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FAQs About Turtles in General 1

Related Articles: Shell Rot in Turtles, Turtles, AmphibiansRed Eared Slider Care

Related FAQs:  Turtles 2, Red Ear Sliders, Turtle Identification, Turtle Behavior, Turtle Compatibility, Turtle Selection, Turtle Systems, Turtle Feeding, Turtle Disease, Shell Rot, Turtle Reproduction, & by Species: Musk/Mud Turtles, Softshells, Snapping Turtles, Mata Matas, Tortoises, & AmphibiansOther Reptiles

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Aquatic Gardens

Ponds, Streams, Waterfalls & Fountains:
Volume 1. Design & Construction

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

New Turtle Needs New Home  9/29/05 Just yesterday which was September 27, 2005 I found a turtle wandering the street.  Its a Eastern Painted Turtle and the shell seems to have been cracked but looks as if it has healed on its own.  Though its healed I was wondering if I should do anything special in caring for this turtle.  She is very large compared to my other turtles.  I have 2 baby red ear sliders, 2 baby eastern painted turtles, and a (I believe) Florida soft shell.  Now the turtle I found yesterday is about 6 inches, and I have little money so I have to substitute for awhile for a tank for her.  I was also wondering if any of you have any suggestions on what to use as a tank for a while until I get a little more money.  Advice is greatly appreciated, for I need all the help I can get for this poor little gal.  Thanks again. Jessi Rae < You can use a kiddie wading pool if the weather is still OK where you live or a good sized Rubbermaid tube. You don't have to use an aquarium. Just find something that is non toxic and will hold water. A long term solution should be found as soon as possible.-Chuck>

Trouble with New turtles I was recently searching the web for some information on the turtles that I purchased and came across your sight, in which you had a lot of helpful advice. Well I'm new at this so here goes, about 2 weeks ago I purchased 3 baby  red ear sliders about an inch long from a local flea-market. I got the home and purchased a 20 long gallon tank, a basking light, and a dock for them. I was feeding them Tetra ReptoMin Baby and Zoo Meds Turtle Treat. After having them for a week 1 of them died, then 2 days later another died. I was wondering if it would be safe to buy more and put them in there with the 1 remaining baby turtle because he really looks lonely. Or should I wait in case there is an infection in  the tank from the 2 dead turtles? < Don't add any more turtles until you have figured out why two out of the three turtle have died. Don't worry about the last turtle getting lonely. He probably prefers to be alone.> And also can you please tell me if I have everything that I need for my baby turtle (as far as the tank, the basking light  and the dock)? Please respond back a.s.a.p. Thanks and have a great  day! < Your turtles are very young. I would get a water filter and maybe a heater to keep the turtles warm for awhile. Look into getting a good book that may give you some insight on why the first two turtles died.-Chuck.>

Breeding Turtles Hi there.. Quite a few years ago I was young and decided I wanted 2 pet turtles, so my dad brought home 2 baby yellow belly sliders, and I'm guessing about a year ago [I was living with dad, the turtles were with mom] one of them laid eggs. We're not sure which one we still don't know if ones female, ones male, or they're both female or what], mom tried to incubate them following a book she had, but they died, it didn't work. Just tonight I noticed they were acting funny so I walk over and there's a single egg there, being messed with by one of the turtles, pretty much torn apart. Frankly, We don't know how to deal with this, and I have some questions. Their habitat is a large tank not sure how many gallons], full of water, with a big rock in the middle they can climb on to bask and regular fish-take rocks on the bottom. There's also a heat lamp over the tank. I believe I remember being told that sand would get in their shells and irritate them, is that true? <No.> Don't they lay eggs in sand/dirt? < Sand is needed for the turtles to deposit their eggs. If there is no sand then they have not place to deposit the eggs.> How exactly can you tell when a turtle is preparing to lay eggs? < Usually the female will excavate a pit in a sandy beach along the river or stream bank. once the eggs are laid the female buries them and takes off.> I've seen this on some sites but they're all different, and I wonder if there's any other way of predicting it? < Not really. If your turtles are in good shape then you can pretty much expect this sort of thing every spring.> Do they lay eggs once a year or.. is there any usual schedule or is it just random? What does it depend on? < Usually in the spring when the weather starts to warm up.> If we found eggs ..not torn apart and battered around =/] in our tank, what do we do? < If you have a pair of turtles with one being a male with longer front claws and a longer tail , then you could set up a sandy area for the female to deposit her eggs. If you have two females then the eggs are infertile and should be thrown away.> Take them out, and what exactly do we need to set up an 'incubator' for the eggs? What sort of dirt/container/whatever do you recommend? How will we know if they are fertile? What are your personal thoughts/opinions on this? Any tips? ANY Help on this would be very much appreciated! -Chelsea. < Turtle eggs can be moved in the first day and placed in a sandy type medium. They should remain moist so they don't dry out and maintained between 75 and 80 degrees. In 8 to 10 weeks the eggs should hatch. I would recommend you do a Google search for breeding turtles to get some specific facts on breeding your specific species of turtle.-Chuck>

Turtles with Tumors? Hi Crew I have two Graptemys pseudogeographicas  ( one 3 years and the other two) that have developed a lump (tumor?) on their left temples almost simultaneously. On the youngest, the lump has already partially broken the skin.  The turtles don't seem to be in any pain or discomfort and eat well and behave normally.  Could this be virus related?  I feed them their turtle chow as well as fresh meat ( fish, poultry, beef, etc..)  I've had turtles as pets all my life and have never seen or heard of this condition. Even the guy a the pet store was stumped.  I have a newborn baby at home. Does the turtles condition pose any sort of danger to his health? Thanks a lot! Al in Madrid , Spain <Subcutaneous lumps or tumors are sometimes caused by the presence of pockets of maggots of the Bot fly. These lumps should be opened with a scalpel and the contents removed with forceps. Captive turtles may suffer from hard swollen lumps under the skin of the limbs and neck. If they are near the surface then they should be squeezed to if possible. Larger ones may need a incision If you are unable to do this then a vet would be your best bet.-Chuck>  

Turtle Eggs 6.12.05 We found a turtle in our driveway that we expected was pregnant because of the season and the size. It was heading towards construction and was not very colorful. So we put it in our old turtle tank because we didn't want it to get hurt. (Especially if it was pregnant.) We were feeding it our aquarium turtles` mushed worms and it was eating. While we were gone it laid eggs and we did not have time to put a nest in for them. Now she keeps running over them and we don't know if she'll try to bite us if we try to take the eggs or the mother  out of the tank. Will she bite us? Do the eggs need their mother? Do you think we should  put them in a butter container full of moist soil/dirt? How long till the eggs hatch? THANK-YOU! <So far as I know a turtle will build a nest deposit the eggs and be done with it, no tending to the eggs.  I am not sure where she deposited the eggs but if it is not a safe, warm, moist place they probably do not have much of a chance.   The  time it will take to hatch will depend on the species of turtle.  Try to determine the type of turtle you have and do a search on incubating turtle eggs there is a lot of good info out there on the web.  You have to be pretty slow to get bit by a turtle, when you put your hand in the tank the turtle will either run/swim the other way, ignore you, or try to sample your fingers as a possible food source (if she gets a hold of your finger pain will vary depending on species).  Best Regards, Gage (who has been bitten once by a Mexican Musk Turtle)>      

Turtle with Leg Problems Good day, I got your email address from a web site about turtles. We have 3 young turtles (a red painted 2 inches, a yellow Cooter 3 inches and a Mississippi Map turtle an inch and a half).  The first 2 are perfectly healthy but the Map turtle is small for its age and it stopped using his front legs. Do you have any idea as to what is wrong?  Or can you direct me to someone that might be able to give us a clue as to what is wrong with him.  We cannot find a reptile vet in our area. I certainly thank you for taking the time to read this and hopefully give us some insight as to what is wrong with him. Thanks, Bruce < A deficiency of vitamins B12 may manifest itself by paralysis of the legs. The cure is to present this vitamin orally, plus supplementary calcium and trace amounts of copper sulphate. Check out the pet shops that deal in herps and I am sure they sell a vitamin supplement for herps.-Chuck>

Keeping and Breeding Sideneck Turtles Hi there. I tried finding an answer for this on the other questioners' queries, but their answers either weren't specific enough or didn't exist. I am the proud owner of an African Side Neck turtle, named Elijah, whom I've hesitantly labeled a male. Unfortunately, I'm not entirely sure of my turtle's gender or age. When I bought him he was in a tank at Petco with other ASN's and some RES's. However, I was not informed of his age or gender by the shopkeeper. Is sexing in ASN's similar to sexing in RES? With long claws and long thin tails meaning it's a male (I read that that only applies after five years old)? Or does that not apply? < In general male turtles tend to be smaller than females of the same age and some species do have longer front claws. Look at the belly of the turtle. Males usually have and indented belly area to mount the female during mating. Females usually have a very flat belly area.> And how might I tell my turtle's age by looking at him? He's about six and a half inches long, if that helps. < Very difficult to determine an exact age.> I'm asking all this, because I'm intending to breed him/her when he/she reaches sexual maturity, so perhaps you might be able to tell me when that might be for this breed, as well. Thanks a bunch! Stephanie < Breeding herps is usually not too easy to do. I would recommend that you go to Kingsnake.com and get in contact with some serious turtle and tortoise clubs to see if you really want to get into this area.-Chuck>

Endangered or Not? I'm confused about the endangered species list. Is and EASTERN RED BELLIED turtle considered a PLYMOUTH RED BELLIED TURTLE? because the Plymouth ribs on the endangered list and is a sub species of the eastern rb. can you please set me straight I'm confused. >> This has been in our inbox for a few days, so I think none of us are so sure. There is an easy way to find out. You can call your local USFW (US Fish and Wildlife Service) office, and they should be able to help you with your query. They have a website, but I am not sure what state you are in to find you the local number. Good Luck, Oliver

Snapping Turtle I'm really hoping you can answer a question for me. My aunt gave me a snapping turtle because they had no room for it. it is 1 yr old and I am worried about salmonella. Is there a way I can see if it has it or anything else. I have a 9 yr old brother and I would like to know where to get it treated to figure out if it has it and if it does what options are available. I really don't want to get rid of it I would like to know where to take it to figure out whether or not its clean. I researched salmonella and its not pretty and I'm a little worried because I don't want to get it. I wash my hands every time I hold it and I would REALLY appreciate it if you guys could help me out. Thanks a bunch >> Only a laboratory can test to see if your turtle has Salmonella. The best way would be to see if maybe someone at your local university can help. Good Luck, Oliver

Turtle Troubles Hello, We have had our turtles for a year now, we bought them at the same time. They were the same size at the time, now the RES (Red Eared Slider) is almost 3 times the size as the EPT (Eastern Painted Turtle). The RES is a female and the EPT is a male. I have done a considerable amount of research since having the turtles. Since when we bought them we had no idea what we were getting in to, (no thanks to the PetSmart people, another issue altogether). They have a great set up and are loved very much. So my main question, sometimes the RES will get in the EPT's face and put her hands out and shake them at him, one time I saw the EPT open his mouth at her. Is this a sign they are not getting along? One last thing, I have read that some males do this as a mating ritual.  I am sure our RES is a female. Thanks so much- A <Turtles really like to be left alone , so when one turtle gets into the other turtles face it is to be noticed.  I don't think your turtles are getting along. It could be a mating thing but I don't think so.-Chuck>

Wood Turtle Not Eating - Please Don't Send Queries in HTML Hey Crew, A few months ago I bought a 7 year old Ornate Wood Turtle from my local pet store. She's a hyper turtle that loves swimming in her water and burying herself in wood before bed. The problem is, she eats very sporadically. Sometimes she eats her food daily, other times she avoids it for a week or more. Is this healthy? I'm worried about her starving. I change her water daily and food at least every other day *depending on if she eats it*. Please help me, I don't want to see her sick. Thank you! < Wood turtles from Central America like it hot and humid. They should be treated like North American box turtle regards to diet. I would try lots of different veggies , king worms and regular garden snails.-Chuck> 

Bleeding Turtle My turtle was bleeding around the bottom/outside of his shell today when I took him out of the aquarium. I don't take him out very often, so I don't know how long this has been going on. It wasn't bleeding very much, just enough to make me wonder what could be wrong. He only lives with one other turtle, a red eared slider.  I've tried for a long time to figure out what type of turtle he is, but I haven't been able to. All I know is that he is a river turtle, but not a snapping turtle. I've had him for several years, since he was very small, and he is now about 2 inches long. I just got the aquarium about a month and a half ago, and he was in a much smaller environment before.  I was wondering if the bleeding had anything to do with him growing, or if the other turtle (who is very non-aggressive) had anything to do with it, or if it was some type of infection. Thank you very much! < Two inches for a turtle that is several years old sounds very small. Take him to pet shop and find out what kind of turtle you have. They should be able to direct you on how to care for him. Finding out what kind of turtle you have is critical to proper diet and maintenance. You may have been keeping him in a wrong environment. Can't help without knowing what kind of turtle it is.-Chuck> 

Turtle Won't Eat Anymore Hi, We have an Eastern Painted turtle (Turtiss is her name). We think she is between 3-4 years old. She used to eat meal worms (as many as possible) and now she won't eat much at all. We bought a 30 gallon aquarium for her when we got her along with a deck for her to bask in. She used to eat some fish flakes and lettuce, but she really won't eat much of anything. Do you have any ideas as to why her appetite has changed so much? Karen Sennott < Turtles need a good amount of heat on their basking spot to help digest their food. Without enough heat the food sits in the gut and rots. Not good. Check the temperature of the basking spot with a thermometer. It should at least be 90 to 100 degrees on the spot itself. If it is lower than that you need to get a bigger light source or move the existing heat source closer to the spot. A few days of warming up should help get things moving.-Chuck> 

New Turtle Pet Hey, My brother found a turtle going down the road the other day. It is about 4 inches across and 4 1/2 long. It never goes in its shell and I don't know what is wrong with it, it never eats . I don't know what to feed it either. I tried lettuce. It has little pockets of air it seems like above its back legs. If you have any clue what could be wrong please email me back. Amanda < Go back to the WWM Homepage and type in turtle under the Google search. There you will find lots of info on turtles. Your turtle sounds like the fat deposits on its back legs indicate that it has been eating well and is actually in pretty good shape.-Chuck> 

Turtle Laying Eggs Hi, My name is Jamie. I am in need of some help. I have not been able to find anything close to my problem. My turtle came from the wild as a young turtle. I have had her (I now know she is a she) for about 7 years. We have no other turtles. She is in a 55 gal tank that has fish, snails, and a crayfish. The problem is that we have found eggs in the tank. There has never been another turtle for her to mate with. She never laid eggs in the past. I don't know if this is something that can happen or if I am mistaken all the way. I read the listed information on your site and found it very detailed on many topics. I hope that you can shed some light on this for me. Thank you in advance for your time and help. Thanks, Jamie < Sexually mature female turtles in good shape often lay eggs in the springtime. The eggs are infertile and should be thrown away. She will need a little extra care. She will be hungry and probably need some vitamins too to regain her strength. You have been doing a good job caring for her.-Chuck>

Murtle Laid an Egg Dear Crew: We have a 25-26 year old female painted turtle, by the name of Murtle.  Murtle is healthy and happy and lives in a (3/4 full) 75 gallon aquarium complete with a heater, a dry platform, an underwater cave, a UV basking light, etc., and she has her own school of guppies to keep her tank clean. Murtle has never been ill except an ear infection when she was around 10 years old, the vet gave her antibiotic shots and she recovered rapidly.  Murtle has not been exposed to another turtle in about 10 years as she killed both of the males that we tried to acquaint her with. Every spring Murtle seems to go thru a cycle, she suddenly eats all of her guppies constantly begs for additional food and is very cantankerous for a few weeks. Then everything suddenly goes back to normal.  We have joking referred to it as her annual turtle "heat" cycle. This year was no exception, the guppies disappeared a couple of weeks ago, but today we had a surprise. Murtle laid an egg. Is this  just her body trying to reproduce without a mate? <This is an infertile egg that is occasionally laid by female turtles in captivity.> Is she wanting to reproduce? < This is probably less a function of what she wants and more so a function of her reproductive cycle responding to being well taken care of and spring time.>  Can this activity hurt her? < It doesn't hurt per say but it will deplete her of vitamins and minerals. I would make sure she has a well balanced diet and include some vitamins.> Is there any way to stop this type of activity? < Not really, it is caused by her hormones.> Is there anything special we should be feeding her in addition to her ReptoMin turtle floating sticks, occasional geckos, bugs and fruits? < I would add some washed earthworms, crickets dusted with calcium powder and kingworms that have been gut loaded with a good reptile additive.-Chuck>

Conversion with a Turtle?  4.26.05 Dear Ryan, <Toni!  Nice to hear from you again...> I'm the woman in Texas, proud but befuddled owner of a superior Hologymnosus doliatus.  M. T. is doing well, growing and showing off, as usual.  I'm scouting out foster homes with BIG, well-kept aquariums for his future. <Fantastic> Since you helped me before, I'm back with a question about something unrelated to fish  but having to do with a hapless young turtle.  The other day a friend and I were attempting a workout at a local high school track.  Just next door is a field (creek included) that is being developed -- being cleared with tractors and generally upsetting the natural activity that's been going on there for gosh-knows-how-long. As we rounded the track we came upon a very small (I'd say about 2 inches in diameter) snapping turtle.  I feel pretty sure he was high-tailing it away from his formerly happy home because of all the disturbance in his environment.  Well, he wasn't making very good time around the track, so I put him in a bucket and brought him home.  My plan was to take him to a creek somewhere away from civilization and turn him loose.   My friend, who has two salt-water aquariums, thinks the small turtle should be kept for a while until he has a little more size on him and volunteered to "transition" him to a salt water way of life (with a platform in the aquarium so that he can rest and take breaths of fresh air at his will, of course.)  I'm not so sure about that "transitioning" idea, so I've still got the little rascal in a bucket on my porch.   My question is this:  can a fresh water animal be slowly transitioned into a salt water lifestyle?  My friend has done this with mollies and says yes, but I'm skeptical. <I have seen this done with African Cichlids as well...I can honestly say that there are logistical problems here.  An animal like your turtle has natural biology to be able to fight disease and freshwater borne bacteria- He is completely helpless against saltwater disease.  The chances of him living a full and healthy life are far-fetched.  I'd stick him in a freshwater tank until he's about 4 inches, and he'll have a better chance of being able to make it.  Sorry this reply is tardy- I was on vacation!  Hope this helps, Ry> Guarding the homeless little reptile with my life until you reply, Toni A.

Turtle Trouble The turtle that I believe is a male is much larger than the other one, and is blowing surface bubbles. It looks like he's trying to eat something off the side of the bowl...but I don't know what all the bubbles are. <It could be algae growing on the side of the bowl and the algae then generates oxygen under lighted conditions, and the turtle could mistake this for food.> I just watched them, and the big one has been like sitting on the other one. The smaller one only has two feet, because our cats ate her two back feet off, so I don't know if that makes her any less capable of swimming or what, but the other one seems to be dominating. < The smaller turtle with no back legs is definitely at a disadvantage. If it gets to the point that the smaller turtle is not getting enough food then I would separate them.-Chuck>

Turtle Talk I have searched the web for my answer, but was unable to find it. We have a painted turtle, who is around 4 years old. He is growing very quickly, and I have purchased a cream to keep his shell healthy as he sheds scales, feed him food pellets along with shrimp pellets bought from the local pet store where he was purchased, and keep his tank clean and filtered. He came to recognize us whenever we walked into his line of sight, and became very excited and would come to the glass and wait for us to come to the tank to feed him.  Lately though, when he sees us, he rushes to the tank wall, splashes wildly, actually splashing water out of the tank onto the floor. At first, we thought it was just because he was hungry and was happy to see us. Now, he splashes like crazy and when we attempt to hand him a piece of food, he snaps so fast and hard that he has connected with fingers and literally brought himself out of the water attached to our hands. We feed him two to three sticks of food in the morning, and two or three at night, along with very small pieces of grapes or fresh fruit. I am not sure if this is a normal behavior, or if he feels the need to increase his food intake for some reason. He is growing rapidly and I am afraid of overfeeding him and making him obese. Can you please help me out with this? Thank you.........Sue Diesing <Some of the charm with little turtles is their ability to train their owners. They have obviously learned that you are the source of food and have learned that they're harder they beg the more you feed them. If they look like they are healthy and well fed then I would feed them a little heavier in the morning and maybe a little in the evening. Maybe they will learn that no matter when you walk by they will only be fed at certain times.-Chuck> 

Turtle Questions Hi, My name is Ben I am 12 years old and I have some questions that I would please like you to help me with. I got two yellow bellied turtles for Christmas. They are now nearly 5 months old and already are showing signs of mating. The male is maneuvering in front of the female and flapping his front legs franticly. No biting occurred so maybe they were just playing. I don't know. Could you please help me? < Five months is pretty early for mating behavior in turtle. If they are really older and you have had them for only five months then it could be a mating behavior. Females are usually larger and have shorted tails. Males are usually smaller and have longer claws and a much longer tail.> Also I have a large enough tank to last them a while but when they grow I know you're supposed to move them out side into a pond (which I have the resources for) but I live in cold and wet Ireland and even in the summer it's not great so what should I do when the problem arises? < There a number of things you could do. For long term housing you could get a very big aquarium, large plastic tub or any other large clean vessel that would hold water. You then need to set up and area where they can get out of the water to bask themselves. This could be a log a pile of bricks or anything else. Over the basking spot you need to give them a light source that provides heat, UVA and UVB light for up to 12 hours a day. The water can be heated to 65 degrees F using a titanium submersible aquarium heater. You really should go with the metal heater so the turtles don't break like they would a glass one. A large siphon hose could be used to change the water in the tub. Look at pond filters to keep the water clean. Basically you are making an indoor pond. Natural sunlight through a window will help but I would still recommend these other things to be sure.-Chuck> Yours sincerely Ben P.S. I think your site

Turtle Feeding Hi, It's Ben again. I hope you got my last e-mail. I forgot to ask you one of the most important questions of all. As I have said I have two 5 month old yellow bellied turtles and I feed them about 100 1/4inch sticks between the two of them once every second night. Is this enough because I have my doubts. Yours sincerely Ben Thanks for your time < I would rather see you feed them 50 pellets every day instead. Little turtles always act hungry so their behavior is not that unusual. Mix in some fresh food every one in a while like crickets, mealworms and earthworms too.-Chuck>

Turtles Need Light Hi, I have 2 red-ear sliders, and I wasn't aware they needed UVB lights until a few days ago. I have a tank outside, and have been taking them out there during the day to get sunlight and bringing them in at night. Will that work the same as having the UV light? (please email me back the answer) Thanks, Melissa < Natural sunlight is the best thing for them. When I was a young boy we set up a plastic kiddie wadding pool outside. We covered one half of the pool with a piece of plywood and left the other half exposed and placed a brick out in the open for her to bask on. In Southern Calif we left her out for 17 years and never brought her indoors. We changed the water in the pool once a week and scrapped the algae off her shell with a soft brush every once in awhile.-Chuck>

Turtle Trouble in Japan Dear Wet Web Media Crew, I'm living on a military base in Japan. Our vet doesn't service turtles and I'm at a loss. I've had my turtle since it was a hatchling (the size of a quarter). It's about 2 inches and is currently in a 10 gallon tank. I change its water once a week. Feed it pellets 2 times a day and offer it tuna, carrots, apples, etc. (though it currently ignores all veg./fruit - which I've read is normal for young turtles). I have a basking area in the tank, lighting, 3-stage filtration. I use a water conditioner and dechlorinator. I've read that turtles shed, but I'm not sure if my turtle is shedding or has fungus.... whatever it is, it doesn't appear to be going away on its own. One web site recommended adding 1/4 c. salt for each gallon of water, but I read in one of your sites Q&A's that sliders can't process salt. If I suspect fungus, what can I do? Are fungi treatments for fresh water fish ok for my turtle? Also, one site recommends live feeder fish, while I noticed a link on your site warned against it, just wondering what's best and why. Please help. Stacia <Aquatic turtles often suffer from whitish patches of fungus on the skin. Zoomed makes a medicated sulfa block called Dr. Turtle that will treat 15 gallons of water for both fungal and bacterial problems. The salt is an old remedy that affects the disease but not the turtle so they really don't have to absorb or process it. I would stick with prepared foods and stay away from the feeders for now and go with a more invertebrate diet for smaller turtles. Larger one may take more vegetables. Feeders are messy and have bone that may injure a young turtle.-Chuck> 

The Tale of the Turtle's Tail Troubles I have a red ear slider who is about 1 1/2 year old. I am not sure if it is a male or female because it has long front claws but the tail is a bit long and fat, confusing. A while back ago I noticed displaying odd behavior. It looked a bit distressed kicking around in the water and then it had this black thing coming out of its tail. I thought it had swallowed one of the black pebbles in the aquarium and was trying to pass it. Then after it pushed it out a bit more ((ahem)) I came to the conclusion that maybe it was a male turtle and it was its lil thing coming out. Now, today I saw it displaying the same behavior and as I approached it I saw that it had a huge black blob under it! I thought it was a piece of plastic from the filter but then, I saw he was kicking around like trying to get around it. As I looked even closer I saw that it was no long this time it was kind of squarish or roundish - the size of a large walnut and I guess I startled it because all of a sudden all the stuff got sucked in back thru the tail hole and he was just listless (not usual behavior when someone is around--he usually swims around like crazy). Was it his entrails?? It sure looked like it but how!? That's impossible. He seems fine now though.  HELP!!! Thanks, Marlene < This is not normal. Turtle are little pigs around feeding time and sometimes they eat the wrong things or too much. I would recommend smaller feedings a few times a day instead of one big feeding, and give him some reptile vitamins. It could be a vitamin A deficiency. Make sure the basking spot is nice and warm. If after a couple days you still see the blob then I would take him to a vet for a proper diagnosis and treatment.-Chuck> 

JAPANESE RED EAR SLIDER Dear Sir; I am not sure if this is correct place to go. We live in Tokyo, Japan and have found a red slider walking in our front yard and need some questions answered. Getting information here is difficult due to the language barrier we have. We do not speak or read Japanese. Getting information about something this detailed is difficult because even when we find some one that speaks some English they are not able to explain or answer enough of our questions. Do you know of a book that we may purchase? < Go to Zoomed.com for a small informative book you can buy along with essentials you may need to keep your new turtle healthy.> I have read a great deal about feeding them mealworms, earthworms and other types. I have no idea where in Tokyo to get such things. I have Tetra Turtle Min food and of course fresh fruits and vegetable (which she does not eat) She only wants the stick food, shrimp or fish..  Your help would be greatly appreciated. Sincerely, Lea Ann Carley Sattler < You are on the right track with the food. But you need to get a basking light for him too or his shell will soon turn soft and he will die. I am pretty sure you can find some ZooMed products in Japan. Print out the pictures from the web site and take them to some local pet shops of fish stores and show them what you need. I am certain that someone there can help you. -Chuck> FLOATING TURTLE I've had my turtle since November of 2004. I just cleaned the turtle's aquarium today and noticed that when I put him in the water he would float. Even if I tried to push him down to the bottom (not long at all) he just shot back up to the top. What should I do? What's wrong with him? Emily < Hopefully nothing. Check his diet and make sure that he is not getting too much protein and his shell is not growing too fast and out of proportion to the rest of his body. Make sure he has a good basking spot to help digest his food and hopefully pass any gas or air in the system. If you don't see any change in a week or so then I would consult a vet that hopefully specializes in reptiles.-Chuck>

MATCHING TURTLES Hi, I have a male red eared slider who's about 5-6". I recently got a young male Texas map who is about 2". At first, I put the Texas map in with the RES in a 100g stock tank filled with about 80g of water. The RES did not bite, but he was always doing what looked like his mating dance right in the face of the Texas map and also pushing him around  constantly, but there was never any biting. Never the less, I separated the two and put the Texas map in a 20g long tank for now because I was worried about the behavior of the RES, but I was wondering if there was a process I should go through before adding him into the RES tank again? Is the Texas map just too small to be added in with such a large RES? Should I start feeding the RES outside of his tank in order to maybe lower potential aggression? Or will it always be the case that I need to keep them separated? Thanks for your time. < It is always best to try to match up turtles according to size. I would not try and keep the smaller turtle in with the larger turtle. Eventually you will be away for a period of time and the bigger turtle will try and eat the smaller turtle. If not eat then he will take bits out of him and might bite off a limb. Even if the turtles are well fed the larger one will continue to dominate the smaller turtle. If you must put them in together then wait for the weekend when you can spend some time watching them. Put them in together and then feed them. Hopefully this will distract the larger turtle and he will leave the smaller turtle alone. watch them carefully and decide if it is safe to leave them alone.-Chuck> 

TURTLE PALS Hi! I am putting my 7 year old Red-Eared Slider up for adoption. Two people are interested in him. One has a 5 year old Yellow-Bellied Turtle. The other has a 1 year old Red-Eared. Which situation would be a better fit for my guy? Thank you  < Match him up with the yellow belled turtle. Turtles being kept together should be close to the same size.-Chuck> 

Is It a Chicken, or a Turtle? No! It's the Eastern Chicken Turtle Hi I've just recently brought an eastern long neck turtle.  It's about 2 years old.  I was just wondering how much food and what food is the best to feed him. < You probably are referring to an Eastern Chicken turtle. This is an aquatic turtle that does well on meal worms, earthworms, crickets, king worms, trout chow, fish and commercially available turtle food. A varied diet is best. Feed him once a day so that most of it is gone after a couple minutes. As the weather warms up then his metabolism will increase and he will need to be fed a little more and maybe a couple times a day.-Chuck> 

Female Bit Off Male's Claws?  Turtle Stuff I apologize I am just now getting back to you. The email you wrote inexplicably went into my junk mail box so unfortunately I just saw your response. Thanks so much for answering ALL of my questions. It is so kind of you to take time out of your day to help others.  I definitely try to take care of the turtles as best I can. (You should see how I care for my dogs!) The main reason I suspected it was her who caused the wounds was due to the simple fact he was really hot on her tail at that time and sometimes she gets really pissed and snaps at him. I did think it might have been too suspect t hat it happened on both claws though. I picked up some RidRot drops and Sulfa baths to treat him with he seems to be healing well (but of course I still would love to know what happened to him). I have been watching them closer to be sure it doesn't get worse. I am positive it was not caught on anything since their recent tank set up is stripped down and there is actual wounds where several of the claws are missing so a trim is probably out of the question too. But again I learn everyday so I wouldn't surprised if it was something I never considered. I have raised their temps. I don't plan to hibernate them. I have never done so in the past. If it is something you recommend please let me know. I will check out the site you mentioned. Wiggle Puppy is just my company's name. Named after my first dog, Bootsy, who would do what we called the wiggle puppy when he was happy to see us (paws down and butt in the air while shaking his tail). We do film and video work (some features but lately mostly band/concert films). Our last bigger release was a rockumentary for the band Phish entitled IT.  Thanks again for the advice. Let me know if you ever need any multimedia work! < Make sure that you try and keep the water clean so the wounds don't get infected.  Once again a warm dry area to bask is essential for their health.-Chuck>

Social turtles? Hi I was wondering if you were the one that I talk about my turtle? if I have the right person I was wondering I have an ornate wooden turtle and I was wondering if  they to have like other turtles in the cage with  them? < They really don't care one way or another.-Chuck>

Steps Too Tall for Turtle? Hello, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I am the overly anxious new owner of a red eared slider.  I am concerned about the basking area.  I set it up using different sized bricks.  The first one is about 3 and 1/2 inches off the bottom and completely covered with water, the next is about 2 inches, and the top is another 2 inches up.  My question is- is that first step too high up for him?  I have only had him less than a day but he doesn't go up there unless I put him up there.  Should that first step be lower?  I saw him get down okay, just not up. <It would help to know how large the turtle is.  I would give him a longer platform, instead of the extra step.>   Thanks for your help Julie

Turtles as a Human Health Hazard (12/12/04) I was trying to get my Fluval pump working for my red eared slider tank, and I stupidly used my mouth to try to siphon the water to get the air out of the pump tubes and some dirty turtle water went in to my mouth. I did spit it out immediately, but am very paranoid and nervous.  Should I be overly concerned?  Should I take any antibiotics?  Please provide your opinions or any links to problems like this. Thank you in advance for your assistance.
<I would not lose any sleep right now. Salmonella is the greatest risk, and most cases of this are seldom treated with antibiotics in otherwise healthy adults. Prophylactic antibiotics are not a good idea in this situation. If you get sick (vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, etc), go see your doctor and tell him/her what happened. Learn from this and do not use your mouth to start siphon in the future. Steve Allen.>

Shedding turtle?  11/22/04 Hi, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I have two sliders, about 18 months old, and recently noticed little pieces of shell in the bottom of their tank.  They don't have any holes in them or soft spots on the shells or anything that looks odd.  They are eating ok and are still happy enough for me to handle - the only thing that has changed recently is the type of food I have been giving them.  Could the shell coming off be a result of the food not being the right sort?? Would be grateful if you could help. <Your turtles shed pieces of it's shell until it has a newer, larger one.  That's how they grow.  Make sure they have a calcium supplement for a nice, hard, new shell. ~PP> Cheers

Sexing a Painted Turtle  11/22/04 Hi, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I have a 21 year old painted turtle that I adopted from I friend about a year ago.   <Now that's an old reptile!> My friend claims that some time ago should found a small egg in the turtle's aquarium and so she assumed that the turtle must be female. <Very good guess.> But when I held one of my female box turtles up next to the glass of the aquarium to say hi to the water turtle, the water turtle started doing that weird hand swishing mating ritual, which would suggest the turtle is a male turtle, right? <I think the egg was the giveaway on this one.  It must be a female turtle.  You can also tell by it's tail.  Males have tiny short tails & females have longer fat tails.  My turtles do happy dances whenever I go near their tank, thinking they might be fed.> Assuming my friend wasn't hallucinating or lying,  where could an egg possibly come from? Strange question, I know. <Unless there was another critter in the tank to lay an egg, it had to come from the turtle.  ~PP> -LG

Box Turtle Care & Feeding  11/21/04 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> This may be normal behavior, or I may have been misinformed on care.  I have a box turtle-about 1.5 years old.  She is in a 10 gallon aquarium w/sand or aquarium gravel on the bottom, about 2 inches of water and about 10 1 inch-ish rocks scattered about for basking.  There is also a fake plant and a decorative rock in there with her.  My problem is that she seems almost sad.  She always hides under the plant, doesn't eat very well-refuses to eat the pellets they gave me at the stores and is partial to iceberg lettuce and any fruit.  She has done really well today, but I'm worried she may be lonely.  (A friend found the baby nest in a river behind his house, gave some away when old enough and returned the rest where they were found).  My brother got her, or I would have asked for 2 lol.  I was wondering a few things 1) Am I caring for her properly 2) Would it be a good idea to get her a "buddy" 3) If so, what kind of turtles get along well with box turtles? Any advice would be wonderful, and I apologize if I re-asked a question, I'm not a good skimmer. <1st thing, I must ask you to please use proper capitalization in your letters.  These go to our FAQs & I have to fix them myself, before sending it.  That takes away from time I could be answering other questions.  If you do really have a box turtle (high arched shell, brown in color, locally caught ones usually have 3 back toes), then it is a land animal, not water.  It will need a container large enough to soak in for water, but mostly a dry area to hang out in.  I use cypress mulch about 3" thick, so it can bury itself, if they wish.  It will need a 20g long tank, so you can have one cool end (with the water bowl) & a warm end (with a reflector lamp above).  You need to change the water as soon as it gets dirty, as this will also be it's drinking water.  It will also like a cave to hide in (a large shoebox with one side cut out will do).  There is prepared box turtle foods made, but it can get expensive.  When wild box turtles have been dissected, they found mostly earthworms in their stomach, so that should be #1 on their list.  Usually I mix up some frozen mixed veggies, & diced fruit, mushrooms & canned dog food.  If you haunt your local grocery, you can sometimes see them taking old, soft fruit off the shelves.  Ask them if you can have it.  Iceberg lettuce has no nutritional value, as  it is mostly water.  The greener the better.  You can make up larger amounts & put into small 1/2 cup portions & freeze, to feed later.  Also, find a good reptile vitamin to "salt" it's food with.  If you want more turtles, you will need 20g/turtle.  I'd stick with only box turtles as companions, but they really don't care if they live alone.   Here are some good sites on turtles: http://www.turtletimes.com/   http://www.turtletimes.com/market/index_store.htm   Good luck & enjoy your turtle--it will live for around 30 years if you take good care of it!  ~PP (My name is Jeni too!)> Thanks again, Jenni

Sad Turtle  12/1/04 Hello, again.   <Hi, it's Pufferpunk here again> We upgraded to a 20 gallon aquarium with mulch and a big bowl for swimming, etc., and she absolutely loves it, but she still won't eat.  I did the mixture you said and she turned her nose up at it. <Have you tried warming her up in her bowl (with warm water) before offering her food?  also, they seem to be attracts to red foods, especially earthworms).   After two days of not eating I started to worry and gave her some apple which she gladly accepted, <Red foods, see?> but even the fruit she eats only bite sized amounts (to you or me) a day.  I've tried feeding her 2 or 3 times a day-giving her a fresh piece of something different-but she barely eats.  Are there any vitamin drops that I can drop on the food I give her to keep her healthy?  Or should I consider carrying her to a vet?   <I don't think a vet is necessary.  Turtles will try to hibernate in the winter. Try to keep her warm & keep offering her lots of variety, to find out what her favorite foods are.  You can buy good reptile vitamins form a pet shop.  Also, adding cod-liver oil to her food & rubbing it on her shell & legs is very good for her.  ~PP> Thanks for all your help. Jenni

Turtle Habitat and Pool <Hi, Mike D here>    I was wondering if I could bring my yellow bellied slider in the pool which has chlorine in it.<If you're asking if you can take it into your swimming pool with you, occasionally, for short periods probably wouldn't do any harm, but long term exposure to higher amounts of chlorine will eventually do eye damage and possibly cause intestinal problems as well.> I was also wondering if it was ok to have the fish rocks that are at the bottom of the fish tank in the cage with the turtle and I have one last question will my turtle be ok without having another turtle in the cage with it- can it be alone??<Regular aquarium gravel would probably be alright, with sand being a better choice, and as to keeping it alone, that often the best way for the animal to stay the healthiest, as it can't fight with other turtles over food.> Thanks!! please reply soon!!!! and how am I going to get your reply can you email it back to me thanks so much !!!! PS. How deep should the water be and what should I feed him?<The depth of the water isn't overly important as long as there is a good basking space where it can easily get out to sun itself. You'll also need to invest in a good broad spectrum reptile light, aimed at the basking area only> I found him in lake Travis-- is it ok to feed him store bought food<Yes and no...there are some commercial turtle foods that are satisfactory, with the old fashioned dried insect type completely useless. Adding occasional pieces of lean fish or chicken will help, and even better, try to dust it with a good reptile calcium supplement.> and how big does the tank need to be?<That depends upon the size of the turtle. A small juvenile can be housed in a 2-5 gal. tank, with an adult animal needing an enclosure large enough to allow plenty of movement.>  Is it ok for the tank to be bare with just gravel and water or does it need something else? If using a regular aquarium, it will need a float or piece of wood large enough to allow it to get completely out of the water, thus the basking light. Keep in mind as well that reptiles need to be kept warm, with a minimum of 72 degrees f and never allowed to exceed the high 80's.> please please reply soooonnnn!!!!!!!! thanks soo much <Michaela>

Turtle Hunger Strike My public library children's area recently received a pair of yellow-bellied slider turtles.  They're about three years old.  The family that donated them kept them in a ten gallon tank with only about two inches of water and some gravel -- no light, no space to swim, nothing.  Their diet -- apparently the only thing that worked for them -- consisted of Tetrafauna ReptoMin pellet food.  According to the family, they ate well and always got excited about their food. We immediately filled the tank more than half full, set up a heat lamp, provided them with a dry perch, etc.    The turtles seem to love their new space and take periodic laps around the tank.  They did lots of exploring the first day, and now have picked their favorite spot on a partially submerged rock.  But after a week here, they still have not touched their food.  We're planning to introduce meat, earthworms, etc., into the their diet, and hope that will help.  But if it doesn't, what's up?  are they just traumatized by their recent move?  Again, they reportedly ate very well before.  Please advise.  Thanks! Catherine E. Threadgill Children's Services Charleston County Public Library 68 Calhoun Street Charleston, SC  29401 >>>Hello Catherine, It's likely that you're just witnessing the effects of acclimation. Give them a few more days, and I'm sure they'll begin eating. Try to avoid disturbing them during this time if possible, as the added anxiety will prolong the fast. Good luck Jim<<<

House of the Turtles (turtle history) I was in Uzmal last summer.  This is a Mayan city in Mexico that used cisterns for their water supply.  There is a temple there for the turtle.  The turtle is in the Mayan story of creation. The guide for the day said the turtles were put in the cisterns to keep the water clean.  What do you think of that? <Actually doesn't surprise me, I know they were thought to eat algae> I can not find that statement being made on any web site that talks about  the Casa de las Tortugas in Uzmal and Turtles. <Very fascinating history lesson on turtles though and something important to get out there.  Thank you so much for sharing it> Here is one site that talks about the turtle: http://www.isourcecom.com/maya/cities/uxmal/houseoftheturtles.htm Thank you in advance for looking into this. <Thank you so much, MacL> MDK MICHAEL D. KLUBOCK

Turtle Shedding Too Much <Hi, MikeD here> I have a Two and a half year old female red ear slider that is shedding a lot lately.  I have made sure the temps of the water and basking area are adequate, being 78 degrees and 88-90 degrees respectively.<88-90 degrees F for basking...I assume this is under a full spectrum daylight bulb? I ask as they need some UV to keep fungal infections down>  I feed her every other day with turtle pellets, some carrots or apples. Occasionally I'll give her mill worms and have some gold fish in her tank.  Am I feeding her too much?  Not enough variety?<It doesn't sound like too much, but I think I'd suggest leaning toward more meat/protein in the diet as these are primarily carnivorous>  Her skin comes off in larger pieces than before, although they are still thin.  Could it be too much chlorine and if so how do I solve that problem?<Any chlorine is too much chlorine, easily remedied by adding any one of several different dechlorination products to the water, available in the fish section of almost any pet shop. Is the water changed, filtered or otherwise cleaned? Use care as turtles were banned for sale as pets long ago due to the propensity to spread salmonella infections through their waste in the water.>  Thanks for your help. David

A Turtle Tank? <Hi, Mike D here> hey my name is Shawn and I was thinking of getting a turtle or two. I was wondering if a 30 gallon tank would be big enough for two red ear sliders.<If gotten very young, it will suffice for 2-3 years before they'll need a larger tank. For good success you'll need a good full spectrum basking light and somewhere that they can get completely out of the water.>                                                  thanks

Green water in turtle tank <Hi, Mike D here> I am sorry if you have had to answer this question already, but I am still a little lost.<no problem> I have one red eared slider that is 5-6 inches. I keep him in a 10 gallon tank.<This is too small. Does he have someplace to bask where he can get completely out of the water?> I use a Duetto 100 submersible power filter. The filter has a carbon container that I have long since disposed of and have not been able to buy another because the fish stores seem to never restock.<OK, you've moving water, but not filtering it. Without floss and carbon, all you have is water movement.> I have a sucker fish (I don't know if this is the correct name of the fish but it is what I have heard it to be called.<Probably one of the Plecostomus catfish> Either way it eats algae.) I feed my RES zoo med's aquatic turtle food once or twice every 2 weeks (is this too little?<You bet it's too little. WAY too little.> I don't want to feed it too much and have it grow too quickly.<How'd you like it if you were allowed to eat once a week so as to not get fat. My money says you would not be a happy camper, and neiotheris your turtle. That borders on cruelty, and I may be going easy on you.>) And I also sometimes give it zoo med's turtle treat (dried ocean krill)<Not a great food as it contains salt, which Slider's can't excrete.>. I have a basking light that is on for 7 hours and a UV light that is on for 8 hours. Not much direct sunlight hits the tank since I keep my blinds closed. Every time I completely change the water in the tank (every 2-3 weeks due to the greenness of it) the water will be green again within a week. Use filter floss and activated carbon and your water quality should improve. As it is, it's just stagnant and should be cleaned MUCH more often.> I read in the fish forums that the nitrate levels and stuff should be checked for this kind of question but I am not sure if this applies to turtles.<Turtles, no, fish yes.> My main questions aside from how to keep my tank water turning green are if I need the carbon stuff in my filter<Definitely>, do I need to buy algae pellets for my sucker fish so that it won't starve<The fish would be VERY appreciative, I'm sure.>, and do I need to cut back on lighting?<NO, the lighting is fine.> Thank you for whatever help you can give me.<Someone has given you really bad advice on animal care and I truly feel sorry for both the Plecostomus and the turtle. One thing animals of all types respond to is an owner that tries to treat them the way they'd like to be treated.> ~Wendy

Snapping Turtle Shell Growths (continued) Bob, Mike ????<It's Mike D here again>   I know that algae will grow on the shell but when I saw a white film on my snapper's head, I became concerned.<Aha! I would too, but not knowing it was white, I was at a disadvantage! **grin**>  He has always eaten very well but seemed to not be interested anymore.  Over the aquarium I have a Slimline Reptile Fixture with super 15 watt UV lamp (it produces 3%+ UVB and 7%+ UVA) and a Daylight Blue Reptile 60 watt bulb.<I thought you probably would have, as you didn't sound like a novice, but had to ask>  I have put some Neosporin on his shell and rubbed it on his neck and legs.<Now there's some creative thinking, although it shouldn't have much effect if it's indeed a fungal growth, with Neosporin being for bacterial infections>  Now that the weekend is here I will put him out in the sun for a few hours while I am at home.<Good idea, but use care as once his body temperature hits 92 degrees it could be all over. I'm assuming that you know NEVER to sit a terrarium/aquarium in the sun as the sun's rays are magnified by the glass creating a rudimentary Dutch Oven>  He seems to be perking up a bit but still has some algae (fungus) hanging from his neck.<You might want to consider making up a fairly strong salt bath and soaking him in it for a few minutes at a time for several days. Many true funguses are extremely sensitive to salt and might die very easily.  I'd suggest no longer than 20 minutes or so for the soaks as snappers have no regulatory mechanism for secreting excess salts>  Thanks for your help.<Best of luck and keep us posted>  --  SUE

First turtle questions 8/2/04 Tomorrow morning I'm going to go pick up my very first turtle (red eared slider).   The guy at the pet store told me all I need was a little water and something for the little guy to crawl up out  of the water on to.  This sounded far to simple to me.  One would think he'd me more apt to try to sell me  several things I don't need rather than what I can scrape by with.  I've been online all day looking up information  to ease my anxieties and make sure I can make my little turtle happy.  He's about the size of a half dollar right now,  so I bought a 10gal. tank, figuring that should do for now.  My question arises in the lighting and heating deportment.   What is better, a heating lamp or a submersible water heater? < Always use a lamp and never a heater. When you heat the water it dive up the humidity in the tank and has  been suspected to cause respiratory problems in turtles.> Also, will a heating lamp take care of his lighting needs, or do I need a separate light? < You need at least a incandescent light with a plant light bulb. This bulb most closely resembles sunlight>   I plan on getting a thermometer to keep track of the temperature.  Should I place that in the water or  near the heating lamp? < Place it in the water as far away as possible from the lamp.> And just one more question.  Is it alright to turn off the lighting/heating at night? < Absolutely. Turtles need to sleep too. Make sure you thoroughly wash your hands after handling your  turtle so you don't get sick. They have been known to carry diseases when they are kept in dirty water.-Chuck> Thanks for your time in easing me "new mommy syndrome" anxieties.  ~Lynsey~ Turtle With Parasitic Worms <Hi, Mike D here again> Now I am seeing white worms coming out of the turtle's feces!<Not uncommon in wild caught turtles, but surprising in captive bred animals>  They are about one inch or small in length and are as thin as a piece of paper.  I got rid of the other two turtles and gave them away to friends.  Now what do I do?  I put some Maracyn Plus medication in the tank, hoping this would help.<This won't help at all, as that medication is for gram positive bacterial infections only>  I started that yesterday (Thursday, July 22, 2004).  My turtle is now not eating<A very bad sign, as the ONLY way to rid it of parasitic worms is through feeding medicated foods containing a vermicide>, but is active.  This is the same one that cracked its shell<I hope his name isn't "Lucky">. I've siphoned the tank yesterday to get rid of the worms that were there and this morning I found more!  HELP!!!<You'll need to  check with your LFS to see what brand of vermicidal food they carry, or even better, a local Veterinarian, just as you would for a puppy or kitten with worms. What you are describing sounds like tapeworms or flukes, with the more common roundworms not flat>

Determining Sex of Juvenile Turtles Hi!<Hi, MikeD here>  Today I purchased two adorable turtles, the size of a quarter<Those are newly hatched and often quite delicate>.  I figure they are Painted Turtles, because of their colors<Many little turtles offered for sale are quite colorful, with the most common being the Red-eared Slider, which is green with yellow striping on the neck and one red stripe in the middle. True Painted turtles have red edging around the shell and no "red ear", but in either case, determining the sex is done the same way.>, but how can I tell whether they are male of female?<For now this is nearly impossible. As they get larger males will develop very long "fingernails" on the front feet, while the females will remain short, the same as on the rear feet. The males "court" underwater by placing their feet in front of their face and waving these long front claws. Another method is by "probing" to locate the hemipenises (they have two each), but this again ought to be done when they are larger and by a professional, as it entails risk of serious injury if done incorrectly>  I would really like to know, please answer back.   Thank you,<You're very welcome> Melissa C.R.

Baby Turtle Questions <Hi, MikeD here> We bought two little turtles at a flea market about a week ago.  Their shells are about 1" - 1½" in diameter.<It's that time of year>  The guy who sold them to us had them in a tiny little plastic aquarium with barely any water.  Anyway, when we got home I searched the internet to find out how to take care of them, and found out it's illegal to sell them that small.<Yes and no. As pets yes, with many using the loophole "for educational purposes only>  We think they are red eared sliders, because of the spot behind their eyes. It's not really red though, more like peach.  Does the shade indicate their health, or does it get more red as they get older?<The amount of red varies, actually being pink or yellow in some cases, with there being several closely related sliders>  We got them a glass aquarium, filter, heat lamp, floating island, and turtle food from the pet store.  The aquarium is like a regular sized fish tank, 20 gallons I guess.  How long will it be before they need a bigger tank?<That depends on how much you feed them, what you feed them, etc.>  Also, I have only seen one of the turtles eat, and am worried that the other is not eating.<It may not be feeding. They often get "soft shell" from not being able to get out of the water enough, as well as fungus and other ailments as well>  I've read the long lists on the internet of foods you are supposed to get for your turtle, are the instructions/recommendations any different for turtles this small? <Just make sure they can easily get out of the water and that you have a full spectrum "daylight" herp bulb. Feeding meaty foods can be helpful as well, but use caution as this is why it's technically illegal to sell them, as salmonella bacteria flourish in the water>  The turtle that I saw eat seems a lot more active and even smarter than the other one.  Do turtles have different "personalities" or is the second turtle not as healthy?<This could be either or both. If #2 isn't eating, it's likely ill>  Should we report the guy who sold them to us?  Who would we report him too? You can file a complaint with your local state's fish and wildlife dept. and/or the better business bureau if you wish> Thank you, Rebekah

How Do I Know if my Turtles Babies are Still Alive my turtle just laid eggs and I don't know if there is some thing in there or not or if she is going to have more babies help < Take the eggs out of the water and bury them in a potting soil vermiculite mixture and incubate them at a constant 80 degrees if you can. You will be able to tell in a couple of weeks if the eggs are good or not. Keep the soil moist but not wet and you may have baby turtles in a couple of months. -Chuck>

Small turtle my cat brought home hi<Hi, MikeD here> I was wondering if you could help? First my cat brought home a very small turtle slightly bigger than a quarter amazingly it was and is still alive. I have tried to find out it's type. we are in Maine, the small critter has an almost rounded dark shell, with an orangey/yellow bottom shell. the back legs have red stripes and the front legs as well as the throat area has yellow stripes and nothing on top but two small yellow dots on either side of its head.< Most likely it's an Eastern Painted turtle (Chrysemys picta>there are several ponds miles down the dirt road. I am sure the bass one of which I caught (4lbs) would enjoy this little critter as a snack.<They would!>I have decided to try and keep it as I love turtles and am willing to spend what it needs for its care. The way I see it I already have 18 pets what's one more! Do you have an idea as to what kind it could be?<See above, Eastern Painted turtle>any special care tips?<To do it right you need a small aquarium,50%water/50% land and a good herp light. Herp vitamins/calcium help too> thank you for your help my e-mail address is XXXX@aol.com if you would be kind enough to respond there. thanks again<You're welcome. Hope it helps a little> Marcee

Algae in Turtle Tank I have 2 aquariums with red eared slider turtles. I use a Fluval 204 canister filter for both aquariums. <Excellent choice, canisters are great for turtle tanks.> Within the last couple of months, there has been a lot of algae growing on the floating islands that they use to bask on. I have completely cleaned the aquariums and within 4 or 5 days, the algae is back. <Depending upon how complete your "completely cleaned" is, you may be working against yourself by getting rid of beneficial bacteria, large partial water changes are the way to go.> Is there anything that I can use to put in the water or media that can be put in the filter that won't harm the turtles? <I am just not a big believer in using products to adjust the conditions of my tank, especially if I am going to become dependent upon them, it is too expensive and unnecessary. If you are not using carbon in your filters, I would recommend adding this. It is best to get to the root of the problem.> I have had these aquariums for about a year and have just started having the problem. One aquarium is near a window, but the other one isn't, so I don't think that sunlight is a factor. Also, there is an oily film along the top of the water in one aquarium. I have started to feed them dehydrated shrimp, which they love. Please help. <The first question is, what changes have you made to your husbandry recently that may be causing the problem? A change in food? Maybe this food is adding more nutrients to help the algae grow? A change to your lighting, old bulbs? Turtles are messy, especially as they get older, water quality will definitely play a role in algae blooms. You could try algae eating fish, but they may end up as expensive turtle food. You could try changing their diet, or your feeding regime, making sure that all food is being consumed. There are all kinds of algae destroying products on the market, but personally I would not use any of them. You may find that a little scrub down of the tank decorations is just part of your weekly maintenance. I actually like a little algae, it gives the tank that "lived in" look. Check out the link below for more info on battling algae. Best Regards, Gage http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwalgcontrol.htm >

Turtle Problem My friends neighbor had 2 turtles. About the size slightly smaller than a quarter. He kept them in a cage much to small with filthy water no food for a week, no light, and kept them outside. Due to there poor nutrition and surroundings one died, I have the other now and I think he is OK, but his shell is growing in an odd shape and it is hard to get him to feed, I was worried and put him in his own tank just in case he had something that could spread to my healthy turtles. Is this OK, is he going to be OK, what about his shell??? Rachel <<Dear Rachel, the shell problem sounds like a vitamin deficiency, probably due to the previous bad diet your turtle has had. Try to feed him vitamin enriched foods, e.g. soak his pellets in Selcon, (available from your LFS) or try to find a store near you that specializes in reptiles, and pick up some vitamins for reptiles from them, maybe also you can find him some live food, most reptile places sell all kinds of worms, larvae, etc. But make sure he keeps getting the pellets soaked in vitamins, and keep his water as clean as possible. I am no expert on turtle diseases, so if you find a good reptile store, they can look at him for you and give you some advice. In the meantime, keep him in his own tank! He sounds healthy, though, but get a second opinion from someone who can actually see him...by the way, you are doing a wonderful thing for this poor little guy. Good luck! -Gwen>> 

Turtle Tank Basking Light  Thank for the info! Right now I am not sure whether I'm going to buy a 20gal or a 12gal.  <Go for the 20, preferable a 20gal long.>  The 12 gal has all the lighting and everything included, but I probably will get the 20gal. Do I need a basking light if I have a water heater and fluorescent lights?  <Yes, the turtle will need to climb out of the water to bask and dry off, this helps prevent infections and rot and other nasties. Best Regards, Gage>  I was going to get a basking light just in case but I want to be sure. Thanks again! -Sarah

Aquatic Turtles Hey!  Okay, I know that there have already been a lot of questions about feeding the turtles, but I'd like to ask again.  See my little brother got a painted turtle a little less than a year ago, and it would never eat so we always had to force feed it with pellets, which requires a lot of patience and work!  Then that turtle just died (didn't last too long like most the others do...are we doing something wrong... we have dry land, water which we change every day at least every other day, rocks, and heat??) and it was devastating for my little brother, so we bought a new turtle.  This one is the red-ear which we currently have.  We got it about 10 days ago and it's still pretty young. I'm not sure how old, but it's not a baby and not an adult!!  But anyway, it hardly moves around like our other turtle did.  It just sits on a rock all day and barely moves around even when we put it in the water.  Also, it won't eat like the other turtle.  It also won't open it's eyes which were swollen so we gave it vitamin A drops. can you give it too much vitamin A?  Anyway, I'm afraid that it's starting to die, and we just got it.  It would really be a very traumatic event to go through that again with my little brother, so if there is any way that you can help me, it would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks so much, Becca! <Hey Becca, sounds like your turtle needs to go see a veterinarian, I would not risk home treatments at this point, it sounds like your turtle is going downhill.  The Painted Turtle and the Red Eared Sliders are both aquatic turtles, you want their environment to be primarily water with a small area for basking, these turtles eat while they are in the water, they will come up to the land to grab food, but will pull it back into the water.  Care for these guys is not too difficult, filtered and heated water, around 78 degrees F, a small area of land to allow them to get out of the water if the want to.  Above the land area you will want to mount a light for basking.  We have an article on the care of Red Eared Sliders at the link below.  Best of Luck, and take your turtle to a vet, this sounds serious, Gage http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/redearsliders.htm  >

Sick Turtle Hey Gage!  It's me, Becca, again! <Hey Becca!> Thank-you very much for responding back to me.  I really appreciate it, but I live in a small town and there is not a vet clinic for turtles. <Time for you to open one?  Just kiddin.> They only do cats and dogs, but we did bring it down to the pet place we bought it from, and they are going to keep her for a week or so and try to help us. <That is good of them.> My question though is that I was reading in a book that if turtles have swollen eyes, are blowing bubbles out of their nose, and are breathing through their mouth, they may have a respiratory ailment.  Is this true, and if so, do you have any idea how we can fix this problem, or is it something that only  a vet can do? <Those are the symptoms of a respiratory ailment alright.  There is a good chance that he is going to need some antibiotics, and for that I think you would need a vet, but I am not positive, I have not had to treat many respiratory infections in my turtles.  Ensuring that your husbandry is top notch and his environment is ideal, there is a chance that he could come around on his own.  Read through the articles below for more information on how to best care for your turtle, the last two links are to reptile discussion forums, I strongly recommend posting your problem on one of these sites for information on how to treat this ailment.  You might also use Google.com to search for more reptile discussion boards.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/redearsliders.htm http://www.tortoisetrust.org/articles/aquatic.html http://www.petreptiles.com/board/ http://forums.kingsnake.com/forum.php  > If you could help me out once again, it'd be great!  Thanks so much.  I really appreciate your help,   Becca <Please let me know how it goes and if I be of any further assistance.  Best of luck, Gage.>

Side Neck Turtle Incubation We have a side neck turtle that has laid eggs and we have put them in a Tupperware bowl with Vermiculite with a little warm water, we are going to put a light over them, but we don't know anything else......PLEASE help us, give us any source of info we can use Thanks Kristi <Hey Kristi,  I have never incubated turtle eggs myself, I would start with the articles at the link below and see if you can pick up a book specific to Side Neck Turtles for specific information on temperature and what not.  Best Regards, Gage http://www.tortoisetrust.org/articles/articles.html#breeding  >

Turtle Mixes Is it ok for a snapper turtle and a red eared slider to be together  in the same tank? <Not a good idea, you would need a huge tank for the snapper, and there is a good chance that your slider could get hurt.  Best Regards, Gage>

Crusty Turtle Hi,     My turtle is about a couple years old, and he recently developed a crust on the side of his head.  Other sources have told me that it is an inner ear infection.  Is this extremely serious?  Even so what can I do so this infection will go away, and what can I do to make sure it doesn't come back? <It does sound like it could be an infection, and the mucus is hardening into a crust.  I would definitely call a good reptile vet to be safe.  The best way to prevent problems in the future is through good husbandry, clean water is very important.  Best Regards, Gage>

Painted Turtle Shedding I have 2 young painted turtles in about a some where between 20-30 gallon tank. well our oldest about 1 year's feet are shedding as so my dad says. we do not know how to cure it we have looked every were so you are our last person to  turn to. And I have another question how do you tell the difference between a male and female painted turtle? <It is pretty normal for turtles to shed, I would not worry too much.  Focus on proper husbandry, clean water, correct temperature, and a good diet, I am sure your turtles will be fine.  The males will have much longer toe nails than the females, the underside of the males shell (plastron) will be more concave than the females as well.  Best Regards, Gage>

Swollen Eyed Turtle Dear Sir; I am trying to locate Turtle Eye Clear (Vitamin Prep.) for my daughter's turtle. Can you help me? I have tried to clear up the turtle's puffy eye with Nature Zone Turtle Eye Drops, but it is not working. We have used Turtle Eye Clear in the past and it works great! <Hi Michele, I was able to locate the product on Petsmart's a quick search on the Internet should give you more results.  If the problem keeps reoccurring you might want to investigate the cause of the problem.   Best Regards, Gage http://www.petsmart.com/products/product_11701.shtml  > Sincerely,  Michelle Hanson

Turtle Food 1/11/04 WWM Crew. <Hi, Pufferpunk here> Please can you tell me the best food for my turtles I have 1 painted (2 months) old and 2 yellow bellies (3 months). I live in the UK and food seems to be frozen bloodworms, frozen daphnia and frozen turtle food. I would like to give them a good diet. <I have an African Sideneck, Asian map & soft-shell turtle (in addition to 6 box turtles).  They eat cut-up pieces of fish, squid, shrimp, turtle & cichlid pellets, earthworms & crickets.  Make sure to use reptile vitamins w/calcium on their food, at least 1x/week.>   Thank you for your time.  Damon <You're welcome--Pufferpunk>

Ich Meds and Turtles I have a red eared slider and a goldfish in the same tank.  I believe that the fish has ick and I bought Ick away medicine for the tank.  I was wondering if it is safe to use with the turtle still in the tank?  Thanks <I am not sure what the ingredients are in the this product, but it would be best to treat the fish in a separate tank.  The manufacturer of the product might have a number listed on the bottle or possibly a web site with a way to contact them to inquire if their product is safe to use with turtles.  Best Regards, Gage> Jessica Maxcy

Water temp too warm on water change Hi, I need some answers quickly to this question? I have 2 red ear sliders that are about 1 year old. I was changing the water in their tank this evening.   I'm afraid that I may have killed them because the water may have been too warm or hot?   I can't tell because I forgot to test the water's temperature. when I had them in the water, they were both swimming around very frantically and I didn't think anything of it since that seemed normal whenever I moved them into the temp container while I washed the tank.   but, they both stopped moving suddenly and have not moved for at least an hour: Nothing seems to affect them right now. Their heads are shrunk in towards the shell but, still outside of the shell and visible.   The eyes are closed.   All four legs are pointing outwards but, no sign of movement at all Please advise?? Thank You!! <Hello, I am really sorry to hear this.  If the water was too hot it is possible that they were killed.  The best thing to do would be to restore the water to the temperature that they were used to and see if they come around.  If you pick them up you could try to see if you can hear them breathing, also a light poke behind the legs with your finger, or anywhere under the shell that they would normally defend should get some reaction out of them.  Best of luck, Gage>

Turtle Feeding Hi, I just got a pair of hatchling yellow bellied sliders about a week and a half ago.  They are about 1 and 1/2 inch in length.  I am feeding them Zoo Med's Hatchling Aquatic Turtle Food about once a day and they don't seem to be eating.  This is what the man I bought them from suggested I feed them.  On the first day I got them I fed them and they seemed to eat a little bit but now I don't ever see them eat the food.  I have tried removing them from their habitat and putting them in their own separate containers with the food for about an hour an still nothing.  Do you think it is just me or do I have a problem?  Please let me know.   Thanks! ~ Jenn <Hi Jenn, I would give them a chance to adjust to their new surroundings and offer a variety of foods, make sure their temperature is warm. Check out the link below, for similar issues, I am sure they will come around.  Best Regards, Gage http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/sliderfaqs.htm >

Winter and Red Eared Slider I really need to know if I can leave my red eared sliders out side in the winter or not. I have a little pond outside that they can live in. I have a heater for the pond so it won't freeze.   I keep gold fish in it and they stay alive.  I have it all fenced in so they can't get hurt by any animals. They also have land to go onto so they can be on land if they need to.  please help <It really depends on where you live.  If it gets cold enough they should bury themselves at the bottom of your pond and go into hibernation.  I personally would move them inside, I have never hibernated a turtle or tortoise and if I were going to try it I would like to be in control of the conditions.  Check out the links below to help with your decision.  Best Regards, Gage http://www.anapsid.org/hibernation.html http://www.tortoisetrust.org/articles/Refrigerator.htm  >

Turtle Eggs I have a question about freshwater turtle eggs.  How can you tell if the eggs the turtle lays are good or bad? And how long before the hatch? Thanks for your time. <It depends on the turtle, I am going to assume a pond slider of sorts.  If you have a male and a female who performed the mating rituals (as opposed to a lone female), chances are you have good eggs.  Fuzzy eggs are bad.  You will want to keep the eggs moist and warm, mid to upper 80s.  Best of luck, Gage>

Turtle Hibernation Regarding hibernation, we live in the Houston, TX area, where the temperature rarely drops in the 20's. the kiddie pool is only 9 inches high, so am I right in saying its not suitable for hibernation of my turtle? my family does not plan on bringing inside for the winter, so can I just hibernate it in a 14 inch high bucket that we have that's wide enough for her to fit in with an inch or so at least the whole way around extra? after all, she doesn't need any room for movement, just a deep hibernating spot, right? I just want to know if the bucket is deep enough for her to hibernate safely at 14 inches or if its too shallow. thank you <I have no experience hibernating turtles,  I do not know if the bucket technique is a good idea, sounds like it will be hard to regulate the temperature.  There is a good article at the link below on hibernating turtles in the refrigerator.  I would get a good book that thoroughly covers hibernation before trying it.  Best Regards, Gage. http://www.tortoisetrust.org/articles/Refrigerator.htm   >

Pregnant Turtle? Hi a month ago a turtle wandered into our flower bed in our front yard. she's a red ear slider, and her shell length is approx. 12 ". since this is the first time I've ever had a turtle I have been on the internet almost everyday since looking for information about how I should care for her, etc. The only problem is that many of the websites say one thing, and another says something completely different. <Everyone has their opinions, and there is more than one way to keep a turtle.> I got a kiddie pool, left it outside next to my house, and put some bricks in so they just peeked out of the water in order for her to bask. there's no filter at this time, so I change the water every 2 or 3 days. <I would do partial water changes, and look into getting a filter.  Also, depending upon where you live, she will need to be housed indoors for the winter.> I read that red ear sliders mate in the spring and lay their eggs in the summer. is this true? <From what I read, the breeding season is March-July.> also, how do I know if she is pregnant? <I do not have much experience in the breeding department.  As far as I know, the female will start to eat less, and become very active looking for a nesting spot.  I cannot find my turtle book right now.>   she's obviously mature enough to have mated in the spring. the nearest body of water to my house is 100 yards away, so she may have come to land in search of a nesting ground. if she is pregnant, I read that you should put the eggs in a container half buried in moist vermiculite. why is this? <First you need to put in some soil for her to dig a nest and lay her eggs.  Then excavate them and move them to a separate container for incubation.  The moist vermiculite helps to insulate the eggs and keep them moist.> cant I just use moist, shredded newspaper or paper towels instead? <I am not sure, I would just go with the vermiculite.> and what temperature do the eggs have to be in? <High 70s to mid 80s.> none of the websites have said the same thing. It would be really really awesome if there were eggs. <Better yet, babies.  I strongly recommend a good book on slider husbandry, if she is pregnant, you have to worry about her laying the eggs and not becoming egg-bound, then if she does lay them you will have to incubate them, and if they hatch successfully, you will need to raise them.  ugh, I get tired just thinking about it.  I would also find a good reptile vet in the area.  The link below is to a care sheet on Melissa Kaplan's site, she knows her stuff.  Best of Luck, Gage http://www.anapsid.org/reslider.html > Please help! thank you! -new turtle owner

Is my turtle pregnant? ok I promise this will be the last time I ask anymore questions lol... first of all, my res has been acting very strangely over the past two days. since yesterday, she kept trying to get out of her kiddie pool. I mean, very very frantically trying to get out, like she was going to dye if she didn't. after watching her all morning, after lunch I went to a small area of my lawn that's behind my house where the grass had all died and was replaced by dollar weeds and moss. I spent about half an hour clearing the weeds and stuff away and put them in a pile. next, I dug a few inches into the 'deweeded' area and thoroughly turned the dirt around. the dirt was mostly sand with chunks of clay mingled in. I crushed the clay, fenced off the area with some wood and bricks and whatever I could find, then put my turtle in the area. the deweeded area is 4'x5', with a few inches of weeds surrounding. I spent the whole afternoon sitting by a window overlooking the area, but in vain, because the turtle did nothing but try to escape. of course the fence stopped her, and she flipped over on her back a few times (then got upright again by digging her head into the sand and pushing), but NO NEST DIGGING. I don't understand. the sand is moist enough to dig in, the clay is no problem at all since I crumbled it up, but no digging! so I put the turtle back in the pool after 4 hours of waiting, but then she started to frantically try to get out again. this morning I put her back in the area, misting it slightly first, but after all these hours she has done nothing but try to escape. what am I supposed to do?????? if I leave her in the kiddie pool, she tries to get out like a dog is going to maul her, but when I put her in a nesting spot, all she does is try to get away. its getting a bit frustrating, and I will be glad for ANY help or advice whatsoever. I have tried palpating her in the area right in front of her hind legs, but feel nothing by the way, her shell isn't 12 inches long, sorry. its about 8 or 9 inches long thank you <Hmm.  It sounds like she is either not pregnant and just acting crazy, or maybe she is not ready yet.  I would try incorporate both the land and the water in her enclosure maybe with a sort of A Frame or something going over the side of the kiddy pool so the turtle can come and go as she pleases.  The land area will need to be fenced in of course. Best Regards, Gage>

Slider Love Hello I have two red-eared sliders--a male and female who have co-habited in a 75 gallon aquarium for three years with no problems. HOWEVER in the last few weeks they have become very hostile to each other--he often tries to engage her in mating but she will respond by attacking him and then he attacks her (biting mostly) to the point where I have had to pry them apart--no serious injuries have occurred and I have tried to take them each out of the tank for several hours to give them alone time....will this end? is this normal behavior? what can I do to stop it? Is buying a separate tank my only option? Thanks for your help Louise <Hi Louise, I have never tried breeding sliders, so I am not familiar with their breeding behavior.  From what I have read it sounds like he is feeling frisky and she does not want any part of it, and this is when the aggression starts.  The link below is to the first site I found that mentions breeding, the sites I check out after that all seem to have identical information. http://reslider.free.fr/breeding.html I would see if I could find a good discussion forum to see if anyone else has had a similar experience, chances are that many have.  I found a forum on turtletimes.com http://www.turtletimes.com/ I would start there.  If the aggression gets too bad or one gets seriously wounded, I would definitely separate them.  Best of luck, let us know how it turns out or if we can be of further assistance. -Gage>

Red Eared Sliders Head turned white Hello.. I recently acquired 2 Red Eared Sliders...and have had them for a couple of weeks...they have been eating very good and their tank is set up properly.....but I when I woke up today I noticed that one of the RES head has turned a white color....and the other's head looks like it is doing the same....is this what it looks like when they shed.......or is this a serious problem? Please let me know anything u can think about. thanks...Marty <This is a new one on me Marty, I have not heard of their heads turning white.  I would need more information on the housing and feeding and a picture to start guessing.  Check out the link below to see if your turts are showing any other symptoms.  A checkup with a good reptile vet could not hurt either.  Best Regards, Gage http://www.tortoisetrust.org/articles/res.html  >

Aquatic Turtle Care I have 2 yellow bellied sliders.  I am contemplating putting them in an outdoor pond.  We live near the Virginia coast and I wonder How to set up this pond (supplies, plants, etc.).   Also, can they stay out there year around? <I do not keep my turtle outside because of the predators, but outdoors is definitely best for them if you can meet all of their requirements.  The link below is to an article on ponds for turtles, it should be a good place to start. http://www.tortoise.org/general/pondmak.html> What kind of plants do I have to have in order to make a outside pen for them? <most pond plants should be fine> And what kind of foods do they eat beside night crawlers and lettuces? And where do I find powder vitamins and calcium's to sprinkle on their foods? <Here is a good article on feeding aquatic turtles http://www.tortoisetrust.org/articles/aquaticdiet.htm If you have a local reptile shop you can get the vitamins from them, or from an etailer like our wonderful sponsor http://www.drsfostersmith.com/ Best Regards, Gage>   Thanks  Julia Rk

Turtle Buddies Are there any other aquatic animals that can safely cohabitate with a larger turtle (in our case a pacific pond turtle)? <Not that I can think of off the top of my head, feeder goldfish have been known to last a little while, but eventually get eaten, I imagine a crawfish would make a nice snack, frogs or newts would be lunch.  You could try a very fast durable fish, something that can put up with less than perfect water quality.  I had some Giant Danios spawn in one of my turtle tanks once, ended up eating all the fry, but the adults survived with the turtle for a while.  A few years down the road I figured I'd try the Giant Danios with the same type of turtle, they where all eaten within a week.  So, fast, durable, forgiving fish, with good cover, and you may be able to pull it off, but I would not recommend it. -Gage>

Aquarium cleaning Can an aquarium once used for a reptile be used for fish? <Sure, as long as it is an aquarium that was made to hold water, and not a reptile tank that looks like an aquarium, but will eventually blow up if filled with water.  Be sure to clean the tank well, 1cup bleach in 5gal of water is a good cleaning solution. -Gage>

Filtration Questions, stocking mixed "ponds" Hi, I inherited a 135 gallon aquarium from a friend about a year ago.   Originally, I had the tank separated in half with Plexiglas with one side being land and the other water - for two yellow belly turtles.  After a short while I got a number of other animals for the aqua terrarium like a clawed water frog and a small variety of fish.  At the time the center barrier was 8 inches high and contained roughly 20 gallons of water.  I bought a Fluval 2Plus filter for the tank which seemed to work well and I changed 50% of the water once a month.  However, as I've gotten a few more fish and raised the water level to 12 inches, I've had some problems.  The water isn't filtering well enough (obviously since it now exceeds the specifications for the Fluval 2plus by about 10 to 15 gallons) it is discolored (kind of green/brownish) and I have to change part of the water 3 or more times a month to keep it looking ok.  I've even added algae-eaters and snails to help, but with little avail.  I haven't lost any fish or turtles yet and don't want to so I'm looking for some answers. <These filters are rated using an accepted level of stocking to determine their "per gallon" capacity. IOW, it is very easy to overstock a given volume of water to the point that the water and filter are overwhelmed. You are there my friend. Fish and turtles together can be a tremendous mess, the algae is from overloaded wastes. Consuming the byproduct doesn't address the cause, overstocking, poor filtration, more as addressed below...> I did receive with the aquarium a Fluval 403 model canister filter containing a ceramic, foam, and charcoal for filter medias, but I do not have any instructions for setup or use (do you know where I might obtain some?) and I am not sure if that would be appropriate or not for my tank. <Go to the Fluval website to obtain this. I would use it in addition to the 2 plus.> I use tap water when I fill the tank, and have tried both Biosafe and StressCoat water purifier/conditioners -- should I be worried about any toxins those may not take care of? If so, what might be a simple and inexpensive solution? <Yes, be concerned with chlorine, chloramine (both will kill your fish/bio-filter capacity/etc.) and possible wastes that contribute to algae (ammonia, phosphate, etc.) A complete water test at your Local Fish Store is a good idea.> I'm also curious whether you think my 100 watt heater is sufficient for my tank I believe it is about 30 to 35 gallons of water. <If this is the actual volume, it is okay.> I appreciate any help you can provide and any comments or suggestions above and beyond answering my questions. <Yes, please read the pond and freshwater questions at WetWebMedia.com esp. on filtration, the nitrogen cycle, stocking. I hope this gets you pointed in the right direction. Craig>

Red Ear Slider Shell Peeling I have a new RES, and I had noticed that it had a bit of fungus, I spoke to a reptile specialist at the pet store, and he said that it was due to her swimming all the time, and not being out of the water.  Also, after I started having her bask for about an hour a day, I noticed that a very thin layer of her shell is peeling off.  I have searched and searched to find an answer, but I was wondering if it was due to her growing, or if it was part of her shell rot, and if there is anything that I can do besides what I am already doing?  Thanks a lot Cassie Hintz <Hi Cassie, the shedding of shell scutes is normal, it usually comes off in individual pieces.  You want to make sure that your turtle is getting out of the water to bask to allow its shell to dry out.  I have found that tortoisetrus.com has some good information on RES care.  Best Regards, Gage>

Ninja Turtle Rocks! and other turtle banter. Hello, my name is William and I love the site, it rocks hardcore. <Sweet> I have recently purchased a red eared slider turtle for my girlfriend for valentine's day, what better way of telling a person you love them by purchasing a known carrier of disease, <She is a lucky lady.> that she promptly named Ninja.  Ever since the purchase of the feisty little guy I have turned into a turtle fanatic.  Ninja displays such a charismatic personality it makes me wish I was a turtle. After an unfortunate attempt with a laundry basket and a duct tape, I came to the conclusion that this dream will never come to be. <I have a hard time getting the webs between my fingers and toes to grow, once that is done I will work on growing a shell.> Anywho, let me get down to business.  I was curious as to what type of bottom we should use for the little guy.  She currently uses some glittery over-sized plastic shells purchased from a fish supply store.  While this makes Ninja appear less masculine, he seems to have fun running into a big bunch of them and watching them jump around the tank, almost like a big pile of autumn leaves. <As he matures he may want a more masculine substrate for fear that the rest of the ninja turtles will make fun of him.> Would it be better to use a sandy bottom for the little guy?  Also what type of feeder fish would be best for Ninja?  I breed guppies to feed my Oscars, would these be all right for Ninja or would goldfish be better?  Thank you.  And remember,  turtles rock ninja style! <You got that right, but honestly, I prefer bare bottoms.  You can use what ever substrate you like, I keep the bottom of my turtle tanks bare for easy cleanup.  I have also heard of sliders ingesting gravel (it usually passes).  A variety of food will be best, guppies, Jiminy crickets, earth worm Jim, super worms, prepared turtle pellets, salad greens, and the occasional snail.  Check out the link below for more chelonian fun http://www.tortoisetrust.org/articles/res.html Rock on Brother- Gage>

Aquatic Turtles I wanted to know if Accu-clear is safe to use with aquatic turtles such as red ear sliders. thanks <I'm not sure, I have never used the product, are there any warnings on the label such as "may cause aquatic turtles to explode"?  Is there a contact number or address on the label?  What are the listed ingredients.  Let us know, maybe we could get to the bottom of the water clarity problems as well.  -Gage>

Red Eared Sliders I have 3 small red ear sliders that are being grown out in an aquarium till their big enough for the pond.  I also have them housed with koi about the same size.  I just noticed today that the koi have ick, they apparently have had it for some time, I didn't notice until I really looked, will this effect the turtles?   I quarantined the koi but am wondering if the turtles will be ok?  thanks for any help. <I would drain and clean the tank that the turtles are in, they should be fine.  I would however keep the koi separate from the turtles, turtles are super messy and keeping good water quality will be difficult.  Could be what caused the koi to be susceptible to the ick?  They link below has some good info on RES husbandry.  Best Regards, Gage http://www.tortoisetrust.org/articles/res.html >

Red Eared Slider hibernation Hello, my name is Kristen, <Hi Kristen, Gage here.> my concern with my turtle "Baby Ben Franklin" is that he has something over his eyes.  Now I got the turtle from my b/f's aunt and she said she has raised turtle's all her life and what it is is a protective cover because he is in hibernation she says. Now whatever is over the turtles eye does not look infected or swollen or anything but I have not found a place that has said anything about when turtles go into hibernation that they should get a protective shield over their eyes. Now is this something normal, have you ever heard of something like this, or is there something wrong w/ my RES eye's? <hmm..., I am not familiar with this, but I also have never had a hibernating RES.> Also, if in hibernation when do they come out, do they sleep in water while in hibernation? <In captivity hibernation can be controlled by the temperature.  In the wild they spend winters in the mud at the bottom of ponds and rivers.  I would recommend a good book on slider care.  The link below has some good information on taking care of RES http://www.tortoisetrust.org/articles/res.html Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. <The pleasure is mine.  BTW, the number of a good reptile vet is always a good thing to have when keeping turtles. Best Regards, Gage> Thanks, Kristen  & "Baby Ben Franklin"

Red Eared Sliders hi, I don't know if u can help but I hope you can. here is my problem I have two red ear sliders and they are in separate tanks they both have a strange sickness. they wont eat at all. one has swollen eyes and he either coughs or sneezes  under water then his  throat swells up and he lets out a big bubble or a bunch of water. the other turtle is the same but his eyes are not swollen. he has the same problem with his throat swelling up  etc... the other turtle also has a hard time with his breathing. I have turned up the heat to about 85or so because I read somewhere u should turn the heat up if they are sick but that's not helping any. can u tell me what I can do?.  also these turtles are about 3 to 5 yrs old. there water is clean all the time I change it twice a week. they have filters and a light and a basking area in the tank too. what would happen if I keep them out of the water for a while ?I know they wont eat outside of the water but they wont eat in the water either. do u think they have a liver problem? or a kidney prob.>?or should I buy some of that antibiotics from the pet store ?help me if u can please. thanks for your time. I will be looking forward to your response thank you and take care.     signed; sick sliders       <Hey boss, as much as I would love to help, in this situation I think I would try to find a good reptile vet.  Sneezes are usually a sign of respiratory problems.  If the water is clean and the diet is good and you still continue to have problems, a vet may be the best place to turn.  Best Regards, Gage>
Re: res turtle and ick
hi I have a RES turtle and I feed him goldfish feeders.  About 2 weeks ago I noticed that the fish had ick. I called the vet and they told me to clean everything In the tank with a diluted bleach mix and not to give him anymore of those fish.  I do all of that and I bought new fish. I bought the fish from a different store in case that was the problem. The fish look fine when I put them in the tank. I noticed that the fish now have ick. How do I get rid of ick for good? <feeder fish live a stressful life, no way to really get rid of Ich without quarantining and treating for Ich before feeding them to the turtle.> Is ick bad for my res turtle?  Could my turtle be infected with ick and is giving it to the fish?  and if so how do I treat my turtle? <I have never heard of turtles getting Ich, but I'm sure it cannot be great for them.> and one more question.  can older bigger res turtles live with younger smaller res turtle in the same tank? will the bigger one try to eat to smaller? <should be ok, just make sure the smaller one is getting enough food.  If the larger one shows any aggression I would separate them.> thanks for the time cause it seems like none of the vets around here know that much. <Honestly, I would start feeding the turtles prepared turtle food, frozen food, veggies if they will take them, and worms (I get mine from a bait shop).  That way you will not have to worry about dirty fish.  Best Regards, Gage>

Re: Red Eared Slider One of my RES's lumps on both sides of it's head.  It is not the eyes, more like the ears. What is it, and how do I cure it? <Ugh, not quite sure what that is, if possible send us a picture.  I might also start looking for a local reptile vet.> Thanks. Brent Westbrook

Turtles to fish Hello, I just discovered your site--maybe just in the nick of time. Here's what I'm doing: I kept two rather large Red-eared Sliders in a 90-gallon tank for several years. About a year ago, they were adopted by someone else. Since then, my system has been running with no livestock in it, no heater and no maintenance other than topping off the water. Last week I decided to set up the system for fish. In addition to the existing gravel in the tank, I dumped some dry gravel from a second tank (also formerly a turtle tank) into the 90-gallon tank. Then I vacuumed the bottom, cleaned the Fluval 304, filled the tank with all new water and turned on the heater. I haven't tested the water. Is this likely to be a safe environment for fish? <Should be> Is it possible that it is a still a "cycled" system? <I would certainly think so. Test the water and add fish slowly> What should I do now? <Start doing those weekly water changes and add some fishes...slowly> Thanks for your help. <No problem! David Dowless> Charlie Stricklen

Re: eggs wow I have 6 eggs . I have them in a small fish tank with a heat lamp the temp is between 80 and 90 I mist it about 3 times a day to keep some moisture there . the eggs are in peat moss that I got at the pet store . I'm doing what they said but I just want to make sure I'm doing this rite. and how long are they pregnant for before they lay there eggs <Nowhere in this email or subject line have you mentioned what kind of eggs you have. -Steven Pro>  sorry  about that . we have red ear sliders. and marry xmas and happy new years <Hello, I do not have any experience breading/incubating red eared sliders, I did find the following link which looks like it has some useful information.  Best Regards, Gage http://www.tortoise.org/archives/elegans.html>

One eyed Red eared slider I just got 2 baby Red ear Sliders in in 10 gal tank 2 days ago. One has been resting on a rock with one eye open and has been quite stationary. The other just stays in the water and doesn't get out to bask. Could my RES already developed an eye infection? I can't tell...so far I've been feeding them with Gammarus pellets, and they have a tank with a heating lamp, florescent lighting, a water and dry land area, internal filter (Fluval 2 plus) , and a submersible heater. the temperature of the tank is usually around 79-82F. the water in the tank has also been treated w/  those chalky white blocks. Is there also something wrong with my set up? My RES don't look too good. Michelle. <Hello Michelle, it could be an eye infection, or it could be an injury, or it could be nothing.  Your setup sounds good, depending on their size, these fellas are going to need a much larger tank in the future.  I would continue offering food and keep a close watch on the one with the eye troubles, watch for swelling, fuzz, or anything out of the ordinary; if it does start to get nasty it may be a good time to seek out a good reptile vet.  Frequent water changes are also a must.  I have found with my turtles that when the water temp is warm they do not come out to bask as often.  Best Regards, Gage>

Red Ear Slider Thanks a lot.  I'll try and get a heater for them by tomorrow, I think they should be fine for tonight.  I will do my best to help them out, right now I don't have a heater so what should I do to make sure they survive the night? <Hello, I would leave the heat lamp on them until you get a heater, they should have an area so they can leave the water and bask under the heat lamp. -Gage>

Red ear sliders Yes I bought two red eared sliders Saturday dec.14, they're both about the size of a Half dollar, I'm curious about how much I feed them, how many times I feed them a day and the longest I should leave my black light on for them? I appreciate you reading my questions. thank you, Mark <Hey Mark, with sliders this small I would feed them small amounts 2 to 3 times per day.  You do not want left over food in the tank.  If you have your water heated I would leave the backlight on all day so they can bask, and turn it off at night.  If you water is not heated, I would get a heater.  There is a ton of info on the web about these turtles, I would use Google.com and search for red eared slider care sheets, you should find tons of info. Here is something to get you started http://www.tortoise.org/general/watcare.html  Best Regards,  Gage>
Re: Red ear slider
Thanks again so far they haven't eaten at all today what do you recommend, to get them to feed, I read that during this time they really don't want to eat. <during what time?  the winter?  adult turtles would refuse food if you dropped their temperature enough and they felt the need to hibernate.  I would not do this with youngans, they will most likely die.  Make sure there water is heated to around 76f or above.  Try offering live worms, feeder guppies, frozen beef heart, and turtle sticks/pellets.  Best Regards, Gage> Thanks again.

Algae control (Simazine use and turtles) To whom it may concern, I am inquiring on the toxicology effects of a product called algae destroyer (Simazine) liquid on a red ear slider turtle or if you know of a product that can be used. <I am not familiar with this particular product, but I would not recommend any of them (algaecides) except for extreme situations. The best thing is a little elbow grease. Scrub down the tank and drain it. Turtles are not like fish. You don't have to worry as much with changing water. I put my turtle's tank right beside a floor drain and sink and perform a 100% water change every other week. They are stinky, dirty buggers that need it.> Thanks, Jeff <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Turtle and fish Question Hello there Lovely site, easy to use and actually helpful and accurate, I just wanted to add some of my experiences and a question or two (smile). I have owned turtles since the 1980's, at the moment I own a 17yr old and 1yr old RES <Red Eared Slider> and a 1yr old snapping turtle (common), all housed separately and if there is one thing I have found is that each turtle, even same species, in same tank, develop very different personalities, likes and dislikes. Both of my RES are as opposite as night and day. I found that by giving my turtle his basic needs, for a week or two, while he adapted, allowed me to watch and learn, and set up a better, more personally suited tank. My 17yr old, likes to eat gravel and anything else that fits in his mouth, so he gets sand and large rocks (had I not watched and learned, it could have been disastrous) <Very common, usually most small rocks will pass, but who wants to take the risk, my turtles do not get gravel for that very reason, not to mention cleaning Ugh.> He is presently housed in a 90gallon open, sandy bottom tank, with some (hardy) submerged (oxygenating) plants, and some very hardy fish (they're my question). The oldest turtle also likes to keep one goldfish, after a "feeding frenzy", so it fattens up I think (smile), he also loves grapes, apples and cucumber. My other RES, prefers dying fish only (and I swear expensive ones), and won't touch a grape or apple. The older one is very outgoing and the other is very quiet, leave me be attitude, yet both are relatively docile. I've never performed a manicure on my boys (all 3 are males), I found rocks seem to keep it under control. My snapper is nothing like what you read about and eats like a bird <eats like a bird, or likes eating birds?> , but is fat and healthy and active. Even though they are only "turtles", they have very distinct personalities and attitudes, if he/she is a cankerous turtle at a young age, it always will be, they do not sweeten with age. <Do they splash in the morning to wake you up to feed them?> Turtles grow no matter what size tank you put them in, My 1yr old RES and Snapper are housed in a 35 gallon (tall) and a 40gallon (long wide), with lots of filtration, plants and driftwood. I personally would not dream of starting a turtle in anything less than a 30gallon. RES are active swimmers and the ones I have owned do more swimming than basking. On the topic of plants and turtles, they really do not mix well, so put your wallet away and walk away from the $25.00 plant (smile). The only plants I have any success with are the hardy submerged plants, like Hornwort, Anacharis, Java Moss, and Elodea. Don't expect them to stay planted (if you do plant them). They do just as well, just free floating around the tank. Another good plant (although only seasonal (I'm in Canada here :D> and needs lots of light) is the water hyacinth and water lettuce (which help remove harmful nutrients from the water - nitrates or nitrites), they are floating plants, usually found in places with ponds, some local nurseries etc.... Anyways that is some of my experiences, just please research before buying a turtle, and not only online, go get a book, talk to other turtle owners and have fun (smile). My first question is I feed my turtles (and a small mouth bass I have, as well as the unidentified fish) Rosy Reds and Feeder goldfish, I always inspect or look at closely, each fish, before putting it in the tanks (if it looks bad, it goes into quarantine), Anyway, one of my Rosy Reds that I brought home 3 weeks ago (the Rosy Red is actually grey and black) has developed, I'd say in about the course of three days, a tumor on its back, near the head, just off to one side has developed. The fish seems unaffected, no other fish have it (has isolated already), upon closer inspection of it, it is rock hard (like sticking your tongue in your cheek, hard but skin moves), its the size of a pinhead. What in the world is this? There's no puss, no squishy stuff, no fungus looking attachments. <It is hard to tell without seeing it, if you can get a picture feel free to send it along.  It sounds like maybe a parasite or tumor, but regardless, I think this is the least of the fishes worries considering where he is going to end up.> Question 2 - I have researched and researched and questioned people, but no one seems to know what my fish are, the ones housed with the older RES. Someone once told me they were (go by sound, not spelling) Coreyopsis or Koryopses, no common name, when you type this into a search engine and alt spellings, mostly you get info about a plant. They are light golden colour, mouth brooders (my largest almost 9" had what looked like Styrofoam balls in her mouth and then nothing, I was told they were eggs and she was protecting them) When in dark, or aggravated they get dark stripes like a tiger, and one going across, they also have a dark dot on end tip of gill?? Do you know what these are? I could email you a few pics of them, just let me know. <Pics would be excellent, or we could talk about Coreopsis tinctoria "A hardy, upright annual, native to the southern United States"> Thanks, enjoy your pets, and sorry for being so long winded (smile) <A fellow Chelonian lover, please write as often as you like.  Sorry I could not answer your questions more specifically, but get us some pics and we will get to the bottom of this.  Thank you for sharing your experiences with us, our turtle page could use few more FAQs.  I agree with you wholeheartedly, turtles need lots of water, lots of swimming room, and heavy duty filtration, and that is just to reduce the maintenance to weekly.  These are filthy creatures, I mean that in a  loving way, that require constant maintenance.  Do you ever feed night crawlers? Turtles love worms.  Careful with that snapper, our fingers tend to look like tasty treats. Best Regards, Gage> Laura

Community Fish with a Turtle Hello everyone at www.WetWebMedia.com, I am setting up my red-ear turtle tank and am wondering if I can add schooling fish like neon tetra's, and also a algae eater? <Only if you want them to get eaten.> Will the turtle be able to catch the tetras in such a large tank? <What else does it have to do besides try?> Petco has a smaller turtle tank with many red-ears and soft shells and a single goldfish that I have yet to see them catch, or chase. <I would bet you that goldfish was one of several feeder goldfish thrown into the tank. He is the last survivor, for now.> Thanks for your help! <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Turtles and Plants Hello! I just wanted to ask you if you knew what kind of plants I could put in my turtles tank. <None, turtles enjoy eating or otherwise wrecking everything. I have two Yellow Bellied Sliders and have resorted to leaving their tank bare bottom.> I wanted to put bamboo in but my Mom said to ask someone who knew first. And I wanted to ask you something else, if I could put some of the fishes that keep clean the tanks the ones that are always sucking in everything. <It is better for the turtles if you just keep the tank clean with regular water changes versus trying to use fish. Turtles are known to eat fish, so anything you put in there may become lunch. I have my turtle tank located near the laundry room so I can drain the tank water using a Python water changer into the floor drain and so I can fill it right back up using the faucet on the laundry tub. It works extremely well and keeps the tank clean and smelling fresh.> Hope you answer me fast. <I hope this was fast enough.> California P.S. I know a lot about turtles but I don't know what plants I can put in their tank that are not toxic for them. They are only hatchlings, and they are red-eared sliders. I am 13 years old so I am not an expert that's why I am asking you. <We have archived a bunch of other turtle Q&A's. These may be of interest to you. They can be found here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/turtlefaqs.htm> Thank you! <You are welcome, my young friend. -Steven Pro>

Turtle Gender I have two turtles "red ear sliders" .How can I tell male or female? The store where I got them said they were male & female, but how can I make sure.. Thank You, Gina Lauro <quite easily... as they mature, the males grow very long nails on the front feet while the females stay short and stubby. Males use the nails in a courtship display to stimulate females to spawn. Best regards, Anthony>

Red Ear Sliders I have two red ear sliders. I just want to know how to tell them a part. Write Back, Gina <Males have the long nails. -Steven Pro>

Turtle question My sister recently bought 2 baby red ear sliders that are currently being kept in a 10 gallon tank. I am now setting up they're new 55 gallon tank though I am wondering if I will be able to have any type of plants. <None where they can get to them.> I know they will demolish the plants but I am wondering if there are any types of plants that will be able to grow faster then they're diets? <No> And will these guys uproot plants or will they simply chew them up? <Both> Thanks for your help! <Let me suggest you consider building a plant refugium or bog. I have built such a thing before for my turtles older/smaller tanks and they work well. The simplest thing I did was use a powerhead with a prefilter on it. This pumped water up above the tank into a long plastic planter box (the kind used for window sills). Inside this box, I placed gravel and water loving houseplants. Unfortunately, I do not know the names of the plants. I can just pick them out at the nursery, but staff there should be able to help you. Anything that can live with its roots submerged. To the planter box, merely drill a hole and fit it with a bulkhead fitting to drain the water back into the tank. This helps export nutrients and they look good, too! Now that I am thinking about it, I am going to have to build another one for my turtles new, big tank. -Steven Pro>

Turtle question Hi! I'm the guy who wanted plants in with my turtles. <I remember.> Well, I have a big enough land area in the tank for non-aquatic plants, like grass or anything I can plant in soil. Will these guys thrash plants outside the water too? <If they can get to them and think they can eat them, yes. When mine are outside in the pond, they routinely climb up onto the Pickerel Rush and weight it so that it falls into the water. They then climb back down and eat the leaves, leaving the broken stems behind.> Wouldn't it be harder to do that since they can't swallow out of water? <They will find a way. Just for clarification, my previous idea was to grow plants for nutrient export primarily, secondary for looks. I have used Peace Lilies, Sanderiana, Palms, and this creeping vine house plant. Actually, there is a good list of potential plants here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PlantedTksSubWebIndex/hsepltsag.htm> And also, what about not so tasteful plants like java fern? <They just wreck so much. I finally gave up and keep their tank bare bottom now.> Would the turtles just demolish the plant for the fun of it? <They are just being turtles.> Thanks for all your help, Jace <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Re: turtle question Well thanks for your help. These guys are funny. I'll just give them their greens and figure something out. Actually what about bamboo? <Anything that can grow submersed in water, but most importantly located away from the turtles.> The leaves grow at the top leaving the stem underwater and the leaves out of reach? <They will merely grab a hold and drag under.> Well, my turtles thank you for all your help. <You and they are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Turtle Enclosure. Dear WWM Crew, I'm hoping that you could help me with some information on Eastern Painted Turtles and a suitable enclosure for them. I understand that this site is for fish related topics, but the categories are more diverse here and I'm sure that you could point me in the right direction. <I am sure we can be of assistance. I actually have two Yellow Bellied Sliders (pretty similar) that are native to Florida. They summer out in my 1500 gallon pond, but I have to bring them indoors once the water temperature hits 60*F. They are stinky if you do not clean their tank often and filter it hard.> I own an aquarium maintenance business in Southern N.H. <I own one in Pittsburgh, PA.> and usually deal with fish. <Me too!> I got a call from a construction company that is remodeling a Veterinary hospital that had over the course of the summer, somehow obtained some Painted Turtles that they rehabilitated. I'm not yet sure what was wrong with the animals. <Probably shell rot from poor captive care conditions.> Currently the Turtles are being kept in a small aquarium awaiting a new home. The Animal Hospital would like to make a large display tank for the Turtles as a focal point for the waiting room area. <Sounds like potential for a lovely indoor pond display.> I am not very familiar with Turtles and would like to learn more about the specific needs of these animals beyond the "Warm water, heat lamp, rock to climb on." basics that I've been able to find. From the limited information that I have found, it's apparent to me that a short and wide enclosure is more desirable and that to feed them properly is a water quality nightmare. <Yes, I just upgraded my 75 gallon turtle tank to a trickle filter.> I was thinking of a short hex shape with about a third of the area built into a land mass. <Mine rarely get out of the water except to "sun", either artificial or real. I use a small driftwood island in the pond and a piece of driftwood tied in place with plastic cable ties indoors.> What recommendations might you have in regards to a land to water ratio and Turtle "Furniture" I've also read that they do cut themselves easily and that sharp objects are not suitable. <I have not had any troubles with driftwood, but would also strongly consider the indoor pond idea with a small area for them to climb out of the water but not out of the enclosure.> Lighting seems to be a very important issue as well, would Metal Halide pendants be too much? <Probably more than they need but they would appreciate it. I would go for 6,500 K Iwasaki's, a 150 watt lamp. Otherwise, ceramic heat lamps with fluorescent lamps for vitamin production.> Would they not be of the right quality of light? <The full spectrum lights more geared towards live plants would be ok.> What type of lighting would you recommend, I would really like to recreate the environment as perfectly as I can. <Either of the above options.> From my reading I can't see any real consistency with the way "Turtle People" keep their water quality. <Massive and regular water changes> Is pH and water hardness a concern for Turtles? <I never measure either.> I assume that the same rules would apply for biological filtration. <Massive> And what is a suitable water temperature. to keep the Turtles from hibernating? <Room temperature should be more than adequate with the lighting for additional heat.> Do you recommend chemical filtration? <Activated carbon would help reduce odors.> Many of the articles that I've read mentioned that no substrate is best for the water portion of the enclosure, but I don't think that the client will go for that, is there any preferable substrate for Turtles? <They will dig and generally make a mess of any gravel you put in their. Strongly consider those black, hard plastic ponds. You should get a good deal on them this late in the season. Two would be great. One for them to swim in which drains down to a trickle filter, which then pumps up to the second smaller pond run as a bog filter, which lastly flows back to the turtle pond. Now that I think about the MH's would be best for the indoor pond and bog filter idea.> And, of course, I have to ask (as I'm sure the client will ask me) if there are any suitable tank-mates to keep with Turtles maintenance critters and/or display animals? <They will try to eat most other things. You maybe able to house a gold fish or two depending on the size of the turtles, size of the goldfish, and size of the enclosure.> Lastly, what type of skimmer do you recommend for this tank? Just kidding, been a long night of research! Although, I would be interested in any suggested reading. <Take a look at Bob's article here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdturtles+.htm the linked FAQ file and the bibliography at the bottom.> Thank you very much for your time and I appreciate your letting me bombard you with all of these questions, that is if you're still reading after all that! Again, thank you very much for your time. Sincerely, Michael P. Gillespie <Good luck! -Steven Pro>

Thanks! (Turtle enclosure) Dear WWM Crew, I just wanted to say thank you for the help with the Turtle Enclosure! Seems to me like if it can be kept in an aquarium, you can find answers. We ended up going with a 5'x3' acrylic with a sectioned off dry section for the design, 2 metal halide pendants, and 2 sumps. Actually, one of the sumps will be a planted tank that will drain into the main sump. So I do have some more questions. I understand from your reply that Turtles will produce a lot of waste material, so we though that incorporating a planted tank would help to maintain water quality more consistently. <Yes, good nutrient export.> We will have room for a 20H with a power compact fixture. Is it possible to, in effect, make a sort of "Freshwater Refugium" out of this tank? <More so a plant scrubber than a refugium, but similar designs.> If so what type of plants can be used to consume waste efficiently and possibly what plants could be used to feed the turtles as they are cropped from time to time? <My turtles have eaten many of the pond type floating and bunch plants. You will have to experiment with what will grow under your conditions. Fast growth and nutrient uptake should be your priorities.> Are there any critters that can be maintained in this planted tank to benefit the system or also be used to feed with such as Crayfish? <The freshwater shrimp have some benefits when keeping plants.> Do you have any recommendations for a substrate for this plant tank? <I would use plain gravel for any bog type plants, excess nutrients will abound. Floating plants may work also.> And lastly, are there any of the above mentioned that should be avoided? <Nothing that comes to mind.> Thank you again for all of your help. M.P.Gillespie. <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Red Ear Slider Need info on how to distinguish a red ear slider is male or female...thanks. Jeff <Please read here: http://www.kingsnake.com/forum/res/  Bob Fenner>

Turtles Friends at Wet Web Media, <Howdy Gage> I just got my new turtle tank up and running about 10 min. ago and I needed to share my excitement with someone. I noticed your sites section on turtles was a little slim. Understandably so considering they are not fish. My new tank: <Actually... some of us are BIG chelonian fans... not to mislead anyone, we just haven't gotten about to any real coverage of this one of four living orders of reptiles (along with a few thousand other topics, make that tens of thousands...) just yet> 125gal (wish I could afford to make it a reef) Filstar XP3 [350ghp] Full spectrum lighting [not set up yet] some Plexi glass, some silicone, and a heater The stand is a classic design; 6 cinder blocks and a piece of plywood covered with a sheet (shh don't tell my mother). I did not have time to make a swanky webpage, but you can find some pics here: http://mexicanmusk.com/turttank/ the 10gal above houses my Mantis "Bug" http://mexicanmusk.com/bug.jpg <Nice> I was wondering... Once my site is up and finished and looking sassy with my 125gal turt tank, 55gal freshwater tank, 100gal pond, 29gal reef (which may soon be converted into a 50gal reef with a 29gal sump and a 20gal refugium [more reading to do :-)] and of course my red footed tortoise; what would I need to do to make it onto your links page? <Just send us the URL and a short description my friend... and any "write ups" you'd like presented to the public. Bob Fenner> Best Regards, Gage

Sick Turtle Dear Bob, I have had two red eared sliders which are 2 inches in dia., for about 8 months. Every thing seemed to going OK. They were eating well ,playing & responding. Then about 10 days back, I noticed that one of them had eye infection and was slightly dull. His eyes were swollen, red in colour and he seemed to be in pain while trying to open them. He had come down with an eye infection, probably because I had not been able to change the tank water as often as was desired.  <yes... agreed. The waste and bacteria proliferated no doubt> This turtle has not eaten for seven days and sits dull and listless. I had taken him to a vet who suggested that I use Gentamycin eye drops and put him in a solution of Gentamycin 5ml*200ml water. There was improvement by next morning. <excellent!> The eyes were less red, and he was able to open them slightly for a few seconds. But since last 2 days, his eyelids have got stuck and can not open his eyes at all. Since he can not see he keeps on bumping into things in the tank and on the ground also.  <if the tank is not heated to 74-80 f water temperature then this is also a problem with an unheated tank on the floor> I have stopped the medicine since then. Thee eyelids and the eyes are slightly swollen and red. PLEASE HELP ME SAVE MY TURTLE. I AM SACHEM OBEROI' AN ELEVEN YEARS OLD. <my friend, you must complete the medication treatment... it is critical for the health of the turtle to do so. It will simply take time to heal. Be patient and keep up with the water changes and good water quality. Also look for a good handbook on aquatic turtles to keep on hand. Best regards, Anthony Calfo>

Help??? With Turtle System I came across you email address on the WetWebMedia information page. I don't know if you can help me or not, but I figure its worth a try??? <Yes> we've had 2 painted turtles and a snail in a tank for about 3 yrs now. a few months ago I noticed what appeared to be pieces of white lint. eventually the lint grew to the length of 1/4-3/8" and greatly increased in number. I've completely stripped down the tank and cleaned it a couple of times now. the lint seems to be gone, but later that same day, or the next they are back. the boy from the pet store said it was anchor worms, but from what I've seen on the internet, they are not the same thing.  <Not Anchor Worms (Lernaeid crustaceans) assuredly> I looked today with a magnifying glass and what I figure to be an egg sack, looks like a pearl. does this ring any bells? do you know what it is? how I got it? how to get rid of it? something else, maybe of no importance, but who knows?  <Don't know what this is... likely just an algae growth of some sort. I would try using Jungle (Brand) Pond Blocks (at the rate of one per ten gallons first... At most would lightly chlorine bleach the system, vacuum/siphon, rinse all contents... including the turtles but not the snail... Fill tank to highest mark, place about one ounce of bleach (laundry strength) per twenty gallons, leave five minutes, dump, rinse, re-fill, dump, rinse, re-fill.> we have ring neck doves and a couple of times they've messed in the tank. I clean it out as soon as I notice it. another thing is that I have had some seashells from the ocean, I've had in storage for years, that I put in the tank some time back. could that be what's going on? sorry to be so long winded. please advise. thank you. <The shells might be contributing to the re-occurrence, growth... but not likely a problem. The turtles will tend to make the water, system more acidic and the shells by "melting" aid in keeping pH about right. Bob Fenner>

Aquatic Gardens

Ponds, Streams, Waterfalls & Fountains:
Volume 1. Design & Construction
Volume 2. Maintenance, Stocking, Examples

V. 1 Print and eBook on Amazon
V. 2 Print and eBook on Amazon

by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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