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FAQs About Red Ear Slider Turtles 2

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

Related FAQs: RESliders 1, RESliders 3, RESliders 4, RESliders 5,
Red Eared Slider Identification, RES Behavior, RES Compatibility, RES Selection, RES Systems, RES Feeding, RES Disease, RES Reproduction, Turtles in General: Turtles, Turtle Identification, Turtle Behavior, Turtle Compatibility, Turtle Selection, Turtle Systems, Turtle Feeding, Turtle Disease, Turtle Disease 2, Shell Rot, Turtle Reproduction, Amphibians, Other Reptiles,

Re: Email #2 - Offer to help organize RES/Turtle FAQ's... and note to fix Google search on "Ask" page 1/21/10
Hi Bob,
Regarding my offer to help that Darrel passed along to you, and to your question about my thoughtsÂ….
First I want to say that you have a wonderful website, provide a great service and I'm glad I found you guys! 2nd is I hope you're treating Darrel well; he's very knowledgeable, informative and entertaining!
<Heeee! I "treat" all people the same, but he is a treasure>
3rd is Wow, you receive a ton of FAQs!! I noticed a few things on the Turtle FAQs while going through them before emailing the crew with my questions:
· There are many varied topics stored under very general categories like Sliders 1, Sliders 2, Turtles 1 and 2, etc., rather than under the applicable topic.
<Yes... and their "organization" is an ongoing, unfolding effort>
· Other categories that are more specific like RES Systemsï are still very encompassing topics that cover a wide range of sub-topics.
· Some of the emails themselves (unfortunately a couple of my own earlier ones as well!) were not confined to a single topic, but often had multiple topics within them. This forced you guys to either have to choose the most representative category to store the email in � and/or store the same email in more than one category, resulting in having a lot of information that's unrelated to the category its stored in.
<Yes... this is almost all my work... and a mixed source of amusement, consternation and enlightenment>
I realize its not critical if a given FAQ is not under the �technically correct� heading since you have the word search feature, but still it might make it more convenient and expeditious for someone who might want to go to one given category to have all of the related FAQs listed together in one spot.
<Mmm, yes... and having put this site up in the mid 90's, knowing "the fields" fairly well, designing the "sub FAQs" categories as I have, you can very well appreciate the intention to (over time) add "articles" to head each>
So 4th is that I'd be happy to offer to whatever help I can (if you'd like to have any help) on any of the above! Some of my thoughts as to how I could help with the organization of the Turtle FAQ�s (wouldn't even know where to begin with the other ones!) �
· Redistribute FAQs currently located in the very broad categories (such as under Sliders 1 and 2 FAQs, RES Diseases, etc.) to one of the other more specific categories.
· Add subtopics under some of the very encompassing topics like RES Systems 1 and 2 similar to what was done for Turtle Systems 1 and 2. For example under RES Systems, create subtopics such as Basking Area Options, Lighting & Heating Requirements, Water Filtration & Heating Questions, Turtle Enclosures/Sizes (and maybe under this even Indoor vs. Outdoor), Accessory Items/Decorations for Habitat, etc.
<Very good>
· Unless you feel original questions should be archived using the
exact words:
§ Parse out the multi-topicï emails and redistribute the topics within them to the appropriate categories where they belong.
§ Rather than having so many questions essentially asking the same thing, instead consolidate each group of repeat/commonly asked questions under a single paraphrased one, and put the various answers below them (hopefully the way I worded this is clear!), AND/OR leave the original questions and answers intact and instead
 Possibly create a list of the most commonly asked FAQs at the very top of each of the different topic sections that contain paraphrased questions and answers � this might help people more quickly get the answers to at least the most commonly asked questions instead of having to read through all of the individual FAQs sorted only by date, many of which overlap each other and contain extraneous information (such as some of mine!)
<This last is my preference>
Also  FYI one thing I noticed on the �About Asking the WWM Crew a Question page
· The Google Search for the WWM website under Direction #1 doesn't work  at least it doesn't for me.
<Have just checked... Will fix!>
It just takes me to a blank page no matter what words I type in the search field. I later found the alternative Home Page search field mentioned under the �Tip� link further down in the directions (which does work for me), but just thought you should be aware that there may be a problem with the search feature that's under Direction #1. If it turns out that its not working for others as well, they may not think or know to check �Tips� or go to the Home Page � and possibly not bother trying to find an alternative way to search the FAQs before submitting an email question to you! Also, as an aside, the �HOME� page link is a very dark color and doesn't stand out very well at least on my computer.
Anyway, if you'd like any help with any of the above, or as Darrel put it, any of the other cut work!, I'd be happy to provide whatever help I can to further your very nice cause! Just let me know what would be of most help. (Again, only turtle scut work, wouldn't have a clue what to do with the other FAQs!!)
Kind regards,
<How to proceed here Sue...? Would you go through the present archives, make up the pages as you deem worthy, and send them to me to post? BobF>

Re: Email #2 - Offer to help organize RES/Turtle FAQ's 1/22/10
Hi Bob...Sue
I'd be happy to try and take a stab at it .. are MS Word (2002) files ok for you to open and copy from?
How about I start by just trying to re-categorize some of the FAQ�s first and pass that by you?
<Sounds good>
Then if you think that all looks good, I could then look over the emailed Q&A's for each of the main topics and try and draft up a paraphrased list of the most commonly asked questions for each of them .. though I may want to pass the drafts by Darrel and Neale first to make sure I paraphrased the answers correctly. Sound OK?
<Very good>
If so, I'll get started .. can I clarify a couple of things with you first though? - -
What would you prefer I do if I come across emails in Sliders 1, 2, etc. that contain more than one topic question? (Â…i.e. Should I copy it to the most representative topic, or to each of the topics it represents, or would you rather I separate out the different topic questions from the email?)
<Mmm, maybe... a good approach would be to somehow summarize the contents... See an example here:
Do you think this approach worthwhile?>
Also, if I happen to come across any generic email headings (i.e. such as �Slider Questions�), do you want me to keep the original heading intact or change it to reflect the content of the question?
<Better to amend, re-state under that which the orig. was sent... Lest I/others not be able to match up any further corr.. BobF>
Re: Email #2 - Offer to help organize RES/Turtle FAQ's
Wow, you're fast!!! I like your idea; thanks for providing an example!
Will be in touch...have a great (and hopefully sunny and dry!!) weekend!
<Thank you Sue... getting a bunch done indoors for sure! Cheers, BobF>

Re: Help with Turtle FAQ's 2/1/2010
Hi Darrel (a.k.a. Turtle Czar!),
Here's my small contribution (attached) for �WWM Appreciation Week�! The message sent yesterday by another reader supporting WWM crew was well deserved. I echo his sentiments for all of you and for the lives of the animals you are trying to protect!
I've started reorganizing the turtle topics Â… Can I get your (Right TM) :)
hee hee! � feedback on what I've done first before I start copying the FAQ�s over to new topic names? Since you seem to be THE main �go to� guy right now for all of the turtle questions, I figured I'd email you first.
Do you also want me to send this to Neale or Bob as well for their input?
RE: the 1st file (see �Sample Topic Links� above): For each of the 3 main categories there are now (Turtles, Turtle Health/Disease, and Reproduction), I created two main �sub� categories of �Aquatic� vs. �Terrestrial� turtles because in general these two groups of turtles seem to (at least from what I've seen on some of the FAQ�s) have completely different needs all the way around no matter what the topic. Do separate categories for them make sense to you? What about for the �Turtle Health/Disease� and �Turtle Reproduction� categories � should they also be divided between �Aquatic� and �Terrestrial�?
Then underneath each of those two subcategories, I came up with a starting list of topic �links� after reading through some of the FAQ�s. They're all based on type of concern since I thought that might be what most people would likely seek out first. For Health, I tried to gear the name more toward the type of symptom than the disorder. There could be more added along the way depending on what FAQ�s I come across, but how do the topic names look to you so far? Are there any that you think should be renamed, added, etc.? Especially for the �Turtle Health/Disease� category?
Then each of these topic links could take you to a separate page containing FAQ�s for that topic. I put together a sample of what one of those pages might look like for the Feeding/Nutrition topic (See �Sample Topic Page� above). Underneath the Topic Heading/Name would be further links to specific species for that particular topic. The species links could either take you to its own separate page, or to a separate section of the page for the given topic. The sample I did showed the latter option.
A related question to this, though, is whether many of the FAQ�s should really be placed under a specific species or not? For example, there are many FAQ�s that specifically ask what to feed RES turtles, but which I assume could also apply to other aquatic turtles (see the FAQ�s for RES Feeding on the sample page I put together as just a couple of examples).
Where do you think I should be putting those types of FAQ�s … i.e. under �RES� species or under �Aquatic Turtles� in a general link? Or both?
And please let me know if you have a completely different idea of how you think the topics should be organized! You're the expert, so Ill go with whatever you think will work best since I'm sure by now you have a definite feel for the types of FAQ�s you are getting!
One last question � I know that emails for �crew@mail.webwebmedia.com are intended for your FAQ reference library is this the best place for me to be emailing you these types of more administrative questions?
Thanks, Darrel!
Re: Help with Turtle FAQ's
Sue, thank you so much. Am sharing with our resident cheloniologists, Darrel and Neale, for their input/response.
Cheers, BobF
RE: Help with Turtle FAQ's

Wow, you're up early on a Sunday morning! Thanks Bob, I'll wait to hear from them. Kind regards, Sue
<Heeee. O'hi'o! Up baking Ziti for 150 hasher friends... Good morrow! BobF>

Red Eared Slider, gen. 1/9/2010
<Hiya right back! - Darrel here>
I've just come across this site through a few others whilst looking for help for my Red Eared Slider.
<Fortunate for you!>
I've grown really attached to him and his filter helps me sleep at night so I would like to find out how to help him and fast to be honest because I don't want him to die or get seriously ill.
First question, what filter would you recommended using? Because at the moment, me and my boyfriend know that we are using the wrong filter but we are unsure of what filter is best to have. Some people have told us Fluval and others have said Eheim and now we just don't know what to do.
<I only use filters for water circulation, Louise. Unlike fish, turtles produce so much waste that it's usually foolish to try to get a biological filter going. Primarily you keep their water clean by changing it regularly. As long as it circulates the water and keeps in pretty clear, it doesn't matter which one to use. If you didn't have one and were buying one, I'd go for an external canister filter sized for the aquarium the turtle is in. What I mean by that is this: if you have a 55 gallon tank used for a turtle, that tank is less than HALF as full of water as it would be for fish '¦ so if you buy a filter appropriate for a 55 gallon fish tank, it's more than good enough for a turtle tank. The other thing I look for '¦ is what kind of filters my local fish store carries, because it's frustrating when you need a replacement part for your Fluval and you find that all the stores in your area carry Eheim parts.>
Second question, I think our Red Eared Slider might have a Respiratory Infection or something. He has no mucus or anything around his eyes, they are perfectly fine, the same as his nose as well. But this morning, I noticed that what looked as if he was yawning but it seemed more of him opening his mouth to catch something. He did this about twice, normally it's just a one of thing. No bubbles were released while he did this under water, he hasn't done it above the water.
<So far, sounds OK>
Also, I seem to hear like a click noise or something. Do they make any sound? Because my boyfriend thinks that I'm hearing things but it sounds as if he clicks, again he does this rarely as well. He basks on his island that we have for him,
<Your boyfriend basks on an island????>
but he prefers to bask when were out the room (which is most of the day) or when we are watching TV etc when we can't see/watch him - I've read that this is normal for Red Eared Sliders (?).
<The clicking sound is common, as is the yawning behavior. If there's nothing else wrong, then don't worry>
He is still eating his food and he even swims backwards and forwards looking excited and lifts his head out the water when we go to feed him. We feed him - King British Turtle & Terrapin complete food, King British Tubifex natural food and some bloodworms (these foods aren't given all at the same time by the way either).
<Good. I raise my sliders from hatchlings to breeding adults on a stable diet of Koi pellets. It's completely balanced for them. Repto-min is another trusted brand, identical to Koi pellets - just at a much higher cost>
And he's still swimming etc, so he is acting pretty normal to me apart from at night when we turn his light off, it takes him forever to go to sleep or sometimes if I fall asleep before he settles, I seem to think he's had no sleep at all (but that just might be me worrying). Sometimes he's up about 4-6 hours after I've gone to bed and I can hear him banging around in the tank.
<This is all normal behavior for a Turtle '¦ but kinda weird for a boyfriend>
So is there any sign of a slight Respiratory Infection?
<not so far>
Because as I said above, I really don't want the cute thing to get ill and right now me and my boyfriend are pretty low on cash as well but if he has to see a vet then we're willing to dig into our pockets to get him to one but I'd rather use that as a last resort to be really honest with you, why I asked on here to make sure and to find out some advice.
<no trip to the vet right now!>
Thank you and I'm so sorry if I have confused you or not made any sense anywhere, it's really difficult trying to explain what's going on with him.
<You did very well, Louise! I enjoyed reading about the turtle and to make a joke or two about your boyfriend as well.>
<Your turtle seems fine, so relax a little. Then read this care sheet. It covers all the basics of turtle care. There are many fine resources out there on slider care, and some may even disagree with what's in this sheet. It's important for you to know that if any information disagrees with this care sheet, they're wrong and the sheet is right!>
<As long as you keep him well fed, well lighted and his tank CLEAN, you should be fine.>
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>

Red eared slider questions... diet, sys., the universe! -- 01/03/10
Hi Darryl...What a GREAT service you guys provide!!
<We do it because we like to help. And for the free food>
Unfortunately the only vet we had in our area who specialized in exotics recently retired so it's a very valuable resource that you provide! Thank you so much for your very informative response and hilarious one as well!
<Bob Fenner says that I'm 'funny' but he doesn't smile when he says it, usually he's shaking his head '¦.. hmmmmm><<Hey, where IS that free food? RMF>>
I very much enjoyed your humor (are all of you professional writers as well?!)
<I've been described as an unprofessional writer>
Always good to end the day with a few good laughs, especially after one week off with 2 kids! I hate to confess but I take better care of our turtle than MY kids also!! (though haven't caved to Pop Tarts, soda or potato chips just yet :-) ).
Thanks for the insight about changing turtle's home. I actually thought he would welcome more space! Got an A+ in HUMAN psychology in college, but guess I have a ways to go before figuring out the inner psyche of a turtle!
<Don't ever let a turtle near your ATM card -- they have NO impulse control>
Thank you also for your other ideas; will try them out! Wasn't sure, though, about a couple of them you mentioned - hope you don't mind answering a couple of more questions! Again, thanks so much for taking the time to read all this...
* Re: nocturnal light - Would it be better to not have this? We put this in not for a night light, but to keep the air temp inside his aquarium warm during the night. We keep the regular room air on the cool side - 68 degrees, so air temp quickly drops in his aquarium if no source of heat is provided.
<True, but the outside air temp in most of his natural range drops below 68 at night for 80% of year as well. What we want here is a light and heat cycle that falls into his natural zone. That said, I'm not sure it HURTS, either. Take it out and see what happens>
We chose black because it seemed to emit the least light. The red bulb seemed overly bright.
<And Red Lights have that whole Honky-Tonk 'I'm the cheap kind of turtle you don't take home to Mama: kind of feel, too. With a black light, the worst that happens is that the turtle grows up very laid back, with an almost unnatural affinity for 'stairway to heaven' or 'in a gadda da vida'>
* I also assume that this black reptile bulb is NOT the same as the dangerous black light??
<Yes. Black light is UV-A (long wave) UV-C is germicidal (very short wave)>
* Re: live food - you mentioned not feeding live food but said you
feed earthworms.
<Right -- what I meant was trying to duplicate what appears to be live food within their environment as if they'll hunt their own. Live food that occurs within that system is not really that much of their diet yet are often heavy with bugs and parasites that are bad for them -- very much like my ex wife's cooking>
<Earthworms are not carriers of pathogens that are harmful too them. Just a bit on the fatty side, which is why I use them as occasional treats>
Do you feed these live or cut them up first?
<Saute' in garlic with finely chopped parsley and cilantro>
<NO!!! Just one live one, usually on the basking area>
* Re: aquarium heater: You mentioned removing the heater in the water if we have one. Yes we do have one, and put it in the aquarium back when we got him because we read that young turtles should have a water temperature of around 80 degrees.
<Again, they'd never see 80 degree water in their range unless some backwoods redneck in Georgia was cooking him for dinner. 68 degree water is just fine as long as he has a basking area that's in the mid to upper 80's>
It's a black (not glass) thermometer, good quality one with protective sheath. I know if we remove it, the water temp. will drop quite a bit. Is a lower water temp ok for young turtles, and would it outweigh the potential risk of our thermometer causing a micro-leak of electrical energy?
<yeah -- we want to offer a range and let him choose>
Thanks so much Darryl, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!
<yer Welcome!>
<[EDITOR'S NOTE: On behalf of Wet Web Media and all the rest of the crew, we would like to take this opportunity to apologize to Comedians, Professional Writers, Psychologists, Honky-Tonks, Jimmy Page & Robert Plant from Led Zeppelin, Doug Ingle/Iron Butterfly, Ex-wives in general, Rednecks, the State of Georgia (except for East Dublin) and of course, to you, the reader. Sigh -- we were all hoping that the meds would have kicked in by now]>

Sudden over activity and decreased appetite 12/31/09
<Hiya -- Darrel here tonight>
Please help!!
We rescued a baby red-eared slider from our backyard this past July. We found him under a pile of leaves and surrounded by tall cement walls on our lower patio. He would have likely died if we hadn't found him. We took him to a local nature preserve who told us he was not native to our area and that we shouldn't release him into our nearby pond.
We purchased a 20 gallon tank with basking platform, Reptisun 5.0 UVB fluorescent tube light, Zoo Med reptile blue day bulb 100 watts and Zilla nocturnal black light 75 watts.
<Nocturnal light not necessary. In the wild, what they get at night is -- dark!>
We also purchased a Fluval 405 filter. Water quality and clarity has been great. Temp of water is 79.5. Up to this time turtle has preferred a basking temperature in the range of 88 -- 90 degrees.
<Sounds good>
Once a day in the morning we feed him Zoo Med Aquatic Turtle food and Sera Reptil Carnivor food, as well as fresh daily red leaf lettuce, collard greens and mustard greens. We add a pinch of Rep-Cal Calcium with Vit D3 to his food each morning and twice a week also add a pinch of Reptimineral H.
<Wow -- you take better care of him than I take of my kids!>
<I feed mine Kay-Tee brand Koi pellets and twice a month, one earthworm a piece.>
A few weeks ago we also put in about 10 ghost shrimp.
<Excuse me '¦'¦.>
<I'm a... let you finish '¦.>
<But I want to be VERY CLEAR HERE '¦.. >
<I feed my TURTLES the Koi pellets and earthworms, NOT my kids! The kids eat McDonalds and Domino's, Pop Tarts and potato chips, Coke, Spaghetti O's, Top Ramen and well, just about anything else you can imagine two kids eating when they descend on my house like a pack of locust.>
<OK, please continue'¦.>
We haven't actually seen him eat any, but right now only 2 are left.
<Not really part of their natural diet, either. I urge people to refrain from trying to feed turtles any kind of live food>
So far he hasn't gone much for any of the greens but has enjoyed the other food.
<None of the greens you mention are part of his natural diet, either. They trend toward green vegetables more as they get older. While young, they are more carnivorous, opportunistic eaters '¦ hmm '¦ again, just like my kids>
He's been doing great up to this point. His appetite has been good, and he routinely basks for several hours each day. A couple of weeks ago, we noticed he started cutting his basking time short and was becoming more active than usual, with a focus on climbing the walls to try to get out. He hadn't done this since the first few days we found him back in July. Since he's also tripled his size since then (carapace now about 3 1/2 " long), we
thought maybe it's because he's getting older and bigger. A few days ago, we decided to try to fill his aquarium up to the top to double his swimming area, and made a larger basking platform area above his tank. However, this change seems to have only caused the problem to become worse. Now he is focusing his complete attention on trying to escape and is not basking at all. He would literally be begging for food in the morning, but now over the last two days he's shown almost no interest in food. He'll take only a
couple of bites of food in the morning then swim away. We're completely stumped at this point as to why he's behaving so suddenly and dramatically different. We feel part of it is due to us expanding his environment; however as I noted earlier he'd also been showing signs of changed behavior before we expanded it - in fact this is what prompted us to try and change it.
<I understand. They're behavior is, at times, inexplicable, but what you describe is very often caused by stress. Has anything else changed? Day/night lighting in the room? Heaters or air conditioners can cause vibrations that you and I can barely hear but can be literally assaulting his senses. Do you have a heater in the water? If so, remove it. And anything else that could cause a micro-leak of electrical energy>
<You were right to look at environmental causes, but before changing something that he clearly understood as 'home' and 'secure' it's best to look outside the immediate surroundings and look at the bigger picture.>
Other than his changed behavior, everything else still seems fine. Skin and shell look good, no drainage from eyes or ears, no mouth breathing. Do you have any idea why his activity level and appetite might have suddenly changed, especially when this first started a couple of weeks ago when he was still in his original environment? Thanks in advance for whatever your thoughts might be!!
<My first thought is that Koi pellets and earthworms might be healthier for my kids than the junk they're eating now '¦. But let me shake that off and get back to you '¦.>
<Deeper water is 'nice' but I don't think turtles appreciate it as much as humans think they do. It's always better to give them AREA than depth. That said, in addition to checking for outside influences, cover the sides of the aquarium to slightly above water level '¦. See if limiting his visibility changes behavior.>
<Sue, this is a guessing game. It doesn't sound like an illness or a problem with a capital 'P' at this point, it just seems like he's a little stressed and all you can do is change things one at a time until you see an effect on his behavior>
Sue G. 12-29-09

RES... gen. care -- 11/09/2009
Hey this is Sonal (I'm from India(Mumbai)..)
<Good Morning. Darrel from California!>
I'm a new owner of a Red Eared Slider .. Its been only 2 days I have brought it home.. it must be about a month or one & a half. there are a lot many questions I want to ask. First I would like to tell you everything in detail, so that you know what exactly happened in 2 days..
I kept it in the fish tank, I specially got for it, initially it went inside its shell, but then started moving around. I gave him turtle food sticks(which he did not eat) .Till then everything was alright. After that it stopped moving, just kept floating. I saw some skin around his neck and limbs peeling off. It did not even open his.. So I took it out in a bowl, filled some water in it.. It did swim in it. But next day morning, when I saw it, it wasn't moving at all. I asked the shop-keeper, he said it wont eat for a day or 2 or behave this way till it gets himself adjusted. I waited for hours, but its still not moving.. not even moving his limbs, nothing at all.. His skin is peeling off.. I have kept it in warm place..
<First, the skin peeling is not the most important issue. He could be shedding or he may have a fungus, but we deal with that later>
So, the actual problem is-its not moving, not eating(since 2 days), his skin is peeling off..
<This is concerning to me. I must first ask if you are sure he is still alive. Do you see his eyes move and see him breathing?>
<I am sending you a link below to an article on how to care for a turtle that is ill. The most important thing is to get him out of the water and keep him warm and dry. Just 5 minutes a day in a very shallow bowl, just
enough to come up to the bottom of his neck, so that he can drink, poop and maybe eat -- but other than, keep him warm and dry. Make sure he gets UV light from a UV lamp or the sun (all that is in the article). What is important is that we do not want him to get cold or stay wet until he has regained his strength>
Could you just help me or tell me if there is something I can do. I'm not understanding what actually is happening to him.. m really worried.. I would like to know more about turtle care as in how to keep it, about its basking, food, etc..(I don't have much knowledge about it) I have searched a lot about it in the FAQs, but did not get the exact solution to my problems.. (Please mail me on this id as soon as possible)
<Also, I will send you an article on basic care>
Thanks a lot..
<you are welcome - get him warm and dry and out of the water as soon as possible and keep him warm and dry until we can see him active>
<care: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>

Basking concerns, RES 10/17/09
Dear Crew
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I am a fairly new owner of two red eared sliders. They are active, seem to eat well and generally seem to be doing well. I'm concerned that I do not see them out basking and know this is essential to their health. They are in a 55 gallon aquarium set up where they have both water and land, as well as several other areas they can get out of the water to bask. I do have a calcium bone in the water that I can see they are using. I have pellets that I feed them, as well as some dried shrimp occasionally and some soft meaty food. I have tried to give them some romaine lettuce, but they do not eat it.
<Nor should they. Koi pellets or Repto-min turtle sticks (either one) are a completely balanced diet for Red Eared Sliders. That and an occasional earth worm as a treat (maybe one or two a month) is all they need.>
They also will only eat food if I put it in the water, they will not come out to get anything from the dish in the dry area.
<Sliders are water feeders, which is to say that they primarily eat what they find in the water. The will, from time to time, climb up on a bank and snatch something and then drag it back into the water in order to eat it. You should hand feed them>
I have a basking lamp over the dry land area and a UV light over the water area. It's possible they could be out basking when I am not around, as they are still pretty skittish when there's movement around the tank.
Should I be concerned and/or is there something else I should be doing to encourage them to come out of the water? Also, I have the basking lamp on a timer and do not use the night heating lamp, is that night lamp necessary?
<You should always be concerned .. just not worried. The first thing to do is make sure you have a temperature gradient. If the water is warm enough they won't feel the need to bask even though they need it. The water should never be above room temperature and the basking area around 85-90 degrees. This way they have clear choices..>
<No lights or heat at night ... let everything cool naturally and then it will all cycle again in the morning. Here's a care guide we have -- check your conditions against the guide and correct anything that's not quite in order: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>

Question about Turtles, RES gen. reading 9/20/09
Dear Crew,
<Hiya -- Darrel here>
2 weeks ago I bought a Red Eared Slider from a local pet shop.
<I hope it wasn't an impulse buy....>
He's a little over 4 inches. I have him in a 10 gallon tank for the time being .....
<A 10 gallon tank is quite small for a turtle that size, so you'll need to start thinking of a bigger one. When you do, remember to think wide and long more than deep. A "larger" tank that is a "show tank" isn't much value to a growing turtle>
.... with a UVB heat lamp .....
<Normally we get our UV from one type of bulb and our heat from another.
He needs the UV-B wavelength and the temperature on the basking platform should be between 92 and 95 (f) degrees -- make sure he has both>
..... and a submersible water heater set at 72 degrees F.
<Bad idea for a couple of reasons (1) Unless you live north of the Arctic
Circle, any room comfortable enough for YOU is find for his water. The whole point of a basking light is so that he can choose to warm up under the lamp or cool off in the water. (2) Turtles can break them .. and then you have broken glass problems. I suggest you remove the heater>
At first he was very shy but had lots of energy, always swimming around.
Lately I've noticed that he doesn't have as much energy as he did in the beginning.
<Probably because his environment isn't quite right yet>
Also I've tried to feed him Guppies, Strawberries, and Romaine leafs but all he really seems to care about are his turtle sticks.
<Well, that's good -- because guppies, strawberries and romaine aren't really good for him and not part of his natural diet anyway. Repto-Min turtle sticks are a perfectly balanced diet for a Slider. They are
essentially identical to Koi pellets, just a lot more expensive. Forget the other foods and just make sure your turtle sticks are a high quality brand that offered balanced nutrition.>
He won't go after anything that does not float at the top of the water and he does not bask!! Ever!! I have a small floating dock for him under the UVB lamp but he never gets on it!! He's always in the water and does not
want to come out of it!!!
<This is a problem. A turtle's natural habitat is the land surrounding the surface of the water. If he's not basking, then he's not maintaining proper body temperature, he's not getting the UV light necessary to manufacture essential vitamins and he's opening his shell and skin to a multitude of bacterial and fungal infections.>
So I'm just wondering if that's a bad thing?
How can I get him to eat other things because I know he needs it!!
<Not our worry right now>
And should I be forcing him to bask in the light or just let him be in the water??
<Little Spirky needs to be warm and dry MORE than he needs to be wet and cool and you have to find a way to get him to bask. Possibly, if it's not warm enough on the platform he won't bother. Does it float around and
perhaps too hard to climb on? Fin the problem and fix it.>
<If necessary, take him out of the tank and place him in a box or tub with high sides and the basking & UV lamps shining on one end. If you place him in his tank, or even a shallow bowl of water, for 15 minutes a day in order to eat, drink and poop -- he can stay in the box/tub for months if needed -- but he NEEDS the warmth and the UV.>
<Here is a link to basic care. Check every part of your care against the article -- and correct anything that's wrong>
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>

Re: Question, about RES gen. -- 9/22/09
Hi Darrel, thank you so much for your help!!!
<Not a problem!>
He wasn't an impulse buy, I've wanted a turtle for a long time now, but I guess I didn't do enough research!!!
<But you came to the right place>
But just so I have all of this correctly...
I need to get him a bigger tank, so I'm thinking 20 gallons??
<That would be fine .. for now>
Right now I have one of those floaty foam ramp things for him to bask on but he doesn't seem to like it, I'm guessing because maybe it's not stable enough for him??
<That would be my guess, yes. They like their basking areas to be stable>
I have been feeding him HBH Turtle bites, he likes them but the question is are those okay for him? Should I be feeding him something better? And is that all he needs? I don't need to try to feed him anything else??
<I've never used that particular product but it seems fine from what I read about it. Just remember that a good quality Koi pellet is essentially the same thing and usually MUCH cheaper. I raise hatchling Sliders to
breeding adults on nothing more that Koi pellets and an occasional earth worm.>
And with the heat lamp how many volts would keep his basking area warm enough?? It doesn't seem like the water heater is making the water warm enough, it feels very cold to me.. so I was thinking of getting rid of it anyway!!!
<Yeah - get rid of the heater. A basking lamp and a UV lamp are usually different things. In my simpler setups, I use a 15 watt VitaLite UV bulb in a cheap florescent fixture and then just a 75 watt regular light bulb suspended over the basking area using a cheap "clamp-lamp". Both the clamp lamp with a reflector hood and the cheap 18 inch florescent fixture are available at most home supply stores for very little money>
Sorry for the million questions!! I just want him to be happy and have a safe healthy environment!
<No sweat -- we LIKE questions because questions lead to knowledge and that's what keeps our wet pets safe & happy!>
Thank you so much for your time and knowledge!!
<Yer Welcome.>

RES question, sys., gen... 7/21/2009
Hello. I just got two RES today as a gift. Along with the turtles i received a "Zilla deluxe aquatic turtle kit".
<Interesting product. The 20 gallon tank should hold in you in good stead for a few years, but do bear in mind Red-ear Sliders get to dinner-plate size eventually, and will outgrow that vivarium.>
It cam with 2 8.5 dome fixtures and a 75W day blue light blub and a tropical 25 13W UVB fluorescent Coil bulb. i was just wondering if at night do i turn off those lights or should i keep both on?
<Switch them off at night; indeed, a timer set to 12 hours on, 12 hours off would be ideal. You can pick one of these for a few quid (or dollars, or whatever) from most hardware stores, and a two-way adapter stuck into the timer would mean you could control both lights from the same timer.
I have no idea on how to take care of these adorable turtles and i hope you can help me.
<Do read here:
Red-ear sliders are pretty easy to keep, but there are some things to watch for. You've got the UV-B issue covered, and presumably warmth too with the daylight bulb, but the other issues are regular water changes, a greens-based diet, and a regular source of calcium so that they develop their bones and shell properly.>
Thank you,
<Good luck with your new pets! Cheers, Neale.>
RE: RES question
Thank you so much. You were a huge help! I'm sure my turtles would thank you also.
<Glad to have helped. Cheers, Neale.>

slider turtles... sys., gen. 7/18//09
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I recently became the owner of two red slider turtles. I sort of inherited them. I was a teacher at a middle school in mid-Michigan. I got laid off at the end of the year. I had two turtles in my classroom the entire year that have been there for about 7 years. They were extremely mistreated by students, the former teacher did not seem to care too much about them, and the janitor informed me he was responsible for caring for them only because he felt bad that they were so poorly taken care of. They were in a tiny tank, no filter, and most of the time the students threw food, gum and candy in the tank. After a few breaks, when I returned, the tank smelled and looked like an outhouse. So, needless to say, at the end of the school year, I brought them home with me.
<Thank you -- on behalf of them!>
Now, having said that, I currently do not have any intentions of returning them to the school at the beginning of the year. However, I do not have the accommodations for them at my house. I do have a small fish pond that I was setting up in my back yard that I have sort of placed them in for the time being. I will keep them there if it is the best option.
<Over wintering becomes a problem in your climate and then we have to protect them from predators (raccoons, etc.) as well. You'll have to do that with fish as well, but fish are in some ways 'easier' than turtles.>
I do not have the money to buy a tank, filtration system, chemicals, and all of the other things I have read about on your website.
<You don't need much money. We'll get to that in a minute>
My first instinct was to release them in my backyard, which leads to a small creek. But, given that they have never been in the wild, I was not sure how they would survive.
<Survival skills would be a small issue, but climate, predators and diseases are. Believe it or not, captive turtles can carry respiratory infections that they can deal with quite well but that can be devastating to wild animal populations.>
<This is an important note to all pet keepers>
<Never ever EVER release a captive animal, fish or reptile into the wild.
It's almost always fatal to the fish or animal you're trying to help and when it's not it's devastating to local populations of all kinds of different animals, damaging to the ecosystems ... and ALMOST ALWAYS ILLEGAL!!>
They were able to survive in a very bad school environment for so long with students that do not have much care for human life, let alone that of a reptile.
<Tell me about it>
They have been in my back yard for a little over a month and seem to be enjoying it. But, my concern is that when winter comes, will instinct take over and they will automatically know to hibernate, or are they going to just freeze?
<The hibernation is instinctual, yes. But on the other hand, not every animal that hibernates lives through the winter and even fewer animals that over-winter in a freezing pond survive it. These animals CAN survive -- it's technically possible -- but by no means all DO survive it>
I had them in the classroom and know that they were active the entire school year. When I inquired to the former teacher (now principal) what to do with them over the summer break, she informed me that she never took them home and they were always fine when she returned in the fall. Of course, the janitor informed me that he was feeding them over this period of time and periodically changing their tank water.
<Red Eared Sliders are remarkably hardy animals but what that means is that they can SURVIVE a remarkable amount of mistreatment and neglect. That's not at all the same as saying that neglect or mistreatment are in any way 'good' for them!>
I have never had turtles before, but want to do right by them. I think I have a male and female (one has a longer tail than the other) and I know they were both babies when they were given to the former teacher. Okay, one last concern I have, since I have put them in my back yard, their back claws have seemed to wear down to nothing and periodically bleed. I think it is because they are constantly trying to escape (which also makes me think I should just let them go).
<Again .. NO!>
There were rocks on the bottom of the pond (a plastic pre-form), but I have since removed them and have not noticed the bleeding since then, about 3 days ago.
<My guess is that they're bleeding as a result of metabolic bone and tissue problems stemming from long term diet issues. Let's fix that first. Go find a high quality Koi pellet at your local fish store. They're inexpensive and are a completely balanced diet. Second, assuming they're outside I guess they're getting lots of natural sunshine? And they have a place they can haul out and completely dry off? If so, we're covering the basics. Enough of this and they'll start to heal themselves>
Okay, I know this is a lot, but I just want to help these little guys out the best I can. I would hate for me to try to do them right and end up harming them more than when they were at the school.
<Here's a link to a basic care article that will help you cover the basics.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<the important thing to know is that you don't HAVE to spend a lot of money. For example, turtles of any size will almost always outpace a filter system. Eventually, even with the best filters, the water has to be siphoned and changed. So ... if you can't afford a filter, then you simply siphon and change more often (This goes for ponds as well as in-home setups). When they come inside for the winter, a simple Rubbermaid tub of sufficient size in your garage, laundry room or enclosed porch will be fine. Suspend an ordinary 60 w light bulb over the basking area and you've covered the basics. Proper UV lighting is suggested, but if they've been outside all summer and fall they'll be able to tolerate a few months with minimal environment. Keep the setup simple so that it's easy to break down and drain the water, etc. When things start to heat up in the spring .. be patient. Don't jump at the first warm spell -- let the weather stabilize, maybe late spring and THEN put them outside for the summer.>
<It really doesn't take much money to give a good home to a few turtles ... it just takes someone who cares!>

My res came home 2yrs later 7/1/09
<Hiya -- Darrel here>
I really like your website.
<Why thank you! We're pretty proud of it too, but it's always nice to hear adoration from our fans>
I have 2 Red Eared Slider turtles. On mother's day, my husband picked up a Slider heading back to our house.
<Was your HUSBAND heading back to the house when he picked up this turtle or was the TURTLE heading back to the house when your husband, presumably out picking up other things ... happened to see him?>
I really believe it is Squirt, my turtle that ran away 2 years ago to the day. I believe this because I could always pet Squirts head whenever I would take her in and out of the house to her pool.
<It happens to me, too. Turtles are amazing climbers and eerily fast why no one's watching. I've "lost" a turtle or two and given up after searching everywhere ..... only to have them show up again months or years
later ... often in EXACTLY the spot they were last seen.>
I scrubbed off the algae, and took a stool sample to a qualified vet, followed by a visit. I brought to his attention, her underbelly, it had a sort of rubbed off area, a little redness but not so much soft. He gave us
silvadine ointment, and injections to take care of it on the inside and outside. One question I have is, is this contagious to my two other turtles? We have been doing both cream and injections for 2 weeks. There
is not anymore redness on her belly. I would like to know if this is still contagious to my other turtles.
<NO, you should be fine. For the most part, infections that affect reptiles are commonly occurring in their environment and don't affect a turtle until that particular turtle is debilitated by something else.
After the redness is gone the infection is pretty much in check.>
We want to integrate both in our pond. We have a beautiful 700 gal. But we are also afraid that our female "TIM TIM" will be territorial and not allow another turtle. We also have another 2yr old waiting to attend the pond. Tim Tim and our Squirt that came back are both 4yrs old.
<Sliders are usually affable enough in groups. They can be snappy and a little territorial from time to time, but if the pond is big enough that they can get away from each other when things get tense, then yes, by all
means put Squirt in with Tim Tim. It will, of course, take some time to adjust and just like any other mom, you should resist the urge to interfere when they first start to get to know each other. One suggestion is that
you make sure there are two different basking areas, so they can haul out separately if they so choose. Another is to rearrange what you can (rocks, branches, etc.) to make it a little unsettling for Tim Tim. If Tim Tim is even a tiny bit unsure of her surroundings, she's less apt to get nippy with a newcomer. This way, they both reestablish themselves at the same time.>

Newbie Guppy and Turtle Raiser... reading 3/16/2009
Hi, guys.
This is my first time ever raising fish of any kind, and I am absolutely totally ignorant of what to do. I have a 1.5 gallon tank for my 5 male guppies and 1 female (yes, I know if I want to breed I should have gotten more females), and I'm kind of worried that the tank is way too small (after reading all I possibly could on that subject).
<It is way too small... such little volumes of water are just inherently too unstable to be healthy>
My mom wants to save as much money as possible, but I just want the advice so that I can save up to buy stuff for my fish.
<I agree with your plan>
I also have a really tiny turtle (I think it's a red eared slider, not completely sure)
<Appears to be...>
that I don't know it's gender of.
<... not easily sex-able at this size... but see WWM re...:
So here are my questions (I have a lot, is that ok?)
1.Do I need to have a heater?
<Likely so... and posted... Start reading here:
and then the linked files above>
2.What does Ph stand for, and why do I have to measure it?
<... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwph,alk.htm
and the linked files...>
3.Is it likely that my female will kill the males that aren't 'good' enough for her?
<Keep reading>
4.Can I play with my guppies(i.e. put my fingers in the water and stroke them after scrubbing my hands)?
<Not a good idea... too likely to scratch them, wipe off necessary body slime, perhaps introduce pollution...>
5.How often should I clean the cage?
6.Can I put in my really small turtle(about 2" to 2 1/2" from tip of head to tip of tail) with them in their cage, or will my turtle attack the guppies(or vice versa)?
<and more reading...>
7.According to the pictures, is my turtle a female or male?
If you can answer these questions, that would be awesome.
Thanks in advance!
From Janny
P.S. Sorry for the bad quality of the pictures.
<Please, learn to/use the search tool, indices on WWM ahead of writing us... What you ask, and much more, need to know is already posted/archived for you/all's use. Bob Fenner>

I mportant question 3/14/09
I got two baby turtles from a street vendor while shopping on canal street. I did a lot of research on them when I got home and I believe them to be RES turtles. I was sure to care for them at first I put them in a tank with a couple o finches of bottled warm water and a big floating rock.
I poured some food in. They refuse to eat the turtle food and now one of the turtles has swollen eyes and is breathing with an open mouth. I think they may be too cold with no heating lamp so I am going to the pet store now. I am afraid the one turtle will die and I don't know what to do to keep him alive he looks very stressed and close to death he barely is moving besides his mouth and his eyes are so swollen he cant see. the other turtle is much better looking swimming and looking healthy,
<Greetings. Red-ear Sliders are difficult and expensive to maintain, and buying them from a street vendor wasn't the best idea you've had this year.
But saying that, if you're prepared to buy the equipment required, and to take the sick turtles to the vet, not all is lost. The turtle with the swollen eye is very sick and in pain; see here:
Respiratory tract infections are common when they are kept badly, and could easily explain the open mouth behaviour:
A vet can treat both conditions; but without veterinary assistance, the turtle will die a miserable death. You also need to review maintenance. You can't keep these animals in bowls or small tanks, and they absolutely must have filtration, heating, and a source of UV-B light. Expect to pay at least $100 for all these bits and pieces. On the upside, kept properly, these animals are hardy, fun and quite long lived. There's a great summary here:
Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: Important question 3/14/09
Thanks for your help. I went to Petco today and got a bigger tank with a UVB clamp lamp and some meal worms which they recommended. To try feeding to the turtles.
<These may be eaten, but wouldn't be my first choice. Turtles are HERBIVORES in the wild, so like sheep and giraffes, most of their food is green and leafy. Juveniles, it's about 50/50 animal protein and plant material, but for adults, more like 75% of the diet is greens. Clumps of cheap aquarium plants (Elodea, Canadian pondweed) last a week or two, and do the trick very well. Provide earthworms or small pieces of seafood once or twice a week, or even the odd mealworm, and that's it. Feeding the, at
least, is cheap and easy. The problem with mealworms is they drown in water, and then the turtles ignore them, and you're stuck with water pollution. Pointless really. Not sure why PetCo thought they would help?>
I know it wasn't the best ideas to get the turtles in the first place but I knew they would die sitting on the street corner in the freezing cold at least if we took them they had a chance.
<Yes and no. The problem with "mercy buying" is you create a market, so the guy selling them goes round to his supplier, and orders some more.>
Do you know of anywhere a little cheaper then Petco I can order more accessories from?
<Depends where you are. I'm in the UK, so my knowledge of the market is biased in that direction! Second hand stuff is worth considering: Craig's List and the like. Many online pet forums also have buy, sell, swap sections. Darrel's article pretty well sums up the bits you can economise on, and the bits you can't. Heat, water changes, and UV-B are the essentials.>
I will need to order a better heating device then just the lamp.
<If money is tight, take care to get a heater they won't break! Seriously, my turtles broke 2 glass heaters in a row before I got the hint. Look for the ones with the plastic guard that goes on the outside, so that the turtles can't knock the heater off the wall of the tank, cracking it if it hits the bottom too hard. Fish shops should have these in stock. They're no more expensive than the regular kind of heater. In the UK for example, the 'Superfish Aquarium Heater' brand comes with a black plastic guard as standard. Even better are heaters that go underneath the tank. Reptile shops can kit you out with this kind of stuff.>
I am calling the vet to make an appointment to have them both checked out.
<Cool. Treatment shouldn't be expensive, and your vet may be able to put you in touch with reptile clubs or animal welfare trusts in the area that can help out.>
thanks !
<Once settled in, these are fab animals to keep. They can become very tame.
But getting started is the tricky bit, but it looks like you're making all the right decisions. Good luck, Neale.>

New Red eared sliders 1/11/09 Hello, <Hiya Najah, Darrel here tonight> This Christmas my dad was given five Red Eared Sliders and gave them to my son for Christmas. <Generally speaking, I discourage people from giving live animals as gifts, especially unexpected ones -- if the receiver isn't a fan of that animal, he or she only inherits an unwanted responsibility -- Just mentioning that....> The family loves the new addition -- <But in this case, all works out!!!! Yaaaaaaay!> -- but I am becoming worried. I have had them for about a week now and I haven't seen any poop. They all appear to be healthy. <It may take a while for their digestive systems to get into gear, Najah. This by itself isn't worrisome.> All but one are scared of us. <Again, nothing unusual. It takes all of them a while to adjust and even then one of the nice things about these guys is they have individual personalities. Some are friendly and others may well be a bit standoffish all the time. > They generally hide when I come near to the tank. I think that the car ride from Philly to DC may have shaken them a little. <I can't say as I blame, Najah -- I took a train from DC to Philly over 18 years ago and I'm still shaken up by it. Rearranging anyone's whole world stresses them and it takes them a while to acclimate.> I am having a hard time feeding them lettuce, but they seem to really like carrots. I've read some info sites that says to feed them carrots often is ok and others say to use carrots moderately, which one is true? <Well, to be candid, you won't find many Red Eared Sliders eating carrots in the wild. Any site stating that the Pseudemys need a vegetarian diet are far better than the ones that claim they eat fish and meats ... but still, I can't see how someone can expect that foods they buy at their local Kroger are suitable for turtles.> <I've said this before and I'll say it again: Koi Pellets! Cheap, easily found at virtually any pet store, 99.5% vegetable matter and -- A COMPLETE DIET for Sliders and their families. I use Kay-Tee brand myself and I raise them from hatchlings all the way up to breeding adults on just that, with a very occasional (once a month) Earthworm tossed in just for variety. Tetra's Repto-Min food sticks are good too. They're virtually identical in makeup to the Koi pellets and a bit more expensive, but if it makes you feel better feeding your turtles something labeled as turtle food, this is the stuff.> <This is a link to a wonderfully written article covering all the basics of Slider care in captivity. Please compare your situation against the guidelines... and remember, Turtles don't need very much at all, but they absolutely NEED what they need. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm > Thanks for your help. <You're welcome, Najah -- and we're glad to have you in our world. Enjoy>

Question about "rescued" RES 9/13/08
My daughter was given a RES and a smaller (possibly painted turtle or another type of slider with a red-orange plastron?
<Quite possibly another species, but they're all very similar in terms of care, and most species get to around 20-30 cm in length, so count as quite sizeable animals.>
Really looks like the slider except for the markings) from a friend of hers. They had been ?rescued? from a drying up pond by her father. I admit I am not much of a reptile person, but they had about 8 turtles in a 10 gallon tank (stupid!) and I knew enough to want to help a couple of them. They had them for about a month. I would like to know whether it is best to let them go somewhere? or how long is too long in captivity before they really should be kept.
<Releasing unidentified animals into the wild is never a good idea, and quite possibly illegal. The issues are multiple. For a start, these animals may have lost the instincts that would allow them to find food, escape from predators, and plan for winter. Then there's also the issue of what impact they would have on the local wildlife. While these turtles may be native to your country, they might not be native to your region, or to the particular lake or river that you'd take them to. Many amphibians deliberately seek out waters that don't have certain animals -- including turtles -- as being safer places to lay their eggs. Acts of human kindness can actually end up being disastrous in the natural world: A few decades ago some Animal Rights people released Mink from a fur farm in England, and since that time the Mink have prospered and systematically wiped out lots of native water mammals, particularly Voles. So, if you decide against keeping these animals, instead contact a local turtle rescue charity. There are many of them in the US and UK and likely elsewhere. Do a Google search for "turtle rescue" and you'll get a bunch.>
Please help me, I am really torn. The bigger RES paces back and forth along the inside of the tank for most of the day ?I am going to guess he is older. His shell is about 3 ½ inches long and the smaller is only about 2 ½ inches long.
<He's still a youngster! Before deciding to keep these animals, it's a good idea to pull out a side plate from a cupboard (something bigger than a saucer but smaller than a dinner plate). That's how big the average slider gets. Realistically, they need tanks around the 150 litre/30 gallon size. While rewarding pets in many ways, when turtles get sick they're expensive to treat. So you need to invest a certain amount of money up front in terms of heating, UV-B light (unless the turtles live outdoors), and filtration. On the other hand, diet is simple and cheaper than most folks realise: they don't need turtle food much, but rather greens of all sorts, but especially things like cheap aquarium plants. Stick a bunch of Elodea in the tank, and that's their food for a week!>
They are doing well? the smaller one basks a lot and seems really content but I am not so sure about the larger (older?) one. If we need to keep these little guys I need to be purchasing a 55 gallon tank at least? and that means an upgrade in filter as well (of course).
<Do read here:
Once you've got the kit, these animals are actually very easy to look after. They're fun to watch, and can become very tame. The main problems people make are to give them the wrong food, not enough warmth, and no source of UV-B light. None of these things is difficult or expensive to supply (by pet standards, anyway) and once taken care of, these turtles will thrive. But do always train your children to wash their hands after handling them: turtle tanks, like fish tanks, can culture Salmonella bacteria. The risk of serious harm is small, but it's a good habit (and good advice) to treat *any* animal as a potential source of infection and have the child wash up afterwards.>
Before making this kind of commitment I need to know what is best for the
turtles? should they stay or should they go?
<It's your call. On the plus side, learning the responsibilities of caring for animals, plus learning about basic biology, are useful things for any child. I say that as someone who's been a biology teacher in a girls' school and often observed the difference between those girls who are comfortable around animals and aware of how they work, and those girls who know nothing more than TV and computer games. Learning to care for animals and to take care of their needs are life skills that become essential through their adult lives, whether at work or in their own families. But on the other hand, reptiles generally require a certain amount of effort to stay healthy, and some expenses when setting up their enclosure can't be neglected. Few reptiles genuinely like to be petted or handled, so these aren't animals for children that want something to play with. While not expensive pets by any means, they are long lived and consequently require a commitment from their owners likely to last 10+ years.>
And if they were to go ?where should they be released?
<See above; contact a turtle rescue.>
I am ready to do whatever needs to be done. I have been doing lots of reading and research to find out exactly what they need to be happy and live a long time, but do NOT want to do the wrong thing. Please help!
<I hope this helps. These are great animals and lots of fun, but as a parent you want to be cognizant of the demands they place on you relative to how much responsibility you can leave on your child's shoulders.>
G Nelson
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Question about "rescued" RES 9/13/08
I just wanted to than you so very much.
<You are most welcome.>
I believe we will take them on...I may just be a reptile person after all!
<Ah! Before you know it there'll be a Boa in the bedroom and an Alligator in the kitchen! But seriously, yes, reptiles are fascinating animals, and once you start learning about them, they can become a very enlightening hobby.>
I just wanted to make sure that was the right thing to do...and I really believe it is. We are going to get our 55 gallon tank and 100 gallon filter this weekend!
<Sounds great. Rather than worrying about the "100 gallon filter" rating (which is often a bit of marketing rather than based on anything sensible) do review the TURNOVER. This is how much water passes through the filter. Turtles will do best with filters that turnover at least 6 times the volume of the tank per hour. That's about 300 gallons per hour in your case. The minimum would be 4 times the volume of the tank, i.e., around 200 gallons per hour. You'll find these numbers of the box and/or the pump. Don't waste your time with "hang on the back" things; these filters lack the oomph to really keep the water clean. Turtles are very messy, in particular when they're moulting, and you have bits of skin floating about. So if you want a nice clean tank, invest in the filter. I'd recommend an external canister filter, but an internal canister filter would be just as good. The argument between them comes down to internal filters being more expensive in terms of turnover but a bit easier in terms of maintenance. If you're on a budget, an undergravel filter with a couple of powerheads would be a perfectly serviceable alternative.>
I just needed some info from someone who really knew what they were talking about! ;) (Oh, and I am so impressed at how my girls will ask to hold the turtles...and just reach right in there and pick them up! These can't possibly be my daughters!! They know very well about Salmonella and how it can make you sick. They are great teachers for their friends!)
<Absolutely! This is the best way for kids to learn science -- to actually do it! When science is fun, they absorb the stuff like sponges tank in water. For someone like me, who teaches science, this is wonderful to watch and really helps kids to make the leap from simply appreciating the natural world to truly understanding it.>
-Thanks Again, Genny
<Good luck, Neale.>

I luved ur site!, RES gen. husbandry 9/6/08 Hi, Everyone <Hello,> I have a few Questions. But first let me tell you a little bit about me. I luv turtles (manly red eared sliders) , I had 2 but Just 2 days ago one died and I don't know why. For the longest time he would just float, he could not swim down, but he floated with a slant I did not think much of it until I found out he was dead. And the one that's still alive was 2 inches bigger than the little 1 that died. And I am 13. <Turtles are difficult, expensive pets to keep. They need a number of things to survive. So make sure you have all these things: A big tank (20 gallons for babies, but much more for adults. They also need warmth, from a heater of some kind. The water temperature must be 18-25 degrees C all year around. They need a basking spot on dry land under a UV-B lamp. Without this they cannot grow properly. They need a filter, to keep the water clean. Be under no illusions here: the correct set up for these turtles will cost $100-200. If you can't budget that, then please, return the remaining turtle before it dies. Part of being an "animal lover" is knowing when you can't keep that animal. Animals can't make allowances because you like them; they have a bunch of demands that absolutely must be met. If you don't do that, they'll die. It doesn't matter whether it's a turtle or an elephant.> #1. was he sick? #2. did the big one beat him up? <No.> These questions are not related. #1. what size tank should I have for when he grows to be an adult? <20 gallons for a baby, at least twice that for an adult. Adults are almost the size of dinner plates, easily 8 inches across the shell.> #2. if when I get a new turtle and they lay eggs in the water do I leave them or take them out? <The eggs rot under water. If you have a female turtle, you need to provide it with a sandy box to put its eggs in. Sometimes females become "egg bound" if they can't lay their eggs, and this leads to a painful death without surgery done by a vet.> #3. how many eggs does a female lay? <Couple of dozen, maybe more. Varies.> Thank Everyone, Ty <Please do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebindex/RESCareBarton.htm And follow through the linked articles at the top of the page. If you're serious about keeping these animals, buy or borrow a book about them too. Cheers, Neale.>

Red Eared Slider Turtles, reading -09/03/08 Hi, I have recently acquired two baby RES, they are both about an inch and a half long. They are in a ten gallon tank with a wet and dry area and a 75 watt heat lamp over it. Is this adequate? <Mmm> One of the turtles spends absolutely all of its time in the water; it will only briefly stick its head out of the water on the edge of the dry area. The other spends all of its time basking in the dry area. Should I be worried about them not spending time in both environments? <Not unless there is apparent trouble...> And if so what can I do to get them to go in both? Recently the turtle that spends all of its time in the basking area has not been opening its eyes. <Like this> It does every once in a while but very, very rarely, not even when I place it in the water and it swims around. Should I be worried about this? One last question, how often should I be cleaning out the tank? Any help is much appreciated. <... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Red ear slider turtles, gen. and esp. fdg. 8/14/08 Hi! <Hiya!!> I have 2 red ear sliders--they are both about 4 inches, in length (this is shell length, and shells are thick). We got them in April of 2007, and they were quarter size, at that time. They are best friends, we have no problems. <No jobs, school, property taxes OR alligators trying to eat them (I have all the above) -- they have easy lives!> My question is I think I have one female, and one male? One has longer tail, the other has shorter, stubbier tail. Claws look to be about the same size. They won't cooperate long enough for me to check under tails. They have started to do the "mating dance" (I think). They get nose to nose and one will start fanning the face. Just for a few minutes, and then they continue on their way. They are only in a 10 gallon aquarium with the lighting, the basking rocks, and gravel, etc. We live in Buffalo, and on nice warm days, I fill up the baby pool outside with driftwood, and let them hang there for a few hours. With supervision, due to cats and kids in the neighborhood. <I was born in Niagara Falls. Nice summers!> Since they are only about 1 1/2 yrs old, isn't it too soon for them to breed? <It's not the age, it's the size. Although 1 1/2 years is early, 4 inches is barely about the size that males start to mature, so while it's not likely, it's POSSIBLE ... and the fanning behavior is typical male slider courting behavior ... so if you're not there yet, you're getting close> How old are red ear sliders before they breed, and do I have a male and female, since too, they are about the same size? We bought them together in Myrtle Beach. Maybe female isn't mature in size yet? <That is correct. The male matures at a smaller size while the female keeps growing and gets bigger before she's mature. The male will get the nice, long nails (a girl I know sites that as one more reason that life just isn't fair). Once the male starts courting behavior this just "bugs" the female for a few more years because she's not interested yet,> They are extremely happy all the time, love to eat, people and kid friendly, love to greet people as soon as anyone walks into the room. <Really? That Warner Brother's Dancing Michigan J Frog comes to mind> They'll come a running to side of the tank, when they spot anyone. Oh, one thing I noticed (from having turtles when we were kids), is they LOVE raw hamburger, and RAW turkey burger. We feed them that off our fingers, (so they are not being overfed, and leaving raw burger in they're tank), but every so often they grab the finger and OUCH!! <You deserve to hurt for that. No. NO.... NOOOOOOOOOOOO! No Hamburger!! No Turkey!! No Hotdogs, chicken, pot pies, pork chops, steak, Cheese Doodles or ANY other people food. PERIOD!! And no wine or cocktails either (they have no self control!)> <Diet --- bad diet and overfeeding are the #1 health problems in turtles and most pets -- and what you're feeding them isn't good for them, OK? Koi Pellets, Repto-min food sticks (exactly the same as the koi pellets only more expensive) and a rare and occasional earthworm> They pinch and pinch hard. <Another reason not to do that. It won't be long before that pinch becomes a skin break and then it's tetanus shots and antibacterial ... for them -- humans can be infectious to reptiles> Need too know, though, if I should start a nesting area, or anything. All we are seeing at this time is we think the "mating dance". Could you let me know? <She needs to be around 5 inches minimum straight carapace length before she's even remotely ready ... so.... not yet.> <BUT FIX THE DIET IMMEDIATELY PLEASE!!!!> Thanks kindly----VaLinda <Pretty name!!!!!> <Darrel> < http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>

Re: Red ear slider turtles - diet 8/16/08 Thank you for getting back to me so soon. <Happy to do it!> Glad to hear its a little early for baby turtle making too. Not ready for that. <I feel the same way about my kids.> Thanks too, for the input on no raw meats. It wasn't their main diet though, they mainly eat variety of turtle foods. It was just a treat here and there for them. I should of specified that. But, I'll make sure no more raw meats. <The problem is that they can "fixate" on something like that and then refuse to eat the balanced diet and then you're in for problems.> They will be sad, though:( <They'll get over it -- and they'll be healthier, too. Now make sure they have proper temperature gradients and UV A&B lighting:)> Thanks again for your great advice, I'll keep making sure I keep well read on your columns. <We respond well praise!!!! Thank YOU!!!!> Thanks again--VaLinda <Darrel>

Re: Quick Question About Turtles and One Comment 05/19/08 Sorry the pictures didn't come through - I'll send as files. Thanks for your quick response. Jen <Hello Jen. They all look happy and healthy! Nice set up. Cheers, Neale.>

I need your help! RES care, humanity 3/30/08 Ok, I need some help convincing my mom that my red eared slider turtle is important enough to have all of the right habitat stuff. I don't want my little Jimmy-Hendrix to die!!! <As always review water quality, diet, and basking environment before panicking. Almost all reptile deaths come down to not observing these rules. RESs need a large aquarium with a filter (certainly no less than 30 gallons for an adult, plus a filter with a turnover of not less than 4, and ideally 6, times the volume of the aquarium in gallons per hour). The diet should be 50% green foods when young, and 75% green foods once more than half grown. Finally, these reptiles MUST have a UV-B source to bask under. The tube or lamp WILL need to be replaced periodically; check with the manufacturer on the recommended interval, but typically its something like once a year.> My turtle is only one and a half inches both long and wide, I have a 10 gallon tank, two basking spots, some Zoo-Med Reptisafe Water Conditioner, Zoo-Med Turtle Treats, Zoo-Med Aquatic Turtle Food. <Too small, wrong food.> I also have another kind of food witch he seems to like better, it's called Tetrafauna ReptoMin, is that as good for him as the Zoo-Med stuff? <Neither is what you need. These turtles are HERBIVORES, like sheep and cows. They want lots of plants to eat. Pellets can be used once or twice a week. Suggested plant foods include Elodea (pondweed) and curly (not iceberg or red) lettuce.> This is all that I have for him, no special lights or anything. Are those necessary? <Yes.> Anyway, my question is what other stuff do I need, habitat wise, to keep my little Jimmy-Hendrix healthy? <A heater is also important unless you live somewhere it rarely gets below 18C/65F. Because these reptiles are super-destructive, get a heater with a plastic guard. Over here in England these are standard on many of them anyway. When I kept turtles, it seemed to me I was replacing the heater once a year!> And do I need to add anything to his diet besides the turtle pellets and treats? <Yes.> I need you guys to help me prove to my mom that turtles are important enough to spend a few extra bucks on. So please help me be a good turtle owner/pal. <Start by telling your Mom you need a book. There are plenty at the library, book shop or pet store. Read, my friend, so that you can do the right thing. These turtles get VERY BIG, VERY QUICKLY, so be forewarned! Cheers, Neale.>

A gift turtle, RES gen. care 8/10/07 Hello crew, <Hiya right back! Darrel here> Me and my wife just took ownership of a little Red Eared Slider. It was given to us in a little plastic container and we were instructed all we had to do was drop in a little turtle food pellets and he's fine... <This person didn't have a bridge for sale did they?> So we agree to take care of her. After visiting 2 different pet shops is when we found out that they were illegal <They're not terribly illegal -- they're fine to have for educational purposes and as far as I can see, you're getting an education.> .... and was not being properly taken care of. So we purchased a 10 gallon tank, a 10 watt heat light, a UVB light, a water filter and a floating log for her. We feed her the little turtle pellets and tried lettuce, she only likes the lettuce. What else do you recommend to feed this small Red Eared Slider? I use Koi Pellets and/or Repto-Min food sticks. The koi pellets are cheap and a balanced diet that contains a lot of vegetable matter -- perfectly good basic diet. The Repto-Min is a bit pricey, but at least you can buy it in small containers. That's just about IT in the food department. Maybe an occasional earthworm for a "treat" but you're a long way from worrying about that right now. Here's a link about general care http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm> We noticed that through out the day she has been keeping her eyes closed a lot. We never have taken care of a turtle before, so we were not sure if she they were ALWAYS that tired or if she was sick? Then yesterday night we notice little white stuff between her eyes, I know it has to be an infection so, how do we cure that? And so far what I have read from the WWW it has to do with the water. But we bought a filter, and clean out the "poop" every time, and I mean we keep it clean and about 75 - 76 degrees, are we missing something? <The most important thing right now is to make sure that she can get warm and dry. The eye infection almost always comes from being too cold and too damp for too long. A week of basking under the UV lamp combined with an ordinary bulb for heat (it's in the link) may snap her right out of it. If not, write back and we'll go into more detail> Thank you for your help and by the I LOVE this website and what you guys are doing. <Thank you -- we kinda like it too!>

Tell me everything you know about red eye sliders... 8/9/07 Hi I just purchased two red eye sliders. they are about an inch and a half long. I have lots of questions. How long does it take for them the grow. Also how do I ask you questions on the forums. thank you. <Seek and ye shall find. Go to this page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlvstkind2.htm and then scroll down to the "turtles" section. Lots of stuff there. You should probably start off with "Red Ear Slider Care" by Gage Harford and "The Care and Keeping of the Red Eared Slider" by Darrel Barton. As for the Forum, go to http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/ and then Register, and then follow the instructions. Cheers, Neale>

Re: Tell me everything you know about red eye sliders... 8/10/07 Hi I was just wondering under what forum do I ask post questions regarding my red eye sliders? They are very small and I need lots of questions answered. You already gave me the web site page but I cant seemed to find the forum for turtles. Thanks again Christine <Hello Christine. There is no specific sub-forum for turtles/terrapins. But it's hard to imagine you can't find the information you need in the turtle articles at the main web site. Pretty well everything is covered there. What size tank they need, what food is best, why they need UV lighting, what temperature to keep them at, etc. etc. Also, use the "Search" box on Wet Web Media to find information. It's a standard Google search box. But if there's something really obscure you can't find information on, feel free to send a message. Cheers, Neale>

Red-Ear Slider How To's 5/23/07 Hello, <hello, Samantha & welcome!> I am one of the many who purchased a couple of red-ear sliders to only find out that it is illegal to buy/sell these under 4 inches. Mine are the about 2 inches long, if that. I bought them in very poor conditions and got home and purchased them a 10 gallon tank with rock substrate, a floating basking rock, a reptile filter that hangs off the side of the tank, and a 50-watt basking light that gives UVA rays. <You're doing all the right things!> They love the basking rock and hang out there just about all day. Their eyes are a little puffy and from what I read I'm sure it is because of malnutrition. <Malnutrition and generally bad conditions, yes> One is slightly smaller than the other, and the bigger one is more aggressive, always crawling over the other. <that's not aggression, that's just activity.> I have fed them some Turtle Treats Krill, chicken, beef, tomato, they don't eat the romaine lettuce. I am looking for some how-to's in my situation. What should I feed these turtles at this age? Everything I read seems to be for when the turtles are a bit older. <Not everything on that list is of any value to them, so let's simplify the menu first. Please get a small package of Koi pellets from your local pet shop. They usually come in large or small pellets and try to get the small size if you can. An alternative is Reptomin feeding sticks by Tetra. It's basically the same as the koi pellets, just a lot more expensive. On the plus side, you can buy it in small size containers. At feeding time, offer about 8 or 10 pellets floating in the water and let them eat as much as they want and then scoop out the remaining pellets after they lose interest - this will help keep their water clean and that food is all they need to eat. Period. I raise hatchlings to adult breeders on just that!> However, the smaller one is the only one that eats. But I can't get the bigger one to eat. It seems as though he is always more concerned about trying to get out of the tank or swimming away to notice there is food there. <You don't say how long you've had them or how long the big one has gone without food, so it's hard to say. But for now, if he's active and otherwise seems healthy, let's give him a little longer to get hungry.> The bigger one that doesn't eat is always under the light, and he does get in the water sometimes. <That's what we want! He chooses his environment as he sees fit -- that's perfect> My light is UVA, do I need a UVB? <Yes, they need both UVA & UVB so maybe you can add a fluorescent fixture over the tank with a good quality reptile bulb. But they are very tolerant of lighting issues so don't fret over that at the moment> Also, is it okay to leave on all day? I have been keeping it on about six hours a day. Any and all suggestions would be appreciated. <Try leaving the lamp on 12 hours a day for now. Monitor their eyes for puffiness, they noses for bubbles, their shells should be hard like fingernails and they should be active. Then let's wait another week or so to see if the big guy eats.> Thank you! <You're being a great Turtle Mom, Samantha! Good work!>

Turtle, RES Care -- 5/14/07 Hello: My name is Rachel. Our neighbor found a wild, very small RES trucking down the road here last summer and brought it to our house and left it. At first I really didn't want him but I decided to keep him and give it a whirl. After a year of sickness, bad advice and wrong setups, my husband and I have finally found the setup that appears to make this little guy happy (this is the 3rd setup). We have him in a 40 gallon aquarium with a 305 Fluval canister filter, small river rock and a log with a basking lamp and a water heater. I have the temp set for 80 degrees but it is usually around 77 degrees. The water is about 8 inches deep. He is very active and begs for food all the time. We have a calcium block floating in the tank and he chases it and bites it. This seems to be a favorite past time. He spends much of his time on his log basking. Sometimes he's all tucked in and other times he will have one or both of his rear legs sticking straight out. We have grown to love him and consider him a life long pet. Here's what my questions are: Does the setup sound okay? I've read conflicting articles about whether or not RES's should have access to small gravel. I read a few weeks ago that they need to ingest small rocks for health. Is this true? <Sand or gravel is not required for health reasons.> We had much trouble with the local pet stores telling us the wrong things. I finally just did a mix and seem to have found the right thing. What types of veggies and fruit should I feed him? < Kale and spinach are best.> I've tried butter lettuce, cucumber and peeled grapes. He likes the grapes but everything else he hates. Right now he eats pretty exclusively pellet food with some occasional crickets. He does not eat feeder fish. I currently have three very lucky feeder fish living the high life. Should he have a companion and if so, do they need a larger aquarium for a while? < Your male RES will not get lonely so a tankmate is not recommended.> Our turtle is only about 4-5 inches across the widest part of his shell, so he's pretty little yet. I'm pretty sure he/she is a he. He is very aggressive when eating live crickets and he has very long claws. I've also occasionally seen what appears to be male genitalia from his upper tail region. Should we trim his claws? < I would recommend leaving them alone.> His shell is peeling alot. Is this normal? < Young growing turtles seem to shed alot. As he gets older and starts eating more vegetable matter and less protein his growth rate and sheds should start to slow down.> The shell underneath appears to be healthy. We were having alot of shell problems with him but we've gotten all that cleared up. He was having shell problems when the neighbor brought him to us. It took me a while to figure it out because I was frankly so inexperienced. I had never even seen a turtle except in the zoo. I washed his shell in Betadine scrub (being careful not to get it in his eyes/mouth), soaked him in sulfa dip and then coated his spots with iodine. I made a little newspaper nest for him in a little tub and would put him in it for a few days. Then I'd allow him back in his enclosure. He would usually eat well right away. It took a while and alot of Betadine washes, etc., but it seems that all the infections he had on his shell cleared up. I'm not sure if I used all the right stuff, but it worked. His shell hardly peeled at all up until about 2-3 months ago when we finally got his problems cleared up and got him into a setup that he likes. We are having problems with green algae. My husband cleans the tank at least once per week, but we still can't seem to combat this. What should we do for this? I really prefer not to use chemicals. His tank is not directly in front of a window. < Algae is a result of too much nitrogenous wastes in the water. Feed the turtle in another container that can be easily cleaned out. Turtles are messy eaters and their fecal matter with foul a tank very quickly. When they are done eating they will soon defecate. Put the turtle back in the main tank and dispose of the dirty water. The filter will require cleaning more often too.> What about hibernation? Are you supposed to allow them to go into hibernation at certain times of the year? If so, how do you do this? < I would not recommend hibernation unless you are serious about breeding turtles. They don't need it and it can be dangerous to the turtle if he is not properly prepared.> What about vitamins? I know they need them, but by what source? < If you feed a varied diet with lots of veggies then vitamin supplements are not needed. I might try a piece of cuttlebone to supply some calcium and to allow the turtle to sharpen his beak.> Shell sprays, powder, food variety? < A varied diet with pellets, insects, worms and some veggies will be all that he needs.> I've been using shell spray but probably not enough. < Shell sprays are not needed.> How many hours per day should we keep the basking lamp on and what wattage should it be? < The basking lights should be on during normal daylight hours, 10-12 hours a day should be all that is needed. The lamp needs to be hot enough to get the basking site up to at least 85 F. If the area is too cool then move the source closer or get a bigger heat source.> I believe the one that's in his tank is a 65 watt. Thanks for answering all these questions for us. We and our turtle really appreciate it. Rachel < The tank lights needs to be replaced every year to keep the UVB and UVA rays within the proper lighting spectrum. These are separate from the basking light.-Chuck>

New Turtle Questions 3/21/07 Hello, We just purchased 2 Red ear sliders from the pet store a few days ago and have been observing behavior. I have so many questions, I'm afraid that they are going to die. <The ideal time to ask questions are BEFORE you purchase the turtles.> 1)We have a light / heat lamp for light and basking. Do we turn it off at night? < A photo period of about 12 hrs per day should be enough.> 2)Do turtles sleep when the light is off and for how long? < When the lights are off and they cool down, they will sleep until they are warmed up again the next morning.> 3)Is it okay to pour hot water in tank to warm up? < Ideally you should get an unbreakable electric aquarium heater to make sure the water temp. doesn't get too low at night. 4)Turtles seem very lethargic at times. Is this normal? < Turtles respond to the temperature of their environment. If it is too cool then they will be slow. They will be more active at higher temps.> 5)We have floating turtle food pellets is this sufficient for now? <There are many brands of turtle food on the market. Little turtles will eat anything for awhile. For long term care start with ZooMed Aquatic Turtle Hatchling Food. This has all the vitamins and minerals that little turtles need.> Sorry for all the questions, I want to give the turtles a long & healthy life. Thanks, Kori <Search on the WWM website for questions already answered on turtles.-Chuck>

Red ear slider question 12/28/06 Dear Crew, <Paula> I recently bought 2 baby RES to keep my third one company. <Mmm, don't need "company"... not really social animals> One of them was not doing so good with the others (not growing, not eating, basking all day), so I put it on its separate tank, and added some eye drops. Now, the baby turtle eats (only shrimp, does not like the pellets!), but there is a strange white mucous right in between its eyes. I constantly change the water, and I put it right under the heat lamp. What could this be? Thank you so much! Paula <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/resdisfaqs.htm and the linked files above, and the linked files in-text on turtle health. Bob Fenner>

Blind Hatchling Turtles Given A Chance 12/18/06 I have a question about blind RES. I work with many reptiles, but this is my greatest challenge yet. I take in animals that others can't help, or don't want to help. I just recently received two RES that were born without eyes. Where the eyes are suppose to be, there are two pin-head sized holes. They are both still hatchlings. One even has his egg tooth still. Do you have any tips on how to stimulate their appetite, or to get them to eat in general? I feel like they still deserve a chance at life. I tried to agitate them to get their mouth open, but that didn't work. I also tried to gently pry their mouth open and place a small cricket in their mouth, but I only have two hands. The only thing I can think of is to continue trying this to get them to eat, and turn it into a conditioned response of them eating when something taps them on the mouth. Any tips as soon as you can would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. Joe Bob Jamida < You might have to get them to smell the food under water first. I would try holding a very small piece of liver in front of them under water with some feeding tongs. Liver has a very strong odor and they might be tempted to eat it. Very young turtles are still absorbing their egg sac so it may take them awhile to get hungry. If they start to eat the liver then slowly get them on aquatic turtle pellets/worms and insects by mixing them with the liver. If these turtle do survive they will probably need to cared for up to 30+ years.-Chuck> Turtles Getting Older 7/28/06 Hello. I like your site. <Thanks> A family I knew was a typical "turtles are cute let's get turtles" family and they ended up giving their pair of red-eared sliders to me. Well I wanted to be responsible so I read up on care, bought a bigger tank (twice now), and have tried to give them a reasonably good home. They seem happy, except for the occasional bullying. They act like they are well acclimated to my home, I've never noticed any health issues (spots, mucus, etc that would be obvious concerns). They swim around a lot, they bask, they shed, they are growing so much every time I have guests they say they are huge. I think they are about 3 or 4 now. One is about 6 inches long and the other is about 4. Both lower shells are flat and I see no difference in tails or claws, so I figure they must be the same sex, aside from the whole size thing. I had thought they were both female until suddenly the big one had a wound on the neck so I separated them. Since I only have one light and one filter, I put the other one back in under supervision so he can not be too deprived and they both started fluttering their front claws at each other (so now they are both males?). Is there any chance that a female will do the dance as well or because I saw both of them doing it at the same time, is that proof-positive that they are both males? < This fluttering is usually associated with males but I guess females could do this too.> I don't want to see either of them get hurt or have a bad home. I live alone so I enjoy having the company. They beg for food when I come home from work, which is fun at first but they will do it for hours (I put a blanket up in front of the tank if it bothers me). They like to watch TV and they have distinct personalities. I've seen the big one trying to bite the tank wall before (presumably trying to attack his own reflection) but he gives up after a short time and it seems no harm is done. It's amusing to say the least. He also learned to eat from my hand and now won't leave my hands alone whenever I have to put my hands into the tank to do maintenance on the filter (also amusing - I know it's my fault for playing around with teaching them to eat out of my hands, so I don't blame him for it). Any way, I doubt I can keep up two separate tanks for the next 40 years, any tips on how someone who lives in a very rural area can find a good home for a turtle? < Give to a pet shop, place an add in the paper, county animal rescue or even a school.> I think the littler one lost the battle for dominance and is now afflicted with a sort of "short man's syndrome" and has become more aggressive. The big one is bolder but gentle with humans and likes to explore but the littler one will bite people, although not hard enough to hurt anyone, I worry about children and won't let them touch him, much to their disappointment (and no worries, I insist on thorough hand washing if any kids do get near the turtles). Another question, is it important to feed them a varied diet? It's not very easy to get specialized pet food in my area because mostly we just have your typical cats, dogs, birds, goldfish, and farm animals. They've had a diet of Wardley reptile premium sticks since I got them. I tried feeding them some kind of lettuce-like green early on after I got them, but they acted like they couldn't tell that it was edible. This year I fed them some cherries that I tore into little pieces and they were noticeably more enthusiastic for them than they are for their normal food, so I am thinking I'll do that again. I'm not sure if I can do worms and bugs, though. If I don't vary their diet am I going to have to find homes for both of them instead of just one? < Try earthworms, insects , kale and spinach. They will try them and eventually learn to eat them.-Chuck> Sorry for the length and thanks for your enthusiasm for water-loving creatures. Heather

Shipping Baby Turtles - 04/08/06 We are hoping to purchase a few baby RES turtles. We live in northeast Pennsylvania and are awaiting the warm temperatures. At what minimum temperature do you think it would be warm enough for us to consider having the turtles shipped? Thank you for you assistance. < Baby turtles are usually born in the spring when daytime temps are in the 70's. Most reptiles are shipped in insulated boxes so they don't change temperatures during transit. I would not ship anything unless the lowest temp was at least 40 F and well above freezing.-Chuck>

New Turtle Owner Has Questions 3/22/06 Hi WWM, About a month ago I was given a RES as a birthday gift. I have never owned a turtle before and never put much though into actually being an owner/parent of one. However, I am obligated to keeping this one healthy. I have observed "Wurtle" and am trying to meet his needs. Initially it was his eating and he did not want to bask. It is now that he has begun basking. A few things that I have observed....1)He has shiny metallic looking spots on his shell, one of the spots looks like a little hole. < Keep an eye on it . Could be the start of shell rot.> 2) In the water it appears that he has some type of filmy white stuff that kind of lingers attached to him. This is located on his skin, neck, legs etc. < It is probably nothing more than shedding skin.> I just purchased sulfur dip. I will begin treating him tonight. Then I noticed when his eyes are closed they do appear to be puffy. Is this a sign of an infection? They appear fine when they are opened. < Could be something to be concerned about. Get ZooMed Turtle Eye Drops and treat to be sure.> Right before composing this, I noticed that when I was feeding him he was dropping to one side. He also has sneezing and/or coughing issues. < Respiratory infections can be deadly and may require antibiotics. Check the basking spot with a thermometer. Should be between 85 and 90 F.> I have done a major renovation of his tank since he was given to me. What am I missing? 20 gallon long tank, a FLUVAL 2, submergible water heater, basking light-different for night and day, 1/3 of the tank is filled with gravel and a rock sits on top for basking. The remainder of the tank is separated by a partition and filled 1/3 of the way with water and some gravel at the bottom so he can kick off. There is a ramp made of rock to access the basking area. I live in NYC, when changing the water is there anything that I should do? <If there is gravel in the water section then it should be vacumed while doing water changes.> Or, should I just use bottled water? <NYC tap water is fine as long as it is dechlorinated.> Should I purchase a separate fluorescent bulb? < A ZooMed ReptiSun 5.0 Florescent lamp is needed for proper shell growth and helps against "soft shell" in turtles.> I will admit, I lowered the temp of the water as per someone in the pet shop hoping to force him to bask. What should the water temp actually be? <Room temperature of about 60 to 70 F is fine.> His diet consist of pellets daily. I began giving him 10 goldfish at a pop and he would eat them all in a matter of 15 minutes. He refuses the carrots, lettuce and strawberries. What else would you suggest. I would like to assure that he is getting the proper nutrients. Please HELP! < Depending on the age of your turtle there are commercial foods that are very good. Add occasional live fresh food like washed earthworms, meal worms or king worms. Older turtles require more vegetable matter in their diet like kale and spinach.-Chuck ( http://www.smileycentral.com/?partner=ZSzeb001_ZS) ( http://www.smileycentral.com/?partner=ZSzeb001_ZS) Zena

Turtle Age And Spawning Green Terrors 3/20/06 Hi crew. Thanks for the earlier help. I have recently purchased a red year slider turtle.1)! wanted to know how can I calculate its age. Its about 2 inches. < It is probably a hatchling that was hatched about a year ago last spring.> 2)My green terrors are not spawning. What can I do to stimulate them to spawn. any help will be greatly appreciated. Thanking you < Feed them heavily with good food like live washed earthworms. The n do big 50% water changes while vacuuming the gravel. Raise the water temp to 82 F.-Chuck>

My baby res - 01/24/06 Hi there. I got my baby turtle in December. It was shipped from turtlesale.com. I have all the lights and the water heated. I took my baby RES to the vet last Saturday because it hasn't eat since I got it. The first week it ate once, but that was it. Then it started to get less active every day. Yesterday (after the vet Saturday gave it a shot with Vitamin B and antibiotics and other stuff to hydrate it) was more active. The vet gave me 5 more doses of the medicine to be injected on the food, but the turtle doesn't want to eat yet. I don't know what to do. Also, the shell has some white spots, I was wondering if that is from the water. (enclosed photo for you to see) <I have kept turtles in the past and do believe that water quality is a very important factor in keeping them healthy. I would continue to follow the vets instructions and also keep the water pristine as possible. Make sure you use a dechlorinator such as stress coat. I would also keep the aquarium lights off to reduce the levels of stress. Try feeding the turtle different types of foodstuff as well. Good luck IanB> Please, let me know what can I do. I don't want it to die. Thanks

Turtle Won't Eat 12/24/05 Hi. My name is Roy and I have a res in a 20 gallon tank , he is about 4 and half inches long. My problem is that he wont eat the turtle sticks, all he will eat is chicken and some lean meat, but I read that there diet can't be just meat because its to fatty for his diet. I'm worried that he might get sick. What should I do? < As turtles get older they become less of a meat eater and more of a vegetable eater. Try some washed earthworms, commercial adult turtle food, kale and spinach leaves too.-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 Slider behavior 12/17/05 I had a question about my Red Eared Slider and I am hoping you can answer it because I am definitely puzzled. I've had him now for about 4 months and he is in a 10 gallon aquarium with a filter and all...and has been very active and in the water with minimal sunning throughout the day. Now all of the sudden, all he wants to do is sit on the turtle dock and bask, and rarely does he go down in the water. He still eats and everything so I would assume nothing is wrong, just wanted to check. If you have any ideas or anything could you please let me know? I'd appreciate it a lot. Thanks, Alex <Mmm, don't see a mention of a heater... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/redearsliders.htm and the linked files above, particularly re turtle systems, behavior. Bob Fenner>

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>

Sick/Blind Turtle 12/5/05 Hi, Guys! I read all the posts and this is different. I bought four baby RES two weeks ago. After I put them in the tank (new tank, floating dock, rocks, UVA/UVB reptile light on side of tank, 2 10W incandescent on top) that one was blind. Or rather, where his eyes should be are two beige areas, with the same markings as his head. He basked a lot, and was reluctant to swim much. He doesn't eat. I've tried krill, chicken, pellets, apple, worms, etc. Put it wet, right by his nose and he doesn't sniff. He wipes his head a lot, too, when feeling active. Every day I think he'll be dead, and every day he is on the floating dock, head tucked in, and not eating. He started gaping a week ago. No discharge, just gaping, usually after swimming a bit. He never dives, just paddles a bit, and then finds the dock again. Then gapes a few minutes. This isn't good is it? I read some posts today and put him in a sulfa dip bowl, with a basking rock, and a 100 watt light 12 inches away. Can I pry his mouth open, and if I do, what should I try to feed him? Thanks, Kate < He won't eat until he can see. He has a respiratory infection. You can get some Turtle Eye Drops from Zoomed and some vitamins as well. The respiratory infection may require antibiotics from a vet. Check the basking spot with a thermometer. It should be around 85 to 90 F. When he can see and is going into the water on his own then he is ready to feed.-Chuck>

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