General Care Discussion :: Strange Behavior

Taking care of your turtle's overall health.

Post Posted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 8:35 pm   Strange Behavior

Hi Everyone,
I've had my RES (Marion) for 9 months, and I believe she is about 1 year old now. Up until 3 weeks ago, Marion has been on a pellet-only diet (I rotate reptomin, mazuri, and omega each day, and only give an amount a little less than the size of her head). 3 weeks ago I started giving her green and red leaf lettuce - about a shell-sized leaf or a little bigger each evening and she loves it. I have good filtration and water quality, water temp is 77 and basking area is 90. She shares the 75 gallon tank with a pleco and 5 rosey minnows (started with 20 of the them 6 months ago but Marion occasionally catches one).

Everything has gone great but I noticed some strange behavior in the last week or so. I've watched her climb up on her basking dock, dig at the dock, bite the dock, sometimes bite her own shell seemingly, and then she climbs back down into the water. 2 or 3 minutes later, she repeats this whole process. When she's doing this, she only stays out of the water for a minute or so. I've seen her do this 5 or 6 times in a row, sort of like an OCD kind of thing!

She does have a normal basking routine, basking for a couple hours most days. I started giving her cuttlebone this week just in case it was related to calcium deficiency or something, but so far it hasn't made a difference.

I have attached a picture of my setup. Any insight or assistance is most appreciated.
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mjneighb
 
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Post Posted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 11:23 pm   Re: Strange Behavior

Hi ! that looks like a standard 75gallon. 48x18x20 ? not a 75 tall. Did you read instructions on box for proper placement of the UVB and or UVA? Have you moved it any lately? Or a new one? Something is irritating her when on the dock? Just me saying this but lamps look a little close? (Depends on what type). With a mini dome it hard for some to balance the UVA and UVB to one distance. A lot use separate fixtures so can be set at recommended distances for each. Be observant... it's only when on basking area ! Are her eyes swollen? Is that a small screen cover fixture sitting on? What type thermometer are you using to get readings. I have dozens in a cabinet all with different readings. That's why I have gone to an IR type , very accurate.

Here's a good read : http://www.drsfostersmith.com/pic/article.cfm?aid=827

Be careful with LPS feeders , not well taken care of! Can carry all kind of things , that's why I breed my own rosy reds.

With it happening only on the dock it's my opinion you may have to adjust the light fixture. Others on this forum may see something that I don't see and can be great help.
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Post Posted: Sat Apr 01, 2017 12:44 am   Re: Strange Behavior

Did she dig with her rear feet or front? How big was she when you first got her?
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steve
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Post Posted: Sat Apr 01, 2017 1:01 am   Re: Strange Behavior

Steve question for me please. I prefer keeping males , just me less room now a days. Do or could young females around a year old be practicing nesting behavior?
litefoot
 
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Post Posted: Sat Apr 01, 2017 2:20 am   Re: Strange Behavior

A lot of their sexual maturity comes due to their size, rather than age. So it's possible but rare.
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Post Posted: Sat Apr 01, 2017 9:08 am   Re: Strange Behavior

Hi, thank you everyone for the feedback. Yes, mine is a standard 75 gallon. The lighting setup I use is a Zoo Med Aquatic Turtle UVB & Heat Lighting Kit which includes:

-Mini Combo Deep Dome Lamp Fixture
-Repti Tuff Splashproof Halogen Bulb (50 watt)
-ReptiSun® 5.0 Mini Compact Fluorescent (13 watt)

I used a very cheap digital thermometer to get the basking platform temperature.

Her eyes are perfectly clear. I read the thread on uvb bulb & radiation, but she doesn't have swollen eyes at all. The only real common thread is the weird biting - biting at her self, at the dock, and sometimes it seems she just bites at the air. Imagine an RES trying to catch a fly buzzing around - that's what it looks like - not crazily or violently - just a nip or two and then she's done and climbs back off the dock.

I did read each bulb's guide when I first got them 9 months or so and I remember that I set them up within the guidelines of both bulbs at the time. I've since changed tanks and tried to maintain the same distance with the move. I measured it this morning, and the distance from the bottom of the dome to the basking platform is 7". That seems shorter than I remember it being originally so I am going to try find the original user guides or some info online to see what the recommendations are for those bulbs and adjust as necessary. For now, I've moved the bulbs to point to the far left of the platform, so it is a little easier for her to self-regulate.

I haven't changed or moved anything lately - she's been with this setup for about 8 months with same river rock, basking platform, filter etc. Only real change I can think of is the lettuce that I started feeding her a few weeks ago.

On the surface, it does seem like it's an issue with the dock arrangement. But the part that is confusing me is, she'll climb up there and bask for two hours just fine. But then, other times of the day, she does this climb on > bite stuff > climb back off routine repeatedly - it's odd.

When she does the digging, it's always with her front claws. And it's not like a concentrated digging where she's really trying to dig a whole - it's more of a half-hearted scrape with both front feet and then she loses interest. The whole routine from when she first climbs up to the time she climbs back down only lasts a minute or two.

When I got her she was very small - shell was about 1.75" and that was in July '16 so I am guessing she is somewhere around a year old perhaps.

Thanks again for reading and for the feedback. I appreciate it!
mjneighb
 
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Post Posted: Sat Apr 01, 2017 2:13 pm   Re: Strange Behavior

Maybe she's getting a little stir crazy. Does she ever get out? Does she have a hide in the tank?
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steve
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Post Posted: Sat Apr 01, 2017 2:15 pm   Re: Strange Behavior

You may of answered the question. Could be some kind of hitchhiker got into the house / tank. Link right above your post talks about them. Spring is coming all kinds of things could get in a home no matter how much one cleans. I keep a lot of fruit in the house and now and then see a fruit fly ... they go straight for the tank. Mickey would bite at the air once in awhile to try and catch it. I keep a pest strip behind tank and catch one now and then , not in the tank ! That air biting could be some kind of small bug flying around her that made a home in her tank.
Also being young she may be doing a little skin shedding , can irritate her, biting at it to help remove it. Could be in very small pieces that you may not notice it. If she is would show up in the water better than when dry.
Your setup look good ! As far as she ,may be to young to tell yet so just incase think of a unisex name.
Regular lettuce not much nutrition ! Here's a good read : http://www.redearslider.com/plants.html
litefoot
 
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