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I just got my painted turtle yesterday and he hasn’t eaten…

I just got my...

I just got my painted turtle yesterday and he hasn’t eaten at all since I have gotten him. He seemed eager to swim last night when he was first put in tank but today he spent almost all day except maybe a few minutes on his basking dock. I just got my turtle and really hope he isn’t sick. I have water temperature between 78-80 with a water heater. I have a 55 gallon tank with about half of it filled with water because he is not a baby. Basking area is between 90-95 degrees with a heating light and UVB light a little more than 12 inches away. Is my turtle sick, or is he just getting used to his new home? What should I do?

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'll do all I can to help. The Expert will know if your turtle will be able to digest that. What is the turtle's name?

I have not picked name yet.

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Answered in 3 minutes by:
3/11/2018
Joan
Joan, Veterinary Technician
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 19,735
Experience: 35+ years experience as veterinary tech and 40+ years experience doing reptile rescues.
Verified

Hello,

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

Please give me a few mins to read through your information and to post an answer.

Joan

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
OK thank you

Your Husbandry sounds good. Make sure you were sold a Reptisun 10.0 bulb. That is most important and you have a calcium block as well as a calcium powder for the food.

It is not unusual for a new turtle to take time adjusting to a new habitat and as long as you got him locally from a Reputable pet shop, he should adjust. Go slow trying to feed the first few days and allow him to adjust without handling.

This is a care sheet I co authored to help you with your New little one.

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.

I hope you have found this information helpful and if you have any questions about the information please hit reply. If I have addressed your concerns, please take a moment to rate my service 5 stars.

Joan

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
How do I know if I have a repisun 10.0 bulb?

You can check your packaging or look on the ballast of the bulb for name and strength. WE see pet shops try to get away with selling a lower strength like a 5.0, but a turtle needs a 10.0 and they do need replacing every 6 months.

Please do not forget to rate my service before leaving today.

Joan

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Yeah the bulb is definitely a 5.0 where can I buy a 10.0 bulb?

The Pet shop should have Reptisun 10.0 bulbs. I would take the one you have in and let them know you were sold the wrong bulb and ask them for a Reptisun 10.0. The 5.0 does not have enough output of UVB for your turtle.

Joan

Joan
Joan, Veterinary Technician
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 19,735
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
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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Ok thank you so much! I will go ahead and rate you!
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Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.

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

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