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FAQs About Soft/Shell Rot, Conditions In Turtles 5

Related Articles: Shell Rot in Turtles, Treating Common Illnesses of the Red Ear Slider (& other Emydid Turtles) by Darrel Barton, The Care and Keeping of the Red Eared Slider, Trachemys scripta elegans by Darrel Barton, Red Ear Sliders, Turtles, Amphibians, Red Eared Slider Care,


Related FAQs: Shell Rot 1, Shell Rot 2, Shell Rot 3, Shell Rot, Conditions 4, Shell Conditions 6, Shell Conditions 7, Shell Conditions 8, Shell Conditions 9, Shell Conditions 11, Shell Conditions 12, Shell Conditions 13, Shell Conditions 14, Shell Conditions 15, Shell Conditions 16, Shell Conditions 17, & Turtles, Turtles 2, Turtle Identification, Turtle Behavior, Turtle Compatibility, Turtle Selection, Turtle Systems, Turtle Feeding, Turtle Disease, Turtle Disease 2, Turtle Disease 3, Turtle Reproduction, Amphibians, Other Reptiles,


Turtle question 6/22/09
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have two 8 month old Red Eared Sliders. I've noticed that the lines on their shells have become very bold and dark. I was just wondering if that was normal or if I'm doing something wrong.
<Nope -- completely normal. As they grow, the shells turn a deeper green and then eventually darker and the edges, called margins, turn from gray to black.>
<As far as if you're doing anything wrong, just in general, here's a link that you can compare to your care and decide for yourself.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<good luck!>


please oh please help me... Turtle shell ish 06/15/09
we have a one year old baby turtle named tony and he's been scaring us lately.
his shell is really soft and flexible toward his bottom area and around the edges with these weird tiny white spots that weren't there before. he sheds a lot and he's acting really weird lately; like he hides UNDER his floating rock avoiding the light and when we take him out the tank he hides under stuff and falls asleep.
<Sounds like Soft Shell, a common problem when people do everything wrong. Specifically, the two main issues are [a] diet and [b] UV-B lighting. The diet of these reptiles should contain calcium. The worst thing you can feed pet turtles are dried turtle pellets. They're useless. Instead offer turtles a diet that's about 50% fresh green foods (curly lettuce and Elodea pondweed are idea) and 50% calcium-rich wet frozen foods such as krill and lancefish (which contain bones) both of which you can get from tropical fish shops. The lighting issue is important because turtles need to bask under UV-B lighting if they are to grow their bones and shell properly. If you don't add UV-B lighting, or the turtles doesn't spend most of the year outdoors in a pond, then it will suffer all kinds of deformities.>
as for his habitat descriptions, we don't us any lights or any thing cuz we didn't know we should and when i found out he should the pet store owner had said it didn't really matter since we had already been living with him for a year and he had no issues until now.
<He has probably (certainly) had all sorts of "issues", it's just they're now so severe you can't ignore them anymore. Start by visiting a vet so that your turtle can have a check-up and a vitamin boost, and then make the changes to its care outlined above.>
His diet is made up of strictly turtle food pellets and some times ill pass his a grain or two of oatmeal or cooked rice. (he's so small i only give him 1 grain of rice)
<A garbage diet. Please read up on the needs of Red-ear Sliders and feed your pet responsibly.>
am i doing something wrong?
<Many, many things.>
cuz if so I'd really appreciate the right way to take care of tony. Tony's my first and only pet and i want to do a good job.
<There's a good starting place for your reading, here:
sup wit my turtle dawg?! lol jk.
<I have no idea what this means; I'm British you know, and we still speak the good old Queen's English around here.>
From Rosanelia B.
<Cheers, Neale.>


Red Slider Health 6-15-2009
<Hiya! Darrel here>
I have a Red Eared Slider, (Nick, for in a nick of time),
<I thought maybe it was a name you just thought of while shaving.>
I rescued from a coworker. It is about 9 inches long from head to tail, and was living in a ten gallon aquarium.
<9 inches is a very well grown female .. and 10 gallons was WAY too small!!!!>
My coworker changed it's water only every few months and it had a basking dock that was way too small to keep it out of the water. In addition to that she only fed it turtle pellets and left the regular lights on 24/7 when they weren't burned out for months on end.
<Your co-worker isn't what we consider a 'pet person' is she? In fact what we're likely to call her -- isn't suited for a family-oriented web site.>
At one point it quit eating for over a month. She had it in this condition for two years. I convinced her over the summer to let me take it home with me.
<Thank you!>
I now have it in a 55 gallon aquarium with a nice basking dock, heat light, UV light, and a varied diet. It (not sure if it is a boy or girl)
<A girl probably. Boys max out at 5-6 inches>
... was thrilled with the change in living status but has a slime that hangs from its skin when it's swimming and has shell issues.
<The song is over ... but the malady lingers on. The slime could also be a fungus. You can swab the effected areas with any commercially available athlete's foot cream or any other anti-fungal. Let it dry for an hour before putting Nick back in the water.>
There are dark and light spots on the shell, the light spots are around the edges mostly. There did appear to be algae under some areas but this seems to have cleared up with the special lights and basking dock.
<That two tone shell coloration is a typical color variation for Sliders that age/size and isn't an issue. The cracking around the edges appears to be the remainders of some shell degradation (undoubtedly due to the original poor care). I would expect it to improve a bit with time but never fully go away.>
<The whitish areas in the pictures is likely hardened remnants of the algae/slime that has been affecting her ... BUT ..... it may be as simple as water spots or mineral buildup. Really. We see many people concerned about that kind of condition .. white spots and slight buildup .. and we just take the turtle and a rag with a tiny bit of CLR and just wipe it clean and then rinse it.>
<Sunlight, UV and a good diet (Repto-min food sticks or a high quality Koi Pellet) is most likely all it will take.>
The edges of the shell around the perimeter are coming off in sheets. Not just the top layer flaking off but a few layers at a time. I have included pictures but need to know where to start.
<Laura, I'm not seeing anything in those pictures that concerns me. That shedding is natural growth of the shell and considering that the shell has sustained a small bit of permanent damage, it doesn't surprise me that it's shedding from the center rather than the edge.>
<Nick is going to require a bit more attention to water quality, fungal prevention and UV exposure than average. For example, about once every other month I'd swab her entire shell with an anti-fungal, allow it to dry a few hours and then rinse with household vinegar. Make sure she eats well, basks daily and gets DRY regularly and I think she'll do well in your care.>
Thanks for your help!
<Laura, thank YOU for jumping in (that's a WetWebMedia pun -- get it???? ) and saving Nick with your care and commitment. She owes you!>

hi there,
quick question, will a turtles shell skin grow back once its reached the bone? 5/13/09
<? Don't know if I understand what exactly you're asking... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlvstkind2.htm
The last tray at the bottom. Bob Fenner>

Dear Crew,
<Hiya, Darrel here>
I adopted a red ear slider in pretty bad shape.. his shell was literally falling off.. so I searched the best ways to help him get it back and strong.. but one little section about 1" x 1" has flaked off down to I
guess the end of the shell 'layers' and is showing white.. its not soft and doesn't show any signs of puss?
<Adam, that may be a fungus ... or it may be scar tissue. When a shell scute finally gets so damaged that it literally falls off, the underlying skin usually scars and turns white. From your description it's hard to
know what it is. A set of pictures, even from a camera in a cell phone, would be helpful.>
<Regardless of what it is, the basic care here is keep him warm and DRY, place him in a lukewarm container of fresh tap water for no more than 5 minutes a day in order for him to drink, poop and perhaps eat, then back to where it's warm and dry. Make sure his dry place has plenty of UV light a minimum 10 hours a day (being under unfiltered sunlight for 15 minutes twice a day would be great as well). Turtles can do remarkable jobs of healing themselves if we give them the chance.>
<Best of luck>

Re: Pictures of a Red Eared Slider 5/17/09
Hey thanks bud.
<Not a problem .... helping people is why we do this. And for the free food>
I took your advice and got him started on a new routine, hopefully everything works out I took a few pictures.. hopefully they can help determine what's going on with the little guy..
<Very high quality pictures, Adam. Many people send us huge shots with so many lighting and focus problems that we know less after looking than we did before. You did a good job>
<The two pictures show two completely different issues and I'll address them in turn>
<Picture #1 shows a scute that was so damaged that it actually died and fell off. The white underneath is the underlying skin-like tissue that is being calcified and starting to scar over. Follow the care instructions and keep him warm and dry and swab the area twice daily with hydrogen peroxide, let that dry for a half hour and then cover with Betadine (Povidone/Iodine, etc.) and in about 6 weeks he'll be fit enough to resume life in a normal habitat. Once completely scarred over, this plate is tough enough for day to day life, but it does require that you be extra observant for damage or infection of the surrounding scutes, but with that said, Franklin can look forward to a long an [otherwise] healthy life and his only liability is not being able to compete in beauty pageants. But then, those things are so rigged and political anyway ... it's just as well>
<Picture #2 is even more interesting. Same turtle, another great shot of the damaged scute ... but this picture shows a HUGE HUMAN THUMB GROWING OUT OF HIS RIGHT REAR SHELL MARGIN!!!! When did this start? How long has Franklin been dragging a human hand behind him?>
<Did you hear about the guy that walked into the doctor's office with a frog growing out of his forehead? The doctor looked up and said "That's the most amazing thing I have ever seen!! How did this happen" And then the Frog said "Doc, I have NO IDEA! Two weeks ago it was just a tiny wart on my butt!>
<Seriously, Adam. --or--as serious as I get... great pics, cute turtle, easy care instructions. And just remind Franklin that female turtles dig scars. DANG!!! There I go AGAIN!!!>
<You're welcome>

Adam ?
Would you mind if I make a copy of the first pic of the dead scute to include in a turtle illness handout we're creating? It's not a for-profit book or anything... a publisher may give us a few bucks for the effort, but mostly it will just be on this site for reference by others.
Can you help us out?
<A note to others with service-able graphics. Please do consider sending them in for Darrel's use. RMF>


Red Spot on my slider's Shell. 4/19/09
<Darrel crewing for you this evening>
I have a male and female Red Eared Slider, on my males shell he has been shedding his scutes. I found a shedding scute on the back of his shell that looked like it had some algae on it, so I helped him get it off. Now where it was taking off, is a tiny spot, about the size of a 1/8in by 1/8in square and it looks to be red (almost like a really bad sunburn or a blood spot).
<That happens sometimes when the scute doesn't shed naturally. It's really not a good idea to try to help unless it's an extreme circumstance>
When we check him in the morning, it is all white. He has his light for 12 hours a day, and he eats/basks normally. No other behavior changes have been noticed. He still tries to mate with the female. I am wondering what this could be. We do not have a reptile vet around, and I am hoping that you could help.
<Well, you hoped correctly -- we can help.>
<Is the male's name 'Alexander' by any chance? Take little Alex out of the tank each day, dry off the scute area with a paper towel and coat it with Betadine (iodine/Povidone ... any of the -dine disinfectants) and let it dry for an hour before putting him back in the tank. This will help fight off infection while the tear heals over.>
Thank you!
<You're WELCOME!>


Shell Rot? 4/12/09
<Hiya -- Darrel here>
I inherited a Red Eared Slider (8" L x 6" W) from a friend last June. My friend kept her (Isis) in a 15 gallon tank for two years with a basking dock too small for her to dry up on. She told me a normal light would work to with the clamp light for the turtle. She had a Whisper over the tank filter and it hadn't been changed in a little while.
<Wow. That is a big turtle! They get a bit bigger of course, but still, Isis is a large & mature female>
I also have a baby (2 1/2" L x 2 1/4" W) Red Eared Slider. Another friend had it (no official name yet) in a 10 gallon tank with no light, no basking dock, no filter. I've had it for one month now.
<I'm glad YOU have it now. Under the conditions you're describing, it's name would likely have been "The turtle that died">
I went online and learned as much as I could about the turtles and bought a 55 gallon tank (I am saving for a bigger tank, with shipping it will cost more the a whole paycheck to get it here in tact)
<Lets hold off on the bigger one then. I may have a better idea>
a 175 gallon Rena Filstar canister filter, two 18" Zoo Med docks and my boyfriend fused them together so they could bask comfortably, an additional clamp light with a UVA/UVB light and a heat light for the other clamp light, I have 15 feeder guppies and 2 feeder goldfish in the tank for exercise, a calcium bone and a few calcium blocks (water conditioners?) in the tank always. Also a plecostomus to help clean the tank between water changes. I do a partial water change once a few, a full water change on even weeks and a filter cleaning on odd weeks.
<So far, sounds really good -- the feeder guppies and the goldfish aren't really recommended though.>
After reading up some I have on order Vita Shell (a shell conditioner?), Zoo Med ReptiSafe Instant Terrarium, Water Conditioner, Zoo Med ReptiWound-Healing Aid and additional Zoo Med Dr Turtle Sulfa Blocks. Every order takes from two weeks to a month and a half to get here.
<Let me save you some time and money here. Sliders don't need water conditioner or sulfa blocks or shell conditioners. Sulfa blocks, calcium blocks and wound healers are last-ditch attempts to treat conditions that
proper care corrects naturally -- and for a lot less money!>
I live in rural Alaska and the vet here has no clue how to treat turtles.
Isis' shell is not basking much and her shell (top and bottom) has patches where her scales (I think that's what they are) have come off and exposed rougher depressions. There are pink spots near her neck and bottom. I have been dry docking her a few hours a day for a week now. My boyfriend bought her a baby tooth brush so I could clean between the scales. I keep the tank in the lower 70 degrees temps to encourage basking often What else can I do at home to help heal my poor Isis and keep it from spreading to the other turtle?
<OK, let's treat Isis first. Is she otherwise active and eating? Those are both good signs. The pink spots sound like irritated, raw skin. Is that possible?>
<Take Isis -- in fact both of them -- out of the tank and take them some place warm and dry. I'm thinking a high sided plastic tub or even a cardboard box. (Just remember turtles are surprisingly good climbers!)
place the basking lamps and the UV lamps over top (again, use common sense in placing a basking lamp near cardboard or paper). Every condition that Isis has is made worse by moisture and she can go weeks and even months without being in water, so let's get her warm and dry. I'm enclosing a description for treating fungus infections and it will really help Isis and little Burt get at least stabilized. The rougher spots you describe on Isis' shell sound like scutes that have come off due to fungal or bacterial infections and while they may never be as pretty as unaffected areas, once we get her health back in top shape, they'll just giver her character.!>
<This is my standard first-line treatment for fungus in water turtles:>
<The first thing to understand is that a water turtle's normal environment is warm and wet -- and as any scientist will tell you -- the best way to grow fungus or bacteria is to keep the germs warm and wet! To treat the turtles we need to remove them from their environment and keep them warm and DRY. I use a cardboard box with high sides and a regular old electric heating pad on it's lowest settings for this. The trick here is to buy the 'economy' type heating pad that does not have an Auto-Off feature. I wrap it in a cloth towel and place it in the bottom of the box and cover that with a layer of newspaper. Then just place the turtles in it. After they've been in for about 24 hours, place them is a shallow bowl of room temperature water for around 5 minutes. This is to give them time to drink and poop. You can put a few food pellets in there and they may or may not eat, don't worry about that now. After 5 minutes or so, take them out and
let them dry off for an hour or so.>
<Now we'll treat the fungus>
<For shell fungus, apply a topical anti-fungal cream from the drug store to the affected area. Look for any of the brands that contain Miconazole (or any that end in -azole) or Tolnaftate -- brand name is unimportant.
Remember to run thoroughly in order to press it into the area, but don't waste the cream -- only the bottom-most layer makes contact with the shell - thicker is not better. Repeat this process for 14 days. You should
start to see results in the affected areas after 5-7 days, but treat for the full 14>
<For skin fungus, if the fungus is localized, apply household vinegar to the affected area with a cotton swab and rub lightly. If the area is accessible you can even scrub (lightly) with an old toothbrush. If the fungus is around the head or neck or affecting the entire turtle, the treatment is a bit harder. I alternate between a salt water bath and a vinegar dip. The salt water bath is a tablespoon of salt (aquarium salt is great, table sale will do) per cup of luke-warm water -- as much as you need to over the whole turtle. Place him in the bath for 2 to 3 minutes and them remove him to dry off for a hour, then rinse him in fresh tap water). The vinegar "dip" is usually more like trying to dribble the vinegar over his whole body including the neck and face, yet without getting it into his eyes or nose. It's basically impossible to avoid getting into the eyes or nose, but I try. If the animal gets an uncomfortable amount and continually tries to wipe his face with his front claws, then give him a quick rinse in tap water. Otherwise, just as with the salt bath, let it dry on him for an hour and then give him a rinse.>
<Now, about the bigger tank. I hate to see you spend that much money!>
<To make a pun -- think outside the tank! Turtles like water depth but they appreciate surface area more! Most of their lives are spent on a shore or a log -- or within the top 5 inches of surface. Three times their
own height (7 inches perhaps) is the most that really matters. So .. what about an indoor pond? Anywhere from an actual plastic pond or a pond liner made from a wooden frame -- to a couple of Rubbermaid Roughneck tubs connected in some way? Place it near a window and plant perennials around the outside to disguise it's true nature? OK -- I'm just making this up .... but most houses have an abundance of unused areas if you think in terms of irregular shapes and unusual designs.
Anyway, please give a long & wide design (rather than an aquarium's long, narrow & tall design) some thought while we treat their conditions and then write back!>
Thank you for any input from all of us!
<No charge!>


Weird white spots 3/31/09
Hi, I have a red eared slider. He is now one year old and I have noticed these strange white marks on him, you can only see them when he is completely dry.
<Oh? May simply be limescale. Try dabbing with a little lemon juice or vinegar; if this dissolves them, it's limescale.>
The white marks are not soft or furry.
<Do check the smell; shell rot and fungal infection often have a distinctive moldy or rotten smell.>
He has had them since he began to grow... they haven't gotten bigger or smaller but they haven't gone away, they are not patterns on his shell. But I am not sure what they are. I have tried scrubbing him with an old tooth brush and salt he has also had salt baths. I would like to know if they are dangerous or if they are a sign of something worse.
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: Weird white spots 4/1/09
hi Liz again
anyway thanks i will try the lemon juice, but they do not have a strange smell to them, i will message back if the lemon resolution does not work thanks
<Happy to help. Good luck, Neale.>

Re: Weird white spots, RES 04/07/09
Hey i tried scrubbing my turtle with lemon juice and an old tooth brush and it faded but is still there can lemon juice cause acid corrosion on the turtles shell?
<No; lemon juice isn't going to harm your turtle in the short time it's applied to the shell while wiping. Don't feel the need to remove all the limescale at once. Try brushing away a little every week. Cheers, Neale.>


Shiny Spots on RES 3/12/2009
Hey guys,
<Hiya Billy - Darrel here>
Great site and really good info!!!
<Thank You!>
I have searched your site for my problem, but can't seem to find exactly what I'm seeing on my Red Eared Slider's shells. I have two turtles (about 4-5 inches each from side to side) that were recently moved into a 75 gallon tank.
<Those are getting to be fairly large turtles, Billy. They actually could use more space than a 75 gallon, but as long as you keep the water conditions pristine and the basking platform properly heated and lighted, they'll do just fine.>
Previously, they had spent about 2 yrs in a 49 gallon tank
<Too small for turtles that size>
and about the last 8 months with an Oscar fish sharing the tank. As expected the Oscar grew crazy fast but then began to change colors from black and orange to more yellow-ish where the black was. In the 49 gallon I had an underwater filter along with a hanging filter on the back of the tank. The Oscar began to become sluggish and very shy where he use to compete with the turtles for attention and food. This is when I made it a priority to move them into the 75 gallon tank and tried to keep the Oscar in the 49 gallon. Almost immediately after the move, the Oscar got worse and very quickly died.
<Sorry for your loss, Billy, but you could have seen this coming>
I assume he was already in bad shape and the move was probably too much stress for him.
<This is a cautionary note for EVERYONE:>
<Fish and Reptiles are extremely stoic animals. In the wild, the predators specialize in the young, the old and the sick ... so it's never in a their interest to appear ill. For that reason, reptiles and fish tend to look and act pretty much FINE ..... right up until they are moments from death and far beyond most people's ability to help. This is why we keep telling you all -- Check your fish EVERY day. Look for any behavioral changes EVERY DAY. Note feeding patterns EVERY DAY. By the time an animal's condition is apparent to just a casual glance, it's either VERY expensive to cure ... or more often the case, too late to cure.>
Not that I'm too worried about the Oscar at this point, but I wanted to be sure you knew the whole story.
<The Oscar could very likely have been a casualty of long-term stress.
Competition for food, space and water conditions (turtles generate THOUSANDS of TIMES more waste than fish) were all working against the Oscar since the moment they all became tank mates.>
Now that the turtles are alone with a plecostomus and small catfish (who are both perfectly healthy), they have begun to develop very shiny white/clear spots on their shells (2 spots on one turtle and 3 spots on the other). I read another problem on your site of a white chalky substance on the shells and you said that it was most likely calcium carbonate in the water. I did not use the recommended distilled water and know I have very "hard" tap water, as my fridge gets the chalky build up where the water is dispensed. I did however, use API Stress Coat+ to treat the water because this is what I already had and assumed it would be similar if not the same as the turtle specific stuff. Also, I do not have a water heater, but do have a thermometer where their basking dock is and the temp stays right around 85-90 degrees.
<Let's start with the perfectly healthy plecostomus and catfish. They are as healthy as the Oscar once was, correct? Before the Oscar succumbed to the conditions created by the turtles? As a basic rule of thumb, Turtles and Fish DO NOT MIX. They do NOT occupy the same ecosystems ..
they occupy DIFFERENT ecosystems that have a tiny overlap. Why not save the time and trouble later and move the Pleco and the other catfish to the 49 gallon tank now? Add a heater, some proper wavelength lighting and some freshwater plants?>
<OK -- now to the task at hand. Turtles don't care that much for hard water versus soft water, they don't have enough of a slime-coat to need or care about stress-coats, etc. Regular, ordinary chlorinated or chloramine tap water is just fine... as long as it is CLEAN. And STAYS CLEAN. And gets changed REGULARLY. For two adult Red Eared Sliders in a 75 gallon tank, I'd clean/rinse filters weekly, I'd change HALF the water every other week, I'd change the activated charcoal in the filters every month and at least every 9-10 weeks I'd drain the entire tank, wash with mild detergent and half cup of chlorine bleach, rinse and refill.>
Since my turtles' shells are shiny rather than chalky, do you think this is a similar calcium carbonate problem? Do you think the Oscar's disease might have transferred to the turtles? Perhaps the stress coat I used was incorrect? Other than the shiny spots on their shells, the turtles are acting very normal, eating, basking, swimming and loving their new tank!
<It's unlikely that it's a calcium buildup. There is a very slight possibility that you're seeing the natural translucence of individual scutes as they grow and are ready to shed .... but my guess is that they have developed a fungal infection under the scutes from the unclean conditions. Unfortunately that is a fairly difficult condition to cure.>
<First, remove them from the tank and place them somewhere warm and dry.
Second, obtain some Tolnaftate or similar topical antifungal from the drug store and rub a small amount on the affected scute and around the edges of that scute daily. After an hour's drying time (minimum) you can place them each in a shallow bowl of fresh, clean tap water for 15 minutes so they can drink, poop and perhaps eat ... then back in the warm dry place until the same time the next day. Treating an underlying infection with a topical ointment is a long shot, but it's much cheaper than finding a good reptile veterinarian and getting a systemic treatment. With luck, you should see improvements in a week or so and many a reversal of the condition in a month or 6 weeks. Then they can return home .... and you hopefully will pay rigorous attention to the water conditions as detailed above.>


Do my Red Eared Slider have shell rot? 01/17/09 Hi <Hiya Roxel, Darrel here> I own two Red Eared Sliders. One is fine (which is a female, I think?). But the male one, might have shell rot. I had some pictures of them. Three come from my Male turtle the other one is my female turtle. My Male RES have shell sores/rot, one from his sides the other one is a black dot. The black dot came out about 3 weeks since my mother bought them. <Unfortunately, the pictures are taken too close for the camera to focus, Roxel. We see big green blurs and big whitish blurs. You notations are fine, but the detail on the turtles isn't clear. In the future I'd take the pictures from a bit further away - we can easily enlarge them to SEE the detail if the camera captures that detail in the first place> Do you think I can cure it by myself ? There is no vet here who specializes turtles. I need you answer back, ASAP! <Yes Ma'am!> <Shell Rot is a general term for a fungal (or sometimes bacterial) infection of the shell. The usual indicators are that the shell areas look "worn" almost as if they've been sanded or ground down, they are softer than the rest of the shell in general and often there is a bit of a smell. Regardless of the actual condition, the home treatment is essentially the same. Read the enclosed FAQ links regarding treatment of shell rots and most importantly, remember that the condition almost always occurs when the housing conditions aren't sufficient -- so we treat the turtle, but also we must FIX THE CONDITION.> <The links give enough detail, but I'll say again, keep the turtle warm and dry except for a few minutes to bathe and eat each day. Clean the affected areas with household vinegar, or even hydrogen peroxide -- on a cotton tipped swab, allow to dry and then apply the anti-fungal. Repeat this every day for a week and look for some improvement. It should be noted that the shell area will never return to a perfectly normal color or texture -- it may always look scarred.> <http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebindex/turtshelrotfaq2.htm> <http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm> <Write back and lets us know how it turns out, OK?> Thank you! <Yer welcome!>

Re: do my Red Eared Slider have shell rot? 1/19/09 Hi Crew, Roxel again. thanks for the advice <No charge> Can I also clean the rots with povidone-iodine solution? <That's a good cleaning solution, Roxel, but you still should use an anti-fungal cream. Any of the creams in the Athlete's Foot section of the grocery store or pharmacy shelves will be just fine.> Should I chip off the rotting parts of my turtle or just put them with iodine povidone? <No chipping or surgery of any kind, Roxel -- THAT you have to leave to a trained professional or very advanced keeper.> <Regards, Darrel>


RES with newly occurring green mold? on belly (plus spiffy family-level joke courtesy of Darrel) 12/22/08 Two male Red Eared Sliders - about 5 years old. <Sounds like the beginning of a joke, doesn't it? Two Red Eared Sliders about 5 years old, walk into a bar ....> Proper light, food, heat. <Always a good thing> Suddenly, one of them has green ?mold? on his belly?? <too? many?? erotemes??? Not really!!!> It's a green and smudgy; doesn't cover the underside of the shell, but it's blotchy. Is that mold or a fungus? <yes> I did put in a sulfa turtle about two days ago, will continued treatment help? <Probably won't help much - but it won't hurt either. Sulfa is a treatment for bacteria, molds and fungus but only so far as it makes the environment less friendly to those things -- the problem is (and this is the same with many if not most water "medicines" for fish or reptiles) -- is that you can't get a high enough concentration in the water to be effective. Enough sulfa in the water to be of value would turn the water into mud. Not all my colleagues will agree with this, but in my opinion (also known as the "right" or "correct" opinion) Penicillin tablets dissolved in water do very little but give you the most expensive aquarium water in the neighborhood -AND- steal your time and money from more effective treatments!> Thank you very much for any guidance. <No problem ... so far> I do have a local vet who treats turtles, although, they've only been in once. Wanted to see if I could treat or if they need meds. <Yeah, we're not at Veterinarian time yet. As long as they are active and eating, lets work on this ourselves.> <Treat the turtles with daily cleaning of the affected areas. Wipe dry with cloth, apply common household vinegar with a Q-Tip [Technically, that's a Q-Tip Brand cotton swab on a stick! -- I don't want Unilever on my case!] and keep them out of water and in a warm dry place for a week or so. Place then in a shallow container of water for 20 minutes a day to eat, drink & poop, and then back in their warm, dry place until tomorrow. On alternating days you can use Hydrogen Peroxide or even any of the athlete's foot compounds you have or can buy that contain miconazole (Micatin), clotrimazole (Lotrimin AF), or tolnaftate (Tinactin). These will all attack a fungus or mold, all will combat, but perhaps not cure, a bacterial infection -- but all will help treat the condition more effectively than a sulfa block.> <meanwhile, back at the ranch, we need to treat the cause. Water quality, heat, light and nutrition are all suspects and AT LEAST one is likely the culprit. I'm going to suggest you start with water quality. Use this time in their vacation home to do a complete breakdown and cleaning of their regular enclosure. As complete as you believe your care to be, compare it to the hints in the article (link below) and see if you can spot the weakest area.> Thanks!!! <You're welcome - Darrel> <PS: Keep up posted!> <http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm> <but wait .... there's more ......> <I'm not going to leave you hanging ......> <Two Red Eared Sliders about 5 years old, walk into a bar ...> <One turtle says to the bartender "I'll have a beer, please"> <.....> <.....> <The horse turns to the cow and says "HOLY CRAP!!!! A TALKING TURTLE!!!!!!>


Worried About My Sliders 8/18/08 Hi! I've got two 5yr old Red-Eared Sliders and the female shell, her name is Loxa, around the edges is flaking up and some on the top are loose. Could this be shell rot, her growing, or does she need conditioning? I really don't know what to do. I've cleaned the tank completely and we're putting fresh water in. I just want them both to be healthy and happy. Thanks. <Hello. Most problems with shells come down to poor diet, lack of UV-B lighting, and dirty water. So check these things first. Terrapins need a diet rich in plant matter as well as calcium. UV-B is supplied by using a UV-B lamp over the vivarium under which the animal can bask. Clean water is taken care of using a filter and regular water changes. If you do all three of these things, you should be fine, but missing out any one of them will, eventually, lead to problems. It's depressing how many people don't provide UV-B light for example, and wonder why their turtles develop unhealthy shells and bones. Anyway, Shell Rot has a distinctive foul odour, so it should be obvious if this is the issue. When terrapins grow they sometimes shed the "plates" (known as scutes) from the shell, and these can sometimes be seen flaking off. Take care not to pull them away before their time though! Do review the 5 most common turtle problems listed at the end of this article: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/b4youwriteneale.htm There are links to all the essential articles on these topics elsewhere on the WWM site. If you do things "by the numbers", these animals are generally very hardy and easily maintained. It's when people cut corners or simply don't know about their pet's needs that things go wrong. Cheers, Neale.>


My Turtle is Shedding. 10/1/08
I have had my turtle for about a year. He has all the proper food, housing, and lights. I have love your sight and am so glad I found it. I have a question that I don't believe has been answered. My turtle's shell has recently started "peeling" Should I pull these scales off?
<No, not necessary or recommended>
Or let them naturally fall off?
<Yes, this>
I have pulled a few off and under is white. Other ones I have pulled off have been half white, and the other half like a black slime. I feel like maybe this is a shell rot that is under the old shell?
Thank You
<Mmm, possibly to an extent... You do have adequate housing, nutrition for this animal? You have read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm
and the linked files above? Bob Fenner>


is this shell rot!!! plz help 9/29/08
hi plz check the attached pic .. my turtle is being wid me frm feb n he never had problems...
<Please, don't send us messages in "text messaging" language. The whole idea of this site is that we answer these queries for our thousands of visitors. For that to work, we need proper English. While we're happy to help people for whom English isn't their first language, it is incredibly annoying to get messages that look like they've been sent by lazy 14-year olds. We ask for this right on the front door where you got our e-mail, so there's no excuse.>
can u plz tell me wht r these reddish spots n white film like layer on his shell ? is thi sshell rot ? wht can i do t fix it ?
<Quick check: does this reptile have access to UV-B light? Shell Rot is extremely common (read: probable) in tanks where a UV-B lamp has not been installed. Also, what are you feeding this turtle in terms of calcium? Can the turtle come out of the water to bask? The shell looks as if it is simply moulting (the plates come off as the animal grows) with perhaps a little lime build up thanks to hard water. The best way to confirm Shell Rot at this early stage is the smell: if the shell smells funny, then Shell Rot may be starting. So while I'm not convinced this is Shell Rot yet, do make sure you have the basics covered in terms of UV-B, clean water, and a calcium-rich diet. Do see here:
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: is this shell rot!!! plz help 9/29/08
Thank you for your reply and I'm sorry for the text messaging language.
<Happy to help, and now you know for next time! Cheers, Neale.>

help... Turtle Shell issue 9/1/08
my turtle has white spots on his back he is a baby map I can scrape it off but it comes back can u tell me what to do thank you..... ericjames <Good evening! Are these spots soft or chalky? Do they slide off like slime, or do you have to chip them away like lime scale? And please, when you write back, if you can force yourself to use proper English with punctuation and grammar, just as we ask at the front door to the web site, that would be appreciated and the best way to thank us. Cheers, Neale.>
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