I have two terrapins and one has a fungus on its back and then today when I was cleaning their tank the both had some

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Customer: I have two terrapins and one has a white fungus on its back and then today when I was cleaning their tank the both had some brownish orange paste looking stuff on their mouths
Answered by Anna in 6 hours 10 years ago
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Anna
30+ years of experience
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17,046 satisfied customers

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

Hello,

I apologize that no one has responded to your question sooner. Different experts come online at various times. I just came online and saw your question. I'm sorry to hear that your terrapins are having problems. If you still need help, some additional information will be useful.

What are the temperatures in the basking area and in the water?

What types of lighting and heating equipment do you have?

Do the terrapins have normal appetites?

You said you used melafin. Was there by any chance a typo, and it was actually Melafix.

Thank you.

Anna
Customer
Hello Anna

I do not have temp for the basking water but I do have ultra violet light and they have normal appetites, acutally they eat quite a lot. They are very active and playful with each other.

Yes, I did mak a typoe it is Melafix.

Thank you,

Lynda

Thank you for getting back to me, Lynda. I’m working on your answer and will post it as soon as I have it typed up. Please don’t respond to this post as that can lock me out of the question. I’ll be back shortly.

Anna
Thank you for waiting. I can tell that you care about your terrapins, and want to take good care of them, but I suspect you got your information on care from a pet store. while we should be able to count on such information, unfortunately, it is often wrong. Many terrapins and other reptile pets die each year because of this misinformation, and it is certainly not the fault of the pet owners, who are doing their best.

The fungus is often the result of incorrect temperatures, and/or lighting. It's very important that you get a digital probe thermometer so you can accurately measure temperatures. The ambient air temperature in the tank should be around 75*F (24*C) degrees, with the basking area warmer still, at 85-90 degrees (29 to 32*C). You can adjust the temperature by raising or lowering the light fixture. If your tank is small, set up the basking area at one end - you don't want the entire tank to become too warm. You'll also need a submersible aquarium heater that will keep the water 78-82 degrees (26 to 28*C).

Your ultraviolet light may not be the right kind. This is another area where pet store personnel are misinformed. without knowing a brand name, I can't be sure, so you'll need to check on this, and also make sure it is less than 6 months old. It's extremely important that you have a 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, daylight, UV, and UVA are NOT the same thing. I'm putting a lot of emphasis on this because it's crucial to a terrapin’s health. Without this light, Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) will develop because they 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 the UVB rays.

I'll tell you how to treat the fungus in a moment, but if the lighting and temperatures are not right, the fungus will return. Before we get to that, I would discontinue using Melafix. It has been tested on fish, and no one has determined if it is safe for terrapins. In some species, it can cause digestive upset, and it could account for the brown substance around their mouths.

There are two ways to treat fungal infections. The most effective involves what is called 'dry-docking.' You'll need to prepare a 'hospital' for the affected terrapin. A large plastic tote works well. It should be equipped with a basking area at 90*F (32*C) and a UVB light. The terrapins will be kept warm and dry, except for a 30 minute bath twice a day. The two baths are very important to prevent dehydration. Feed during the bath. After each soak, scrub the shell with a clean toothbrush with Betadine (available in drug stores/pharmacies) on it, but try not to get it on the skin, and especially avoid the eyes. Do this twice a day. Follow that with a coating of anti-fungal cream (the kind sold for women to use to treat yeast infections). If the problem doesn't clear up within two weeks, you'll need to have your terrapins examined by a reptile vet.

The second method is less likely to be successful, but is more convenient. You can use one of the sulfa bath products sold in pet stores. They are added to the tank. With this method, too, a vet should be consulted if the fungus isn't gone within two weeks. If your terrapins also have some early shell rot, the dry-dock method will help, but the sulfa bath will not. Here are some reptile vets if you end up needing one:

The Animal Clinic -
BlkXXXXX11, #01-31,
Singapore (120109),
Tel: (65) 67763450...


Allpets and Aqualife Vets Pte Ltd
219 Jalan Kayu
#01-01 Singapore 799442
tel:64813700
Dr Frederic Chua

On Mon and Fri only @
The Animal Clinic Pte Ltd (Katong Branch)
55 Lorong L, Telok Kurau #01-63
Bright Centre, Singapore 425500
Tel: 64404767, 64402336.

On Tue morning [email protected]
The Animal Clinic Pte Ltd (Clementi Branch)
BlkXXXXX11
#01-19 and #01-31, Singapore 120109
Tel: 67763450, 67770273, 67744464, 67746626.

If the terrapins should develop any additional symptoms, such as appetite loss or lethargy, don't wait, but see a vet right away. I'm also including my slider turtle (that's what terrapins are called in the United States) care sheet. you can use it as a checklist to make sure everything is right. If you have more questions, let me know by clicking on REPLY. I hope your terrapins will quickly recover.

Anna

(If you find my answer helpful, please click on the green ACCEPT button. 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


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