Reptile

Have Reptile Veterinary Questions? Ask a Reptile Expert.

Ask an Expert,
Get an Answer ASAP!

Reptile
This answer was rated:

I bought a painted turtle last week and he is not eating. He…

Hello. I bought...

Hello. I bought a painted turtle last week and he is not eating. He is about 4-5 inches long. I bought a 50 gallon kit with UV and heat lamps, water heater, filter and basking area. All he wants to do is bask on his rock.

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'm sorry to hear that. What is the paint turtle's name?

Friday. Belongs to my grand daughter

Veterinarian's Assistant: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Friday?

Don't think so

Show More
Show Less
Ask Your Own Reptile Question
Answered in 21 minutes by:
11/19/2017
Joan
Joan, Veterinary Technician
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 19,187
Experience: 35+ years experience as veterinary tech and 40+ years experience doing reptile rescues.
Verified

Hello,

My name is ***** ***** I have been a Vet tech for 35+ years and have worked with Reptiles over 40 years.

How much water do you have in the tank?

What type of diet are you trying to feed?

Supplements?

Strength of UVB bulb?

Any bubbles from the nose or mouth?

Any open mouth breathing?

Did you get the turtle from a Pet supply or through themail?

Joan

Ask Your Own Reptile Question
Customer reply replied 3 months ago
About 5" of water. Tried feeding turtle pellets and floating sticks, dried shrimp treats, lettuce and raw hamburger, both in the water and on his rock. No supplements. The UVB bulb is fluorescent, I think 13 W. No open mouth breathing. Got the turtle from nearby PetSmart. I noticed the turtle occasionally wipes or brushes at his head for maybe 10 seconds at a time. I have another week that I can return or exchange turtle if he is not well.

The turtle has to be in the water to eat and defecate. The need twice the amount of water to swim as their size if they are 4" the turtle needs 8 inches of water to swim in. As far as a UVB bulb I was asking if it is a 5.0 or 8.0 they sold you. Turtles need a Reptisun 10.0. 3/4 of their diet should worms or canned cat food and the other 1/4 should be leafy greens.No lettuce ony romaine or endives. Iceberg lettuce contains no nutrition. They als need to be getting a calcium supplement on their food and have a cuttle bone or calcium block in the tank.

It is not unusal for a turtle to take time to adapt, but since it has been a week there may be something going on that the turtle will not swim. I would try putting some meal worms in the tanl and see if he will swim for them. It may take something like worms to entice the turtle to eat.

I am going to give you a detailed care sheet. I would say if the turtle is not eating and defecating by Monday to take that one back and see if they have one that is more acclimated and eating. It is coming into winter season, and turtles do slow down, but by now the turtle should want to eat something and swim. This is the care sheet. Please read it over and and let me know if you have any questions and we can discuss them.

PAINTED TURTLE CARE SHEET

Well-cared for painted turtles can live 30 years or more.

The Tank

It's recommended that a baby 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 80*F, 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 88-92*F. 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 in the low 70’s.

UVB Light

It's extremely important that you buy an additional light that produces UVB rays. A Reptisun 10.0 in the straight tube style 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 and animal products (meat, earthworms, canned cat food) should make up about 3/4 of the diet. The remaining 1/4 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.

Joan

Ask Your Own Reptile Question
Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Thank you for your quick response.
The kit I bought is a Zoo Med, and it is 40 gal, not 50. It has a dual light fixture with 5" domes, and the bulb was clearly marked as UVB, I think the heat bulb is halogen.
I bought a couple of digital thermometers, and the water and air temps are good.
I have some cute tetra Reptogard blocks I have not added yet, looks like they are mostly calcium and sulfa.
The kit came with a external canister filter I do not care for, and I am going to install an in-tank cartridge type filter tomorrow. I was planning to swap out most of the water as well, and I will bring up the water level. I am using a water conditioner that came with the kit.
I will go out in the morning and see if I can find some meal worms or earth worms. From what I was reading on the internet earlier today, that was going to be my next step.
Thanks again,
John
Customer reply replied 3 months ago
I just noticed your care sheet calls for water temp in the low 70's. The heater I have is not adjustable and is set for 78 F. Is that too warm? If I turn it off the water temp should settle at 68-70 degrees.

That could be part of the problem. You also need to use a dechlorintor in the water. Turtles are like fish and cannot tolerate high amounts of chlorine and ammonia put in to tap water. I would try lowering the water temps and see if that makes a difference I would also try some meal worms or even wax worms to see if he will respond to the live prey. If these measure do not work I would exchange him for another turtle. They hide illness well and when they do show something is wrong it is usually late to be treated. Since it is for your granddaughter I hate to see something happen and she is attached.

Please let me know if you have other concerns. If I have addressed your concerns, Please take a moment to rate my service 5 stars. I am not paid by the site until I earn a positive rating and my goal is to give you excellent service.

Joan

Joan
Joan, Veterinary Technician
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 19,187
Experience: 35+ years experience as veterinary tech and 40+ years experience doing reptile rescues.
Verified
Joan and 87 other Reptile Specialists are ready to help you
Ask your own question now
Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Again, thank you for your prompt response and your advice.
The conditioner says that it neutralizes chlorine and ammonia, so that should be OK.
I will turn off the heater and keep an eye on the water temperature.
I have until next Saturday to return the turtle, so if he does not respond to live food in the next couple of days, I will return him.
Thanks again, you will get a 5 star review for sure.
John
Ask Joan Your Own Question
Joan
Joan
Joan, Veterinary Technician
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 19,187
19,187 Satisfied Customers
Experience: 35+ years experience as veterinary tech and 40+ years experience doing reptile rescues.

Joan is online now

A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How JustAnswer works:

  • Ask an ExpertExperts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional AnswerVia email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction GuaranteeRate the answer you receive.

JustAnswer in the News:

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... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
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.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

Thank you so much. Great knowledge of reptiles! Will use JustAnswer again if further problems arise.

StephanieKY

I must tell you I found this site by accident and was amazed when I asked a question of the Veteranians online. I wish I could have found it sooner it could have made such a difference in the outcome of my pet's surgery. However, I am passing along the information to my sister-in-law (a cat-rescue person who is also a nurse), and perhaps it will help someone else who may experience the same problem. The doctor who answered my question was amazing, and while it didn't come it time to change the outcome of my situation, it is reassuring to know the caliber of Vets/Doctors that you have at JustAnswer. Thank you for being there.

Alice H.Jacksonville, Fl.

Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help.

Mary C.Freshfield, Liverpool, UK

This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!!

AlexLos Angeles, CA

Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult.

GPHesperia, CA

I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion.

JustinKernersville, NC

Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around.

EstherWoodstock, NY

< Previous | Next >

Meet the Experts:

Anna

Anna

Reptile Expert, Biologist

3,794 satisfied customers

Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.

Joan

Joan

Veterinary Technician

19,187 satisfied customers

35+ years experience as veterinary tech and 40+ years experience doing reptile rescues.

PitRottMommy

PitRottMommy

Veterinary Nurse

228 satisfied customers

15 years experience in veterinary medicine, special interest in reptiles and arachnids.

Dr. Dan

Dr. Dan

Reptile Veterinarian

57 satisfied customers

12 years private, wildlife and zoo experience with reptiles, PLEASE rate my service when satisfied.

Dr. Andy

Dr. Andy

Medical Director

551 satisfied customers

2003 Graduate

Dr. Gary

Dr. Gary

Veterinarian

343 satisfied customers

DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ

Dr. Bruce

Dr. Bruce

Veterinarian

194 satisfied customers

15 years of experience in emergency, surgery and medicine

< Previous | Next >

Related Reptile Questions
I accidentally stepped on my baby sulcata turtle, now his
I accidentally stepped on my baby sulcata turtle, now his body is coming out of the shell and his neck looks bulbous on his right side. What should I do, please help?!… read more
PitRottMommy
PitRottMommy
Veterinary Nurse
Associate Degree
228 satisfied customers
My turtle had swollen eyes and we have been putting a
my turtle had swollen eyes and white we have been putting a ointment on them and they are now not swollen but still white, … read more
Joan
Joan
Veterinary Technician
19,187 satisfied customers
Have a red ear slider turtle, bloated, not eating,recommend
hi have a red ear slider turtle, bloated, not eating,recommend reptile vet in Syracuse ny area … read more
PitRottMommy
PitRottMommy
Veterinary Nurse
Associate Degree
228 satisfied customers
I have a Murray River Turtle which has lived inside in a
I have a Murray River Turtle which has lived inside in a heated aquarium for his 20 years of life. He keeps ripping the silicone out of his aquarium, causing it to leak. Also although it is s big tank… read more
Joan
Joan
Veterinary Technician
19,187 satisfied customers
I have a red eared slider turtle and he has stopped eating
I have a red eared slider turtle and he has stopped eating and his shell is brittle. What can be done? … read more
Anna
Anna
Reptile Expert, Biologist
Bachelor's Degree
3,794 satisfied customers
We have had this Yellow bellied turtle for about 4 yrs. We
Hi Anna, We have had this Yellow bellied turtle for about 4 yrs. We also had a red-eared slider with him, but last summer she got out of our out turtle pond. Anyway we have brought him inside every wi… read more
Joan
Joan
Veterinary Technician
19,187 satisfied customers
He got a fight with the other turtle and had a bite. Bolt,
He got a fight with the other turtle and had a nasty bite mark … read more
Joan
Joan
Veterinary Technician
19,187 satisfied customers
My turtle named Coco isn't moving. The name is Coco the age
My turtle named Coco isn't moving JA: I'll do all I can to help. Could be a lot of things that cause lethargy. The Expert will know how to help your turtle. What is the turtle's name and age? Customer… read more
Joan
Joan
Veterinary Technician
19,187 satisfied customers
I have a baby snapping turtle He is barely moving and not
Second opinion] I have a baby snapping turtle He is barely moving and not eating. I have not changed his environment. I have placed him in another small tank at the moment bc I'm not sure what to do. … read more
Joan
Joan
Veterinary Technician
19,187 satisfied customers
He's not eating anything. Red eared slider turtle., he is
He's not eating anything JA: I'll do all I can to help. What sort of animal are we talking about? Customer: Red eared slider turtle JA: OK. What is the turtle's name and age? Customer: Sam, he is abou… read more
Anna
Anna
Reptile Expert, Biologist
Bachelor's Degree
3,794 satisfied customers
I have a baby painted turtle and he keeps his eyes closed
I have a baby painted turtle and he keeps his eyes closed and is lethargic. I have read that this could be a vitamin deficiency? I have been putting drops in his eyes and that seemed to help for a day… read more
Dr. Gwen
Dr. Gwen
Veterinarian
Post-Doctoral Degree
356 satisfied customers
My turtle has a colored gash on the left foot with swelling.
My turtle has a white colored gash on the left foot with swelling. The pet shop told us to keep it in an inch of water and clean the tank consistently. He also said to keep him by a window. … read more
Joan
Joan
Veterinary Technician
19,187 satisfied customers
My Mississippi map turtle keeps twitching uncontrollably and
My Mississippi map turtle keeps twitching uncontrollably and he's not moving … read more
Joan
Joan
Veterinary Technician
19,187 satisfied customers
My turtle is not moving and one of his legs is really cold.
Hi my turtle is not moving and one of his legs is really cold … read more
Joan
Joan
Veterinary Technician
19,187 satisfied customers
I have a hatchling Mississippi map turtle I just got on
I have a hatchling Mississippi map turtle I just got on Tuesday and I noticed today he's acting very lathargic is that normal? … read more
Joan
Joan
Veterinary Technician
19,187 satisfied customers
I have three Musk turtles. I have a common musk turtle and
Hi there! I have three Musk turtles. I have a common musk turtle and two razor backs. I have been having trouble with the alege growing in the tank and today I'm tried cleaning it. Well still currentl… read more
Joan
Joan
Veterinary Technician
19,187 satisfied customers
Both eyes closed and puffy and not eating. Turtle. Painted
Painted turtle. We found a baby one in our porch three years ago... just a size of a quarterback … read more
Yankmedic911
Yankmedic911
Wildlife Veterinarian
Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine and
13 satisfied customers
My daughter has an aquatic turtle. Not sure of the exact
My daughter has an aquatic turtle. Not sure of the exact type. She has had him for about 6-7 years. She has noticed he is not eating, sleeping a lot and seems to be gasping for air. She said you can a… read more
Anna
Anna
Reptile Expert, Biologist
Bachelor's Degree
3,794 satisfied customers
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.

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.

Show MoreShow Less

Ask Your Question

x