We have a little red eared slider. Normally he is very happy and enthusiastic when he sees us. He is acting very

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Customer: Hello, we have a little red eared slider. Normally he is very happy and enthusiastic when he sees us. He is acting very melancholy and just sits around the bottom of his tank, hardly coming up for air. But sudden movements from the other turtle or noises scare him really bad and he zooms to the side and frantically claws at it. Is he ok?
Answered by Anna in 27 mins 9 years ago
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Anna
30+ years of experience
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17,044 satisfied customers

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

Hello and welcome. Thank you for requesting me. It does sound like your little turtle is having a problem. We can look at some possibilities. If the tank isn't warm enough, that make him lethargic, or may even cause him to try to hibernate. Hibernating indoors is very dangerous, so we don't want him to do that. Make sure the water temperature is 78*F to 82*F. The area right under the basking light should be 85*F to 90*F. The first thing to do is double check your temperatures and adjust them if need be. Make sure the lights are left on for 12 to 14 hours per day. If the lights are off too long, that can also trigger hibernation.

Another possibility is that the other turtle has been bullying him. It's not uncommon for turtles to do that. It will result in the more timid turtle trying to hide or escape. It can be hard for us to notice when something like this is going on. You'd have to watch carefully. If you have some place you could place the other turtle safely for a day or two, you can find out if Denzel behaves differently when that turtle isn't there. If he does, they may need separate tanks, or, if the tank is large enough, a divider.

The third possibility is that Denzel is sick. Lethargy, appetite loss, keeping the eyes closed, bubbles coming from t he nose or mouth, repeated yawning, listing to one side when swimming, and swelling of any body part are all signs of illness. In that case, you'll need the help of a reptile vet. These links will take you to directories that will help you find one if need be:

http://www.austinsturtlepage.com/Info/state_resources.htm

http://www.nytts.org/nytts/helpnet.htm

I'm also sending along a care sheet I've written. you'll probably be familiar with much of what is in it, but you can use it as a checklist to make sure all conditions are correct. If you have more questions, let me know in a REPLY. I'll be logging off for the night shortly, but will check back in the morning to see if you need anything else. I hope Denzel will be fine.

Anna

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 only after you have all the information you need. 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
Hi Alisha, I'm just following up on our conversation about Denzel. How is everything going? Anna
Customer

Yes, thank you. He is doing great! We increased the water temperature and bought a proper basking light. He perked right back up and started acting normal again. He still is a little skittish sometimes, but we think that is because the bigger turtle bullies him a little bit. Mostly he just gets pushed around.

Thanks again!

Thank you for the update. I'm always happy to get good news. I hope he continues to thrive.

Anna
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