How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Joan Your Own Question

Joan
Joan, Veterinary Technician
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 15269
Experience:  30+ years experience as veterinary tech and 15+ years experience doing reptile rescues.
Type Your Reptile Question Here...
Joan is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My red eared slider turtle is lethargic, doesnt swim much,

Resolved Question:

My red eared slider turtle is lethargic, doesn't swim much, sleeps and basks constantly, sheds excessively, and seems to sometimes throw up his food. It also seems to me that he should be growing more than he is. Turtle is 2 inches long and I have had him 9 months. His water is heated, and he has a basking light. Parents won't let me take him to the vet because they think it will end up costing too much. What could be wrong?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Reptile
Expert:  Joan replied 1 year ago.

Hello,

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I am a Vet tech with special interest in Reptiles and Reptile Rescue.

Can you tell me about the set up? Size of tank?

Diet?

Supplements?

Filtration?

Do you have a UVB light? How old, Florescent tube or coil, how old, strength, and brand?

Supplements?

Joan

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I have him in a 5.5 gallon tank (16"L x 8"W x 10" H) with a basking platform made up of flat stacking rocks (http://www.petco.com/assets/product_images/8/810695010297C.jpg)


 


the water is about 6" deep. I don't have any plants or other decorations and have some stones but nothing small enough that he could swallow.


 


I feed him Reptomin plus food sticks and Hikari tubifex worms. I would usually feed him once or twice a day but lately he is always asleep on or clinging to the side of his basking spot so I have to try putting him in the water to get him to wake up and start swimming and see if he'll eat. I don't use any supplements.


 


For filtration I have a Tetra Whisper 3i in-tank filter, which I know isn't a very strong filter so I try to change the water pretty often.


 


I do not have a UVB light.

Expert:  Joan replied 1 year ago.

Hello,

You have several issues with husbandry that can be causing the problems. lack of proper lighting is a big issue. The turtle should have a UVB light as well as a basking bulb. In addition to the UVB bulb, you need a calcium supplement to work with the UVB, which works together to prevent Metabolic Bone Disease. The tank should be a minimum 20 gallon long. The diet should be 50% leafy greens, 25% pellets and 25% live prey or cooked meats. Without having the proper husbandry, diet and supplements, your turtle will continue to decline. What I will do is give you a care sheet compliments of a fellow Expert, Anna. This will help you get the conditions straightened out and should help your little turtle.

SLIDER TURTLE CARE SHEET

Well-cared for sliders can live 30 years or
more.

The Tank

It's recommended that a baby slider have at least a
15 gallon tank. By the time the turtle is 3-4 years old, it will need a 60
gallon tank, so it's best to get the biggest you can in the beginning. You can
also use a large RubberMaid tote. That's not as pretty as a tank, but costs a
lot less. Set up the tank so there's a land area and a water area. Put the
basking light at one end so the whole tank doesn't get too hot. You want the
water to be about twice as deep as the turtle is long. If the turtle is two
inches long, you'll want four inches of water.

Temperatures and Basking
Area

Turtles need certain types of lighting and need to be warm. Air and
water that are not warm enough can lead to fungal and respiratory infections and
unhealthy shells. Turtles must have a basking area where they can get out of the
water, dry off, and bask in very warm light. The ambient air temperature in the
tank should be around 75 *F (24*C) , with the basking area warmer still. Over
the basking area there should be some sort of lamp that will take a 40-60 watt
incandescent bulb (or you can buy a ceramic light fixture made just for
reptiles). If you live in an area that has farm stores, you can buy a metal
light fixture made to keep baby chicks warm for just a few dollars. Don't buy
the accompanying bulb, however. You need an ordinary incandescent bulb in the
basking light. Hardware stores sell similar fixtures as work lights. The basking
area should be kept at 85-90*F (29 to 32*C). Use a digital probe thermometer to
be sure. You can adjust the temperature by raising or lowering the light
fixture.The lights that come with the covers on aquariums are not suitable for
turtles. You'll also need a submersible aquarium heater that will keep the water
78-82*F (26 to 28*C).

UVB Light

It's extremely important that you
buy an additional light that produces UVB rays. A Reptisun 10.0 is a good brand
that does. If you choose another brand be absolutely certain it provides UVB
rays. Don't take the word of pet store personnel, but read it for yourself.
Full-spectrum, DayGlo, sunGlo, UV, or UVA are not the same thing. I'm putting a
lot of emphasis on this because it's crucial to your turtle's health. Without
this light, Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) will develop because your turtle won't
be able to produce vitamin D. Vitamin supplements are not a good replacement for
the proper lighting. MBD causes a very slow and painful death.UVB bulbs must be
replaced every six months as they lose their effectiveness after that, even
though they may still look fine. Light that comes through a window isn't
sufficient because the glass filters out most of the rays turtles need to stay
healthy. To prevent MBD, turtles also need calcium. The easiest way to provide
it is to place a cuttlebone in the tank. Cuttlebones are sold in bird
departments of pet stores.

Filtration

Turtles are very sensitive
to water quality. Even if you change the water every day, it can still contain
harmful chemicals. A good filtration system is essential. Water changes are also
needed even with a filter. If the tank is too small, no filter can keep up with
the amount of waste that turtles produce.

Feeding

Feeding is an
area where pet stores often give out bad information. Commercial food should
make up only 1/4 of the diet. Animal products (cooked meat, earthworms, canned
cat food) should make up another 1/4. The remaining half should be plant foods
(dark lettuce like romaine, bits of strawberry or melon, etc.). Hatchlings
should be fed every day. Older turtles should be fed 3 times per week.
Overfeeding can lead to gout and kidney failure.

For Further
Reading

This is among the most reputable sites on
turtles.


http://www.austinsturtlepage.com/Care/caresheet-red_ear_slider.htm

http://www.austinsturtlepage.com/Care/cs-yellowbelly.htm

Please let me know if you have further questions. I will be happy to continue with you. My goal is to give you 100% Excellent Service. Joan

Joan, Veterinary Technician
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 15269
Experience: 30+ years experience as veterinary tech and 15+ years experience doing reptile rescues.
Joan and 2 other Reptile Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Thank you so much. Great knowledge of reptiles! Will use JustAnswer again if further problems arise. Stephanie KY
< Last | Next >
  • Thank you so much. Great knowledge of reptiles! Will use JustAnswer again if further problems arise. Stephanie KY
  • I must tell you I found this site by accident and was amazed when I asked a question of the Veteranians online. I wish I could have found it sooner it could have made such a difference in the outcome of my pet's surgery. However, I am passing along the information to my sister-in-law (a cat-rescue person who is also a nurse), and perhaps it will help someone else who may experience the same problem. The doctor who answered my question was amazing, and while it didn't come it time to change the outcome of my situation, it is reassuring to know the caliber of Vets/Doctors that you have at JustAnswer. Thank you for being there. Alice H. Jacksonville, Fl.
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex Los Angeles, CA
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP Hesperia, CA
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin Kernersville, NC
  • Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around. Esther Woodstock, NY
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Anna

    Reptile Expert, Biologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2652
    Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MS/MsAM/2012-6-9_16426_anna.64x64.jpeg Anna's Avatar

    Anna

    Reptile Expert, Biologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2652
    Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/JA/Jav917/2012-2-20_54059_201221802254JoananddavidArchuleta3.64x64.jpg Joan's Avatar

    Joan

    Veterinary Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    5721
    30+ years experience as veterinary tech and 15+ years experience doing reptile rescues.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/VE/vetforyou/2012-6-20_33122_PearlPhoto.64x64.jpg Dr. Andy's Avatar

    Dr. Andy

    Medical Director

    Satisfied Customers:

    522
    2003 Graduate
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RY/rydergar/2012-6-6_192240_IMG0328.64x64.JPG Dr. Gary's Avatar

    Dr. Gary

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    273
    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/1I/1ISUDVM/2011-3-1_22028_Honeymoon2005075294928803490646858.64x64.jpg Dr. Bruce's Avatar

    Dr. Bruce

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    157
    12 years of experience in emergency, surgery and medicine
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BA/babybloo/2011-3-10_62613_DavidandI.64x64.jpg Theresa's Avatar

    Theresa

    Voice for your pet

    Satisfied Customers:

    1132
    Veterinary Technician for 15 years