Im worried because one of our turtles just stopped eating. I dont know what to do. We got 2 little turtles in early

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Customer: Hi Anna!
Im worried because one of our turtles just stopped eating. I dont know what to do. We got 2 little turtles in early december and they were just fine until about one week ago when one stopped eating The other one is just fine, eats very well and its growing. We have them inside the house in a heated fish tank. Take them outside everday, weather permit. She swims fine but spends most of the day on the platform. We have tried different foods without result. What can we do?
Thank you.
Answered by Anna in 23 mins 7 years ago
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Anna
30+ years of experience
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17,038 satisfied customers

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

Hello and welcome. Thank you for requesting me. I'm sorry to hear of this problem. Some additional information will be useful.
What are the temperatures under the basking light and in the water?
What brand and size of UVB light do you have?
Have you noticed any bubbles from her nose or mouth?
Has she been yawning more than usual?
When she swims, does she lean to one side?
Thank you.
Anna
Customer
I dont have a UVB light, is this too bad? i can get one. We keep the tank next to a window that gets lots of sunlight and we take them outside in a different smaller container with water and rocks to climb so thay can get direct sunlight. We live in Mexico so its not so cold, we have 60F right now. Water temperature is at 76F. i have seen bubbles out of her mouth just once and she doesnt yawn. Her swim looks normal to me.
About 2 weeks ago I started feeding them when I take them outside in the smaller container (to keep the water cleaner).
Is it important to have a schedule for feeding time?
Im changing about 1 gallon of water everyday.
anything else you need to know?
Thank you for getting back to me. A few more things:
Do you have a light over the basking dock at all?
Do you know the air temperature on the dock?
How big is your tank?
Customer
They dont have a light and I dont know about the temperature, i guess is the same as the house, around 60F. The tank is 10 gallons and the turtles are 2 inches.
Thank you. I suspect you got your information on care from a pet store or a less than reputable website. Most people do. While we should be able to rely on such information, unfortunately, it is often wrong. They sell people the wrong lighting, advise the wrong foods, and often don't know the correct temperatures for the various reptiles. After months of things not being quite right, the animal becomes ill. Much of what you have been told is wrong, and I suspect that is why your turtle is having some trouble. A weaker turtle often becomes slow before a stronger one will, but it's only a matter of time before the other turtle has problems, too. Even though you have been trying so hard to keep them healthy, when you didn't have correct information to begin with, things are going wrong.
Your water temperature is all right - 78*F to 82*F is optimal - but the air temperature is far too cold. 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 clip-on 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 and home improvement stores sell similar light fixtures as work lights. You can adjust the temperature by raising or lowering the light fixture, but don’t put it so low that your turtles can be burned.Use a good digital probe thermometer to measure temperatures.
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, daylight, UV, and UVA are NOT the same thing. I'm putting a lot of emphasis on this because it's crucial to a reptile’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. Going outside is great, but it's not enough. Both the basking light and UVB light need to be on for 12 to 14 hours per day.
A specific feeding schedule is not important. It is a good idea to feed them in a separate place to keep the tank cleaner. Your tank may be big enough right now, but we don't normally keep turtles in a tank that small. If they grow normally, one turtle will need a 60 gallon tank by the time it is a year old. Two will need 90 gallons. for the time being, turtles that are 2 inches will need about 4 inches of water in their tank. You don't want it too deep or too shallow.
I recommend that you make these adjustments. Many times that is all that is needed to help a lethargic turtle re-gain some energy and appetite. If she doesn't become more active within 24 hours of being warm enough, your turtle is probably sick. In that case, you'll need to see a vet. There are not a lot of reptile vets in Mexico. I'm going to give you information on those I found. If none are nearby, you can ask a local vet who is not a reptile expert if he/she would be willing to work with one of these vets by phone consultation to treat your turtle.
Dulce Maria Brucet
Av. Coyoacan # *****
Col. del Valle
Mexico, D.F. C.P. 03650
Phone: 52(5)(###) ###-####52(5)(###) ###-####
Ernesto Guadarrama Mercado
Presa Pabellón 8
Colonia Irrigación
Mexico City
Phone: 55572556; 55571805
Cell: 044 55 23412308
ENEP Iztacala
Mvz. Luis Grajales Tam
Biol. Amaya Gonzalez Ruiz
Phone: Vivarium 52(5)(###) ###-####
Feeders Breeding Center 52(5)(###) ###-####
Here is a reputable site where you can learn more about turtle care:
www.austinsturtlepage.com
If you have more questions, let me know in a REPLY. I hope more warmth will solve the problem.
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!
Customer
Hi again, I will make the changes you suggest. I hope it works, i dont want them to suffer. This is the first time I have turtles, im in love with them, they are so beautiful creatures. I have 3 old dogs (12 yo) and asked my vet but she doesnt know much about turtles. Im planning on buliding a little pond in the future when they grow, doest have to be heated even if they are grown? I have to ask you one more thing just to be sure, If the turtle is sick will it show on the shell or not necessarily?
Thank you for all your help
Hi. Turtles are amazing animals. They are one of my favorites, too. If a turtle is sick, it will not always show on the shell. Some signs of Metabolic bone disease, shell rot, and fungus will show on the shell. Respiratory infections, parasites, and internal problems will not show on the shell.
If your future pond is outdoors, it will not need to be heated. any indoor enclosure, whether for adults or babies, must have heat and UVB light.
Anna
Since you've found this information helpful, please take a moment to rate my service so I may receive credit for it. Thank you very much.
Customer
Hi, you have been very nice to recommend a website I can trust and vets in Mexico. Hope not to need to ask anymore questions.
best regards,
Laura
You're very welcome, Laura. I hope your turtles will be fine.
Anna
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