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FAQs About Turtles on Holiday and Maintenance in General

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

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

Pardon me, while I slide on outta here.

Flipping    10/5/14
Hi, my daughter found our pond turtle 16 years ago when she was about the size of a quarter. she's always been healthy, but recent behavior even has her herp vet baffled. she lives in a 75 gallon tank..28"H x 48"W x 18"D, with 15" water, temp about 77°. The past 3 or 4 times that I have cleaned her tank, after she's back in the water, she flips herself over and cant turn herself right side up again. this happens 3 or 4 times after each cleaning. no chemicals are used. The vet suggested that this time I wait a couple of hours before putting her back in the water. all went well, but after two hours she flipped over and couldn't turn again. I have learned to clean the tank and plan to be home for the whole entire day in case she gets herself in trouble, but obviously that's not the best solution. our vet is one of the leading herp vets in New England, so when he says he is puzzled, that's really something. after I righted her, she hung out of the bottom of the tank for a while and then climbed up on her float. interested in your feedback
<Would suggest three things to consider. Firstly, most often when turtles flip over in the water, it's because of fluid in the lungs. That implies a respiratory tract infection. So run that idea past your vet, and at the very least he or she will give your turtle a quick once-over, listen to its breathing (tends to be wheezy or snuffly if the turtle is sick), and prescribe the necessary antibiotics (and often give a vitamin shot as well). RTIs are very common, though usually when turtles are kept by inexperienced keepers rather than "old hands" at the hobby. Nonetheless, it's the most likely problem on the evidence supplied alone. Secondly, constipation. Not heard of this with turtles, but it's common enough with fish. Review diet. Most pond turtles are omnivores rather than carnivores, with plant-based foods a significant part of their diet in the wild. A plain vanilla diet of reptile pellets lacks the necessary fibre, which is most easily supplied by offering some fresh greens such as cheap aquarium plants (Elodea, or "pondweed", as sold as an oxygenator plant, is ideal). Finally, and least likely, could be a deformity of some sort that's become apparent with age. Assuming the shell and limbs look normal, you can probably discount this, but you do so occasional deformed baby terrapins and turtles sold, and these could have trouble swimming as they mature. Would remind you turtles don't need much swimming depth, so if you have sufficient depth for the turtle to bathe and cool down, with rocks and cobbles to prevent her physically turning over, you should be able to create a safer habitat for her. Have cc'ed our resident turtle experts Darrel and Sue for their input, advice and corrections. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Flipping
thank you for the reply, respiratory infection was something that her vet and I had discussed, so we are making plans to have her checked out. the odd thing about it is it only happens after I clean her tank, it never, ever happens any other time and within 24 hours after cleaning it she never flips again until the next cleaning. my first thought was that if it was an RI, it would happen more often, not only after I clean the tank. that's the puzzling part about this. but it certainly bears having her checked out, thank you again
<Is indeed puzzling. Do you dechlorinate the water before use? Do you check water chemistry and temperature at all when you do water changes? I suppose dramatic changes in pH and temperature might elicit some sort of negative reaction. Turtles are usually pretty robust about that sort of thing, but
it's worth considering. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Flipping       10/6/14

that's one of the weird things about it, I don't use any chemicals when I change her water
<You should use dechlorinator, at the least. Nothing fancy. I find pond dechlorinator is effective and cheaper to use than aquarium-sized bottles where large scale water changes are necessary, but be sure to measure it out carefully.>
I just scrub the walls down with a brush and dry everything off. vets suggest I check with the town to see if anything has been changed as far as the water supply.
<Quite so; chloramine as well as chlorine can/will irritate the eyes of reptiles, and while chlorine dissipates quite quickly after the water is drawn, chloramine is more stable and is consequently significant more dangerous. As your vet suggests, it's something water suppliers can/do switch to, as they strive towards improving the quality of drinking water.>
she's been fine since that other night. they certainly do keep us guessing, lol
<Indeed. Good luck, Neale.>
re: Flipping      10/6/14

thanks so much for all your input, it's really appreciated
<Most welcome, Neale.>
Flipping; turt. beh.; sys. maint.     10/12/15

<Hiya - Darrel here. I've been asked to weigh in>
My daughter found our pond turtle 16 years ago when she was about the size of a quarter. she's always been healthy, but recent behavior even has her herp vet baffled. she lives in a 75 gallon tank..28"H x 48"W x 18"D, with 15" water, temp about 77°. The past 3 or 4 times that I have cleaned her tank, after she's back in the water, she flips herself over and cant turn herself right side up again. this happens 3 or 4 times after each cleaning.

No chemicals are used. The vet suggested that this time I wait a couple of hours before putting her back in the water. all went well, but after two hours she flipped over and couldn't turn again. I have learned to clean the tank and plan to be home for the whole entire day in case she gets herself in trouble, but obviously that's not the best solution.
<I have a better one>
Our vet is one of the leading herp vets in New England, so when he says he is puzzled, that's really something.
<I agree - but then compulsive behaviors isn't taught in Vet School>
After I righted her, she hung out of the bottom of the tank for a while and then climbed up on her float. Interested in your feedback
<Neale hit the basics as far as health in concerned but we're assuming our Vet has done an examination and not seem evidence of an infection. So the following assumes your vet has ruled out an RTI. Why she flips only-after-a-cleaning and why she can't right herself are totally separate issues and all I can think of is that a sudden temperature change aggravates an inner ear infection and she thinks she's upside down…>
<The water temperature or the water composition is affecting her in some unusual way. Since she's otherwise healthy I'd begin a process here.>
<First I'd do a cleaning, like normal, and wait for the expected flip.>
<Just as soon as she's settled in again, I'd change the water (no scrubbing) just drain the water and replace it with water of and see if the behavior repeats.>
<Yes, what I'm saying is - make the effort to force the situation so we can see what we're doing wrong>
<Then a water change of the exact same temperature (maybe mixed up in the bathtub)>
<Next, I'd try small water changes - no more than 3 gallons at a time>
<The purpose of this is to try to find what COMPONENT of the cleaning is really upsetting her.>
Meanwhile each time she does flip I'd look to see if she's really trying to right herself -- and this is key -- try to see what she's failing. I mean, turtles turn themselves over all the time and they do a little flailing with their neck and arms and turn right side up. Especially if the water is deep enough this should be easy. What Neale alluded to earlier was water level: If it's shallow enough they can flip over but not drown and just lay there stupidly until found. If it's deep enough (at least as deep as the shell is wide) then they should be able to flip with ease -- it's that middle ground, say 3-4 inches, where they may not be able to right themselves but would get 'worn out' trying to hold their nose above water>
<If the water is 7-10 inches deep and she still flips and can't flip back then I'd say certainly she has a health issue. Although this may seem cruel, if she's in 7 inches of water, pick her up and roll her over and release her - and see that she can (or cannot) right herself>

Worms of some sort, in turt sys.    12/11/13
I have a freshwater tank with 3 red eared sliders in it and I went and vacuumed the water and then as I refilled the tank I saw some red squiggly crazy freaking out worm with a type of pincher at the tail end and a mouth that looked like it was unhinging
<... not an Oligochaete>

or somewhat snake like as it was eating the floating crap that I stirred up when cleaning and refilling.. then I noticed with a closer look that there are a bunch of way smaller worm like things swimming around in there as well. These ones are harder to see because they are so small but are doing the same thing the big red one does, as in squiggles around completely looking like a crack head freaking out. Will these things hurt my turtles? I've attached a video of this crack head worm..
Thank you!
<Mmm, from your description these are likely some type of insect larvae rather than worms... But the latter are a possibility as well (from live foods, plants... see Darrel's rec. re "Koi" pellets as a standard diet)...
At any length, neither are harmful to turtles... Read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Oil in water and bad smell, RES sys., maint.      12/9/12
<Sorry for the delayed response>
We adopted 2 RES a year ago, there owner had an accident and was unable to take of them so they needed a new home to go to and we decided to that home be ours. We are unsure if they are male or female,
<? Easily sexed... why didn't you just search, read on WWM re?:
 we were told when we got them one was male and one was female, but having looked into the care of RES we believe they both could actually be female. Anyway, the turtles we believe are a about 3 years old 6" in size. When we first got them their shells were in bad way, all white and dull, they have since shed there shells and they look quite well, I don't notice anything wrong with the shells/skin or eyes. We were having trouble with getting a filtration system that worked well and recently purchased a Fluval canister filter that was going a really good job, but we started to notice what looked like oil appear on the water top,
<Likely from food/s>
 we cleaned out the filter and did a partial water change.
<A good idea to change out a good deal of the water weekly>
The oil is back again and now accompanied by a bad smell, almost like wet dog food that has been left out and the water has become quite murky. They still bask but don't appear to be eating as much, I don't know if the season change has effected that, I would guess not though. I read that it is possible they have laid eggs and that is causing the oil and smell, we have a rock bottom
<Mmm, keep reading... don't reproduce on a rock bottom...>
 and I haven't discovered any eggs yet...doesn't mean that this is not the case. Any insight or point in the right direction to get the tank back to a normal quality would be appreciated.
Thank You
<Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/turtmaint.html
and the linked files above; especially Darrel's excellent articles on RES care. Bob Fenner>

My turtle water    8/24/12
Hi I have a red eared slider turtle and these days I get worried about it's water and I just like to know what is the normal average of 1.
The water PH 2.
<See WWM re pH... You want something near neutral (7)>
 GH in the water 3. The KH  4. The NO3
<Low... under 20 ppm, a maximum of 40 ppm>
and finally the CL2
<Regular "sanitizer" strength (from your municipality) is fine for chlorine/chloramine for aquatic turtles. Bob Fenner>
and thanks a lot

Foul Odor in Turtle Tank    1/18/12
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I'm writing to get help with my Red Eared Slider.
I've done tons of research online asking my question in many different ways to try and find an answer, with no luck. We've had this turtle for almost a year now, we got it from a family whose son grew up and wasn't interested anymore but I knew my 5 y.o. would be.
<Glad it came to someone who cares>
So we've been learning many new things about turtles, and although they take a lot of care, they're fun to have!
<I agree - I have a couple dozen of them>
When I clean the tank, I usually use the hose/vacuum thing that cleans the particles out of the rocks, and I leave a little of the old water in there and put the rest fresh water and I also use NUTRAFIN turtle clean in the water.
<OK - remember - Turtles are not sensitive to water quality in the way fish are.>
Well this past Sunday, 2 days ago, I realized that the tank had gone longer than usual without a cleaning. So we took everything out...the rocks, the 3 fish, the turtle, the floating rock...and dumped every bit of water out of the tank, I scrubbed the inside with a copper scrubbing pad to get some of the white build up off of the sides, I thoroughly cleaned the filter and the rocks and every part of her habitat. It took me 2 hours! That night I noticed the tank getting kind of cloudy, not regular dirty turtle cloudy, this is like white or milky cloudiness. And yesterday morning when we got up it was very very cloudy. And the smell that is coming from the water is indescribable!!!! Like I said, we've had the RES for quite some time now, I've smelled very dirty turtle water lots of times, but this smell is something different. It smells like old garbage/an old sponge/stinky feet kind of. It's very strong, and I had to put plastic bags on the sides where air can escape because I can smell it throughout my house.
<Strange, but not unheard of>
I'm getting another RES today or tomorrow from a friend, but I don't want to get another one if something is wrong with our turtle.
<Nothing is SO WRONG with your turtle that he stinks up the entire room - unless he's dead - and you'd probably notice THAT!>
What should I do?
<First, go ahead and accept the other turtle.  Chances are it's WAY better off in your hands than any other alternative>
There's no way that it was from feces or over feeding because it started after just a few hours.
And I hadn't even fed her yet.
<She can go weeks without food - so no worries there>
A friend of mine has a Red Eared Slider and has had it for 10 years, I put something on Facebook about what's going on with mine and come to find out, she's having the same problem!!
<The problem *I* have is that Facebook keeps suggesting people as friends that I've never heard of and my girlfriend of 15 years wants to know why a High School Cheerleader in Warm Springs, GA wants to "friend" me!!>
She has Well water and I have town water so that can't be it.
<Townies and Country folk>
She said that they've emptied and re-filled the water everyday and it just keeps happening. Please help!!!!
<I will!>
I need to know what I can do or try to fix this.
<I know!>
We live in VT, it's very rural, and there isn't a place anywhere around that knows about reptiles so I need to find help elsewhere.
<You came to the right place!>
Also, will 2 turtles get along if they weren't raised together?
<We'll get to that later>
 I haven't seen the turtle we're getting, but she said that 2 of hers are Red Eared Sliders and the other one is something different. I'm just taking 1, but I'm not sure if I should take a RES or the different turtle. Would either one be a better choice?
<Not really - the Slider/Cooter/Painted family are virtually interchangeable from a keeper's standpoint.   Think of them as the same car with different racing stripes>
Oh yeah, I have a 20 or 30 gallon, long tank. And I have a filter that's for twice the amount of water that is in there. I hope to hear back from you soon, I can't stand the smell, and I'm worried that my turtle might be dying or something. She's acting normal like she always does, pacing, clunking on the glass, moving moving moving like she always does.
<That's good news>
Thank you for your time, Erin
<OK - here's what happened:  Skippy's tank environment developed, over time, a biological filter system:  The turtle produces waste then bacteria convert that waste to Ammonia.  Then other bacteria convert the ammonia to Nitrites.  Then other bacteria convert the nitrites to Nitrates.  Then other bacteria come along and convert the nitrates to High Fructose Corn Syrup, Tennis balls and seat covers for 70's style Chevy Novas.>
<The problem is that, unlike FISH in a fish tank, the biological filter can't keep up with the prodigious poop-output of a turtle (PoopPut?) -- the amount of biological filter to keep up with one turtle is somewhere between a 300 gallon tank and the Florida Everglades and that's why the Turtle Mom siphons the water and adds fresh water periodically.>
<But when you tore the system down and scrubbed everything, you also killed these bacteria that did all these good things for Skippy's tank and volunteered at the local library, etc.  All that's gone.  PLUS things being what they are you didn't really get ALL the waste product scrubbed from the nooks and crannies.  So - the minute you put the system back together, the remaining organic waste almost instantly fouls the water>
<The way to fix this:  You have to not only clean, but STERILIZE the system:  Remove all organic materials (that includes turtles and fish).  Scrub the tank with soap and water, break down the filter and clean it as well, then refill the tank and add one cup of  chlorine bleach per gallon of actual water.   Run the entire setup (filters and all) for 24 hours, they drain & refill . Then do it all again. Then drain and rinse. Twice.  The step people sometimes miss - is that if you don't run the filter, then you're not sterilizing the entire system>
<After you do this, give Skippy a quick rinse in tap water and place him in.  Take him out to a separate bowl for feeding (all he can eat in 5 minutes - 4 times per week) and let the system settle in.   Do your water change more frequently for the first two weeks - then everything should be back to normal>
<Now to Skippy's new room mate:   The entire family is pretty flexible.  They get along find alone but are usually tolerant of other tank mates.  That said, they can get "nippy" at times.   Two things to consider - one is merely size:  Make sure they are relatively similar in size.  A fully grown female housed with a hatchling is a recipe for disaster:  A little 'give me space' nip (to another adult) is deadly to the hatchling.   Second is the unknown.  Sometimes (this is rare) you just get a turtle that is a JERK.  Sneaks out of the tank at night, gets the credit card out of your wallet and orders TONS of junk on-line.  Stuff that it can't even use! (Sliders have NO sense of financial restraint hey ... they could run for Congress!!!) or in another turn of events just be a bully.>
<If that happens,  Erin, then you need TWO tanks and that then starts you down the road to the Dark side    as I sit here with a Koi pond, a turtle pond, three turtle tanks, 11 Desert tortoises and a Galapagos tortoise in the back yard, a green Iguana on the couch in the living room, a Rhino iguana on my office desk standing on the keyboard typing JIhsjhscdzx oiygf and two cats asking "Hey, how do we get out of this chicken outfit?">
<It ALL started with a friend giving me a new turtle to go with the one turtle I had, Erin.  Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha
Re: Foul Odor in Turtle Tank    2/10/12

Ohhh my gosh, you just cracked me up!!!
<Usually when people call me "funny" they're not laughing>
Hahaha I've never laughed so hard while reading an email.
<Then you need to get on a better email list>
I'm going to start by saying that Facebook can be a recipe for disaster when it comes to relationships!>
<It occurs to me that if someone has to define their relationship on Facebook as "complicated" they should probably log off Facebook and FIX that relationship>
Ok, so I got that other turtle, and since we got the first one "Skippy" I always thought something was kind of different about him. He doesn't look like other RES that I've seen in pet stores, and he's MEEEAAANNNNN. You can't handle him, he hisses whenever you go near him and lunges at anything that is in front of him. Even a wall if I'm carrying him. Sooo I put Skippy and the new turtle in the tub, so they'd have more space and not feel so territorial. Everything was chill for like 5 min.s, then Skippy walked over to Donatello and put his head out, looked at him for about 2 seconds, then latched onto poor Donatello :( right on his front leg and would not let go and Donatello was trying to hide in his shell but sticking up for himself and trying to nip him back to get him to let go! It scared the crap outta me...they are the same size, relatively. Skippy is maybe an inch bigger, but quite a bit thicker, from belly to top of shell. I feel like we ended up with a RES that someone caught at a local pond and decided to keep for a pet! It's just so mean and skittish, and it's eyes are real dark, it's shell always looks dark like it's been real dirty but I've washed it, his coloring...the green stripes they have, are more like a brown/beige, but he has red on both sides of his head, and in other ways resembles Donatello.
<They do have some individual personality quirks and it just may be that Skippy is a loner>
So I am trying to find a new home for Skippy, because I can't take on another whole turtle tank. I have a 5 year old son, a 22 month old son, a pet rat, and an ant farm. Goldfish just died :( Then I was going to go back to where I got Donatello and take another one of the turtles she had, because all 3 were in a small 20 gallon tank together...which is unfair...but they all got along so I'm sure they would in a bigger tank. I'm def going to try what you said! And I'll let you know what happens. Probably won't get to it till this weekend though.
<In retrospect, having been in your position, keeping the turtle and getting rid of the kid is likely the wisest and least disruptive in the long term, but if you INSIST on getting rid of Skippy look online in your area for a Turtle and Tortoise Club.  Someone, somewhere has a pond that Skippy can live in.>
One more thing...
Do turtles like affection? Because I have brains, my guess would be that, no they do not like affection. They are shy creatures who just want to be fed and have a "clean" tank.
<And this makes them no different than a teenager.  In fact the MAIN difference is that at 17 years old Donatello is less likely to borrow your car one night & bring it back the next morning with dents in two fenders, an empty tank of gas and absolutely NO recollection of what happened.>
But Donatello is super friendly!! I hold him, he pulls his head way out and lets me rub the top and sides of his face, under his long neck, on top of his long neck, and he leans into my touch like a cat would when you're petting it. And he puts his head waayyy up so I can rub his "chin" but then when I was doing that I thought it pee'd on me so I looked, and I thought it was pooping on me because there was a big black thing coming out of it's tail. I had called this turtle Millie, I thought it was a girl, but because the "poop" didn't come out, it went back in, I'm assuming that it liked the rubbing a little too much?? Lol
<Now you're creeping me out >
Is that what happened? I assumed that both turtles were female but after that happened I know that one is a boy. I think the other one is too because it looks relatively the same, same length nails and such. So is it normal for turtles to like affection THAT much?
<They have very different personalities.   I have a tortoise that will follow me around the yard in a very deliberate attempt to get attention and if I ignore her, she'll actually ram into the back of my leg>
<Of course, I have a girlfriend that exhibits pretty much exactly the same behavior -- but what I mean is that I have many other tortoises that have the personalities of your typical rock. -- So yes, it's likely that Donatello simply likes the attention>
Hahaha I never expected that. He runs around my house when I'm with him, he just chills and walks around, he's the coolest reptile ever!! I don't ever want to get rid of that one, and if I can find a home for Skippy, someone who wants a turtle that just stays in the tank, I'd like to help out one of the other 2 turtles that are left at Donatello's owners. Then at least the one that's left would have the whole 20 gallon tank to himself :) omg my fingers hurt from typing, I'll check my email tonight and tomorrow in hopes I've heard back from you!
<Sorry _ was occupied for a few days, but I'm back now>
P.s. After I run the bleach through the filters and tank, should I make sure to rinse everything extremely well?
Bleach can't be too healthy for a turtle...and what do I do with the turtle(s) when I'm doing that to the tank?
<The bathtub is my "got-to" for temporary storage>
How long can they be without water?
<Weeks.   If they have water to drink (like a daily 15 minute bath) - then YEARS>
That's good that food isn't an issue, I'm always worried when I forget one day to feed them.
<They should be feed all they can eat in 5 minutes, 5 times a week when they're young and 2-3 times a week as adults>
Thanks so much for your help, the laugh, and the very useful information.
I'm going to try everything you said!
<Yer welcome!> 

Turtles and Worms and Worries - 10/10/10
Dear Crew
<Hiya - Darrel here>
My Red Eared Slider is about four years old. I've had her for three years. She's been in the same tank, been eating the same brand of food, had the same filter, and the same brand rocks for the three years I've had her. Today, I found a little, brown worm in her water filter. Upon finding it, I checked the rest of the tank. That was the only worm I found. In the past three years, it is the only work I have ever found. I have other pets, and none of them have anything like it. I believe it looks like a meal worm, my mom thinks other wise. Is it possible that the worm is harmful to her? What type of worm could it be? How can I be sure more won't get in? Where could it have come from? Please, help? Thanks.
<First, there are more ways for a worm or worm larvae to get into a closed system than I could imagine. If you feed any kind of live food at all, that would be the #1 possibility. Dirt from potting or plant soil that got on you hands even if you think you rinsed them. Larvae from any number of flying insects . And I'm just getting started.>
<The first thing is not to worry. Worms like this by themselves aren't usually dangerous to humans and in any case you DO wash your hands after every time you've touched the turtle or her tank, right? So don't worry>
<Now as far as what to do about them, where there's 1 there is almost always many more or else the eggs for many more, so when this happens to me (and it does sometimes) I go into full out warfare mode and sterilize the entire system>
<Remove the turtle and everything else that is organic. Fill the tank just a tiny bit more than normal with cold water and then add 2 cups of regular laundry-type chlorine bleach. Make sure the area is well ventilated -- and this is really important -- leave all filters and pumps running and stir the gravel. 24 hours later, add another 2 cups of bleach. 24 hours later, drain the tank, remove the gravel and rinse it separately. Break down all filters and pumps, replace all filter media. Wash the tank with soap and water and rinse, rinse, rinse. Put everything back together and start over again.>
<The only unfortunate part is that when you remove the turtle, you don't remove any worm eggs than by in her intestines, so after you put things back together you could STILL have another outbreak and have to repeat the procedure. The good news is that it's not a serious condition for anyone.>

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

Algae control, pond, reading    6/7/09
Hello, my name is Russell. I am having a algae problem with my outdoor turtle pond. Ok, I will explain. I built the 100 gallon pond this spring to use as a pond for my turtles, 3 RES and a southern painted turtle.
<Not much volume for these "dirty" animals>
But it isn't a full time home for the turtles. I take them out in the morning and inside at night, because we have alot
<No such word>
of predators were I live at night. The pond also has about 5 comets in it and some feeder goldfish. But I have noticed after a rain the algae goes crazy. It spreads all over the sides and on the rock in the bottom. I
should mention the pond has a 600 gallon filter. My question is what chemical can I use that is safe for both the turtles and the fish to get rid of the algae? Thanks for your help.
<None... there are other means of avoiding such... shade, plant use, aeration... Read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Worm infestation in turtle tank 5/8/2009
Dear Wet Web:
<Darrel here>
We have 1 red eared slider turtle.
<Just about my favorite turtle>
Two nights ago we fed him several left-over minnows from a recent fishing trip.
<Don't do that>
They had been bought at our local bait shop. Within minutes of putting the 4 minnows in the tank - and our turtle eating them the tank was filled with 1/4 inch sting like worms. Very thin and tiny but visible to the eye.
I removed our turtle. I've been removing all of the water from the tank and filling it with hot water 115 degrees. There are still live worms appearing in the gravel as I refill the tank.
<That will take slightly longer than forever>
How can I disinfect the tank to be sure I have killed all of the worms?
<Remove the turtle and everything else that is organic. Fill the tank just a tiny bit more than normal with cold water and then add 2 cups of regular laundry-type chlorine bleach. Make sure the area is well ventilated -- and this is really important -- leave all filters and pumps running and stir the gravel. 24 hours later, add another 2 cups of bleach. 24 hours later, drain the tank, remove the gravel and rinse it separately. Break down all filters and pumps, replace all filter media. Wash the tank with soap and water and rinse, rinse, rinse. Put everything back together and
start over again.>
<Oh .. and learn the lesson. Turtles do NOT need live food, they don't need fish -- especially not bait fish>
What kind of parasite do you think they are?
<There are literally hundreds of kinds of tiny worms and parasites that are harbored in fish -- especially fish kept in bait-bin conditions.>
Are they dangerous to our turtle?
<Usually not, unless they take over the habitat and pollute his water.>
Are they dangerous to our children?
<Don't feed the fish or the worms to your kids, don't let the kids put the turtle in their mouths and always, always, ALWAYS wash you hands after handling the turtle, his tank or his water ... then ... no.>
Thank you so much for your advice.
<Well worth every penny it costs!>
<Now the bad news: If the turtle ingested the fish that contained the worms, it's likely that when he poops, worms, eggs or larvae will come out and you may have to repeat the disinfecting cycle a few times.>
<Lesson learned?>

Red Ear Slider Turtles: while on vacation 12/02/08 Hello We have 2 Red Ear Slider Turtles and 1 Mississippi Mud Turtle all house in the same aquarium. We are going on vacation for 7-10 days. The smallest of these turtles is a little bigger than a silver dollar and the Largest is the M.M.T. and he is about the diameter of the bottom of a pop can (sorry no good with measurements). What do I/WE need to do with these guys while we are away? Thank you Mississippi Mum <Easy. Buy a clump or two of some cheap aquarium plants of your choice. Elodea ("Canadian pondweed") is ideal. Put in the tank, and that's it! Since sliders should be getting between 50-75% of their diet from soft plants, letting them make do with 100% plants for a couple weeks is no hardship! Indeed, they'll be healthier than ever. Most folks feed them far too much dried and meaty foods, with consequent health problems of various types. As ever, make sure the aquarium is clean and the filter running properly before you push off on your vacation. If possible, have someone stop by to check on the beasts, though caution them not to add any food. The main thing is they check the water is nice and warm and that the filter is running. Cheers, Neale.>

Red worm looking things in turtle/fish tank   9/12/07 Hello Crew, <Hiya Lauren -- Darrel here at my desk in Honolulu today> I was wondering what these things are. I found them in my filter when I went to clean it out. They are inside, and I feed them Krill. Could it be baby krill??? I fed them some shrimp a couple times but other than that it's been regular turtle food. <Krill & shrimp require a very different environment to hatch, so no it's not that.> If you want me to send you a picture of them I will. I have 2 Red Eared Sliders, and 2 Eastern Painted Turtles. <What you have are one of a whole family or worms and/or Planaria and they are exactly what you see -- little worms. They're parasites and can get into a closed tank system in many ways. Your solution is to break down the tank and then clean and sterilize everything -- pay close attention to the filter and the filter lines & hoses. And you may have to do this several times, since the turtles have undoubtedly ingested some of them (or the food they road in on). In other words, worm eggs are probably in the pipeline (so to speak).> <the good news is that they're just a maintenance hassle and not really dangerous to your animals> I just recently added a goldfish, but these wormy looking things were there before I got the goldfish. <fish are common transmitters of parasites too (Not that Goldie is our source) but speaking of sources, she might be a source of dinner for your turtles. There are a number of reasons not to feed them goldfish -- not the least of which is that the turtles are not very good at that kind of hunting and the goldfish can live & thrive until one day you have these HUGE goldfish that were supposed to be dinner and now have names and they're too big for the turtle pond so you put them in your Koi pond only to find that they're so pushy that they're bossing around and terrorizing your 10 pound Koi!> <well OK, just because that happened to ME doesn't mean it will happen to you ... but ya never know...> Thanks, Lauren

Re: Red worm looking things in turtle/fish tank 09/13/07 Haha wow thanks so much! I've cleaned it out already and I'll keep an eye out. If I have anymore questions I'll be sure and ask on here, if I can't find an answer from Google. <By "find an answer from Google" we certainly hope you mean the Google Search Bar at the bottom of our WetWebMedia Page after having checked the "WetWebMedia" box, correct? Not Google "in general", right? The web "in general" is a great place to buy a pair of socks or find out who thinks that aliens from the planet Zordo have landed, but when it comes to things wet & living, please start here! Not only do we know what we're doing, but the site gets better with every question asked and answered!> Take Care, Lauren <Darrel>

Silicone seal?  Turtle sys. 5/29/07 Hi. I have a turtle and I keep her in a clear plastic storage container. In the summer she has the identical set-up outside. This year I found a crack in the bottom. I fixed it with General Electric silicone 1 will this harm the turtle or should I just buy a new one or can you tell me what I should repair it with <Silicone sealant is generally safe to use in aquaria and vivaria. If in doubt, check with manufacturer. Be sure and allow it to cure fully before putting it to use (usually takes 24 hours or so) and then test with water to see if there are any leaks. All this said, be sure and provide large enough quarters for your pet. Turtles need space as they grow, and it may well be that this year a larger vivarium is on the cards.> Thanks Sheri. <Cheers, Neale>

Changing Water In A Turtle Tank, The Easy Way - 02/11/2007 Thanks for your help in the past, I have a new issue I need to discuss. I'm getting sick and tired of all my turtle maintenance and frankly I haven't read any solid pointers on handling all of the water for changes etc. If I empty half of my tank every week (55 gal. approx.  2/3 full) that's about 12 gals, how do people do it? I fill 6 one gallon jugs w/ water and let them sit overnight to come up to room temp. Then I siphon the turtle water into a large container (it takes to trips) and dump it into a utility sink then dump the 6 gallons of water in, after I've rinsed out the filter media. And finally refill the 6 jugs to leave overnight and dump it in the next morning. Do you have any advice for me? Also, I'm thinking of using my old tank for feeding only, how does that work? Do I have to change all the water and bring it up to temp every day? Thanks, Helen <Go to DrsFosterSmith.com and order a Python No Spill Clean 'N Fill system. Measure the distance between the aquarium and the utility sink. They come in lengths up to 100 feet but you can always join two lengths together to make it longer if you have to. Turn off all the power to the turtle tank. Attach the hose to the faucet at the sink and set it to drain. Vacuum all the water out of the tank and vacuum the substrate while you are at it. When the tank is dry you can set the water temperature at the sink for lukewarm and then set up the python to fill the aquarium back up to the desired level. Add water conditioner as you are adding water to remove any chlorine or chloramines in the water. Then turn the power back on and check the electronics. An aquarium filter is very helpful to keep the tank looking good in between water changes. Place you turtle in a wide container with some lukewarm water. Feed your turtle until his eating starts to slow down. He is getting full so don't force any more food on him. They can die from over eating. Usually when they eat they will soon defecate in this container to make room for the new food. Just dump out the water. Do this three times a week.-Chuck>

Worms In A Turtle Tank. Was: Changing Water In A Turtle Tank, The Easy Way      2/23/07 Thank you! I love the No Spill Clean 'N Fill I did my first full water change in her new (used) 55 gal tank (I was wondering how I could possibly do it regularly) it was great. And I've been feeding Stephanie in a separate container to keep her tank clear - but now I've found some very tiny thin white worms in her tank. I've noticed these before when there was sediment at the bottom of her tank - I thought it was from uneaten food. Since I haven't put any food in her tank I assume it's from a bowel movement. I had a sample tested and was told she doesn't have any parasites. Have you seen this before? Any ideas? Helen < These could be worms from the sand or plants. They will not hurt your turtle. If they are a bother then treat the tank with Fluke-Tabs. I am glad the water change system is working.-Chuck>

Smelly Turtle Tank  - 04/04/2006 Hello all, I tried searching your site and while I found people with somewhat similar problems, none seemed quite so severe as mine (so I apologize if this is a repeat question).  I have two Mississippi map turtles in what I seem to recall is a 20 gallon tank.  The turtles are about fourish inches long (one slightly larger).  The problem is this:  I am having to clean the tank (and by clean I don't mean a partial or complete water change, I mean empty the entire thing out and scrub it down) two to three times a week because the water gets very cloudy and they start to stink horribly.  I understand these type of turtles are relatively high maintenance, but I did not think they would be nearly this bad.  The worst time I cleaned them in the afternoon and literally that evening (say a turnover of four-five hours) the water was clouding already. Is this normal (I really don't feel it is)?  And if not, what am I doing wrong?  Just a quick note, I have not changed what I feed them at all, I have started feeding them a little more than I used to -3 times a day about 3ish pinches of ZooMed aquatic turtles food- (because they splash around at the top of the tank and eat like they are starved each time I put food in). Water temps and such have remained constant.  I've had them for nearly 1 1/2 years and this is the first time I've experienced such a problem.  Sorry for the long e-mail, just trying to get you as much info as possible.  Any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Luke <As turtles get older they need more vegetable matter in their diets. If you haven't already, switch to the adult turtle formula instead of the hatchling formula. I suspect that they are passing much of this protein into the water causing the ammonia spike. Try this, feed your turtles as much as they will eat. In an hour then vacuum out all the water with a Python Water Changer and replace it with fresh water. This will remove any uneaten food as well as any new fecal matter. This should keep things cleaner for a longer time period. A 20 gallon tank is small for two turtles of this size. Try to up grade to a bigger tank with greater surface area.-Chuck>

Smelly Cloudy Turtle Tank   2/10/06 Hello, I have a 100 gallon tank with a Fluval 400 underneath it and I also have a submersible inside the tank.  It is complete with heater, basking dock, basking light and fluorescent lighting as well. We've had Wilo for over 9 years now and we have noticed some changes in his tank.  It started to get very cloudy.  We did a partial water change and within a couple days, it was cloudy again.  So, we did a complete change of the water the weekend before last and within a few days, the tank turned cloudy. Now we are used to the tank clouding up a bit when we change the water, but it is never this bad and the cloudiness goes away in a couple of days.  This wasn't getting better, so we went to the pet store and bought some water treatments, but that didn't work. So, last weekend we took everything out (new turtle dock, new rocks, new filter). I came home last night AND THE TANK WAS CLOUDY.  It is driving us nuts. So, since we have changed out everything inside the tank but the turtle himself, could it be the turtle?  Is there some kind of disease that would make them smell bad and possibly cloud up his water? He is a very healthy turtle and doesn't seem sick, but it's not like he can tell me if he is or not.  As advanced as Wilo (he is like a dog in a shell) is for a turtle, he isn't all that.  :-) Can you help or are we being dumb? Thanks, Christine < There are three things you need a filter to do. One is called mechanical filtration. This is the removal of large visual particles you see in the water. Next is chemical filtration. This is the use or reagents and resins to remove undesirable chemicals in the water. The third and most important thing is the biological filtration. This is a process of establishing the microbes needed to break down smelly cloudy ammonia into less smelly nitrites and then finally nitrates. First feed you turtle three to four times a week. Feed him until he is full. After a half hour, siphon out all the left over food and any waste. This will remove the largest part of the problem. Leftover food and fecal matter will pollute a tank very quickly. Once a week vacuum the gravel while doing a 50% water change. Clean the Fluval once every two weeks. Add carbon to the filter to improve water quality. On the weeks you don't clean the Fluval you should clean the submersible. If you clean everything all at once you will lose the good bacteria needed to break down the waste. Bio-Spira from Marineland will put the bacteria back in and help take care of the problem.-Chuck>

New Turtle Questions  12/16/05 Hi there, I have 2 RES's that I purchased at a mall kiosk (my 1st mistake, I know), but I have been able to figure out most everything by now and they are doing well.  However, my 20 gallon tank is being overrun by green algae, and I have been cleaning out the entire tank repeatedly for 3 weeks, but it keeps coming back and just keeps spreading.  Your site doesn't seem big on it, but the people at PetSmart said as long as at wasn't brown algae it wasn't harmful.  But now its spreading onto their basking rocks, and the water is even turning green! < Turtles are pretty messy eaters. Excess food and turtle waste breaks down to ammonia that is loved by algae. Filters help by developing bacteria that break the waste down into less toxic substances such as nitrites and then nitrates. Just like in a fish tank. The algae really doesn't hurt anything, it just looks bad. Feed your turtles a little bit in the morning and a little bit in the late afternoon. All uneaten food should be removed after a couple of minutes.  Get a filter and plan on changing water a couple times a week. One turtle would be about 1/2 the work. Two in a 20 gallon will get pretty crowded pretty quickly as they grow. Scrape the algae off the glass with a single edged razor blade. Don't worry about the algae on the rocks. Too much work to keep clean.> Also, I read the water pH is supposed to be at 7.8.  Mine is at 6.8.  What do I do to raise it? < You can go to a local fish store and get some powder to raise the pH. I currently use the turtle floater thing, the de-chlorinating fluid, and Turtle Clean.  Lastly, one turtle was opening his mouth (gasping?) this morning on the basking rock, could he have gotten a chill, and if so, what should we do to keep them warmer at night when the basking light is off?  We have the water heater set at 80 right now.  Thanks for all your help!!!!!! < Turn the heater down to 70 F. Check the temp of the basking spot. It should be around 85 F. You turtle may have a respiratory infection. The temperature changes will help. The spot may be hot enough already. Reptiles sometimes cool themselves by opening their mouths to let moisture evaporate and cool them down. Down worry about keeping them warm at night . They are use to big changes in water temp.-Chuck>

Turtle With Little Worms  12/2/05 Hi, I have recently noticed tiny white parasites that are swimming in my RES habitat. I have a 55 gallon for him. They look to me to be round and mostly on the glass, but they are throughout the environment. I was wondering if you have any info as to what these are and how I can get rid of them? Could they be some sort of worm, like I have read about on your forum? < Treat the tank with Fluke-Tabs to remove them. Take a fecal sample to a qualified veterinarian that deals with turtles and see if there is an internal parasite problem.> Chubby has had a great appetite but I noticed today that these parasites are eating his pellets, in turn my RES is ingesting them also. What could come of this? <Hopefully they are really not parasitic and just a by product or contaminant that came in with some food or substrate.> These parasites are so annoying and disgusting. I have been looking for some answers but haven't found anything that really sounds like what I'm dealing with here. My turtles health has been excellent and I would like to keep that way. I'm not sure what ingesting these could do to him. Please help ASAP!! I do have some big rock on the bottom that I'm going to take out, to hard to get the yuk out of the bottom. What would you recommend for the substrate, I would like to put some sand down, if so what kind and where should I purchase it? < I would recommend a very fine well rounded non-abrasive sand. The small size means a smaller pore space between the sand grains and less junk getting trapped in there. Get it from an aquarium shop.-Chuck> Also, I don't have any live plants or fish in with him.  Thanks for any information that you could give me. Tammy 

Worms in the Turtle Tank  11/16/05 Hello, my name is Bill Glueckert and I have a question about my turtles. I have two tanks set up with 3 baby turtles each. All are still relatively small (2-3 inches), and appear to be healthy and growing at a normal rate since I got them (they were about 1 1/2 inches in August when I got them). I have three Softshells in one tank, which I plan to separate eventually, but are getting along just fine for now, and the other tank has one red eared slider, a yellow bellied slider, and a Mississippi map.  The real reason I'm writing is because I am experiencing a similar problem to one that someone already brought up on your site. However, my situation may change the response that was given. The problem I'm referring to is dated 10/31/05 on the site and is titled "Wormy Turtle Tanks (He Means EVERYWHERE) 10/31/05". I am having the exact same problem this guy was having, but I don't have any plants in either tank so that can't be where the worms are coming from.  They are the same size he described (about 1/8 an inch), and are all over the walls of the slider tank. I have noticed a few in the other tank but its only about 10 per wall, as opposed to everywhere on the walls of the other. The real problem however is this is the second time I have seen them. I noticed them two cleanings ago in the slider tank (I clean the tanks once a week with a Clorox spray), and at the time I had gravel in the tank which I assumed was where some type of larvae from a food product or some external source was hiding and reproducing.  So I cleaned and bleached the tank and removed the gravel, and did not see them again until now. Now that I've been reading a little more about parasites that can come from these and other reptiles while trying to find out what these worms are, I'm getting the creepy crawlies just looking at them. Is there anything else you can tell me about these worms or how to get rid of them? My turtles all appear very healthy and eat regularly. I do feed them in tank however and there is sometimes small food remnants left at the bottom that I can not skim out with my net, could that be the source of the problem? Thanks for your time. < Take a fecal sample of each turtle to a vet to be examined for parasites. If the critters are coming from the turtles there are plenty of things a good turtle vet can prescribe to get rid of them. I think a more likely culprit is some sort of insect that lays its eggs in the water. The larvae feed on the turtle waste or left over food. If they were on the turtle s themselves I would be thinking fish lice. Treat with fluke-tabs to take care of all the invertebrates in the tank. Retreat in a week to get rid of any new larvae that just hatched.-Chuck> 

Turtles and Copper  11/30/05 Dear people; Thanks so much for your time. I need to get rid of invertebrates. I have been told too use a copper treatment in my tank. Is this safe for my water turtle? Thanks, Tracie Lundahl <I would not get rid of inverts by using copper in your aquarium...unless they are parasites...Also the copper should not harm the turtle if dosed properly. good luck, IanB>

Wormy Turtle Tanks (He Means EVERYWHERE) 10/31/05 Hello, to all of you - Hope you can help me out or point me in the right direction - as you have in the past. I have three red-eared sliders all in separate tanks. One sighted female in a 75 gallon, a blind male in a 55 gallon and a second blind male in a 30 gallon (I adopted these turtles from a rescue so I took what they had and am quite fond of them) .  I feed all three in their own plastic bins. All three tanks are filled 2/3rds with water. The only substrate I have in any of the tanks is a few handfuls of calcium carbonate gravel. A couple of pieces of small driftwood sitting on the bottom of the tanks and a basking area.  A few days ago while doing a water change I noticed, what look to me like tiny white worms [1/16 - 1/8 of an inch long (nematodes ?)] EVERYWHERE in two of the enclosures. And when I say EVERYWHERE, I mean everywhere. The 55 gallon enclosure without the worms has two silver mollies as permanent occupants.  The reason I bring that up is I am not sure if the worms exist in the 55 and are being eaten and kept at bay by the mollies. I do buy and keep live plants in all the tanks at all times.  Do you have any clue as to what these worms might be and where they may have come from? Do you think they are parasitic? Is there a medication you think I should be adding to the water? Should I even be concerned at all about these critters?  It is buggin' me out a bit - especially the part of not knowing what they are or where they came from. Thanks for your input - always a pleasure to read. - Thomas < I think they probably came in with the plants and are harmless to the turtles. Take a turtle stool sample in to a vet that knows turtles and check for internal parasites. I would treat the tank with fluke tabs to get rid of the worms in the water.-Chuck> 

Aquatic Turtle Housing 7.21.05 I have a baby yellow-bellied slider turtle. I was just hoping that you'd be able to tell me if my turtle's tank setup is adequate. Well, his shell is about 2 1/2 inches long. I've had him since late last July. He has a 10 gallon tank. I've been told that that size tank is good for a baby turtle. <Yes> When should I consider buying him a larger tank and how many gallons? <The sooner the better, a nice size for another  year or so would be a 20gallon long, they make them for turtles with a cutaway on the side to hang a filter on, not the biggest tank, but a good option for a while.> I bought a Whisper 10i filter.  Will I have to get a larger one when I get a larger tank? <Probably, as your turtle grows it will get messier.> I bought aquarium pebbles for the bottom of the tank and for the land area. I put a brick inside the tank and piled rocks up on it so it would be easier for him to climb up on and bask. <Good, make sure it is under the light bulb.> The size of the land area is 3 in. by 7 in. Is that a big enough area for him to bask? <So long as he can fit on it comfortably without falling off.> The rest of the tank is filled with water. He has no hiding places. When he gets frightened he tends to hide by the filter and face the other side of the tank. So I figure he doesn't need any hiding places such as plants, because I'm afraid they would take up too much of his swimming room. <I would not do live plants, maybe some fake ones.  You could also build a cave type of thing with bricks, rock, slate, etc.  I've found animals that have places to retreat when they are scared are much better off.> The basking bulb is 50watts and it's the ZooMed brand. <You might also look into getting some full spectrum lighting.> The air temp in the tank is 75 degrees and the water temp is 77 degrees. Should the temps be higher or lower or are they fine the way they are? <That is within the correct range, no need to adjust it.> I turn the lamp on about 10am and turn it off about 11pm. <That is a long day, I might cut the light cycle down by an hour or 2, but its up to you.> I change the filter cartridge and clean the tank once a month. <Good, this may need to be changed more often as the turtle gets larger.> Everyday the water depth seems to go down, so I add more water. <Evaporation.> I have well water, so I don't treat the water, because it doesn't have chlorine or any type of chemicals in it. I'm so sorry about all of the questions, but I just want my turtle to have a long and healthy life. I included a picture of a turtle that looks like mine. <Sounds good, I would eventually look into getting the turtle into a 55gallon tank, but for now a 20gallon long would be good.  BTW, you did not mention what he eats?  Turtle pellets are good, the occasional treat of earth worms is always good.  Best Regards, Gage  In case we left anything out heres a link to an aquatic turtle article http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/redearsliders.htm>

My Red Eared Sliders Hi, I bought two RES for my son for Christmas one of them is doing fine and seems to be growing normally. The other my favorite is not growing he is still the same size as he was when I got him and today I noticed that he seems to be off balance he keeps flipping backwards and swimming in circles I have looked him over for injuries and have found none, his eyes look fine the only thing I have done different is I got them some krill said it was high protein. If you could give some advice I would appreciate it. I know of no reptile vets in my area. Thanks Sandra < You don't want to give them a diet too high in protein or else they grow faster than their shell. This leads to a distorted shell that never really looks the same. I would isolate the smaller turtle into his own tank. Makes sure. If he still has a good appetite then I would give him some live food such as mealworms, earthworms and crickets. Make sure to give him a warm dry area to bask. A heat lamp with a full spectrum bulb is recommended. Usually high heat will take care of most of the parasites that affect turtles. Make sure to keep up on the maintenance and keep their tank clean.-Chuck>

Moving our red ear slider turtles.... We currently live in Colorado and will be moving to Florida in a few months. The trip will be 1900+ miles. My son has had red ear slider turtles for the past 11 years. He has two loved sliders (one male and one female) that we are hoping to make the move to Florida. We are hoping to move them if it won't be too difficult for them or kill them. I have several questions I'm hoping you can help answer.  First, although we don't want to find a new home for our turtles, we are wondering if it will be too hard on the turtles to move? Would it be less selfish of us to find the turtles a good home here in Colorado rather than moving them? < Keep the turtle. Moving them is no problem.> If you think we can successfully move them 1900+ miles successfully, can you please give us any ideas on how to best go about moving them such a long distance? < Take the turtle out of the tank and place them in a large covered insulated dry box. A store fish box would be fine. Once or twice a day take them out and soak them for a few minutes in a dish of water so they can re-hydrate themselves. Don't let them get too hot or too cold along the way. feed them a couple worms along the way every day to tide them over until they can get set up in their new home.> We haven't thought of a way to keep a filter system running for the long distance so I'm wondering if we can change the water every evening when we stop traveling for the day? < Don't worry about keeping them in an aquarium until you're in Florida.> Along this line, will the difference in tap water create any problems for the turtles along the trip? If the water can create a problem, is there an additive we can add to the water to solve the problem? < Turtles really don't care about the chemistry of the water as long as it is clean.> I've heard that many pets get completely stressed to travel and adjust to a new environment. If it seems to be okay to move the turtles, can you give us any ideas on how to reduce their stress? < Keep them dark and cool to reduce their metabolic rate along the way.> Any other tips you have would be greatly appreciated. < I think your turtles will really like Florida.-Chuck> Thank you for your help.  Adrienne 

Red- eared Slider, Changing Habitat Hello, I have a few questions that I have not seen answered here and have found very little info elsewhere. I have a 5 year old Red eared slider that I found as a hatchling and am building him a new habitat since he is outgrowing his current one. Let me start off with saying that he is very healthy and active in his current environment even though it is sub par--and that is why I am concerned about putting him in his new habitat. Currently he lives in a 20 gal tank with only florescent lighting and a rock to crawl out of the water. The water is not heated and is usually 65-70 degrees and was only filtered by a BioWheel. I know this is several degrees under what is suggested but he seems fine and has a voracious appetite. His tank was next to (not in front of) a window and even though he could easily climb out of the water onto his rock he rarely spends more than 20-30 minutes at a time basking. He has never had any signs of illness other than occasional dead skin clinging to him. With his current setup I am going with a 55 gallon tank, UV-A, UV-B and a basking light, water heater, canister filter and will provide a larger land area then what he currently has. I am currently cycling the tank with several goldfish that I will leave in for him to eat and expect to do 25 percent water changes every week and complete changes about every 2-3 months but will adjust the frequency if things get too bad. My concern is that since he has adapted to his current environment pretty well over the years, would putting him in the new environment put too much stress on him or should I not worry about it? < Don't worry about him, he will be fine.> If you think this would stress him too much how would you suggest that I acclimatize him. As it is I plan on setting the thermostat to about 70 degrees and raise it a degree or so a week until about 75 degrees but what about the ambient temp in the tank? < Don't worry about the water temp. You room temp should be around 65 degrees in the winter. You can set the water temp for 70 and leave it there if you like.> Should I slowly adjust this as well? < Not needed. They come from areas where the water temp changes all the time.> I have also found very little info about proper water pH and what I have found is contradictory. My tap water runs about 8.4 but with a cinderblock in his tank for support of his basking area it raises it a little bit. The carbonate hardness of the local water makes it extremely hard to lower the pH unless I constantly monitor it and add chemicals almost daily--any suggestions for this or is the pH fine since he has already adapted to it? < Don't worry about the pH. The additional calcium leached out by the cinder block will benefit the turtle.> One last question, about two weeks ago I noticed a small yellowish/white spot smaller than the size of a match head on his carapace. The spot is not symmetrical and is not a fungus. At first I just thought it was a scratch but after reading several sites on proper care and seeing how bad I have been treating him, I am concerned. Could this be from a scratch or is it most likely from the years of inadequate lighting and heat? < It could be the start of a bacterial infection. Adequate basking under a heat lamp should take care of it.> He doesn't suffer from soft shell and I do not believe he has a vitamin deficiency because we feed him a varied diet of vegetable, protein and store bought turtle food and keep a calcium block in his tank. I have called several vets in the area but none of them really seem interested in seeing a turtle and would probably be a waste of time. I have looked on several sites and read up on several diseases and checked out the photos but nothing seemed to match. Are there any signs you would suggest to keep an eye out for as in changes or discoloration? Anyways, thank you very much for your time and any comments/suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Regards, Robert Bernier < Watch for it if it starts getting bigger . A sulfa block in the water would be beneficial during the transition.-Chuck> 

Help??? With Turtle System I came across you email address on the WetWebMedia information page. I don't know if you can help me or not, but I figure its worth a try??? <Yes> we've had 2 painted turtles and a snail in a tank for about 3 yrs now. a few months ago I noticed what appeared to be pieces of white lint. eventually the lint grew to the length of 1/4-3/8" and greatly increased in number. I've completely stripped down the tank and cleaned it a couple of times now. the lint seems to be gone, but later that same day, or the next they are back. the boy from the pet store said it was anchor worms, but from what I've seen on the internet, they are not the same thing.  <Not Anchor Worms (Lernaeid crustaceans) assuredly> I looked today with a magnifying glass and what I figure to be an egg sack, looks like a pearl. does this ring any bells? do you know what it is? how I got it? how to get rid of it? something else, maybe of no importance, but who knows?  <Don't know what this is... likely just an algae growth of some sort. I would try using Jungle (Brand) Pond Blocks (at the rate of one per ten gallons first... At most would lightly chlorine bleach the system, vacuum/siphon, rinse all contents... including the turtles but not the snail... Fill tank to highest mark, place about one ounce of bleach (laundry strength) per twenty gallons, leave five minutes, dump, rinse, re-fill, dump, rinse, re-fill.> we have ring neck doves and a couple of times they've messed in the tank. I clean it out as soon as I notice it. another thing is that I have had some seashells from the ocean, I've had in storage for years, that I put in the tank some time back. could that be what's going on? sorry to be so long winded. please advise. thank you. <The shells might be contributing to the re-occurrence, growth... but not likely a problem. The turtles will tend to make the water, system more acidic and the shells by "melting" aid in keeping pH about right. Bob Fenner>

Algae control (Simazine use and turtles) To whom it may concern, I am inquiring on the toxicology effects of a product called algae destroyer (Simazine) liquid on a red ear slider turtle or if you know of a product that can be used. <I am not familiar with this particular product, but I would not recommend any of them (algaecides) except for extreme situations. The best thing is a little elbow grease. Scrub down the tank and drain it. Turtles are not like fish. You don't have to worry as much with changing water. I put my turtle's tank right beside a floor drain and sink and perform a 100% water change every other week. They are stinky, dirty buggers that need it.> Thanks, Jeff <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Algae in Turtle Tank I have 2 aquariums with red eared slider turtles. I use a Fluval 204 canister filter for both aquariums. <Excellent choice, canisters are great for turtle tanks.> Within the last couple of months, there has been a lot of algae growing on the floating islands that they use to bask on. I have completely cleaned the aquariums and within 4 or 5 days, the algae is back. <Depending upon how complete your "completely cleaned" is, you may be working against yourself by getting rid of beneficial bacteria, large partial water changes are the way to go.> Is there anything that I can use to put in the water or media that can be put in the filter that won't harm the turtles? <I am just not a big believer in using products to adjust the conditions of my tank, especially if I am going to become dependent upon them, it is too expensive and unnecessary. If you are not using carbon in your filters, I would recommend adding this. It is best to get to the root of the problem.> I have had these aquariums for about a year and have just started having the problem. One aquarium is near a window, but the other one isn't, so I don't think that sunlight is a factor. Also, there is an oily film along the top of the water in one aquarium. I have started to feed them dehydrated shrimp, which they love. Please help. <The first question is, what changes have you made to your husbandry recently that may be causing the problem? A change in food? Maybe this food is adding more nutrients to help the algae grow? A change to your lighting, old bulbs? Turtles are messy, especially as they get older, water quality will definitely play a role in algae blooms. You could try algae eating fish, but they may end up as expensive turtle food. You could try changing their diet, or your feeding regime, making sure that all food is being consumed. There are all kinds of algae destroying products on the market, but personally I would not use any of them. You may find that a little scrub down of the tank decorations is just part of your weekly maintenance. I actually like a little algae, it gives the tank that "lived in" look. Check out the link below for more info on battling algae. Best Regards, Gage http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwalgcontrol.htm >

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