatic animals that can safely cohabitate with a larger turtle (in our case a pacific pond turtle)? <Not that I can think of off the top of my head, feeder goldfish have been known to last a little while, but eventually get eaten, I imagine a crawfish would make a nice snack, frogs or newts would be lunch.  You could try a very fast durable fish, something that can put up with less than perfect water quality.  I had some Giant Danios spawn in one of my turtle tanks once, ended up eating all the fry, but the adults survived with the turtle for a while.  A few years down the road I figured I'd try the Giant Danios with the same type of turtle, they where all eaten within a week.  So, fast, durable, forgiving fish, with good cover, and you may be able to pull it off, but I would not recommend it. -Gage>

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

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

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

Turtle Trouble The turtle that I believe is a male is much larger than the other one, and is blowing surface bubbles. It looks like he's trying to eat something off the side of the bowl...but I don't know what all the bubbles are. <It could be algae growing on the side of the bowl and the algae then generates oxygen under lighted conditions, and the turtle could mistake this for food.> I just watched them, and the big one has been like sitting on the other one. The smaller one only has two feet, because our cats ate her two back feet off, so I don't know if that makes her any less capable of swimming or what, but the other one seems to be dominating. < The smaller turtle with no back legs is definitely at a disadvantage. If it gets to the point that the smaller turtle is not getting enough food then I

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