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FAQs About Soft/Shell Rot, Conditions In Turtles 2

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, AmphibiansRed Eared Slider Care

Related FAQs:  Shell Rot 1, Shell Rot 3, Shell Rot 4, Shell Conditions 5, 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, AmphibiansOther Reptiles

Pink bellies on turtles  7/12/07 Hello, <Hi> I have a Mississippi map turtle, and a yellow bellied Cooter, both of which are about 2.5 to 3 inches in size. More recently they have both started to get pink bellies. I think they are not getting enough calcium in there diet. I have tried the turtle bone, and I am not sure what else to do. How can I get rid of the pink bellies? <Well, to be honest, this is an unusual one. My guess would be a microorganism in the water ... like a micro algae. How is your water quality and how often do you change it?> As well as get more minerals in the water? Not in the water -- too many minerals in the water will stain & coat their shells just like hard water deposits in your bathtub. (Minerals was my first reaction to the pink bellies, but I couldn't think of a mineral that would cause that on the turtles without making the water appear rose colored. Get them minerals via their diet (basic Koi Pellets or Repto-Min food sticks supplemented with the occasional night crawler)> I have noticed that their shells look like they have wrinkles? I not sure how else to explain it. <As their shells grow they shed a thin, semi transparent layer of the scute and sometimes that can look a bit wrinkled. Is that what you're talking about?> I don't think there is any shell rot, or fungal disease. <Doesn't sound like it -- at least not normal fungal problems> Is this considered soft shell? or can this be attributed to them growing? <Soft shell is just that -- you feel the shell and it's not like your fingernails, but softer.> I am sorry for all of the questions. <By all means. Questions lead to answers and we all like those!> Thanks, Concerned turtle owner <You're welcome. Darrel.> <please review this article against your keeping and conditions and write back if you can find anything else to report. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>


Turtle with a white shell 07/06/07 Dear Crew, <Good morning, Darrel here> I have a two year old sideneck turtle and parts of it's shell is turning white. I'm not quite sure if it's the shell mold and my turtle won't get onto the turtle dock. Whenever we put him on, he just squirms bask into the water. I would like to know whether or not this is dangerous and how to treat it. <Yes, it sounds like a fungus and it makes sense that if he won't bask and is continually wet, the fungus has more of a chance to get started. The first thing to do is remove him from the water and confine him to someplace dry and warm. My first choice of treatment is an anti-fungal that you'd find in a drug store for athlete's foot. Triconazole or almost any ingredient ending in "azole." Give him a 3-4 minute bath -- just enough to hydrate and drink and then wipe the shell with a clean, dry cloth and apply the anti-fungal to all the white areas. Do this once a day for 4 days , cleaning each day and look for improvement in about 5 days. If you see improvement, continue treatment for 1 week AFTER the color is normal again. If the fungus was DEEP, the shell may appear permanently faded in color, but the white-ish will still be gone. As for the basking, pay attention to water quality and temperature -- if the water is too warm, or is the basking site is too cold -- and let's see how he does.> Thanks, <yer welcome!> Frank Wang  


Mississippi Map Turtle Shell Issue 07/06/07 Hi, <Hiya right back, Darrel here> I am the happy owner of a 4 year old Red Eared Slider and the newly acquired Mississippi Map turtle in the pictures. <Congratulations> A friend of ours couldn't keep the map turtle anymore, and so he has just come under our care. We are currently in search of a Herp vet in our area that can work with turtles, so this is in no way the only help we are looking into for this little guy. His previous owners did not know what happened to his shell, but had been sulfa dipping him for 2 weeks without any real results. I have looked in every turtle book I have, and have scanned over your forums and FAQ health section, but I haven't found anything that even begins to look like this. <It looks like the results of an old, deep fungal infection to me> The whitish area of discoloration in his shell is hard, as is the rest of his shell. In comparison it looks like dry bone right in the same scutes as healthy shell. There are no holes, cracks or spaces between scutes. The actual shell seems discolored or dried out in this area, no scutes are loose. He is eating (according to his previous owners, a diet of baby shrimp, turtle pellets and an occasional aquatic plant), and swimming fine. His eyes are clear, and unswollen. He is approximately 2 years old. He has shared a 40 gallon breeder tank with a 2 year old 5 inch wide painted turtle who is dominant. He has been sunning fairly regularly, stacking on top of the painted turtle( once again according to his previous owners). The previous owners thought it was fungus, but the sulfa dip baths didn't seem to do anything. There is no cheesy crust, slime, or gauzy fungus to be found on this little guy. I have quarantined him in a smaller tank with his own systems for now. Thanks for any help that you can provide, <First, I want to thank YOU ... for a well written letter that included all the basic observations about the rest of his physical condition, giving us enough information to draw safe conclusions AND ... spelling and punctuation to boot! Thank you!> Jen <Jen, it looks to me, as I said, to be the remnant damage of an older infection. While the infection itself is probably long gone, the damage done to the structure remains -- and the turtle just looks .... worn. Given the otherwise excellent condition you describe and his activity and diet ... I wouldn't worry about it. The sulfa dips are probably a waste of time at this point (mainly because I think all the over the counter medicines aren't very potent) but it can't hurt. You can swab the area with vinegar and allow it to soak in for a few minutes, too. Just remember that Map Turtle are more susceptible to problems with water quality and temperature fluctuations than Sliders. The only thing I'd address a little bit is the diet http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm As far as a herp vet ... where do you live?>

Re: Mississippi Map Turtle Shell Issue 07/07/07 Thank you so much for the detailed reply. <Our pleasure> I will implement a diet change now, and I've started a little with the vinegar. <Let us know how it works out> I live about 30 miles outside of Reno, NV, to the East. <It's a small world -- I just got back from Reno this morning. 108 degrees is great if you're a reptile!> If you know of a good herp vet in the area, I would be ecstatic. <I'll ask around> <Yer welcome -- Darrel>


Shell is Dark and my thoughts are cold - 06/27/07 Hey, I have had my RES for a few months now got him from the pet store everything was fine until a few weeks ago my turtle's shell is dark and around the right side the shell is its normal color the shell has been dark for quiet some time was hoping it would turn back to its normal color The turtle eats about every four days turtle bites i try to not feed it so much a few bites at a time and he swims around sometimes but usual he stays in one spot however i have noticed that he is not basking like he used too the water is at 70-72 and its warm here so i know the basking area is a lot warmer i am just unsure of what i should do please advise Amanda <Amanda, I hate to seem unduly fussy here. I usually run people's letters through a spell checker and often I'll clean up the sentence structure just a bit -- so that our kind readers might better understand. In THIS case, Amanda, the problem is that I, your intended helper ... don't even understand. Your email is one long run-on sentence with only the occasional capitalization to guide me in picking out sentence fragments from a morass of seemingly random words. With that said, it's not my intention to punish the turtle or even you -- but I'd like you to understand that as I repeat your letter below, my answers are based on a GUESS of what I think you said ... and it would be so much better for your turtle if I knew more exactly. OK? So here goes: Hey, <Hiya - Darrel here> I have had my Red Eared Slider for a few months now. I got him from the pet store. Everything was fine until a few weeks ago when his shell began to turn dark. <A Slider's shell will darken with age, but since it happened so quickly we should be concerned that water quality, sunlight (UVA & UVB), temperature and diet can all be problems that will cause the shell to darken.> My turtle's shell is dark and around the right side the shell is its normal color. The shell has been dark for quite some time was hoping it would turn back to its normal color. <This is a problem, Amanda -- I just don't know what you mean. The entire right side? The rim of the shell? You've only had the turtle for a few weeks, so did this begin right away?> The turtle eats about every four days. <That's fine. Probably best if he ate every other day, but it's best to underfeed than to over feed> turtle bites <what?> I try to not feed it so much {just} a few bites at a time <That's fine, too. Tell me, WHAT do you feed him?> and he swims around sometimes but usually he stays in one spot. However I have noticed that he is not basking like he used to. The water is at 70-72 and its warm here so I know the basking area is lot warmer. <Warm to you may not be warm to him> I am just unsure of what I should do. <My very first guess is diet - that he's not eating the right THINGS and so he's not digesting them properly. Koi Pellets. Tetra-Min food sticks are good ... lettuce, hamburger, veggies, brine shrimp, etc. are not good.> Please advise. <Please write back with the following things: 1)How big is he? 2)What do you feed him? 3)How do you keep the water clean? 4)The top shell (called a carapace) is divided down the center ridge and into little plates called scutes. Is the darkening all over the shell, or all over just a portion of the shell? If so, what portion? I want to help you but I need a clearer explanation of what you are seeing. 5) Add some punctuation, please.> Amanda


Re: Turtles... Fungus clearing - what about basking? 7/3/07 Thank you for the advice about the vinegar and warm water. They both help a great deal. <Glad to hear that> The shell of the turtle is a bright green for the most part with white spots on the shell as well as the center ( the spine of the shell if this makes sense). The turtle is eating like normal and the Water temp is set at 75. However the turtle is still not basking and I am a bit worried. I am not too sure why he is not basking. Like I stated before in a previous email the water is changed regularly and filtered. I have a turtle that is set up under the UVB hood light. The turtle was basking before and all of the sudden he just stopped. Please let me know how I can get him to bask. I understand that taking him in the sunlight is important and I will most likely have to do that, however I would like for him to do it on his own like he was before. <Is there a regular, incandescent type of light as well? The normal UV-hood light is fluorescent and gives off a healthy light... but little to no heat. The turtle won't seek out a basking spot unless the spot and the air are warm. Make sure the basking area is warm to the touch -- and perhaps lower the water temperature. 70 degrees is more than enough. These two things should get the little guy to start seeking a basking spot again. For a few more tips, try this article: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm> Amanda <Darrel>


Turtle shell... shedding?  6/19/07 Dear Crew <Hi. Darrel here> I have a baby turtle. <Just guessing a Red Eared Slider?> A tiny part of its shell looks like it shed a little bit. There's just a tiny light brown spot now... is this from the turtle growing... its shell expanding? <As the shell grows, the outside edges of the individual scales (they're called scutes) can turn a dirty sort of brownish/translucent -- like a dirty fingernail. Is that what you mean?> It's just a total guess...I'm just curious. <It's hard for me to visualize what you're describing without more detail. I'd be pleased if you write back with a more detailed description of what you're seeing. Also ... is his shell hard? Is he eating and active?> Thank you. <You're welcome> <Good Night, Irene>  


Red-Eared Slider shells  6/4/07 Hello, <Hi!> I have searched your forum but have not quite found the information I am looking for. <I'll give you some search tips later> I have inherited a couple of Red Eared Sliders and it has been about 2 months that I have cared for them. I have provided the appropriate environment for them and have changed their diet to include Reptomin and Reptical, plus occasional krill and shrimp. <Excellent work!> Their shells have gradually developed a white area between scutes, around the edges and white spots in places. The color change is gradually doing away with the green color of the shell. Their shell appears to be hard and I clean them with Q-tips periodically. There is no problem with feeding or swimming. Any help would be appreciated. <Sounds like what we call "Shell Rot." It could be a bacteria or a fungus and there are many different treatments we can try. First, keep them out of the water temporarily except to eat and then dry off the shells after they eat -- whatever is growing there grows better in a moist environment so we want them to be basically dry. Don't worry about the turtles, at their small size they can go for a week without even being in water and they'll do just fine. Put them IN to bathe and eat ... then take them OUT & dry them off and treat them.> <Now, we're fighting two different issues (1) What is it? (Bacteria or fungus) and (2) Where is it? (Topical and easy to get to or under the scutes and hard to reach)> <Topical Bacteria is the easiest - You can try cleaning their shells with Iodine (Betadine, Povodine or other brand or type) and letting the iodine soak in and dry. You can paint their entire shell with it if that's more convenient. Just try not to get it in their nose, mouth or eyes but even THEN if you do it's not lethal to them. You should see improvement in 3 to 4 days and gone within 10 to 14 days.> <Fungus is next. If the Iodine doesn't improve things then we'll move to an antifungal agent. Start with the athlete's foot creams at your local drug store. Tinactin, Lotrimin, etc. or the generic equivalent -- look for the ingredient Toflanate or Clotrimazole (or any antifungal ending in "azole"). Apply it once a day to the effected areas and as always, keep them clean and dry and you should see a change for the better after about 5 days and the creeping crud completely gone after about 20 days. Keep treating for a minimum of 7 days after everything looks fine.> <If either condition is underneath the shell enough that our treatments don't reach them, we have to fewer options. Some people claim that Fluconazole, a generic antifungal tablet available in aquarium stores, puts enough concentrated medication into the water to get into a n animal's system and kill the fungus from within. I've never experienced that, but other people say it has worked. My main complaint is that after buying ENOUGH of the tablets for the concentration and length of treatment, you may have paid for a trip to a veterinarian which is always our best, but sadly most expensive, option.> Thank you, <You're most welcome, Nathan!> Nathan P. <OK -- now some stuff about searching our site: Go to our HOME page and scroll all the way down and you'll see a Google Search Box on the left. Click the box labeled www.wetwebmedia.com -- that SHOULD be the default position for that button, I'll have to speak to someone about that. BOB?????) <Unfortunately not Darrel... not of our doing, but Google for their Adsense software... Please refer folks to here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/question_page.htm for this option. RMF> after clicking that box, type the word "turtle" and "shell rot" (including the quotes) and you'll get a good solid page of references on our site about turtles, shell rot and suggestions on how to deal with it.


Shedding Turtle Gets Brighter Colored Shell  5/5/07 I just got a RES about a month ago I am sure he is an adult b/c of his size about 4 1/2-5 in. <If he is a male then this would be getting close. A female can get up to 12 inches.> Well he eats every 2 days. I read you were only suppose to feed adults every few days. < Too much food that is high in protein will create a very thick hard shell that is difficult for a turtle to expand as it grows.> He also gets out of the water and basks during the day. <This is what he is suppose to do to remain healthy.> When I am not home and at night while I sleep I think he is shy :) < As time goes on he will learn to recognize you and not be so skittish.> Anyhow, I would like to know if there shell changing color is normal? He is shedding as well his shell around the edge and some places on the top are turning lite green yellowish is this normal? Amanda   <When turtles shed the scutes on their shell, the old faded  scute is pretty dull and colorless. The new scute that is revealed is usually a brighter color. Over time this will get dull until he sheds again.-Chuck>

Older Turtle With Shell/Feeding Issues  3/30/07 Hello -I have a 9-year old red-eared slider that I've had since she was hatched. She is constantly shedding her scutes and recently I've noticed small white spots on the top of her shell.  At first I would take her out and clean off her shell and use some shell-conditioner (moisturizer?).  But the spots keep coming back.  I can flick off these spots - there is a barely-noticeable dent left behind when I do so - and it doesn't seem to be soft.  The spots do not seem to return in the same place, rather another point on her shell. She seems to be fine otherwise - she basks regularly and eats turtle pellets.  Her eyes are clear and don't seem to have any problems.  I have tried adding other items to her diet (mealy worms, crickets, veggies, etc.) but she doesn't seem interested.  She used to eat feeder fish regularly, but I haven't put any in the tank since she was moved into a 125 gallon tank. There are currently 4 small fish in the tank with her - originally there were 6 fish but she only ate 2 over the course of about 2 years, so I haven't tried them again.  Previously when there were fish in her tank she would eat them almost immediately.  Should I try them again? < No, not needed.> She has two big rocks on which she can bask - both have lights over them.  I have the water temperature around 80 degrees. <Too warm. Drop it down to the lower 70's to the upper 60's.> I would take her to a vet but I'm having a hard time finding one in my area that deals regularly with turtles. There seems to be a lot of algae that grows on the rocks - could this be an indication of a water issue? < Water is high in nitrates.> Can I put algaecide in the tank (I have some that I use for my fish tank)? <Better to change more water and clean the filters more frequently.> I have 2 filters for the tank - I know each brand of filter is different, but is there a general rule of thumb for how often the filters should be cleaned? <I would get in the habit of clean each filter every two weeks. But don't change them both at the same time. Clean one on even weeks and then change the other one on odd weeks.> Does she need vitamins?  If so, how do I get her to eat them? < At this age your turtle should be eating more vegetable matter. Try not feeding your turtle for a week, then add some spinach and kale to the diet. The pellets should be for adult turtles and not for hatchlings.> She's not handled very much and seems to be pretty shy when I get close to her/handle her, so hand-feeding is probably going to be an issue.  Thanks so much for your help!  Kasie < If you have not done so in awhile, I would recommend that you change the light bulbs. Even though they are still lighting and heating the tank, the wavelengths get weak over a couple of years and need to be replaced to make sure that your turtle gets the proper lighting.-Chuck


Older Turtle Questions II  3/30/07 I wanted to mention that if it's a lighting issues, I live in the Northeast so taking the turtle outside right now isn't an option b/c it's too cold. <Once again check the date on the lighting. new lighting may be needed.> On that note, how warm should it be if I do want to take the turtle outside for some sunlight?  Also, I can send a picture of my turtle's shell if that would be helpful. Thanks again, Kasie < The outside highs should be at least 65 F. Less than that and turtles usually just go dormant. Check on the items I have discussed and see if things get better.-Chuck>


Re: Slider Shell question part 2. Turtle Getting The Help It Needs - 04/04/2007 Thanks for your help.  I finally found a reputable vet in the area and he's treating her now.  The lighting is definitely something that could be contributing to her problem, and I have already made the appropriate changes.  Thank you so much! Kasie < Glad to hear that you followed up and your turtle is getting the proper attention.-Chuck>


Moldy Turtle Shell  2/18/07 Is having a shell with a couple of mold spots natural? < No. Turtle periodically bask on a platform out of the water. When they do this, anything growing on it like algae or mold usually dies. Check the temperature of the basking spot. It should be at least 85 F.> Also I have him set up in an aquarium full of water with like a docking station where he can bask, can he truly get on it? <He should be able to get on it. I know the Turtle Dock by ZooMed works very well. I am not familiar with other brands of docks. Watch him fore a few days and see if he can get on it.> I just got the turtle of Friday. <ZooMed puts out a good inexpensive little book on aquatic turtles that I would recommend that you get. If you follow the recommendations in the book you should not have any problems.-Chuck> Thanks Kandis King


Shell Problems On A Red Eared Slider   1/23/07 Hello, I have a red-eared slider that is about one year old. He's been doing great, until today when I came home and noticed that there are dry, tan spots on the arches of his shell when it is dry. When his shell is wet, some of the green comes back, but some spots are brown. Also, some spots of the shell seem to be wet when other spots do not. Attached is a picture. Is he shedding his shell, or is this shell rot? Also, if it is shell rot, would you be able to give me advice on how to treat this? Thank you, Jenna < Unfortunately the pictures didn't come up on my computer. Shell problems are caused by a lack of vitamins and/or improper lighting. You turtle is a year old so you should already know what a turtle looks like that is getting ready to shed. Older turtles do change the color od their shells as they grow. Many shells become very dull and browner in color. Older turtles require more vegetable matter in their diet. I would recommend you be on the safe side to change your light bulbs to all new ones. Add vegetables to the diet like kale and spinach. Add a Turtle bone from ZooMed that is like a cuttlebone for birds. It wears down the turtle's beak and adds calcium to the diet. Add a ZooMed Dr Turtle block to acidify the water and inhibit any bacterial growth. The basking area needs to be at least 85 F. If it is too cold then move the heat source closer or increase the wattage of the heat lamp.-Chuck>

Vitashell Turtle Shell Conditioner  1/23/07 Jen's go <Hi, Pufferpunk here> First let me say that your website is great and has helped me a great deal in the past.   <Glad to hear you've been checking us out!> I have two RES that I got around 6 months ago when they were hatchlings.  They are now 3½ to 4 inches long.  I try to do everything possible for them and they are well taken care of.  One of them started shedding a lot of shell pieces and seemed to be having a shell problem so I used Vitashell on him for a month and that quickly solved the problem.   <Turtles shed their scutes when they're growing.  Are sure this isn't what's happening?> Surprisingly that stuff really works.   Now the other one is started to have the same problem so it looks like I will be using the Vitashell some more.  How do I use Vitashell conditioner?   Directions on the jar are very vague and articles on the internet are all different.   <Just rub into your turtle's shell, legs & head.  Mmmm... a nice turtle massage!> I heard that using Vitashell  too much can cause your turtles shell to grow out of shape.   <I'm not aware of this.> I did not follow the weekly directions and used it every day but I want to make sure I wont moisturize the shell too much or hurt the turtle.  I dont even know if I am supposed to stop using it or continue forever.  Now I will just list my questions to make things easier.   They all have to do with how to use Vitashell.  Thank you for you time and what you are doing is great.  How often do I use Vitashell ?  Do I continue to always use it on turtles or only when they need it? <All good ingredients in there.  1x/week is fine, although not really necessary to use at all. I never have on a water turtle.  I used cod liver oil on my box turtles though.  They absorb the vitamins through their skin.>   When I apply it to the shell, do I heat it in with a lamp or just put them back in the water as soon as it is applied?  Some of it comes off in the water.   <You may be using too much.  A little dab will do it.  Just enough to moisten the turtle.>   Does it harm the water/turtle? <Not that I've heard of but I'd be more concerned with it's diet & making sure it's eating properly to keep it's shell healthy.  It certainly doesn't get moisturizer in the wild.  You could discuss further with the turtle experts here:  http://www.turtletimes.com/  Enjoy your shelled friend!  ~PP>  

Turtle - Shell Problem, or Normal Shedding?  VitaShell Question - 01/23/2007 Sab's go First let me say that your website is great and has helped me a great deal in the past.   <Delightful, I'm glad to hear this!> I have two RES that I got around 6 months ago when they were hatchlings.  They are now 3 ½ to 4 inches long.  I try to do everything possible for them and they are well taken care of.  One of them started shedding a lot of shell pieces and seemed to be having a shell problem <As a turtle grows, it does normally shed the "scutes" of the shell; is this perhaps what was happening?  If not, you'd be best to take your pet to a veterinarian that specializes in reptiles to find out what the trouble is.> so I used Vitashell on him for a month and that quickly solved the problem.  Surprisingly that stuff really works.   <I'm glad this fixed the symptoms your turtle was showing - but this won't fix whatever the underlying problem is, if in fact there is a problem.  Discussing the turtle's diet and habitat with a reptile specialist may reveal a problem that can easily be solved.> Now the other one is started to have the same problem so it looks like I will be using the Vitashell some more.   <Hmm....  And you're sure this isn't just the normal shedding of scutes?  If not, it's pretty important to evaluate what in the turtles' lives should be changed.  It may be a disease they're sharing, or maybe just a simple change in diet is needed.> How do I use Vitashell conditioner? Directions on the jar are very vague and articles on the internet are all different.   <I see....  I did some searching and found this as well.> I heard that using Vitashell too much can cause your turtles shell to grow out of shape.   <The references to the critter named Cupcake that I've found aren't convincingly attributable to the use of VitaShell; all the same, applying anything to the shell that does not allow air to the shell is not a good idea unless vitally necessary and not an ongoing, permanent treatment.  A vet, again, would be more help here than I am.> I did not follow the weekly directions and used it every day, but I want to make sure I wont moisturize the shell too much or hurt the turtle.   <Right.> I dont even know if I am supposed to stop using it or continue forever. <It should not be necessary to use it on an ongoing basis.> Now I will just list my questions to make things easier.  They all have to do with how to use Vitashell.  Thank you for you time and what you are doing is great. <Thank you for this kindness.> How often do I use Vitashell?   <It seems to me that the instructions are to use it daily for a week when there's a problem, and then once weekly as an ongoing treatment.  I don't know how necessary this is or should be.> Do I continue to always use it on turtles or only when they need it? <In all honesty, I would consider at the very least talking to a vet and discussing the diet and habitat of your turtles to better understand what the cause of this problem is, if in fact there is a problem.> When I apply it to the shell, do I heat it in with a lamp, <I would strongly recommend against this.  This may cause the shell to be unable to "breathe" normally.> or just put them back in the water as soon as it is applied?   <Probably put the critter back in his habitat, and let him decide where he'll go with it.> Some of it comes off in the water. Does it harm the water/turtle? <Hmm....  I doubt it would harm the turtle, but all the same, if a lot of it gets into the water, or if the volume of the water is relatively small, you may consider doing a hefty water change some hours after the application, to be safe.  My strongest recommendation to you is still to discuss your turtles, their habitat, diet, and symptoms with a vet.  The vet will be able to tell you a lot more than I/we can.  All the best to you and your sliders,  -Sabrina>

Re: Turtle - Shell Problem, or Normal Shedding?  VitaShell Question - 01/23/2007 Thank you for your time and information.  I will try not to abuse the Vitashell and concentrate more on the diet. <Sounds great!  Also do please consider at least talking to a vet about the symptoms you've seen and what you might do about it.  There are also lots of reptile forums out there; you might find someone who has experienced the same thing and might have some pointers.  Wishing you and your turtles well,  -Sabrina>


Turtle With Soft Shell  1/2/07 Hello everyone, I've just got a couple of questions about my pet turtle. Her shell was a bit soft when I got her, and that's when I found your website, looking for information.  Her whole shell is solid now, with the exception of with about her tail. It's a bit like wiggling a loose tooth. She has almost doubled in size since she first came to me, (I don't think the guy who owned her before had the first clue how to care for a turtle.) I've changed her diet, lots of greens, spinach and romaine, carrots on a daily basis, supplemented by a couple of worms every 3 days or so. I got her a Zoo Med turtle block, and the first week I got her I gave her one of those sulfa dip baths every day. I'm a bit worried that her shell still doesn't seem to be improving in that one area. Any suggestions? Thanks again!!! < Your turtle needs calcium and a good light with lots of UVA and UVB. Add some ZooMed Aquatic Turtle Food to the diet. The basking spot light should get the basking spot up to 85 F.-Chuck>


Turtle Shedding  11/18/06 I have two red eared sliders, that I've had for about a year.  I've noticed in the past couple of days that they seem to be  shedding a lot on their front and back legs, and also a little on their  necks.  I thought it would go away, but it hasn't yet.  Is this  normal, if not, what could have caused this? < The skin could be shedding and a fungus is feeding on the dead skin. Try and keep the water clean and add a Dr. Turtle Sulfa Block to inhibit fungus and bacteria grow.> Should I take them to the  vet? < I don't think that this is needed at this time.> I have also noticed that they each have a few small brown spots on  the bottom of their shells.  Their behavior, eating habits, and breathing  seem normal; they don't look sick, as I've read other red eared sliders look  obviously sick.  As I have been also paying more attention to them the past  few days,-past day especially- I noticed that they haven't defecated in the past  day, and was also wondering if that was normal.  I would appreciate any help you could give me-Thanks. < Pay attention to the brown spots and see if they get bigger. Could be the start of shell rot. Check the temp of the basking spot with a thermometer. It should be around 85 F. The water temp should be around 65 F. Increasing the temps should increase their metabolism and get them eating again.-Chuck>


Turtle With White Shell - 10/18/06 Hi, we have a red eared slider (purchased as a small one about 4 yrs ago) that has almost a completely white shell (still a few black spots though).  I have searched for answers about why and what to do but cannot come up with anything.  His shell is not soft and there is no sign of disease - ALWAYS wants to eat, is active and likes to interact with people.  We had three (one given to us from a friend that no longer wanted to care for hers).  They were all the same age but the friends RES never grew.  It lasted another year and we found it floating about 9 months ago.  Then, about 5 months ago one of our other turtles started acting lethargic and stopped eating.  She finally died, we believe, from pneumonia.  She was blowing bubbles, etc.  We only have one vet around her that will even see turtles and he didn't have any appointments for 3 weeks.  By that time, she was gone.  We were concerned for the other one but he seemed healthy and we kept him "occupied" (played with him a little more, etc) to make sure he wasn't saddened too much by the loss.  He seemed to adjust fine. But now he worries us because his shell has turned almost completely white.  We take him outside occasionally to bask but it is getting wetter and colder now.  We have a 55 gallon tank with a nice filter system.  We keep him in about 2 inch water on the bottom with a two basking spots - on a turtle dock and some rocks (the rock spot has the direct light, the dock has the fluorescent overhead light).  He is fed feeder fish, krill and some veggies as he will eat (only a little of that though.)  Sometimes we even give him a little raw shrimp and fish if we are eating it. Any help or info you can give me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much! Tammy in Dallas <A 4 year old turtle is pretty much an adult. Turtles like deep water to totally immerse themselves. I think the white is a mineral build up from water evaporating on his shell. Give him some deeper water so the minerals will dissolve back into the water. If the water is already well over his shell then try adding a 50% mixture of tap water and distilled or mineralized water. As the shell gets wet the minerals will soon dissolve back into the water.-Chuck>


Sick Little Turtle With Soft Shell  9/6/06 Hello, I have a sick little red eared slider.  I'm not sure what is wrong with him.  I looked at some articles on shell rot and I can't seem to find an answer.  His shell is extremely soft, but I don't see any visible cracks in his shell.  Also, on his underbelly there are two red sores almost like he is bleeding internally.  He is very inactive, only swimming and eating maybe an hour a day.  Please if there is anything we can do to help save him I would greatly appreciate it.  Thank you so much for your help. < The basking site should be at least 85 F. The heat from the light helps harden his shell and builds vitamins. Add a Zoo Med Calcium Block to add calcium to his diet and add a Zoo Med Sulpha Block to the water to keep the bacteria from eating away at his shell. The heat lamp will help. Make sure it is one made for turtles to bask.-Chuck> RES With Shell Problems  - 08/25/06 Well I have to two red eared sliders about 5 inches in length. One of them has pinkish spots only underneath the shell, its been like that for few months now. Is it a problem? or is that normal? < This is a bacterial infection that attacks the shell. Keep the water clean, Add a Dr. Turtle Sulpha Block to the water and treat the areas with Repti Wound Healing Aid. It may get worse if not treated.-Chuck>


RES Shell Trouble, not searching, reading   8/11/06 Hello my son has a RES turtle and he is only the size of a mini pancake he has proper lighting (I suppose) its the light from the tank and I notice when cleaning out his tank that his shell toward the end of his tail is starting to get soft. He gets his tank cleaned once a week and he has plenty of area to get out of the sun to bask. We are fairly new at this but he is growing and eating but I don't know what else to do? PLEASE help HAWK get his health back.  Thanks Tammy TAMMY RAY STEVENS <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/turtshellrot.htm and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/resdisfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>


Turtle Shedding His Skin  - 07/30/06 Greetings. Two days ago I took apart my turtle tank and cleaned everything as usual. I refilled it with distilled water, as always, but today I have noticed that my red-eared slider has thin, whispy, white spider web-type fronds coming off of any place his shell doesn't cover. His shell seems to be clear of any type of growth, but these whispy white things have already filled up the new water and I'm worried about my turtle. His "skin" itself is not discolored; only the part that seems to be peeling off. I have a small painted turtle in the same tank who seems to be doing just fine. I've kept them both together for several years and this is the first time I have encountered this problem. I've looked all over your (extremely informational!) site but can't seem to find anything like it. The RES has been acting a little more agitated lately, but I thought he was just begging for more food, as they both get more active in the summer months anyway. Please let me know what I should do; I've discovered that most pet stores in this area really don't know anything about the animals they are selling and can't answer any but the most common questions. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your speedy reply! ~DRR <Your turtle is shedding his skin. The warmer summer temps have made him more active and he is growing as expected. The old skin may even fungus up but this will not hurt the turtle. get a fish net and remove any excess skin from the water.-Chuck>


Help, My Turtle is Peeling!  7/27/06 Hi guys or gals, <Hi Sam, Pufferpunk here today.> My brothers friend had a turtle which I  recently took from him because he was in a huge fish tank with no dry land and it had to swim all the time.  He's slightly larger then half a length of a piece  of paper. I think its a male B/c of the claws but there is a tiny hole on  his shell in between one of his squares. <Probably from previous damage.> It's visible not huge but it can be  seen and the  sides of his shell seem to be peeling, like shedding.  I didn't know if it was anything serious or if it was shell rot.  I never had a  turtle before so I'm learning as I go I have him in a huge tank! I put  about 60 gallons of water in it and its about 4 times the height of his shell.  Is that too much water? <For a water turtle, the more water the better, as long as it has land to bask on.> He has dry land but rarely wants to go up and stay on  it.  It's clean and I feed him dried shrimp and he eats pretty well  I feed  him some pellets which he wants nothing to do with. <Try a bigger variety of foods.  I'm sure he'd love pieces of fish & live worms too.> I'm in the process of  getting him the UV b bulb which are a lot of money and very important apparently. <Yes, they need the waves of sunlight to be healthy.> Is there anything I can do for his shell in the mean time?  Is  there something wrong with the housing? water is at like 82 degrees.  Please  help!  None of his shell is soft and is not letting out any kind of discharge anywhere. <It sounds like you are doing a wonderful job & it shows because your turtle is growing!  Their shells & skin shed at they grow.  Nothing to worry about at all.  ~PP> Thanks so much, Sam


Caring Turtle keeper  7/27/06 Thanks Pufferpunk!!  Thank you for replying so quick! Now I can sleep better at night. Thanks so  much again your web site was great and you guys are amazing with your knowledge and help. <Glad to be of help.  Maybe you could help us out next time you write, by using the proper capitalization & punctuation, so I don't have to fix it for our FAQs.  Thanks a lot! ;o)  ~PP>  


Turtle Outgrowing Shell  5/31/06 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I have a very small (~1.5" diameter CL) red eared slider.   <Wow, that is tiny.  Sounds cute!> He was given to me one month ago.  I have been feeding him ReptoMin baby mini floating food sticks.  Water temp is 78 degrees F (filtered).  The basking area is the same temperature but I have never seen him use it.  After being gone for a few days (someone came to feed him daily, missed one day) I noticed that his shell has become discolored.  It is whitish and focused at the outside of his plates.  His water was dirty when I got back and is now being changed.  I have included a picture of his shell before (1) and after (2) the discoloration.   <Thanks for the pics.  Very helpful!> I have read a lot of entries about shell rot, funguses and shedding but didn't see pictures to identify which problem was the case in each instance.  Any advice would be helpful.  Thanks. <Yes, your turtle is outgrowing it's shell & getting ready to shed.  You will see the scutes popping off & nice bright green ones underneath.  At your turtle's young age, this will happen a lot.  I'd add a shell conditioner (containing calcium), to be sure the shell remains healthy.  You can also vary the diet with krill, pieces of fish, shrimp or whatever you see for sale in the fish dept of your grocery store.  It's good to soak in vitamins 1st.  The also love crickets & worms too.  ~PP>


Sores On Turtle Shells  - 05/29/06 I have 1 painted turtle and one RES living together.  They seem to have small patches of white sores on their shells.  The painted also has red sores on the bottom of its shell.  I do not know if this is shell rot or not. < Clean the tank, replace the water and clean the filter. Check the basking site with a thermometer. It should be at least 85 F. Shell rot is a bacterial infection in which the infected areas need to be cleaned and antibiotics applied. If the areas are soft then it is probably shell rot and you need to see a vet.-Chuck>


Sleeping Turtles and Shell Rot  - 5/17/2006 Hi WWM, I just got two red eared sliders from a co-worker. She said she got them as a Christmas gift. I don't know how old they are though because I don't know if she got them from two years ago(2004) or last year(2005). Im guessing they're from the 2005 Christmas because they're both about five inches long. I've had them for almost a week now but something that bothers me is that she never had a UVB or UVA light or even a heat lamp. Anyway, I read about turtles closing their eyes being bad, both of my turtles keep their eyes closed for long periods of time underwater, they seem to be sleeping, This usually happens during the night. I thought all turtles sleep but I just wanted to make sure. < Sounds like they are sleeping.> And also, the smaller turtle's feces are more of a powder than a chunk (the larger turtle's feces look more normal). I feed them pellets (the amount that would fit into their head), and I toss in some chopped up carrots and green lettuce that they eat sometimes. The water temperature is usually near 80F during the day and 75F during the night. I keep a UVB headlamp on about 10 hours a day. I also have a water heater and a submerged water filter on all the time. I also change half of the water everyday and clean the tank twice a week. There is also little white specks and dark brown lines appearing on its shell. I think its shell rot, I was also wondering if you can send me some pictures of shell rot so I can see if it looks similar. Sorry for the long letter but I wanted to give you all the information I had in case it has anything to do with the problem and thanks for any information you can give me. < The shell rot looks like little soft cheese like spots on the shell. Over time they get bigger and need to be cleaned out and treated with antibiotics. Some mottling, like the dark streaks sounds normal. The white spots should be checked out and probed to see if they are soft or hard like the rest of the shell.-Chuck>  


Little Turtle With Shell Problems  - 04/24/2006 Hi, I have a baby red eared slider, and I recently noticed that a piece of his/her shell was missing near his rear end. My parents said (s)he would be fine, and the won't take him/her to the vet. For about an hour he was just laying in the water (I took some water out so the missing part could dry a bit and not have as much as a chance of infection) but now (s)he is moving around as (s)he normally would. What should I do? (I included a picture.) <Your photo is not very clear. Make sure that the basking site gets up to at least 85 F. The heat helps cure any shell infections. The light should also contain some UVA and UVB light for good vitamin and mineral absorption. ZooMed makes an excellent little book for water turtles. It is inexpensive and has lots of very good information to keep your turtle healthy. Ask you parents if they will get you the book. I would highly recommend it.-Chuck>

Turtle Shedding Its Skin    4/4/06 Hello, I purchased a RES about a month or two ago (4-5 inches) and I have noticed that his skin is peeling. I have set up a 30 gallon tank,  provided plenty of basking and swimming room-for now. I was told by the pet  shop to clean out the tank and use Mr. Turtle, so I did. However, the  peeling has not stopped. I also use a water conditioner. I have a 75W heat lamp  and a 15 W (25%)/UVB (2%) light. I have both lights set up for 12 hours a day, I  was told to leave the heat lamp on, is this true? What else can I do about his  skin peeling, is this normal? I don't see any type of infection and he is very  active (healthy looking, besides the peeling). Please advise and thank you,  Karen < Shedding is a normal process for a growing turtle. Turn the heat lamp off at night and allow the tank to cool down. These major changes in temperature keep the turtle healthy.-Chuck> Turtles Shedding  - 03/25/2006 Hey guys, I'd just like to comment on your guy's website. Its awesome!! Anyway, I have a quick question. Both of my turtles have spots on their shells. One of then (Abby) has brownish/goldish tint on one of it's scutes. I am pretty sure it is not growing any larger. I don't know if it is just shedding (can shedding make different colors?) I've been looking at Abby almost every day for a week to make sure it is alright. It wasn't until today that I really did a close eye few to it the spot and I tried picking it. It started to come off like a peel, but I got scared if I was making the problem worse so I left it alone.  It is not soft at all, or cheesy, or filmy. It feels like it is part of the shell. My other turtle, Lucy, has whitish spots (one larger, toward the center of it's top shell, and one tiny one at the edge). I don't think it is scaly like Abby's. Both of them are appeared to be healthy. Their eyes are bright and clear, there is not mucusy stuff around their nostrils and mouth. They live in a 20 gallon long tank and their set up is normal. I provide basking lamp on land which is around 80F and their water temp is 5F-10F lower. I have a UVA/UVB sun light which I do for 12 hours, then I switch it with a night time lamp for the other 12. But they are quite shy and whenever I am in the room, they hide under this shelter I bought for them, but when I peek around the door way, they are on land and out of the shelter, so I don't know if they are getting adequate light if they constantly hide. I change their water once a month, including rinsing the tank, and everything in it in my shower tub. I don't use any cleaning agents because my PETCO expert said to not to clean it with ANY cleaning agents. I use a Duetto 100 canister filter, but I don't know if it is doing the job. Lately, I've been seeing a whitish cloudy things on the top of the water level. This could be due to the fact that I don't re-buy the filter sponges, I just rinse them. (Does it matter?) and I bought a big carbon neutralizer to refill the carbon component of the filter. I bought Accu-clear for the water, which kinda fixed the problem. I feed them 5-6times a week(1= a day) with Nutrafin max Turtle Gammarus pellets, Bloodworms from two different brands. I tried to feed them veggies and fruit, but they don't touch it so I stopped giving it to them. Can you guys help me? Soli Deo Gloria--- <As young turtles grow they often shed their shell. It comes off in pieces and is usually a very dull color just before it comes off. They will come off on their own when they are ready. Shell rot is a bacterial infection that starts off as a small spot but spreads out eating away at the shell. The areas infected are often soft and cheese like. The infected area needs to be cut out down to healthy tissue and the an antiseptic needs to be applied to the area. The infection can start anywhere in the shell. Add a Zoo Med Dr. Turtle Sulfa Block to the water s a preventative just in case.-Chuck>

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