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FAQs About Red Ear Slider Turtle Systems 1

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

Related FAQs:  RES Systems 2, RES Systems 3, 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, AmphibiansOther Reptiles

Re: Turtles in a 75 gallon tank 3/25/2009
Thanks for the reply Darrel!!
Dear Crew,
<Hiya Billy - Darrel here (again)>
Can I ask a couple more questions?
<You bet!>
I got both of my turtles when they were very small, only 1 1/2-2 inches big. The first was found just over 3 years ago and the other about 6 months later. Looking at them in the new 75 gallon tank, they seem to have plenty of room... could Red Eared Sliders really outgrow a 75 gallon tank in just over 3 years?
<That depends on the layout of the tank, Billy. Remember, turtles primarily live in two dimensions -- they need length and width of an enclosure, not so much depth so a 75 gallon "Tall Show" tank is not as useable as a 75 gallon standard, etc. Basking spaces, under heat ... yet enough room to get away from under the heat, etc. are all factors>
Also, the catfish and Pleco were residents of the 49 gallon tank before the turtles. The Pleco has continued to grow and is now huge and the catfish has also thrived in the environment with no signs of stress for the 3 years. I know you said they hide their symptoms, but do you think that the two would have shared the same fate as the Oscar by now if they were having similar problems? I only had the Oscar for about 8 months before he fell victim to the poor environment I caused.
<Catfish and Plecos (to a lesser degree) are more tolerant of water quality issues than open-water dwellers, so it's not as much an issue for them. My comment was simply that, in general, there are enough reasons to NOT keep fish with turtles to outweigh any desires to house them together.>
Finally, for the new 75 gallon I bought a Eheim 2215 Canister filter suggested for fish aquariums up to 93 gallons. Do you think this is sufficient for my 75 gallon tank (which is only filled about 3/4 full to give basking room)? I was thinking of adding the underwater filter back into the mix to help keep the water clean, but also help with water circulation??? I do plan on following your water cleaning/changing suggestions immediately.
<that filter is adequate IF you do the water changes as we discussed before, but not NEARLY enough for trying to maintain an aquarium in balance. As far as undergravel filters are concerned, I'm not a fan of them and never really have been. Try as they might to make a biological filter out of a gravel bed, the bottom line result (that may be a pun) is an ultra-fine layer of detritus that lays on the bottom of the tank.>
<Change the water and clean the filter regularly, don't feed more than they will eat in 5 minutes three times a week ... and enjoy!>
Thanks again for your help!
<you're welcome!>

Red-Eared Slider Questions - 10/07/2007 Hello Crew, I came across your website and I have to say I am really impressed. After reading quite a few articles I found that I had some questions that weren't already answered. My girlfriend owns 3 red eared sliders, the smallest is a year and a half old, the other two are just about a year old. When I first met her 9 months ago, I was surprised to see her turtles sharing a 10 gallon tank. I recommended she upgrade it, moved to a 20 gallon tank, and now finally a 40 gallon tank. I still think this is too small but she is a college student and doesn't have much room. Ever since I have met her I have noticed that the smallest turtle, Turd (it's supposed to be short for "Turtle" but I don't think she understands the slang meaning), has always been in the corner, usually swimming and moving rocks around as he swims into the glass and doesn't stop, for the last few months, Leonardo has been hanging out with him in that corner. The most active turtle, Raphael, is always swimming around the tank, loves to bask and is the biggest. I am really wondering if my turtles are being bullied. I haven't seen them bite at each other, but Raphael will usually step on top of one to get air, move, or even bask on top of them. I would like to know if I should separate these turtles, and if so, what would be the best way to go about it, I attached some photos and I would really welcome any suggestions that you may want to make based on the layout of the tank. We have a UVB light for basking, no water heater as the temperature is usually 74 (we have a water heater but I haven't installed it as the water is always around 74-78 degrees), and two 20 gallon pumps as I found they seem to clean the tank better than one 40 gallon. We just bought them some gold fish feeders however I have now learned they are not the best fish for them to be eating, there is only 9 left (Raphael ate two and a half of them in one day) but I believe I will switch to crickets and worms now. Thank you so much for your time and suggestions! Tom <Hello Tom. Red-eared sliders can be snappy towards one another, though they usually get along fine. Climbing over each other is normal behaviour, so unless there are signs of biting, I wouldn't be too worried. For the size of the specimens you have, your current vivarium looks fine. My only concern would be that the filter looks too small. Red-ears are heavy polluters, and ammonia in the water causes a variety of problems such as eye infections and fungal patches on the shell. I'd be planning on something like an external canister filter for a tank with three specimens. The other issue is that land area looks a mite small. It needs to be big enough for all three specimens to "haul out" comfortably. A few more rocks might be just the thing. As a ball park, you want about 1/3rd the surface area of the tank to be dry land. One idea is to put large rocks at *both* ends of the tank, so the beasts can sit together or apart, as they prefer. Now, about food. Goldfish are the single best way to infect your sliders with parasites. Goldfish also have too much fat. Red-ears are omnivores. As juveniles, their diet needs to be about 50% plant food, and as adults, upwards of 70% plant food. There are lots of suitable green foods, many of which can be easily found in a grocery store, such as tinned peas. There's a detailed FAQ here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/resfdgfaqs.htm . Red-ears don't need meaty foods all that much, and certainly should never, ever be given feeder fish. Cheers, Neale>

Just One More Question, RES sys.  - 10/06/2007 I'm really sorry guys. I just have one more question for you guys. Do baby red eared sliders need UVB rays or just juvenile and adult red eared sliders? I really hope you guys don't find me annoying:) Thanks for your help. <Greetings. They ALL need UVB light. Since reptiles use UVB for vitamin synthesis, if they don't get enough UVB, they get sick. End of story. Not providing UVB light is one of the commonest mistakes inexperienced reptile keepers make, and likely one of the commonest reasons their pets become deformed, sick, or die prematurely. A basic UVB system shouldn't cost a great deal. Do make sure you get a UVB not a UV or UVA system, as other lights provide different wavelengths that won't help. Good luck, Neale>

Separate Water Dish - Red Eared Sliders  7/21/07 Hi, <Hi there, Janet. Andrea this evening.> I have 2 RES, do I need to provide them with a separate water dish? They're currently in a tank with 2/3 water and basking rocks, do they need a separate water dish for drinking or is the water in the tank fine? <<No, you do not; however, you need very, very heavy filtration, and a very large tank for them. I do hope you have provided then with a home adequate for their growth and their messy habits.>

Red Eared Slider help  7/21/07 Hello guys, <Hiya Christopher -- Darrel here with you tonight> I wanted to know how to take care of an Red Eared Slider in the winter. For example, how much should I feed him, how often should I change the water and should I still give it sunlight or UVB lighting. <These are very good questions, but the answers are a bit muddy & not very concrete.> <Let's keep it simple. Sliders will respond to the TEMPERATURE CHANGES of winter much more strongly than the subtleties of altered photoperiods (shorter days) and all that science-type stuff. So as long as the Temperature holds, it's not really "winter" as far as the turtle is concerned. If your turtle is inside the house in an aquarium and there is a normal basking light (there should not be a water heater) then for your turtle, it's just another day in the swamp ... No winter to speak of. If it's outside, in a pond .... it's way too small to BE in a pond ... so set up a tank indoors like I described above and -- presto -- no winter. Now ... if it gets a LITTLE bit chilly where you have her, then cut back the feeding just to be sure. It never hurts for them to be just a little bit hungry.> My turtle is 2 inches and is a female. <A bit of a disagreement here, Chris. If it's only two inches and assuming you haven't probed it, she's too small to determine the sex yet. Notice I didn't say too "young" because for turtles, like most reptiles, sexual maturity (and with that the visual differences between the boys & girls) comes with SIZE, not age.> Also, do you know the average growth rate of an RES. Just the approximate average. <That is SO totally dependant of heat, food and environment that anything I say could be wrong (and at the same time right for someone else) -- 3/4 to an inch each year for the first year to year & a half and then slower after that .... but if it's warm enough and she's fed enough, it could almost be double that> Last, do turtles in fact hibernate or not? <Sliders do, depending on where they are. In some Northern states wild sliders have been known to over-winter at the bottom of a pond that's frozen solid at the top. Now ... to anyone reading this who has sliders that can be subject to winter conditions ... PLEASE keep in mind that while they do hibernate and CAN survive a cold winter .... MANY wild turtles do not survive. Some perish outright and many are so damaged that they barely survive the next year. Mother Nature sees that 1,000 hatch so that ONE can live to lay another set of eggs. The odds do NOT favor a turtle wild ... so please don't try it -- as responsible pet keepers it's our job to improve Nature's odds, not duplicate them.> Thanks for all your help. <No charge!>

Can a turtle outgrow it's shell? 9/13/07 Hello again <And a hearty hello, howdy & Hiya right back!> So we've both established my Red Eared Slider turtle is growing too fast. :( I'm trying to only feed 2 times a week now, adding more leafy veggies and less pellets/dried prawns/bloodworms. Does that sound ok? <The ONLY thing I feed mine are Koi pellets ... it's a vegetarian-based healthy & balanced food> I'm now wondering if Its possible for a Slider to outgrow it's shell? I keep reading conflicting information online. <Funny how the Internet has allowed any dufus with a web site the ability to give advice, isn't it? Um .. wait a second .... that doesn't sound right .... forget I said that, OK?> His front legs and neck seem to be puffing out of his shell, and he never fully retracts his legs or neck anymore. Perhaps this is because he is comfortable with me and feels no need to protect himself??? <From the sound of it, he probably is relaxing a bit but fundamentally he sounds obese! Keep on the diet and remember, they have VERY little to worry about or run from in captivity -- they don't need very much to eat.> If he is too big now, will his shell ever catch up to the body, even with more restricted/varied diet .... <In time, yes. The shell grows through a much slower process than the skin and other organs ... it will take a LOT of time ... so please be patient> ... and more exercise? ... <I want to make a point about this ... EVERY YEAR ... hundreds if not thousands of people buy tiny little TurtleGym 1000's for their sliders based on infomercials from Chuck Tortoise and ALL of them end up folded up & shoved under a little corner of their hot rock gathering dust.> <Ahem. OK .. I'm having one of those days. Or perhaps an "episode"><<Darrel you're really out/in there today! RMF>> <Pay attention to habitat, diet and temperature gradients and try not to over-stress yourself or your little turtle.> Thanks for all your help! <Write back & send pics of him!> <Regards, Darrel> PS: Here's a link about the simple yet effective care for Sliders -- it was written by a charming man who is outstanding in his field.> <out ...> <Standing is his field!> <rimshot!> < http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>

Re: Red Ear Slider Turtle Question... seasonal care...  9/13/07 Hi Neale, Now that the days are getting cooler and shorter around here should i do anything different for my Terrapins? Do they need to hybernate will it benefit there life in the long run? I do have a hood over there enclosure to reduce the drafts. Is there anything else I can do for them? Thank you very much again! <Hello again. Are these red-ear sliders indoors or out? If outdoors, they certainly shouldn't be kept outside once the ambient temperature drops much below 18 Celsius. These are, after all, subtropical animals. Yes, they have become established far outside their range (e.g., in Southern England) but their mortality under such conditions is much higher than is acceptable to us as pet owners. So if it is getting cold, then it's time to bring them in and install them in a basic vivarium for the winter months. They don't really hibernate as such, though they may enter a state of torpor when very cold. Regardless, hibernating tortoises and turtles generally is not easy, and requires careful fattening up and then placement of the sleepy reptile in a suitable draught-proof, snug nest away from potential predators such as cats and rats (a box filled with shredded paper or straw is typical). If your red-ears are indoors, simply maintaining the water at around 25 C should provide enough heat and humidity inside the vivarium to keep your terrapins happy. Hope this helps, Neale.>

Red Ear Slider   9/12/07 Hello! I am writing about my red ear sliders again. I have 2- they are about 6 months old and I have a typical set-up with a filter, basking rock and lamp, and a water heater and some fake plants. I have had one of the turtles since about May and he has been healthy and active for the most part- but he has stopped eating. I noticed about 3 weeks ago it seemed like he was having problems breathing and his body would jolt out of its shell every few seconds. I started cleaning the tank more often and it seemed to help him because it went away in a few days. Then a week later he stopped eating and is always basking (which I believe is because he is trying to fight whatever sickness he has) and is not very active. It has seriously been about 3 weeks since he has eaten- how can he survive that long? <Chelonians -- turtles, terrapins, and tortoises -- take a long time to die. They take a long time to do most things! But seriously, let's review. What sort of basking lamp do you have? Is it the UVB type? That's essential for vitamin synthesis, and without it, they gradually weaken. Secondly, are you adding vitamins to their food? Again, this is a long term issue, but an essential one. It's also very easy to feed the wrong things (pellets, meat) to these fish instead of the right things (plants) and end up with constipated, sickly, vitamin-deficient pets.> I did have live plants in the aquarium for a while and he really liked those but I took them out because it was really messy. Could he have gotten use to feeding off the plants? <Perhaps, but the main thing is these turtles are plant eaters, and need to eat plants. This is non-negotiable. Whether you add live plants like Elodea or chopped greens of the right sort (dandelions, curly leaf lettuce, Sushi Nori, small bits of soft fruit, etc.) doesn't matter. But they must have some access to plant matter every day. As they get older, this becomes EVEN more important, because the adults are basically herbivorous.> I had a another companion for him when I first got him that was born with many deformities and unfortunately did not make it longer than 2 months, and this turtle (Crazy Feet) is acting the same as the other did before it passed away, except he only lasted about 1 week without eating. <Ah, a pattern. Please go back and check you're doing all the right things. Missing just one key step can be fatal in the long run. There are plenty of articles bout these animals at WWM; read, review, and ask questions.> The pet shop suggested that I get a water heater because it's getting colder here (I'm in Southern California) which I did about a week ago and I am keeping the water temp at 85. <A bit too warm for them. Aim for 25 C (77 F). They're subtropical animals really. On the other hand, they are sensitive to cold conditions too, so don't let it get below 18 C (64 F).> They also suggested guppies but local pet shops have been out of them. <OK, stop listening to this pet store. Red-ear terrapins do not need to eat fish, and it isn't good for them either. Live fish are a potential source of parasites and bacterial infections as well. So, stick with what they eat in the wild: green foods, invertebrates, green foods, green foods, and green foods. Use prepared pellets once or twice a week, but no more often than that because they are too dry and cause constipation. And before you say, "but they're sold as reptile food" well hamburgers and French fries are sold as human food but no-one defends the idea that they're good for us (except maybe the marketing departments of fast food chains).> I feed them Reptomin and dried shrimp. <Stop doing this except as a treat. It's green foods they need. GREEN FOODS!> I am very concerned he is going to go soon, please help with any suggestions! Thank you, Samantha <Good luck, Neale>

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

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

RES young, sys.  08/26/07 Dear WWM Crew, <Hiya Allison - Darrel here> I have recently purchased two baby red ear sliders, and they have been with me for three days by now. <Some of the funniest little creatures ever!> I have purchased a 12'' x 6'' x 8'' aquarium, and a 75 watt ZooMed UVA basking light for them. There are rocks in the aquarium on which them can be completely dry and bask. I have not yet purchased a heating system (as Northern California does not get very cold in the fall). I would normally turn on the basking light for about 4-5 hours per day. <The basking light is their "sun" Allison. They should have it on from 7am to 7pm this time of year and only slightly less as winter comes> I noticed that one of my turtle (which I believe to be the female) is reluctant to go into water. She stays and sleeps on the rock most of the time ( if you place her in the water, she'll simply climb back onto the rocks). I believe she has not been eating either. Frankly I am quite worried about her, could she be sick? <Yes, that is a possibility -or- she may not be acclimating as fast as the others -or- she could be just sensitive to the lack of heat> The other turtle seems to be doing just fine, swimming and eating regularly. <Excellent> I have read the Q&A's on your website, and I have the following questions. 1) Should I purchase a UVB lamp? <Eventually, yes, but that's not your problem right now. Red Eared Sliders are TERRIBLY forgiving in terms of environment and can grow up well and healthy even in less-than-perfect situations. I'll give you a link with more detail> 2) Should I increase their hours of basking? <Yes, to at least 12 hours a day in summer and 9 hours a day in winter> 3) A friend of mine suggested that the inactiveness of the female might be due to low water temperature. Should I purchase a heating mat to keep the water warm at all times? <My answer here runs from no ... to NO!!!! Unless you live in an igloo, almost any temperature in your house that YOU are willing to live in is also fine for them -- remember, they have a basking lamp that gives them an 85 to 95 degree place to bask. As long as the water is at least 70 degrees, let them have the choice.> <If you think that little Bessie is too cold (if you can believe she's a girl, then I get to call her by a girl's name until you tell me otherwise) you can give her warm baths ever few days. By warm, I mean water no warmer than 82 degrees, about a half inch deep ... to let her hydrate and just soak for 15 minutes or so. Sometimes that will kick-start their metabolism.> <More important to me .... is she awake? Eyes open and clear -- or closed -- or weepy? If you take her out of her tank and place her on the ground outside, does she seem alert and make an effort to move -- or just sit there with her eyes closed? Her behavior may tell us more than we have now. Here's a link for you: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm Hope it helps?> Thanks. Allison <You're very welcome!>

Re: Red Ear Slider Turtle Question, sys., hlth.  08/26/07 Hi Neale, I had another question about our Red Ear Slider Turtles, They are doing really well. I still need to get them a UVB light for them but money is tight. There was just one thing about there shell, I don't know if it is because they are growing but it seems almost as if the shell has a sandpaper type feel to it as to before it was smooth. That is it for now. Thank You, Ryan <Hello Ryan. Glad the turtles (or terrapins, as we say here in the UK) are doing well. Yes, a UVB light *is* essential, and not something you can skimp on for too long. So while I appreciate economy, sometimes it's easier to spend a little up front than have to deal with the expensive problems of a sick turtle down the road. Now, as for shell texture. This can mean a variety of things. Healthy shell should buff dry and smooth when you wipe it with kitchen roll, so that it feels like fingernail to the touch. If the shell doesn't feel like that, you have a problem. Shell-rot is one problem, caused by bacteria and/or fungi. It's essentially identical to finrot on fishes, being caused by poor water quality and/or physical trauma. Treatment is similar too, using antibacterial or antibiotic medications. Shell-rot is usually associated with cracks, scratches, sores, smelly pus, etc. Left untreated, just like finrot, it can turn into septicaemia. Another common problem is "soft shell". The shell will feel pitted, as if it is dissolving away, and in places the shell will feel softer than in others. The two factors behind soft shell are UVB and calcium: your turtle needs both. The lamp provides the one, the diet the other. I hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: Red Ear Slider Turtle Question 08/26/07 Hi Neale, Going to go pick up a UVB light first thing tomorrow morning, I just have some questions. If I get a UVB light will I have to have an open top? Will the glass filter the UVB? Also the new growth on the turtles is smooth like a fingernail, it is the old stuff that has the sandpaper texture could it be the UVB not getting to them before when they were younger? They do not have any scratches, cracks, sores or smelly pus. So I think we are ok there. Thanks, Ryan <Hello again Ryan! Yes, glass cuts out UV light, so the lamp needs to go under the hood, if you have one. Realistically, terrapins aren't that good at climbing, so assuming the vivarium is reasonably deep, you probably don't need a hood during the day. Put the hood back on at night to keep them warm. As for the shell, provided the new growth is sound, then the texture of the old growth is relatively unimportant. Old shell plates flake away eventually. I suspect you are on the money about the UVB being an issue with shell growth; problems with diet (calcium) and UVB are at the root of most problems people have with terrapins. Good luck, Neale.>

Overheating turtles 07/08/07 Dear Crew, <Hi there, Darrel here> I obtained a 1" Red Eared Slider about a month ago. It began eating within 2 days and basked regularly. It was aggressive and swam evenly. It has been eating a diet of ReptoTreat shrimp and zoo med turtle food along with some live aquarium plants. The aquarium is kept at 85 deg. air temp and 80-85 deg. water temp. <The air is fine -- the water is WAAAAAAAAY too hot!!!!! The water should be, at most, 73 degrees -- and 70 would be better.> I use a 100 watt basking bulb. <That's a bright bulb, but if it's far enough away that the air temp is 85-90 degrees, then it's OK. Again, the water is WAY too hot. Please fix that right away> About 3 days ago I noticed the Slider began to flip on it's back quite a bit. I later noticed it began having trouble swimming straight, constantly spinning in circles. It now turns it's outstretched neck to one side and opens and closes it's mouth. I have checked the turtle closely and have found no physical signs of disease. It still basks regularly and eats regularly. An uneducated guesser might think it had a turtle stroke. I researched these symptoms on the internet and have found nothing similar. <The behaviors you describe are odd, to be sure, but I suspect it's more of a metabolic issue. Correct the water temperature issue, cut back on the feedings to a few days a week for a while. Keep a close eye on him when you lower the water temperature (do that RIGHT away .. I mean it!) and see that he acclimates and still basks.> Lorie <Please review your care conditions against the recommendations in the following line -- and get back to us in a week, OK? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm> <Darrel>

Turtle time is right now - 06/27/07 Hello everyone, <Hi. Darrel here> I'm new to the 'turtle scene' and have had my first Red Eared Slider (Alfonzo) for almost two weeks (he is 4 cm in length), and I have some questions (like any new mother). But first some background information: <Facts is a good place to start!> Alfonzo's current tank is 10 gallon, long (I know I will have to upgrade when he outgrows this tank, I plan on giving him the 20 gallon tank that my current fish live in, and then bringing the larger fish into a 40 gallon tank, and the smaller into Alfonzo's old tank.) He has a basking light, a turtle dock under the basking light, a filter, and a few places to sit underwater to poke his head up from. He does not yet have a UVB lamp, I plan on getting him one in the fall when it becomes too cool for me to take him outside. <Do keep in mind that in the wild he'd be getting and metabolizing UV rays almost 12 hours a day.> I take him outside (usually) everyday (I have only missed taking him outside once, because the sun had already set), and sometimes sit him under an open window (supervised of course). When he is outside he is either sitting on the patio, in my hand, or in his food dish filled with water (he likes to try and escape if he gets near the grass) I try to get him outside for at least 15 minutes (I found out today that he need at least an hour, I will bring him out for longer starting today). He also has cuttle bone in his tank, and I feed him freeze-dried Krill with lettuce (not iceberg) or carrots everyday. <so far, very good! Two small changes: Diet should be a based in small Koi pellets - a wonderful and perfectly balanced and inexpensive food. Use earthworms for an occasional tasty treat. Second, see what you can do to add the UV lamp sooner than winter, if at all possible.> Now for my concerns: <OK> I noticed recently that his new shell growth around the side is growing in clear (Less than 0.5 mm of growth), so that it looks like fingernails, I felt it today, and it also feels like fingernails, <that's all very normal> plus the outside of his shell to either side is upturned slightly. <A tiny bit is OK, but to much turning up at the edges is also a sign of accelerated growth (essentially obesity) and may be a sign to cut back on the quantity of food -- keep in mind that Alfonzo doesn't have a job, car repairs or laundry to do ... he leads the life of a couch potato, so he doesn't need very much food> The bottom of his shell seems to be a little bit soft, though the top is nice and solid. He also has some scratches on his shell. He had them when I bought him, I believe his tank mates were not very friendly, but he has no white fuzz growing on it, so I'm not too worried about it. <Nor am I ... so far> But his scutes are in a Christmas Tree pattern, with the one's closer to his head raising towards the back, and continuing towards the back, Not drastically, but it is noticeable when I pet him. <This also is a sign of dietary problems -- change the diet as suggested above please> Also he is starting to turn black in small patches on his shell, (not on the white part though) I've read that turtles may turn darker as they get older, but he is still just a baby. Could this be because of the tank temperature? (Water: 73-78 Degrees; Basking:78-80 Degrees, though it gets colder at night since I turn the basking light off). <No, the temperature is OK - maybe just a TINY bit hotter in the basking spot 82-90> but Also there seems to be some black patches on his underbelly that look like his tummy is hollowing from the inside out. Is this normal? <Turning a bit darker is normal, but soft black spots is not. I suspect that if you add more UV, as you're doing, warm up the basking spot, change and reduce the diet, as suggested, you'll see these signs may subside.> Suggestions on making my tank and turtle better are GREATLY appreciated. <As always, when there are health concerns, the "proper" thing to do is consult an experienced Herp Veterinarian -- and that is my standard advice. Now .. realizing that it's not always possible or even practical in a situation like this, my first best advice is to change the diet and add the additional UV and heat. Watch for signs of appetite loss or lethargy and check water quality. Hope that helps> Thank You, Chantal. <yer welcome!>

Worms in Red-Ear Slider Tank 5/31/07 Hello, it's me, Samantha again! <Hello Samantha, it's me, Darrel again!> I have stumbled upon another question that worries me! I'm the one that bought the baby red-ear turtles and for a while I was having trouble getting them to eat. Then I bought the Tetra feeding sticks as you suggested and it worked great. <I remember. You're putting effort into being a good Turtle Mom> Then, I slacked on cleaning the tank and went a whole week without cleaning it out. <uh oh. But we all do it from time to time> I do have a filter, plus the UVA and UVB lighting and a floating rock, plus rocks on the bottom of the tank. When I began scooping the rocks out to clean, everything seemed fine. <Insert scary 'Jaws' music here> I bleached out the tank and then I was going to rinse the rocks out and slimy 1" worms starting floating to the top. <AHA!> I dumped the rocks and cleaned out the tank with more bleach. I put everything back in without the extra rocks on the bottom. Then a few more of those worms started showing up. <I hate when that happens> I'm thinking they may have been hiding in the filter. <And in the tubes, fittings and edges of the tank> It totally creeps me out though! <The technical professional Aqua-culturist term here is "Yucky"> I also noticed one on my wall outside, which I have never seen before so I'm not sure if it came from the tank. <Either from the tank or from Cincinnati. Either way ... Ewwwww> <Um, that was a joke, OK? No cards or letters please?> They were brown, slimy and when my dad went to flick it off the wall it stuck on like a snail. <sticky & slimy?? So far, they sound like my brother-in-law :) > We have a lot of snails by our house as we live a mile from the ocean. Did these come from the tank? Or perhaps did they crawl into the tank? <So far there are a number of possible culprits. Planaria (flat worms), nematodes and a few other little ickies that could fit that bill. Usually I've caused situations like this accidentally by the introduction of live plants (which you haven't done) but it's also possible that the eggs were in the Sliders gut when you got them from their previous environment... the important thing is not to let it get the best of you> Please help- I'm so disgusted- and have learned my lesson about cleaning the tank often! <We learn from our mistakes, Samantha, so don't sweat it. Clean the tank, rocks, gravel, platforms PLUS the filter, and filter tubes. The way I do this is to place a bucket in the bathtub and fill it with cold water. Then install the filter (after you've cleaned the media) along with it's pickup & discharge tubes into this bucket and then get the filter started. After circulation has been established, turn on the hot water and let it run into the bucket (this is why the bucket is in the bathtub) and eventually the water will get very hot and that hot water will circulate into and through the filter and all the tubes and help to clean everything. You can also add a half cup of bleach into that water and let that circulate for a while, but then care must be taken to rinse, rinse and rinse again to get that chlorine washed away. This process may even take a couple of cycles over a week or so before you get rid of them completely.> Thank you! <As always, you're totally welcome!>

Slimy brown worms are back! 06/07/07 Good Morning- Samantha again. <Hiya Samantha, Darrel here ... again> I have the baby Red Ear Slider turtles and then the slimy sticky worms popped up in my tank. Remember me? <Yes I do, Samantha. Usually when I hear people mention "slimy, sticky worms" I think of my brother-in-law, but I do remember you and your infestation.> Well I've been cleaning the tank regularly and no worms have come about. <Good. Progress.> However, when I clean out my tank and also when I dump the water from my feeder tank I just throw it in my grass in the back yard. <So do I - often the water waste can be good fertilizer> Tonight I went out and saw one of those worms on the wall. I realized a few days after I sent the first email that they look a lot like slugs. I took a picture, do you think these are coming from the tank water? <That's a great picture, Samantha and that is definitely a slug. To me, it looks like a run of the mill garden slug except being much darker brown than we usually see. So while it's possible that the slugs came from the lawn or the garden ... if you didn't have slugs in your backyard until after you dumped slugs and water from your aquarium into your backyard we can assume that they came from the tank. Slugs need a lot of moisture to survive, Samantha, so try dumping your water somewhere else for a while -- let's see if drying out the back yard a bit sends the slugs away.> I also attached a picture of one of the turtles. Am I correct that it is a red-ear slider? <Yes you are .. a very cute picture of a baby Pseudemys scripta elegans (Red Eared Slider!> Samantha

Worms in RES tank 06/07/07 I was cleaning out my red eared slider's tank, and I noticed tiny worms that resembled earth worms. <I hate when that happens.> I was wondering how harmful these were and how to get rid of them. <There are several dozen worms and worm-like critters that come along and none are particularly harmful unless the sheer number of them overwhelms the tank and/or the occupants of the tank. Without knowing the specific source and type of worm, the best thing to do is clean the tank and everything associated with it (gravel, rocks, pump, filter & tubes .. everything) very thoroughly. In a turtle only (no fish) environment, you have the luxury of being able to use soap & even bleach to help clean and sterilize everything -- as long as you rinse well at the end. And remember, you can use Amquel or Novaqua or similar product in the final water to neutralize any remaining chlorine. You may have to do this several times over a period of weeks if the turtle's gut is where the worms originate and the eggs are in his poop. But eventually, hygiene wins out!> Also, I have a heat lamp set up for my turtle and his setup is next to a window where the light shines down into the tank. Is that sufficient, or do I need to get a UVA/UVB lamp as well? <No, sadly, UV light is filtered very efficiently by glass and plastic (and even to some extent by screens in windows) so my guess is that very little of the UV passes through the glass and into the tank. If you can afford it, a fluorescent-style reptile lamp and fixture is the best way to go.> Thanks for your time Cher <We're happy to help, Cher!>

Re: About my red ear sliders, sys.    5/24/07 Hey guys <Hello David.  Again> Hey guys I don't have that much money that's why I haven't invested in a filter but when I do what type of filter should I get? People told me that I should think about in the long run so I wouldn't have to keep upgrading as my turtle grows. <The kind of filter depends on the kind of tank that he's in and how big the turtle is, David.  Turtles are messier than fish and water changes do more to keep the water clean that most filters.  Many people don't have any filter at all and just change the water more often, so it's really up to you.> Then someone told me about the sponge filter that works pretty good so I am asking for your opinion. I do change the water about every 3 days. <A sponge filter and air pump are fine for a small tank with a little turtle but not practical as the turtle grows.  A small canister filter will help keep the water moving and water changes will help keep in clear.> If I use tap water is it necessary to conditioned the water with a type of conditioner, if so what type of conditioner are out there that I can use . <No conditioner needed David.  Plain tap water is just fine.  If you look on our web site at the bottom of the page you'll see a Google Search box.   Select to search wet web and type in your question and you'll find many answers to these common questions> thank you <You're welcome, as always!> Filter media for Sliders   5/23/07 I really searched but could not find an answer to this.  I have a large 3 ft by 6 ft indoor pond for my 4 Red Eared Sliders.   <Nice.  What do you have for basking lights and UV needs?> I am currently filtering with 2 Fluval 405s with weekly 50% water changes. <Again - very nice and thoughtful of you> I have been using the media and the suggested configuration that came with the filters, which is the coarse foam pads, two baskets of carbon on bottom and two baskets of ceramic rings on top. I was wondering what the best media would be and the best configuration, i.e. what media in top, middle, and bottom baskets.  I assume the coarse foam pads and carbon are good, but what about those ceramic rings it comes with? And should the carbon be in the bottom baskets? What do you recommend? <The ceramic rings are to provide the best possible surface area for beneficial bacteria to grow as part of a biological filter.  This is more relevant to fish keeping than turtle keeping.  A Biofilter is always a nice touch, but trying to have a biocycle big enough to handle the poop and waste of four Red Eared Sliders is almost impossible.  I suspect you've already noticed this, which is why you do a 50% water change each week.   In addition, the chlorine or chloramines in the water you add is detrimental to some of that bacteria, so the first thing I'd do is forget about the ceramic rings and replace them with perhaps a medium filter pad.  With that filter, you have coarse pads along the side, then the water flows up (to more coarse pads), a medium pad and finally to the carbon in the top (last) chamber.   With a weekly water change of 50% you have a very adequate filter, so let your eyes and nose be your guide> Thanks! <welcome!>

Re: Filter media for Sliders   5/23/07 Thanks so much for your help.   <No problem Richelle - that's why we're here> When you say "medium filter pad", what are you referring to? Is that a specific Fluval product, or is there another brand I can use? I'm not too well versed on filters and filter media and I'm having a hard time finding something that fits that bill. <It actually doesn't matter that much. The Fluval pads are good, but whatever your local pet or pond store has to offer (pond stores are really good for raw materials for such things) will work fine.  The point is to make it easiest on you ... so you can experiment to see what lasts longest in your filters> Incidentally, I have a 17 inch 7% UVB "desert" light for UV and a regular light bulb in a clamp lamp for basking.  I also have 2 250 watt submersible Ebo Jagers that keep water temp nicely regulated. <Like the lights!  Not so crazy about the submersible filters.   Never underestimate a turtle's ability to break something and it would be shocking (to make a pun) if they cracked a heater.  Also, I'm just not sure they need it -- as long as they can heat up under the lamp the water temp isn't so important> I've been keeping Red Eared Sliders for about 10 years, but until January they lived in big Rubbermaids that I emptied, cleaned, and refilled weekly with no filtration. Fun. <Been there.  Done that.  And carried that and emptied that and scrubbed that, too!  Glad you're making progress.  As you have already found .. if they can get wet and dry and get wet and warm and eat, they're very forgiving about most everything else> Sorry if I'm not supposed to leave the original message in the email but I had to use a different email address and was afraid you wouldn't know what I was talking about! <That's OK Richelle, some days I don't always know what I'm talking about, either!  Lucky for you, today I do!  It was thoughtful of you to include the mail and easy enough for me to delete.  Good luck to you!>

I need to ask about the Red Eared Slider turtle, sys. mostly   - 5/18/07 hi my name is Lisa and I have a couple of questions that I need to ask about the Red Eared Slider turtle. <welcome Lisa, I'm Darrel - let's see if we can help> My daughter Ashley brought home a Red Eared Slider turtle from the lake out in East TX. However, I am trying to find the right one of the research on these Red Eared Slider turtles. <for pet purposes they're pretty much all the same. If he has red patches near his ears, that's good enough for now> The turtle we have now, I guess it's a he and he's about 2 3/4" just a small baby Red Eared Slider, I am having problems with him, he's seem like he doesn't want to bask, but I also don't have the extra $$$ to buy all of this stuff for him. <they don't need very much, let's see what we can do> I have a 10 gallon tank along with my goldfishes I have about 8 of them, would it hurt him to be in that tank with my fishes?  Will he drown and won't be able to get back up for air? <better not.  Water levels and temperatures and a lot of other things are different> I have a small container that I just recently bought a couple of days ago, will he be ok in that container until he will get bigger to be put outside? <as long as he can't climb out of it and the cat or dog (if you have them) can't get to him, it should be fine for now> How high does the water need to be for him to swim? I have notice that he just like to swim, he's not interested in the food I offered him. But he will poke his head out of the water and look around. <for now, all we need is enough water to that he can get wet (but they do like deeper water) and a space where he can easily climb to get completely dry.  The first thing to do is see that he can get him warm to about 85-90 degrees when out of the water.   I'd like you to put some sort of light bulb over his "dry area" so that he can warm up -- that will probably also help him start to eat (they eat and digest when they're warm, not cold).  Warm ... but not HOT.    If you don't have a way to let him get warm when he's out of the water, you should at least take him outside for a few times a day and let him walk or warm up in the sun.  Just remember they can heat up very quickly and they can get away from you if you don't watch them> Can you please respond back at this email address: <<deleted>> I really need some help on this little guy, this would be my first time having to raise a turtle. <they're fun and interesting pets> 1 more question, will he be mean and aggressive to us and other people around him? <usually if they're well fed and happy, they're easy to get along with> thank you for your time. Lisa <You're welcome Lisa.  Make these first few steps and then write back and let us know how he's doing!>

Are RES adventurous?   05/16/07 I've raised my RES since she was 1-1/4" long;  now she's 7-1/2".  On a recent trip to Santa Barbara CA, I came upon a public park lily pond stocked with carp, and around 200 RES. <Hi, I'm Darrel.   I've been there, Eric and yes, it's impressive> I was impressed with how ACTIVE they all are in "the wild", and decided to give my RES a shot at freedom.  Now, she can climb out of her plastic tub and goes all over the yard.  (I should interject here that she can NOT get out of the yard, and we live in sunny So Cal)   Sometimes she just sits on patio or walkway, basking, but, just as often, wanders throughout the yard, taking hidden naps, underneath various plants.  She does NOT dig  I keep hoping to see her go up the ramp, and back into her tub on her own, but so far (2 weeks) I have to go find her and bring her back to the tub in the late afternoon, to eat and sleep (covered to protect her from raccoons that bit off half of one leg years ago!) <I think a part of your question is asked and answered right here.  Even in sunny So Cal, where I live as well, there are all kinds of things from dogs, cats, raccoons and even possums and skunks that live with us here in the suburbs that can be very bad news for your Slider.> My questions are: 1)  Is it normal for RES to stay out of the water for multiple days?   <normal isn't a word I'd normally use as it's not a habit that you'll see in the wild.  I've seen it many times in captive situations and often without negative consequences .. yet I'd hesitate to call it a good thing and yes, on rare occasions I've uncovered turtle remains half buried in a yard someplace.  Simply put, this is not a behavior you should encourage.> 2)  Do RES have the brains to find the water again, or do we have to create a "poolside" basking area that she can't escape from?  (Note:  she "knows" where the water is, and is NOT afraid of us--she freely lets us pet her head) <In my opinion, the best thing is to provide an enclosure that is 2/3 to 3/4 aquatic with a nice shore for basking and other terrestrial activities while being close to the water.  Remember that in nature, water is their safety zone> 3)  We added goldfish or worms to her diet (and Reptomin) several years ago.  After reading stuff on your site regarding mature turtles going more vegetarian, I have tried adding her old favorite lettuce (and she only wanted one kind--the expensive kind, of course).  She's not interested anymore.  If she doesn't want it, can I assume that she doesn't need it?  (I'm happy to add that the happy, "wild" turtles look just as healthy as my turtle) <I've raised baby hatchlings all the way to adults on no staple food other than a good quality koi pellet - it provides all the basic nutrition they need.  Then for a rare treat, some night crawlers from my local pet store.> I realize that most people keep their RES in a vivarium out of necessity.  I,  as well, thought it was a necessity to keep our turtle "fenced in", because I thought that, by NATURE, they seldom wanted out of water.  Since seeing the wild turtles "happily" swimming about the carp and the lily pads, or basking, and free to wander out into the park, if they want, I got interested in your view, and the views of RES owners who give their pets the run of the yard. <your best bet for an outdoor enclosure is a fenced area around the pond with an inward lip on it of at least 5 inches or else an unclimbable material at the top.  They can be incredible climbers if given half a chance. But even then that allows the cats and raccoons and possums access to your little friend. It's a risk we take with outside animals.> The wild RES seemed unafraid of people.  Perhaps people have been giving them food? <exactly> More questions: 4)  I saw no hatchlings swimming or basking, the smallest being around 3"  Do hatchlings have to hide from other turtles or predators? <yes.  for their own safety, hatchlings make themselves scarce.  While most subspecies of sliders and cooters are mellow and not particularly predatory on other turtles if they're otherwise well fed, it's never something I'd recommend.  Just in general, nature works against that hatchling's chances for survival.> 5)  I saw turtles swimming and basking in groups.  Do males and females of differing ages "hang out"?<they're fairly social animals at all sizes Eric.  I've never personally noticed any particular social hierarchy other than the smaller males (with the longer front nails) constantly trying to attract the attention of the larger females.> Anyway, feel free to edit the heck out of this letter, in response.  I took to heart your words that ONE "long" letter would give you all a better feel for my pet's situation. Thanks! --ventu <De nada, Eric.  I hope this helps!>

Spoiled Turtles Need Light   4/19/07 I have 2 really adorable RES turtle hatchlings that I have had since the beginning of February. They are both extremely spoiled and love to be held all of the time. When you put them back into their 30 gallon tank they will try to climb back up your hand or whenever you go over to the tank they swim over to you and beg to be taken out. If you put your hand into the tank they swim over and most of the time right onto your hand to be taken out of the tank. Their favorite think in the world is to be placed underneath your shirt (around your shoulder area) and they sleep. They will stay like this for hours and hours and seem to get quite angry when you disturb them to put them back in their tank. Since I have to get things done during the day - I have discovered that if I take one of my t-shirts and place it in a Tupperware container and let them climb inside the t-shirt and sleep they are quite content too. So I have been letting them stay in that now for 3-4 hours a day and sleep outside of their tank and that seems to make them happy. Their tank is warm - I have a turtle heater that is preset to 78 degrees - I also have a UVA/UVB light - A ceramic heater lamp - and a basking light - as well as a turtle log and a docking ramp - and plants for them to hide in - so it isn't like the aquarium isn't comfortable. I love that the turtles are very friendly and trusting... they both love Love LOVE to have their heads petted and one will even rub his own head against your finger  - which is adorable - so I love them being social. But I am worried that they may be spending too much time out of the water? Is this behavior okay? They both seem very healthy - eat well (maybe too well - they seem to be getting chunky - so I may have to cut back on their feeding - I have been feeding them 2x a day) and very alert. Jen (A very new and doting turtle mother) < No doubt they are attracted to the warmth. If they spend too much time you and not enough time basking then they may develop problems with their shells. The lighting helps the turtles absorb minerals from their food. If they spend too much time with you and not enough time basking then they may start to get shell problems.-Chuck>

Turtle Set Up  4/10/07 I have a few questions concerning my two red ear sliders. I currently have 2 small RES in a 10 gallon tank with a filter, heater, spring water, dry dock and UVB light. Is there anything else I am missing, or would be better? < The basking site needs a heat lamp that will get the are up to at least 85 F.> Also, I was reading some information on the website and I am a little confused. I should not be feeding my RES feeder fish? < This is not the best diet for your turtles. I would recommend a commercial hatchling turtle diet, supplemented with insects and worms. Feeder fish are poorly fed and poorly treated and contain few nutrients.> Is that at all, or just gold fish or all guppy fish? < Fish are a good source of protein but young turtles need lots of other vitamins and minerals too.> I had an RES about 2 years ago and he didn't live long, therefore I would like to keep my current ones in the best set-up and environment as possible! Please help me. I would greatly appreciate your thoughts, concerns and/or comments! Thank you! Amanda < We are here to help. Lots of good info on the WWM site check it often.-Chuck> Second Hand Smoke With Turtles  4/10/07 Hey, Crew! I recently purchased two baby RES. I keep them in a tank in my room, with a sufficient environment. My only concern is that I smoke a pack a day, and smoke most of those cigarettes in my room. Will this give my precious RES any problems? Also, how long does it normally take for these turtles to grow? Sincerely, Black Lungs in New Jersey. < Second hand smoke is not great for any animal. Turtles are not real heavy breathers but they do live a long time. Over many years they may accumulate some of the toxins in the smoke, but I have not heard or seen of any studies that indicate the effects. The water in the tank would be a bigger problem. Water will pick up everything in the air so I would recommend regular water changes and a filter with carbon in it.-Chuck>

Turtle Questions, RES sys., repro.  - 04/04/2007 I have a few questions that I have been looking for answers for online and am hoping that you can help. I have 2 red-eared sliders that I have had for a year. I have a heat lamp, UV light and an underwater heater.   I have noticed the past few days that the neck area on both turtles in scaly and shedding - is this normal? < As turtles grow some shedding of the skin is normal. FYI, If your UVB lamp is over a year old you need to look into replacing it. Even though it still lights up, the UV in the light has diminished and needs to be replaced every 12-18 months depending on the brand.> Also, what should the water temp be?  I have found ranges from 75-85 degrees, and every time I go into the pet store, someone tells me something different. < In the wild the warmest it probably would be is in the upper 60's to the lower 70's depending on what part of the country they are found in. This is the range that I recommend. I rather have the water a little cooler than warmer. I think when a turtle heats himself up on a basking site and then dives back into the water that the temperature shock helps control parasites.> Lastly, do I need an area with dirt for the turtles?  I have read about rocks, floating logs, etc.  I do have 3 places where they can be dry, just not dirt.  I read that females need dirt to lay eggs, and will not lay eggs if they become pregnant and cannot find a place to bury it.  Should I have dirt 'in case', I have no idea the sex of these turtles. Thank you so much!! Karen < Female turtle are larger than the males. Male turtles usually have longer tails and longer front claws. A gravid female turtle needs a sandy area to dig a pit and lay her eggs. If no area is available then she will just expel them in the water where they will be eaten.-Chuck>

Moving Turtles To An Outdoor Pond   4/4/07 I have two red ear slider (6 inches/1.5 years old) turtles I adopted from a friend in a 40 gallon tank with some small feeder fish and some small tetras and a 5 inch black and white gold fish (he came as a feeder fish but obviously was mixed up and is getting big...there are also some various freshwater plants roaming around (you can't keep plants tied down with any turtles I have learned).  The tank is only filled up 75 percent as there is a water fall and I also don't want the turtles to get out. Anyway I did some research and learned these turtles can live 10-30+ years so I figured I better read up and give them the best home as possible.  I eventually want a large pond in my back yard in a few years which will house them. I have recently come across a 50 gallon black tub that can be put in the ground as a pond but I have set it up on the corner of my outside deck. http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=56567-1569-LP5718&lpage=none I want the turtles to have a place outside and keep them out there so they can get some sun and want to have a nice habitat for them.  I have run water in it for a week and there are no leaks. I have been reading about ponds on your website (most knowledgeable website I have every been too and am hooked on this site) and have recently put a rectangular grid out of some large pvc pipe and have weighed them down so they have a place to escape raccoons, cats, dogs, kids, etc. I also have a Rio 2100 for water movement. Anyway, I was wondering what kind of fish (any will do, just something hardy) I could put out there and how many can I keep?  Fifty gallons is not a lot of water and freshwater fish get huge.  Is it the same rule of thumb as salt?  What's the hardiest freshwater fish I could put in there? Also, with the temperature changes outdoors, I am sure that water will fluctuate with temperatures ranging from 50's to 100's.  I can bring the turtles in (although I would think they can easily handle that) but is there a fish you could recommend or a certain type I can experiment with?  What would be the max number of fish? Also, any type of hardy plants you could recommend just for nutrient export that is also very hardy?  I was originally just going to keep the turtles in there (but I will bring them in from time to time as I am setting up a 90 gallon now just for them and also in the winters). Is it terrible to do run a hose to do a water change or to dilute the water with?  I could treat the water but would rather treat it after I diluted it. Thanks for the help! < A 50 gallon tub is not really that big. If you are not interested in what the fish look like then I would go with a few Gambusia or simple mosquito fish. Being outdoors you don't want this tub to be a breeding ground for mosquitoes. They are small and fast but very attractive. Another interesting fish to try would be the common paradise fish. They can actually be quite hardy in the temp. range you described. They are colorful and can actually breed outdoors when conditions are right. As far as plants go I would look at any of the pond plants that grow out of the water. They provide shade and are very effective at removing toxins from the water. If you are going with the hose technique from replacing water, you will need a water conditioner to treat the chloramines for the fish.-Chuck>

Red Eared Slider Babies. Turtles Need Bigger Tank     2/23/07 I have a question about turtle tank size.   Last November, I bought my kids 2 baby sliders.   Sadly,  they both passed away.  Of course I took over the care of them and bought books on how to take care them.  ( I should have done this before I bought them, but I believed the idiots that they could live in a death bowl).   After reading so much about it on the internet , it makes me mad that they even sell them like that.   Anyway I really fell in love with them so after they passed I thought well I can get 4 and maybe raise one to adulthood.   Well it has been a month and all for all doing really really well.  They are fat and happy, thank God.  They are so cute and funny. I feed them, mealworms, collards, pellets, apples, carrots, crickets and last week they started eating tiny guppies by hand.    I have them in a 10 gallon tank, with basking and sunlight lamps and the water heater.   Well, they are getting big, three are about 2.5" long and very stocky.   The 3rd has been sick, it had swollen eyes but I raised the water temp and he is finally feeding and doing well.  His little eyes are back to normal.    My question is since they seem do be all doing well and I will need a bigger tank soon , what size will they eventually need?  I was to going ahead and get the maximum size for them  so I won't have to keep buying new stuff.     After the first 2 poor things I am very dedicated to these Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ( duh, what else would you name 4 of them lol)   Thanks in advance for any advice that you can give. Angela < As your turtles get bigger and more mature , you are going to start to run into some problems. Chances are you are going to have both sexes. Females get bigger than the males. Some females will get up to 11 inches while male usually remain much smaller. The males will want to breed with the females when they are older. RES's are very aggressive turtles and will fight with one another over food and basking sites. You may be seeing that already with the turtle with the bad eyes. If you decide to keep all four turtles you will need a very large aquarium close to 200 gallons. This is assuming the worse case scenario with four very large female turtles. If you had only males then you would only need a 100 gallon. You will also need very good filtration and be prepared to do lots of water changes too.-Chuck>

Re: Red Eared Slider Babies. Turtle Tank Filtration   2/23/07 Thanks for the quick response.   I have to change the tank every 2 days now.   My 19 year old son has a turtle that we have had for 10 years.  It's about 5 inches long.   So I guess it is a male. < Male turtles have longer tails and very long front claws.> I will have to keep them because they are a lot of work,  and I could not trust anyone else to take care of them like I do.  What filtration brand do you recommend?  Are canisters better than the regular under water kind?  What brand?   < The best filter is the one that you will clean the most often. It collects the waste but it is up to you to get rid of it. Look at the Rena big canister filters. Also check out the Python water changing system for doing big water changes very quickly.> The turtle with the swollen eyes ( Michael Angelo) is doing much better and the others do not mess with him/her.  He/she loves to eat pre-killed guppies. he started eating really well last week and has not stopped since. Thank you so much for being there to answer these questions for us. Angela < The swollen eyes are caused by a vitamin A deficiency.-Chuck>

Turtle Tank Stinks  2/5/07 Hi. I recently purchased a red eared turtle for my son. I had no idea the horrible smell they omit. The pet store said we didn't net a filter system, but I'm going to get one today. We had the turtle one day and our entire house stunk. We of course cleaned the aquarium which is not fun. Do you have any suggestions on an easier way to set up the aquarium so the water can be changed daily? Are there small containers which are like pools for turtle aquariums that can be easily removed to change the water? The turtle is in my sons room and the smell is terrible. Please help. Thank you. < The smell is from the ammonia from uneaten food and waste. A filter is very helpful in removing waste from the water, but it can't do it all. Turtles are very messy eaters. Food gets all over the place. Canister filters from a fish store are very good at this. Get a siphon and a 5 gallon bucket too to siphon out some water. Feed the turtle three times a week in a separate container. When the turtle slows down then he is getting full and you should stop feeding. Usually after they eat they will soon defecate. Rinse your turtle off and place him back in the main tank. By doing this you will cut down on the waste that will accumulate in the filter. I would add Bio-Spira from Marineland. This will add the bacteria needed to break down the ammonia and nitrites into less toxic nitrates. The siphon should be used to change as much water as needed to clear the water. I think the turtle is being over fed and the left over food is rotting and causing the smell.-Chuck>

Does My Turtle Need More Light?  1/17/07 Hi there, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> Your website is fantastic, first of all. <Thanks!> I have a couple of questions in regards to my adorable 6 year old RES.  Until recently, his tank has always been in front of a window and he has enjoyed basking in the sunlight.  In our new place, however, he is not right in front of the window and I don't think he's getting nearly enough light - he's always trying to climb out of the tank towards the window.  He's also started wheezing just a little, something he's never done before. <Turtles are prone to upper respiratory infections.  He needs warmer conditions.  If this continues, you'll need to add Tetracycline to his water.> We want to get him a UV light - but can your recommend a type and how high the wattage should be?  Also, there's no lid on the tank, so should we buy a clip-on kind?   <You should be able to purchase an inexpensive clip-on reflector lamp from your local hardware store.  There are some nice Power Compact (twisted bulbs) at about 65 watts that should work.  Place the light on the dry end of his tank.> Lastly, after 6 years of no UV lamp, will it freak him out? <He's had 6 years of nature's UV.  He's freaking out without it!  ~PP> Much appreciated!

New Turtle Questions   12/31/06 Hello, I have a new RES that I bought at PetSmart on the 23rd.  She has yet to eat.  Habitat seems good.  She is in a 20 gal tank with UVA/UVB light, basking lamp and rock.  I have tried feeder fish, earthworms, vitamin blocks and turtle pellets.  After going back to the pet store 3 times, I finally have found out that I need a heater.  The water is now at 78 -79 degrees.  She still is preferring the basking rock.    What temp should the basking rock area be?  Originally I was using a 100 watt bulb and it would get up to 80 or 85.  Have been informed (by brilliant pet store people) that this is too much and have changed to a 60 watt bulb, and now area shows to be around 75 degrees.  Am very worried about my turtle - please advise. Wendy < The basking site needs to get up to at least 85 F for your turtle to properly digest its food. It may take awhile for your turtle to warm up enough to eat.-Chuck> Filter For Turtle "Pond"   12/31/06 Dear WWM, I keep red-eared sliders. My husband is building me a huge "tank" for them. It is sort of like an indoor pond that will be made out of wood and a pond liner. It is going to be probably 125 gallons give or take. The whole thing will sit directly on the floor in the "turtle room". What kind of filter do you suggest? Will a canister filter work or will the fact that the tank is sitting on the floor and the canister would be too mean I need to try something else? Thanks, Richelle < A canister filter really needs to be below the tank to work properly. Look for an in the pond type of filter that is motorized. They are a square or rectangular unit that pumps the water straight up into a fountain and sucks water through a foam cartridge. Turtles are really messy so a good sized pond filter will be your best bet.-Chuck> Cold-Blooded Turtles  12/7/06 Hi, <Hi Lyra, Pufferpunk here.  Please do us a favor & if you ever write into WWM again, use proper capitalization.  I will correct this letter, so we can post in our FAQs.>   Are heat lamps necessary for red eared sliders? I have a small tank with a 5 volt light that I turn on at night, is that enough? <A 5 volt light isn't much stronger than a flashlight.  Your turtles need their tank kept at about 80 degrees.  Get a clamp-on reflector lamp from the hardware store for around $10 & put a 65 wt bulb in it.  Place it over the land-section of the tank.  When you say small tank, I hope you mean larger than 10g?  Your turtles will grow quite large & require at least a 55g  tank as adults.  If there is no filtration in your tank, they you will have to change their water at least every other day, as they drink & eat in the same water they waste in.  Yuck!>   I feed my turtles every day but they don't seem to be eating, is something wrong? <Without knowing what foods you are offering them, my guess is that being cold-blooded, their body temperature isn't high enough to digest/metabolize food, so they have no appetite.  Warm them up & they'll probably eat.  If their water isn't clean (especially if you're leaving all that uneaten food in there), then they are being poisoned by the waste water & they won't feel like eating either.> Do turtle shells get bigger as they grow or do they fight one another for another shell like hermit crabs? <Yes, when turtles grow, they shed off their scutes & they will have a fresh, larger shell underneath.   For more turtle info, see:   http://www.turtletimes.com/index/default2.asp?tree=51  ~PP> Thanks, Lyra in CA

New RES Owner Needs Info   12/6/06 Dear WWM crew, I have just been given 2 RES from a friend who didn't want them anymore, and I'm wondering how best to care for them. One of them is about 6 inches and the other about 4 inches.  The tank is very basic at the moment but they seem to have managed to grow without to many problems. I'm looking to get them a new tank and was wondering what they will need? I'm not sure when was the last time they swam so will they be ok? Also the current tank has no filter with my friend giving me a bottle of water freshener, no water heater, and they used to be under a normal desk lamp, though they appear to be healthy. Will I need to get a filter, along with a UV lamp and water heater? Thanks Ho Yan Cheung < Your turtles may get up to 12 inches long if they are females. Think about a tank at least 75 gallons. Fill it up half way with water. Leave an area where they can come out of the water to bask. The basking site should be at least 85 F. Filters are not needed if you change lots of water often. A good basking lamp is a must. Check out the WWM articles on turtles.-Chuck> First freshwater tank (red ear sliders)    10/3/06 I have had reef tanks for years and have learned so much from your site. Thank you so much for answering my questions and keeping the hobby such an enjoyment. <Ah, welcome> I just setup my first freshwater tank and have a few questions and want to see if I am on the right track. <Oh man, where's ChuckR, our chelonian person? Still out> I adopted two baby red ear slider turtles from a friend who didn't want them after getting them on a trip. <...> They were in a tiny bowl.  I did some reading and made them their own habitat.  I ended up picking up a few more items for the tank (I was so amazed at how inexpensive everything was compared to reef). <Heeeeeee!>   Here are the contents of the tank: 30 gallon breeder tank 2 red ear sliders 5 tiny tiny tetras <... not with these Turtles> 5 tiny feeder goldfish 1.5 inch of rock substrate Waterfall in the corner with hidden carbon filters Underwater pump with filter and carbon 7 or so freshwater plants (quite a bit) 1 Basking light for the turtles <Good> Temperature stays around 70-75 <Okay... but needs to be warmer at the basking area...> I do frequent water changes (30%-50%) every four or five days.   <Good> The turtles can be messy even thought the fish keep the rocks spotless.  The tank sits right above a sink so water changes are so easy.   <Very good> I add a water conditioner before I add the water, but sometimes just put it right the tank.  The light stays on above six or seven hours a day and I try to open the blinds and get some natural light in there each day.   <Nice> My water is always clear and the fish seem really happy as well as the turtles.  Are freshwater fish that much hardier?   <Mmmm, generally yes> Is my tank overstocked? <Not currently... but will be in time...>   What is the rule of thumb regarding tiny freshwater fish/turtles in a tank? <Don't know that there is one for aquatic turtles... Let's make one up... Mmmm, a world of at least five lengths and three times the width of their plastrons/shells... and for fishes... one cubic inch to at least five gallons of water>   I am eventually going to move everything into a 50 gallon corner tank but I would like to be able to put plenty of other plants/animals in that tank (as I get such enjoyment watching the different life/organisms). <Sounds good to me> Also, I think I saw a yellow worm (thinner than the smallest fishing line), I saw a few of them.  I think it must of came in on a plant or it could be Planaria, but aren't they white?  Anything else it could be?   <Mmm, got me... highly likely innocuous> Also, how many plants can I put in the tank. <Mmm, the turtles will tear up... I'd go with faux and floating live>   I would think the more the better, or can too many be bad.  I want the tanks main focus to be a habitat the turtles enjoy I also recently went to the beach and saw two pieces of small drift would up on the beach.  I brought it home and rinsed it off and put them in the tank. Is this ok?  I have now read that I should have boiled them first.  Is that true? <See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/rkwduseaq.htm> I also have a big claw freshwater crab in there and have heard they should really have brackish water? <Most species offered in the trade are brackish... can read re on WWM. Oh and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/redearsliders.htm and the linked files above... Bob Fenner>

Turtle Won't Bask Hello, I have a very important question. My red ear slider turtle is about 4 months old I guess (shell is about 5 inches long, maybe that helps for age determination) <He is much older than 4 months.> , Since I have had him, he never wanted to bask. I have a 55 gallon long tank, usually filled about half way, with a landing pad from pet smart (can be seen here  :http://www.petsmart.com/media/ps/images/products/detail/standard/March04/5974_36757.jpg). The only times he has gone up there is when I lured him up there with some food. But then he took the food and dove back in the water. He never wants to sit up there. What can I do? Thanks in advance.-Joe Garite II < Basking helps the turtle develop vitamins needed for good growth. The heat from the lamp helps him digest his food. Check the temperature of the basking spot with a thermometer. It should be at least 85 F. If it is too cold then get a bigger light or move the existing one closer.-Chuck>

Cleaning A Dirty, Stinking, Turtle Tank   9/16/06 I keep my 3 year old slider turtle in a 29 gallon aquarium and have a tough time keeping it clean with the submersible filter. The filter does not do  a good job at all. Should I get an air pump to better circulate the water.  I want to get a better filter, what kind do you recommend? Cleaning the tank every few days is time consuming, sa < Big turtle in a little tank gets dirty pretty quickly. Some people take their turtle out of the main tank to feed their turtle. As the turtle eats he is soon defecating afterwards. This keeps the majority of the big waste out of the main tank. Some turtles actually look forward to being removed because they learn that that are going to be fed. Not enough room in your 29 gallon for a bigger submersible filter so you need to go with an outside canister filter. The best canister filter is the one that is the easiest to clean. Go to you local fish stores and ask them to demonstrate how to service each of the canister filters. Ask about guarantees against leakage. Go to Cichlid-Forum.com and check out the product reviews for canister filters. Cichlid guys have pretty big tanks and aren't shy about speaking up. Brands like Eheim and Marineland have been around for a very long time.  Figure out how much water you are actually trying to filter and then get one that will move and clean at least 5 times that amount within an hour. This may seem like a lot at first but as the filter begins to fill up the flow rate will drop.-Chuck>

Canister Filter For Turtle Tank  - 09/07/06 Hello Bob, I just found your site on questions and answers today while doing some research on canister filter systems.  My set up is for 2 red eared sliders about 15 years old, 7 and 8 (inches approx.) in length.  The tank (50 gal) is about 80 % full of water.  I have attached a ramp and a flat dry area near the water line with ledgers and aquarium silicone (very basic and not pleasing to look at but you can't have stuff the turtles can fit into their mouths).  I had an old AquaClear outside power filter hanging off the back but it recently got dropped during a cleaning.  It was doing a fine job of keeping the water clear with the sponge and carbon but each time the power went off it would get hot and stop.  Luckily it never burned out. I probably should have done more research but as you know, you can't leave a turtle tank unfiltered.  Stinky!  I would do complete water changes every 7 to 10 days to keep the glass clear and remove the turds.  I purchased a Odyssea CFs 4 and so far no problems.  I have been doing research (belated I know) on this product because I had not heard of it before.  I worked for a local pet store 20 plus years ago and it was not around then.  Info that I have seen suggests that the o rings dry quickly and the on off valves where the hoses attach to the canister are not up to par (don't last too long leak wise and break easily).  It can still be returned for an exchange.  You seem to prefer the Eheim in the info that I have read.  Would you suggest going that route? < This is a new filter that has had mixed reviews. It is cheap, somewhat powerful and a little noisy. I think if your tubing is fairly straight then there is less of an issue with the valves. With sharp bends on the tubing, the valves can't hold the hoses intact and this stress and it creates cracks and leaks. Eheim has been around for many years. Their filters are expensive and not as powerful but they are well made and will last a very long time.> Also the outlet part of the Odyssea seems to create a lot of foam.  They seem to be afraid of the foam.  The falls from the AquaClear did not make foam.  I could lower the outlet into the water because the turtles do not require aeration like fish,  just filtration.  Also would a sterilizer be a good investment? < Not needed for a turtle tank.-Chuck> Thanks you for any information you might have to give me. Alethea

New Turtle Wrong Light Bulb   9/2/06 I have recently purchased a RES. I have a 10 gallon tanka basking area, an in tank filter, clamp on lamp with a red bulb in it which the pet store said I should leave on at all times. Is this the correct bulb ? The little guy hasn't eaten yet (3 days now). I've offered pellets and dried Krill. He appears active, but does not come completely out of water to bask. Please tell me what I'm missing here !!!   Thanx, Sam <No, a full spectrum heat lamp that heats the basking spot up to at least 85 F. You need UVA and UVB wavelengths. Turtles need to heat themselves up to get the digestion going. If they are too cold then the food rots in their gut. Once you get the right bulbs I am sure he will be basking and eating. You did not say how big your turtle was. Small turtles are more meat eaters. They like worms, insects snails, etc.. As they get older they require more vegetables in their diet like kale and lettuce. Lots of good info already on the WWM site. Check out the article by Gage on turtles.-Chuck>

RES Eating Rocks... Reading   8/4/06 Dear Sir/Madam, <Rosie> My name is Rosie and I am an adult female red eared slider.  Recently I have developed a habit of eating stones occasionally.  I know that this can be normal for turtles but the stones in my tank are slate chippings and some can be quite big.  Is this harmful in any way? Thanks, Rosie <Can be if the stones themselves are actually ingested. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/redearsliders.htm and the linked files above. Your turtle may have something lacking in its diet and/or environment... Bob Fenner>

Found A New Turtle   7/28/06 Hi there!  I stumbled on this site today & its GREAT! My teen daughter found a small RES (about 2-2.5) this afternoon in the middle of our street.  Theres no water in the immediate area, so Im thinking he was abandoned by a neighborhood kid. First he seems very scared of people normal at such a young age?  How much handling should he be getting? < Small turtles are very wary of everything that may potentially eat them. Small turtles can inflict a painful bite and may carry diseases. I would recommend that if you plan on keeping him  that you let him get use to his new home before you begin to handle him. wash your hands every time you pick him up.> Second I set up a temporary home using a large Tupperware container (about a foot high) with a large baking dish full of water sunk down in a few inches of dirt / pebbles.  There is a large rock that allows him to climb easily in / out of the water & he likes the cave created underwater.  This arrangement seems to work for now because of his size, but I cannot afford a filter for the water for a little while.  I do plan on changing the water daily (I used bottled water and make sure the temp is right) will the lack of a filter / aeration device cause a problem for a few weeks if the water is kept clean? < Daily water changes will be fine. feed him first and this will make him defecate . Then clean the tank.> I live in central FL & plan on keeping this habitat in the shade on the front porch - moving it a bit to receive partial direct sun for a bit each late afternoon but Im not sure how hot a hatchling can tolerate.  It gets in the mid 90s lately.  Do I just make sure the water temp stays cool (75 80)?Appreciate all your help this site has already helped greatly!  T. < Put a board over some of the tank to prevent full exposure to the sun for extended periods. They can handle water in the mid 80's for awhile but they really need to cool down too.-Chuck>

Chalky White Turtles  7/14/06 Dear Wet Web Media Crew, First I want to thank you guys for the wonderful website you have provided! Secondly, I need your help! I am currently the owner of two red-eared sliders, both living in the same aquarium. My largest one is about 2 3/4 in. long from the top of the shell to the bottom. The smaller one is...well, smaller. However, both turtles have a white chalky-like substance that shows up when they bask in the sun. I have read that I need to get an antibiotic for their shells, but I do not know what kind or type I should get. Also, The larger one has light brown spots on the bottom of it. The spots are like shadowing the designs on the bottom part of the shell. Is this bad? Do you know what it is? What can I do about their shells? Thank you for your help, Jamie D. <The white substance could be a simple calcium carbonate precipitate from very hard alkaline water. Like the lime type substance you find around a tea kettle. Softer water would probably eliminate some of this. Oils and fats from the foods float on the water and are picked up on the turtles shells as they leave the water. Keeping the water clean will help. Soft cheesy spots on the shell are caused by bacteria. The areas need to be cleaned out and treated with an antibiotic. Do a google search for shell rot. If you do not find any cures then a trip to the vet will be required.-chuck.>

Basking Spot Too Hot For Turtles  6/25/06 - I'm sorry to bother you all. I recently sent in a few questions about my RES'S but forgot to ask - Can the basking area be too HOT? The water temperature is between 76 and 82 degrees but the basking area has spots that go up to 104 degrees. Is there danger here? Thanks to all of you. Regards, Thomas (Phantom, Tucker and Francesca) < I would reduce the water temp by unplugging the water heater. When the turtle comes out of a warm water bath he can't bask too long before he gets too hot. A turtle that comes out of the water at 60 F needs a little more time to heat up and so will bask a little longer. They will go back into the water when the get too hot.-Chuck>

Little Turtle Questions   6/16/06 Hi :) I have a baby RES named Willie.  I have had him for about a month now and have been reading online and am still a little confused on a few things.   1.  We have an underwater filter and heater in his tank. He also has a bridge that goes across the tank that he can easily access to get out of the water.  Several large flat rocks for him to stand on and poke his little head out of the water :)  I leave the blinds open for him during the day for sunlight.  The guy at the pet store said that I don't need a lamp for him just yet since he is too small (2 inches).  I do catch him out of the water sometimes when I come home from work -- I am not sure how much he gets out of the water during the day while we are gone.  Do I need a lamp??  I keep the water at 80 degrees. <You need a lamp to make sure that he gets the proper amount of the right kind of lighting. The basking site needs to get up to 85 F. Sunlight from a window probably won't generate that kind of heat for very long. You need a lamp that provides UVB and UVA lighting.> 2.  I read on your website that someone feeds their RES 100 1/4 inch pellets ever two days.  That seems like alot to me.  I read on one website to feed them equivalent to the size of their head.  I feed him 3 1/4 inch mini floating food sticks in the morning and around 10 - 12 in the evening each day.  I am sure he would eat more if I gave it to him ... he gets very excited.  Should I feed him more? I am not sure how much he needs or even how old he is ... he was a flea market purchase/rescue :) <Feed your turtle as much as he will eat three times a week. He would eat all day long if you kept feeding him. Vary the diet with other things like insects, worms, veggies, as well as different brands of food too.> 3.  I read about turtles shedding.  The last few days he has had some translucent milky colored stuff hanging from his little feet and around his neck.  I thought it might have been "yucky" tank stuff that was stirred up from the filter.  I tried to pull a piece off and he seemed to get mad and snapped at me.  I put him back in the water and he was fine.  He will come right up and swim into my hand if I put my hand in the tank :)  Is this shedding?? < His skin is shedding and will come off when it is ready.> Thanks so much for your help.  Your web site is a very good resource.-Willie's Mommy - Stacy <Don't rely on the clerk at the store for info. Get a decent book on turtles and do a little research online for your turtle's health.-Chuck>

Moving a RES Outdoors  6/15/06 Can a red ear slider adapt to an outdoor pond after being in captivity for a year? <Sure. The key is to put him out now and let him get good and fat over the summer. During the fall the food will be good from his gut and it will not rot. He will live off the body fat. As the fall temps cool off he will bury in the mud. The pond should not completely freeze over during the winter.-Chuck>

20 gallon tank please answer Red Eared Slider Growth   5/25/06 Ok, I have sent about 4 e-mails and they have not been answered yet. I am very upset one was sent over 2 months ago. All I want to know is how large will a red ear slider grow in a twenty gallon tank and how long will it take? I am very disappointed that none of my e-mails have been answered. <Don't know why your questions have not been answered. I usually answer all my questions in 24 hours unless I am out of town. Anyway, the size of the tank has nothing to do with the size or growth rate of your turtle. It is based on temperature and diet. When turtles are little they seem to grow fairly quickly and then slow down after they reach 4 inches or so. In a twenty gallon aquarium I would look to get a bigger tank when the turtle reaches 4 inches or so. An adult can be kept in an aquarium that is at least 4 feet long.-Chuck> <<A note to readers:  we do sometimes not receive emails that are sent to us.  If you fear that has happened, please do re-send.  Also, emails with no subject line may be deleted accidentally.  Furthermore, we are an all-volunteer crew, and we DO strive to answer all queries within a 24 hour time period, but it does occasionally take longer.  -SCF>> Turtles With Worms, Algae   4/1/06 I recently purchased two baby RES turtles, Crush and Squirt. I have done much research on taking care of them and so far so good. I have encountered a   few questionable situations. I am hoping you can provide some info to the following concerns: 1. Both sliders are the same size but one seems to be more "afraid" than  the other and frantically makes a mad dash when I walk by. I have  never seen him eat but because of his shyness I don't stick around to  observe. The other baby will sometimes even eat food from my  hand and pop his head out of the water to say hi. I know that it  will take some time for them to get used to their new home,  but comparing their behaviors make me wonder if the scared turtle is  suffering from something. Is this normal behavior or do I need to treat   somehow? I also have an adult RES in a separate tank right next to Crush and   Squirt. Could the view of Sparky be intimidating Squirt and causing this scared behavior? < Slowly approach the tank once each day to feed the turtles. Feed the turtles as much as they will eat at one time a few times a week. In a while they will start to associate you with food and will be very eager to see you.> 2. I clean their tanks regularly and they are equipped with their own heaters, filters, and basking lamp with island. I keep the water temp. at 80   degrees and their basking lamps stay on. I mainly feed them pellets and cooked chicken seems to be the older turtles favorite! I read that older RES should  have more of a veggie diet but he loves chicken. Will feeding him mainly  pellets and meat cause health problems? What more can I do to ensure happy  turtles? < They really need more veggies in the way of kale and spinach. Commercial adult turtle diets have more vegetable matter in it too. Turtles with too much protein start to get deformed shells.> 3. The biggest concern I have comes from a recent experience with the  baby turtle tank involving sudden appearance and rapid multiplication of algae  with white stringy worms. At first I did not notice that they were worms until I concentrated and noticed they were wiggling around. It came as a shock to  me how fast the "worm algae" multiplied and stuck to the glass wall. I  noticed though that the worms were much larger in numbers where the basking lamp   reflected off the water. I cleaned the tank with boiling water and a mild vinegar/water solution. Could these worms get inside my babies and cause  health problems? What causes this and what can I do to prevent it from  happening again?   Thank You. Sincerely, Amberley < Chances are the worms are feeding off the algae. Treat the tank with Fluke tabs to get rid of the worms. After each feeding vacuum up any waste and excess food. This should help keep the algae down.-Chuck>

Red Eared Slider Habitat   3/16/06 Hey, I have purchased 2 RES both about 2 inches in diameter. I would like to know what type of tank and how much water to fill the tank with. I currently have a 10 gallon tank filled with gravel increasing up looking like an island and water that lets them sink under but are not completely submerged. The temp of the tank is about 75 degrees. On the daily basis I turn of the lamp according to the day light and night time. I am currently only feeding them ReptoMin for baby and try to give them shredded carrots which they don't eat. I would like to know if the water can get deeper and what I can change to make it better for them to live long? thanks Tes TM < Your turtles actually will like deeper water. ZooMed actually sells an inexpensive little book with lots of great info on water turtles. It will give you much more info than I can in the space allotted.  Fill tank half way with water. Basking spot should float on the water surface. Basking spot should get up to 85-90 F. Younger turtles at more meat. Adults eat more veggies. UVB and UVA lamps are important for long term health. Please get the book.-Chuck>

Turtle Is Left Home Alone  - 02/27/06 Hello, I am an owner of a 4 year old RES that I've raised since he was a baby.  I have gone away to college but had to leave my turtle at home.  He has a 20 gallon tank and a nice set up, the only problem is that he is in my room and is alone all day.  I had him pretty tame and he was always swimming around and showing off, but now when I come home (about once every 3 months) he seems almost sad and doesn't do much but sit on his rock or in the water. Can turtles get depressed? < Turtles get conditioned to respond and almost beg at feeding time. Apparently he has lost that incentive because he doesn't see anybody often enough.> Also, I've notice the skin on his head has taken on a blue-green tint.  My mother tries to clean the tank good while I'm gone, but there is usually some algae on the rocks and I have to give it a good cleaning when I get back.  Does he have algae or something wrong with his skin? Please e-mail me back as soon as possible.  April. Thank you very much! < If you are not going to be home much and you parents really don't have time for your turtle , then I suggest giving him away or invest in a larger set up with lots of filtration and lighting that is on a timer. Add a Dr. Turtle Sulfa Block by Zoo Med to prevent any infection, but as you tank gets dirty while you are gone the infections may come back and get worse.-Chuck> Red Eared Slider Needs to Bask  1/22/06 <Pufferpunk again> If I keep him under a lamp in a separate cage for about 7 hours a day, is that okay? <He really needs to make the choice himself, whether he wants to be in water, or bask.  He should be in a tank that is large enough for these choices.  You can start out with a 20g long tank while he's small but will eventually need around a 55g as an adult.  There are special tanks made for water turtles where you can hang a filter in the side panel of the glass, so you won't have to change the water daily.  You can add a piece of Styrofoam glued to the side that the light is on, or purchase a specially made basking ledge that suctions to the glass.  See: http://www.drsfostersmith.com/Product/Prod_Display.cfm?pcatid=11289&N=2006+113872> I have a cat and we really have no place to keep a constant lamp on him, for she will eat him. <Sounds like a screen top for the tank is in order too then.> I did keep him under a lamp all last night and put him back in his tank this morning. He has never been under a lamp or light.   <All animals need a normal day/night schedule.  He could cook under the lamp, if he gets too hot & can't cool himself.> I took him because she was not cleaning his water for 2 weeks at a time and he deserved better than that. He eats pellets from a pet store.  Where do I get the calcium blocks and how much are they? <Any store that sells reptile supplies should carry them or check the website I linked you to above.> Another scale or plates or whatever they are came off last night.  I was afraid that it was shell rot.  I found that on the internet.  He has never done this before and he is a few years old. <Turtles shed occasionally the outermost layer of their scutes. Mine does this about once a year or so.  They are thin, translucent scutes. If the whole scute is shed and the bone becomes visible or if shedding is continuous, you may have a fungus problem (caused by not enough basking time out of water) and should have your turtle inspected by a veterinarian.  If this is indeed the case, as an immediate measure, remove the turtle from the water except for a 30 minute bath twice a day; keep it warm and dry; soak twice a day for 15 minutes in iodine solution or sponge off with Nolvosan.   Check out this Turtle Forum for more info on your turtle: http://www.turtletimes.com/Forums/index.php?s=4dba8a8cf858903af0dfa9cb60d3f7de&act=idx   ~PP>

New Turtle Questions  1/16/06 I just purchased two baby RES's.  They are about 1-1.5 inches.  I've been reading up on the care of these little ones and have had most of my questions answered.  I've read differing opinions about using tap water in the tank.  I bought "NovAqua +" Water Conditioner, is that enough, or is it even necessary for that matter? < Probably not needed but it won't hurt.> I am concerned that today both turtles seem to be rubbing their eyes quite a bit.  Could this be a sign that something is wrong? < Vitamin deficiency.> I bought a heater and will try to maintain the water temp. somewhere between 75-80 degrees. < Not needed. These are not tropical turtles. Room temp. is fine.> They have a basking rock and a light (the label said UVA on it, but nothing about UVB...do I need to find one that says UVB on the box?). Thanks for your help!! : Ljc <Make sure that the basking spot is at least 85 F. Water turtles will benefit from bulbs that generate some UVA and UVB. This is necessary to synthesize vitamin D3 for calcium absorption and prevent soft shell problems. If you plan on keeping your turtles for a long time I would recommend getting a bulb that will provide both. Keep the other bulb as a backup to give you some time to find a suitable replacement bulb.-Chuck> Red Eared Slider Under Different Lights I bet you haven't had this question before! We have had our RES for about 5 months. We purchased it a beach shop- totally unaware of the proper care. After quite a bit of research, our pet is doing very well. My 5th grader wants to do his science project on our turtle; as the teacher said they should pick a topic they are interested in. OF COURSE we wouldn't do anything to harm him. We decided to see what the effects of colored lights has on a turtle. My question is if we collect data by exposing him to say -a blue light for one hour a day and yellow the next etc etc- would there be any harmful effect? Nikki < Turtle need the proper lighting for absorption of minerals and vitamin development. I'm afraid all you would see is a vitamin deficiency after a while.-Chuck>   

Putting Turtles Outdoors   1/11/06 Hi-I have 2 RES that have been kept in a 55gal tank with heater, filter, rock and UV light. They've been living this way all their lives ( 5 years).   Unfortunately I can no longer keep them.  A friend who has other turtles is willing to take them. Will they be able to adjust if I move them into a man-made backyard pond?  I live in New Jersey and the winters get pretty cold. I'm afraid because they have been in captivity since they were babies that they won't know how to survive. Please Help. Thank you. <Start placing them outside in the late spring to early summer. Once they make the transition thought the summer they will be ready for their new outdoor life. putting them out now in the middle of winter would probably not work.-Chuck>

Turtle Domination   1/7/06 I have a question about my red eared sliders.  I realize through reading your FAQ's that a 30 gallon tank is far too small for 2 turtles.  But is there any reason why my female is hiding in the corner a lot?  The water temp is 73 and they have plenty of food to eat.  They definitely have enough space to bask in.  I just don't know what the problem may be other than the tank is too small. Thanks! < Usually with two turtles in a small tank you get one dominating the other. The results are one hides because the other picks on it. It is stressed, stops eating and gets sick. Separate the turtles and give each its own space and see if things get better.-Chuck> Wrong Light On Young Turtle I have a red eared slider about the size of a half dollar.  I am using a standard house light bulb for his basking light.  Is that suitable?  It is a 65 Watt bulb. < Not really. You should be using a Zoo Med Reptsun 5.0 UVB lamp to provide the proper wave length of light and heat.> How can I tell if he is growing, besides measuring him.  I've noticed spaces on his top shell between the different shell plates.  Does that mean he is growing?   <Lots of shedding is a pretty good way to see if your little turtle is growing.-Chuck>

Custom Turtle Habitat   12/28/05 Hello-I have a red eared slider who is 3 and half years old named Feisty.  My quest is always to find the perfect habitat for my turtle.  It seems never ending.  I would really like to get Feisty the best tank possible with the proper heating and lighting that I can find.  I was hoping to find a company that makes custom tanks for turtles.  Maybe with a built-in basking area and a great filter system!?!  Do you know of any companies that specifically make custom tanks for turtles? Thanks for the help. Amy < Sorry . I don't know of nor have I ever seen any custom turtle tanks for retail sales. Marineland started to make a large turtle tank for stores that had everything built in but it was not available for retail sales.-Chuck>

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

Red Eared Sliders Changing With The Seasons  12/13/05 Should I adjust the basking and UV lamps for my sliders with the changing light conditions as the seasons change outside?  I keep my 3 RES's in a large indoor pond that is heated all year round.  Should I keep it spring and summer all year (maybe 12-14 hours of light), or should I shorten their days to reflect the fact it's winter coming on?   Again, the air and water temp will remain the same all year.  Thanks!   LARRY in Los Angeles < As long as the water temperatures don't change then I would not change the lighting. If you were trying to breed them then I might try a different diurnal period along with a cooling period. Then in the spring I might try to increase the water temp and the lighting to simulate spring.-Chuck>

New Turtle Questions  12/21/05 We just purchased our first RES. My question to you is: Do you leave the basking light on 24-7? < No, Put it on a timer to go on for 12 hours and then off for 12 hours. I would recommend that it go on at 10:00 A.M. and off at 10:00 P.M. This way when you get home you have a chance to watch him during the week.> Also, my turtle sleeps underwater. Is this normal? < When turtles sleep they go into a trance that slows down their heartbeat and breathing. Sleeping underwater is normal for your turtle.-Chuck> I thought they breathed in O2. Thanks. Tammy, Mesa AZ

Housing Red Eared Sliders Hi, I asked you if you should put two males or a male and a female together before. One more question, I have never had red eared sliders before, but have cared for 2 of them for about a month. I was wondering if I should adopt just 1 male turtle? ( I wanted male because I don't have the space for a female.) I will either get 1 or 2 but either way I have a 45 gallon tank with fish in it now, but when the turtles get bigger they will have to move to that tank (by then the fish will have died). <I would go with 1 male in the 45, that should last him a little while, you might find new homes for the fish instead of waiting for them to die, most aquarium fish have a long life span.> When I get them they will be in the12 gallon with NO fish. I have read on other sites that beginner turtle owners should get only 1 turtle (and that 1 turtle will not feel lonely in a tank). Is this a good idea? <I'd start with one, it will be easier to keep the tank clean and under control.> My dad said 2 would be better (they can stack on each other on their basking rock and will have a buddy to play with, but is this better for the turtles to be social?) I don't want to have 2 male turtles fighting each other when they are mature. Other web sites do say that 1 turtle will not feel lonely and getting another turtle after a few years can result in the older one picking on its new friend. I am going to get my turtle(s) at once and put them in a tank together when they are hatchings.  Please let me know!!!!     <The social behavior can be fun to watch, but I think starting with one is a better idea.  One turtle will outgrow the 12gal tank in no time, let alone two.> Can I put plastic plants in the aquarium? (I am going to buy a 12 gallon for now, and it will have a UVB fluorescent light, water heater, rocks and wood for land area, and I'm planning to leave the tank with very few plants if any because they will try to eat them.) <Yes, the turtles will tear up the plants, not so much when they are young, but definitely as they get older.  Plastic plants will work ok because you can always replant them.> Second, I was wondering if putting a male and a female together, or two males, I have read on some web sites that males will bite each other or fight over territory. Some web sites say that a male will sometimes harass a female nonstop during mating season and may bite each other. Thank you for your help, I want to know which would be better before adopting them when it's too late. -Sarah> <Hi Sarah, I combined your two emails, hope you don't mind.  I commend your efforts to research these animals before you make a purchase.  If I were to start out with turtles again I would start with at least a 55gal tank, this will give them some room to grow and you will be more cost effective in the long run.  First you buy a 10gal, then a 20gal, then a 29 gal, then a 55gal, then a 125gal, believe me, that's the way it works in this hobby.  Start with one turtle, it will be more manageable, you will not have to worry about aggression, and it will be a lot less messy as it gets older.  Best Regards, Gage>

Red Eared Slider Housing Hey Gage, thanks for the help. My RES's turtles are finally eating some Repto-Treat Shrimp that I just got for them. I haven't tried the turtle sticks that came with the turtles and hopefully when I try and feed them later on that they will accept it; however, I have one last question. <Good to hear, I fed the Reptomin floating turtle sticks as a staple with worms and crickets and all the other goodies mixed in as treats.> How big is my tank suppose to be? I've heard people say that the length of your turtle times 10 gallons. What the freak! 10 gallons. The one I currently have, I think, is big enough. Its only 3 gallons big [I think. The dimensions are 31.5x18x20cm] and the turtles seem to enjoy it very much. I just want to make sure that the current space to adequate for my turtles John <Oh no my friend, 3 gallons is no good, must be larger, much larger.  These fellas are going to grow, and fairly quickly, up to 12in.  In the long run you are looking at between 80gal and 180gal, or even an outdoor pond depending upon your climate.  The link below is to an article I wrote one morning while drinking too much coffee, give it a read, hopefully it will give you a little more info on what you are getting into. -Gage http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/redearsliders.htm  >

Help I don't want my RES to die To who ever can answer my questions, I got a red eared slider a few months ago and it was doing fine, eating out of my hand and swimming freely. Then about 2 months later, I got another red eared slider and everything was still fine. They got along fine and it was great. Then, about a month later, I noticed the first turtle was staying on the rock for longer than usual. After about a week of her being on the rock, I thought she would need some water so I put her in the tank and instead of swimming (or going underwater, for that matter), she floated, the shell was not fully submerged (air pocket maybe?). I pushed the top of her shell down to get the rest wet and it was then that she started to swim. As she swam, I noticed one of her legs wasnt moving. I took her out of the tank and put her on a table. She started to walk but without using the one leg, like it was broken. I read somewhere that a UVB light was necessary for proper calcium intake (assuming the bones were low in calcium). I bought one for the tank, as well as a night. After a week, instead of recovering, the turtle could no longer move about, and was using her head like a leg. Both turtles shells were starting to get soft. I recently found out that I was using a neutralizer block instead of a calcium and sulfa block, so I have remedied that. It has only been a few days since I got the new blocks, and the turtle seems to actually be dead, only occasionally twitching one of its legs. Anything information on whats going on now, and if theres hope of any recovery would be awesome. Thank you, Josh < The turtles should have clean water and an area to get out of the water to bask in the sun. The light should provide heat as well as light. At this point I suggest you take you poor turtle to a vet for immediate attention. I know they are expensive but a quick vet visit at this point may save your turtles life. If the cost makes this option out of the question I would give him an area out of the water where the turtle can bask under a plant light bulb. These bulbs provide almost the same wavelengths of light as the sun. Leave it on all the time! Provide some reptile vitamin drops at your local pet shop as per the directions on the bottle. If the turtle cannot move then I would place him on the basking spot under the light and let him get good and warm. Once he is warm then he should be able to move to a cooler spot if he gets too hot. If he still cannot move then you will have to physically move him to a cooler spot but still under the light . I would occasionally dip him in the water to so he doesn't get dehydrated. If your poor turtle survives then I would recommend that you get a book on turtles and read it carefully so your turtle can live a long healthy life.-Chuck>

Sliders  Thanks for the help! I have just bought my 29gallon tank and have an aerating decoration for the guppies and a basking rock for the turtles. My Eheim filter should be ready in about a week ( I am waiting for the parts to be shipped), so I will be ready for the turtles soon.  <A very nice setup for starters, but they will need a bigger tank in no time at all.>  How long should I run the filter before putting in the turtles?  <eh, I might go about a week or three, no matter what the turtles are going to foul up your water quick, fast, and in a hurry. Water change is going to be your middle name.>  I am going to adopt 2 hatchlings but I don't know if Arts of Nature is a good place to get them. Do you know of any other places I could get them from that is reliable and somewhat inexpensive? Thanks for your time I really appreciate it. Please let me know!  <If you can adopt that is great, you might search the Internet to see if you can find a club or some breeders in your area. Honestly, any local pet shop that has them will probably be your best bet as far as price is concerned. Best Regards, Gage>  -Sarah

Who..? For what? Thanks anyway? >Ok, the lights have been ordered and will be here probably on Monday, the 17th. >>Great, I love getting stuff in the mail or delivered! Where shall I put them? >Thanks a lot for all your help! >>Umm.. ok. I can't help but wonder who you're actually addressing, though. >I'm ordering two Ornate RES from TurtlePimp.com, and they should be here on Tuesday or Wednesday, so everything looks great! >>A pimp of turtles? I you must be raising turtles, yes? From that.. alright, now, I'm just guessing here, but I think Gage may have helped you. He's out, been out for a little while and I don't know when he's going to be back. If it was someone else who helped you, let us know, or next time it's actually better to keep the body of query and response from us in the message. >I really appreciate your advice, thanks for your time. Sarah >>Whoever helped you I'm sure would tell you you're welcome, and.. good luck, something like that. In any event, I hope all works well. Marina

Turtle Update <MikeD here again> Thank you.<You're so very welcome. If they settle in and you find that they suit your family as pets, you may wish to consider a terrarium. Depending on what part of the country you come from, a child's plastic wading pool can be set up in a basement that's 1/2 planted land and 1/2 water and can be beautiful and large enough for several years>.  I think they're doing better.<Got my fingers crossed for you!>

I'm Looking to getting a RES Hello! <Hi, MikeD here>      Thanks for taking the time to actually read this. I have been searching online for quite a while researching Red-Eared Sliders. I have a 50gal. tank already.<that could work for several years> I'm figuring that I could possibly have 3 in there, however they can grow up to 12 inches.. so should I just get the one?<they get along well together and are easily sexed at an early age, and bred in captivity so that would have to fall into the individual choice category> Could I have two?<Sure> I'm still a little shaky on this. Also what kind of rocks should I use?<Any, as  along as they can get completely out of the water.> Does it matter if the water is 2ft. deep now, or should I make it smaller and get bigger when it grows?<I'd go shallower initially, then deepen it as they grow.> How much dry land should they have until they reach the water?<They need to be able to get completely out of the water to bask and a good daylight bulb for same  is almost essential.> What should I use for a spot for them to come out?<A landscaped dry land area, flat rock or even a piece of driftwood all work well. If you're planning on breeding them, the female will need a dry land area upon which to lay her eggs. The male have extremely long front fingernails which they wave in the female's faces while underwater and actually NEED to be fed in the water> I have read so much info and yet none of this has been answered for me.. So Like I said I have a 50gal. tank, what can you tell me about how I should go about this?<It depends largely on the size when you get them. As adults they are often kept in kiddy wading pools with an island set in the middle and again, with a basking area MANDATORY! Like most reptiles, FOOD CAN'T BE DIGESTED BELOW 70 degrees F. They occur wild down here and are often seen basking on the banks of ponds, lakes and rivers or on logs rising out of the water.  Meaty foods work best and be careful of many prepared turtle foods, such as dried insects (no food value), krill (contains salt that they can't excrete) and Spirulina sticks (good for BMs, but they need meat as they are scavenger/predators> ANYTHING Would be greatly appreciated.<Hope this helps a little> If  I have anymore questions I will email you. THANK YOU SO MUCH!! ~RES Newbie

Red Eared Sliders (continued) <Hi, MikeD here again> Thanks Mike! For all of your help!<You're very welcome> I did have another question... If I only had one RES Could a 50gal work for it's entire life?<Here I'm almost inclined to say no as these get to a fair size, sometimes dinner plate or larger> How would I set up the kiddy pool inside away from animals?<Animals, as in dogs or cats? Sometimes there's no need to be away from them. that shell is pretty tough and cats aren't likely to get wet to begin with. Most dogs simply ignore them.> Thanks for your help!<You're very welcome> ~RES Newbie

Red Ear Sliders I have had two red ear sliders for about 6 months. They were about quarter size when I first got them. They seem to being doing well. I am getting ready to purchase a 90 gallon tank for them. I don't know what kind or equipment I should get for them,( i.e. filter, lighting, heaters) I currently have a basking light and a UV light in a 20 gallon tank. I have been doing a lot of reading but can seem to find any answers. Can you help? Thanks a bunch Joni >>>Greetings Joni, Good on ya for taking the time to learn about your charges! These animals need a warm basking spot which can be provided with a heat lamp. This basking area should be in the high 80's to low 90's. Water temps should be maintained with an aquarium heater in the mid 70's. The ambient air temperature of the enclosure should remain in the low 80's or so. They require UVB exposure, so keep this in mind when shopping for lights. Now personally, I don't believe these UVB bulbs on the market are worth the cardboard they're packaged in. My reptiles ALWAYS get natural sunlight when possible. I would create an outdoor area, or small enclosure for them to allow them bask during warmer weather. Having said that, you can use a commercial UVB bulb in the interim. The main heat in the enclosure can be provided with a ceramic heat element, which may only come on rarely (hooked to a thermostat) when the basking light is on during the day. At night, the heater will kick on more often. Thermostats can be purchased at most better pet stores.   Use 1 or 2 Aquaclear power filters on that tank to filter the water. You need filters that provide a rapid turnover, and are easy to clean. Canister filters are appropriate as well. Does all that make sense? Please feel free to drop me a line back if you need clarification. Remember, ambient air temps are what the enclosure is generally kept at. The basking spot is hotter, and the animals should be able to move around within that spot to thermoregulate. Water temp is separate as well, and maintained with an aquarium heater. Good luck Jim<<<

Red Ear Sliders Thanks for the quick reply. But I need help again. I am making progress, My husband and I made a stand for the aquarium  (took us 3 weekends). It is really heavy, we are waiting for some friends to help us move it from the garage to inside the house. I bought a Fluval 404 and an Jager 250 watt heater.  But now I am looking for some type of material to put on top of the tank. I can't find a screen made for my size tank. Any suggestions? >>>Hello again, These critters can't climb the glass, and they don't jump. Just leave an 8" or so gap between the top of the water, or basking area and the top of the tank. Aside from that, screen tops are easy enough to construct from wood and screen material. You can have plexi or glass cut as well. Keep in mind you need some air flow in there. Cheers Jim<<<

A question about my turtles! Hi! I got two little red eared sliders for Christmas and I love them so much.  I got them a nice 10 gallon tank (they are only about the size of a  silver dollar each so this should be good for now) with all the right  necessities.   I do however, want to know how fast they will grow.  The  little birth certificate that came with them says they were born last  spring.  They are only about and inch across each.  When will they  outgrow their 10 gallon?  are they hearty? will they live?  thank you  please email me back. Bobbie < Your little turtles will live for many, many years with proper care. You need to have an area were they can get out of the water and bask under a warm light. They will do well on pellet food especially made for water turtles. Occasional earthworms or mealworms will be greatly appreciated. They are messy eaters so keeping the water clean will be a challenge. Nest year they will be about three inches long and need to be in something bigger. Go to Zoomed.com for all kinds of products for your turtles. Make sure that you wash your hands very thoroughly after handling your turtles so you don't get sick.-Chuck> Moving our red ear slider turtles.... We currently live in Colorado and will be moving to Florida in a few months. The trip will be 1900+ miles. My son has had red ear slider turtles for the past 11 years. He has two loved sliders (one male and one female) that we are hoping to make the move to Florida. We are hoping to move them if it won't be too difficult for them or kill them. I have several questions I'm hoping you can help answer.  First, although we don't want to find a new home for our turtles, we are wondering if it will be too hard on the turtles to move? Would it be less selfish of us to find the turtles a good home here in Colorado rather than moving them? < Keep the turtle. Moving them is no problem.> If you think we can successfully move them 1900+ miles successfully, can you please give us any ideas on how to best go about moving them such a long distance? < Take the turtle out of the tank and place them in a large covered insulated dry box. A store fish box would be fine. Once or twice a day take them out and soak them for a few minutes in a dish of water so they can re-hydrate themselves. Don't let them get too hot or too cold along the way. feed them a couple worms along the way every day to tide them over until they can get set up in their new home.> We haven't thought of a way to keep a filter system running for the long distance so I'm wondering if we can change the water every evening when we stop traveling for the day? < Don't worry about keeping them in an aquarium until your in Florida.> Along this line, will the difference in tap water create any problems for the turtles along the trip? If the water can create a problem, is there an additive we can add to the water to solve the problem? < Turtles really don't care about the chemistry of the water as long as it is clean.> I've heard that many pets get completely stressed to travel and adjust to a new environment. If it seems to be okay to move the turtles, can you give us any ideas on how to reduce their stress? < Keep them dark and cool to reduce their metabolic rate along the way.> Any other tips you have would be greatly appreciated. < I think your turtles will really like Florida.-Chuck> Thank you for your help.  Adrienne 

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

Freshwater Filter Selection, 5/27/05 I have two small red-eared sliders (3 - 3 1/2 in long) in a 10 gallon tank. I will be moving them to a 30 gallon long sometime in the next few days. Currently I have a Whisper in-tank filter, and I was thinking I could just get a bigger version of the same filter for the new tank, but apparently (from what I've read) in-tank filters don't really cut it in aquariums that big. My tank doesn't have any holes in it, either to let a filter hang down lower on the edge, or to come up through the floor of the tank. What are my options without having to find a way to cut a hole in the tank? <Hi Rebekah, Ryan with you today. There are plenty of filter options that will work for you here- Your best non-drilling option is a sump wet/dry filter with what's called an OVERFLOW. This uses suction to take water from the aquarium over the edge, rather than through a drilled hole. Hang on filters are capable of filtering a 30 gallon tank, however. I'd go with a large hang-on style power filter if all this seems a little overboard. Good luck, Ryan> 

High-N-Dry Turtle 10/25/05 Thank you for the quick response. I have another question, how long can RES stay out of water? Thanks < This depends on the conditions. Out in the hot summer sun not long. Buried in hibernation, for months. During transport I would try and hydrate them at least once every 24 hours and then keep them in a cool damp enclosure.-Chuck> 

Red Eared Slider system  11/22/05 Hi... I have been through your website but I just want to make sure that I have all the information I need to give my RES a good life. I have a 10g tank and I was told to fill it to about 2/3rds of water and to have a rock for them to get out and bask. I have yet to purchase a lamp but will be doing so shortly. I have a small filter that seems to circulate the water nicely lastly I have a tank heater set at 83F <Mmm, too high. I would set this for the low 70's F. You don't want to have too much change here from room temperature> ....am I set up ok or am I missing something....I am frustrated because the 3 different pet stores I have been too have given me different information. Thank You......Rob <No worries. Bob Fenner> 

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