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Anna
Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 11129
Experience:  Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
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We have 2 baby turtles. 1 has been doing fine. The other is

Customer Question

We have 2 baby turtles. 1 has been doing fine. The other is lethargis and staying in the basking area. One eye is closed and swollen slightly. It floats an doesn't swim in the water.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Could be a lot of things that cause lethargy. The Veterinarian will know how to help the baby. What is the baby's name and age?
Customer: Nya. The turtle is a 2 inches long yellow slider. I don't know how old. We bought her about a week ago
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Nya?
Customer: The tank has about 20 gallons of water, has a basking area. There are no other reptiles or fish in the tank. We used purified water initially. My kids have been taking the turtle out and playing with them and have been told to stop this. The other turtle move around normally.
Submitted: 5 days ago.
Category: Reptile
Expert:  Anna replied 5 days ago.
Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I'm a biologist with a special interest in reptiles. I'm sorry to hear that Nya is having some problems. I just want to let you know I'm working on your answer and will post it as soon as I have it typed up. I appreciate your patience.
Expert:  Anna replied 5 days ago.

Thank you for waiting. You were wise to stop the kids from playing with the turtles. It is easy to injure the turtles, and they pose a risk of salmonella to the kids. Everyone is better off with the turtles in their tank. Nya is ill. She probably was already incubating an illness when you bought her, and the stress of moving to a new environment allowed an infection to take hold. While it's impossible to be sure based only on an online description, the most likely cause is a respiratory infection. Such infections often begin in the eyes, although she may have a separate infection there. Floating rather than swimming is a classic symptom of 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. You can read more about respiratory infections here:

http://www.fishpondinfo.com/turtles/turhealth.htm#nose

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:

http://www.anapsid.org/vets/index.html#vetlist

If the pet store offered a guarantee, another option may be to return her to the store. Regardless of what you decide, it will be important to provide optimal conditions to support her. To help with that, and 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. You can use the care sheet as a checklist to make sure everything is right. If you have more questions, let me know. I hope Nya will be fine.

Anna

My goal is to provide you with excellent 5 star 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!

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

Expert:  Anna replied 2 day ago.
Hi,

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

Anna