I suspect that your information must have come from the Pet shop. Unfortunately there are quite a few issues we need to correct to help Barney. Reptiles require two types of light. One is the basking light that supplies guided heat for a turtle to use to thermoregulate. The other is a UVB light that supplies artificial sunlight which works in conjunction with a calcium supplement to metabolize into Vitamin D3 in the body. The UVB prevents Metabolic Bone Disease and also helps build the immune system. UVB cannot penetrate glass or plastic, so by keeping the tank by a window, all you are doing is warming the water, but not giving a satisfatory basking area, or the UVB needed to help keep Barney healthy. I suggest a reptisun 10.0 UVB bulb that runs the length of the tank. This would work with a daily calcium supplement 5 days a week and a vitamin supplement 2 days a week. This link will explain lighting: http://www.anapsid.org/uvtable.html I also want to give you some information on UVB rays and MBD: http://exoticpets.about.com/cs/reptilesgeneral/a/metabolicbd.htm
It is very important to get the lighting, supplements and diet corrected. I am going to give you a care sheet courtesy of Anna, who I work with that covers the care of the Painted turtle which is in the slider family. I would like you to review it and see you you have any questions on it. I am also going to give you some first aid for Barney.
Please give him a soak in a 50/50 warm water and Pedialyte soak for 20 mins twice a day. This is an eletrolyte bath. I would like you to add some calcium powder into the soak. Reptiles can absorb fluids through the vent area. I would also like you to get him out for some sunlight 1o mins, two to three times a day until you get the UVB set up, which should be asap. After going over the care sheet please let me know if you have further questions. Joan
Well-cared for sliders can live 30 years or more.
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
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
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.
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 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.
This is among the most reputable sites on
Herp Vets in IA: http://www.arav.org/find-a-vet/#Iowa