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FAQs About Red Ear Slider (RES) Turtle Disease/Health 8

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

Related FAQs:  RES Disease, RES Disease/Health 2, RES Disease 3, RES Health 4, RES Health 5, RES Health 6, RES Health 7, RES Health 9, RES Health 10, & Shell Rot, Turtle Disease 1, Turtle Disease 3, Shell Rot, Turtle Respiratory Disease, Turtle Eye Disease,

FAQs on RES Health by Type: Diagnosis, Environmental, Traumas, Social, Nutritional, Growths/Tumors, Infectious, Parasitic, References,

& Sliders 1, Sliders 2, Red Eared Slider Identification, RES Behavior, RES Compatibility, RES Selection, RES Systems, RES Feeding, RES Reproduction,

Liquid feces, RES   1/28/11
<Hi! Sue here with you.>
I have a female red eared slider.
<My favorite turtles!>
I don't know how old is she because I just rescued her from a flood about a year ago. She's 8" long.
<That was very nice of you! No way to really accurately tell the age of a turtle, but at 8', she is an adult.>
My concern is I noticed her liquid feces. I think this is the 3rd or 4th time it happened but not successively. The time intervals I think a month or two. The last time she had it was last month. Her diet consists of commercial pellets and egg shells.
<I would not feed her egg shells; see more about this below.>
She doesn't have a tank because we cannot afford to buy one since it is so expensive.
<There are cheaper options besides tanks that will work just as well. A long, deep plastic storage bin is perfectly fine (the longer the better as RES like to have lots of room to swim around). I'd recommend you read the linked article below. It contains many good ideas for setting up a low cost turtle habitat. You didn't mention what else you're doing to care for her, but this article also lists the minimum care requirements you need to have for her to keep her healthy; compare what you're doing to what's recommended here to make sure you're on the right track:>
I provide her a shallow basin with water where she eats and she just roams around our terrace. Every other day we put her in basin deep enough to submerge her totally and let her stay there until she wants to get out.
<Assuming she's healthy, she's a semi-aquatic turtle, not a land turtle. She really should be living in an environment that's as close to her natural habitat as possible -- in particular, one that allows her access to warm, dry land and cool water (low 70's F) both at the same time 24/7 -- and lets her choose which one she wants to be in at any given time.>
Those times that she had her liquid feces happened after I submerged her into the water.
<While turtles can poop on land, they seem to prefer going in the water, and they also only eat in the water. This is most likely the reason why you notice it happening during this time. >
Right now, her feces are solid and looks normal. She is always active and has good appetite despite having those liquid feces.
<Active with a good appetite are both good signs!>
Is there something wrong with her? Why does she have those kind of feces?
<The cause of diarrhea in turtles is usually due to one of two things -- either something not right in the diet, or some type of infection going on. Given that you've said it's only happened 3 or 4 times over the course of many months, I'd say it's more likely something to do with the diet you're feeding her. But if you see it happen again, the best thing would be to bring a stool sample to a vet just to be sure it's not an infection. The vet can then test it for bacteria, parasites, etc. and treat her with the proper antibiotic if it turns out she does have an infection.>
<In the meantime, I'd focus on changing her diet to see if that makes a difference: >
<First, I would not recommend eggshells. Is there some reason you're feeding these to her? If it's to give her a calcium source, eggshells are not a good source of calcium. Moreover, they're also a common source of salmonella infection. A better, safer source of calcium is calcium carbonate. The website below has some good recommendations for calcium sources, as well as a good idea for how to mix it in with their food. I've personally had very good luck with Rep-Cal Phosphorus-Free Calcium with Vit. D3 powder. I just add an occasional pinch of it to their food as this article below describes how to do:
Also, natural sunlight (and a UVB light along with a heat bulb when he's inside) are absolutely essential for your turtle to have every day in order to metabolize calcium and other vitamins from their diet. The ReptiSun 10.0 UVB fluorescent tube light is a highly recommended one, and I've seen them sold online for only around $18. Then just buy a cheap fixture for it at a home improvement store.>
<Next, as far as the food itself, for the staple you mentioned you feed her a 'commercial pellet'. You didn't mention the brand you're using, but I'd try to stick with a good quality pellet such as ReptoMin. Koi pellets are fine also (similar in content to ReptoMin) and are much cheaper. Another crew member has been feeding his turtles these Koi pellets for many years with good results. Give her the pellets every other day or so as much as she can eat in 5-10 minutes. It's important not to overfeed.>
<Besides a good quality pellet, I also give mine unlimited amounts of fresh greens and plants for some added fiber. Also, as your turtle is an adult, plants make up the majority of what adult RES turtles eat when they're in the wild. So it's nice if you can try to replicate that to some degree. Greens are also healthy for them and a lower cost food item. The website below gives a nice breakdown of which plants and greens are most recommended, and which ones should be avoided:
The ones I use mostly are listed under 'Beneficial and Recommended'. I also occasionally give them some shredded up raw carrots or sweet potato as just another source of some Vitamin A. In the summer when I have them outside I've also given them some of the plants listed under 'Aquatic Plants'.>
<The only other thing I feed my turtles is an occasional earthworm every week or two as a treat.>
Thank you so much. God bless you.
<You're welcome; we're happy to try and help. Try changing her diet around first for the next couple of weeks and see if that helps. If not, and she continues to have diarrhea despite a change in her diet, then I'd highly suggest you take a sample of her stool to the vet and let them test it to see if there's something more serious going on. Infections left untreated can kill them.>
Re: liquid feces, RES    1/31/11

Hi Sue. Thank you for the help.
<You're welcome! It's really nice that you took pity on her and rescued her. So many people just want the babies!>
By the way, the pellets I'm giving her are a Singaporean product. Its name is "turtle food sticks" it has 34% of crude protein; 2% of fiber; 5% of crude fats; and 5% of moisture. Is it okay?
<I'm not familiar with that brand. We typically recommend ReptoMin because the contents of that product have been analyzed to make sure they matched up to the manufacturer's claims. If you're not sure, your best bet would either be to consult a specialty vet in your area, or someone knowledgeable about turtles who works in a reputable pet shop that you know also sells high quality products in general. You may also want to consider Koi pellets. These also provide a fine balance of nutrients and are much cheaper. They can typically be found in the pond section of a pet store or a home improvement store (if you choose the latter, pick up a low cost UVB fixture while you're there! It will be much cheaper there than in a pet shop).>
I'll try to find a plastic bin big enough for her.
<A couple of things to keep in mind when you do transfer her over to an enclosure:
1) You'll want to find an enclosure deep enough to allow you to be able to fill it up 1/2 to 2/3 of the way and that's still deep enough for her to swim around.
2) Once you transfer her over, water quality then becomes an additional concern. Turtles, especially adult turtles, are very messy. If there is any $ investment to make for your turtle, a good quality mechanical filter would be the investment I'd suggest rather than a tank. It will help you reduce the number of water changes you have to do (though it won't eliminate them). You'll still need to do 50% water changes 1-2x/week or whenever you see it needs it. Until you get a filter, you'll probably need to do daily water changes. (If you want some tips on water changes, write us back). Keeping her water nice and clean is your #1 time investment with a turtle, probably equivalent to 'walking the dog'! But it's a necessary one. Clean water is a must for these guys to prevent them (and you!) from becoming sick.
3) You may want to continue to feed her in a separate container (and then wait a half hour or so for her to poop) to help keep the water in her 'main tank' clean for as long as possible during the day.
4) Consider putting an aquarium screen over the top (with holes at least 1/4 ' so UVB rays don't get filtered out), and that's as fitted as possible to your container so she can't accidentally climb out and escape or hurt herself. A top also makes a nice resting spot for your heat lamp and your UVB light (both of which should rest above her basking area).
5) The heat lamp can simply be an incandescent light bulb. Just adjust the wattage and distance from bulb to basking area until you achieve a temperature of around 88-90 degrees F above the basking area (which is the amount of heat she needs in order to properly digest her food).
6) Attached is a link to the kind of basking platform I use. I've found this kind of a design seems to be the easiest for my turtles to access. Not sure if you can get it where you are; if not you can do something similar that has a gradual ascent up to the basking spot.
7) Remember not to put the enclosure outside under direct light. It can heat up too fast (and too much) inside. If you want to bring her out occasionally just do as you've been doing and let her stroll around for your terrace for a while, as long as she's safe from injury or wildlife.>
Thank you again Sue for the help. May God bless you always.
<You're very welcome, you as well. Let us know how everything goes, and feel free to write back at any time with any more questions or concerns that come up.>

Re: liquid feces, RES     2/1/11
ok sue I will.. I bought yesterday some Koi pellets and red lettuce. I fed her the lettuce yesterday and she likes it.
<That's great she took to the red leaf lettuce so quickly! Possibly because as an adult that used to live in the wild, she may have seen it as similar in appearance to the plants she used to eat! Mine also seem to enjoy the red leaf lettuce in particular, so I vary it with other things so they don't get too hooked on it and start refusing everything else. Turtles can be notorious for getting 'set in their ways' and fixated on one thing! Don't worry if she doesn't take to the Koi pellets right away; she'll eventually come around.>
By the way Sue, I noticed her behavior regarding her fond of sleeping in dark corners. After her daily walk around the terrace, she retires on dark corners or sometimes under tables or chairs which are dark and she sleeps so long. Like today, since it's cloudy, she just sleeps. Is she hibernating? She does it every time the weather here is cold.
<When you say 'cold', what is the outdoor temperature when you see her exhibiting this behavior? When you mentioned earlier that you were keeping her outside all the time, I assumed you were living in a year round warmer climate. In general, you want to avoid exposing her to extreme temperatures, as well as extreme differences in temperatures too quickly; for example, taking her from a 70 degree (F) inside temperature to a 40 degree (F) outside temperature. I also wouldn't put her outside on days where it's below 60 degrees (F)/(16 degrees C).>
<The other thing is that turtles are cold-blooded; their bodies can't thermo-regulate the way ours can. This means their bodies completely rely on the temperature of the environment around them to perform various functions such as digestion. After they've eaten, it's best to provide them with a warm basking spot (88-90 degrees F) so they can properly digest their food, otherwise it will rot in their stomachs.>
Thank you Sue. God bless. I attached a picture of her.
<You're welcome, and thank you for sending me a pic of her! Of all the turtle species, I happen to think that the red eared sliders have the nicest faces! She's a very nice looking turtle, and also looks like she's been very well cared for!>

Re: liquid feces, RES...   2/4/11
hi sue.. she's now eating her Koi pellets.. I'm happy she also likes it.
<That's good news; sounds like she's very adaptable! Adult turtles in particular can become very fixated on certain foods and generally set in their ways -- just like humans!>
I'm from the Philippines. So it's always warm here. Our coldest is 23 degrees C and the warmest temperature is 32 degrees C. is the temperature okay for her?
<Not only is that OK, I'm envious! I wish 23C was what was considered cold where I live! I live in the US -- New England where so far we've had over 6 feet of snow just in the last 3 weeks, topped off by an ice storm yesterday!>
Thank you Sue for the help. I hope you won't get tired of answering my questions.
<Not at all, that's why we're here. Write us anytime with any concerns you might have; also check out our 'FAQ library' (link below). We have some informative articles about general care as well as different health related issues. Just scroll down to the bottom of the page under Turtles to see links for all the articles and FAQs. You can learn a lot just from reading the other questions people send in:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlvstkind2.htm >
As much as possible, I wanted her to be healthy because here in our country, I think only few vets specializes on turtles. I found one, but his clinic is so far from our place, it's a 4 hour trip.
<Unfortunately, it's true that the specialty vets can be few and far between depending on where you live. It's a good idea, though, to have someone already picked out ahead of time who you're comfortable with so that you don't have to go scrambling around for one if or when your turtle becomes ill. Here are some (world-wide) vet search links I sent another querier the other day. You may want to check them out to see if there are any specialty vets closer to where you live:
http://www.herpvetconnection.com/ >
Anyway, thank you again Sue. God bless you!
<You also; that was a nice thing you did, and I'm sure your turtle is thanking you too!>

Female Red Ear Slider Turtle, lack of data  1/13/11
Hi! So there is something wrong with my turtles shell she is an Adult Red Ear Slider, I got her a couple months ago from a friend and this white stuff just showed up within the last couple week or two... I have done a ton of research using your site and it seems as though it could be mild shell rot, fungus, or even possible hard water build up...
But I don't know. If you could please shed some light on this issue that would be great! I have attached some photos to help explain. Thank you so much!!
<Please (re)read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Female Red Ear Slider Turtle with white spots
was: Female Red Ear Slider Turtle, lack of data    1/19/11

<Darrel here in for Bob>
Thank you, yes I have read this article and I am doing the treatment tonight for the "shell rot" just in case.
<A wise choice>
Will this work for hard water build up as well or will that just go away with mild soap and a tooth brush? I am so afraid because I can't afford a rep vet, so I am doing anything I can to take care of her my self, she seems really stressed over me doing the treatment but she is drying out now and then I will be putting the ointment on, letting it dry a bit "10 min.s" and then placing her back in her tank.
<It's stressful for her, yes. But then - she doesn't have to go to work or school, doesn't have money worries, etc. so I'm more worried about your stress than hers.>
<The treatment for hard water and/or mineral deposits is a scrub with a little bit of vinegar, which isn't bad for shell fungus either, so why don't you alternate the treatments?>
Also will this treatment effect the water? Will I need to change it completely after the week is done?
<I wouldn't worry about it, the slight traces in the water don't really affect much - and the regular partial-water changes you make will take care of it>
Sorry I also have one more question. If the "condition" clears up before the week do I want to continue or stop once its clear?
<Once it appears clear, go 3 or 4 more days just to get the stuff that you can't see>
<Also, see that Izzy gets as much natural sunshine as your time and situation allows.>
Thank you so very much for your help in this, as I really care for animals, We are just strapped for cash right now...like have none, spent the last 12 dollars on the Iodine solution for her...so I really hope it works!!
Ugh...so stressful...sorry for so many questions, I really appreciate you time!! Thank you so so much!!
Savanah For Izzy the RES Turtle
<Savanah - remember -- it took a long time for whatever it is to build up slowly, so it will take a bit of time for it to clear up as well. Take your time, do your best and don't fret.>

Rock steady-Red eared slider issues   1/11/11
I have 3 red eared sliders. One of them is currently suffering from swollen eyes. We've seen a vet and were given Vitamin A injections.
<Mmm, please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/turteyedisart.htm
and the linked files above>
We have given her two of the three injections. Her eyes are looking somewhat better but she is still not eating. We have tried giving offering her favorite foods such as crickets, pellets, greens, etc. with no such luck. Any advice on getting her to eat?
<And here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/resfdgfaqs.htm
She is also exhibiting signs of what we think may be a respiratory issue.
<And... http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/turtrespart.htm
She stretches out her neck and it looks like she may have a lump in her throat. When we put her in the water,
<I would not do this>
she floats on the surface and eventually swims back to her basking area. Do you think this is another health issue that needs addressed or should it also clear up after the vitamin a injections are complete?
<I'd be asking your Vet>
Thank you in advanced
for any help in resolving these issues.
<Our regular cheloniological responders seem to be on the skip. Am hopeful Darrel, Sue and/or Neale will reappear, re-respond to your issues. Bob Fenner>
Rock steady-Red eared slider issues   1/12/11

I have 3 red eared sliders. One of them is currently suffering from swollen eyes. We've seen a vet and were given Vitamin A injections.
<Mmm, please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/turteyedisart.htm and the linked files above>
<<Lora - if he's suffering from swollen eyes, then he's suffering from a dietary or environmental condition '¦ both of which are in your power to control.>>
We have given her two of the three injections. Her eyes are looking somewhat better but she is still not eating. We have tried giving offering her favorite foods such as crickets, pellets, greens, etc. with no such luck. Any advice on getting her to eat?
<And here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/resfdgfaqs.htm>
<<Lora .. Turtles take MONTHS to get sick. It's just that it's only that last few days that they get SO sick that we see the symptoms. On the other side, it takes MONTHS for them to get healthy, too. It's a slow process. It doesn't surprise me that she's not eating.>
She is also exhibiting signs of what we think may be a respiratory issue.
<And... http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/turtrespart.htm
She stretches out her neck and it looks like she may have a lump in her throat.
<<IN her throat? Like a blockage? A lump ON her throat, like a cyst? Or simply a pouch-like bloating of the bottom of her throat? The last one is nothing to be concerned about>>
When we put her in the water,
<I would not do this>
<<Yes .. no water for her except 5 minutes a day to drink, poop and (maybe) eat>>
she floats on the surface and eventually swims back to her basking area. Do you think this is another health issue that needs addressed or should it also clear up after the vitamin a injections are complete?
<I'd be asking your Vet>
Thank you in advance for any help in resolving these issues.
<Our regular cheloniological
<<RMF '¦ I'm pretty sure you made that word up. LOL>><No way!>
responders seem to be on the skip. Am hopeful Darrel, Sue and/or Neale will reappear, re-respond to your issues. Bob Fenner>
<<Lora -- read here: this is the treatment you should be giving. CONGRATS on taking her to the vet, by the way. We (and she) thank you.>>
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm

Sick Slider - Suffering Snow Storm Stalled Situation   1/12/11
Thanks for all the advice so far.
<You're welcome>
I found information about the lump like thing on her neck. It looks just like the pictures of edema, which is what the vet said the swollen eyes were.
<Swollen eyes are normally an indication of Vitamin A deficiency, but edema, a general swelling of the tissues, can be from many unfortunately more serious causes>
We seem to now have a new issue. While doing research the other day I came across information on septicemia. It said if they are suffering from this illness that around the legs will turn pink. I came home today from work and picked Rocksteady up and noticed that she is displaying signs of this now.
<Septicemia, again generally, is an infection that has spread to the blood and therefore, essentially to every part of the body. This is as serious as it gets>
I grabbed my phone and called the vet. She said that she wants to see her again and that she probably needs a dose of antibiotics.
<She'll need a course of injectible antibiotics, Lora. Every day or every other day over a minimum of 14 days>
She said that it sounds like she may have pneumonia also.
<It's likely, given the septicemia.>
I moved her out of her large tank so that she won't be irritated by the other two turtles and put her in a bucket with her own heat lamp.
<She needs to be warm and dry for the duration of her treatment and recovery. Warm and Dry, with 5 minutes of soaking time each day - enough time for her to drink, poop and eventually eat '¦ then back to warm and dry>
We are in the middle of a snow storm and our vet is about 40 minutes away. We will be taking her in as soon as the roads are clear. Another issue we've been having is what temp the water needs to be in the actual tank. The thermometer is reading 72 but the water seems awful cold to me.
<No '¦ 68-73 is perfect water temp>
I've read several different articles that say not to use water heaters and that they shouldn't be needed if the ambient room temp is right.
<Correct on both counts. One of the ways to tell how good an article is - is whether or not it agrees with me. Water turtles do NOT get water heaters>
Should I install a water heater or is that temp okay for them? Their basking spot reaches approximately 82.
<That is the problem, Lora. Use a bigger lamp or get the lamp closer. Basking temp should be at least 88 degrees '¦ aiming for 88-93 degrees>
I have also changed my turtles diet to consisting mainly of the pellets. I always thought this wasn't a balanced diet for them. We are still giving snacks of crickets and worms every couple of days. I am wondering what is the safest way to do a thorough cleaning of my tank? The other turtles seem fine but I want to make sure that I kill any germs that Rocksteady may have spread.
Thanks again
<Again I refer you to the turtle treatment article below. It tells you how to "dry-dock" a turtle to make her more comfortable and assist in her recovery.>
<Regarding the other turtles, remember that the bacteria now ravaging Rocksteady are common in the environment and hosted by most, if not all turtles. What happened with Rocksteady is that she became weaker (for whatever reason) and the naturally occurring bacteria got an opportunity to grow recklessly and THAT is what got her sick. Still, if you want to sterilize their habitat, remove the other living things (all of them) and add one cup of chlorine beach per 5 gallons of actual water capacity. Leave all pumps and filters running (bad bugs live in the filters and pumps and tubes, too!) for 24 hours. Drain, refill too 10% more water (higher water level) than normal, run the drain water for 2 hours and drain again. Now the bugs are dead and the chlorine gone. Now you can break it down & scrub with soap and water if you wish '¦ then fill, cycle for 2 hours, drain, fill again, cycle for 2 hours, drain and finally fill again. That said, if you have nothing suspicious in the tank and are merely looking to clean it - just remove the living things, wipe everything down with a clean rag and then do a complete water change. That's what I'd do>
<Turtle treatment: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm>
Re: Subsequent Status Summary on Sick Slider - Suffering Snow Storm Stalled Situation. Rock... steady! 1/19/11

<Hiya - Darrel here again>
We took Rocksteady back to the vet today. We were prescribed 6 daily antibiotic injections and another dose of Vitamin A. Rocksteady must be feeling a little better because she finally had the energy to try to bite us while she was getting her shots.
<Biting behavior '¦ kids and reptiles' idea of gratitude>
The vet said she can see an improvement and that Rocksteady does have a respiratory infection and septicemia. Rocksteady is still not eating but she has been more active over the past day and a half. Hopefully her conditions keeps improving. I will keep you
updated and thanks again for all of your help.
<Keep in mind that it took MONTHS of slow decline for Rocksteady to get this way and for the same reason, it will take a long time for her to fully recover>
------- Update 48 hours later -----
Thank you for all of the advice you have given me regarding my red eared slider "Rocksteady".
<No problem - that's what I'm here for. That and the free food>
She is responding well to the antibiotics we are giving her. She is finally eating again, not as much as usual but she is eating. Her color is improving also. We will be keeping her separated from our other turtles until she is fully recovered.
<For Rocksteady .. it's all about being warm and dry, getting good food, good UV-B and just time to recover>
Thanks again for all your help.
<Yer welcome!

Red Eared Slider Question   12/30/10
Dear Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have had my turtle for about 4 and a half years. I bought him when he was the size of a quarter, he is now between 5 and 6 inches long. After having him for a year in a shared tank with another turtle the same size (my roommate's turtle) I moved him into a larger tank by himself and then I adopted him a girlfriend. His girlfriend, who started of the same size as him, is now double his size and I suspect that she took a bite out of him. I noticed he had a large cut at the base of his nail and immediately separated him. He is now in a smaller tank with shallow water, a heat lamp and basking spot. He seems to be in better spirits, is eating and basking, but I'm not sure that the wound is healing quick enough. Is there anything you would suggest to speed up his recovery?
<Please read this:
and check out your treatment options>
His girlfriend seems a little lonely (maybe she shouldn't have bitten him!)
I would like to reunite them as soon as possible so they don't become aggressive towards each other. I have tried applying Silvadene ointment that the vet gave me last time his girlfriend injured her self, I have also tried some regular antibacterial ointment, neither seems to be doing the trick. I am being too impatient?
<Probably. Healing takes time. It's a much longer healing process in reptiles than in humans. Make sure the wound gets time to be completely DRY each day as he basks. If not, take him out of the water for a week or so - as the illness article suggests>
I have also attached a picture of him, you can see the big red spot. (I hope it was the right file type and you don't have trouble opening it)
<It opened perfectly and shows a nail lost at the root. Ouch>
<The healing will go along find, Natalie, as long as it doesn't develop a secondary infection. As long as he's eating, basking and otherwise healthy - and you're keeping his tank nice & clean, this shouldn't be a problem>
<The problem will be when you try to re-introduce them to each other.
There are three possibilities here
1- It was just "one of those things" that won't happen again
2 - The tank is too small for them and he doesn't have enough room to get away from her when she's in a mood.
3- She's just plain mean and it WILL happen again.>
<You'll have to consider those options, make changes as needed. #1 is the easy one, #2 is a big harder (but it's my guess the RIGHT one) and #3 requires rehoming one of them and trying to find a suitable replacement>
Thanks in advance for your words of wisdom,

RES turtle, a lot of translucent "stuff" around it's head   `12/27/10
Hi there,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I bought a RES turtle about two months ago, and it has been eating, basking and swimming around regularly.
<So far, so good>
However, Today I noticed a lot of translucent "stuff" around it's head and near where it retracts it's head near it's shell. Also, it seems to be appearing a little on his legs.
After searching around on the internet, I noticed a lot of contradicting information on what it could be. Whether shedding, if that's actually possible with a turtle .. or a fungus.
After picking him up, it seemed to come off quite easily and the turtle didn't really do retract into it's shell while I was touching it, so I'm assuming it didn't hurt it ..
Do you guys happen to have any ideas on what this could possibly be and if I should be worried about him?
<Skin NORMALLY sheds in such small pieces that you can't see it, but sometimes it does, so we can't be sure. What you CAN do is treat for fungus anyway '¦ because it can't hurt. Read here about treating for fungus: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm>
Any help would be great! Thanks. :)

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, trauma    12/22/10
Dear crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
My 2.5 year old female red ear slider recently fell from a height of 1 meter tall, twice..
'¦ once landing on her belly and another time, she landed on her back. The second time she landed, she actually stayed still with her hands and leg flared out for a few minutes
<I would too if that happened to me!>
'¦ ( I was too shocked to touch her as I thought she actually died ). After awhile she started moving.
Every time I cleaned her tank, I would put her in my kitchen sink. I think she must have grown a lot to the point she could actually climbed out of the sink and that is when she fell off.
<The first time '¦ was an accident - you didn't know how well she could climb. The SECOND time was negligence. Please don't let it happen again>
My worry is that she might have internal bleeding. What should I do now? She is moving around now, but in a very scared manner.
<You'd be scared too if I let you drop from 15 times your height. And you might be a little cross with me, too.>
<Internal bleeding is an interesting question, Suyi. In the first place there really isn't a practical way to tell since it's unlikely we're going to x-ray her and even if we did it's an inconclusive test. Second, even if there WAS, there's little to be done. Surgery on Turtles and Tortoises is delicate and extremely expensive.>
Thank you,
<FORTUNATELY for all of us, turtles are tough little critters and even cracks in their shells often heal and leave them no worse for wear. I have a Red Eared Slider in my pond that lost BOTH front feet to a raccoon and she still swims and carries on and fights for food and space just like the rest of them>
<Suyi - be on the lookout of for signs of distress. Not eating, closed puffy eyes, etc. If you encounter them, write back. Meanwhile just try to give her a quiet and stress-free time until she's her old self again. Meanwhile, when cleaning the tank, put her in the bathtub -- or even a cardboard box that has sides high enough to prevent her from climbing>

Red eared slider turtle might be sick -- 12/19/10
Dear Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have two turtles a yellow belly slider and a red eared slider. My yellow is a male and my red is a female. For about two weeks now my Red Eared Slider hasn't been eating or moving a lot and there seems to be this white gooey stuff inside the tank. I started to notice she wasn't eating when I tried feeding her and she didn't take it. I read on the internet it might be a space issue so I moved them into the bathtub into I can get them a bigger tank.
<Crowding itself doesn't create white gooey stuff, but overcrowding leads to unsanitary conditions, which can lead to the growth of all sorts of bad, gunky stuff>
They both seem to like it better but my RES is still not eating. I have everything they need in there. They eat turtle pellets with vitamin C and calcium and they also have the calcium turtle that goes into the water but I ran out a week ago so I have to buy them a new one.
<The white calcium turtle is an attempt to dissolve calcium into the water to try to get that calcium to the turtles, but since turtles drink very little water, it doesn't help. To concentrate enough calcium in the water to actually deliver it to the turtle it would be called drywall.>
<In other words, you don't need to continue wasting money on that.
Repto-min food sticks and/or plain old ordinary Koi pellets provide an absolutely balanced basic diet for all the water turtles. Vitamins, minerals and all the carbs and proteins in the right balance, all in one pellet>
Also the white gooey substance that is in there tank I'm wondering if its just the turtles shedding or if I should be worried.
<Be worried. Not WORRIED just yet, but a bit worried. The Red Eared Slider is probably not eating because she isn't well. I'm enclosing a link for treating common turtle illnesses. I'd like you read it completely -- get a basic understanding of all the possible conditions. In your case, Shecky (my name for her, doesn't have to be yours) is probably suffering from some form of fungus, but if it was me, I'd treat them both for all conditions.>
<Take them out of the water and get them warm and dry. You can read all about the technique in the section called isolation. Make sure Shecky is warm all the time, but CAN, if she wishes, move under the basking (heat) lamp as well as away from it. Give them both 5-10 minutes a day is a shallow bit of water (maybe the bathtub again) up to their shoulders - to drink, poop and eat .. then back to dry isolation again. Do this for a minimum of two weeks and see if her energy level and appetite improve.>
<Meanwhile, break down their regular tank completely. Clean everything that comes in contact with the water (that means filters, rocks, tubing, etc.) with soap and water, rinse in bleach. Set it back up as it was, fill with water, run the filter for a day, drain and refill again.>
<Finally, a link to basic turtle care -- make sure you address every need the two of them have>
<Treating illnesses:
<General care: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm

Adopted Adult Read Eared Slider ....concerns  12/11/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I checked everywhere on your site for this but couldn't find this combination of things.
<It's all there '¦ we just haven't put the words together in the right sentences yet!>
for starters, I rescued (6 days ago) this turtle of 8 years from a woman who only had her in a small 24 gal tank outdoors (temps here are 40-70 now), no light, no filter, no basking area, no heater. she only fed her pellets and went up to two weeks without changing the water. Not only was the water black but the turtle was too. she was very pale, no colors. needless to say my first thought was to get this turtle as far away from this woman as possible. the woman said she was molting and would probably get larger soon. the only other information offered was that she laid eggs a few years ago.
<That's pretty bad care alright. Glad you stepped in>
This is my first turtle so I've been doing a lot of reading. Offering food, watching from a distance and removing everything after an hour.
she is 8" wide, 10" long
<That's a BIG girl>
First day- fresh water went well, she was very active. Pieces of scutes falling off. noticed her shell is deformed with her left side being rounder, more convex and her right side flatter and concave compared to the left side. the area of flatness is right around where a right shoulder blade would be if she had one. No appetite.
<That's fine - they don't have to eat every day>
Day two- hearty appetite for green leaf lettuce, red leaf lettuce, carrots and boiled chicken. total amount offered/eaten was not more than the size of her head.
<That's about right. HOWEVER '¦ believe it or not, simple old Koi Pellets are a more balanced diet for her than all that stuff you took the time and trouble to provide for her.>
Day three- no appetite, water change, added a filter and a light. no room in this tank for a basking area of her size. More scutes
<She needs both a basking (heat) lamp and a UV-B lamp. A filter is good, but the thing to remember with a turtle is that you'll still need to do water changes! It's pretty unlikely that you can have a filter big enough to keep a turtle tank clean.>
<She does NOT need a heater in the water. If the tank is indoors, room temperature (67-73f) is fine -- and if the tank is outdoors, no heater will keep her warm enough during the winter anyway.>
Day four- no appetite, partial water change, mostly inactive. swam around more when light was off. started showing signs of color...yellow stripes rather than grayish white. ear getting brighter.
<Sounds like she was simply DIRTY in addition to everything else>
Day five- no appetite, mostly inactive, brighter colors, started to notice a pink color around her legs.
<The pink is NOT a good sign>
Day six- Partial water change, still no appetite, lots of yellow, area around her legs are very pink. More scutes.
<Pink is often a sign of Septicemia (the presence of bacteria in the blood) and if it is - that is a condition that requires veterinary care.>
is the no eating for four or more days normal? Maybe she had too many veggies and greens for her first time?
<Many things. First, a healthy turtle can and will go weeks without eating. For example, if her metabolism is slow due to cold or cool conditions (lack of basking, etc.) her stomach is still full -- this too is not a healthy thing. Second, a sudden departure from her staple diet can cause metabolic upsets just like in people.>
Do I need to give her something to make her poop? Since I have the filter now, I can't tell if she is pooping.
<That's not our problem, don't worry about that>
Is the redness around her legs normal? I thought maybe it could be because of the light since she's never had one. Maybe circulatory because she's been more inactive than active since the light and filter?
<The redness is not normal - HOWEVER '¦ there are so many "things" to deal with here it may be premature to decide what it all is.>
Do I need to be concerned with the deformity of her shell?
<NO. Not now. Besides, not a lot we could do for it if we really were concerned>
Do I need to worry that she has only laid eggs once in her 8 years and could she be bound up with eggs?
<VERY unlikely - and not on our top 10 things to worry about anyway>
Do I need to get a heater for her tank. I live in Florida and my indoor temp is 78 in the summer and never lower than 71 in the winter.
<No - not at all. In fact it hurts more than it helps. We need her to bask under heat and UV light and the reason she basks is to warm up. If the water is nice and toasty they choose not to bask and without basking they get sick>
I appreciate any help you can give. I'm trying to keep costs low and avoid going to a vet since I want to get her a larger tank as soon as possible.
I've been doing a lot of reading to find answers....but I think I found needless concerns. :-)
<OK - here's the deal: First, get her under sunlight. Basking. Even if you have to take her for a walk in the morning or evening. Just remember if you set her on the lawn, don't take your eyes off her for a second!! It seems, when we're not watching, they can run like horses and climb like lizards: One second they're sitting there staring at you, then you run inside to grab a drink and come back out -- and they're across the street in someone else's garden.>
<Before you buy a bigger tank, buy a UV-B lamp. I'd rather see her in a big Tupperware tub or cardboard carton under basking and UV light than in water. She can live very happily in a warm, dry environment and it may even help her recover from some of the poor care she's had.>
<You'll have a few challenges doing this. You STILL need the lamps on one side of the enclosure so that she can get under the lamp and also away from the lamp. One part lighted and another part shaded would be good. Make sure she can't climb out - the walls should be at least TWO TIMES her length.>
<Place her in her tank once each day for 15 minutes to allow her to drink, eat and poop. Offer her basic Koi pellets (they're a completely balanced diet for Sliders, too!) and no more that she'll eat in 5 minutes. You'll also see if she poops. Then, back in her warm & dry place.>
<this thorough drying-out will help her fight off any skin fungus, it will expose her to the UV light which she needs and hopefully it will spike her metabolism into eating, pooping, etc.>
<Now, as far as the scutes are concerned, if they're coming off as thin, finger nail-type transparent sheets and the shell underneath looks new and healthy, then this is a good thing. You can even scrub her off with a toothbrush and a tiny bit of dish soap (as long as you don't get it in her eyes, nose, mouth, etc.) and this will help in the process of cleaning her up.>
<When you DO get the bigger tank, remember we try to set things up to offer her a choice - wool water or warm basking - and then let her decide what she needs>
I love your site, thank you so much for it!
<Thank you!! We're kinda proud of it too!>
<General care: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<Health concerns: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >
<Read them both!!!>

RES having swollen right ear  11/30/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
My name is Suhas am from India
<Nice to meet you>
I have recently brought 2 RES , one of them which was little bigger and more active is now having a swelling on its right ear , it looks like some puss is collected from within , its not showing any sort of discomfort as if now and is still very active, I would like to know if its something serious or will it cure by maintaining the water fresh , or if it requires any extra care
<Yes, Suhas - it does require extra care. Once an infection has reached the level of pus accumulation, it's doubtful that any extra care you can provide will be enough. The infected area should be opened with a scalpel and the pus drained, and then the area must be cleaned and coated with a topical antibiotic. After that, a 14 day course of oral Baytril should be administered.>
<In other words, this is very clearly a case in need of veterinary care.>
<I'm enclosing links to two articles. One on general turtle care, so that you can gauge what care they have against what is needed '¦ and the second on treating common illnesses. Your Slider will do a bit better if you isolate him - keep him warm and dry.>
<At the very least '¦ someone must take a needle and puncture the infected area (a VERY shallow puncture) and allow the pus to drain. Topical Iodine twice daily for 7 days, while keeping him warm and dry except for daily feeding) might help a bit, as well.>
thanking you
<You are welcome. Best of luck to you!>
regards / Suhas

Red Eared Slider's water is red!  11/19/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have 3 red eared sliders, one 6 years old and two 5 years old. It looks like they are all males. Three months ago the oldest one attacked one of the others, bit his tale and didn't let go for awhile!
<Yeah - they do that sometimes for no reason we can tell>
I've decided to separate them for some time because I've read some articles about the mating period and turtle's behavior during it. Just a week ago I've put them back together and they were little too active (swimming and splashing a lot) but not aggressive to each other. One morning the water in the tank was RED! I thought they fought and one of them is hurt. I've checked all three of them and they looked just fine.
None of them was bleeding or looked hurt. But I've noticed that one of the younger ones was trying to bite the same one that was attacked the first time and he was chasing him all around the tank. So I took the attacked one out and put him in a separate tank. 20 min later the water was all bloody red! I took him out and checked him but he looked OK! Didn't see any injuries! But I've noticed something like red "poop" on the bottom of the tank. Is it possible that my turtle is discharging blood?
<That's likely, Denitsa. This turtle is having a bloody poop that could be coming from an internal parasite, but it could also come from the damage after ingesting a jagged rock -- or it could simply be from an external wound that you're just not able to see>
This is most clearly an indication to have him seen by a qualified veterinarian.>
If so, what causes that and what I need to do about it?
<As I said, the best thing would be a qualified veterinarian. If you can't do that, isolate him somewhere warm and dry for a few days (I'm enclosing a link that explains how to do this). What we want is for him to have a chance to dry out, calm down and rest. You'll put him in a shallow bowl of water for just 5 minutes a day and during that time he'll poop. Perhaps it will be normal and whatever his problem will have healed or passed. Most importantly, the stress from being with the bullies will abate for a while and that, as much as anything else, will help him heal.>
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm>
In other words, we change the environment and then see how the symptoms change in hopes that we'll see something more clearly.
Thank You! Denitsa
Re: Red Eared Slider's water is red!   11/22/10

Hi, Darrel!
Thank You very much for Your response!
<No charge!>
The link You sent me is very helpful.
<that's our job, so I'm glad it's working for you>
So far, I haven't seen any more red discharge since I've wrote to You.
He's been isolated for a week now, but I had no idea I need to let him dry out, so I'll do that as You recommended for a week.
<maybe two weeks>
Do I need to put him back with the other two or just keep him separated from now on? What would be best for him?
<That is hard to say, Denitsa. Sometimes they go through "episodes" like this and when back together will be friendly for the next 20 years '¦ other times the pattern repeats within a few days. I'd try them back together in a couple weeks, watch them closely, and make the determination then>
Best Regards and Thank You again!
<yer welcome!>

Dire! Very sick RES despite vet visits!  11/19/10
Hi guys,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I wrote to you before (apologies for the disjointed sentence construction of the last one - was trying to be cute and ended up sounding quite daft!)
<I'm daft in general, so I understand>
About two weeks ago, my littlest RES turtle, a 1.5 inch called Kecik (who has lived through shell rot from store, going missing, being bitten) was showing symptoms of RI (about a month plus after I got him). He was swimming slightly lopsided and seemed to be yawning a lot more than usual. He also had poor appetite and I started freaking out when he started making choking noises. However, I followed your FAQ and kept him dry and warm, and it seemed to do the trick. His appetite has improved (would say back to normal) and no more excessive yawning. He still lists slightly when he's coasting in the water but I suspect that its more to do with him favouring one leg (he keeps the other tucked in most times).
<I don't know how long you'd dry-docked him, but if you wrote back on 7 October and did it then -- he's just now ready to be a bit normalized>
Now that Kecik is much better, my largest RES turtle, Debab is showing the same symptoms. Debab was isolated about three weeks ago after a biting incident and did sneeze from time to time (once or twice a day) but I didn't think much of it.
About a 1.5 weeks ago, Debab's appetite started deteriorating, with her refusing all food about a week ago. She started foaming at the mouth and making croaking noises about 4 days ago and I took her to the vet immediately (3rd 'herp' vet I'm trying for my RESes- the first two didn't seem to do any good). The vet examined Debab and said she had two infections - one in her mouth (causing the thick white bubbly mucus in her mouth which I thought was foaming), and a slight respiratory infection. Vet prescribed 2 different oral antibiotics (didn't give me the names though) - the one for her mouth was to be taken twice (Day 1 and Day 15), and the one for her RI was a course of 7mls/day for 5 consecutive days. Vet said I was to keep Debab in normal water, as long as its clean (I asked if I should keep Debab dry, and vet said no). Btw, Debab is about 0.5kg, about 5 inches and (according to the vet, counting the rings on her shell) is approximately 3-4 years old (I adopted her a few months ago).
<I understand>
It's now Day 4 and Debab is getting worse. Her breathing is permanently laboured, sounding like a combination of a chest cold and a really bad sniffly nose (I've got asthma and I don't wheeze that much!) and her lopsided swimming is also more pronounced. Her appetite has improved somewhat after I introduced this supplement Vet No. 2 had given me (yellow fluid, I think he mentioned Vitamin A?) but she's still not eating much.
She's still a trooper, bless her, and is still relatively active. Despite what the vet said, I've decided to dry out her tank tonight because she seems to be slightly more comfortable outside water.
<You are correct in doing this !!!!! this will help her a lot!>
Her UV-A and UV-B lamps are now on 24/7 and the whole room is now warmer (no more air conditioning to my usual 24C). Anything else that I can do? My heart breaks every time I hear her breathe and the rattling sound is horrific.
<Sadly, no. You're doing everything that can be done. The dryness and warmth will help her fight the infection a bit better than in the water. Make SURE she is hydrated every day with the bathing-feeding ritual, and hope for the best>
Hope to hear from you as soon as possible!
Thanks heaps!
Yazmin (and Debab!)
Re: Dire! Very sick RES despite vet visits!   11/22/10

Hi Darrel,
Just an update - took Debab to the vet again and they administered two shots of meds, one of which was an antibiotic. Going for another round tomorrow morning.
Have kept her dry in her tank except for an hour of shell high soak for eating and pooping. Her wheezing has reduced slightly.
<as expected - keep it up>
Thanks ever so much for your advice! Fingers crossed that she makes it!
<We all will, Yazmin - just don't be in a rush to get Debab back into normal life. Infections in reptiles take a long time to clear. Just in the way Debab was probably sick for a long time BEFORE you noticed the
first symptom, so she'll SEEM better long before she really clears the infection. My advice is 4 weeks after you can't see any more symptoms at all.>
Warmest regards,
<Our wishes are with you>

red ear slider help 11/14/10
To whom this concerns:
<Hiya- Darrel here>
I am the owner of 4 red eared slider, all of whom are over 20 years old and have been in my care, save one, the whole time. I feed my turtles both "meat" and greens and have never had any trouble, not even a slightly soft shell. About a month ago I noticed my oldest turtle looked like he was losing weight. He is in a large tank with direct sunlight, a thermometer on the tank and all the other turtles are just fine. I've been watching him carefully since I noticed his weight loss. He seemed to eat with the other turtles but was slower about getting the food. I realized that the other turtles had taken to sitting on him when the water was lower and so I've kept an eye on that too and have chased them off of him. This last week he hasn't eaten at all and I picked him up to find he has what looks like bruising in many spots on his body. He is listless and his limbs hang when you pick him up.
<Well, as you are already aware, this is not a good sign>
I made numerous phone calls before resorting to this email out of sheer desperation. I am not close to a vet that treats red ear sliders and the after hours clinic that will take him this weekend I simply do not have the money for.
<I understand that, too>
I have isolated him and have a lamp over his enclosure. I'm trying to figure out how to put a bowl of water in with him or whether I should just eye drop water into him every hour. I am also going to get cod liver oil within the hour to start administering that to him. I will get him to a vet on Monday (it's Saturday afternoon right now). Do you have any idea of what is going on and is there anything I can do for him between now and Monday?
<My guess is a long term debilitation from a dietary deficiency. I understand the idea of "meat" and greens, but I'd need to know many more specifics on the subject of diet>
<For now, keep him warm and DRY. Warm means around 80 degrees. If you have an old fashioned heating pad (the kind that does not turn off after a few hours) I'd wrap the pad in a towel, set it on medium and put that in the bottom of his enclosure rather than a lamp above. The lamps better than nothing, but direct heat is better and doesn't dehydrate them as much.>
<If you can get him to open his mouth, the cod liver oil isn't bad - just remember to hold him level (or almost level) when giving it - don't hold him vertically because the fluid is more likely to fill his lungs than stomach>
<Don't worry about water. If you feel the need to hydrate him, place him in a shallow bowl of water that is less that 1/8 inch deep for no more than 5 minutes>
<When you see the vet, the vet will look for signs of bacterial or fungal infection because those are things that can be treated separately. Failing that we will assume that it's dietary and the reason for this is as follows: If it's not fungal or bacterial or dietary, then it's internal and we can face it - we're not going to operate, we're not going to treat for renal failure or anything that will cost thousands of dollars '¦ so we treat for what we can afford to treat for: Fungal, bacterial or supplemental.>
<I'd like to see the doctor give your turtle multi-vitamin and calcium injections and ask him about the ability to send you home with 2 days worth of injections rather than oral meds. GIVING the shots is tricky and the vet will have to show you, but the problem with oral meds at this stage is that his digestion is likely to be shut down and it's an inefficient way to deliver the meds. Three or four days of being warm and dry with the proper supplements and your turtle will start to show signs of improvement *IF* the ailment is something that can be treated.>
Thanking you in advance,
<You're welcome - and we'll hold hopeful thoughts for you>
Isabella Daley

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

RES question 11/12/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have a Red Eared Slider 5 yrs old and lately his front legs have started swelling up immensely and my turtle has problem walking and he wont let us touch him at all. All he does is sleep and his front legs shake if he tries to use them.... he previously also got this problem but the vet said it was because of renal failure and he should be kept in water. we do keep him in the water, he only comes out for maybe 2-3 hours a day.
he also doesn't eat some days, and some days he is eating normally. Please let me know what is wrong with him, nowhere on the internet can I find out what's is wrong with him.
<Sam, this is a situation beyond a help site. Your Slider needs to been seen by a trained professional. Swelling in the front end of the body is consistent with a number of different diagnoses, renal problems included.
All are serious and the outcome, I'm sad to say, is not usually good.>
<If at all possible, get your little guy to a qualified veterinarian>
thank you

Baby Red eared slider turtle shedding skin near neck... please help  11/11/10
Hello Sir/Madam
<Hiya - Darrel here today>
I am Sandeep from India, I own a baby RES turtle, gifted by my friend as he had to settle abroad. The turtle (Sonu-his name ) is between 3 to 4 inches (approx) in length and I am using a homemade tank which is about one and a half foot in length, one feet at breadth and about a foot in depth (Sorry, am not sure in terms of gallons).
<That is quite all right, Sandeep. Size and surface area are more important to turtles anyway>
Sonu from day one is very active, he loves swimming and seldom gets onto a basking area (its just a bridge, which keeps his body outside water). The basking area doesn't have any uva/uvb lighting arrangements, but everyday from morning (say 7.30am till 2pm) I keep him in open under direct sunlight with the basking facility. I also do change water daily and I feed him with pellets 3 times a day and two sticks each feeding, once in a week I feed him spinach leaves or smashed banana. Till today, he was doing fine, but today I observed lot of shedding of skin around the neck region, I checked his shell, its hard and healthy (touch wood).But, the shedding of skin a kind of transparent skin was shed, like we see on a new born snake. My concern: Is this normal?
<Yes - and no. Turtles shed their skin periodically, but they normally do it like humans do - which is to say that it comes off in such small pieces that it's hardly seen and rarely noticed. To shed in such big sections is not ALWAYS bad. It is unusual and sometimes a sign of bigger problems>
Am I over feeding him?
<Yes, a little bit. You should feed him all the food he can eat in 5 minutes, four separate times per week. It is O.K. for him to be hungry and want more. Your diet is good and balanced. You can also use the fish pellets they feed to Koi carp. That is what I feed all my turtles>
Is this a fungal Infection?
<Does the skin have an odor when you remove it from the water? Does the skin underneath look clear? Does Sonu have any foul odor? If your answers are "no" then it probably is not fungus>
Now, I am planning to get a heater, uva/uvb bulbs. What do you people suggest?
<First - do not bother with the heater. Let the water remain at room temperature. Our intention with water temperature and basking temperature is to give Sonu a choice and let him decide when to warm up under the lamp and when to cool down in the water>
What would be the specification or brand that I would be looking for with the bulbs, heater or is my current arrangement is good to carry further.
<For UV bulbs, look at the ZooMed line of bulbs and see if you can find something in your size and price range>
<Sandeep, my only concern so far is that Sonu needs to bask and he doesn't seem to do it. Part of the situation (notice that I did not say "problem") is that when Sonu is outside from 7 to 2 in the tank you mentioned, the sun is probably heating the water significantly and therefore he is already warm (so - no desire to bask). Also in 1 foot of water exposed to the noon sun in your part of the world there is significant UVB that is penetrating.>
<My suggestion is this: When you get the UV/B bulb and place it over his bridge. Stop taking outside for a while, allow the water to be near room temperature and see if this encourages him to bask.>
Re: Baby Red eared slider turtle shedding skin near neck... please help  11/19/10
Hello Darrel
Thanks for the reply, I checked for bad odor on him and hurray, there ain't any, so I guess no fungal infection. Now, that I have planned to get a hang-on filter and have dropped the idea of getting UV-A/B bulbs and carry out my regular activity to take him under the sunlight for help in stimulating vitamin D3.
<That's fine - as long as you are able to keep doing that>
Now, planning for indoor Basking habitat as well, So is it possible to provide heat at basking with regular incandescent bulbs? ,if so, what would be the wattage that I should be looking for? is it necessary to screen the incandescent bulb(I am planning to keep it at a distance of 12inches high from basking area).
<When we talk about basking, there are two separate functions. One is for him to dry off and warm up, the other is to absorb UV-B. As long as he's getting UV-B from exposure to the sun, a regular incandescent bulb is what I use. From 12 inches away - if you mean in a space he cannot climb to reach, then no bulb cage is necessary. You may want a reflector hood just to keep the light & heat focused downward.>
Another thing that I could observe is, the basking area(Bridge) is uncomfortable for him to rest on, so I replaced it with a huge flat stone and now he sits on it more often. But, that makes me to remove lot of water, Does he need depth? (If so, then please suggest me the best way to make a basking area at altitudes)
<A turtle needs no more water than to immerse himself, but they DO seem to enjoy deeper water. What you might do is see you could use a couple of ordinary bricks on the bottom and the large stone on top of them>
Now, Am planning to build a new aquarium for him, Can I use Acrylic?
<You can use acrylic, but turtles quickly scratch it with their claws.
I've made many turtle tanks from acrylic, but I always put a pane of glass in the front.>
If so, then which is the best adhesive for water leak proofing?
<Acrylic work takes some experience to get it right. There is a special acrylic cement that bonds and actually melts the acrylic pieces together and that water seals the edges as well. I then run beads of silicone sealant along all the underwater edges.>
<Many times, for extra strength, I put a piece of square acrylic rod along the inside joints at the base and up the sides. It adds an entire layer of strength>
<There is quite a bit of literature here on how to make aquariums. Take advantage of them>
Am I doing right and justice to Sonu (my RES turtle). Is there something else, that I need to take care of?
<You're doing well to cover the bases.>
Now, coming to the previous issue, now the shedding is stopped at neck region and it is started around the fore and hind legs area, but it is in lot, though there is no change in his behavior or in his activities. The
thing is when it sheds, it doesn't appear on the water surface, but inside water I can see those skin hanging around his body before shedding(white in color).I hope, he is not ill.
<He doesn't sound ill. He' active (swimming and basking), he's eating, he's alert to the world around him, so he doesn't sound ill>
Am getting the fish pallets by tomorrow, as you have suggested. Thanks for educating me on feeding grounds. I would conclude this mail by thanking you, for all your support, though I read a lot over the net, one reply from wow team gives me the utmost satisfaction. Sorry for so many questions.
<Thank you - on Behalf of Bob and the Crew, we appreciate your kind words>
Awaiting for an early reply.

Baby RES turtle, sys., env. dis.  -- 11/07/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I've looked all over the site trying to find the answer to my question. So I hope I don't sound like a broken record to you. I had 2 Red Eared Slider turtles (Snaps and Num Nums) I got them in July of 2010. They were 1 inch in diameter and are now 2 inches. They started with a 55 gal tank with silk vegetation and a water heater.
<OK '¦.>
Living in Washington state it starts to get cold in October needless to say it starting to get cold (down to 50's during the day and the mid 40's at night). I had turtles in California and never had to get them a basking lamp
<Well yes, you DID have to '¦ it's just for some odd reason, they didn't get sick and die>
so it never occurred to me to get my baby turtles one. So my problem is both babies stopped eating about two weeks ago. The little one of the two had started basking and one day I went to see them and he was completely limp. He didn't move and so I called my vet and he said I need the heat lamp and a UVB light so I rushed out and got both lights and placed them in there. Sadly Nums did not make it :( but now my other baby turtle is doing the same thing the other one did now all she does is bask and she doesn't go to the water. She won't eat at all I even tried flavoring her pellets with tuna water(as suggested on a site and she didn't even look at it) I have her on ReptoMin pellets. Her water temp is 74degrees. And how close should I have the basking light away from the basking rock? It's a 100watt bulb and it's the night one so I can keep it on all day and night.
<I don't understand what a 'night one' means. A basking lamp is normally a regular old incandescent bulb. You CAN use a heat lamp if you have one, but it's not necessary. Both the basking/heat lamp should be on approximately 12 hours a day as should the UV/B lamp. The basking area should be around 88-93 degrees. You can measure that by leaving an oven thermometer on the spot, under the lamp, for 5 minutes and then check the reading. Move the lamp up or down depending on the adjustment and test again. Then be sure to clean the thermometer.>
<Here is a link that coverers the basics: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
How long does it normally take baby turtles to bounce back? I'd like to know if she will eventually go back to normal or if I should do something for her. I really don't want to have a second baby turtle funeral :( thank you for your help.
<We'll do what we can>
<The first bit of bad news is that by the time ANY fish or reptile shows outward signs of illness, they've already been ill for quite a while and by then are VERY sick. The second bit is that it's more acute in babies.>
<First, get the baby OUT of the water completely. At this stage all that would do for her is offer the opportunity to drown. What she needs is a vet visit, an injections of vitamins (A& D mostly) and calcium and a drop or two of some liquid food.>
<Then she needs to be warm and dry, where the warmth is coming 24/7 from a heating pad on the bottom and 14 hours a day of UV/B from above.>
<Please read this link, get her warm and dry IMMEDIATELY and then see what you can do about a vet visit.>

swollen skin? 11/03/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I'm Cristy. I have a female red eared slider which I rescued from a flood about a year ago.
<Thank you!>
I'm worried about her condition regarding the skin in her legs. I noticed this skin when she got fat because of the fishes we gave her. It looks like it was swollen. But when I put her in a diet, which consists of turtle pellets and vegetables, this skin became loose. It shrunk but it never did go back in its normal size.
What do you think this is? I have attached a picture of her..
<From the pictures, it does look very much like loose skin. There are a number of diseases that could cause this -- HOWVER if you know for a fact that she was obese and as you corrected her diet, you saw the fat recede, then we can rule out just about everything except what it looks like: Baggy skin. Make sure you keep up the diet and make sure she gets a good source of UV-B, even natural sunlight if she can get it - because those things will help her skin regain some of it's tone.>
Thank you so much for the help. God bless you
<Yer welcome!>

Red ear slider turtle with bitten off nose    10/19/10
I have a question.
<Fire away.>
I recently put a female red ear slider into the tank of my other female slider.
<These are not social animals and can be aggressive.>
The newer turtle is smaller. They seemed to be getting along well except at feeding time the larger turtle seemed to try to eat all of the food before the newer turtle could get any.
<I see. Possibly bullying; are you sure the larger turtle is a "she"?>
she got food anyway. They were fine even after I came home from work until that evening when I went to check on them. The smaller turtle had blood all over her head. When I finally was able to see what was going on after all the blood was washed off, I realized the larger turtle completely bit the smaller turtle nose off.
It is no longer bleeding but it seems as though when she puts her head out of the water, she opens her mouth now for air and water shoots out of her nose holes. I know she must be in pain.
Being that its the weekend, the veterinarians who care for turtles office is not open.
<Does need veterinarian help.>
Is there anything I should or can do?
<Needs a vet; at the very least, its nose will need to be patched up a bit and the turtle treated with antibiotics to prevent infection. Keeping the turtle out of the water will help. Provide drinking water, but that's it; warm, damp conditions foster infections, while warm, dry conditions will help the wound heal.>
Will she live?
<Potentially, yes.>
She seems as though she doesn't want to eat now as well.
<Eating is the least of her worries.>
Thank You
<You're welcome. My apologies about the reply being a bit late; for some reason the turtle people didn't check in over the weekend, so you've had to make do with me, a fish person! Cheers, Neale.>

Turtle help!
Res help! - 10/10/10

Hello, My name is Vinetta.
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I was hoping you could help me out with a few questions.
<You have questions? I have '¦ um .. er .. ah .. something>
Three days ago the maintenance man at my apartment complex came to me, ( I am an animal lover and everyone comes to me when they find or want to unload unwanted pets),
<We should form a posse and track down people like that and have their names added to nut/kook/cult mailing lists>
-- because someone moved out 3 weeks ago and left a Red Eared Slider in a 10 gallon tank with about 2 inches of water which was black and nasty. I must add that this turtle is roughly about 5 inches wide,( about the size of a bread plate), maybe a little more.
<Likely to be a "her" at that size>
I took him and cleaned him off, which brings me to my 1st issue, thin scales came off when I rubbed his shell with my fingers to remove the slime that coated him. I've read that this does in fact happen, but in a few spots his shell is a whitish color with a few tiny spots of red. Is this something I can correct on my own?
<yes. The thin scales (called scutes) normally shed with age & growth - the white spots sound fungal - the red spots indicating either very advanced fungal or bacterial>
And if so, how?
<It's not hard, either. Here is a link: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm Treat as if he had a fungal infection (he probably does)>
<The main thing we want now is warm and DRY, DRY, DRY!! Everything he's fighting is more virulent while he's warm & moist>
I have for the time being put him in the largest tank I have, which is about 20 gallons and long. I plan on in the very near future getting something larger, but for now this is what I was able to do.. I have filled it a little more than half way full of water, placed a large rock for basking, a cuttle bone, pebbles at the bottom and a clamp lamp with a 65 watt spotlight to bask with. Right now the water reads about 75 degrees with a small 2 to 5 gallon tank submersible heater. ( I read that room temperature is fine, but my house runs a little on the cool side so I figured a small heater might be Ok..) The basking temp is about 82 degrees.
<Cool side is fine as long as you're not into the mid 60's. I'd rather her have water on the cool side that to have a heater in the tank. The AIR on the other hand *IS* a little cool. When she's ready to go back in '¦ try to get the basking area to between 88-90 (just bring the lamp a 1/2 inch or so closer>
I also have a filter running. I'm going to buy a turtle conditioner thingy that you put in the tank later today.
<No need. Those things are of little to no value>
I am going to use the 10 gallon tank to feed him in. I've bought some commercial turtle pellets, and some romaine lettuce. I do not have a UV light yet, but I do have him sitting close to a window. Is this enough to help him start to recover?
<UV light does not travel well through glass -- or even windows screen, believe it or not. Is there a chance that you could take him outside for a walk for even 10 minutes of sunlight per day until you get the UV? Even that little bit will help>
Also I've noticed when he swims he sometimes kind of tilts to the side a bit. Not all the time but a I've noticed it a few times. Is this normal?
<Sometimes, yes. Gas bubbles inside their gut can make them float unevenly. It COULD also be the sign of a serious infection '¦ but lets' not go looking for trouble here - just assume it's no big deal>
I've had all kinds of reptiles as pets, but this is the first turtle. So I'm pretty clueless. I am trying to do the best I can with what I can afford at the moment, seeing as how I hadn't PLANNED on taking in a turtle...loll.
<Welcome to a very large club. Orphanages, Irish Families and Pet keepers see to live by the motto "there's always room for one more!">
Also he does not seem very friendly, as is understandable, but if given time and the right treatment do you think he will eventually come around?
<They often do. As she equates you with her food supply, she may come around>
I am enclosing a picture of him doing the tilting thing, also in the picture you can see the white spot. (The water is still slightly cloudy as I have just cleaned the tank and installed the filter). Also included is another picture of the whole set up to show you what I have done, and to help assist you in any advice on how to improve it. Any help or advice you can give me would be much appreciated.
Thank You for your time!
<The pictures show a couple things. First, any time she wants, she can climb right out of than tank and take a bad tumble. She'll likely survive that, but then will go for a walk '¦ and if you're new to turtles you should know that they can climb in ways beyond imagination, can move at barely sub-light speed when you take your eyes off of them for just a second and they choose to get into places that you didn't even know existed.>
<Second thing is that the white spot could be fungal -- but it can also be a dead scute. It's hard to tell from the pictures. When a scute gets so infected that it dies, it comes off in place and leaves pink living tissue below. That tissue scars over to become hard and whitish. If that is the case, it will leave her always just a little more susceptible to infection in that area -- but she can still live a happy life.>
<Here is basic care instructions: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<The most important thing for you to do right now is to treat her for a fungal infection: warm, dry, Dry, DRY and get her as much UV-B lamp as soon as you can.>

Slider chews rocks   10/6/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
its been a while since I mailed with the tragic loss of one of my turtles after it jumped from my balcony(thanks so much for the support then Darrel) and I have another issue id like some advice on.
<I remember '¦ and you're welcome. >
My remaining Slider (Midori) seems healthy and happy if a little overweight in his/her (still cant figure it out) 120cm tank have a full spectrum basking light with a heat lamp, feeding a combination of two kinds of commercial pellets (normal ReptoMin and ReptoMin super) and frozen bloodworms(leftovers from my dwarf puffers in another tank)
<Obesity is caused by too much food for the metabolism. Assuming Midori is active and otherwise healthy, cut back her food (skip the blood worms entirely) and as she grows she'll absorb that condition>
<As a general note that applies to turtles, fish, dogs, cats and all our pets '¦ overfeeding and the resulting obesity are one of the major causes of health problems in all of our pets. We simply feed them too much. We always worry if they are thriving and think that we're helping them along with a bit more food. In the wild they would spend almost ALL of their active time foraging for just barely enough food to get through the day. In captive conditions Over feeding and Poor feeding (wrong diet) are FAR more likely to cause health problems than under feeding.>
'¦ water parameters are great because I have three tanks connected so a total of around 400 liters of water( so much easier to manage)
<Yes it is - good idea>
.. BUT I noticed yesterday that his/her "gums" are a tint of red/orange I did catch him/her biting rocks on a few occasions but not so much recently so could be that. took him/her out of the tank and looked in the mouth, the upper inner mouth is yellow but the rest seems a healthy pink and when out of the water no blood appears so his her mouth isn't bleeding as such but the colour really suggests it is. Googled but didn't get much TBH.
<TBH is "To Be Honest" for those of us that are computer lingologically challenged>
Wonder if its something to worry about or something I should wait and monitor.
<Dale - their behaviors are their own, so it's really hard to say. I have noticed that sort of behavior on rare occasions and I'd suspect an fungal infection. Then I thought it was a sign they were looking for calcium, so I'd add a calcium supplement (take an earthworm and power it with crushed oyster shell calcium) or maybe calcium injections '¦ the thing is, for all I know, I could have changed the water, moved a bulb or had something different for my OWN lunch and they would have still stopped. Next time you offer her a meaty sort of treat, powder it with something calcium and see how she behaves>
<Watch her closely as long as you don't see a deterioration of the tissue or anything looking like fungus, it's not a major issue>
P.s If you're interested I now have:
120cm tank
black mollies
neon tetras
tiger Pleco
ghost shrimp
"safe" area for the fish to retreat to using ventilation bricks everyone is getting along great although occasionally a guppy or tetra will disappear when Midori gets hungry!
<Make sure, sure and SURE that Midori can't get trapped in those bricks. Any part of her!>
<That said, as you've probably read here before, I'm not a fan of mixing fish and turtles. Fish is really not any significant part of their natural diet and it seems a shame to the fish>
60cm heavily planted tank
dwarf puffers
ghost shrimp
60 cm tank (used for half-hearted breeding)
dwarf Gourami
all the tanks are connected using water bridges and are attached to 2 canister filters and a sump the Gourami tank and main tank are open so the fish can freely move back and forth (and often do!)
PH 7-7.5
amm 0
nitrite 0

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