My 8 month old RES stopped eating two days ago, and his eyes are closed. I have a filter, change his water every 5 days,

Expert's Assistant chatimg
Customer: My 8 month old RES stopped eating two days ago, and his eyes are closed. I have a filter, change his water every 5 days, and he has s mall fish in he tank, that he lives with.
We moved to our new pat last month, and Im concerned the issue is the water quality. I use a conditioner for turtles, and add a teaspoon in when changing the water. But he has been off since the move. I bought turtle eye drops, and had him out of the tank for an hour, and he seemed to be better, opening his eyes. Then back in the tank, his eyes again closed. He is a little guy, and Im worried. I dont know if I should keep his UVA or UVB lights on, or his red night light. I need to find a PH kit, as I fear its the water. I could buy spring water in the morning, before work as I hunt for a kit. I get conflicting storied from pet stores, and it frustrates me. Any ideas doc?
Answered by Jav917 in 1 hour 11 years ago
Pet Specialist

27,324 satisfied customers

Specialities include: Reptile Veterinary, Herp Veterinary, Exotic Animal Medicine, Amphibian Veterinary


I wanted to let you know there is no charge for the information requests that I ask, but when I post an answer, you will be asked by Justanswer to pay a fully refundable Deposit to read the answer when posted.

I am a Vet Tech. and not a Vet. If you want a Vet, please let me know.

Can you tell me about the set up? How big a Tank?

Have you don a water quality test for Ammonia, Nitrites and Nitrtates?



UVB? How old? Coil or tube?



Hi Joan,
The tank is 10 gallon and the turtle is small.
Maybe 3"
He only eats dried shrimp, though I've tried pellets
Lettuce, carrots, etc. He normally has a great appetite.

When I first got him, I was told to get him a red night light, and UVA
But only recently did I discover he needs UVB. It's a coil type, as my aquarium
Hood takes two lights. Not a long bulb style.
I used this light a few times this month, not knowing
If i should use both at the same time,
and now wonder if this UVB bulb bothered
His eyes?
The tank is a third full, has his floating rock, and a spider plant.
The past few says his eyes are closed, head tucked in most
Of the time, kinds looks swollen around the neck,
But that may be because his head is tucked in far.
Hadn't eaten.
When I gave him eye drops and kept him out of water
Today, he looked better, eyes opened.
Once back in, eyes closed looking sad, and sleeping.
I just ordered ph, ammonia, and nitrate kit online.
Petstore near me doesn't have much.
Also, I do put that blue conditioner in his water
When I clean his tank. 1 tspn for 4 gallons.
It's supposed to remove chlorine and ammonia, condition
Their shelf, etc.
I put a piece of calcium block in weekly, and rub
Some cream on his shell that's supposed to be
Good for him. Hardens, conditions his shell.
Btw, I'm not sure if he's a he. He just looks like a he:)
Rock, and a minnow that seems to be his friend
Not his food. Not sure that effects the water.
His tank is very clean, around 78 degrees.


The coil UVB lights are know to cause swollen eyes. This may be the problem: Compact UVB problems: If it is he need a tube type UVB to help keep him healthy and to prevent Metabolic Bone disease.



The diet should be 50% leafy veggies, 25% live prey and 25% Pellets. If the diet is incorrect he may also wind up with a Vitamin deficiency. You can use a cuttle bone for a calcium supplement as they work well and are much cheaper than the try sold for turtles.


You can use plain saline eye drops for the eyes to flush them instead of buying drops at the pet shop. Most of the items sold are not effective and are very costly.


The tank you have is small for him and should be around a 40 gallon as they do need a good size tank because of the growth pattern. I am going to give you a care sheet courtesy of Anna one of our Experts. Joan



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.

Thanks Joan. Understand much clearer What I need for the long run, however for the immediate Problem at hand, I should do eye drops daily, removing himfrom water An hour each day, remove UVB coil, see if I can Get tube for the aquarium hood, test his water for Ammonia nitrates. And if the water test high, How does one adjust it? I ordered kit, but not sure Kit comes with problem solving chemicals. How quickly should I see improvement? And when should I seek vet care? And how do I get Harry to eat his fruits and veggies? He only wants dried plankton. Thanks!! Thanks again


I would use the Plain Saline eye drops 4 times a day(the same type used by contact lens wearers). This should help the eyes.

Change the coil for a 5.0 or 8.0 UVB tube Reptisun is a good brand.

The Ammonia should be 0, the nitrites o and the nitrates less than 20ppm. Using the spring wate will help and water changes at 25% when needed should also help.

As far as diet, try romain, collard greens, mustard greens and you can even use aquatic plants for greens. The pellets can be fed. You may have to use tough love as he has you well trained, but will eat when he cannot get his plankton. You can try some cooked chicken and small pieces of fish too.

If the eyes do not clear with the change of the bulb and the saline in about a week, then at that time we may have to have him seen by a Herp Vet. I can lcoate one for you with a state. Joan

Read less
27,324 satisfied customers
Pet Specialist
+ years of experience

27324 satisfied customers



Licensed veterinarians

31,131 satisfied customers

Pearl avatar
Pearl Wilson, Veterinarian's Assistant
116 Veterinarians are online right now.
Related Veterinary Questions
Is it ok to turn off my turtles filter while they are eating
Reptile Expert, Biologist
5,214 Satisfied Customers
The eyes are really swollen. Red eared slider. Like last
Dr. Caryn – Vet
Reptile Veterinarian
327 Satisfied Customers
I have a painted turtle. He is about 4 years old. I had a
Dr. Caryn – Vet
Reptile Veterinarian
327 Satisfied Customers
My turtles aren't eating and one of their eyes is irritating
Dr. Caryn – Vet
Reptile Veterinarian
327 Satisfied Customers
For about 3 years, I've raised my turtle poorly, this is due
Reptile Expert, Biologist
5,214 Satisfied Customers
How it works
logoAsk for help, 24/7
Ask for help, 24/7
Members enjoy round-the-clock access to 12,000+ verified Experts, including doctors, lawyers, tech support, mechanics, vets, home repair pros, more.
logoExpert will respond in minutes
Expert will respond in minutes
After you reach out, we match you with an Expert who specializes in your situation. Talk, text, chat, whichever you prefer.
logoSave time & money
Save time & money
No scheduling hassles, missing time from work, or expensive consults.
A JustAnswer membership can save you significant time and money each month.
Sarahesq and 87 other Veterinarian specialists are ready to help you.
Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.
Why you’ll love JustAnswer
JustAnswer is the best way to get expertise on-demand from doctors, lawyers, vets, mechanics and more. Since 2003, we’ve helped more than 9 million people in 196 countries and have an A+ rating with BBB and a 9.6/10 rating with TrustPilot.
Highly rated, verified Experts
We pride ourselves in our 8-step verification process including license and credential checks. Vetted by us and rated by customers, like you.
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... seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
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.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
Web sites like ...leave nothing to chance.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
JustAnswer, Professional Services  General, San Francisco, CA
Google reviews
TrustPilot Reviews