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Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 11067
Experience:  Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
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I have had 2 baby red eared turtles 6 months. One is doing

Customer Question

I have had 2 baby red eared turtles for about 6 months. One is doing fine while the other seems to be very sick. She is not eating or swimming, her eyes are bugged out and shit. What could be wrong with her? I have spent like 7 hundred dollars on trying to give them the perfect cage. I love them please do you have any advice on what I should be doing for her? Her name is ***** ***** boy is Mac... Mac & Roni. I love them. Please help me if you can.
JA: I'm sure Roni feels you are doing your best. What is the matter with Roni?
Customer: She is not eating or swimming she just lays on the basking land spot. Her eyes are swollen and shut, she looks like green not dark green.
JA: Could be a lot of things that cause lethargy. The Veterinarian will know how to help Roni. Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Roni?
Customer: I'm over feeding Mac because I'm trying to make sure he's happy.
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Veterinarian about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Reptile
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
This could take up to a day to get my answer? I think she is dying. I have my Roni in a show box with a dry wash towel covering her and a red night basking light pointed at the box for wamth. I know she is only a baby but I love these babies. I got her and Mac as a pair and he might feel lonely if she does.
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I meant Mac might feel lonely if Roni dies.
Expert:  Anna replied 4 months ago.
Hello and welcome. I apologize that no one responded to you sooner different experts come online at various times. I just logged on and saw your question. My name is ***** ***** I'm a biologist with a special interest in reptiles. I'm sorry to hear of Roni's illness. Some additional information will be useful.Will you describe the set up you have? You called it a perfect cafe - is it actually a cage? How much of the area is water , and how much land?What temperatures do you maintain under the basking light and in the water ?What types of lighting and heating equipment do you have?What do you feed? Any supplements?Has Roni had any bubbles from her nose or mouth? Has she been yawning a lot?Sorry for so many questions, but all this information is important.If you are asked to rate my service, please don't do that just yet because we are just beginning. Thank you.
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
It's not a cage. Am i able to send you attachments like a picture. I will send you a picture of the tank
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I think I uploaded a picture of the tank
Expert:  Anna replied 4 months ago.

It didn't come through. However, if you can give me the other information I asked for, we can proceed with that.

Expert:  Anna replied 4 months ago.
You can also try and get the picture again. Click on the paper clip icon at the top of the space where you type. Instructions should pop up.There are many different things that could be wrong with Roni, and the information I asked for can help me figure out what you should do.
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Here I am going to try and resend it
Expert:  Anna replied 4 months ago.
It's still not here. You can try emailing it to
***@******.***Ask them to and it to Anna. I'll let you know when I get it.
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Tempetures between 82 and 89
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
the other day she had bubbles around her face
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
No supplements just meal worm and fish food flakes. I tried to give them the aquatic turtle food and they wouldn't eat it. Roni won't eat the dried shrimp as Mac loves it.
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I have a red basking lamp and a uvb bulb
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I had a rep to basking lamp but I broke it I need to get a new one
Expert:  Anna replied 4 months ago.
Thank you for the additional information. I'm working n your answer now, and will post it as soon as I have it put together and typed up. I appreciate your patience. I'll be back shortly.
Expert:  Anna replied 4 months ago.

Thank you for waiting. The symptoms (bubbles, swollen eyes, lethargy, appetite loss) Roni has point to a respiratory problem. There are several possible causes for such respiratory symptoms, ranging from an irritation to heart trouble to cancer. However, the most likely cause is a respiratory infection. While that seems similar to the common cold in humans, respiratory infections in turtles are dangerous. Without treatment, they typically progress to pneumonia, which is often fatal. Roni may already have pneumonia.You can read more about respiratory infections here:

Respiratory infections respond well to prescription antibiotics, such as Baytril. I recommend that you make an appointment with a reptile vet as soon as possible. This site has a directory which will help you find one near you:

You also asked if Max will be all right if roni should die. Turtles are actually pretty solitary by nature, so he isn't likely to be lonely. Many times when two turtles are kept together, they get along well as babies, but begin fighting when they reach sexual maturity. They then have to be separated. If something does happen to Roni, you don't need to get a second turtle.

Because there is so much misinformation available both online and from pet stores, I’m also including a care sheet I’ve written for slider turtles. It takes months to years before incorrect conditions result in health problems, so even a turtle that has seemed to do well, will eventually become ill. You can use the care sheet as a checklist to make sure everything is right. Especially check out the section on feeding. If you have more questions, let me know in a REPLY. I hope Roni will be fine.


My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, I am happy to address follow-up questions. Please remember to rate my service after you have all the information you need. I will greatly appreciate a positive rating as that is the only way I am compensated. Thank you!


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.


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.

For Further Reading

This is among the most reputable sites on turtles.

Expert:  Anna replied 4 months ago.

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?