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Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 11545
Experience:  Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
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Just a quick concern about my red eared slider. He's a

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Hey Anna, just a quick concern about my red eared slider. He's a healthy adult male now, about a year and a half old, and about 3 days ago stopped eating what he normally eats. He's usually a pretty hefty eating and is such a beggar around food, but now he's eating only about half that? The filter is working, his tank is nice and full with fresh water. Any words?


Anna does not seem to be on. My name is ***** ***** I have been a Vet tech for 35+ years and have worked with Reptiles fo 40+ years. I can assist you, or if you would like to wait for Anna, I am sure she will be happy to assist you if you would like to wait.


Hello, and thank you for requesting me. I was not online at the time you posted your question, and am not sure why I was being shown as being on. I just logged in and saw your question. Some additional information will help me determine the best steps for you to take.How often do you feed your turtle?What temperatures do you maintain under the basking light and in the water?What brand of UVB light do you have? How old is the bulb?Does the turtle have his normal energy level?Thank you.
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Thanks to both of you!
I feed the turtle every night, usually around the time I go to bed.
The water temperature is kept between 78-80 degrees F and the basking light is kept at around 85 degrees F.
We use a reptile brand UVB light, don't remember the brand name, but it's a 75 wattage light bulb paired with a normal 50 wattage light. The bulb was replaced about 3 months ago.
The turtle was very energetic out of the tank today, but he's been slightly more lethargic in the mornings. He seems to be still a lot more than normal, but once we come into the room, he'll start swimming around and moving as normal.
Thank you for getting back to me. Your temperatures are perfect. As turtles mature, they don't need to eat as often, so it's possible this may be a normal change. However, we need to be sure. I'm going to give you something to try. Don't feed him at all tomorrow. Make sure the lights are left on for 12-14 hours. On Thursday, feed him, and see how he reacts. Let me know if he eats well or if he still doesn't have much appetite. I'll keep an eye out for your response on Thursday.
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Thanks a bunch for the response :) it's great to hear that this might just be a normal change. I'll take your advice and not feed him tomorrow, and then see how he eats on Thursday. I'll let you know how it goes!
You're welcome. We'll see what happens and go from there.
Customer: replied 28 days ago.
I fed him last night and he seemed normal! He was swimming around, doing his usual begging where he practically lifts himself out of the water to get the food faster :) he ate as much as he usually does. Does this just mean that I should be feeding him once every 2 nights now? Or do you think he might not have been feeling great and had a little 24 hour turtle bug?
Thank you for the update. Adult turtles are usually fed every other day. Feeding them too much or too often often results in health problems, such as gout or kidney failure. Also, in the fall, some of them pick up on changes in the hours of daylight, even though they live inside. This is specially true of those whose tanks are near a window. That's why it's important to leave the lights on long enough.When turtles don't feel good, it's not likely to be a 24 hour thing, but anything is possible. He may have eaten something that disagreed with him. I would just keep an eye on the situation to be alert for any changes. That being said, he'll probably be just fine from now on.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. It takes months to years before incorrect conditions result in health problems, so even a turtle that has seemed to do well, will eventually become ill. You probably know much of this already, but you
can use the care sheet as a checklist to make sure everything is right. If you have more questions after reading it , let me know.AnnaMy 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 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 SHEETWell-cared for sliders can live 30 years or more.The TankIt'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 AreaTurtles 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 LightIt'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.FiltrationTurtles 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.FeedingFeeding 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 ReadingThis is among the most reputable sites on turtles.
Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 11545
Experience: Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
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