General Care Discussion :: Inherited Turtle

Taking care of your turtle's overall health.

Post Posted: Sat May 13, 2017 7:50 pm   Inherited Turtle

Hi there!
My husband is a teacher and one of his coworkers is retiring to another state. He offered us his classroom turtle (plus the whole setup) so we said yes.
I know it is a red-eared slider, and that the teacher was trying to give it a "pond-like" environment. I know there were two in the tank, but one died earlier this year. I have no idea their age or where they came from.

Based on what I can find from google, after we got him (I'm guessing him. We named him Turkleton, since he had no name before) I cleaned a bunch of poop (like, years possibly of buildup) out of the gravel (I've seen that gravel is bad, we will work on that later), changed out most of his water now (the advice we got was only change a little at a time, I've been feeling like I'm rushing it but he was swimming around in green water.), almost doubled how deep the water is in the tank, got him a few more basking rocks and I've been working on starting to vary his diet - right now he is on pellets and dried red shrimp, around 10 pieces every other day.

I checked out the RES at the pet store and now I'm concerned about his health, I'm hoping more experienced eyes can help me decide the next steps with him.

Here he is
Image

Here is the tank (based on measurements, around 32ish gallons)
Image
Image
(I know a window isn't ideal but this is the only spot in the house we have for him)

We have a good filter, a water heater (we turned it off because he got really lethargic and stopped going in the water, I'm working on getting a thermometer), and a light (no idea what type or anything about it) that we haven't tried to use yet since he is by the window. He doesn't get direct sun since it's summer, but he does get lots of light. In winter he would have direct sunlight.

My concern is his shell, and that he seems to be shedding skin. You can see the skin in the picture of him (shedding started at the front legs and neck, now his back legs have the flakes), but I'm less concerned about that then his shell.
Image
Image

His shell doesn't feel soft, I'm not sure why it's all black like that. My first impulse is to try and wash him, since it seems to be some kind of build up, but I'm not sure how or with what.

I've looked up a little on youtube and tonight I might just try some gentle scrubbing with a toothbrush and water to see if it comes off, but the guy at the pet store said it might be shell rot so I'm concerned about that.

I'd also just love any general advice - I've never owned a turtle or reptile. My current plan is to get variety in his diet (romane lettuce, carrots and turnips probably), get a thermometer, do a bit of a shell scrub with water until I get better advice or have more time to research, and keep working on cleaning old poop out of the gravel. Thank you so much in advance, I know this is a lot to ask!
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AllinGoodFun
 
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Location: Las Vegas, NV
Gender: Female

Post Posted: Sun May 14, 2017 12:49 am   Inherited Turtle

[merged topic]

Hi there!
My husband is a teacher. One of his coworkers is retiring to another state and offered us his classroom turtle (plus tank and setup etc) and we said yes. We've never owned a turtle (or any reptile), so I'll start with what we know and what we are currently doing.

it's just one Red Eared Slider. After some research I guessed male because of his dark shell and size, we named him Turkleton since he didn't have his own name. The tank is around 32 gallons (based on measurements), we have a good filter (at least, the teacher said it was good. No idea of brand or anything), a submersible water heater and a light that I'm not sure what it provides, wattage or anything like that. We know that there used to be two turtles - they are at least 4 years old, and Turkle's tankmate died earlier this year. We have no idea why.
The teacher wanted to give him a "pond like" environment, so there is gravel in the bottom of the tank, scum on the dry part of the walls, we think the gravel was never cleaned of poop and etc and we know water was put in occasionally, but probably not ever changed out. Here he is: https://scontent.flas1-2.fna.fbcdn.net/ ... e=59C111B0

Once we got him home and set up we gave him some time to adjust, then doubled the depth of water in the tank (he has room to swim now, he could not before) and added more basking rocks. Per instructions from the teacher, he gets pellets and dried red shrimp every other day, about 10 pieces total. We had the heater in the water, but he got really lethargic and stopped going in the water at all, so we turned it off and he is happy to swim again. Since we are already over 90 here in Vegas (our house is kept around 74, but since he's in our computer room it's always a little warmer) and he is near a window we haven't used the lamp yet - he doesn't get any direct sun, but he does get lots of bright light (in winter he'd get direct light). Here are pictures of the setup:
https://scontent.flas1-2.fna.fbcdn.net/ ... e=597749D0
https://scontent.flas1-2.fna.fbcdn.net/ ... e=597CA60C

I would love some general advice, since we've never had a turtle before. I know the gravel is bad for him, but that battle will have to come later. For now I am focusing on getting some variety in his diet, cleaning the poop out of the gravel and making sure after so long in a probably bad environment he is healthy.

Speaking of that, I am very concerned about his shell. I took a look at the RES in the pet store and showed a picture of Turk to the employee and he said he thinks that Turk has fungus or just gunk on his shell or shell rot. I watched a few youtube videos about how to clean his shell and just took a toothbrush and warm water to his shell.
Here is the before:
https://scontent.flas1-2.fna.fbcdn.net/ ... e=5977D1F7
Here is the after: https://scontent.flas1-2.fna.fbcdn.net/ ... e=59AEF789
Here is his belly, just in case:
https://scontent.flas1-2.fna.fbcdn.net/ ... e=59AABA16

What do you guys think? I'm gonna give him a few days or a week to relax and recover, then take a toothbrush to him again just to see if I can get anything else off unless I get advice otherwise.
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AllinGoodFun
 
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Location: Las Vegas, NV
Gender: Female

Post Posted: Sun May 14, 2017 5:51 am   Re: Inherited Turtle

Hi, welcome to the forum! I might need a few more pics of Turkleton to correctly ID the gender. I would go right ahead and start cleaning off that algae. Using a toothbrush is fine, though you might need to make 2 or passes. Skin shedding is normal, though if it is excessive or thick, then you will need to look into it. When you have a clear pic of the shell dry, please post it.

The tank looks like you might have to reseal it. It's a bit small, so you might need to consider an upgrade soon. Empty it out then give it a good cleaning. Water and vinegar is usually enough. Sometimes I'd use a Magic Eraser if I'm also rinsing it out. You can leave the bottom bare or add some substrate like sand. You can add a lot more water too, though you will probably need a new basking area.

If you have carbon media, go right ahead and change all the water. (Unplug the heater about 10 minutes before you start.) If you have bio media, take it out and leave it on some tank water as you're cleaning the tank.

You will need to change or adjust the diet too. I'd also try some veggies... romaine or red leaf lettuce is a good start.

You will also need a basking lamp/UVB lamp. What kind of filter do you have?
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steve
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