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FAQs About Red Ear Slider Turtle Systems 3

Related Articles: The Care and Keeping of the Red Eared Slider, Trachemys scripta elegans by Darrel Barton, Red Ear Sliders, Turtles, Amphibians, Red Eared Slider Care, Shell Rot in Turtles,

Related FAQs: RES Systems 1, RES Systems 2, RES Systems 4, RES Systems 5, & Turtle Systems 1, Turtle Systems 2, Sliders 1, Sliders 2, Red Eared Slider Identification, RES Behavior, RES Compatibility, RES Selection, RES Feeding, RES Disease, RES Reproduction, Turtles in General: Turtles, Turtle Identification, Turtle Behavior, Turtle Compatibility, Turtle Selection, Turtle Systems, Turtle Feeding, Turtle Disease, Turtle Disease 2, Shell Rot, Turtle Reproduction, Amphibians, Other Reptiles,

Re: heyy... Please, no heyyyys! What is the subject? RES toys/decor -- 1/3/12
hey sue.
<Hi Jasmine. Sorry I'm just replying now; was away for a few days over the holiday.>
my sis a new tank for squirt and some other stuff.
<That's great! How thoughtful of your sis to do that for you. Tell her we said Thanks too!>
is this tank alright for him?
<It seems to be a nice size tank for him (based on his size). I didn't see a UVB and heat lamp over his basking rock, but if I recall, I believe you have them.>
and there's a filter in it to! :)
<That will be (of some!) help. Just keep in mind that when it comes to turtles, even with a filter you'll still need to clean but hopefully not as often -- 50% water changes at least once a week (or more often if you see it needs it), replacing the filter media when you see it getting gunked up, and breaking down and cleaning the whole enclosure at least once a month. It will also help to continue to net up whatever debris the filter doesn't catch.>
and she got my dog a new toy :P
<That's nice she remembered him, too! >
<Some nice improvements, Jasmine! Just a couple of things re: your new set-up:>
<1) I'd recommend you raise the water level a few inches for a couple of reasons. One to give him more swim room; he'll appreciate that. The other (and more important!) one is that the level your water is at right now presents a drowning risk for him. Turtles sometimes fall on their backs when they're exploring and climbing about. If the water is deep enough they can easily turn themselves back over. However, the way you have it now, it's possible Squirt may not be able to, and could get stuck (with his head under the water) and drown. >
<One way to raise the water level without submerging the basking rock is to place some bricks or other taller flat stones underneath it.>
<2) Re: your décor: I like the natural stone look, but a word of caution -- anything with openings, tunnels or caves also presents a risk that Squirt could get stuck inside of it and drown. Whatever he easily fits through today may allow him in (but not out of) tomorrow! I'm glad to see you have them above water. In particular with the taller 'tower', just make sure it's wedged in good and can't topple over accidentally.>

Red Eared Slider, sys. for baby 11/23/11
<Hi Abbey, Sue here with you.>
I recently purchased a Red Eared Slider turtle. The employee at the pet store owns a Red Eared Slider and told me that a 3 gallon tank would be fine for the baby turtle. I'm concerned about this tank being too small.
<Abbey, kudos to you for trusting your own instincts and questioning the advice you were given, rather than following it blindly! When my 1st child was a newborn, I sought out the expertise of an experienced doctor when I was feeling insecure about making the *right* choices. I'll never forget his response. He told me that in his 30+ years of practice the one thing he's learned during that time is that the mom's, not him, are the true experts! He advised me to trust and follow my own *gut* instincts when assessing whether something seems right or not, and/or when determining the *right* thing to do. His advice made no sense to me at the time. I couldn't see how I could ever have any sort of gut instinct about anything as I knew absolutely NOTHING about babies, and had no past experience to draw from. However, it landed up happening just the way he said it would! So now even though I still seek out answers from others, in the end I weigh everything out and go with the answer that makes the most amount of sense to me. Now, hopefully my answers here will make sense to you! :) >
The tank has a filter, a basking area, and room to swim around.
<Do you also have a bulb that's specifically UVB, and also a bulb to provide a heat source over the basking area? If not, these are important requirements. >
The employee also informed me that the turtle will adapt to the size of the tank; but I might need to buy a new tank in about 2 years because it might grow just enough where 3 gallons is not enough.
<I'm not sure what this employee means by *adapt* ...>
<If he/she is referring to a turtle's growth being dependent on or limited by enclosure size, that's definitely not the case. Their growth is completely independent of the size of their enclosure. They also tend to grow at a faster rate until they reach about 4' or so. After that they slow down. But eventually RES males average up to 10' in size when they're fully grown; female RES can grow to be as large as the size of a dinner plate!>
<If she's referring to turtles adapting *behavior wise* to a tiny enclosure, IMO (my gut instinct!), this is the wrong way to look at it. Most people could likely adapt to a prison cell over time, and many cats and dogs unfortunately have to live their lives out in cramped cages. Technically, most of them would all likely *get by/adapt/survive* in these types of living conditions. The real question to me is not one of basic survival, but instead our responsibility to provide humane care and quality of life to pets/animals whose lives were taken from their control and placed under ours. >
I have already purchased everything and the turtle seems to have adapted fine, but while reading I continue to see very large tank sizes. My turtle's shell is about 1.5 inches.
<The *industry standard* that's commonly referenced on websites for aquatic turtles is 10 gallons per straight inch of their top shell (carapace) length. Even according to this standard a 3 gallon aquarium falls short. Technically a smaller turtle like yours could survive in a smaller enclosure, assuming all the other requirements about their care and environment are met. However, here are some additional things to consider:
'¢ What aquatic turtles (of any size) appreciate most is as much surface area (length and width) as possible to swim around. So rather than a specific # of gallons, what we recommend is to buy as long and wide an enclosure as you can realistically manage in terms of maintenance time and effort (i.e. ease of water changes since good water quality should always be the top consideration), and whatever limitations you might have space-wise and cost wise (but see bullet further down re: cost).
'¢ The more water you have, the less it will be susceptible to temperature fluctuations from your heat light. Ideally you want the water to be on the cooler side, around 68-70 degrees F. It's going to likely be more challenging for you with a 3 gallon tank to keep the water in this cooler range than it would be if you had a larger enclosure that could hold more water.
'¢ You don't need to buy an expensive glass aquarium! Some people use pre-formed ponds (even indoors). Some even use larger plastic storage containers from a home store!
'¢ As a general rule, a larger enclosure will give you more flexibility to turn it into an interesting living environment. And the more you can create a habitat that's as close to your turtle's natural habitat as possible, the more enjoyment both you and he will get out of it! >
<Abbey, since you're a new *turtle mom*, I'm also attaching below a link to our basic care guide. You should use it as a checklist to make sure you have all the necessary basics in place to get him off to the right start! Read it over and feel free to write back with any other questions or concerns you might have; we're happy to help however we can:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
Re: Red Eared Slider 11/27/11

That was very helpful, thank you so much!
<You're welcome Abbey, happy to help!>
I do have a heat/UVB light that came with the tank but I think I will ask for a new tank for my birthday which is in the summer; I think he will do fine until then. I am a little worried about the space issue in my room though, my turtle is placed on top of a dresser that is not big enough for a big tank. Do you have any suggestions?
<If at all possible, to make things easier for you to do regular water changes, I'd recommend locating the aquarium close to a sink. If space is a problem, you may want to consider adding to your available space by going *vertical* - i.e. getting a shelving unit where things can be stored above and below the aquarium. You can find reasonable priced units at places like IKEA, Target or Wal-Mart. One word of caution though -- if you land up buying a larger size aquarium, you want to make sure the shelves will be strong enough to support the weight of it!>
<Another possibility, depending on your space, is to buy a longer piece that can serve double duty as a work/study space and a place for your aquarium. Again, IKEA has some great low cost table tops and legs (which they sell separately), such as their VIKA line which allows you to custom design your own table/desk for a very low cost --
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/categories/departments/workspaces/10712/ >
<If you can afford it, of course an aquarium stand is another option. Since you have a few months before you plan to buy the aquarium, you can shop around either online or in your local pet stores to find out where to get one for the best price, when they have their usual sales, etc.>
<Good luck; hope this helps! ~ Sue>

turtle help. RES Sys. filtration 11/19/11
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I've got a Red Eared Slider living in a long tank. During the spring/summer he lived in our pond outside (with plenty of shade and rocks). Before that, some idiots kept him in a fishbowl for five years with the water filled up too high and no basking area. Before that, he lived in his natural habitat near Myrtle Beach.
<Is life seems to be improving!! The American Turtle Dream!>
Anyway, he's in his tank now, and the filter I've got is one of these:
And I'm curious - am I doing something wrong with the filters/tank/anything, because I literally have to change the two cartridges every three days. Is this normal to have to change these so frequently?? On the product reviews, the one reviewer said he has only had to change the cartridge once a month.
<No, that's not normal. My first question is - how big is this slider???>
Let me know what you think.
<Turtles are huge poop machines. It's nearly impossible to create a biological filter that will keep the water clean and clear for a turtle like you can for fish - they just eat too much and create too much waste. But that said, it usually makes the water dirty, as the detritus (that's a $5 word meaning "organic waste matter") collects on the floor of the tank. The problem with most filters is that they DON'T clean the water that completely - meaning that most people have the opposite problem you do -- they run a filter that stays relatively clean all the time, yet they have to siphon the bottom once a week and clean the tank once a month.>
<So what's different in your case? Most poop is heavy - it sinks to the tank floor and doesn't make it as far as the filter, so what comes to mind is to ask: what stuff is clogging the filter? Most likely it's too much food and it's the extra food that is floating in the water get sucked up in the pump. Or algae perhaps? I doubt it's the turtle's poop (for reasons already mentioned) which means that it's most likely something that you are adding to the water. With that it mind, go forth and experiment: less food & see. Different food & see. (You should be feeding all the food sticks or Koi pellets he can eat in three minutes, 3 times a week - not much more)>
Thanks for your time.
<No charge. Write back and tell us what you discover>

Slider Question, sys. 11/7/11
Hi there.
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I think your website is fantastic
<Thank you so much>
--so thank you in advance for your help.
<Well, we don' yet know how much help I'll be '¦ so that's a lot of faith on your part!>
I have a three and a half inch Red Eared Slider (named Wilbur).
<Say Hi to Wilbur for me, please>
He is very healthy and I take him to the vet for check-ups. I have all the needed lighting and heat sources, and the proper amount of basking space. I clean his water regularly and feed him a healthy diet. The problem I am having is that I live in a small apartment.
<And he watches late night TV with the volume up? They ALL do that if you let them have the clicker. They're also prone to leaving their toys laying around and in a small place that gets very annoying>
Though I will probably move to a bigger place in a couple of years, this apartment will be where I live for a while. I can really only fit a 20 gallon tank in this space. Will he be okay in a 20 gallon tank for two years?
I ask this because I feel like his quality of life and he care I give him is very high, but I want to know if he can be healthy and happy within that amount of space.
<As he grows, that will become a tiny bit tight for him, but it's well within the limits of a 4-5 inch turtle. The main concern, which you seem to have already addressed, is that a small tank requires more maintenance than a bigger tank. But as far as Wilbur is concerned, as long as he has his water to swim in and a log-sized place to haul out and bask - the AMOUNT of swimming space isn't as critical. You can always augment that a tiny bit once in a while by allowing him to walk around the living room while you're watching TV or reading or whatever - and maybe even using the bathtub once a moth or so. JUST MAKE SURE that you lock up your credit/debit cards and checkbook when Wilbur is out and around - Sliders have NO sense of financial restraint when it comes to money!>
<This isn't to say that he won't enjoy it when you get him a bigger container (don't limit your thinking to just aquariums, but if you do get a glass tank, go for longer and wider as opposed to taller) but until that time, for a couple of years, no problem!>
Thank you so much,

question about red eared slider's living outside -- 10/07/11
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have two red eared sliders. One is 22 years old that my husband has had since it was the size of a quarter. We have another that I believe to be 5 years old. We don't have the ideal setup for the 22 year old turtle. She was in a 55 gallon tank that we filled a little more than halfway and even with a filter used for 200 gallons of water didn't work.
<Compared to fish, turtles are poop machines. You'd need a biological filter the size of the Everglades to assimilate it all. Weekly siphoning of the bottom and replacement with fresh water is the best way to solve the waste problem>
We had to change the water every couple of days. Especially, in the summer because she has been laying eggs in the tank. We bought a huge tub/bin and put 50% sand and 50% dirt in hopes of her laying the unfertilized eggs so she wouldn't clog the filter and such. She would not lay the eggs unless she was in the tank. Anyway, we retired the 55 gallon tank and we just keep her in a large plastic tub filled with water and we dump the water out every couple days and refill it with warm water. We don't have the money to get her a good setup.
<That's not a BAD setup at all. If the tub is large enough for her to have a reasonable basking area - and you have a basking and UV-B lamp, a tub is just fine!>
I was wondering if we keep the turtles outside on our porch in the winter what kind of heating system could we use? Is it possible to keep them outside in the winter if the water is warm? It is a screened porch with roof.
<You'd need a heating lamp that heats the basking surface to around 80 degrees (in the winter) and a water heater that keeps the water at around 70 degrees. Any kind of water heater in a turtle environment is risky, because they can break the glass, bite the cord, etc. This CAN be done, but I suggest that you don't do it>
We keep the turtles inside 50% of the time and in the tank 50% of the time. They roam the house free and have been for years. They are super friendly and even come when you call them. They are trained well. The turtles even bang their shells on the door to let us know when they want to go back in the tank and eat or relieve themselves. I was wondering if it would be possible to heat a tank during a cold winter? We have a 2 year old and she climbs everything, I'm afraid of a large tank or tub of water to be in the house. I don't want any drowning accidents.
<The 2 year old complicates everything. Toddlers tend to pick up everything they can - and sample them by mouth '¦ which is bad for the toddle and no picnic for the turtles, either>
Like I said they pretty much tell us when they are hungry or need to relieve themselves otherwise they are free roaming the house. Any advice would help. Thank You
<Well, Tracy, the 2 year old complicates things. Based on personal experience with 2 of my own, I say 'keep the turtles and donate the 2 year old to a local animal shelter' but even money says you won't do that, so let's look at it from the other side :>
<The turtles are going to have to be separated from the two year old for at least 6 more years. An entire self-contained environment should be set up for this purpose. If it was me, I'd set up one for the kid and let the turtles roam free, but that gets into sticky areas with Child Welfare Dept and such '¦ so let's concentrate on the turtles.>
<The screened porch sounds like a good place to start. Think of a different kind of enclosure. Instead of starting with a tub of water and making a basking area, think of a 3 foot by 4 foot wooden fence, enclosing a garden of sorts - and as part of that garden, a tub of water for swimming. Start with a wooden base of plywood and 2 1x12 pine boards around the edge making a 24 inch high wall. Add 8 inches of sand, top soil and peat (that's a LOT of material, by the way, so plan on this project taking a while) and then burying a large, flat plastic tub in one end with a ramp of sorts. A cover of hardware cloth to protect the turtles and the kid - and you have a mini natural habitat on the porch and the house is a bit more child-safe. You STILL need a basking lamp and a UV-B bulb shining on the land portion, but as a plus, you could plant a tiny garden in there as well - anything that you and the turtles get along with that a 2 year old needs to be kept from.
Another way to accomplish the same thing would be to just fence off a portion of the porch "Turtles Only!" and place a tub of water in there with several ramps on the outside as well as one on the inside. Again, some place requires a heat lamp and a UV-B lamp (they won't get UV through the screens of the porch). In setups like this, I also include a heating pad (you have to search like crazy to find one WITHOUT an Auto-off feature) wrapped in a towel. I place that near, but not UNDER the basking lamp. One hint: don't make the turtle side SO big that they can wander away from the heat source and chill down too far before they get back to it. ALSO: every night, as part of your routine, is to check the turtle pen and see that neither turtle is off in a dark, cold corner. If so, pick them up and put them on the very edge of the heating pad area.>
<With some clever shopping and planning, a setup like this can be built for surprisingly little time, money and effort>
Re: question about red eared slider's living outside
how long is your oldest RES?
<I have some approaching 30 years>
is it domesticated in the extent ours is?
<Well, I don't let her eat dinner at the table, if that's what you mean. She used to live in an aquarium in the den and then moved outside to a dedicated turtle pond out by the pool.>
Just curious....My 22 year old turtle is devastated if she can't be in the house and getting attention from us. believe it or not.
<That doesn't surprise me '¦ but they are far more creatures of HABIT than of emotion>
she hasn't bitten anyone in over 15 years...
<Sounds like my ex-wife>
and my toddler can annoy her. But she is the perfect pet for a toddler she goes in her shell when she doesn't want to be bothered. More times than the toddler bothering the 22 year old turtle, the turtle bothers the toddler lol...she thinks my kid is fun to chase around the house.
<Except for communicable diseases and the possibility that the 2 year old could pick her up & then drop her.>
the 22 year old turtle loves my 2 year old. The turtle actually follows my 2 year old everywhere. you would think it would be vise versa. anyway..
my porch is small and cannot be dedicated to just the turtles. The turtles are like dogs to us. The 22 year old turtle climbs onto our laps and loves affection and attention.
<Yes, but I'll bet you that you don't handle the turtle and then put your hands in your mouth>
I'm not looking to covert my entire porch to the turtles. I want them in the house often. I was just wondering how I would go about heating the water properly during a cold winter season. thanks.
<Heating the water can be done with a stainless steel (not glass) submersible heater, perhaps a 300 watt model. More likely, if this is a small enough tub, the heating lamp that is on the basking rock (or platform or whatever) will also heat the water. The fundamental problem (beyond mixing babies and reptiles) is that once the turtle is exposed to winter conditions, it's likely to succumb to seasonal cycles - and tend to hibernate. What I mean is that reptiles thrive in summer and hibernate in winter. The SHOULDERS to those seasons (too warm to shut down digestion, but not warm enough to actually digest, etc.) are dangerous and sometimes deadly to them. Same with spring time: warm enough to be active and eat but not yet warm enough to digest and metabolize. As long as they are in the house, it's summer all the time. Once you put them on the porch in winter-cold air, but warmer water, etc. the results are unpredictable and the health aspects unfortunate.>
<Do what you can to keep their water in the mid 60's and their air in the mid 80's>
<And read up on salmonella>

Re: Hiya, RES basking and shell concerns 10/3/11
hahaha, I knew it wasn't you! I was checking to see if it was, seriously. :)
<Yes, it's very easy to tell Darrel's responses from mine! He's both smart AND funny. I'm ... well ... I just help him answer the questions! LOL >
also, he is now basking, and doesn't go in the water.
<He should be doing both; hopefully since you've written this you've seen him both in and out of the water. Make sure he has nice cool water and lots of space to swim about freely. This should encourage him to get in the water as well as bask. If you haven't already, you may want to get a larger enclosure for him. Having more water will also help make the water temperature less susceptible to heating up during the day from the lamps.>
he's nice and hard as a shell, but I just still worry about the blackness between his scutes which has hardened.
<The areas between their scutes often do get darker in color as they grow. The rest of his carapace (top shell) will also get darker in color over time. What you saw happening with his shell getting soft in spots was more than likely the result of him remaining in the water for too long a period, since he seemed to respond well to the warm dry environment.>
<Diet also plays an important role in his shell health. If you have any reason to suspect he's not getting enough calcium from his diet or isn't spending enough time under the heat and UVB lights (which helps his body process the calcium), then as an added precaution, you can try supplementing his diet with a little extra calcium powder such as Rep-Cal. Just mix a small amount in with his pellets and allow them to soak in water for a few minutes before feeding to him.>
but yea, he's basking now ^_^
<Yay! As long as he continues to bask for several hours a day, his shell remains hard, and you see no other concerning changes in his behavior or appetite, then I wouldn't worry! ~Sue>
Re: RES Turtle, sys., heat lamp 10/5/11

I bought everything together as a turtle starter kit. It included the heat lamp, filter, 10 gallon tank, big rock (so she can be out of the water), and a sample of ReptoMin food.
<As below, just make sure the heat lamp also provides UVB. Turtles need both types of lights.>
She swims vigorously back and forth throughout the tank is this considered normal turtle behavior?
<Turtles can act this way when they are introduced to a new environment. But below is a link to our basic care guide. Read it over to make sure you have everything covered. ~Sue
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >

RES Turtle, heat lamp
<Hi Josefina, Sue here with you.>
Does the heat lamp need to be turned on all the time in order for the turtle to be comfortable?
<No, not at all. Essentially we're trying to mimic nature with warm days and cool nights. As long as your turtle isn't exposed to cold drafts, he'll be fine. I would go with a 12 hours ON, 12 hours OFF schedule. Hook it up to a timer if you have one, so it will come on and off automatically.>
<You didn't mention UVB, but your turtle must have this type of light also along with the heat lamp. Hope this helps! Sue>

Red Eared Slider tank setup and feeding 9/13/11
<Hiya - Darrel here>
You have an excellent, informative site.
<Well thanks!! We try and it's nice to hear that we succeed!>
<Of course, it would ALSO be nice for hear that we'd won the lottery or even that the Santa Clarita Court had lost that ticket we got from going 78mph in a 65mph zone last month, because THAT would have saved us from the purgatory of 420 online minutes of Traffic School this weekend. But all that said, ya got to love a country where you can sit at your desk and take a 7 hour course dedicated to safe driving with a glass of wine in your hand!!>
I have some questions about Red Eared Sliders.
<Well then, think of me as the Radio Shack of Turtles: I have answers!!! And at least 25% will be correct!!>
I have two 1.5" sliders. They are currently in a large plastic storage container while I am setting up their tank. My tank is 120 gallons. I have filled it with 45 gallons of water. I am using a Rena Filstar Xp3 for filtration. For the substrate, I am using pool filter sand.
<When you say pool filter sand I'm assuming you mean the high grade silica sand -- very fine particles as we might find in a child's sandbox. This is a fine substrate for looks, and it's small enough that nothing the turtles can ingest will hurt them '¦ BUT it's going to be a real pain to maintain. Compared to fish, turtles are poop machines. They create all sorts and sizes of poop, often in exponential relation to the amount of food they get. For this reason, no water filter will keep a turtle tank clean and you always end up siphoning the detritus off the bottom, which in your case will end up being a large amount of sand. The best thing I've found for "substrate" are the polished "river rocks" that they sell in building supply stores for gardens and pathways '¦ and I get them at the 1 to 2 inch size (HUGE compared to a baby turtle) so that the waste falls between the cracks. That all said, your sand is fine, I'm just too lazy to set myself up for that much work>
For the basking area, I have the large ExoTerra turtle bank. Above that is a 150 watt Zoo Med Ceramic Infrared Heat Emitter and a Zoo Med ReptiSun 10.0 UVB Bulb. The basking area is currently 88 degrees.
<That all sounds great. Basking temp should be 88 to 92 degrees>
I also have a 36 inch Fancy Plant giant in the tank.
<Don't know what that is. Is it plastic? I like plastic plants. You can't easily wash a live plant in soap and bleach when it gets dirty>
While I have been preparing the tank, I have placed their storage container outside for sunlight for a while during the day.
<As long as a PART of it is shaded, so they can crawl out of direct sunlight - nothing could be better for them>
I used a desk lamp while they're in the house.
<Do they read a lot? >
I have been offering ReptoMin and earthworms.
<Excellent, but go easy on the worms. In spite of the classifications of our mentor Dr Linnaeus, Turtles are Pigs!>
I also have Anacharis in the container. It's hard for me to tell if they're eating the Anacharis, but they're not eating the ReptoMin or earthworms. I've had them for 3 weeks. Do you think I should follow the steps for isolation? They are basking and swimming. Their eyes look fine.
<The first thing I notice about a turtle is her eyes. It's also important that she can make me laugh and that I feel safe in talking to her '¦ you know ... that I can really open up and be honest with her about my real feelings. OH WHO AM I KIDDING??? The first thing I notice is her shell!!!!>
<On a more practical note, 3 weeks is a long time for them not to have eaten. It's not a DANGER sign just yet, so don't get terrible worried '¦ it's just time to take serious notice. They ARE likely chomping on the plant material and they way to test that is to remove that option for a while. It may be a long while, because we want them to settle on the Repto-min (Koi pellets are cheaper and just as balanced for them) with all other foods as treats or supplements.>
For the 120 gallon tank, the water depth is 11". Is that too deep?
<Nope that's perfect!!! The really great thing you've done with your 120 gallon tank is given them a lot of surface area. A turtle is better off in water twice their height (4-6 inches) if the tank is long and wide '¦ but in your case they don't have to trade one for the other.>
I could lower the water, but I'd rather not have the heat emitter inside of the tank.
<Because the heat emitter sits higher than the tank? The only loss there is that, to a slightly greater extent, you're heating the room, too.>
Also, I don't see much mention of cycling a tank for a red eared slider. I have used dechlorinator and I have the filter running. I was going to go to a local fish store and get some rocks or other media from their cycled tanks to place into the turtle tank. Is it necessary for me to cycle the tank prior to adding the turtles?
<Nope - not even a little bit, Jill. Cycling a fish tank is an attempt to get a biological filter cycle running so that there is not a buildup of ammonia and other substances that are immediately toxic to the fish who you can think of as having to drink and breathe that same water 24/7. Turtles do neither, so none of the toxins in a fish tank are anywhere near as toxic to turtles. PLUS '¦ the aforementioned poop machines they are, you'd need a filter bed the size of the Everglades to process their waste biologically. No fish store HAS that many rocks and your tank wouldn't hold them if you did>
Thank you for your help and for all the information on your site!
<Again - you're welcome!>
<Your setup sound great. Get it running and toss them in (figure of speech) and have a go.>
<Something you can easily do with turtles that you can't do with fish - is feed them in a separate container. Come up with a shallow bowl or Tupperware container like the plastic shoe boxes they sell - maybe 7 inches wide, 12 long and 4 high. Fill it with 2 inches of luke warm tap water and set it on the coffee table in the living room>
<NOTE TO ALL READERS: Follow this step ONLY if you have turtles, plastic container, a living room AND a coffee table!!!! Eliminating EVEN ONE step can be catastrophic!!>
<ahem '¦ I must have just had a flashback to the Traffic School test. Let's review!!! Arrrrg!>
<Pick up the turtles and place them in there, give them a few minutes to figure out it's not the end of the world '¦ then place 3-5 Repto-min sticks in with them and then sit back and watch TV (again - only if you HAVE a TV) and read a book ({sigh} only if you Can read) while they play around. At the end of 10 minutes, place them back in their tank and you'll see if they've eaten (they're little tummies will be full and they'll have unbuckled their tiny little pants -- or else you'll notice the sticks gone!!!) and this will give us an idea when/if they've eaten. After you're certain they've accepted the food, you can start placing it in the main tank -- being sure to scoop out any uneaten food after 10 minutes -- or you can continue the separate feedings if you feel it makes a bonding experience.>
Re: Red Eared Slider tank setup and feeding 9/13/2011

Thanks so much for your reply!
<No charge! - but donations always welcome (see upper right) if the mood every strikes you)>
You've made me laugh and I love your sense of humor.
<The #1 thing women say they look for in a man is someone who can make them laugh '¦ but if that were true, why don't women marry clowns?>
Pool filter sand is slightly more coarse than sandbox sand, but I understand what you're saying about the maintenance.
<It's fine as long as you're OK with it>
I put the turtles in the tank yesterday and they seem to be doing okay, but they're not basking yet.
<Probably a mixture of fear and stress>
I've tried "teaching" them to climb on the bank, but they scurry off immediately.
<Right. The handling part is good because they do get accustomed to it, but the "teaching" part is pure wishful thinking on our parts>
Maybe they don't like the sound of the filter water near the bank?
<They have no ears (funny they're called Red Eared Sliders, huh?) OK .. well maybe not Laugh Out Loud funny '¦ but still odd) but they DO sense vibration. You might try moving the filter outflow to another part of the tank>
I don't know. I guess I'll have to rig something up so there's more of step down into the water. More research!
<Or chill out. They are fairly hardy, resilient and resourceful creatures. Maybe just wait a bit & relax?>
I don't have the heat emitter inside the tank because I'm afraid of it falling in the water. It has a clamp, but I'm just paranoid about it. I could get the stand so it doesn't have to clamp onto the tank.
<Again '¦ No. That was merely a question. You've bought enough stuff already>
I have noticed that their shells are somewhat flexible. They're not mushy, but they're not totally rigid. I read that their shells will harden with age. Is that correct or is this something to be concerned about?
<The word we're looking for is 'flexible' and yes, at their size & age that's normal. If they don't get enough UV and Vitamins A, C &D the shell will get softer and you'll notice.> I'll try feeding them in the plastic container in the living room, but I have no coffee table. What shall I do??
<Thankfully, the keystone of my technique is the plastic container, not the coffee table. Any hard surface will do. The trick here is HIGH enough that any dog, cat or other predator can't get to them and low enough if they climb out & fall, it won't become an emergency.>
I did want to mention my experience with setting up the Rena Filstar filter. I spent 2 days messing with it and when it worked, it was loud and was spewing water mixed with air.
<I hate when that happens - you're sucking air>
Then I tried cutting the input and outlet tubes because I had initially left them longer than recommended. Then my son used the fish net to whirl around all the plants in the tank. When I fixed that, the filter stopped working. I thought it was because sand had entered the filter. I could not get it to prime properly.
<No one can>
I poured the water into the inlet tube and replaced the top while the canister lever was up. When I pressed the lever down, the tank would fill only an inch. I tried manually filling the canister with water and pouring water into the inlet tube. When I turned the filter on, it worked fine for 30 to 45 seconds and then I could see large air bubbles in the intake tubing and air bubbles in the canister. Then the canister water level would drop and the impeller started grinding and I couldn't get it to stop. The problem was the plastic inlet piece (where you fill the water and replace the cap). It wasn't completely flat at the top. It had a little chip/gouge in the top edge, so air was able to seep in even when I had tightly screwed on the cap. I was able to find a rubber gasket to fit into the cap and that completely fixed it. Just thought I'd mention this, because after hours of Internet searching I could not find this exact problem.
<Welcome to the club, Jill. We have jackets and even a secret handshake>
<I regularly do battle with a Fluval 401 filter on my Marine Aquarium. TECHNICALLY it's my son's Marine Aquarium because he begged and pleaded for two years to have one and then he got it, was happy as a clam (Marine Aquarium Humor) and then he discovered girls and now it's MY Marine Aquarium that just happens to be in HIS room>
<Anyway '¦ when I change the filter media and reassemble the unit, there is this plunger thingy that you're supposed to pump up & down "4 or 5 times" according to the manual - to prime it.>
<IN WHAT ALTERANTE UNIVERSE DOES THAT ACTUALLY WORK FOR ANYONE????????? Are these people kidding? Are they sitting back in their labs laughing their butts off at people trying to prime their pumps with their silly valves and levers? Or are they so seriously detached from reality that they think it actually works?>
<The first thing I learned is that the outflow tube must be above water when you try to refill - if the outflow in underwater, the air can't flow out easily due to the pressure of the water. SO '¦ with the outflow tube in my right hand, I pump the plunger thingy until I can hear water flowing into the main chamber. Then, when I see water flowing up to the top and just STARTING to flow up the outflow tube, I cover that tube with my thumb, hang it over the side of the tank, plug in the pump (it's important to have it off while starting this siphon) and then uncap the tube.>
<At this point, I usually have no water flow at all and I can hear the Fluval engineers laughing all the way from Germany. So THEN, I take the canister in my hand and turn in 90 degrees sideways and then a bit more ... so the impeller is at the bottom and the air bubbles float to the top. So NOW I get a full water flow starting.>
<Except that I'm stuck there, like a dork, holding a canister filter upside down and thinking if there is some way I could just permanently mount the darned thing '¦..>
<Once the flow is started, I momentarily rotate the canister upward and that give the impeller a gulp of the air. Then I turn it upside down again until the water flow returns. Then rotate & gulp, etc. If I make it gulp TOO Much air at one time, it breaks the siphon and I start over. And in case you're wondering what I'm THINKING while doing this impression of a troop of howler monkeys playing football with a watermelon, I'm thinking that I no longer like Marine Aquariums and no longer fond of children, either.>
<Easy operation and simple maintenance ---- my foot.>
I didn't want to mention this at first, but getting Red Eared Sliders was an impulse purchase while on vacation. My kids begged for them and I really wanted them too.
<My KID was an impulse '¦ um '¦ purchase while on vacation. Lesson learned>
Then I researched them and discovered how much is involved in their care and how large they grow. I have learned a tremendous amount from your website. Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.
<Jill - the beauty of the Emydid turtles is that they require much LESS care than many other animals (including kids and husbands). They are tolerant of a wide variety of mistakes and inattention that we end up giving them. PLUS '¦ they don't spend their weekends watching football, they never borrow your car to "study" at a friend's house only to come back with a dented fender from an incident at a drive-in nor will they ever beg you to buy them a pair of $250 purple tennis shoes that they just HAVE to have only to find that they're out of style within 2 hours of the purchase.>
<[AS AN EDITORIAL NOTE: Did anyone know that Microsoft Word Spell Check recognizes "THINGIE" and suggests the correct word "THINGY"?? When in all of creation did "thingy" become an actual word? The same day regardless became a word? Due knot Re: lie two much on spell Czech!]>

Re: Hiya... turtle... sys. 9/7/11
<Hi Jasmine>
I bought a floating dock and it wasn't small enough for the tank I had. so I bought this big rock that slanted, and he was able to climb on it, but instead he hid under it. and I had filled it half way with water but he never went to bask and stayed in the water so now I just have it as it was before.
<My suggestion then would be to get a larger enclosure to accommodate the floating dock, and get rid of the gravel. It doesn't have to be an expensive glass aquarium. It can be as simple and cheap as a larger clear plastic storage bin like what you would see at a Target or similar store. I've seen some that are around 2 feet long, 1 foot wide and about 10 or so inches deep. That size would be perfect for your turtle right now at the size he is.>
<I would strongly suggest doing this not only to give him more swim area and make maintenance easier for you, but also because with small gravel in particular, turtles will sometimes ingest it which can then irritate or even cause blockages in their intestines.>
<You also mentioned in a prior email that you saw him climb on top of your palm tree a couple of times. I wouldn't put the tree up against the side of the container unless you have a cover over it, otherwise he could climb out and potentially take a nasty fall.>
I put him in another container when I feed him so he can poop. is it bad if the water gets cold at night?
<When you say cold, do you mean a cooler room temperature like the upper 60's Fahrenheit? If so, that's fine. We actually recommend that people keep the water in that cooler range so their turtles have a choice between cool water and warm land. >
<However, if you mean cool as in low 60's or less, then I'd say No, because at that temperature their bodies might start to go into hibernation which you don't want them to do.>
<And actually, if you do get a larger enclosure for him, another advantage is that the more water you have, the less temperature fluctuation there will be.>
and is it okay if his poop is red sometimes?
<When you say it's sometimes red, do you mean it's an off and on kind of thing?>
I only feed him pellets and romaine so I don't know why it would get red.
<Can you tell by looking at it if it's red dye or if it's blood? If it appears to be red dye, I'm not sure why either unless the pellets you're feeding him contain some amount of red dye as part of the ingredients. You didn't mention what type of pellets you're feeding him, but we recommend a good quality pellet such as ReptoMin or Koi pellets.>
< If the red you're occasionally seeing/saw is a bit of blood, it's possible he might have ingested some of the tinier pieces of the gravel or some other tiny sharp particles. Even if this isn't what's causing the red color, given that gravel does have the potential to cause intestinal problems, it's just another reason not to use it as a substrate.>
<If you're not sure if the red color is dye or blood, I'd bring a stool sample to your local vet and ask him to test it for blood. It's a very simple test.>
also, how is salmonella transferred from turtle to human? is it through their poop?
<Yes '¦ However, turtles don't automatically have salmonella, but you should always assume they do and take the proper hand washing precautions both before and after you handle them.>
he's also feisty and likes to bite sometime.
<They can be that way sometimes! And even the more 'mild mannered' ones can sometimes wake up in a bad mood just like people!>
and, how do I know if he's fat?
<If he's putting on too much weight, you'll likely first see his arms and legs getting a little pudgy. You should be only feeding him the pellets just one time every other day, and only as much as he can eat in 5 minutes. >
<Hope this helps! Sue>

red-eared slider worms & setup 8/15/11
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I recently acquired a red-eared slider from a little girl who is moving and not allowed to have it at her new apartment. I knew absolutely nothing about the animal when I got it a week and a half ago. The turtle came in a one gallon tank. The turtle is about 2 inches long and it looked like the tank was way too small so now I have it in an old 10 gallon tank.
It didn't have a basking rock but my dad cut a piece of slate from the yard. I have yet to see the turtle get on it, though it is clearly capable of doing so, and I have even put it on there a couple of times myself. All it does is hop right back into the water a second later!
<He's scared, nervous and using the water for comfort>
The light it came with is a UVB/UVA light I believe. I put the light on the Plexiglas lid of the aquarium above the basking rock and I leave it on all day, but turn it off when I go to sleep.
<The Plexiglas {or as we SHOULD call it "the Plexiglas Brand Acrylic Sheet"} will filter out almost all of the beneficial UV rays. The lamp should shine directly on the basking rock '¦ say '¦ from 8 to 12 inches above>
The tank also came with a little bubbler (I'm not sure what it is called). It is foam-looking and releases bubbles into the water. It is connected with a clear, thin tube to a little pump outside of the tank. I have been using that.
<That circulates the water a bit, but otherwise not a lot of good>
The girl I got it from hasn't unpacked the food yet, but I fed it grasshoppers from my yard until the day before yesterday, when I finally bought some turtle food. I read that they eat crickets, so I thought grasshoppers would have relatively the same nutritional value :D The turtle eats whatever I feed it and appears to be in good health.
<The best food for a Red Eared Slider is Koi Pellets. Virtually identical to the world-class "ReptoMin" food sticks, just less money>
So, that's my setup. I would like to know if that is all right for the needs of the turtle.
<Here is an article that you can read that covers every part of the basic care & needs for water turtles. It's not only complete, but as you'll see - nothing relating to their care has to be expensive: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
Also, the one-gallon tank the turtle came in had worms in it today. Little red, wriggling worms, about 3 or 4 mm long, and smaller than a mm wide. The turtle hasn't been in the tank for two weeks. The tank has been sitting on the floor of my room... yuck!
<Some sort of worm eggs were laid, eggs hatched, it happens>
The worms looked like they couldn't get out of the water, so I think my room is un-contaminated. I was wondering if turtles could get that type of worm (whatever that may be), and if so, how to take care of it myself (I live very far from a vet that does reptiles) I wish I had thought to take a picture of the small tank today before I dumped it in the yard (oops!!!).
<No need. The turtle likely does have some parasitic worms in his intestines. All you have to do is keep the water clean: break down the tank once a week, drain it, wash it with soap and water and rinse well. Then refill, etc. A couple weeks of that and the problem will take care of itself. After that, just see that some water is changed every week and the entire volume changed monthly or so>
Thanks for your help in advance!
<No Charge!! Again: read up: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >

Hiya; RES sys. 8/6/11
<Hiya back, Sue here with you!>
I bought a Red Eared Slider recently and it's about 2.5in long. I have a little tank for it, it has non-toxic rocks, a little palm tree, and a UV light.
<Do you also have a heat bulb (or regular light bulb) in addition to the UV light? Is the UV light specifically a UVB light?>
I set up the rocks so that they slope so the turtle can bask if he wants and to get out of the water.
<Have you seen him bask yet?>
I've had him for about a week and he hasn't eaten anything. I've been giving him pellets that I break in half. I use a dechlorinator for his water. I don't know if he's sick or if I'm doing something wrong. Is he still adjusting or do I need to do something different?
<It's possible he's still adjusting, but I would have expected him to eat something by now. I asked about the heat lamp, UVB and basking because if he hasn't been hauling completely out of the water for several hours each day to bask, heat up and dry off, and/or if he hasn't been getting UVB specifically, it's possible this may be why his appetite is off. If this is the case, you'll want to fix these things as soon as possible or he may become ill.>
<You may also want to check the temperature above his basking spot to make sure it's warm enough. It should be in the 88-90 degree range for his metabolism to work efficiently. If you're not sure, you may want to get a suction thermometer and place it directly above the basking area.>
<Also, the water should be in the cool range, around 70 degrees F (a thermometer kept in the water is helpful here also for ongoing monitoring as water temp can sometimes fluctuate). The cool water will help encourage him to get out of the water to warm up. Turtles can't thermo-regulate on their own, so they need to be provided with both warm, dry land and cool water so they can choose what they need at any given time.>
I'm a little worried, I've never had a turtle before. So please help me out. I really don't want him to starve to death, and I'm planning to give him some Romaine lettuce soon.
<Turtles can go a while without eating so I wouldn't worry so much about him starving as I would what's causing him not to eat in the first place. It could be he's still adjusting to his new surroundings, but a lack of basking, too low a basking temperature and/or not the correct type of UV light are things I'd be more concerned with. If any of these aren't right, once you fix them, hopefully that will have the added benefit of also getting him to eat! >
Thank you so much, and I hope you can help me. ^_^
<If you haven't already, try the above suggestions and see if that helps. Also, here is a link to a care article written by one of our crew members:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<Compare what you're currently providing to what's recommended in this article and see if there are any changes you need to make. If you try all these suggestions and he still won't eat, write us back and we'll try Plan B! ~ Sue >
Re: Hiya... RES... sys., rdg. 8/10/11

The light bulb I have is a 50watt UVB and UVA light, specifically for basking, I got it from PetSmart, so someone helped me out with that.
<I'm glad to hear they gave you some good advice.>
I see him on the rocks, I don't know if that would be considered basking, but sometimes I feel like he's trying to hide from the light by going to the little palm tree.
<I'd be surprised if he was hiding from the light; it's possible he's still stressed from being in new surroundings.>
I have a thermometer in the basking area, and temp is usually 85F-90F.
<So far, so good Jasmine. From everything you've written so far, it sounds like you've done your research!>
In the day he's on the rocks, and at night he sleeps in the water.
<That's very typical behavior.>
And I also don't know when to clean the water because it gets a bit dirty fast because his food is left on the rocks and it gets soggy.
<You should be placing the pellets in the water rather than on land. Turtles don't produce saliva like we do; they need to eat in the water.>
<Re: cleaning, do you have a filter? If not, I'd replace the water at least once or day or more if needed, and in between times remove any uneaten food or other debris you see in the water as soon as possible with either a net or by siphoning it out. (Under normal conditions you only want to be feeding him every other day as much as he can eat in 5 minutes or so.)>
<If the water is getting dirty this fast, you might want to consider feeding him in a separate container. A plastic storage bin will work just fine. You want to do anything you can to keep his water as clean as possible. This is one of the most difficult challenges when it comes to keeping turtles, as well as one of the most frequent contributors to illness.>
I'm just hoping that I wont wake up to find his eyes are puffy or his shell is super soft because I wont be able to get him taken care of professionally.
<You're doing the right thing by addressing the situation before it gets to this point; prevention is always best! If he still hasn't eaten by the time you get my reply, then let's try 'Plan B'. Remove him from the aquarium and place him in a warm, dry enclosure for the next 5 days. For how to do this, click on the link below and read the section under 'Isolation':
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >
<Normally, I wouldn't suggest putting a new turtle in yet another strange environment, but in this case where he hasn't eaten, a warm dry environment will give his immune system a little added boost to fight off anything that might be ailing him. And if it turns out nothing is -- there is no harm, and in fact, benefits to giving him a few days of "R&R" in this type of environment.>
<And when you do place him in water once a day to feed him during this time, as above put the pellets directly in the water. Also, if you haven't done this yet, try feeding him a small (pesticide free) earthworm to see if that peaks his interest. Most turtles can't resist earthworms. We even recommend feeding turtles an earthworm or two every month or so as a healthy treat.>
Thanks for the help, and by your next response I'll tell you if anything has changed. Thank you. ^_^
<You're welcome, Jasmine. I hope the above suggestions will do the trick! Write us back in a few days and let us know how it's going. ~Sue>
Re: Hiya... RES sys. 8/10/11

He's eating!!
<That's great, Jasmine!>
But he's only eating Romaine lettuce and not his pellets, so that's all he's been eating. I coat it in calcium powder. I don't know if I should get dried bugs, I'll try that.
<I wouldn't feed him dried bugs; they really offer little to nothing in the way of nutritional value. I'd suggest instead a small earthworm like I mentioned in my last email. You can also dust the earthworm with calcium powder before feeding it to him if you'd like.>
Are the pellets really necessary?
<Yes, a good quality pellet should actually be the staple of his diet. It contains all the vitamins and minerals he needs for a balanced diet. Once he gets started eating them, feed them to him only every other day, as much as he can eat in just 5 minutes or so. Over-feeding is actually more harmful to them than under-feeding (and a more common problem). Then just supplement the pellets with an occasional earthworm or two every month. Greens like dandelion, red or green curly leaf lettuce are fine to feed too if you like, in between the pellets.>
<I know you're concerned that he so far hasn't eaten any pellets, but it's much better to 'hold your ground' and start him on healthy eating habits right from the get-go. Don't worry, he won't starve! When he gets hungry enough, assuming he is healthy he will eat -- as he's already started to do!>
<What you might try is feeding him a different pellet and see if he likes that better. (I actually had to do that myself with one of mine before). ReptoMin makes a good one; alternatively you can also try feeding him Koi pellets which are also nutritionally sound.>
He's also taken on to magically appearing on the top of his palm tree, so I guess he's a climber.
<Turtles are surprisingly good climbers! Just make sure there is no way he can escape out of there and fall and injure himself! If it's not already, I'd place the palm tree in the center, away from the walls. I'd also recommend a cover for the aquarium with at least ¼' holes (preferably even larger), large enough to allow the UVB rays to pass through (window screens block out too much UVB).>
And he finally pooped.
<More signs of progress!>
So yea, I guess time was the key. Thanks for everything! I'll email you if I have any other questions.
<You're welcome, Jasmine. Write us again if you have any more questions or concerns about his eating/diet or any other concerns. ~ Sue>

res question, incomp., sys... gen. 7/25/11
Hi guys!
<Hi Katie! Sue here with you.>
We have a RES that's about 2.5 years old, 'she's' (Summer) about 4.5 inches long.
<From what you describe below, it sounds like your 'she' might instead be a 'he'!>
We purchased a hatchling today, the woman at the pet store thought they'd be fine together.
<Not good advice; we advise against putting different size turtles together -- especially a hatchling in with a mature adult.>
They're in a 90 gallon tank with heaters, filter, basking area, and a log in the water.
<By heater, do you mean water heater? If so, I'd take it out. Their water should be kept on the cooler side, between 68-70 degrees F).>
<You didn't mention anything about lighting? Do you have a UVB light and also either a heat lamp or regular light bulb above their basking area? If not, these are both an absolute must.>
<Also, if the log is hollow, make sure to remove it when Summer reaches the size where she might 'just' fit inside of it, but then become stuck and unable to get out. Turtles can drown if they get trapped under water.>
When we put the hatchling in the tank, Summer immediately started fluttering 'her' front nails on top of the hatchling's shell. From reading all of the other posts, what's been described as typical male courting behavior is exactly what we're seeing, and is confirmed by his exhibition of his reproductive organs.
<Yes, but this can also be a sign of aggression.>
While we haven't seen any biting, he hasn't left the baby alone (it's been about an hour and a half, he's obviously very excited), and because of the size difference, is flipping her and turning her in the water quite a bit. Also because of the size difference he's occasionally pushing the baby down and almost 'holding' her underwater for a couple seconds. I'm watching them pretty carefully, and it doesn't seem like he's preventing her from coming up to the top of the tank to get air. Should I be concerned that the larger turtle could hurt the little one inadvertently?
<In a word, YES '¦ and maybe not inadvertently! Please separate these two immediately. You'll either need a separate enclosure for the hatchling or a divider for your aquarium. The good news is that since you have a 90 gallon, a divider could work. That way, the two turtles could still share the same filter and lighting. You'd just need to set up a separate basking area.>
Or will he eventually get tired and leave her alone?
<He might eventually, but the problem is that one day he wakes up in a bad mood and decides to take a nip at him/her! A nip on a larger turtle could be a small bite; a nip on a hatchling might be part of an arm! Again, I'd separate the two of them ASAP.>
And can he tell the sex of the hatchling, or could she turn out to be a male also?
<Turtles don't develop outward sexual characteristics until they get to be around 3' or so in length. Again, I think what you're seeing here is aggression and territorial behavior rather than flirtation.>
Thanks so much!
<You're welcome, Katie. I hope we got to you in time!>
Re: res question 7/28/11

Sue, thank you so much!
<You're welcome, Katie!>
We did separate the two of them, and are much more relaxed now (I think both turtles are more relaxed too).
<I think so, too.>
We don't have a water heater, I was referring to the heat lamp above the basking area, and we do have a UVB light as well.
<That's great; sounds like you've done your research!>
Thanks for the heads up about the log, he's still got quite a bit of growing to do but we'll keep an eye on it. Just wondering how big you'd advise we let the hatchling get before we put them back together?
<Every turtle's personality is individual and there are always exceptions, so your 'mileage' may vary. But generally we recommend that turtles kept together be close to the same size. The sex of the turtles is another consideration (which you won't know until your hatchling's top shell, or carapace, reaches around 3' or so in length). The link below lists some of our recommended guidelines about housing multiple turtles together:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/TurtStkgCompSueF.htm >
Again, thanks a lot for your help, the pet stores around us can't offer a lot of guidance about turtles, and your web-site has been really helpful!
<Glad to hear that! The same is unfortunately true for the pet stores in my area. Thankfully we have some great resources on the web; the only catch is sorting through them all to figure out which of them are accurate! It sounds like you've done a good job so far and have the key basics covered, but here's a link to a care article written by one of our crew members that you may also want to check out:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<Good luck with your duo! Feel free to write us again if you have any more questions or concerns.>

Red Ear Sliders, sys. 6/20/11
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have about a 3-4 month old, male slider.
<It's hard to imagine its sex at 3-4 months, Nabila. None of the sexual characteristics visible without an invasive probing are there yet. The GOOD news is since they never come when you call them, it doesn't matter if you give them inappropriate names>
It was previously in a smaller, round plastic container, until I found out that it needs more water to dive.
<They seem to appreciate being able to swim in a few inches of water>
So, now we have about a 4 gallon tank for him. The water is about 15 cm deep.
<That's about 6 inches for those of you still using the Imperial system>
It is very active and has no signs of sickness.
<Let's make sure we have all his needs covered so he stays healthy>
However, we find that it is going crazy in the glass tank alone.
<No, they don't go crazy alone>
So we bought another baby slider younger than it and slightly smaller.
<That's O.K.>
It is also a male.
<We really don't know that>
Will this create any problems?
<Not at all. Sliders are usually quite sociable as long as they have enough room to get away from each other when they have disagreements. Males usually fight for females by competing for her attention, not fighting each other>
So far, they have only been ignoring each other.
<That's often the case>
What should I watch out for?
<Just the basic care>
We have a fixed basking platform and a floating rock for the turtles. The older one doesn't really bask, he just hangs on to the platform or floating rock. Is this normal?
<Well, that depends. He should bask, he needs the UV-B light (you DO have a UV lamp as well as a basking/heat lamp, don't you?>
The turtles are still pressing their noses against the corners of the tank, as if trying to get out.
<That's normal. In their world - glass is NOT normal. Something you can't see but blocks you from swimming is not something they ever totally accept. BUT '¦ it's good exercise for them, so don't worry about it>
Even the one I've had for 3 months is still doing that. I feel really uncomfortable with this, as if I am torturing them.
<Nope. Making them watch Sister Act 2 - Back in the Habit would be torturing them>
I just bought the younger turtle a few hours ago, so I haven't fed it yet. Should I just feed it pellets like the older one?
<Same diet - same feeding schedule>
I do feed the older turtle fresh leafy vegetables occasionally but I don't feed it all this dried shrimp and such because my pellets (states that they) contain them. I have never had turtles before so my knowledge about them is zero.
<Well let's see if we can't fix that last part. Here - read this
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<The article covers ever basic aspect of their care and keeping, tells you what to feed, how often to feed, about cool water and warm basking areas, proper lighting, etc. Anything you read on the internet that contradicts that article -- is flat out wrong!>
<Once you've read it you'll be knowledgeable about Red Eared Sliders.>

Red Ear Slider Basking question 6/7/11
<Hi Rich, Sue here.>
Thanks for providing this site. I have two Sliders, both approximately 1 year old. They live in a 40 gallon tank and appear very healthy and happy. (We got them from our daughter)
<Glad to hear they're doing well!>
We have provided a floating basking ledge that attaches to the side of the tank using suction cups.
<Sounds like the kind I use. I've tried many different ones, but this is the one that my turtles seem to like best.>
We also have a UV warming light.
<Make sure the UV is UVB specifically. That's what they need. Also a heat source; a regular light bulb is fine.>
Here's my question: Our turtles very seldom use the basking ledge; in fact I've only seen one of them on it one time. They will use their front legs to hang on it, but very rarely get completely out of the water. Is this a problem?
<Yes, it is a problem; turtles need to haul out of the water every day to warm up and completely dry off. They should be basking for several hours each day under heat and UVB. Besides drying off their shell every day, they need an external heat source to digest their food properly (unlike us whose bodies do it for us). Besides the heat lamp, they also need UVB to metabolize the necessary vitamins to maintain their bone health. But the good news is, you wrote us now before they became ill!>
If so, what should we do?
<Well, first, if your basking ledge is the kind I think it is, then I don't think that's the problem at all; just make sure it's large enough for both your turtles. I know they do come in different sizes.>
<My guess is that it's the temperatures you're keeping the water and the basking spot. Do you know what temperatures either are? It's likely that there's not enough temperature gradient between the two. Contrary to what you may read on so many websites, you DO NOT need, and should not have, a water heater! In fact, turtles actually need COOL water (68-70 degrees F); and WARM, dry land (88-90 degrees F). The cool water is what entices them to get out and warm up! It may be that your water temperature is too warm so they're just hanging out in the water instead of getting out of it -- which they need to do. If you don't already have them, I'd suggest getting 2 thermometers -- one to keep in the water, and a suction thermometer to be placed right above the basking spot under the heat lamp, so you can monitor it each day. Also, summer heat and humidity levels can make things tricky. Even if you have air conditioning, the water can become a bit warmer than other times of the year -- at least where I'm from anyway! Depending on how things are where you live, you may need to make adjustments in the wattage of the bulb, distance of the bulb from the basking area, etc. until you get it just right.>
<You're welcome! Try this out and let us know what happens. Also, read over this basic care guide to make sure you have everything else in place that they need:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
Re: Red Ear Slider Basking question 6/9/11
Thank you for your reply. While I have the UV/UVB bulb, I do not have an additional heat source. I'll set up a 100w bulb to warm up their basking ledge.
<You may need to experiment with different wattages to get the basking temperature "in range".>
Thanks again.
<You're welcome!>
Re: Red Ear Slider Basking question 6/12/11

<Hi Rich (and also Buster and Dwight!)>
<Thanks for letting us know! Most people never write back, so we're only left to ASSUME our advice worked!>
I got a reptile warming light, set it up over the basking ledge, turned the water heater off and.... both turtles are now climbing completely out of the water and "sunning" themselves.
<Isn't it funny how 'programmable' they can be? Their behavior is nearly completely driven by their body temperature!>
<Also, the other funny thing is that your question was actually the same way I first encountered this website, before I landed up eventually responding to queries! I had the same problem you did because literally everything I'd ever read in a book or on a website said to keep the water warm! So ... I was pretty sure in this case anyway, that at least this piece of advice would work!>
They're still skittish whenever anyone enters the room, but they both seem to really enjoy the new set up.
<They'll eventually get more comfortable with it, but to some extent they'll always be a bit skittish, especially with any fast or sudden moves until they see your face and know it's you (they do eventually learn to recognize faces).>
Thanks! (from Buster and Dwight also)
<You're welcome! Glad to hear it worked out. Feel free to write us again if any more questions or concerns pop up with your little guys.>

700 Responses!! 5/22/11
Hi my names Sophia
<Hiya - I'm Darrel>
<Guess what???>
<This is my SEVEN HUNDREDTH LETTER on the WWM crew!!!!!>
<Imagine that!! 700 people have written in and had the fortune to get ME as their letter-answer-person!! 700 people!!>
<700 times I've given people advice on turtles, fish, aquariums. Illnesses, investments, relationships and car repair. The law of large numbers says that I must have been right at least a few of those times!!! LOL>
<Then again, every time I get proud of answering 700 letters over 4 years, I remember that Bob Fenner and Neale Monks answer that many every month>
<Anyway '¦ enough about me!>
I have a red ear slider that is 4 1/2 inches wide and 5 1/2 inches long. He lives in a 100 gallon tank and has a great basking shore. We have a heating lamp,
<Great. The temp under the lamp should be between 88 and 93 degrees>
-- the water is in great temp,
<Should be between 68 and 73 degrees - normal room temperature>
and he is right by the window so the sun is always shinning down on him.
<Well, there's a problem. UV/B radiation, the kind that reptiles need for good skin and bone health, does not easily pass through glass - or even window screens. By the time that sunlight passes through the window glass and then the tank glass, I'm afraid that almost all the healthful UV/B radiation has been filtered out.>
<There are two ways to go here. Companies like ZooMed make UV/B bulbs that screw into normal lamp sockets, just like his heating lamp. You can count one right next to his heat lamp. There are also florescent bulbs that produce a bit more of the same UV/B and mount lengthwise across the tank. These are generally a bit more beneficial, but more expensive as well.>
My dad knows more about this than I, and my mom doesn't want to go to a vet so you are my only resource please help me!
<Yes, a trip to the vet is expensive, especially when we have such general symptoms>
My red ear slider turtle seems to have some type of white clear slime all in his shell that floats out when he is in the water. Also his skin is bulging out of his hind legs and a little on his tail. What is wrong with him? Does he need some type of surgery?
<No surgery, Sophia.>
<We have two separate things here. The floating white slime sounds like the beginning of a fungal infection. This is easy and inexpensive to treat. I'll tell you how to do it a little later.>
<The bulges are more concerning '¦ but then without seeming him or knowing more detail, there is also less I can help you with. Bulges can be a sign of edema, which is swelling of the soft tissue. That's very serious, but then again it's not usually general either. Edema usually presents as ALL the soft tissue looking bloated. If he's being over-fed, his soft tissue would look '¦ um ... pudgy every time he retracts - back AND front. In any case, we need to treat what we see and correct any conditions that are not optimum>
<Here's a link to basic care. I covers UV lighting and diet. Make sure you read and completely understand both topics (as well as the rest of it) and do further research here on WWM (Google search box on the bottom of the home page - check "search WWM") to get more information>
<Now as far as the slime and the bulges, I'm going to start with the basics. He needs to be kept warm and DRY for a few weeks -- and treated for a fungal infection exactly as described in this article:>
<If you're Dad knows more about these things, you might ask him to scan the articles, too. They're short and hopefully to the point>
<During this time, see that he (the turtle, not your dad) gets some direct sunlight EVERY day. That means taking him outside for a walk. Let him sit on the grass or sidewalk under direct sun. He'll want to walk around '¦ you can't take your eyes off of him for a second (you'd be amazed how fast these guys can be when we're not looking!) so you may need to follow him, or keep bringing him back from wherever he wanders. You can put him in a box that he can't crawl out of, but you still can't leave him alone. If you can, I'd like him to get 15 minutes of sunlight, twice a day, while he's in treatment.>
<Meanwhile, fix the UB/B problem in the tank, read the articles, attend to whatever's wrong - and see how he does.>
<Write back if you need more help><<Congrats Darrel. B>>

RES, sys., beh. 5/17/11
Hi there,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I recently just discovered your website this morning and it has already helped me out so much.
<Thank you - it's always nice to know that we're helping>
I was reading on other websites before and apparently I wasn't getting the right information on my turtles.
<What???? Seeing another web site behind our backs??? I hope we're forming a commitment here Anja '¦ and that WWM isn't just another url passing in the night. Not just another notch on your favorite places '¦>
Anyways, I have a problem with my turtles and I'm not really sure how to address it. I just recently obtained two Red eared sliders and I got them in a 10 gallon tank (That's what was sold to me when I bought them from someone, not a pet store) I read somewhere that these turtles could need up to a hundred gallon tank at their peak growth, is that true?
<Yes, that's true. The good news is that you're a ways off from that. As they grow, their RATE of growth slows. For example they may double in size in the first year, then take 5 years to double THAT size and even longer to double THAT size. So what to do with two fully grown sliders isn't a worry to have right now>
Also I felt like the 10 gallon tank may not be giving them the space they needed so I switched them over to a 20 gallon tank, a lot longer.
<And I bet they appreciate it!>
Well when I had the 10 gallon tank I would sometimes see both of the turtles on the floating rock I have in the tank basking under the warming lamp, now that I've switched over to the 20 gallon, the smaller one (Which I'm assuming is the male now, before I thought it was female, but the growth on the one is clearly faster than the smaller one.) I've checked their claws and they are the same length, the smaller one is just over three inches and the bigger one is about 3 and a half, maybe a little bigger. I don't think they are at the maturity level yet for mating so I'm not too concerned there.
<They're a little too small to tell yet anyway. In any group of animals, even a group of two, one is likely to grow faster than the other. 3 1/2 inches is just on the cusp of maturity for a male, just when they START to grow the longer claws, etc. so it's still possible you have two females. It also, as you suggested, doesn't really matter yet>
Also, the one I assume is male (the smaller) he never basks, he would bask in the 10 gallon tank but now that I've upgraded, all he does is sit under my floating rock and sometimes he'll swim the length of the tank looking like he's trying to get out. I read that this sometimes mean it's a pregnant female needing to lay eggs.
<Not at that size, no. It means that he either hasn't adjusted yet - or that he's unhappy>
<The first thing to do is list exactly what has changed. Is the light closer to the dock? I mean - is it TOO hot for him? Is the water too warm? Or too deep? It's possible that the change triggered a territorial conflict between the two and he doesn't feel welcome on the rock. (that's unusual, by the way '¦ most territorial disputes are related to being in the water. For the most part, basking areas appear to be neutral territory.>
So I'm just very confused on this.
<It's a bit of a puzzle, I agree. Try this: Make a secondary basking area somehow. A brick or rock or wooden plank, etc. something different. Then angle the basking lamp so it hits both places. See if maybe Skippy just wanted a place to call his own.>
Also the bigger one makes a weird noise when I pick her up, is it just because she's frightened? I'm not really sure how to describe the sound of it. But the other one will not make this sound.
<Well, I'm not sure either. A sound like an electric can opener? Or maybe like Space Invaders? Any sounds like THAT and you could make a living on talk shows '¦>
<Or a hissing noise? That's just air escaping as they withdraw their appendages. A CLICKING noise? They do that with their jaws, for no other reason I think, than just to mess with us.>
<Nothing is really unusual about unusual noises, Anja - unless the turtle starts telling you to beat up your landlord, I wouldn't worry about it.>
And just one (or two) more things... How much water should my tank have? Should I be filled up halfway? Do they like to swim?
<They seem to LIKE deep water (4-8 inches) but are often very happy in less. 3-4 is fine. The main considerations are that they can reach the basking area AND that from the basking area they CANNOT reach the top and climb out.>
I have about 3-4 inches in it right now with pebbles on the bottom because I never thought they could get up onto the floating rock but now the bigger one is the only one that goes up on the rocks to bask.
<Let's see what changing things around does>
Also I never see the little one eat and I'm very concerned that he/she is not getting any nutrition, this is the same one that hides under the floating rock all day and night.
<Now THAT is a problem. So let's take everything else and set it aside (for now) and deal with this. A turtle will not eat for three reasons: It's ill, it's stressed, it's not hungry. Assuming that it's getting enough heat for metabolic processing, it will eventually be hungry. Stress is certainly possible, given what we know. Illness is not something I can see from here, but your description isn't of an illness.>
<First, take both turtles out of the tank and make them a temporary home that is warm and dry. Yes, warm and DRY. Read this article about illnesses and especially the part about isolation. Keep them both warm and dry for about 4 days, giving them each a separate bath every day, with the opportunity to drink, poop and eat. Then back into the warm and dry land. Removing the smaller guy from a stressful environment may itself be relief, but more important we don't want to worry about his refusal to thermo regulate.>
<Now - why take the larger one, too? Because if it's territorial, we want them to experience all changes TOGETHER. If the problem is about territory, taking the smaller one out of the tank for a week makes it MORE like the tank "belongs" to the bigger one>
<Meanwhile, the second link covers basic care - pay special attention to basking areas, heat and UV-B. You can work on changing and rearranging their main tank while they're on "vacation.">
<Treatment: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >
<General care: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
Please help,
<I'm trying, Anja. I just hope you'll stop sneaking around with other web sites>
Thank you
<Yer welcome!!>

RES Basking under water? 5/14/11
<Hiya - Darrel here>
My Red Eared Slider, who is a 1yr and months, hasn't been basking on his dock lately.
I do see him on the bottom with his legs stretched out like he would on the dock and his head stretched out too.
<hmmm again>
His water is on the warm side ranging from 76 - 78 degrees.
<Yes it is>
I can't get the temp to drop. I don't remember having this problem last summer. How do I get his water to stay cooler?
<Assuming the room isn't 76-78 degrees, you have to find out the reason why. Some obvious things are the basking lamp shines too much of its energy on the water -- or too close to the water. Some filters, pumps, etc. are inefficient and transfer their heat to the water. Sometimes having return water from a filter fall through the air helps to cool the water. You've probably seen terrariums where the return water slides down a piece of glass and then trickles into the water? This helps cool that water.>
<And SPEAKING of "obvious" I deliberately didn't mention that if you have a water HEATER '¦ that is likely the problem!!>
<On the other hand, if the ambient temperature of the room Edward lives in is 76-78 degrees, then you can't do much about it.>
I've tried placing frozen bottles of water in a Ziploc but he put a hole in the bag. Don't want to risk him eating the bag.
<Besides '¦ that's WAY too much work>
<If nothing specific is heating the water, then maybe there just isn't enough water. A bigger (deeper) tank will not increase in temperature so readily. But my guess is that the basking lamp is heating the water by being too close (or too powerful) and this ALSO explains why he doesn't bask -- if the basking lamp is heating the water 3-6 degrees over room temperature, then it's likely BAKING the basking area and making it way too hot for Edward.>
He does eat normally and swims around too.
<Then, for the moment, we have only a puzzle - no health issues>
He's even started fluttering to his reflection.
<He must think he's a hottie!!>
Thanks for your help :)

Red Ear Slider Questions, sys., fdg. 5/5/11
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I acquired a hatchling Red Ear Slider about 8 months ago.
<Is his name Merky, perhaps?>
He (or she) has grown from about an inch to 3.75 inches at this point and I'm starting to wonder if the 10 gallon aquarium he is in is starting to get too small.
<Yeah - a little bit too small.>
I know you typically can't sex them until they are 4 inches or larger but he is almost that length and looks like he has the toe nails and tail of a female. I know these girls can get quite large and want to make sure I have the proper housing.
<It's always a good idea to look forward, but also remember that AS they get older their rate for growth slows, so even if Merky IS actually a girl, she'll not grow from 4 inches to 8 inches anywhere nearly as fast as she grew from 1 to 4.>
What size aquarium do you recommend for a turtle of this current size and how long would it last before I need to upgrade again? I don't want to buy a 20 gallon only for him to outgrow it in the next 6 months or so.
<Well, if an aquarium is the way you're going, I'd say a "Breeder" tank, They come in 30 gallon and 40 gallon sizes. They are both 36 inches long by 18 inches wide; the difference being the 40 gallon is taller. Although it may be hard to locate one, they are perfect for turtles because turtles appreciate WIDTH and LENGTH of an enclosure much more than depth.>
I was also wondering at what age these turtles are typically full grown and what size tank/pond should I plan on once he gets to this point? I have a 90 gallon aquarium I could move him to if I had to but it would require some reworking. If I did move him to the 90 could I comfortably house two turtles or would I be setting myself up for needing a much larger system in the future?
<A typical 90 gallon tank is 48 inches by 18 inches and would house 2 turtles nicely. Keep in mind that they would be perfectly happy in 12 inches of water, leaving plenty of room for a basking area under a UV lamp, etc.>
My final question is about feeding, I've read that after a hatchling becomes a yearling they should be fed every other day vs. every day and I'm wondering at what size/age I should move to this schedule. He is fed a mix of turtle pellets, veggies, crickets and some fruit.
<No crickets, please. They are Mother Nature's Peanut Butter Cups: Junk food>
<I feed my hatchlings every other day for the first year and then 3 times a week thereafter. I use Koi Pellets as the staple diet, with an earthworm or two once a month. I feed all they can eat in 5 minutes, 3 times a week. Always keep in mind that we humans ALWAYS feed our animals too much.
Over feeding and feeding the wrong foods are much more common problems than underfeeding.>
Your help is appreciated!
<More reading: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm
Re: Red Ear Slider Questions -- 05/07/11

Thanks for the info so far.
<Not a problem>
I have a few follow up questions if you don't mind.
<Not at all>
I live in So Cal so having him live outside year round is a possibility, I believe. I do worry about predators that could snatch him and would have to look into the space and filtration required to put a pond in our small yard.
<I understand. Predators are always a worry. On the other hand ponds open the door to much imagination. Nothing says that they have to be a hole in the ground. MY pond is above ground, outlined with concrete blocks (cinderblocks) that contain a pond liner AND a fence with a lip on it '¦ then around the outside is a decorative garden that hides the blocks.>
In a few years with a bigger yard I think this will be the plan.
<Then you can add Koi and even bigger filters and then even more Koi and then rebuild the pond to be bigger and hold more turtles and then HUGE filters and PRIZED imported Koi and then have to retire from your job because there isn't enough time to do that AND care for the Koi and the turtles '¦ O.K. wait. On the other hand, maybe not>
As it is I have a light for heat on his basking area but I put him outside in a part sun/part shade container most days to get his sunlight.
<That works. The prices on specially-made UV-B lamps have come way down in recent years, but then I don't want to take away from your "together time" with him.>
If I do move him to the 90 and decided to get him a friend do you recommend a specific pairing of sex and size?
<You mean like '¦ am I a dating service?>
Also, would there be other turtles that are not Red Ear Sliders but are similar enough that they could live in the same habitat?
<Yes. All the Sliders, Cooters, Pond Turtles, etc. all share the same needs and seem to get along just fine. What you will find though, are simply certain individuals that are a bit more nippy than others, so try to find a turtle that is around the same physical size. Sexual pairing is problematic because the males mature faster than the females and begin their courtship behaviors while the females are too young to respond and to me, it just seems to annoy the females'¦ but then again, I may be projecting back to Jr. High School>
<The one thing I'd do, whether you use the 90 and/or later when you build a pond '¦ arrange the decorations, rocks or whatever you use so that the two turtles can, when in the water, get out of each other's visual range. For some reason, Basking is a shared resource and they almost universally get along "up top." It's in the water where they seem to have their tiffs and as long as they can get out of each other's site for a while when they need it, they'll otherwise work out their differences.>
Thanks again
Re: Red Ear Slider Questions... Painted Turtle sel., comp. now 5/9/11

I have decided to go with a Painted turtle.
<Nice choice>
I like the Midland and Eastern but was concerned as adults they'll be significantly smaller than my Slider. I was leaning toward the Western Painted for that reason.
Wouldn't that make your name Eileen?>
Do you think this is a concern?
<Not even a little bit. Eastern Painteds and Sliders of all types will get along fine. The THREE issues to consider. (1) Your PARTICULAR Slider and Painted may not be suited for each other. No way to know, only time tells. (2) As long as they are similar sized when introduced (that whole fighting for dominance thingie) they're usually fine thereafter. (3) arrange the enclosure such that when they are both in the water, they can get away from each other visually. Bricks, rocks, etc. to break up the water basin, seems to do the trick. Basking spots, for some reason, are virtually neutral territory>
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
<Sent from my TRS-80>

RES care India 4/23/2011
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have two 8 months old RES. I reside in India where temps are between 40 degree Celsius (summers) and 20 degree Celsius winters.
<Ah - Metric temperatures!! That's 104 Degree Summers and 68 degree Winters for those of you still in The Old Dominion>
It is difficult to get uvb bulbs here.
<I've heard that. Still - it is well worth your while to try>
You guys have already got many mails on that.
I just want to know can I do without it if every day I place them under direct sunlight from 8:30 A.M to 9:30 A.M and provide them adequate vitamin d3 in their food.
They do stay in the sun for 20 min max after which they start feeling hot and move over to shaded area. When they do this I place them in their feeding bowl and feed them. After they have cooled enough I place them again in direct sunlight area for another 20 min.s or so. After which I quickly put them back in their main tank.
<VERY nice care, Ruchika - and more than adequate. Just remember that they can cook so quickly in the sun '¦ make sure you don't ignore them even for a few minutes.>
<They do have a BASKING light in their main tank, correct (a heat generator) so that the can thermo-regulate during the rest of the day?>
<Other than that, your care is more than adequate and will keep them healthy.>
Re: RES care India 5/3/2011

Hey (Darrel)
Am facing a tough a situation.
<Uh oh>
Both my turtle are breathing through their mouth, although not consistently but say after a minute or two sometimes longer. Earlier they used to do that just after eating but now that is not the case.
<That isn't actually bad. But are they breathing from their mouths because of bubbles or discharge from their noses? THAT would be bad. But JUST opening their mouths and breathing, which is known as gaping, isn't bad>
One of them is swimming Very lopsided (his side point the shell is touching the sky!!) and prefers to sit on the rock whole day, the other one has slight lop-sidedness but is very active and most of the time manages to hide it ...that is he swims so fast!! and he does submerge himself. None of the have either mucous or air bubbles. We don't have vet who specialize in reptile here so would require lots of your help.
<Well, let's see what we can do. FIRST get them both warm and dry. Read here about keeping turtles in isolation: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >
<At this point, good UV is important. As I recall you have them outside for around 20 minutes, twice a day. That should be adequate - but the REST of the time they should be warm and dry. When you give them a bath each day to let them drink, poop and eat, try to find some food in your area that is very high in vitamins A & D and alternate between those two. After two weeks of this type of treatment you can try putting them back in their normal tank & water and notice if their behaviors has changed>

Turtle Tank turning Red 4/5/11
Hello, My friend's red ear slider (named Leo) tank has turned red and we don't know why. She has had Leo for about three years now and this has never happened before. Last week was Spring Break and Leo was left in the hands of another friend. The friend was showed what to feed Leo and how much. When my friend returned about six days later, the tank was a dark red. She then took Leo out of that tank, cleaned him off, and put just him into a smaller tank to quarantine him to see if it was just something in his original tank or Leo himself. After about three days in this quarantine tank we noticed that the tank was also turning red. There are no obvious cuts on Leo. I have been looking online at possible reasons for tank discoloration for the past few hours and have not come to any conclusions. Quite a few web sites have said it could be a possible algae bloom, but Leo's tank is cleaned often enough to not have algae build up.
On the few occasions there is algae build up, there is very little and it is always green not red. Other possibilities were that the gravel was bleeding color (Leo has large, clear gravel and a few stones from the beach that have been thoroughly cleaned before added to his tank), left over food causing discoloration (Leo is fed Tetra ReptoMin pellets and there are never any left over), or that Leo was bleeding but as said above there are no obvious cuts on him. What other possibilities could cause his tank to turn red?
<The regular Chelonian folks seem to be "out", so I'll give this a go. I do agree w/ your line of speculation... there is something else other than the turtle itself that accounts for the water colour here. Most likely a food (other than the green colored ReptoMin) is the source. Other common causes include the substrate as you mention, and wood/decor. Do see Darrel's comments on WWM re foods/feeding for RES... I concur that "Koi pellets" are as nutritious as a staple and can be much less money. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

regarding RES turtles, sys. 1/3/11
Hey all.
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I recently bought 2 Red Eared Slider turtles from a local fisherman, 3 days ago, claiming them to be
His catch of the day. They are really small. Less than 4 inches, exactly (1.8 inches). As soon as I got them, I took them to a vet and got them checked for Salmonella bacteria. Response: Not ill. Well that's a relief.
I took them home and kept them in a 20 gallon tank already loaded with fishes (about 11 of them). The problems I'm facing are
1) my tank is kept in on that part of my living room, where there is no sunlight directly coming, so I take my turtles out and keep them in a glass bowl of diameter 2 ft underneath the sunlight . I have still to buy a uv-b heat lamp. I live in Pakistan, and here, they don't sell 'named' products. So are these heat lamps bulbs of specific power and voltage? And is my practice okay for a couple of days?
<The first problem is that a fish tank has too much water and not enough land and basking space. You will have to lower the water level so that the basking area is low enough that no turtle can climb out. Also, the heat needed on the basking area will probably heat the water beyond what is good for the fish>
<If you read here, you'll see that keeping turtles does not need to be hard or expensive
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<Putting the turtles in direct sunlight for a few hours each day is sufficient for a while, the problem is that you must also provide them shade so that they do not overheat!! Our intention is to provide them a warm basking area and cool water and let them choose what they need.>
2) Both of them don't eat much. They're young, I've offered them a mixture of tropic fish pellets and turtle feed. What can be the reason?
<They probably are eating just enough. I use Koi pellets because they are fully balanced for Red Eared Sliders and they are inexpensive. Feed them all they will eat in 5 minutes 4 days a week, then remove the rest from their bowl>
3) Whenever I keep the turtles back into the tank, both tend to rest near the filter and tend to stay there completely motionless. I get scared as I mostly suppose that they're umm dead. What can be the cause of such activity?
<Having just been moved, they are a bit scared. They swim to a safe place, always under water and then they just remain motionless until they get accustomed to their new surroundings. If you repeat the moving, they will repeat that behaviors until it becomes routine to them>
4) I live in Karachi, where the temperature during the day can go up to 95 F in summers and 41 F in the winters, like last night. The turtles are kept indoors, so do I need a heater, given that they live with fishes?
<I suggest that you don't keep them in a fish tank. You can male them their own turtle world using very inexpensive and common items (again, read that article) that can be tailored just for them. If they live indoors, they should not have heated water. It should be no warmer that room temperature. Again, the point is to offer them warm basking (88-95f) and cool water (68-73f) and let them choose between the two>
5) How can you build a basking area in a tank? Is it like an island type structure in the middle of the water?
<Make them a place of their own>
6) At what age should I start giving them blood worms and other live bait?
<Never. Koi pellets are a staple food. I feed them to hatchlings all the way up to breeding adults. I will occasionally, once a month or so, treat them to an earthworm>
7) Their ears are some what pale pink, not exactly red. Should I be worried about that?
<Not at all. Many variations on the basic color>
8) The tank already consists of a tube light that emits a purplish glow when switched on. Is it a UV light? Does it provides heat, because my dad thinks so, but I think otherwise
<UV is a large part of the spectrum. If you have a light for tropical fish and plants, it's CLOSE to the UV that turtles need, but not exactly the correct wavelength. If you check with local pet stores, any that sell reptiles of any sort, they will probably be able to show you UV-B bulbs in the proper spectrum. You can research online for brands like Zoo-Med and write down the specific wavelengths and then compare with what a store may offer you>
Eagerly waiting up for your response.
<Yer welcome '¦ and I hope we helped>

Red Eared Slider Question (They're not moving ) 12/24/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I've searched all over for the answer to this question, on Google and on the website. I have two Red Eared Sliders, both about 1.5 inches wide. They get heated water and light (although not a UVB light). I feed them leafy greens like spinach and mix in a few pellets of Repto-min. I change the water when it gets dirty or if the food starts to not look fresh. I don't have a normal filtration system. The tank is pretty huge compared to their size (14in diameter). They have a basking/rock area and enough water to submerge to swim in. They've been doing fine, swimming around, eating happily, coming out of the water. I am going out of town for the holidays and my roommate will be looking after them. I thought it would be a good time to clean the tank so my roommate wouldn't have to do that much work. I did it the way I normally did. Put them in another bowl with warm water, same temp as the tank. And usually they both swim like crazy. I go and clean the tank and rocks etc. But by the time I put them back in... both of them are not moving! Their legs are sticking out.. the head is not really all the way in but the eyes are closed. No response when I poke them. They have no weirdness about them, so no funny growth, nothing growing on them, nothing falling off them. I figured I'd leave them the way they are back in the tank and see what happened the next day. Put in fresh food. The next morning (5 hours later), before I left for my bus out of town, they were still like that. I'm afraid they might be dead? But what else could it be?
<I'd agree that they are no longer with us>
What else could have caused it? Why would both of them suddenly die if I didn't do anything differently?
<The death of two individuals at the same moment is very unusual and it's an indication of some form of EXTREME condition - water VERY hot or VERY cold or '¦ a toxin (like bleach or ammonia) in the water in VERY high concentrations '¦ but there are all things that would have had to be SO extreme that you would have HAD to have noticed.>
<So that more or less rules out environment>
<Which, when we rule out that '¦ leaves us with the fact that they may have both been very sick for a very long time and never showed symptoms>
<This is very often the case with reptiles and fish, Jane - they tend to be very stoic, looking "almost normal" and acting "almost normal" on the outside - all the while getting sicker and sicker on the inside. Many times with fish and reptiles, the period between symptoms and death is merely hours: They'd been sick for months and they never let us see it until they were just too sick to act normal anymore.>
I really liked them too! and I really don't want it happening again if I get another RES.
Thank you so much. Sorry for bothering you with so many questions.
<No bother, Jane>
<Turtles indoors do not need heated water. They need a basking area with heat (88-93 degrees) and UV-B (They MUST have this!!!) and water between 68-73 degrees) so that they can choose the temperature that suits them. Water that is too warm combined with a basking area means their metabolism is either in High gear or Extra High gear -- and it's possible that they couldn't get enough to eat to maintain it.>
<Read this link - cover every subject listed and make sure everything is up to standards before you try again>
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
Happy holidays!

Red Ear Slider, sexing, sys. 12/16/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I just have a couple questions, I was wondering if you can help me.
<I've often wondered if I can help people, too.>
I have a Red Ear Slider and for the characteristics it seems like a male but I have notice already twice that a black looking sack comes out of the turtle's butt apparently and it keeps it out for a few minutes and then it suck it back up, any idea of what that could be?
<Yep! That's his .. um '¦ er .. ah '¦ party animal. It comes out when he's sexually excited (and NO ONE knows what excites a male turtle) and will go in by itself>
Another question is, I recently bought a bigger tank and I got those colored rocks to put at the bottom of the tank, how recommendable is that?
<As long as they are too big to swallow, it's not a problem>
and do you have any other recommendations, I'm afraid the turtle will eat them.
< Generally I use a bare tank floor and decorate it with large stones spaces apart '¦ and this is merely because turtles are so messy it makes the tank much easier to clean.>
Thank you very much!
I hope you can help me.
<I hope so, too!>
<Read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>

Diet, inactivity and care conditions, RES 11/24/10
<Hi Tanya, Sue here with you.>
I have a few questions. I have two red ear sliders. I've had them for a few months now. The first couple weeks I had them they ate the pellets but them they refused to eat anything until I stared feeding them baby shrimp. The freeze dried kind. They won't eat any thing else. Is this ok?
<No, freeze dried shrimp has little to no nutritional value and shouldn't be a part of their diet. Stick with the pellets as their 'staple'; feed them only every other day as much as they'll eat in 5-10 minutes to avoid over-feeding. If you see one stealing all of the food, you may need to feed them separately. You can also offer them fresh greens liberally every day (not iceberg, though - use red leaf lettuce, curly green lettuce, dandelion greens, etc.) I put them on a clip with a suction cup and attach it to the inside of the aquarium to try and keep them confined to one place for easier clean-up. The only 'treat' we recommend is an earthworm or two every couple of weeks or so. Most turtles love earthworms and they're much healthier for them than freeze dried shrimp. Your turtles will land up sick with nutritional deficiencies if you continue to feed them this as their staple.>
<Having said this, as you mentioned they like the taste of the shrimp and now don't want to eat anything else. It's no different than kids wanting only dessert but not their vegetables. One thing you may want to try is to 'wean' them off of the shrimp. Try putting several pellets in a cap from a drink container, then stick just a few of the freeze dried shrimp in with it. Wait at least 20 minutes or until the pellets are completely softened, then mash everything into a pulp and see if they'll take small amounts of this off the top of the spoon. If they do, then just gradually decrease the amount of shrimp over the next week or two until it's only the pellets they're eating. We often also suggest holding off feeding them for a few days to try and make them hungry enough to eat the pellets. The only caveat with this is that they shouldn't be otherwise debilitated (which yours may be; see below). Healthy turtles can go a few days without food but I wouldn't advise doing this with malnourished or unhealthy turtles.>
Also, I noticed the skin on there face is peeling. It happens only when I fully clean out there tank. It is only the face which is peeling. What's happening to them?
<Not sure why you're only noticing this when you clean out the tank, but usually when skin is peeling to the point that you're noticing it, this usually points to either water quality issues and/or a water temperature that's too high. How often are you doing water changes? What type, if any, filter are you using? What temperature is the water? I'll forward this question on to one of other crew members to see if he has any additional insights on this as well.>
Another thing I have noticed is the smaller of the two turtles just sits in the corner of the tank under water. Is she depressed or something?
<Turtles often just like to 'hang out' but if she's doing this all the time, this would not be normal. Healthy turtles should be spending several hours out of the water each day completely drying off under a heat and UVB lamp (both of which you are hopefully providing. And when they're in the water, healthy turtles also like to actively swim about as well as just hang out. If you don't have the proper lighting and heating they require, I suggest you get these items as soon as possible and see if they make a difference. Both of your turtles will become quite ill if you are not providing these additional things.>
<As an aside, if you've only been feeding your turtles freeze dried shrimp AND not providing a basking area, heat lamp and UVB, it is likely they ARE debilitated. Especially your one turtle that is completely sedentary sitting in a corner. If all these things are true then I would shy away from the 'starvation' option above in favor of weaning, and purchase the needed equipment as soon as possible. Turtles don't require a lot, but what they do require, they must have or they will become seriously ill.>
The larger turtle will occasionally go to the little turtle to play with her. The water is really deep. Is it possible for them to drown?
<Though turtles do breathe air like we do, they won't drown unless they get trapped by an object under the water and can't swim up for air, or if they're seriously ill and having difficulty swimming (i.e. are swimming lop-sided). Otherwise you shouldn't worry. And while turtles do appreciate deep water, what they appreciate even more is a large surface area with lots of room to swim around.>
please help me.- Tanya
<Tanya, try out the things I mentioned above and see if these things help them convert back over to the pellets and increase their activity levels. I've also attached a link below that is our basic care guide. Compare the care you're currently providing your turtles to what's recommended in this guide and make whatever changes are necessary. Let me know how it goes, and please feel free to write back with any more questions or concerns.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >

Red eared slider. - 10/10/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
The picture attached to this mail will give you detail description about his tank and our queries will be best answered.
This is the surface we have made for our turtle in the tank.
<I see the picture of the tank in one picture, the other picture is so close up that it actually frightens me>
- but he does not sit on his land area stays in water for maximum amount of time. When feels sleepy will put his paws on the water tube and in half hanging position sleep in water itself. He does not get on the land to sleep comfortably.
is he is unhappy to sit on the land?
or it is uncomfortable?
or does he need smoother surface to sit on?
<There is no way to tell what goes on in their pin-sized brains, Manmeet.
The only thing we DO know is that your turtle is not climbing out onto the basking area and that we need to change things to see what works.>
<Leave the dock in place, but remove the colored rocks and replace them with a sheet of paper or cloth (make sure the basking lamp isn't too close)>
<Just keep placing him on top of the basking area time after time until he accepts it for a half hour or so>
<Is it too hot under the lamp? 88-90(f) is desired with water temp 68-72(f) >
<Is there something outside the tank that could be scaring him? What if it is a fear of leaving the water and not a fear of the platform?>
<Could the tank be facing a bad way for him>
<You could remove the basking area and replace it with a piece of wood that is angled into the water>
<A common brick with a rounded sort of rock sitting on top until it's out of the water.>
<The important thing is to change only one thing at a time, place him on the dock and give him a few attempts to get used to the change before trying something else>
Thank you.
<You're welcome!>
<Also check all of your care against this basic guide:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >

The Story Of The Bad Owner Who Wishes To Repent For His Actions, RES hlth., env. 9/7/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I've got a Red-eared Slider Turtle that I've had since I was 5 (I'm now 17) so that's 12 years.
<Basic math: check!>
I would like to inquire about my turtles health. I have a female, not sure of exact size but very big, I'd estimate 6-7 inches maybe, in what I believe to be a 55 gallon tank. There is a UV light, a basking raft, which used to be suctioned to the wall, but I guess she didn't like that and bit off the suctions so now it just floats there, a water heater thingy which I keep at about 80 degrees, and an Aqueon filter.
Sorry for my rudimentary description but we got these things years ago and I don't remember the exact product names as I was not as mature as I am now, and didn't think to remember them. I've been around your site and you're right, turtles are NOT for children.
<Not without parental support, no>
I sucked as an owner and my parents didn't do a thing. Years ago we had no filter and I rarely clean the tank, and when we had to keep her in the basement for 2 years, I'd forget about her for weeks, and then go back and dump what I'd imagine now to be half the tube of food into the tank.
<Sad tale and all too common>
Another time when I was maybe 8, I put 2 miniature Red-eared Sliders (maybe 3 inches? I don't remember, really small) that I'd got from Chinatown in the tank with her because I thought she'd be the mommy and take care of them.
She ate them both and buried their shells in the gravel. I was horrible and I apologize and I've been trying to repent.
<Thank you>
Well, until about a month ago, for maybe a year, the tank's filter was broken and my mom was saying we were too poor to buy a new one, and I couldn't clean the tank because it's too big for me to pick up alone because I'm skinny, frail and
weak, and no one else wanted to help me. So for about a year, my turtle sat in maybe 3-5 inches of extremely bad water, and I couldn't do anything about it. But about a month ago I was able to get a new filter and someone finally helped me
clean the tank. I am EXTREMELY SORRY, and I know you guys probably hate me as an owner by now but I'm going to try and keep everything well for her as I'd like to have her as a life long companion.
<Red Eared Sliders are very resilient, Heru. When conditions improve, they often improve>
First of all, I wanted to know, could the bad conditions she used to be kept in have lowered her life expectancy?
<Not as long as no serious infection developed>
She never seemed to be in bad shape, surprisingly, and now she seems fine for the most part. Another thing is on her shell, There are small shiny patches. They don't look like anything bad. Have you ever seen a plastic like saran wrap (sorry if I spelled that wrong) stretched tightly over a smooth flat surface with a thin layer of water under it? It looks like the little areas of air that shine when the light hits them. The one's on her shell also only shine when light hits them. Should I be concerned about this?
<It's really hard to say without seeing her. As she grows, the scutes of her shell shed - and in the process they become very thin layers that would shine when the light hits them. It could also be a fungus starting>
Another thing is occasionally I'll catch her biting at her left arm. She hasn't broken the skin, and sometimes she only rubs it against her head instead of biting. She stops after a while though. What does this mean?
<That sounds like something they do when they have a skin condition, like a fungus. It's their version of scratching>
And also, I won't lie. The filter is pretty loud even though it claimed to be extremely quiet, and sometimes, I HAVE to unplug it at night in order to sleep.
<That's not a problem, either. Unlike fish, turtles have a high tolerance for variable water conditions. We're not trying to make a nitrogen cycle like we do for fish. For turtles, filtration is more about straining the particles out of the water so we can remove them by rising the filter material. The filter can be off overnight with no ill effects at all as long as the water is more or less clean again during the following day>
Sorry to bother you and sorry I was such a sucky owner, but I'm mature now and I understand that a life is in my hands and I need to take specific steps to make sure that life stays existent.
<Thank you for that>
Please don't hate me.
<We don't hate you, Heru - we appreciate you and we're hear to help.>
<With that said, I have a few suggestions>
<First, read this link on basic care. Check the suggestions against your setup and think about what you may need to change. Nothing needs to be expensive - there are ways to accomplish everything without great costs if we take the time to think about it>
<Now, there ARE some things to change -- but what we want -- and this is IMPORTANT -- is to change things SLOWLY. As unusual as her care has been, she's survived 12 years of it, so we don't want to change anything too quickly unless it's life threatening>
<Start turning the heat DOWN on her water heater. The goal is to try to have it off completely and removed from the tank within 2 weeks. If she lives indoors then plain old room temperature is good enough for her water.
What we want to do is create a situation were she gets to CHOOSE between a warm basking area and cool water -- then she'll go to wherever she needs to go.>
<For a basking lamp, a plain old 60 watt incandescent bulb will work just fine. Take a wire coat hanger and bend it in some way to wrap around the floating dock and then snake up the side of the tank to the top and hook it over. This is to try to get the floating dock to stay under or near the lamp. The lamp can be held in a very inexpensive 'clamp lamp' from any local hardware or building supply store and set 10 to 12 inches above so that when the lamp has been shinning on the floating dock for an hour, put your hand on the dock and the light shinning on it should feel pretty darned warm>
<She also needs a source of UV light, but for the present time, you can accomplish this for taking her outside for walks. 15 minutes of moving around in the direct sunlight will help her immune system fight off any fungus, her metabolism manufacture Vitamin D, etc.>
<Here is another link to possible treatments for illnesses. In your case I don't hear any real illness, but reading about them might help you recognize one early at some time in the future. Also, the isolation treatment, where we keep them warm and dry for a few weeks, can be like a "vacation" even for a healthy turtle.>
Now, it seems to me that, at present, water quality is your biggest issue.
Sliders can endure a great range of water qualities because they haul out under warm lamps and dry out -- most of the pathogens in the dirty water that are trying to get a foothold on the turtle are kept at bay by the heat and dryness. But that presumes proper UV lighting and basking temperatures and other things we're not sure of yet.>
<But here's the thing: You don't HAVE to move and dump the tank when it needs cleaning: an inexpensive siphon tube will suck the water out or failing that you can bail a great deal of water out with a plastic cup.
Just stir up the water really well as you siphon or bail so that you're getting as much of the big particles out as you bail.>
<Here's another thing you can do on water changing day: Take the turtle out first thing in the morning and place her in a box or container. Move the basking light to one corner of that container (so that she can get directly under it OR get pretty much away from it). Now clean the tank like I suggested: siphon or bail and refill with clean water. Now assuming a 55 gallon tank and approximately half full, put in 4-5 tablespoons of household bleach. Make sure the filter is on and running
(to keep the water circulating). At night, turn the basking lamp off and let her sleep in the dry box. In the morning, the bleach will have killed a lot of pathogens then dissipated and it's safe to put her back in and replace the lamp.>
<everything that she needs to live a long and happy life can be given to her with very little cost if you're willing to put in the effort>
<Lastly, and I really think this is a good idea, is to look around for the local turtle and tortoise club in your area. If you can find one, I'm betting that you can find and experienced "old hand" who would be happy to help you.>

red ear slider turtles... sys., comp. 8/24/10
<Hi, Michelle, Sue here with you.>
Today my husband brought home a baby slider turtle and a few hours later our neighbor gave us their 2-3yr old slider (they were bored with him :0(
<Ohhh, that is sad. I think turtles are one of the most unique and interesting of pets. But then again, I guess I'm probably a bit biased!>
We have a 90 gallon fish tank with cichlids (tank has been running for 5 years, two canister filters, cichlids run from 2" to 4" in size). I lowered the water level tank, added a floating dock and a UVB light above the floating dock.
<All sounds very good -- except for the part about the cichlids. See end of this note.>
The large slider quickly found the basking dock and has parked himself on it.
<That's great!>
The little one (2" in length?) just swims around. We have placed him on the dock but he just jumps back into the water. The temperature of the water is 78 degrees and the basking dock registers 88 degrees.
<Water temperature should only be 70-72 degrees. Ignore what you might have read elsewhere about warmer water temperatures. Turtles need/like to have a clear choice between cool water and warm air. This is what entices them to get out to bask -- which they need to do for a few hours each day in order to properly digest their food so it doesn't rot in their stomach. 88-90 degrees is a good basking temperature range to aim for, so you're fine here.>
I ordered two more basking docks hoping that having two distinct basking docks will encourage the small one to get out of the water. Should we be concerned about the little one or is he just intimidated by the larger one?
<Any one (or all!) of three scenarios is likely here:
1. He is in fact intimidated by the larger turtle as you suggest.
2. The water temperature is not low enough to motivate him to get out of the water to bask.
3. You just got him and he is trying to get used to his new environment; sometimes this can take a few days.>
Any advice would be appreciated.
<Sure! I'm almost never short of advice and/or opinions, no matter what the topic! Hee, hee! Here are a few as they relate to turtles:>
<Drop the water temperature to 70-72 (average room temperature). Pull out the water heater if you have one. You don't need it, even for the baby turtle.>
<Give your little guy a couple of days; it's possible he just needs a little extra time to adjust to his new surroundings.>
<Even though you have a nice size aquarium, I think it was wise for you to get a 2nd basking platform. You didn't mention just HOW much larger your larger one is, but it's generally not a good idea to put different size turtles together. The larger often becomes dominant and intimidates the smaller as you noted. This can sometimes result in basking and/or feeding issues, and sometimes even injuries to the less dominant turtle. Having said that, the larger size of your aquarium does allow each of them some space away from each other -- BUT, I'd still keep a close watch out for any signs of trouble between the two of them.>
<You might also want to consider giving them some *visual* privacy from each other by using some fake plants as a bit of a divider.>
<Make sure your little guy isn't getting short-changed during feeding time. If he is, try feeding him in a separate container. Rule of thumb is to feed him no more than he can eat every day in 5-10 minutes. For juvenile and adult size turtles, only every other day. Make sure you don't overfeed them. It's one of the most common mistakes people make.>
<As you and your husband are new turtle owners, I would be remiss in my *WWM duties* not to include this care guide link for you! Please read it carefully, compare your care and feeding to what's listed in this article, and make any necessary adjustments. This will help to ensure that you get many years of enjoyment with them!
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<NOW -- one thing you didn't mention in your note, but I want to mention here, is the compatibility between your FISH and your new turtles!! There really isn't any situation where we recommend it in an aquarium. First, below is a link to FAQs about general turtle and fish compatibility:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/rescompfaqs.htm >
<Next -- Here's what our two other *resident turtle experts* had to say in prior FAQs specifically on the topic of mixing cichlids with turtles:>
<1. Neale's advice -- FAQ: RES... tankmates, diet mostly -- 1/11/10>
I was thinking about one of those blue crayfish or maybe some African cichlids?
>No. Let me state again that as turtles get bigger, they produce massive amounts of waste. It will not be possible to maintain zero ammonia, zero nitrite, and sub-20 mg/l nitrate levels in tanks with turtles. The turtles don't care so much, but fish, because they have permeable skins, are far more exposed to these toxins.<
<2. Darrel's advice (his humor is no extra charge!!) -- FAQ: Slider and Cichlid together -- 07/26/07>
Help Please!!!!!!!!!!
>That's what we do here!<
I have a Red Ear Slider named Dave. He's been alone in a 25 gallon tank for 2 1/2 yrs. I have never put anything else in there with him, until now and except the little feeder fish he eats.
>Turtles do well in groups, but they seem perfectly happy to be alone as well.<
I recently purchased a Red Devil, without knowing it's history.
>We here at WWM are assuming that you mean a Red Devil Cichlid Fish (Cichlasoma labiatus) as opposed to something else, right?<
She's very aggressive, do you think she'll survive? Or will Dave eat her? Or I fear she'll eat him!!!!! What do you think????????
>Well first, I think you should conserve on the use of multiple exclamation points and question marks. You never know when there will be a shortage of punctuation and you'll wish you hadn't wasted them.<
>Seriously, it's best not to try to keep fish and turtles together because their needs are quite different. While fish can be part of a turtle's diet, they are so BAD at catching fish that it's almost comical. I tossed some feeder goldfish into my outside turtle pond 8 years ago and they've grown to be almost the size of small Koi and on the rare occasions that the turtles try to catch them, they scoot away without even seeming concerned.<
>In your case, if it came down to it, I'd bet on Dave. Turtles are tough little guys when it comes down to it. My main concern is to see that Dave is so well fed that he just can't be bothered going after Victoria (You didn't tell us your Red Devil's name - so I just made that up). The same goes for her. If she's otherwise well fed and well cared for, she'll probably just think of Dave as an annoyance and nothing more.<
>With that said, Diana, wild things are wild things and when you keep them together you'll always run the risk of something unexpected happening.<
Thank You
>I hope that helped. Here's a link for you to read -- the first paragraph applies.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm <
<Michelle, you were one of the fortunate few to write in to WWM and get advice from 3 crew members for the price of 1!! Ooops -- I forgot, we're free! Anyway, hope this helps you, your turtles (and your fish!) Please write us back if you have any more questions or concerns.>
red ear slider turtles
Michelle - just want to add another note here that besides what Neale mentioned re: water quality concerns when mixing fish with turtles, the water temperature needs/differences between turtles and many fish is another reason why we recommend keeping them separate.

Re: red ear slider turtles, compatibility concerns -- 08/25/10
Thank you for your advice.
<You're welcome!>
I will remove the tank heater and drop the water temperature down as you suggested.
<Very good.>
The other turtle is probably 5" long.
<This one is pushing *adulthood * if not already there, depending on whether it's a he or she. So, yes, this makes it a little more risky placing him with your baby turtle.>
The little turtle started swimming around the tank and playing in the water currents (he reminds us of Crush, the little sea turtle from Nemo).
<Very funny. That was my daughter's 2nd choice pick for a name for one of our turtles. Instead, she *got wise* and chose the alphabet to name them -- *Shell*y(E); *Shel*by(B), etc. (no particular order!) She thinks she might be able to get more turtles this way; however I told her once I've had enough, the last one will be named *Shel*don (DONE)!>
He has also, as of this afternoon, acquired enough courage to just crawl on top of the larger turtle to bask. He did eat a few bites (very small bites) of turtle pellets for sliders.
<That's great! Possibly just a matter of him getting accustomed to, comfortable in his new surroundings.>
The larger turtle has yet to enter the water (unless he is falling off the dock) and has chosen not to eat. My neighbor came by today and said "oh, he always basks and never swims, if he is going to die we wanted him to die on your watch. And he is 'hibernating' right now and not eating".
<Nice neighbor! Actually, what she said is not quite true. If he dies it technically would be on her watch. A turtle doesn't die overnight. Their *dying process* often takes a good while, and would be a direct result of what she did (or more likely didn't do) for him. My heart sinks when I read things like this. More on this below.>
I am not sure how this could be accurate as they kept his tank next to a window and we live in Phoenix. It was 108 today and I can't imagine that kind of temp, radiating through a window, would cause a turtle to hibernate.
<It can't. Also, placing an aquarium next to a window is a bad location in any climate -- either from risk of over-heating in hot weather or catching a draft in cold weather and coming down with a respiratory illness.>
Needless to say the comment through me for a loop.
<I'm sure.>
Now I fear they have been depriving this turtle of UVB rays and a proper diet. I understand through your many postings that turtles that bask endlessly are usually sick.
<Often true, especially when combined with loss of appetite.>
On another note, the links you provided were excellent resources. I would be lying if I said I will now get a separate tank for the turtles. Our 90 gallon tank takes up a tremendous amount of space and I am not willing to get rid of my cichlids. So, in light of the information I have gained from reading your linked articles, I think we are going to give the big turtle back to our neighbor and tell them to be responsible.
<I hope you haven't already returned him to your neighbor. This would be a death sentence for him. He likely has either a very serious infection and/or metabolic bone disease and will likely not survive without some medication, the care of a professional - either a vet (preferably specialty vet) or other expert at this point. Here's what I suggest you do --
'¢ 1st get him back from your neighbor if you've already returned him.
'¢ While you're waiting to make other arrangements for him, place him in a warm (85-87 degrees, possibly warmer if it turns out he in fact has a bacterial infection), DRY place with a UVB bulb above him (or bring him outside 3x/day for 10 minutes each time under the sun). The place you keep him can be as simple, cheap as a plastic storage container or corrugated cardboard box. Give him access to a shallow container of water for only a few minutes a day to allow him to eat (if he wants), drink and poop. See this link below for exactly how to do all of this:
'¢ Start looking around, doing a Google search, etc. in your area, state for either a reptile or specialty vet; a local Turtle and Tortoise club where they might have an 'old hand' there who is willing to examine him; or some other reptile or turtle rescue individual or group who would be willing to take him and get the care for him that he needs. >
We will keep the little one in the tank. In a few years when he is large and if the tank is showing signs of stress (or the turtle/fish) then I will consider my options. With my Cascade 1500 and 1000 canisters I
can't see the tank becoming overly dirty any time soon. However, I realize that everything you sent me says it will happen. Anyhow, thank you for your advice. It is much appreciated and greatly needed.
<You're welcome, Michelle. Please, if you can, get help for the bigger one or find someone willing to rescue him and get him that help, and let us know how it all turns out. Let me know if you have trouble searching for, locating a place or person to help or take your turtle. Sue>
Re: red ear slider turtles, compatibility concerns -- 08/25/10
Thank you for providing further insight to turtle/fish compatibility. I am really doubting my decision to keep the little one in the tank (see previous reply for further explanation). Which means I have to give him away. :o( I think I will test the "water" for a few weeks and see what happens. I am sure in the end I will tell all of you that you were right.
But just like a child, I have to try it myself first. :o)
<I understand you wanting to keep the little guy if you can. They are pretty irresistible. And what we give you here are only general guidelines, your individual *mileage* may vary!>
Thank you for time. If you want I can send you pictures of the setup. Let me know.
<Sure! We love getting pics! Just make sure each one is no more than a few hundred Kbytes.>
Re: red ear slider turtles, compatibility and health concerns -- 08/26/10

I am sorry to say that I did return the large turtle last night. They subsequently "got rid of the turtle" by releasing it into a pond in our area. Although the outcome is not a positive outcome, I hope my questions and your answers will help another turtle owner to "do the right thing".
<I hope so, too.>
Thank you again for all of your valuable information. Our family is enjoying watching "Crush" swim about and he appears to like his environment better now that the larger turtle is gone. Here are a picture of the tank setup and of Crush in a rock.
<You're welcome, Michelle, and thanks for sharing the pix. Crush is adorable! And I like your *landscaping*! I'm glad Crush seems to be happier now, too in his surroundings. Just be sure to check for caves, other spots where Crush might *almost fit but not quite* and get trapped. Most people don't think about this when it comes to water turtles, but believe it or not they actually can drown! Anyway, enjoy him and keep us posted!>

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