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FAQs About Turtle Eye Disease/Health

Related Articles: Turtle eye diseases; Recognising and treating eye diseases in pet turtles by Neale Monks, Treating Common Illnesses of the Red Ear Slider (& other Emydid Turtles) by Darrel Barton, So your turtle has the Flu? Recognising and treating respiratory infections in pet turtles by Neale Monks, The Care and Keeping of the Red Eared Slider, Trachemys scripta elegans by Darrel Barton, Shell Rot in Turtles, Turtles, AmphibiansRed Eared Slider Care

Related FAQs:  Turtle Disease 1, Turtle Disease 2, Shell Rot, RES Disease, & Turtles 1, Turtles 2, Red Ear Sliders, Turtle Identification, Turtle Behavior, Turtle Compatibility, Turtle Selection, Turtle Systems, Turtle Feeding, Turtle Reproduction, AmphibiansOther Reptiles

Hatchling Eye    4/17/20
I recently found a hatchling on the road a couple days ago and his eye doesn’t look normal at all. I will attach the photo, any recommendations and help would be extremely helpful. Thank you for your time.
Also, the hatchling isn’t really moving that eye, and it for the most start stays open..
<Hello Debra, I agree, it's eye isn't normal. You really have three options here. One is simply leave it be, and Nature will takes its course. These animals aren't very dependent on their eyes, and while they might be more vulnerable to predators (things like otters and raccoons readily take turtle hatchlings) this one might get lucky. If you happen to have kept turtles as pets before, your second option would be to keep the creature as a pet. I'd strongly suggest having a vet look it over to check there's nothing otherwise wrong. Finally, you could take it to an animal rescue place. Here in England we have places like St Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital and imaging there are other, similar charities elsewhere. These people are able to judge the best way to treat wild animals without habituating them to human company, making their eventual release into the wild more secure. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Hatchling Eye       4/18/20
Thank you so much for your help ,
<Most welcome.>
I think I will see the nearest vet.
<Good call.>
Would you recommend eye drops until I can get him there?
<If sterile, possibly. But if a vet is taking a look, perhaps best to wait.
There are specific eye drops for turtles available, and these should be safe. For example, Zoo Med Repti Turtle Eye Drops which retail for around $5-10. I would not use human eye drops without checking with a reptile expert or vet first. Cheers, Neale.>

Severe Eye Issue with my RES      12/29/16
Hi crew
<Hiya, Darrel here>
It all started several months ago, with the right eye of my RES, having a little "white stuff" at the corner of its eye. At that point in time his eye was kind of swollen so we brought it to the vet. Initially they prescribed Antibiotics and Vitamins for him, but to no avail. So the vet said that if this "stuff" is not bothering him (as he still behaves, eats as per normal), just let it be. So months later, things started to worsened and the little "white stuff" soon occupies his entire right eye now. I don't even know if the right eye is blind now. I attached some photos for clarification purposes.
What should I do now? Please help.
<This is perplexing. The initial photos show classic Vitamin ‘A’ deficiency, but that’s the first thing your Veterinarian saw. I’m guessing he gave an A-D-E-Calcium injection and sent him home with vitamin A eye drops?>
<at this point, I’d feed her small pieces of liver (beef or chicken) as her daily meal(s) for three weeks and twice daily Vitamin A eye drops and check again in 4 weeks.>
<Feeding is done by putting her in a separate container, like a plastic tub with an inch or so of water … give her 5 minutes to adjust and calm down, and then small pieces of the liver. The separate feeding is because the oils in the liver pieces will quickly pollute and foul her tank water>

Indian Flap Shell Turt.; hlth.         5/31/16
<Hiya – Darrel here>
I have an Indian flap shell turtle, her name is Jennie. A couple of weeks back I saw this lump near her right eye. I took her to the vet, he prescribed two eye drops and said that it was nothing to worry about she just got herself hit somewhere in the house. But it’s been almost 15 days and there has been no change in that lump. That popped out thing is not
going away.
<15 days is not a lot of time for a turtle to heal, Addi. Their metabolism is much slower than ours, so a healing that can take a few days in humans can take several months in a turtle>
I even changed the vet. The other vet said it can be due to heat. He prescribed different medicines. But still no sign of healing.
<Both those sound like odd diagnoses but then they have examined Jennie and I haven’t. In most cases a even an experienced herpetological veterinarian would do a biopsy … since all WE see is a bulge in the skin and what’s UNDER the skin is important. I assume both vets felt the bump by hand and found that it wasn’t hard like a rock but soft like liquid. The reason I suspect that is because hard lump, like a tumor, won’t shrink. The diagnosis of ‘heat’ is interesting to me, as I’ve never seen an excess of heat cause a skin condition or lesion.>
I don't know what to do now. I don't want it to get serious. Can you please suggest me what that thing can be and what should I do that will help her heal as soon as possible.
<The first thing I would do is see if there is a Turtle and Tortoise Society or club in your area. More than anything we want to have Jennie examined by someone that is familiar with the species. Perhaps we’ll find someone who has the same or similar species and has experienced the same condition. Beyond that you’re only real choice would be an expensive one – take Jennie back to the first Vet and ask for a biopsy.>
<From the pictures you’ve sent my guess is that it’s a simple infection and that underneath we’d find a gooey lump of puss and the typical treatment would be a course of subq (injection) Baytril.>
<Do keep one thing in mind – when a turtle is sick and we’re trying to help her heal, warm and dry (we call it dry docking) is the way to go (read this article) http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >
<Lastly, I would remind you that water quality is very, VERY important to the health of Flapshell turtles. When we examine the water in which they naturally exist it seems that they are tolerant of water quality but in captivity that does not turn out to be the case – the clearer and cleaner and more sterile water you can provide Jennie, the healthier she will be>


hello sir ,
<Hiya, Darrel here>
I have two red eared slider turtles.. One of them is not eating from 2 days . i tried to feed but i think it cant see anything . What shall i do ?? my tortoise was so active but now it is always floating on water and even doesn't responds to my finger gestures . please help !!!
<A turtle that is not active and doesn't eat or respond should not be left floating the water. At least take him out of the water and place him somewhere warm and dry until he becomes more active>
<http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >

thank you for ur advice . It is doing well now but still can see . when i try to feed it guessingly eats anything that comes near mouth , even it sometimes bites the other red eared slider .
<read the article and treat for Vitamin A deficiency>

Baby yellow belly slider       1/20/16
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have a two month old yellow belly slider.
<Is his name 'Bertram' by any chance?>
One of his eyes has an opaque gray string like thing across his eye ball.
It moves around, sometimes it is by his top lid, sometimes the bottom and sometimes in the middle. When it's in the middle of his eye he will blink to try and move it because it seems to be obstructing his vision. The eye is not swollen. We used zoo med Repti turtle eye drops for one week which did not appear to do anything. He is eating and swimming normally and
everything else appears to be fine. Do you have any suggestions of what to do?
<Rinse him under the tap in luke-water water with his body tilted down at a slight angle.>
<Or you could take a moist Q-tip and try to just rub it off if he'll let you>
<Or you could just leave it alone and eventually he'll shed it>
<If he's active, alert, eating, pooping, swimming and basking ... he'll end up being fine>
Thanks for your help!

Res swollen eye      1/6/15
Dear Crew
<Hiya – Darrel here>
My res named turty has got swollen eye from last few days. He does not open his one eye. its gone white in colour. It seems as if he has gone blind by his one eye.hn sometimes scratches his eyes and mostly turns his face towards his good eye. his other eye seems fine. please tell some remedies as I cannot take him to a vet as there is no reptile vet
in goa. help me. he still eats fine. please help.
<Turty is suffering from Vitamin A deficiency. This is easy to cure IF he is still eating. Read here to see how to treat: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >
<The thing is this was very easy to prevent. Turty has not been getting a proper diet and/or is not living in healthy conditions. Do keep in mind this problem took months to become noticeable and will take a long time to heal. Also know that if a turtle is suffering from one vitamin deficiency he’s likely suffering from many. Read this article and measure ALL your care, environment and diet … correct everything that is not right: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>

Yellow Bellied slider in Italy       10/30/15
I read your suggested pages and wonder if this is part of early brumation process or a sick eye from the lack of Vit. a you talk about.
This turtle (one of two) is 3 years old now, and kept in water in the bath at night and a 6" deep tank outside in the day where he/she gets full sun or shade as it chooses.
For now we're experiencing temps of 50s at night and about 60 to 70 in the day.
I saw this red swollen eye problem in march last year and just presumed it was part of the brumation, but now am wondering if it's the illness. here is a photo from last year
which is the same as one eye that has begun closing now again.
I've never had any success getting any greens into them. They turn up their nose at lettuce/tomato/veg in general. I've not tried plants though - would I get them from a fish store?
Thank you in advance and I appreciate any help you may be able to offer me.
<Hello Anne. Turtles rarely, if ever, hibernate or brumate successfully in captivity. As you may know, hibernating tortoises (i.e., terrestrial turtles) in Europe is difficult and requires precise understanding of diet and healthy body weight. Get these wrong and the animal will surely die.
Fortunately, it almost never arises with aquatic turtles because the conditions indoors don't match those in the wild. It isn't cold enough for a start, and there aren't the sorts of burrows or muddy substrates the animals would naturally use. So when you see an aquatic turtle becoming torpid, it's almost always a problem that needs investigating. I'd have you read this article first:
I'd then have you read here, scrolling down to the section on Swollen Eyes:

Re: Yellow Bellied slider in Italy       10/30/15
okay thank you - I thought they were getting the vit. a from their dried shrimp, dried fish or fresh/cooked meats (pork/chicken/beef). My bad.
<Not bad as such, but easily overlooked. Meaty foods are not the major source of food for these animals in the wild. Plants are, and to some extent carrion as well. Good quality Koi pellets are an excellent staple, together with clumps of cheap pond weed (Egeria or Elodea type things).
Bits of meaty food once a week are fine, but don't go wild, and do remember that shrimps and mussels especially contain thiaminase, which causes real problems for reptiles. Cockles are better, as are slivers of white fish fillet. NEVER use mammal or bird meats. Too much fat. Beefheart is the exception, but VERY sparingly.>
So the swollen eye is indeed a lack in its diet. I will read what you suggested and thank you again - i don't need to keep one separated from the other do i?
<Should be fine together if they cohabit well. Turtles can be aggressive, so use your common sense, observe how they interact, and act accordingly.
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Yellow Bellied slider in Italy       10/30/15

thanks a lot Neale,
I appreciate your insight and will check out if shops sell some weed ( so to speak)
<Real good. Cheers, Neale.>

plastron with small dents     6/22/15
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have a 26 year old RES and she has always been very happy and sociable and fabulous. She last visited my vet a year ago because her eyes were slightly puffy and so he gave her a shot of vitamin B and I changed out my UVA/UVB bulb because I think it lost efficacy after only 6 months instead of a year.
<That can happen, but eye problems are more of a vitamin deficiency - specifically "A" and so I'd be examining her diet>
Yesterday I added this super incredible basking condo and ramp from glasscages.com to her tank to increase her swimming area. Today I noticed that a weird callous-looking spot I’d seen previously on her plastron had come off, leaving a small dent. I know that over 26 years she has probably done some things to her shell that weren’t exactly gentle. Do you suppose this callous was akin to scar tissue that finally made its way to the surface of her plastron and was pulled out as she slid down her ramp from her basking condo?
<That's EXACTLY what I'd suspect!>
The shell is nice and hard and not discolored, just dented (about the size of an eraser head). Should we visit the vet?
<Shell is nice and hard - she's active and alert (notices you when you want into the room and naturally assumes you have food) - she sleeps, basks, swims, eats and does all those normal turtle things?>
<If all those are true, then no trip to the vet!>
Thanks so much!

Turtle help?    12/23/14
hey guys, This is the first time I've ever messaged a website for help. I'm sorry if I'm a little weird. I wanted some help with my boyfriends RES. He has had the turtle for 9 years, and has had him in a, what we think, 20 gallon tank.
<Too small.
Given the age of this turtle, his shell should be about the size of a side plate, 15-20 cm/6-8 inches across. Varies for sure, but he should be pretty big. Assume he needs a basking rock at least that big, as well as swimming space, and it's hard to imagine all that fitting in a 20 gallon tank.>
Im worried about the size of the tank myself, but I don't actually know a lot about turtle care.
<Do read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/RESCareBarton.htm
The basics are not hard to understand or even expensive. A few non-negotiables, like UV-B, a heat lamp, and a greens-based diet, but the rest is pretty flexible.>
The biggest thing is the turtle claws at the tank...A LOT.....he is constantly trying to crawl out it seems, as I've read that's what they do when hungry, but he tries so hard to claw out that he turned himself over and was stuck on his back!!! I worry that he needs more room and a better filter.
<Quite so. You read the situation well.>

There is another issue with the turtle's eye, and it seems to be...puffy?
it seems half closed almost, but he doesn't itch at it or anything. He eats just fine and normally basks in the lamp. His diet is normally pellets but he has been getting treats of tried shrimp and mealworms.....is there anything we need to change about his diet also?
<Puffy/swollen eyes are extremely serious
. Get to a vet as soon as possible, but in the meantime, review diet (vitamin D specifically) and check the last time you replaced the UV-B light (they last 6-12 months depending on the brand). Turtles need both vitamin D and UV-B to stay healthy. In the wild the vitamin D comes from the diet, but pellets are pretty rubbish in this regard, so you need a vitamin source such as cod liver oil. UV-B would naturally come from basking for hours under the sun, but that doesn't work indoors (for one thing, glass cuts out the UV-B from sunshine) so we need the UV-B lamp over the basking spot. Do read:

White film on turtles eyes      10/22/14
Hello my name is Corrissa.
<Hiya - I'm Darrel>
My family and I have four red eared sliders. Yesterday we woke up to find that the one and only female was dead in the bottom of the tank. When we took her out we noticed that she had a thick white film over both of her eyes. She never had any weird symptoms to alert us of anything being wrong. We don't know what happened. I would hate to think that we did something to cause her death. Please message me back. Thanks.
<On behalf of Bob Fenner, Neale, Sue and the entire crew, we're sorry for your loss, Corrissa>
<A white-ish film forming over a dead animal in a fresh water tank is not an unusual circumstance, Corrissa. In itself it's not indicative of any specific fungus or bacteria. Still, just to be safe, I would dry-dock the remaining turtles (read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm ) and treat for fungus. Meanwhile break down their tank and sterilize as follows:>
<Basic sterilization technique:
First find a temporary home for any other living things {that you care about} in the tank then fill the tank an extra inch higher than normal and add 1/2 cup of bleach for every 5 gallons of actual water (not tank size, but actual water volume).
Next, remove your filter media and throw it away but keep your filters running during this sterilization -- assume anything bad is everywhere the water touched or went.
Now, run the entire setup for 24 hours (make sure you have ventilation - chlorine fumes are bad news) and then drain, refill with clean tap water (1 inch higher than normal) and then run for 4 hours
Finally, now you can break down the setup, rinse the rocks, ramps, stones & hoses under running water from the sink … and then -- refill with tap water, run the setup and then reintroduce the pets. The best thing about chlorine bleach is that it dissipates naturally, so if there is any residual chlorine at all, it will go away on it’s own.>
<If the remaining turtles are kept in a clean, clear condition I'd expect no further trouble>

Yellow Bellied Slider Fungus or Shedding?    6/1/14
.after this third time he has been strange. Firstly, he started not opening his left eye. I looked it up on the internet and found that it may be caused by lack of vitamin A, which makes sense, because I hadn't been feeding him properly (I've been using Gammarus, made by Tetra). I found that I could use drops as a supplement, and also as medicine for the eye. Therefore, I applied Vita-Plus, the only drops I found in the pet stores here in Romania(on the bottle it says it contains vitamin A, D3 and E). He started opening his eye, but it still seems a bit swollen to me.
<What you DO have in Romania is liver. Beef liver or Chicken liver. Some meat cutters consider it waste, since not so many people eat it.>
<Put her in a shallow bowl or pan with water just to the top of her shoulders. Give her a few minutes to calm down, and then put a small piece of liver in front of her. Giver her a few minutes to notice it and then she'll probably eat it all up. You can feed her more as soon as she's done and continue until she doesn't want any more. Do this once a day for a week and her vitamin A deficiency will be cleared up and her eyes will start to recover>
<Also - after the first time you see what the liver does to the water, you'll see why you never put liver into her actual environment>
Secondly, he had been shedding skin (I am certain it was shedding then), and I thought it was normal. Then he stopped, he looked well, clean, but then he started again. And now it looks slimy and his belly looks constantly dirty from some green stuff. I try to clean him daily with a q-tip, and the stuff that comes out is dark green.
<Sounds like the environment needs a good scrubbing>
Third of all, he hasn't been basking for a while, at least not that I've seen it. I must admit that I don't have a UV light, which I will get as soon as possible, because I now realize how important it is.
<yes, it very much is. Fortunately the new CFL Repti-sun bulbs from Zoo Med are not very expensive and require no special fixtures>
Fourth of all, a few days ago I brought home another YBS, the same size (and same age, I think). When I put them together, I realized that there is something wrong with my old one (his name is Barrack), because, compared to the new one, who was curious and energic and who looks very clean, I might add, he seemed lazy and sleepy and unhealthy and dirty. I am very concerned. I tried to do as much research as I could, and I asked some vets but they did not know what to tell me(turtles are not so common here). And the more I read on the Internet, the more concerned I am, because with every article comes a new possible diagnosis. I want to add that I tried to feed him ReptoMin made by Tetra, but he didn't seem to like it. Also, I used to feed him 2-3 times a day, until I realised that it is not okay. Now I feed him once a day. If you have suggestions please tell me, I want to give him the best care possible.
Please contact me ASAP.
Thank you!
<Cristina - here is all the basic care information you need for Barrack and Bingo: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm note that a basic diet for them can be found in plain, old, inexpensive Koi Pellets. Sometimes they fixate on one food or another and won't try something new. In your case, because Barrack may be fighting infection and is being fed liver… feed them both liver for a week and then when you return to a normal diet you can start the Koi Pellets or the ReptoMin. They may not accept the new food at first, but that's OK. When you have fed them beef or chicken liver for a week, you know they're well fed and can go a week being picky. Then, after a while, when they get hungry, they'll eat the koi pellets or ReptoMin.>

Red Ear Sliders are not feeding and are having swollen eyes    12/30/12
I have two red ear slider turtles for over 2 years now.. they were gifted to my daughter.. well that apart.. Its winter time here in Shanghai and the turtles have stopped feeding for more than a month.. now for the past week or more are having swollen eyes I used a CHLORTETRACYCLINE HYDROCHLORIDE eye ointment (0.5%) but really don't know if its helping as I don't see a significant difference. Also one of them is pretty much sinking when put is warm water and the other is a little tilting.. I am not able to find a suitable expert opinion here and am desperate for a solution.. please help.
<Will hold onto your message, hope one of our turtle folks responds soon.
Have you read here:
and the linked files above? Bob Fenner>
Red Ear Sliders are not feeding and are having swollen eyes    12/31/12

<Hi Arusha; Sue here with you.>
I have two red ear slider turtles for over 2 years now. They were gifted to my daughter. well that apart. It’s winter time here in Shanghai and the turtles have stopped feeding for more than a month.
<Are they indoor turtles? If so, weather shouldn’t have that much of an impact on their appetite. In the future, after one week of not eating, you should assume something’s not right and start taking steps right away to address it. That’s because by the time a turtle starts showing signs of illness, they’ve often already been ill for a long time.>
Now for the past week or more are having swollen eyes I used a CHLORTETRACYCLINE HYDROCHLORIDE eye ointment (0.5%) but really don’t know if it’s helping as I don’t see a significant difference.
<I wouldn’t be administering any antibiotics unless you know if and what type of infection they have. And in this case, the most likely reason for their swollen eyes is probably not an infection, but a Vitamin A deficiency. What kind of a diet have they been on? Read here about Vitamin A deficiencies –
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/turteyedisart.htm >
Also one of them is pretty much sinking when put is warm water and the other is a little tilting.
<What appears to me to have happened is that the turtles started out with a vitamin deficiency caused by an inadequate diet, and that this left untreated/unaddressed over time has caused them to be debilitated to the point that they are now less able to fight off other more serious illnesses. In particular, the turtle that’s tilting sounds like he/she may have acquired a respiratory infection.  Read this article and learn what other symptoms to be on the look-out for with a respiratory infection --
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/turtrespart.htm >
 I am not able to find a suitable expert opinion here and am desperate for a solution. please help.
<Arusha, given how long these turtles have been sick now, and because they appear to be getting worse, they should be seen by a vet.  Home remedies are good during initial stages of illness but once they start showing more serious signs of illness as yours are, there is really no good substitute for a vet. You should still administer home remedies, but only IN ADDITION to vet care.>
<Yes, ideally it would be great if you could find a vet with special expertise in turtles, but most qualified ‘general’ vets are more than capable of administering injectable vitamins (would recommend at least Vitamin A, possibly D as well); and also putting them on a course of antibiotics (depending on what they find). Often vets who treat birds, a more common pet, will be able to treat turtles. And if your vet has any specific questions about which antibiotics to administer or dosages, etc., they will usually have a resource they can contact. If not -- zoos, wildlife museums, nature centers, etc. might be able to direct them to a knowledgeable resource.>
<So … 1st get them to a vet ASAP. Injectable vitamins will be the most efficient, effective way at this point of giving them these vitamins, especially given they're not eating any more. Also -- only a vet can give them the kind of antibiotics they'll need if it turns out they also have come down with a systemic infection. >
<2nd ... get them out of the water ASAP. Water is a turtle’s worst enemy when they’re sick. Please read here under the section called “Immediate Treatment … Isolation and Dry-Dock” for instructions on how to do this --
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >
<When dry-docking, you MUST provide them with not only a source of heat but also a UVB light as well – in fact, even when they’re not sick they need this. Lack of UVB and/or basking under a warm, dry spot with UVB each day can also lead to vitamin deficiencies and illnesses.>
<You should also read another section in the Dry-docking link above called “Swollen or closed eyes”, and try some of the suggestions mentioned here as well. Once their appetite returns, I'd also recommend giving them a powdered vitamin supplement once a week also (they make them specially formulated for turtles). But again – this should NOT replace a trip to the vet.>
<You’re welcome Arusha. Because you didn’t mention anything about their diet, care or environment, I’m also going to give you this link to our general care guide --
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<Turtles don’t need much but they must have everything mentioned in this article to stay healthy. But for now until they’re well again, keep them out of their normal aquarium and follow the sick instructions above. Feel free to write us again if you have any questions about the information in those links. Good luck; I hope this helps!>
<<Excellent Sue; thank you. BobF>>
Re: Red Ear Sliders are not feeding and are having swollen eyes  1/2/13

Dear Sue,
Thanks for your time and help.
<You're welcome!>
Yes I have dry docked them.. but they are not feeding at all...
<They likely won’t get their appetite back until they get the treatment(s) they need and start to feel better. Just keep trying during the time when you put them in a shallow container of water each day to drink and/or poop.>
They didn’t feed last winter as well.. but they got along super fine..
<I'm glad it turned out o.k.; but again if they’re indoor turtles, while they may not be as hungry as they might be during the warmer months, it’s not normal at all for them to go all winter without eating. That should only happen when they're out in the wild and hibernating in the cold weather, but not when you're keeping them as pets. >
<Though the main reason now for their lack of appetite appears to be that they're sick, one possible reason why they may have initially lost their appetite is if they hadn't been spending enough time out of the water each day basking under the heat and UVB lights. Both heat and UVB will stimulate their appetite and is very important to them for other reasons as well. Make sure you're providing enough of a temperature variance between the two environments to incentivize them to get out of the water and bask each day. Your water should be around 68 degrees or so (F) and the "dry land" temperature around 88 - 90 degrees or so (F). >
<Also, definitely read over the last link I gave you to the general care guide to make sure you have everything in place that they need to stay healthy – especially the right diet, not overfeeding, clean water, and an adequate sized warm, dry basking area with overhead heat and UVB.>
well I will take them to a vet and pray they get well soon.
<Sounds good; I hope they feel better soon, too! Try to get them into a vet as soon as possible.>
Thanks a lot once again..will trouble u again if I need more help and guidance.
<No problem; that’s what we’re here for!>
Happy new year.. have a great year ahead
<You too!!>
Re: Red Ear Sliders are not feeding and are having swollen eyes     1/7/13

Thanks for your help.
<You’re welcome, Arusha. Hope they’re continuing to get better!>
I have got some medicines which need to be put into water and allow them to be in it for about 4 hrs each day
<I’m not familiar with any Vitamin A treatment that gets dissolved in water. I checked with another crew member and he wasn’t either. What was the specific medication the vet prescribed for you? It would be interesting to know; the main concern being that the medication would get too diluted in water. Even topical medication that gets applied directly to the eye is often not as effective as Vitamin A taken internally.>
<But … on the other hand … as long as you continue to see your turtles improving, then this is all that matters!! :) >
and then dry dock them again.. seems to be working I got the more sick one to open one eye and the other had both its eyes open.. fingers crossed.. have been asked not to feed them for a week more... well I am hoping they both get better.. will keep you posted.
Thanks once again.. truly appreciate it
<No problem; happy to help. We’ll keep our fingers crossed, too! ~Sue>

Baby res; see through eyelids? - 10/31/2012
Hi, I have a baby red eared slider that I bought in the street a couple of weeks ago. He is about 1-2 inches big. He is in a small tank with some gravel. I tried to feed him some pellets and lettuce but he hasn't touched them. Other than not eating he has been active and moving around. However, the past couple of days he's been sleeping. I think he may be hibernating but I'm not sure nor am I sure if he is in an adequate environment to be hibernating. Although he is an indoor turtle, it has gotten colder due to Hurricane Sandy. I can clearly see his eyelids are closed but the weird thing is I can see through his eyelids and see his actual eye. I can even see his eye moving around sometimes with his eyelid closed. His eye that I can see behind his eyelid seems to close again when I assume he is actually sleeping. I've moved him around to make sure he can still open his eyes and he can. His eyes do not seem to be swollen. So what I want to know is my turtle going to be ok? Is this normal with his eye situation?
<Hmm… can you start by reading here:
Eye problems are very common when turtles aren't kept properly. Classically, the eye appears to be closed all the time because the eyelids have become swollen. For sure a trip to the vet is necessary. More than likely the vet will provide the turtle with a vitamin injection and will then give you some tips on better care. It's a cheap, quick fix at this stage, but left alone, the underlying problem will become serious, eventually fatal. Hope you're able to help this chap before it's too late, Neale.>

RES turtle with one swollen eye     7/29/12
I have a RES turtle.  she is 5 years old.  I just got her about 2 weeks ago and I just moved her into a bigger tank (90x45x45) about a week ago.  I have a canister filter and the water temperature is 32 C (I know this is a little high, but I live  in Japan and have no AC - I try to lower the temperature every morning by switching out some of the water with colder water)
<That is rather warm; try adding a block of ice each day.>
I did change her diet recently.  At first I was feeding her some vegetables (carrots, cucumbers, and water plants), blueberries, turtle pellets, dried shrimp,
<All good, though acidic foods like berries can irritate the stomach so should be used sparingly, if at all.>
and once I fed her 2 live fish.
<No! No live fish, ever!>
However her stool became really soft so a few days ago I started giving her only the pellets and dried shrimp.
<Switch back. More vegetables is good, and greens especially provide vitamins and calcium. Koi pellets (based largely on plants) are a good clean staple, and you should be able to get these in Japan with a problem!>
Yesterday i noticed that her left eye looked a little strange but didn't think much of it.  However this morning her eye is now twice the size of the other eye and she can barely open it.
I have already checked my area and there are no vets that specialize in reptiles and I am really worried about her.  I have read some of the sites you provided as reference and I did find one dealing with just one swollen eye but I was unsure as to whether or not it described my situation.   What should I do?
<Take her to a vet, ASAP. Swollen eyes (whether one or two) are a common sign of dietary problems, typically Vitamin A deficiency. A vet will inject with Vitamin A, and instruct you how to optimise diet and keep the eye clean. If the eye can't open, tears can't clean it, and there's also a follow-through risk as infection sets in and passes along to the nose and then the respiratory system. There's no home cure to this, except perhaps Vitamin A drops, but unless you're medically-trained, getting and using those safely (at the right dose) isn't going to be easy; I certainly don't know the right dose for a turtle of a given size. So bottom line, you do need a vet, end of story.>
After writing you I continued to do some research and I found a website concerning UV lighting and problems with eyes.  The eye that is swollen is the eye that is closest to the UV light when Kameko basks.  The light that I use is a EXo Terra 10.0 UVB 26W light and the tip of the bulb is 20 cm above the basking area.   Could this be the problem?
<30-40 cm is recommended; consult with manufacturer re: their specific model.>
I have no experience with reptiles or using UVB/basking lights, so perhaps I made a mistake and put the bulb too close or bought  the wrong strength bulb.
<Could be. Again, consult with manufacturer; installation instructions should have been supplied with the unit.>
Again thank you for your time.
<Glad to help, Neale.>

my turtle      6/15/12
Hi, my name is Michael
<Hiya Michael - Darrel here>
 I have a Turtle and his eyes are swollen shut. I have no money to take him to the vet because I have a baby on the way and my girlfriend is on bed rest.
<No need>
The turtle is either a red ear or yellow belly slider.
<The treatment is the same>
I think it's from dirty water I left them at my moms for two months came back and there water was bad. I need help my girlfriend is really sad. What can I do besides the turtle eye drops? Will antibiotic not help?
<The normal cause of eye problems in turtles is simply a Vitamin 'A' deficiency, Michael.   To treat him, what you want to do is keep him warm and dry, expose him to direct sunlight and get some vitamin A into him.  
The easiest way to do that is to feed him some small pieces of beef liver. 
  The details from dry-docking and Vitamin A deficiency are in this article
If you read it completely you should be able to help your turtle recover without any great deal of expense.  Just make sure he's warm and dry when he's not getting his bath and food.  Also, make sure you feed the beef liver in small pieces in a separate bowl because the oils make a huge mess of the water.  You want to be able to throw the water out after he's eaten.  Since he can't see, you may have to put a small piece on the end of a toothpick and nudge it to his face to get him to start.>
<Good luck with the baby, too!>

feedback and query on lighting for planted community tank   4/1/12
Hello WWM
myself SUHAS from India I had previously contacted you about a year back regarding swollen eye infection in my RES and based on your advice was able to cure them and are now very healthy ... (hope this feedback might help other pet lovers - I observed swollen eyes when I had changed their diet from green Tuttle pellets to dry worms n took ur advice n once I started feeding them the pellets which have vitamin A,E etc .. gradually their condition  improved also exposure to direct sunlight helped and now also I have designed and built them an ideal tank u can find these pics in the attachment..and thank you very for your trouble )
<We thank you for this input>
> This time I have a query regarding sufficient lighting system required for a planted aquarium community tank .. the tank dimensions are L-70 * W-16 * H-24 inches .. a 120 gallon tank and these are the following plants .. Red wallichi green wallichi, tonina umbrella, Glossostigma, anubiasis coffeefolia... could you please suggest the minimum and maximum watt of light required and the type a light that is to be used .. T5 , T8 or T11... Thank you very much
<The T 5 choice is best here... Do read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/PlantedTksSubWebIndex/lgtfxtfaqags.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Regards SUHAS M R

Sick turtle with bad eye infection   3/17/12
HI, I am Gaurav, from India.
<Hiya Gaurav, I'm Darrel from California>
 I have 2 Red Eared Sliders, one is about 6'' big and the other is about 5''.  Around 7 days ago, I noticed the 5'' turtle- Candy, has not been eating and her eyes looked puffy as seen in the pics I took before going to the vet. I looked up online and found out that she might have an eye infection or vitamin A deficiency. I added a little salt into the tank 1 day ago.
<A bit of salt is often helpful to any skin-related problem>
She was always basking or sitting at the bottom of the tank, though a couple of times I could see her swimming along the edges of the tank as if she wanted to get out. Today, she was swimming restlessly, so I picked her up and I was shocked when I saw she had blood over her nose and what seemed like a part of her nose was missing and badly infected nose and portion around her eyes. See attachment.
<Yes, either a very bad infection or she's being cut or bitten>
I took her to the vet immediately, and he gave Candy an injection and asked me to come after 2days for another injection. He also told me to give her 5 drops of Codfish OIL for vitamin A into her mouth.  I have kept her in a separate tank with a heating light. My concern is what else can I do to help my turtles, should I apply some sulfa dip or distilled water with salt to her eyes? If so then how much water and how much salt? She had not been eating from the past 7 days and is in so much pain. Should I try to be more persuasive when I'm trying to make her feed, but I don't want her to stress out more as she's already so stressed as when she sees my hands she hisses and opens her mouth,
<Yes, Candy is having a bad time.  Right now, follow your vet's advice, but also you should Dry-Dock her.  At the moment, water and wetness are her enemy - they favor the growth of fungus and bacteria.   Read here:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >
Should I give the vitamin A ( codfish oil) to the other turtle-Toffee as well?
<As long as it's not too stressful, yes.   You can also feed them pieces of fish liver or chicken liver as part of their diet.   Just make sure they are SMALL pieces … unless you feed in a separate container.  Liver can really foul the water>
Also how should I give Candy the Codfish oil since I don't want to force her and stress her out more?
<Right now, for a week or so, I'd let her rest in the dry warmth.   When I placed her in a tub for a daily bath, you could feed her food that has been dipped in the oil>
I will change the water every 2weeks to make sure they don't fall sick because of dirty water. What do you think their diet should be now? 5'' and 6'' turtles, as they only eat TAIYO brand turtle pellets and some feeder fishes occasionally.
<I use Koi pellets for my turtles.  It's a perfectly balanced vegetable-based food that contains all the vitamins and nutrients they need.  Then I supplement that with an earthworm or two once a month>
What else can i do to prevent such diseases? Kindly advice as I want to do anything for them to make them feel better, happier and more comfortable.
<And we appreciate your diligence, Gaurav!>
<Clean cool, water.   Warm Dry basking with UV-B.   Basic diet.   Happy, healthy turtles! http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>
Gaurav ( and Candy & Toffee)
<Yer welcome!>

Red eared slider eye infection.   1/15/12
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I bought a red eared slider about three weeks ago and he isn't older than two months. He has been barely eating. Since I got him, he probably ate aquatic turtle pellets about twice and that is all. Three days ago, I noticed that his eyes had a kind of semi-transparent crust on them. This crust is located in the eye and not on the eyelids. It looks like he is closing his eyes but I can see his pupil through this semi-transparent crust, so his eyes are not closed all the time.
Also, this morning, I saw that he has a tiny white patch on each end of his mouth. He hasn't eaten in about a week and I think it is because he cannot see the food since he has that crust on both of his eyes. I am pretty sure he got this infection because of lack of vitamin A as well as dirty water (because I do not have a filter but I am buying one soon). I have changed the water four times in total since I got him.
<More than once a week - that should have been good enough>
For this problem, is it necessary to take him to the vet?
I have seen a couple of sources on the internet that said bathing him in a solution of boric acid and then using eye drops worked for their turtles. I bought ZooMed turtle eye drops yesterday but I am not sure if they will help him in this case. Should I use them or is it completely necessary to go the vet for this case?
<Well, they eye drops won't HURT>
Also, should I follow the sources that I have read and bathe him in a solution of boric acid?
<No - use the drops>
If so, how long should I bathe him in it? I have also tried feeding him earthworms to change up the diet in case he didn't like the pellets, but even then he refuses to eat.
<He's obviously sick, Paul.   He was very likely sick before you even got him.  He'll eat when he feels better.>
<In the mean time, this sounds ALMOST like a classical Vitamin-A deficiency.  However the most pronounced symptom is that the eyes are SWOLLEN and you haven't mentioned that.>
<First, get him some place warm and dry.   When a turtle is sick or developing an infection, his warm moist home becomes a breeding ground for the very infection that is attacking him. I'll explain more in a minute>
<Second, use the drops exactly as directed.>
<Third, treat the entire body as if it had a fungal infection>
<Fourth, After he's been warm and dry and having the drops for 3 days, put him in a really shallow bowl of water (not even up to his eye-level) and offer him a really tiny piece of beef liver.   Give him 5 minutes in the water to drink, poop and decide to eat, then back out again until tomorrow and try again.  Once he feels better, he'll start to eat again and the beef liver will give him the nutrition and vitamins he needs>
Two pictures are linked to this e-mail, but I cannot get a really focused picture.
<Yes, sadly, they aren't of much help.  But on the other hand I have two reading assignments for you:
<Yer welcome>
Re: Red eared slider eye infection.    1/18/12

Thank you for the steps given to help my turtle. I have read the articles you have given me but I have a few more questions regarding what you sent me previously.
First of all, should I dip that tiny piece of beef liver in the cod oil or is liver alone ok?
<Good idea.  The more vitamins, the better.>
Second of all, how would I force feed my turtle?
<THAT is a very difficult thing.  Let's hope it doesn't come to that>
I have placed the earthworm previously near his mouth for at least a minute or two trying to get it in but he won't open his mouth?
<That means he's in no mood to eat.  Hopefully it's just stress and he'll get over it in a few more days>
Third of all, can I use tap water for the shallow water bowl that you said I should place him in after 3 days of eye drops?
<Tap water is fine for him always.   Any water that would be safe for you to drink is same for him to live in.  The dechlorinators and water conditioners we use for fish are not necessary for turtles>
Also, should I keep using the eye drops until his eyes recover, or just for the three days like you mentioned?
<Until he's fully recovered, eating well, active and alert>
Thanks a bunch

RES with an eye infection - advice needed 1/7/12
Hello, I'm Diego, a female red eared slider rescued in May of 2011.
<Hi Diego, nice to meet you!  I'm Sue, a parent of some rescued turtles just like you.  But none of my turtles know how to type so you're very special!>
I'm 53 grams and about 3 inches.
<Oh, a teenager!  I hope you're listening to your parents and doing everything they ask!>
My parents and I love your site and your expert advice.
<Glad to hear we've been of help!>
I've had a problem for about three weeks now and I'd like to ask a few questions. I went to the vet yesterday (1-3-2012) because my eyes are, reddish, pink and swollen, there are little white marks in the corners. At first they would open, but for the last 5 days, they've been stuck closed.  My parents are worried it might be an eye infection from lack of Vitamin A or a respiratory infection.
<Your parents sound like very wise people!>
My vet isn't sure which, but gave me an injection (ouch) of an antibiotic and wants to give me another in 72 hours.  She said I couldn't have a Vitamin injection because I'm too small,
<Hmmm, not true!  She can and should give you a Vitamin A injection.  She may just have to be dilute it so that it corresponds with your gram weight. You should have your parents ask her about this when you see her again for your next shot!>
but did tell my parents to keep my water temperature and basking area in the higher temperature (80 to 85).
<Well, almost but not quite.  Right now while you're not feeling well you should be in a warm, DRY environment 24 hours a day until you get better again, except for just a few minutes each day in water so that you can eat, take a drink and poop if you want.  Tell your parents to check out this link and read the whole article --
-- especially the section called *ISOLATION* to learn more about why staying warm and DRY is so important and to find out how to set this up for you.  They'll also want to carefully read over the section called 'SWOLLEN OR CLOSED EYES'.  >
<And here is a link to another article that they should also read that specifically talks about eye infections:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/turteyedisart.htm >
<When you feel better again, your parents should be allowing you to choose between COOL water (68-70 degrees F) and warm dry land (88-90 degrees basking temperature) since your body can't regulate its own temperature. >
She said my housing and setup were good to go though.
<Could be ... but the problems you're having can sometimes be the result of both a poor diet AND something wrong with your environment.  So ask your parents to also carefully read over our care guide in this next link, compare your set-up and care to what's recommended here, and to make any changes that are necessary:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
I feel safe and cozy in my tank. I'm a picky eater and will only eat dried shrimp, my parents try to give me other foods, but I won't touch it. 
<Well, you need to listen to your parents because this time they're right!!  A diet of dried shrimp is not good for you, and at least one of the main reasons why your eyes are closed right now!!>
My mom has been helping me eat since my eyes are closed right now, she tries to sneak the gross turtle pellets in, but I spit them out.  I was eating, barely, the first week, the second, I ate a bit more, and this week I've been very hungry and wanting food all the time. I've also had some air bubbles come from my nose, but no signs of mucus and although I seem to be tilting just a bit, I am swimming pretty well. The first two weeks I was lethargic, I didn't move around a lot, but this week I've been getting hyper.  We know these are typical signs of an infection, but the vet wasn't positive of an infection.
<Losing your appetite, feeling unusually tired, and bubbling from your nose are signs that you were starting to come down with something which is likely now improving because of the 1st dose of antibiotic you received.  So make sure you continue taking your medicine as long as your vet suggests!> 
<This is also why it's so important for you to get out of the water right now and into a warm dry place until you fully recover.  Bacteria and fungus LOVE water -- especially WARM water!!>
She warned that Diego might not pull through this, although I don't understand why she seemed so negative since we're trying to do everything we can. We DO NOT want to lose our little one.)
<I understand your concern; I have little ones of my own!  And we obviously don't have the advantage your vet has of physically seeing him.  But Diego's appetite and energy increasing are two encouraging signs that he's improving.  Based on this I think he has a good chance to pull through IF the right steps are taken.>
Our questions are:
1. What do you think might be wrong with Diego?
<At the very least a Vitamin A deficiency caused by a poor diet and (possibly also) living conditions that aren't quite right.  Given the other symptoms he was having besides his swollen eyes and the fact that he seems to be responding better after his 1st dose of antibiotic, it's also likely that he did come down with an infection.  Vitamin deficiencies uncorrected over time eventually cause their bodies/immune systems to become debilitated to the point where they become more susceptible to illnesses such as a respiratory infection.>
2. What can we do to get Diego to eat other foods? The vet suggested mixing the turtle pellets into paste and feeding me that, but I only eat in water and paste doesn't work so well in water. What other tricks could we try?
<Try feeding Diego in a shallow bowl (in the manner described in the 1st link I gave you under the section called *Isolation*).  This will make it easier for him to take the food in his mouth with his head above water (which turtles are normally capable of doing).  Once in his mouth he will instinctively put head under the water to swallow.  You may have to wait a few minutes for him to settle down before trying this though!>
<You can also try coating his food with cod liver oil instead of the paste.  The section in that same link called *Swollen and Closed Eyes* gives some suggestions for this. >
<If he's either unable to or not buying into anything coated with the cod liver oil, try putting a few drops of cod liver oil (and/or the Vitamin A drops) directly into his mouth.  Draw up a few drops using a narrow size syringe and irritate him to the point where he opens his mouth so you can put the syringe in (depending on his temperament, this could take you anywhere from 0 to 25 or more attempts!)  With any luck he'll bite down on the syringe and hold his grip for a few seconds.  This will give you some time to SLOWLY place a few drops of cod liver oil off to the SIDE of his mouth.  The reason for this is to avoid forcefully squirting any fluid into his glottis, the tiny hole you'll see in the middle of his tongue if you look closely.  The glottis leads to his lungs so you don't want any fluids going there!>
3. What other foods would you recommend for me? I'm so picky and my parents have tried lots of things, but what are nutrient foods they should keep trying with? 
<For now because of your immediate need, your parents should concentrate on getting ANY source of Vitamin A DIRECLTY INTO your system besides just the topical Vitamin A on your eyes.  In particular, try to eat pellets coated with cod liver oil (since pellets should be your *main staple* anyway when you're not sick!)  And cooked liver (beef, chicken or turkey liver) is the most concentrated *food source* of Vitamin A.  Ask your mom to chop up a few tiny pieces and check it out!  You can also try eating some shredded up some sweet potato.>
<And give your mom this list of a few simple *diet* rules to follow once you're all better:
 1)   Keep Diego's diet simple yet complete.  The more things you offer him, the more you risk him fixating on something that's not part of his basic diet and then refusing to eat the food he SHOULD be getting. 
His *staple* should be a Koi or good quality turtle pellet such as ReptoMin.  ReptoMin also happens to be a favorite with most turtles so I imagine (to a turtle at least) that they taste real good, too! 
For a treat give him an occasional earthworm or two every few weeks.  Earthworms are another source of Vitamin A and have other beneficial nutrients as well.  And that's it!  You can also offer him some of the plant material recommended in the 2nd (Eye disease) link if you'd like, though he may not be as interested in this until he gets a bit older.
2)    NO feeding him dried shrimp or other junk food just to get him to eat!  It's actually better for him to eat NOTHING and go hungry than to eat bad food!  Filling himself up on junk food just makes it even more likely that he'll refuse any healthy food!  And if he refuses to eat, remove the food and try again in two days.  A healthy turtle won't starve!  Eventually you'll win the battle of wills, and in the long run, Diego will win too!>
3)    Don't over-feed him!  This is the most common mistake people make with turtles.  Feed him only as many pellets as he can eat in 5-10 minutes, and ONLY every other day.  Not only is this healthier for him, being hungry gives him added motivation to eat what you're feeding him! >
There's so much information available, but it's almost too much when you want to make sure I'm getting all the nutrients I can.
<Yes, unfortunately too much information is not always a good thing, especially when much of it is conflicting!  But you can tell your parents that the recommendations in our care guides are made by crew members who have kept many turtles for many years, have been proven to be *tried-and-true*, and are NOT the ones they'll often see copied from one site to another, where the original source for that information is anyone's guess!>
*4. What should we be putting on my eyes? My vet said I could keep putting the ZooMed Repti Turtle Eye Drops with Vitamin A on (and keeping me out of the water for a few hours. We've been putting the drops on since this started and although it seemed to help a bit at first, it hasn't done much).  ((She also said to maybe put some of these drops on my food, would this be too much though?)), but my parents are worried because my eyes are swollen closed so how will they come open even if the antibiotics help? Is there something else we should be putting on? We've seen others use saline water, cod liver oil, etc., but we don't know what would be best to get my eyes open again. Any information with this would help. We want my eyes open.
<I understand.  Treatment for a Vitamin A deficiency works best when the vet first gives an initial *booster* injection of Vitamin A (and D also) that is then followed by Vitamin A eye drops and/or oral Vitamin A.  And as I mentioned in the beginning, you are NOT too small to get an injection! So I'd check with your vet again about this, or find another vet who can do this.>
<Also tell your parents to read all the links I sent including the instructions for putting you in a warm, DRY environment, and try to get some additional Vitamin A (via cod liver oil, liver, etc.) actually INTO your body in addition to the eye drops.  It also wouldn't be a bad idea for them to coat your food with some phosphorus free Vitamin D3 powder, and once a week with a powdered vitamin supplement until you're back on your feet (so to speak!) AND eating a healthier diet!>  <Finally (and this is also in the 1st link), tell your parents to get you outside in the direct sunlight as much as possible right now --  at least 2-3 times a day for at least 15 minutes per time.  They should also provide you with an artificial UVB light if they don't already have one.  UVB will help you metabolize the vitamins you're getting.  And they should continue to use this with you even after you're feeling better.>
<And if you get any more signs of a respiratory infection, tell your parents to follow the additional guidelines from the 1st link under the section *Bubbly nose*.>
<Finally, while you're *out* of your *normal* home recuperating, tell them this would be a good time to read over the care link I sent and make any corrections in your environment that may be necessary so that it's all set for you when you return!>
Thank you in advance. Cheers from Illinois.
<You're welcome; I hope Diego feels better soon!  If you can get him the vitamin injections and take the other measures, hopefully he'll be able to open his eyes back up in the next few days.  Feel free to write us back with an update or if you have any more concerns about him.  Hope this helps!  ~ Sue>

Red eared slider in Indian Conditions   12/11/11
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have a Male Red Eared Slider for the past 3 years.  He is kept in a big enough tank with pile of rocks as basking area.
Recently My turtle has developed swollen eye for which I am using "Ciplox-D" Eye drops 3 times a day, this has brought down the swelling a bit, But I  want your help to get him fully cured.
<Swollen eyes are typically a sign of Vitamin A deficiency.   The best way to correct this naturally is to feed him with small pieces of chicken liver or Koi pellets soaked in Cod Liver Oil.  Make sure he has plenty of IV-b and/or natural sunlight>
He is generally feed on 2-3 small dry fish
<Believe it or not - fish is NOT a part of a turtle's natural diet.>
and 2-3 sticks of Taiyo's Turtle Food, he refrains from eating any leafy vegetables.
<So do I.>
He is healthy and active as before .I also want to know about his long nails, should I get them trim..??.
<No, they're just fine.  Males just grow them when they become mature>
I would also like to know what environment should be provided for Red Eared Slider in India, I stay in Bangalore City where summer temperature is  28-30 C and winter temperature is 16-22 C.   Please suggest me medicines and other required things according to availability in India market if you can.
<Certainly, Anuroop.  If you read this article on basic care, you'll find that a Red Eared Slider doesn't need very much - and what it needs is not expensive.  But it ABSOLUTELY MUST HAVE what it needs. 
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<UV-B lighting is essential.  The challenge you will face is having the water in his tank cool enough that he will choose to leave that water and bask under the heat & UV lamps.  If he does not bask frequently, it may be necessary for you to remove him from the tank once or twice a week and place him in a small, dry enclosed area where you can direct the UV-B over him.>
<A basic diet of Koi pellets is cheap and a completely balanced food for him.  You may wish to add in an earthworm once a month and a piece of chicken liver once or twice a month for variation.>
-Thanking You
Anuroop Satle
<You are most welcome>

I'm screwed! Lol
RES... eye troubles vis a deficiency  11/29/11

Hi Darrel (I'm assuming you're the guy that deals with turtle questions)
<Hiya - one of them, anyway>
I've trawled the net and can't find anything that deals with my problem,
<Well let's how we do>
sooo I came to Iran to teach English and I go to a fellow teachers house and he has what I would call a terrapin.
<So would Neale Monks.  Sue & I call them TURTLES>
It has red marks on its necks so from my research I think it's a red-eared terrapin.
<A Red Eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans)>
He had been keeping it in a tub of water for weeks and weeks. No basking area no sun light no this nor that just a tub of water, like an ice-cream tub.
<I believe you>
It can't open its eyes and it's absolutely tiny.
<I'm surprised it's still alive>
Any way obviously I took the poor thing off him (his name is now timothy) (the turtle not the guy) but now I don't know what to do!
<Well, I do!>
I have a huge bowl (HUGE) that I've put timothy in with water, and I've put some cups as kind of land areas, which he can easily swim onto. But you need to understand that Iran has no fancy tanks or tank filters or anything. So how would you suggest I deal with this? Do you have any DIY tips? AGH!
<First, get him out of the water!!   He only needs water to drink, eat & poop - and he's probably not doing much of any of that right now>
<He can't open his eyes due to a dietary deficiency (vitamins A & D) and is probably VERY sick.  What he needs right now is to be warm and dry>
  -- and with the sunlight thing, its winter now and there is very little sunlight, what do I do?
<Whatever sunlight you can give him - DIRECT sunlight, not filtered through glass - will help>
On the bright side the guy I got timothy from had lots of shrimp, so I can give him that. and Timothy seemed to enjoy his new huge swimming pool. Oh and also should I ban him from water for a while? He was literally living in a tub of water with no land area or 'basking' whatever, surely that's not good for him?
Please help me :( I really want Timothy to have a nice life) lol
<So do I - so here's some reading for you:>
<First - emergency treatment: Get him warm and dry and feed him beef or chicken liver of Koi pellets soaked in cod liver oil - get some vitamin A onboard ASAP.   Read all about treating him here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >
<While he's recovering, read here on how simple it can be to care for a slider if you know what to do:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<The biggest challenge will be finding a consistent source of UV-B light.  For heat, you can use a plain old ordinary incandescent bulb (that's what I normally use) but the UV-B will have to come from either the sun - or a bulb specifically for that purpose.   If you don't have access to consumer-grade reptile bulbs or sources, investigate lighting for people with seasonal affective disorder.   Many of those people spend hours under special lights, such as a Vita-Lite by Duro-Test Corp.   I've raised many a turtle, lizard and alligator under those bulbs.>
Thank you
<Yer welcome.  Hope we're in time>
<By the way '¦. You're NOT screwed!>
<Timothy is screwed!!  Hope you get a chance to help!>

RED EARED SLIDER having swollen eye   9/11/11
HI :-)
This is SUHAS here I am writing from INDIA.
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I own 2 red eared sliders. First of all I would like to thank WWM regarding my previous issue, the reply I got from you was too good, the details were well explained, I was able to successfully cure my RES and am sure even he is eternally thankful :).
<We're glad, too>
(my RES was having puss formation near its ear and based on your reply, I happen to remove the puss few times and once I cleaned it with antiseptic liquid (I used diluted dettol) and ever since he has been playing around happily BUT right now my problem is that my other RES is having *Swollen Eyelids.* my observation... I happen to move them to a plastic bucket ( where also I provided them with basking area n filter ) for about a week , and I changed their diet from turtle food i.e. staple food sticks to dry worms ... and once I replaced them back in their tank where they had been for almost a year now. I started noticing that the other RES was shedding lot of skin and used to sleep a lot and reluctant to open his eyes and not swim around, after going through your website I found that the reason could be due to water change or vitamin deficiency so now I am feeding them only the turtle food which has vitamin A, C, & E as ingredients, changed the water and dechlorinated it, after which the skin pealing has completely stopped. but he still has swollen eyelids and its been like this for about 2 weeks now, he opens his eyes when I place him under the sun or move him from his tank, I do not know what is the cause of problem and how to cure him, I would also like to know if this infection could spread to the other Red Eared Slider and how serious is this issue.
<Suhas, swollen eyelids are almost universally caused by Vitamin deficiencies, which you are correcting via the diet containing A, C and E. The problem is that dietary vitamins require a fairly long time to build up in the system before they'll really start to work. That you have not seen improvement in two weeks is not surprising, but you should start to see improvements in the next two weeks. You might also supplement their diet with small pieces of chicken liver. All kinds of liver are very high in vitamin A.>
<Several other things I would mentions. Don't bother dechlorinating their water. If the chlorine levels are within human drinking tolerances, the water is just fine for turtles. Please make sure that they are getting natural sunshine - not filtered through glass or screen - or a reptile-appropriate UV-B bulb within 6 inches of their basking area. Last, do as much research as you can on the conditions that caused the deficiencies in the first place. Please start here:
Thanking you
<You are most welcome>
Regards SUHAS

My RES has a swollen eye?   4/23/2011
Dear Crew,
<Hiya, Darrel here>
I have a Red Eared Slider named Eddie that's about nine years old. His shell length is about five or six inches. He lives in a 70 gallon tank, with a basking log, and 60 watt heat lamp over it. He basks every day, and I make sure he gets about 30-40 minutes of UVB each day.
<SO far, sounds good>
Until recently, he's been as happy as can be. His left eye has started to swell, and he's started to shed his skin.
<The classic presentation of a Vitamin deficiency, probably Vitamin A>
I'm worried about him!
<Thank you for acting quickly>
Could it be his diet?
<Maybe. Usually it is>
I feed him Zoo Med Gourmet brand aquatic turtle food. It has your basic turtle pellets along with a mix of cranberries, mealworms, and sun-dried shrimp. The cranberries really have me worried. I'm not sure if it's actually safe to feed him those.
<Nothing inherently wrong with cranberries, Sydney. They just wouldn't be part of his natural diet>
Please help me!
<Hmmm. Our friends at Zoo Med produce quality products and the food you are using is certainly balanced enough to prevent this kind of problem '¦>
<I'm conflicted here, Sydney. Given the conditions you describe, it may be an actual infection and a trip to the Vet may be needed.>
<HOWEVER, as they say in medicine - when you hear hoof-beats, think horses and not zebras. He is showing classic signs of Vitamin A deficiency, so let's treat him for that first! The easiest thing to do is feed to some pieces of raw beef liver that you can get at any grocery store. Get the absolute smallest amount you can get because most of it will go to waste. In fact, ask the man at the meat counter if you can buy an 4 ounces of beef liver and he may just give you a trimming>
<In any case, don't just put liver in his tank. It releases oil that would make a mess.>
<Read this article about isolation and treatment. While he's sick, wet & warm is an advantage to infections while warm & DRY is an advantage to healing. Isolate Eddie according to the instructions and also read up on swollen eyes>
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >
<Skip feeding the first day in order get Eddie a bit hungrier than usual, then place Eddie in a shallow bowl of water from his tank - maybe enough to come to his mouth but not up to his nose - then place a tiny chunk of the liver in the water in front of him. With luck he'll gobble it up. If not, place him back in his care box WITHOUT feeding him anything else, and try again tomorrow. Within 2 or 3 days he will probably start to eat.>
<Reserving a Vitamin A deficiency is easy and the results are quick (in turtle terms) you should start to see an improvement within a week>
<All that said, as part of a trip to any qualified Vet, Eddie would get injections of Vitamins A, D & Calcium (especially if you request them) and that would give Eddie a head start. Vet or not ...the care instructions that I gave you is THE way to treat him until he's back to normal.>
I love him and don't want to see him unhappy!
<We're kinda fond of him, too!>
Re: My RES has a swollen eye?   5/18/11

Thanks for all your help guys! I took Eddie to the vet to get some medicine (Though I had to drive all the way to Florida to get it) And he's in tip-top shape now. I'm also pleased to say that he's now the proud papa of two little hatchlings!
<On behalf of myself, Bob and the rest of the crew, we're pleased (and often a little shocked) to find that our advice actually helped!!>
<take care!>

Turtle; swollen eyes  12/26/10
Hello Crew,
My name is Quinnlan and about a month ago I purchased 2 red ear sliders. They are about the size of a 50 cent piece and as of now one of them (named Emmett) is very sick. I had done some research and it seems to me that he is showing signs of RI? His eyes are so swollen that they look like golf balls, he doesn't eat no matter how much I try, I cant get his mouth to open for me, if I put him in the sunlight he will cower away, and his shell is starting to become a slight brown in the creases. I don't know what I can do for him. I keep him warm even though I have yet to get a UV lamp. I keep him dry and moist. He tends to have a difficult time breathing at some points. We are scheduling an appointment with our vet
soon. Please help me. I am 18 and my resources are limited.
<Hello Quinnlan. Please start by reading here:
Without a diet rich in Vitamin A and the use of a UV-B lamp for basking (i.e., making Vitamin D), most reptiles including turtles end up with these eye and respiratory tract infections. You vet should be able to cure these infections by Vitamin A and D injections, but as you'll see fixing the problem is MUCH more expensive than preventing them. Go buy a UV-B (not a UV-A) lamp at once, and review diet to make sure your turtle gets plenty of Vitamin A -- fresh green foods usually do the trick, but there are also
vitamin supplements you can add to the turtle's diet. I can't recommend turtles as pets for children or those on limited budgets -- reptiles, ALL REPTILES, are difficult, demanding and expensive animals to keep. Do also read here:
While you can keep turtles on a modest budget, there are some non-negotiable things like UV-B and diet that can cause problems.

Turtle Eyes - Vitamin A DIY??  11/14/10
Hi from Hanoi, Vietnam!
<Hiya from WetWebMedia - Darrel here>
I have two red eared sliders, have had them for nearly two years. Their names are Percy and Shelley. They live in a tank in my lounge room which does not have a UVA/UVB light (You cannot buy them in Vietnam for love or money), but now I have moved house I put them outside on my balcony every day so they can bask in the sunlight to get healthier.
<That/s very good, Katie. Just two separate things: First, If the sunlight is filtered through the glass or even small mesh screen, the healthful properties are substantially filtered out, so as long as the sunlight can reach them directly, this is fine. Now, quite the opposite, directly sunlight in a confined tank or area can be brutal on them. Make sure they have shade to crawl into to remain cool>
However, Shelley has developed swollen eye problem in both eyes, which seems to be quite common among these little ones! He looks exactly like several of the photos on this site. My questions relate to treating this problem in a third world country, which, as you can imagine, presents problems.
<Yes, I can>
Firstly, most Vietnamese don't keep turtles as pets - they eat them.
<I know. ICK!!!!>
Consequently there is no decent vet here who can treat a turtle. The only one who I have seen knows very little about them, and upon seeing the problem just said it was Vitamin D and sent me home to get some drops from the chemist.
<He was close. Vitamin A deficiency is usually what causes eye problems. Lack of Vitamin D causes bone problems. Unless it's a bacterial infection, we can correct this with vitamins and diet.>
Which presents my second problem. How can I treat my little one when the vets don't stock the necessary supplies to treat them? Is there a generic people-medicine I can use to help treat his eyes? If so, what dosage should I give him? He has stopped eating, and though still has some energy, I am very concerned that he is slowly suffering. I have followed advice and put him out of the tank, but I fear it's gone to far and that's not enough.
<If he was eating, you could give him small pieces of beef liver, which is high in Vitamin A, but if he's not eating that presents a problem.>
As you can imagine, it is incredibly frustrating here to find some assistance. Please please, do you have any ideas? I am returning home to Australia over Christmas, but I am terrified that this will be too late and he will die before I can make it back in time.
<I hope we can help. You can get vitamin A drops at a pharmacy here in the USA and should be able to do so there. Take Shelly out of the water and let her dry. Put one drop per eye and let that dry in place (5 minutes or so) and then back in the water>
Finally, what about diet? I have turtle pellets, but they come from China, and I am not convinced they are good for the turtles, though they have been eating them for the past two years and never had any issues until now.
<I use regular Koi carp pellets for all my sliders, Katie. A good quality Koi pellet is a fully balanced diet for them - I raise them on Koi pellets and an occasional (once a month) earth worm from hatchlings to breeders.>
Unfortunately I can get no other "turtle food" for them, so I need to make something myself. Suggestions on what is good to make and store would be appreciated!
<Two concerns here - one is that a vitamin A deficiency is always part of an overall dietary problem, so as soon as we can get Shelly to eat, we want to add some beef liver and some earth worms (the kind found in the garden or used for fishing - NOT meal worms from the pet store). Meanwhile, find a source of Koi pellets and read the label, look for at least 90% vegetable and/or plant matter>
Please, any assistance you can give me would be appreciated. I am totally at my wits end!!!
<I've been at my wit's end for about 20 years now '¦ it's fine once you learn your way around>
Thanks so much!
PS - I will add that Percy, the other turtle, seems to be completely fine.
Mmmm, not so much. Reptiles and fish are stoic animals, Katie. They do very good jobs of concealing any outward signs of disease or debilitation until the conditions fairly are advanced. Unless it is a bacterial infection, Percy will have the same deficiencies as Shelly -- he's just able to cope better. For now.>
<Find some vitamin A drops. Sometimes, with sliders, when you pick them up and try sticking an eye dropper near their face, you can 'annoy' them into opening their mouth, gaping at you. If that's the case, you can hold her level (the way she'd normally lay - NOT up & down) and squirt a shot of the vitamin A into her mouth.>
<Good luck>

yellow bellied water turtle (poppy eyes)  9/12/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
Can you help?
<I don't know - I'm not very good>
My two turtles shared a 4ft tank until the big one bit the little ones foot off.
<I hate when that happens. Sliders, Cooters and red/yellow bellies can get along so well for long times and them suddenly something like that happens. It can be because of an isolated incident and it doesn't repeat, or it can be because one just turns mean for no apparent reason - and there's no way to tell>
I separated them at once and what's left of his foot is now a stump.
<The good news is that they live happy & healthy lives even with all kinds of disabilities like that.>
We also thought the big one had injured the little ones eye but a couple of weeks on and the other eye is the same so there has to be another explanation as he is alone in the tank. Both eyes look poppy out like a frogs. He is not eating and also spends most of his time on the rock out of the water.
<He's sick all right. Most likely a vitamin deficiency, although it could be something more severe like an infection from the wound.>
<The first thing I'm going to recommend is a visit to a qualified veterinarian. Here is a link to a list of veterinarians that are known to be qualified. http://www.anapsid.org/vets/#vetlist >
<There is no substitute for experienced and trained eyes, so that's always my first suggestion. If that's not in the budget or otherwise not possible, here is a link to an article about treating common problems: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >
<The biggest challenge will be to get him to eat, because the vitamins and nutrition he lacks are most easily given in food. The dryness and warmth of the treatment may spark his appetite>
The big turtle in other tank is fine.
<That's usually how it goes -- the big guy got more food, more light and more -everything- all along the way. THAT SAID '¦ make sure that his conditions are in-line as well, because often the bigger/older ones just "hold out" longer before getting sick>
BOTH ARE YELLOW BELLIED. The aquatic shop I bought them from sells them but don't seem to have much knowledge on them.
<Not unusual - they just sell 'em>
Please can you help?
<You bet. Check your care and conditions against this basic guide and see if there's anything to improve: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>
cheers Donna ( 9/9/10)

Red Eared Slider with swollen eyes and weird white patch of skin on top of his head.   8/7/10
Dear Crew, Hi my name is Alexis.

<Hiya - Darrel here>
I sent this email with another picture about a week ago, I think my pictures were too large so I deleted one and figured I'd send it again.. Sorry for my persistence. I'm worried about my little man. (plus the vet I took him to was no help at all..)

<We'll do what we can, Alexis>
I have a 3 1/2 in. Red Eared Slider named Squirt. (My little sister loves 'Finding Nemo.') I've only had him a few months.. One of the guys where I work found him in our parking lot and saved him. I couldn't let some little kid have him who wouldn't take care of him. He was just too tiny and cute! :-) I have him in a 16 gallon plastic tub filled to roughly 12 gal. right now so he can't climb out.

<That's more water than he needs '¦ but I'll be he appreciates it anyway>
I have a heat lamp kept on his basking log about 12 hours a day. Temperatures in the water at the opposite corner of the basking light is about 80 on warm days.

<That's too hot for his water. His water should be around 68-72 -- around normal room temperature. The idea is to allow him to choose between being warm under the basking lamp (between 85-92) and cool in the water. Remember, Squirt is an EXPERT at being a turtle '¦ he knows what he needs, we just have to be able to offer it to him>
I also have a UBA/UVB Zilla light at an opposite corner overlooking the whole tank.

<Problem #1: UV lamp needs to be on the basking area so that Squirt soaks up the UVA/B rays while basking>
'¦. and a 10 gal. Whisper filter has been used until just this week because I have been saving up for a large 100+ gal. tank and canister filter. I change his water regularly, and use TurtleClean which breaks down the poop and things like that, as well as ReptiSafe Water conditioner.

<I don't do any of that, Alexis. I raise my babies all the way up to breeders on plain old ordinary tap water, complete with chloramines and everything. Things that affect a fish because he just about breathes water have little affect on turtles. It's not BAD that you do these things, it's just that I think the same time and money can be used more effectively in other ways>
I have a Crowntail Betta as well so occasionally I add a few drops of his water conditioner to it because the water where I live isn't the best. I introduced a Repto-something sulfa block a few weeks ago to make sure I was doing everything right also.

<THAT is, for sure, a waste of your money, Alexis. Turtles get their nutrients via diet and not via the water. Sulfa & calcium blocks do nothing at all of value>
His diet consists of ReptoMin Plus, and I recently bought the ReptoMin with Mini Krill and Baby Shrimp for treats. He eats well, and is extremely entertaining to watch. Lol

<I'm not a fan of krill and shrimp for treats. A simple earthworm now and again (once a month perhaps) is better>
His tank sits up a foot from the ground on a box so my little dog can't bother him, but it is a clear plastic container so they like to taunt each other. Squirt will taunt my dog. He isn't scared of him at all he will come swim on the end closest to my dog and stare at him. It's hilarious to watch. He is very friendly and isn't really afraid of anything. The pictures I enclosed are one of the day I got him early May of this year, and the second is just a close up of how much bigger he's gotten.

<Yes, he's much bigger>
The third is where my problem lies.

<Problem #2: there is no third picture attached. Send again, please?>
His eyes swelled up just the other day and a weird white blister-like patch appeared and covers the top of his head and ears.. I've looked everywhere and haven't seen anything like it. It doesn't look like a fungus.. it's almost like a blister. I can see his skin underneath now and when he retracts his head a little it moves just like his skin. Anyway, over the last two days it has spread to the other side of his head, and there is a small strip that continues from the patch and stretches under his eyes. The day his eyes swelled up I called the vet and scheduled an appointment for two days from now because that is the first day I could get him in. I have touched it to see if there is any fungus, swelling, or discomfort but it doesn't seem to bother him. He is mildly lethargic, basking a little more, but as soon as I get home from work he is back to acting perfectly normal. I'm slightly concerned..

<Me too>
Any ideas?

<Swollen eyes is a classic sign of vitamin A deficiency, but ReptoMin turtle sticks are a fully balance diet, so that's unlikely.>
White patches are indicative of fungus '¦ even if it doesn't seem so. It's very hard to tell from here. But I have a few suggestions -- read on>
and is there anything else I should be doing more/less of?

I want to make sure everything is going as it should.. and when everything runs correctly I'm going to adopt another if possible. Please help. Alexis.

<Suggestion #1: Read the following article about treating common illnesses. Treat Squirt as if he has a fungal infection even if we're not sure. Simply keeping him warm and dry for a few weeks will help him fend it off regardless of what it is. During that time, make sure that the UV lamp is moved to the dry box and keep it shining on him 14 hours a day. The basking/heat lamp should be on one side so that he can choose between being slightly warm or slightly cool '¦ but the UV lamp should be in the center so that he's getting a maximum dose regardless of being near or away from the heat lamp. Remember, UV waves don't travel very far - they have to be within 8 to 14 inches to be of benefit. Anyway, treat for fungus for a couple weeks or until another symptom presents that gives us more info Suggestion #2: Here is a basic care article covering all the basics. You've already covered the basics -- and done even more -- but it never hurts to review. Check your setup against the suggestions listed and correct anything wrong. We'll be waiting for picture #3 -- just remember '¦ too close/out of focus doesn't reveal anything useful. Treatment: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm>
Basic Care: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>

Re: (Darrel) Red Eared Slider with swollen eyes and weird white patch of skin on top of his head.   8/10/10
Thank you SO MUCH for the advice..
<Yer welcome!>
I really appreciate what everyone at Wet Web Media is doing for people who have simple (and sometimes complicated) questions. You guys are awesome.
<Thank you again!>
Squirt is doing better. Whatever it was on the top of his head is gone. His eyes are still a little swollen but he is now dry docked as of today. Your suggestions on the water conditioners are great; my wallet greatly appreciates that knowledge. :-)
<That's why we get the medium bucks!>
I moved his heat lamp up higher and resituated his tank so the UVA/UVB is in the middle so he can get as much as he can.
<I place mine over the basking area - it doesn't penetrate water very well anyway>
He still eats great and hasn't seemed off at all.
I haven't been able to get another picture to send since the white spot is gone.. but if it reappears I will try to get one to send.
Thank you so much for your help and I'll keep researching and reading up on your guys' website. I really like it!
<Oh gosh '¦ we're getting a swelled head from all the compliments!! Thanks again!!>

My turtles... RES, eye infection... soft shell... lighting, diet    3/25/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I really need some help.
Last year I was gifted 2 red ear sliders. they have been growing well up till now. It all started when the smaller guy had an eye infection due to which his eyes closed up.
<Eye infections in Red Eared Sliders are almost always a sign of vitamin deficiency due to improper diet. Lack of Vitamin A and access to UV-B lighting>
We took him to the wet to get him treated . the swelling came down but his eyes still refused to open but since we have been force feeding him he's still growing well. the other guy however has become really sick. he refuses to eat . and has developed a very soft shell.
<Another sure sign of diet deficiency and lighting problems!! Turtles can't synthesize or even process Vitamin D without UV light. Lack of natural sunlight, or a UV lamp PLUS a balance diet are required?
We are pretty sure he cant see either since he no longer reacts if you put your hand close to him . he's also started floating around in this weird way , almost lopsided . he doesn't swim anymore he just floats around with his legs stretched behind him. he also has no energy . can you please tell me what's wrong with him and how I can help him. the vet in my area is pretty useless as he says he's only for domestic and not wild animals so I have no idea what to do . please help
<Happy to help, Debby '¦. If it's not too late. The second guy needs immediate veterinary attention!! A complex vitamin shot, perhaps some calcium as well. Then, when you get him back -- keep him warm and dry and see that he gets at least 20 minutes of natural sunlight at least twice a day. The sunlight cannot be filtered through glass or even window screen, as that eliminates a significant amount of the beneficial light waves.>
<Here is a link for treating illnesses in these turtles.
 Make sure you read and understand all the elements that go into the treatment and begin giving him this care immediately! I'd treat both of them, too. Even though the first one isn't "quite" as sick, they both suffer from the same poor care and require the same treatment to heal>
<While they're being treated and healing, please read this care sheet -- I'll bet you'll find a number of things in your setup that you'll need to correct. I hope all works out for them>
yours truly

Red Ear Slider, beh., eyes    3/17/10
<Hiya right back!! Darrel here>
I have a 2 year old, male Red Eared Slider.
<Is his name Herkaber, by any chance?>
Nothing is new with the tank...I do frequent water cleanings and filter changes albeit not very often water changes.
<Turtles are very tolerant of water quality>
I've noticed over the past 3 days, my poor turtle doesn't keep his eyes open underwater.
Above water, no problem. He is also not eating as much as usual. His eyes don't appear to be swollen or any mucous or such. Like I said, I know I don't do as many water changes as I know I should. I did just do a complete water change about a month ago. What can I do to help him out?
<This is just about the worst kind of symptom, Kymberly -- a symptom with no indicator. No one thing that can clearly be seen as a starting point to investigate. It's temping to think that it's water quality and he closes his eyes simply because the water irritates his eyes, but when you see their native environments they generally seem to function across a HUGE swing in quality and consistency.>
<There are two ways to go here, Kymberly and I think you should try both. First, obtain a gallon of distilled water and pour it into a plastic tub (like a shoebox size) and set it next to Herkaber's tank overnight '¦ let the water temperatures equalize. Then when you have the time, take him out of his take and put him in what will be, for all intents and purposes, pure water. No matter what, he'll likely open his eyes for a while (because it's all new) but see how he does after 15 or 20 minutes -- then put him back in his take and see if the closed eyes are back. It will tell us something>
<Now here's the more likely thing: Long term conditions have been less than perfect and up until now he's tolerated it, but it's starting to take it's toll on him: Basking temp? UV-B light? Diet? Water temp? Light cycles (day/night)? Compare your keeping and conditions at every step against this care guide written by an absolute genius at turtle keeping and see if there is anything to correct or improve.>

Re RES...  -- 03/20/10
Thank you so much for responding...and in a very timely manner too!
<Yer welcome>
By the way, close with the name! Haha (It's Hurley)
<Amazing '¦ considering I make up half this stuff as I go '¦.>
Anyway, I did what you said,
<Always good to do as I say.>
<Not so good to do as DO '¦.. but that said, some of the most fun I've ever had came from the worst decisions I ever made!>
I put my turtle in distilled water and he did great! His eyes stayed open right from the start and he even started eating again! So I changed the water in his tank. I'm keeping a log of environment conditions like you said and hopefully this won't happen again!
<The weird thing is that the kind of sensitivity you described is unusual in the entire genre so it makes me wonder what WAS the issue with water quality. Hmmmm>
Thanks again!!
<No charge!>
PS, I love the "absolute genius" thing.
<I'm fond of it myself -thanks!!>

Painted Turtle - Eyes swollen shut 3/4/10
I have had my painted turtle in the pond since August, and over the last week I have noticed the turtle acting strangely, that I decided to pull her out of the pond move it over to the aquarium. As soon as I pulled her out,
I noticed that her condition seemed quite extreme as her eyes were swollen shut and covered with a milky white layer. My first reaction was bring her to a vet, but they are closed at this hour. So I reverted to checking the
web and came across your site and was impressed with the quality of responses provided. Regardless, I will bring her vet, but thought I would query you for advice. I am scared she is past the point of no return. I also have a RES in the pond that I pulled out to be safe, and he is doing fine.
Thanks in advance,
<Yes! Time to go to the vet! See here:
Note the problem is caused by dietary problems, so while the vet will be able to treat your pet, you will also need to improve the diet of this animal.
Cheers, Neale.>

Turtle eye hlth.  -- 02/19/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have a little southern painted turtle, about 2 inches of shell. I got her about 3months ago. she lives in a 40 gallon tank with strong filter, basking spot, basking lamp, UVA/UVB lamp, water heater and some live plants.
<Very good so far. The heater is probably unnecessary and I'd remove it, but everything else seems fine>
For now she has no substrate as she was eating up the sand.
<Still fine>
About a month ago we dewormed her (at the vets) and since then she has been having problems with her eyes. at the beginning she was just scratching and blinking them more often, so I took her to the vet who gave her a vitamin A shot thinking that's what it could be. we waited one week - no change. so we went back to the vet who gave us some antibiotic eye drops. by then the right eye was getting a bit swollen. she kept it closed sometimes while basking. after one week on the drops, no change and eye was still/if not more puffy. so we went back to vet AGAIN! this time she gave us other antibiotic drops and an anti itch drop. I give them one in the morning and one at night, while I treat her eyes she is put in a plastic container for about 40 min.s. STILL no change. and for a few days now she also seems to have the left one more swollen. I DONT KNOW WHAT TO DO! the vet is a 'zoo specialized vet' who treats many turtles. But I have a feeling she is doing something wrong if it hasn't improved in all this time.
<Hmmm. I've been taught by one of the best herpetological Veterinarians that ever lived (he literally wrote the book on Reptile Medicine -- Reptile Medicine and Surgery By Douglas R. Mader, DVM ISBN 13: 9780721693279) and your vet is doing exactly what I'd do!>
<As far as I can tell, she's doing everything right>
<Swollen eyes are an indication of a Vitamin A deficiency and your vet appears to be treating for that.>
<Vitamins, proper heat and UV-B lighting are the Holy Trinity for the condition you're treating. I'm going to include a link below describing how I'd treat her and the only real difference is that I'd take her out of a warm, moist environment and into a warm, DRY one. Bacteria and Fungi thrive in those same conditions and any time an animal is debilitated or under attack from any disease or injury, the warm & moist "natural" environment becomes an opportunity for secondary infections.>
I feed the turtle Repto-min turtle menu food, organic turtle sticks, salads of various types, worms and once a week a small piece of liver as vet said this would be a good source of vitamins...
<Excellent diet, too!>
Tonight I noticed the turtle making snapping sounds while she was sleeping.
<They can sometimes snap their jaws and make that sound '¦ they seem to do it absent mindedly at times -- not our concern right now.>
I got scared for Respiratory Infection but she doesn't have any other symptoms.
<Good - but if we don't beat what she DOES have .. an RI will be next>
She is constantly swimming around and full of energy, she also eats with great appetite and begs for food all the time. what could it be?
<Read below on isolation and caring for turtles with illnesses. If I was caring for that little turtle, she'd be warm and dry (80-88 f), under UV-B for at least 15 hours a day, offered water for drinking pooping and eating no more than 15 minutes per day '¦ for at least 5 weeks. This might be just enough of a 'leg up' on fighting whatever she has.>
The vet said the next step would be internal antibiotics and I just don't know whether I should trust her.
<She does sound like she knows what she's doing. The next step is injectible anti-biotics. Traditionally that's been Baytril '¦ but Baytril is very hard on the injection site and even when properly diluted can cause sever necrosis of the skin. If your Vet elects to go that way please tell her that Doug Mader now uses Danfloxacin (pers. Comm. 2010) when it can be obtained.>
thanks for all your help
<we all hope that it does help!>
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm>

Re: Eye problems, turtle  2/22/10
Hi Darrel,
thank you for the great advice.
<Hope it helps>
I am happy I have been doing things correctly. in the meantime I had contacted another vet for a second opinion and she got mad that the turtle had gotten a Vitamin A injection as apparently that could have killed such a small turtle (!!!) is that true?
<Wow! Now I'm second guessing TWO people who have been to veterinary school>
she also recommended to stop the antibiotics now as they haven't worked in 2 weeks and just try a topical VitA eye cream. she claims that because eyes are just swollen and the turtle can still open them it is just a vitA problem. is this all correct? I obviously prefer to give this a try before anything that involves further shots or interior antibiotics.
<I'm not convinced about the Vitamin A injections. If indeed the turtle has a vitamin deficiency then there's no better method for giving them than injection -- so unless the first vet calculated the dose incorrectly, I can't understand this one>
<Stopping the antibiotic ointments & drops? After a vitamin injection AND vitamin drops, if the eyes haven't started to heal then perhaps we need to look for another problem>
my plan now is to take the turtle out of her tank like you said - 3times a day for 3-4hours while I apply the eye cream. she will be getting the heating and UV light in the box too. would 9-13 hours be enough? I feel bad to keep her out of the tank as she just tries to climb out the box whenever she has to stay there for treatment... could I really be dangerous in the tank water regarding bacteria and such if I have been doing 80-100% water changes every 2-3 days? I would keep her out more if she was giving more signs of sickness but she is just as hyperactive as usual!
<It does seem stressful on them when they want to get back in the water and they keep scrambling around the box, but yes '¦ dampness and warmth will encourage any kind of bacterial or growth. And remember, even if bacterial and/or fungus are not the problem NOW '¦ any area of damage, swelling or distress is an opportunity for them to take hold and start to infect the little guy. It's nothing to do with clean water or water changes '¦ it's just that warm, moist environments favor the bacteria & fungus and not the healing.>
I'm thinking that if I do not see any signs of improvement in the next 3-7 days then I will go back to the first vet for the antibiotics.
<That's what I'd do to>
just as an aside - I found that a moist Black Tea bag applied on the eyes is the only thing that stops the scratching really well! (was my grandma's idea but it works...)
<AHA! Interesting. If it's the Tannic acid stops that stops the itching it might be a fungal condition all along and NOT a vitamin deficiency. Now it may be time for one of the vets to take a small scraping and look at it under a microscope?
thanks again
<yer welcome!>

Re: Eye problems, turtle  -- 02/22/10
thanks Darrel you have been a great help!
<I appreciate the feedback!>
I just want to precise that regarding the vitA the turtle ONLY got the shot. the vet never gave us follow up treatment with vitA eye drops. (which is why I now started giving those to her 3 days ago 3 times a day)...
<That's fine>
therefore is it still okay to consider a vitA problem? the scratching seems to be getting better. she has been hanging out in the 'sauna box' for about 8hrs a day. everything else is still okay. she doesn't scratch that much anymore however eyelids are still quite swollen and she still closes them while basking.
<Turtles often sleep while basking, so eyes CLOSED isn't a problem - just the swelling.>
<If it was me, I'd have her in the sauna 23 hours a day, with UV-B lighting 12-14 hours a day and just swim for a few minutes to drink, poop and eat. BUT '¦ if you sense the scratching is getting better and she's improving, don't mess with success!>
regarding the possible fungal infection - could the vitA eye problem have led to fungal infection? I added salt (1teaspoon per 5liters) - this is correct to help fight/prevent fungus in tank water?
<I wouldn't add salt to the water at all. *IF* there is a fungal infection (and remember, we have no proof that there is) -- it's just a condition that got a "head start" because of her swollen tissue around the eyes. It's a reason to keep her out of the water while she's healing. If the water is clean and filtered, there's no need to add the salt. A separate salt BATH for 5 minutes after her daily swim before she goes into the sauna might be a good idea --- but again '¦ maybe she's already healing and we don't need to keep trying things?>
besides that - I have Anti-Bacterial Pellets from Jungle Labs at hand - could this be of any help? do they actually work? I was just thinking that they might be milder than antibiotics for the 3rd time.
<NO. Sorry to say it, but those are a complete waste of money for reptiles -- and maybe even for fish, too. For an anti-biotic to be successful, you have to build up a high concentration of it in the animal's tissue. The problem is that the number of pills you'd have to dissolve in the water in order to build up a useful concentration in the animal's tissue is beyond imagination.>
I will go to the vet wed if she isn't better. does this give me good time frame? I started the vitA eye cream Saturday. How long should I expect her to take to totally recover if it is a vitamin problem? I don't want to race to the vet - especially if she gives me something wrong again. if I do go I will ask her for the eye scrape. how would the fungal infection be treated? eye cream again?
<Giver he at least 7 days of the current treatment (assuming she doesn't get worse)>
poor turtle! I'm not sure how this could have started in the first place as I do feed her a healthy diet and her tanks is close to sterile!
<Don't worry. Sometimes it happens. Here's a link of basic care -- check it out to see if there's anything you may have overlooked>
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>

Re: Eye problems  3/1/10
Hi Darrel, sick turtle here again!
<I must say, you write pretty well for a sick turtle!>
So since the last update when I was doing Vit A eye cream-things didn't get better. So last Wednesday I went to the vet and asked her if she could take an eye swab and check for fungus and/or bacteria. It took till Saturday for results (!!!) - but at least now we know what it is! So results came back negative for any fungi but it IS Pseudomonas spp. Not great news as the vet let me know that these are particularly resistant little bugs! So she also did the 'resistency test' and now has prescribed my turtle with Gentamicin drops. Its the second day now and so far no change. The drops seem to dry her eyes as she can't open them well after she is in the 'sauna box' for a couple of hrs so I dip her in a bowl of fresh warm water every 3-4 hrs just for a few min.s so she rehydrates. I have UVA+2 heating lamps on the box and temp is nice and warm. I am keeping her there also overnight now. Poor thing... I'm quite worried because I read that such an eye infection easily spreads and becomes a lung infection (!!!) Yesterday I notices water coming out of her nose and mouth after she had gone for a swim-is this anything I should be worried about? She doesn't seem to have mucus etc while she is in the sauna box... Should I get any oral antibiotic as a prevention? I want to make sure I finally get things under control!
<Let's take one thing at a time. First, pseudomonas is a very common bacterium around pets and home. If you swabbed the inside of your water faucet you'd likely find that little bug there, too, so it doesn't surprise me at all that you find it on a water turtle. The thing is, like most bacteria - you just can't let it get out of control. Continue the drops, but dial down the worrying just a bit>
<Water coming out of the nose or mouth immediately after being removed from the water is normal. Bubbles in the nose while breathing is different.>
<Last -- you said UV-A+2 heating lamps on the box '¦ I'm hoping you mean UV-B and not "A." "A" is similar to 'black light' and thought to be beneficial to certain desert reptiles -- this is not the same as UV-B which is required to metabolize & manufacture Vitamin D. Please verify that you have UV-B. Also .. two heat lamps seems a bit much. What we're looking for is a constant temperature of between 88 and 95 degrees (f).>
<Is he eating and active when in the water? Pooping like a good little turtle? -- Remember, all we're doing by keeping him out of the water is trying to provide a restful environment that does not favor the bacteria>
Thanks again 

Red-Eared Slider--eyes   1/22/10
second try--I reversed the wet and web....
update: that claw/fingernail described below came off--which is great, since he had been rubbing the left side of his face with it. Other info: if anything, Jet has been the dominant turtle, even though he's smaller
<OK -- I'll read on!>
This is a question for Darrel:
<Oooo - asked for by name now! Bob I want a raise!><<All right. We'll double it, triple!... Heeeee! RMF>>
We've had two adorable RES hatchlings since Christmas and they are together in a 20gal Zoo Med tank with filter that has 5 gal water, basking areas, heater and two lights incl UVB. I do have about half inch of gravel for substrate--maybe I shouldn't--plus some artificial plants, cuttle bone, hide-outs, etc. Presently, there is also a single 3/4 inch fish in there, meant to be for food or exercise, but they co-exist. I filter the water with a Britta, then add two treatments recommended by PETCO: one is "Nutrafin turtle clean" --I use 2.5cc for the 5 gals, and the other is "PondCare StressCoatPlus"--I use 1cc for 5 gals. I do a total clean-out once a week and use a syringe to suction out any visible poop (I rarely see it until I clean). The smaller of the two, "Jet", is about the size of a US half dollar and has always been a vigorous eater (Repto-min baby pellets, other tiny turtle pellets that came with the turtles, romaine lettuce, spinach, squash, red cabbage, etc) and is not too shy--doesn't usually slide into the water when we open screen top of tank or when we pass by. I feed them in a separate small container once a day but I don't treat or filter that water, just warm it up. I often leave a piece of lettuce in the big tank, which I see both of them chase and munch.
<You give your guys better care than I give mine.>
<In fact, come to think of it, you give your guys better care than I give my kids!>
<I don't filter the water because they'd never get filtered water in the wild. (Except I understand that turtles in Beverly Hills are used to Evian) Anything you'd drink is far superior to the water of their natural habitat>
<Also, I feed mine regular old Koi pellets from the local pet shop. The way I see it, they don't get romaine, squash or cabbage in the wild -- and by the way, Kale and Spinach can be calcium-binding feed very sparingly if at all.>
<What I mean here is that your care is good and as long as you & they enjoy it, that's great '¦ just don't stress yourself over these things -- that said -- read on '¦. >
Recently they get live food (mini-crickets, tiny fish) for a treat.
<Fish come with self contained parasites and crickets have no nutritional value at all. I suggest a treat of an occasional earthworm (you can dump the others in your garden) or a small piece of beef liver (what you do with the rest of the liver is up to you)>
Just under a week ago, we changed the Zoo Med white spotlight (the "day-blue' light would never get the basking area warm enough) and since then, Jet basks all day, usually with closed eyes. The basking area is now very warm , over 90 degrees, and the water is at about 77 degrees. He still looks fine when he swims and still eats well, but the closed eyes worried me. Anyway, two days ago my 9 yr old noticed that one of his front left claws was a little out-of-line with the others--it looks longer too--and yesterday, I noticed he barely opens his left eye. Now I'm wondering if he scratched his eye, since neither eye is swollen--if anything, they are slightly sunken compared to those of his tank-mate. His right eye is also often shut too, but he can open it--but again, not as wide as his tank-mate's. He still eats well, but he basks almost ALL DAY, with head down a bit, and eyes closed or nearly closed.
<seems like ordinary damage, doesn't it?>
Yesterday, for the first time, I gave them both a short warm salt-water bath (very shallow) since his tank mate, "Kimberly", had two small fungus patches we've been previously treating with some dry-docking, Betadine ointment and miconozole sprayed on a Q-tip (the condition is improving). They were only in there for about 5 minutes because they seemed to dislike it--maybe it was just too new. I didn't measure, but I probably used under half a teaspoon of sea salt in half a cup of water.
<that's what I'd do>
Are the water treatments hurting his eyes?
<possibly, but they didn't damage the eye and the salt is beneficial>
Maybe that little fish (there for a week) was carrying something?
<Always a chance - that's why we don't feed fish>
I feel like he gets enough Vit A.
<I do, too. Your diet and care are above reproach. Water temp is a bit warm (70-73 is optimum) but the basking is fine.>
<Keep him out of the water for a few days, maybe in a cardboard box with a heating pad, and drop some Betadine on the eye each day. -- Don't sweat the lost claw, that happens>
<The only thing that gives me pause is the sunkenness around the eye. I can explain the basking by Jet simply trying to recover & heal. Try isolation for a day or two, continue the separate feeding and salt baths and just for fun '¦ cut back on the two water treatments. Maybe we're adding more chemicals than we think>
<Finally - write back in a week -- maybe with some camera-phone pics?>
<er .. of the turtle, naturally!>
Thanks for this site and your humor.
P.S. Do I go to the site for your answer or do I get it through this e-mail?
<lucky you '¦ you get both!>

Re Red-Eared Slider--eyes 1/26/10
Dear Crew
<Bad news '¦ me again>
photos of Jet's left eye--further update ; have been using Vit A drops fro 3 days, but no change.
<Laura, I'm not a fan of eye drops. The problem is systemic vitamin deficiency. I'd try 200 IU/kg subq weekly for 2 weeks after correcting diet and lighting requirements.>

I have a very sick red eared slider with swollen eye   7/27/2009
<Hiya> my name's Adam from Malaysia.
<Darrel from Los Angeles here>
I have a very sick red eared slider with swollen eye for about 1 week, have been using turtle eyes drop but without the vitamin A in it (cant get the zoo medic brand). How do I get it to eat if it won't open it's eye?
<It's very important that you get him to eat, Adam. You need vitamin A and vitamin D into his system, not just around his eye, of the problem will get worse.>
How long can it survive without eating?
<Assuming he's otherwise healthy -- and that is not very sure at this point, he could go even a month or so without eating. BUT .. and this is the really problem ... if he's developed a vitamin deficiency it means that his diet has been wrong for quite a long time.>
What is the duration of treatment with the eye drops? Currently it's quarantined all day, I only it let in distilled water for 15 min.s a day max. As for a vet, cant find one who knows the stuff here.
<Here are two links. One will tell you how to treat a eye problems and the second will cover all the basic care needs that you have to meet to prevent this from happening again>
<care: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>
<You're doing a good thing by keeping him warm and dry, Adam. Make sure he gets plenty of UV light, even if that means you take him outside in the sunshine. Sunshine is a great way to get his body to start manufacturing Vitamin D, just make sure you watch him and don't let him overheat. 10 minutes 5 times a day is far better than 25 minutes twice a day due to the danger of him heating too much.>
<One way to stimulate eating is to warm that daily bath. Give him 20 minutes swimming time in warm water (but only up to his shoulders, no higher) and often that will help stimulate his appetite.>
<Offer earth worms or very small pieces of liver, both are high in Vitamin A>

Red Ear Slider unable to grab food 6/1/2009
I have a red ear slider who is about 6 years old. I am not sure on sex.
Based on size I would say female but we may have seen it's male parts.
<The urogenital systems of turtles are largely internal, and the penis won't be visible unless the turtle is actually mating. Instead, look firstly at the claws: if they're long, it's probably a male. Secondly, look
at the length of the tail. Males have longer tails, with the cloaca (the combined anal/urogenital opening) nearer the tip than the base of the tail, whereas on females the cloaca is nearer the base of the tail than the
The issue is he wants to eat but has trouble grabbing the food. He is a bit lethargic and is no longer aggressive during eating time.
<If a turtle is clumsy when trying to feed, as yours is, that's a fairly reliable sign of poor health. Review environmental conditions. Check that the water is adequately heated, that the turtle has access to UV-B light, and that the water is changed at least once a week. There's a good summary here:
Also check that the turtle isn't wheezing and that it's eyes are clear and bright, not groggy-looking or swollen
These are both very common problems caused by improper diet, lack of warmth, etc. Since turtles should live 15+ years, that you lost one that was only 6 years old is a bit worrying. Some problems, such as the lack of UV-B light or the lack of vitamins can take months, even years, to cause death.>
We had another res which passed a few months ago I believe the temp got to low we since have added a heater to the tank.
<Would be careful here; turtles can, will destroy glass heaters. Put a plastic mesh called a "heater guard" around the heater. Some heaters come with these anyway (or at least, they do here in the UK) but aquarium shops sell them for use with cichlids, catfish, etc.>
It appears he sees the food but just can't quite grasp the food I have tried meal worms, brine shrimp, romaine lettuce, pellets nothing works.
<Check his eyes!>
We were able to hold the food with a fork until he grabbed on but that does not seem to work lately. I am afraid he will die if he does not eat soon.
Need Help!!!
<Hope this helps.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Lethargic Red Eared Slider 2/11/09 Hello, <Hiya, Darrel here tonight> I recently bought a baby red ear slider about a week ago. <Congratulations!> Shell length is about 1 and ½ inches. He has the proper set up. UVB lamp and heating as well. 2 dry spots and a filter. His water temps are typically 75 F but now that he is sick, I bumped it up to 80. He hasn't eaten since I bought him 1.27.09 and I assumed he was adapting to his environment when he just recently started rubbing his eyes and tearing up. <Not a good sign> I assumed it was the waters chlorine levels and change the water to fresh water. <Turtles are fine in normal tap water> Then his eyes were swollen shut and he's been sleeping all day. I purchased zoo med Repti eye drops and that opened his eyes then he closed them again. I have been using them for the past 3 days now. He hasn't been active at all and just sleeps all the time and I'm curious as to what illness does that lead to. <Reptiles and Fish are very stoic animals, Marlie. That means that they don't show most signs of illness until they are so weak they can no longer hide it.> <My guess is that his feeding and climate have not ALWAYS been as right as you have them and now it's mostly a long-term debilitation.> He hasn't been swimming lopsided nor coughs, sneezes, or has mucus secretions but he hardly wakes up. Can you please tell me what is wrong exactly is his body fighting a respiratory infection or just en eye infection? <Take him out of the aquatic environment and place him somewhere warm and dry. I'd like his air temp to be around 88 to 90 degrees constantly. Raising his metabolism will help him a little bit in fighting off whatever is getting to him. At least 10 minutes of direct sunlight each day as well. We want to expose his skin to unfiltered sunlight (not thru glass or even screen) for a few minutes, but not so much as to cook him (turtles can overheat)> As far as the cause, mostly likely a vitamin deficiency and the sunlight will help a bit. The big problem is that if you can't perk him up enough to eat, he'll have to be force-fed and that's not something for the novice. Warm him up as described, place him in a shallow bowl of luke warm water once a day for 5 minutes at which time you can offer him a few koi pellets, ReptoMin food sticks or maybe even an earthworm (pets stores carry Night Crawlers -- one for him and the rest in your garden)> How can I make him eat, be active and healthy? <I appreciate the desire and effort, Marlie, we all feel the same. Hopefully he'll respond and start to eat and we can get enough nutrition into him to help him recover.> Please help I don't want him to die. <Nor do we, Marlie. Warm, dry, sunlight and food and we'll all root for you!>

Yellow Belly Sliders. Big Mamma and Little Mamma, turtle eye dis.   ~ 01/12/09 Hi there, I have 2 large lady yellow belly sliders (big Mamma and little Mamma), and as we live in Tenerife, Canary Islands, we don't normally need to use basking lamps or heat lamps. Nor do we bother during the winter months as it doesn't get that cold. As these ladies are now on the large size they don't hibernate as they did when they were little..... unfortunately we are experiencing a really cold year with temperatures dropping to 15/17 degrees at night and as the tank is outside I am a bit concerned. I know that where they come from in the tropics night temperatures drop, and they are used to being outside, I am just a bit concerned. They eat greens and complete cat food which they love, every three days, but refuse the other pellets (once they had tasted the cat food!). The tank which has a filter is cleaned out weekly while they take a stroll around the bath with the shower running until the process is completed, they love it. Unfortunately big Mamma has developed an eye infection, one of her eyes is closed but is not swollen, she is also on her basking mat a lot of the time and is sluggish, this from a lady that loves her food, especially small scraps of liver which her and an unidentified male terrapin that we rescued about a year ago, try to beat each other to. I also feel that she needs added vitamins and calcium but am not sure how I can administer it to her when she is not eating. Should I use a dropper and give it to her off a pipette? I am popping her to the vets tomorrow but until she is better do you think I should bring the tank inside and start heating it. Or just bring it inside (its 20 degrees inside at the moment) All the vets here, and the pet shops say this is not necessary for our climate but I feel the water is far too cold especially as she isn't very well at the moment. Please could you give me some advice. Kind regards Jackie <Hello Jackie. The eye infection will require some sort of systemic antibiotic treatment that your vet can provide advice on. Assuming you've caught this early, treatment is easy and inexpensive. With reptiles, getting them to the vet is always a nuisance because so few vets are properly trained to handle them, so prevention is better than cure. But I think you've been unlucky here, and that what we have is an opportunistic infection that's followed on from an abnormally cold season. As you correctly observe, these turtles come from mostly warm parts of the world, though in their native United States cold snaps can happen in parts of their range. While turtles can tolerate a certain amount of cold then, I'm a firm believer in keeping a heater handy so that the watery side of their habitat can be set to a minimum wintertime temperature of 18-20 degrees C, depending on the species. Turtles are clumsy though, so if possible avoid the glass aquarium heaters unless protected with a plastic grill (some come with this feature by default). External heaters that clip onto the filter (like the Hydor ETH) are much more convenient. If bringing them indoors would provide the same result, then by all means do so. For a couple of months, your turtles can easily get by without a basking lamp, though if you want to buy one, then go ahead. In any case, vitamin supplements and calcium can be added to their diet, and these are available in pet stores catering to reptile keepers. That said, a balanced diet should provide all the vitamins and minerals they need, but because your turtle has an eye infection, your vet will very likely administer a Vitamin A injection. A lack of this vitamin is particularly associated with eye diseases. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/turteyedisart.htm Vitamin A comes from a variety of sources including liver and many different greens and tubers. Liver should be used sparingly, but as a treat should provide ample vitamin A assuming the turtles are otherwise getting a diet rich in plant material. For calcium, you can of course add calcium powder to their food, but whole crunchy foods such as small (dead) fish such as whitebait would do the trick nicely. A friend of mine feeds her three tortoises cooked chicken bones now and again, and they love them! While I wouldn't recommend such hard, splintery foods for aquatic turtles, it does make the point that calcium is in all sorts of foods, and in a varied diet your turtles shouldn't lack the stuff. Cheers, Neale.>

Red Eared Slider behavior -- 07/14/08 Hi, <Hiya, Darrel here> I have a few questions for you, I hope you can help me care better for my son Pauli: <I'm going to read on before I make any leaps of logic here> 1. I bought a RES, her eyes were swollen shut and were draining pus. I went to the Pet Shop and got drops and other medicines, the tank has UV lights, the water temp was fine, and I left her in the sun for 30mins a day, but after a week she died, I just want to know what more I could have done as I am scared to buy another one, I got too attached and then got sick when she died. <On behalf of Bob Fenner and the entire crew, we're sorry for your loss, Chantell. Buying an animal that is already showing signs of illness will almost never have a happy ending. The predators of fish and reptiles usually go for the weak and injured animals first, so if you're a fish or a turtle it pays NOT to be sick or injured, but even if you are sick or injured -- it pays to not APPEAR to be sick or injured. For this reason fish and reptiles are very stoic animals - they often will appear to be just FINE until suddenly they appear REALLY sick and this is often just hours before they die. Most fish or reptiles have had a debilitating disease for weeks -- sometimes even months -- without any signs that you would see unless you were looking closely and knew just what to look for> <You did the right things -- Vitamin A (injections are best but drops usually work), massive antibiotic injections and sunlight are three of the four things needed, but by the time the eyes are weeping pus, the fourth item you needed was a small miracle. Again, our sympathies.> 2. Also I have a male Red Eared Slider named Pa

Red Eared Slider with eye crust  1/3/09 Dear Crew <Hiya Beth, Darrel here - This is my 200th response since joining the WWM!!!!> My Red Eared Slider is 3 years old and just came to me from a relative who was unable to care for it. <Beth, it's great that you rose to the challenge! (Did I mention this is my 200th response on WWM?)> RES had been previously living in a filthy algae covered tank, but after 2 months he is clean, happy, and active. The relative's vet told us to soak him in iodine which I did a few times. <Hmm, the iodine soak is a little overkill. We sometimes do that to help fight specific topical wounds, but generally not just on general principle. (Yep, 200 letters!) When a sick & dirty one makes it to my door, I usually use dish soap and a toothbrush to clean the shell - just making sure to keep the soap put of their nose & mouth. But in you case, as long as he's clean, that's what counts. More on the tooth brush later> He eats well, swims a lot, and can see his food, objects in his tank and people outside of it, however when he is on his turtle dock for an extended period of time and gets dry he develops a white, salt-like crust around his eyes. <Not any big deal Beth, that's usually just a tear-like excretion to get rid of salt. As long as the eyes are clear and he's alert, you'd O.K. (in the past year, I've answered as many letters as Bob, Sara and Neale each seem to answer every week)> He has a warm water 78F and basking area, and just shed some skin. My relative only fed him food pellets and I have tried everything imaginable to get him to eat dark leafy greens, fish, turtle pudding, and it doesn't work. <One part of me wants to know all the things you tried in order to get him to eat. I have a vivid imagination, so when you say you tried everything imaginable, I'm wondering: Did that include Herb Alpert music and a red clown nose? > <Seriously ... or as seriously AS I GET ..... Decent quality Koi Pellets or Repto-Min Food sticks are already a 100% balanced and healthy diet! I've raised hatchling Sliders into grown adults that produced their own offspring on nothing but Kay-Tee brand Koi pellets and an occasional night crawler (earthworm) just given because it's fun to watch them eat it, so if he's eating the pellets, count yourself lucky. > <And by the way, what is "turtle pudding"? It sounds dangerous> I clean the tank (10 gallons) every week, and use dechlorinating drops. <Again, don't bother dechlorinating. The tiny bit of chlorine or chloramine from tap water is perfectly O.K. for turtles and in fact helps a tiny bit with the cleanliness! Yep -- TWO HUNDRED letters all containing the same sage wisdom!> Should I be worried about the eye crust? It seems to disappear once back in the water and his eyes are not red, swollen, purulent, filmy, cloudy etc. just the crust. <You're looking for the right things, Beth - and so far, everything you're seeing is good. Keep up the good work! > <Darrel> <Notes on cleaning a turtle with a toothbrush: Benefit from my mistakes: Don't use a family member's tooth brush (let me tell you ... was THAT ever drama!) -- use a dedicated tooth brush just for that purpose. Coat the shell and skin area(s) with a bit of Iodine (Povidone, etc) or even household vinegar (white, not Balsamic, please - this isn't a salad) and let it sit for three minutes or so, then run the brush under cold water and scrub all areas thoroughly. When done, just rinse him under the running water (try not to let the water run on his face) and then let him air-dry. > <Did you know the toothbrush was invented up in the backwoods of Arkansas?> <Yep, because anywhere else, it would have been called the TEETH brush!!!!!!!!!!> <rimshot!> <O.K. folks, no letters, OK? It's a joke and the last thing we need is letters from the lawyers representing the backwoods hillbilly defamation league .......> <My New Years Resolution is to come up with funnier material .... but no one should hold their breath.>

li that I have had for about 8 months now. He is healthy and beautiful. Last night I was talking to him and he started to make funny sounds, like he was "talking" back to me. I called my husband as I thought I was imagining it but he did the same. He swims to the top of the water with just his head out and then makes the sounds. Is it normal? <Is he telling you to kill your landlord or buy stocks in an Internet Startup? I know that sounds crazy, Chantell, but take it from me -- I breed turtles ... and turtles don't know ANYTHING about the stock market!> <Seriously, the can make a sort of clicking sound with their jaws and something resembling a hiss/growl as they breathe. The thing to do is make SURE that it's not the bubbly/raspy sound of breathing through an upper respiratory infection. Look closely for bubbles coming from the nose as he breathes.> 3. Pauli eats anything meaty and leafy, but he refuses to eat the pellets we give him. I have tried to mix it with meaty things but he is too clever, he eats the meat and leaves the pellets, when he does occasionally bit into one he spits it right back out. Do you have any suggestions how to get him to eat it? <Yes I do, but you're not going to like it. After you verify that Pauli is otherwise healthy you stop giving him food of any kind except Tetra brand Repto-Min and you offer THAT only once a week for no longer than 10 minutes & then you remove it and try again next week. Week after week. Into next month and maybe the month after. Until Pauli gets hungry enough to eat. It's a contest of wills, Chantell. I once went .... brace yourself .... in fact sit down .... I once went THREE AND A HALF YEARS with a Box turtle named Clara that had fixated on strawberries and wouldn't eat anything else. Every week, every month, every year .... nothing. I was convinced she was trying to out-live me until one day she turned a corner and ate the earthworm I'd offered. After that, everything was fine except for her incessant chatter about investing in some company named goodell or goober or Google or something like that!> <Make sure that water temp is not too warm -- and that basking temp IS nice and warm. Available temperature choices are a major factor in eating habits.> 4. Last question, Pauli sometimes has the habit of swimming around and then doing a 180degree turn in the water when visitors come over, is he playing? <We're not sure if turtles have that level of sentient awareness, Chantell, but they sure do entertaining things!> Thank you, <You're welcome!> Chantell P.S We don't have vets in the UAE specializing in reptiles, so a friend suggested this sight. Keep up the great work, I learned a few things from the site. <Keep the kudos coming! We're vain & shallow & respond well to praise!!!!!!>

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

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

Swollen Eyes  4/18/08 Dear Crew, We have box turtles. Seven total, four adults & 3 babies we found in May last year. Two have swollen eyes. One worse than the other. Thanks to your website & another we found, we've been giving them eye drops for bacteria for about a week now. One has gotten significantly better the other seemed to be getting better but now looks just as bad as it was before the drops. if you have any other suggestions please pass them on. Thank, Karen <Hi Karen, do read this: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/turteyedisart.htm Most eye swelling diseases in turtles are not directly caused by bacteria, though secondary infections are certainly an issue. Diet (lack of greens), dirty water (too small tank/not enough filtration/too few water changes), and insufficient UV-B light are all critical factors. Review these, and act accordingly. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Swollen Eyes... 1st person, Chelonians    5/1/08 Our eyes are much better thank you & we are looking forward to moving to our outside habitat permanently this weekend (we've had several supervised outings the last couple of weeks) where we will get lots of good sunlight for vitamins A & D. <This all sounds very promising. Secondary infections inside the body can take a while to fade away, but seemingly you've turned the corner and can expect a full recovery. Good luck, and thanks for the update! Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Turtle FAQs work on WWM, call for articles - 1/17/08 Hi Bob, <Big N> Here's the other article. There are two separate diseases going on here, so it's a little schizophrenic. Hope it works as it is. You may decide to split into two, in which case, feel free! Cheers, Neale PS. Thanks for the PayPal money! Got that safely yesterday. <Ah good... more about now. Cheers, B>

Big trouble in Little Turtletown   12/11/07 Hey my turtles drinking his water but isn't eating... I think he's blind. <Greetings. Not nearly enough information here to go with. What sort of "turtle"? Terrestrial (i.e., tortoise) or amphibious (i.e., slider/terrapin)? How large is it? When you say you think it's blind, why? Does it have puffy or inflamed eyes, or cataracts, or what? Is it ignoring its food because you're offering it the wrong sorts of food items? Most turtles are, to some degree, herbivores, and need/want plant matter in their diet, and quickly become sick when given just pellet or meaty food day in, day out. Let's be very clear on something: almost all turtle sickness comes down to people not providing good care, either because they're unaware of what turtles need (i.e., didn't read up about them first) or are too callous to care (i.e., don't want to make the required effort). Aquatic turtles need warm water, a UV-B lamp for basking, dry land to bask on, a filter to keep the water clean, and regular water changes, at least 50% per week. In the case of things like Red-ear Sliders, the diet needs to be about 50% plant matter when they are young, and as much as 75% plant matter when adult. Some diseases can be fixed using off-the-shelf medications, but many bacterial infections, such as those that cause respiratory tract and eye infections, almost always require a trip to the vet. Reptiles generally take a long time to die, so if you ignore the problem and just 'hope for the best', you are basically condemning the animal to weeks if not months of pain and misery. So get back in touch with some details, and let's save this turtle. Cheers, Neale.>

Baby Turtle With Puffy Eyes  5/11/06 Hi, I've been having some problems with my baby yellow-bellied slider. He's about the size of a quarter, and has been doing great until about the past two or three weeks. He's having trouble opening his eyes (there seems to be some kind of film over them), wasn't eating, and spends most of his day sleeping on the dock. He also does this unusual movement with his neck (it's seems like he's moving it in and out of his shell). I've taken him out of his normal tank last night (there is also a red-eared slider in there) and placed him separately with a stronger heat lamp. As soon as he was placed in there, he ate, jumped in the water and started swimming for about an hour, and soon went back to sleep. Since then, he's only been in the water once today, and I'm pretty sure he hasn't eaten. The vet said that there is nothing wrong with him, but I still have a feeling something is going on. Would it be possible for someone to help me solve this problem? Thank you, < Clean the tank and treat the eyes with Repti Turtle Eye Drops by Zoo Med. The extra heat was a very good idea. Between the drops and the heat your little turtle should be fine in no time.-Chuck>

Turtle Expert, Turtles With Injuries  8/8/06 Hello Robert, I hope you are a turtle expert.  I have two turtles with problems. 1st Case is a 3 inch Eastern Painted Turtle.  He was bitten by a bigger female (which is no longer with the little guy).  Parts of the back of his shell have fallen off and it appears white, not a fungus, but the scutes seem to be missing.  I use a soft toothbrush to clean it every other day and spray it with HerpCare Skin & Shell Treatment by Mardel letting it dry then putting him back into the water. 2nd Case is a 3 1/2 inch Red-eared Slider.  Recently one of his eyes have become infected.  I don't know if he was injured or what happened.  When she is underwater it looks like fungus.  She can open it and you can see slight puffiness around the eye.  The eye itself looks fine.  I have been treating her daily with Fluker Laboratories' Reptile Eye Rinse. Both are still active and eating. What would you recommend I do for them? Thanks! Brian Kallenberg < Keep the turtles isolated so they don't get worse. Keep the water clean and add a  Dr Turtle Sulpha Block by ZooMed. This should inhibit any bacterial growth. Try ZooMed Repti Wound Healing Aid and the Repti Turtle Sulpha Dip. This should really help with the wounds/trauma. If the eye problem is caused from a deficiency in vitamin A, then look into amending the diet with more vegetables with a vitamin supplement. The ZooMed Turtle Eye Drops really help with these eye problems.-Chuck> Re: Turtle Expert, Eye Problems In Turtle   8/12/06 Thanks for your help, I have one last question.  Since the infection is only in one eye, can I rule out a vitamin deficiency? Brian < No, not really. The other eye may come down with the same problem and delaying treatment may only make things worse.-Chuck> Turtle With Eye/Head Problem   1/4/07 Hi, My boyfriend and I came home yesterday from a three week vacation to find one of our painted turtles completely disoriented.  It's left eye socket is swollen about twice its normal size, his head is cocked completely to the left, as if it is stuck and he cant move it back straight, and he can only swim/walk in a tight circle. We called a pet store in Detroit last night and they told us the turtle may have gotten too hot and suffered brain damage, but I don't see how that is possible. Is there another reason? Some sort of disease that would cause this? Should I attempt to gently pull its head out to straighten it? I appreciate your prompt attention to this matter. I live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and have no access to vets or anyone with knowledge of exotic animals. Thank you, Brie <If your turtle is wild caught then there is a host of parasitic worms that may be at work here. Go to Kingsnake.com and contact a good herp vet that may be able to walk you through a proffered treatment for this problem. In the meantime raising the temperature of the environment to 85 F may work like a fever and help treat the disease.-Chuck> Yellowed Belly Hatchling Basks With His Eyes Closed   12/31/06 Hi, I have bought a hatchling Yellow-Bellied Slider, and before buying I researched a lot. I have had him for a day, and I'm feeding him on ReptoMin food sticks. He ate yesterday, which seems okay. I have noticed that when he comes out of the water onto his basking area (which is at 85 F), he tends to close his eyes. He keeps them open in the water and when he's sleeping (he sleeps at the top of the water), but when he gets up onto land and basks, he closes his eyes (his eyelids are like a clear-ish film). I just wanted to know if this is normal, or should I be worried? Thanks. < Basking lights are very bright and the eyelids are there to protect your turtles young eyes from too much light. If the eyes get puffy or do not open then there is a vitamin A deficiency and ZooMed Turtle Eye Drops are needed.-Chuck>

New Turtle Problems 8/13/05 Hi I recently bought two baby turtles, we were told they were baby Brazilian turtles.  We have them in a fairly big tank, with rocks to climb on and water in for when they want a swim, we have made it so they can climb on the rocks easily too.  We have a water a filter in and a light but its not UV.  We don't have a heater either but we have thermometer in it saying it is about 24 degrees.  The turtles were the same size when we bought them but one of them is not doing much.  One of them has grown an awful lot bigger the other hasn't, this one doesn't seem to eat and the eyes are closed all the time, whereas the bigger turtle is very active and playful.  Is our turtle ill or is it something else? < Sounds like your turtle is sick.> We were going to get a UV light or heater and some plants to put in the tank, will this help? < South American rainforest is pretty hot and humid all the time. Air and water temps should be at least 27 C. I would recommend heating the air with a good plant/heat lamp. The basking spot should be very warm. If your sick turtle can get under the spot, the increased temps will act like a fever on a human and help fend off diseases. The usual problem is respiratory and may need antibiotics. To be sure I would take him to a qualified vet experienced in turtles.> We are feeding them turtle and terrapin food at the minute given to us by the pet store.  Please could you advise me on how to get my little turtle better, we are very worried about her? Kind Regards, Sara < The eye problems may be caused by a vitamin A deficiency. Get some turtle eye drops. When the eyes are clear he may start to eat more and move around.-Chuck>

Turtle Problems 8/14/05 Hi, I'm W. Pentony, owner of SHeZ inc.. I'm thirteen and I have two yellow belly turtles, Norbert and Scuttles. Scuttles, who is a bit bigger than Norbert, has been sleeping 24-7 for the past couple of weeks. I haven't been able to feed him since. He is still alive though, but when I wake him he won't open his eye's to let me feed him. Norbert on the other hand is the complete opposite of Scuttles, so I don't worry about him. What's wrong with Scuttles, and what could I do? < Separate the turtles into different containers. The sick one may spread a disease to the healthy one. Make sure both have full spectrum basking light over each one. The basking spot should be able to get up to 100 F. If it is not then move the source closer or get a bigger wattage light. When turtles or most herps get sick they need heat to raise their body temp like when you get sick and get a fever. Turtles cannot raise their own body temp so they rely on an external source like the sun. When turtles lack vitamin A in their diet they are prone to eye problems.  Get some ZooMed Turtle Eye Drops and use as directed. If not any better after a few days then you should consult a vet. -Chuck>

Water Turtles with Eye Problems 8/23/05 Hi, I'm writing from Singapore and I've been reading your column which I think is great and is of great help.  Thanks and keep up the good work. I have eleven RES.  The largest is about 13 inches long (Mr. Hello Boy) and the tiniest (Dotty) is about an inch long.  Recently, to my great distress, Little Five and Little Three have developed some eye disease, like cataracts.  They have thick white film over their eyes.  Little Five cannot open his eyes anymore whilst Little Three can keep his eyes open but they look funny; maybe he is already blind.  Please advise me on how to save them.  Will they die?  Or is there a cure? Thanks so much. Warmest regards across the continents, Joy Tan < Some turtle eye problems are caused by a vitamin A deficiency. Others may be caused by bacterial problems. I would isolate the sick turtles into separate containers. Make sure the water is in the mid to upper 20's C. Try and get some ZooMed Turtle Eye Drops. Keep the water clean and warm. Heat is very effective in curing many reptile maladies. Make sure the basking spot is good and hot (29-32 C). Very sick turtles may require the attention of a vet for antibiotics.-Chuck> Blind Red Eared Sliders 10/9/05 About a month ago I adopted two sightless RES's. According to the rescue organization they became blind when someone other than themselves allowed them to hibernate without the proper experience and they developed eye infections that left them blind. When I originally got these two guys, the rescue organization had over-looked shell rot on one of their plastron's which I have been treating and have seen progress and healing. I feed then in their own separate containers and one has been eating very well (the one with the shell rot).  The other one I have yet to see eat. They have plenty of water plants in the tank so I don't think he'll starve to death but I would like to know if you can give me any tips on what to do, to encourage him to eat. I've tried turtle pellets, crickets, koi pellets, cichlid pellets, pinkies, red worms I have in my kitchen composting my kitchen waste, pureed salmon I have mixed with egg and then cooked, feeder fish I have killed immediately before feeding and who knows what else I can't think of right now - but nothing entices him to eat.  The other one has a taste for anything and everything but pellets. The rescue organization told me they were totally self sufficient, living in a pond with sighted turtles and left to their own devices. I can't believe this is true. Just this last week I started feeding them three times a week from feeding them every day.  I'm hoping you can give me some pointers on feeding these two - I don't trust the rescue I got them from. They said I was babying them and had ruined all the hard work they had devoted to these two to make them self sufficient and wanted them back - I said no and cut off my correspondence with them.  HELP!!! These are my first turtles and I am already attached to them. Am I being selfish by keeping them? - should I return them to the rescue, as they suggest? Any thoughts? Please. Thanks in advance. - Thomas < Heat the tank to 70 F with an aquarium heater. Make sure the basking spot gets up to at least 90 F. They will be attracted to the heat and bake away. They need the excess heat to digest their food and fight diseases. After heating up for awhile their appetite should come around.-Chuck.> 

Turtle Kept too Warm - Have Them Take Off the Turtlenecks! (Blind RES Follow-up) 10/10/05 Thanks Chuck for your speedy response - They are in a 90 gallon tank and the water is heated between 78 and 82, the basking area is 18" x 18" with a 7" ramp in the water. The dock is about 96 at it's hottest spot. I dry-dock them every day for most of the day. Am I keeping the water too warm? < Turn down the heater to 70 F> Should I leave them alone for a week or so and see what happens? < Turtle know when they need to bask and when they don't. I would leave them alone for awhile.> The reason I started to dry-dock them was because of the shell rot. If you could comment on my water readings which show 0 nitrItes with a 40 ppm nitrAte reading. Somehow that doesn't seem right to me. < You have a bacteria bed established that are converting the ammonia and nitrites to nitrates like they are suppose to. The high nitrate readings are contributing to the shell rot problem. Keeping the tank clean will help cure the rot.> I have also read that the water should be slightly acidic. Is that true or can I leave it where it is - neutral to slightly alkaline. < Bacteria don't do as well is an acidic environment. Use a Dr Turtle Sulfa Block by ZooMed to help acidify the water and help cure the shell rot.> Thanks - you all are always sooooooo helpful. I have a few fish tanks and although I have been a tropical fish enthusiast for 30 something years whenever something comes up I haven't come across before - y'all seem to always have the answers or at the very least send me in the right direction - thanks for being there. - Thomas < Thank for your kind words.-Chuck> 

Turtles, Eye Infections, Lack of Appetite - 11/26/2005 Hi <Good afternoon.> I have two yellow belly turtles who have an eye infection.  Their eyes are getting better (antibiotic/eye drops) but they have now stopped eating.  Any suggestions as to what I can do. <You might try feeding something more appetizing than your current offerings; bits of fish or shrimp, perhaps.  And do please take a look at our turtle articles and FAQs for other feeding ideas.> Thanks <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Sick/Blind Turtle   12/5/05 Hi, Guys! I read all the posts and this is different. I bought four baby RES two weeks ago. After I put them in the tank (new tank, floating dock, rocks, UVA/UVB  reptile light on side of tank, 2 10W incandescent on top) that one was blind. Or rather, where his eyes should be are two beige areas, with the same markings as his head. He basked a lot, and was reluctant to swim much.  He doesn't eat. I've tried krill, chicken, pellets, apple, worms, etc. Put it wet, right by his nose and he doesn't sniff. He wipes his head a lot, too, when feeling active. Every day I think he'll be dead, and every day he is on the floating dock, head tucked in, and not eating.  He started gaping a week ago. No discharge, just gaping, usually after swimming a bit. He never dives, just paddles a bit, and then finds the dock again. Then gapes a few minutes. This isn't good is it? I read some posts today and put him in a sulfa dip bowl, with a basking rock, and a 100 watt light 12 inches away. Can I pry his mouth open, and if I do, what should I try to feed him? Thanks, Kate < He won't eat until he can see. He has a respiratory infection. You can get some Turtle Eye Drops from Zoomed and some vitamins as well. The respiratory infection may require antibiotics from a vet. Check the basking spot with a thermometer. It should be around 85 to 90 F. When he can see and is going into the water on his own then he is ready to feed.-Chuck>

Small Australian Turtle Needs Help Hi, I recently got a penny turtle, it had been run over by a bike and I was given it. I think its a *Emydura subglobosa* but I don't have a photo of its belly yet so I've done a bit of guessing with the keys. I have a small tank 21x35cm (will be getting a bigger one, just not yet), a basking rock, UVA/UVB lamp and am trying to give it a varied diet (carrot, fish pellets, mince). The temperature ranges from 79F at night to 82F during the day. Yesterday morning I noticed it didn't open one of its eyes for quite some time, and when it did there seemed to be a whitish lesion on it. On closer inspection with the naked eye I can't tell if its on the eyeball or upper eyelid. The turtle scratches it periodically with its front limb, it doesn't blink the eye as often as the other one and seems to have a reduced range of movement in that eye. To me it seems like an ulcer - whether bacterial or fungal I can't tell and I'm not sure it was traumatic as I don't remember it being there when I first got it. I'll try to attach a photo of it. No vets are open today on Sunday. My question is -are human eye antibacterial creams/ointments too strong/too weak for a turtle? <ZooMed already makes eye drops for turtles with infected eyes like yours. Human eye drops are usually weak boric acid solutions. Call the vet tomorrow and get a recommendation to be sure.> Would they be worth trying if I can't get to the vet until tomorrow? < Before you go to the vet, get some Repti Turtle Eye Drops by ZooMed. Follow the directions on the package. Make sure the basking spot gets up to about 85 F. Your turtle may have a Vitamin A deficiency and need some food that is high in vitamin A. Try some kale or spinach in addition to a commercial turtle diet. Add some earthworms too when your turtle is better and able to eat.-Chuck> cheers Colleen

Baby Turtles With Problems   1/7/06 Hi, I have 4 baby turtles (RES) and two of them have eye infections. I wasn't sure if I should separate the sick ones from the other two. One of the sick turtles aren't eating for over 2 weeks and I am very concerned. How can I make him eat ? :(   Thank you. Please help . <Keep the turtle's water clean. Make sure the basking spot gets up to at least 85 F. Use the proper lighting for vitamin development. Use Zoo Med Repti Turtle Eye Drops and  feed Zoo Med Hatchling Aquatic Turtle Food. They may have a vitamin A deficiency too. Chuck>

Sick Baby Turtle   1/18/06 Hi, I just bought a little baby turtle from the pet store. His eyes are now swollen and he won't eat. I have a basking light that I leave on almost all day. Also I add a liquid vitamin to the tank. What should I do? < Clean the tank and change all the water. The basking area should get up to at least 85 F. Leave the lights on no longer than 12 hrs per day. Treat with Zoo Med Repti Turtle Eye Drops. Feed Zoo Med Aquatic Hatchling Turtle Food and washed earthworms when he can see.-Chuck> Water Turtle With Swollen Eyes - 03/18/2006 My turtle {Florida yellow bellied turtle} has sore swollen eyes with over a week, she's not eating. I have put water freshener into the water but it is doing no good. What will I do. I have no vet in my area. < Change 50% of the water, vacuum the gravel, and clean the filter. Add a ZooMed Dr Turtle Sulfa Block to the water. Get ZooMed Turtle Eye Drops for the eyes. Check the temperature of the basking site. Should be 85 to 90 F. If it is a smaller turtle then get ZooMed Aquatic turtle food for hatchlings. If is a larger turtle then get the adult formula. They are different. Adults need more vitamins, minerals and a more vegetarian diet than younger turtles. A vitamin deficiency has caused the eye problems. After the eyes have cleared then your turtle should start eating again.-Chuck>

Re: Turtle With Eye Problems  - 04/08/06 Thanks for the advice. Is it okay for my other turtle, who is very healthy, to be in water that warm too because they both live in the same tank? < Bacteria that cause infections do not like changes in temperature. It is like you getting a fever when you are sick. Turtles can only change their body temperature by moving to warmer or colder locations. If your turtle gets sick , then he will not have the option to change his temperature if the entire tank is the same temp.> Also, we have been using ophthalmic ointment for the eye for my sick turtle and it has been working very effectively the left eye has cleared up a lot in just a couple of days. The right eye is still pretty swollen but it has gotten a lot better. Do you recommend that we keep using the ointment or do you think we should get the eye drops that you recommended for us to get? < The medication I recommended is specifically made for turtles. I am not familiar with the medication you are currently using so I really can't comment except I am glad your turtle is getting better.> Also, can these be symptoms of a respiratory problem? Should we take him to a vet or should we just wait for both eyes to clear up so that he can see and eat again? < Respiratory problems usually involve breathing problems, bubbles from the nose, can't sink while swimming and wheezing. This problem needs a vet.-Chuck> thanks lots

One eyed Red eared slider I just got 2 baby Red ear Sliders in in 10 gal tank 2 days ago. One has been resting on a rock with one eye open and has been quite stationary. The other just stays in the water and doesn't get out to bask. Could my RES already developed an eye infection? I can't tell...so far I've been feeding them with Gammarus pellets, and they have a tank with a heating lamp, florescent lighting, a water and dry land area, internal filter (Fluval 2 plus) , and a submersible heater. the temperature of the tank is usually around 79-82F. the water in the tank has also been treated w/  those chalky white blocks. Is there also something wrong with my set up? My RES don't look too good. Michelle. <Hello Michelle, it could be an eye infection, or it could be an injury, or it could be nothing.  Your setup sounds good, depending on their size, these fellas are going to need a much larger tank in the future.  I would continue offering food and keep a close watch on the one with the eye troubles, watch for swelling, fuzz, or anything out of the ordinary; if it does start to get nasty it may be a good time to seek out a good reptile vet.  Frequent water changes are also a must.  I have found with my turtles that when the water temp is warm they do not come out to bask as often.  Best Regards, Gage>

Turtle in trouble, eye...  12/7/07 Hello Crew, <Hiya right back! Darrel here> My turtle is about a quarter size big, probably a little bigger and his eye on the right side is all puffy and you can't see his retina or whatever its called where turtles see... <That would be Lens, Iris, pupil, retina, etc.> Its just a yellow and poofy eye with no pupil, it looks like he may be blind. <Yikes! Whatever it is, it doesn't sound good> His shell is also not as green as it should be. I've had him for at least three months as well as the two other ones but those ones are fine. What do I do?? <Well, Cilenie, there's not a lot to go on here so I'll run down the common possibilities.> <Bacterial infection - which we can help with but ultimately may need a vet visit. Bacteria behind the eye ball take hold and produce a gas that makes the eye extremely puffy and essentially useless> <Vitamin deficiency (mostly Vitamin A but where one is lacking most are usually lacking) tends to produce pasty, puffy eyes that are a bit yellowed, but usually they'll just keep them closed all the time> How is his activity level? How often does he eat? WHAT does he eat? Water temp? Is his water clean & filtered? Temp under his basking lamp? Does he have a UV lamp, as well as a heat source? Is he active or mostly just sits in the basking area? We really need to know these answers in order to be of much help.> <But let's do this for sure: He doesn't need to be wet or have access to water, so find a place for him that's warm and dry. Wet conditions provide wonderful homes for almost all the conditions that can hurt him. Put him in water for 5 minutes a day in order to bathe, drink and eat -- offer a high quality Koi pellet or Repto-min food sticks. See that his basking temperature is around 88-90 degrees (no hotter since he can't jump into the water to cool off, but that there is a place a little bit away from the light that is around 80 degrees.> <Write back with the answers to these questions and we'll see what more we can tell you Regards, Darrel>

Turtle care question: yellow membrane and swollen eyes 11/28/07 Hello Crew, <Hiya Miranda! - Darrel here> A friend of mine recently got three baby turtles. I have turtles too, so I helped him set everything up. We've been watching the water temp & quality, the basking area, the food, and two of the turtles are doing fine, but another one is sick. Its eyes are closed most of the time, and when opened, they have a yellow membrane (sort of like a 'contact lens') covering the entire eye. It is also very lethargic. HELP! <OK!> What's wrong with it? <What's wrong is most likely an eye infection. I know that seems obvious, but the obvious is always the best place to start> What can I do about it? <Eye infections in water turtles is usually a sign of poor nutrition - specifically a vitamin imbalance. A lack of Vitamin A is the primary cause but we rarely see a lack of only ONE vitamin, so let's assume that this little guys needs a complete vitamin supplement in his diet. Make sure his basic diet is either a high quality Koi pellet or a commercial turtle food - Tetra's Repto-Min is the one I'd recommend. Meanwhile he's going to need a vitamin SUPPLEMENT from the pet store. The question is how to deliver the vitamins. If he's still eating you can coat his food in either a supplement powder or drop some liquid supplement on it. If he's too weak to eat then the next course of action is to either try to pry his little mouth open to more of less force a drop of liquid vitamin in once a day ... or a trip to the veterinarian for some injectibles.> Is it contagious? <No. Yes and Yes. NO in the sense that hypovitaminosis is not "contagious." YES in the sense that if one is subject to it, it's likely that all are getting insufficient nutrition as well -- it's just that the smallest or weakest show the signs first. The final YES is that any sickness or situation causing weakness in a fish or reptile opens the door WIDE OPEN for secondary problems, such as a fungal infection and that is VERY contagious. For this reason, we'll treat all animals in the collection> <One, ensure that the diet is corrected. Two, add a vitamins or treat for that condition. Three make sure they are getting adequate exposure to UV-A and UV-B light. Four, keep them warm and out of water except for a few minutes a day to bathe, drink and eat -- bacteria and fungus LOVE warmth and wetness!> You've been very helpful in the past with my other turtle questions, so I'm hoping you can help me make Felicity (the turtle's name) feel all better. <If best wishes were fruit, you'd be swimming in a banana smoothie right now, Miranda! Get started on the treatment, look for signs of improvement (or signs of further problems) and write back, OK?> Thanks in advance! <yer welcome!>

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