General Care Discussion :: New RES owner, CL rescue, tons of questions !

Taking care of your turtle's overall health.

Post Posted: Fri Jun 09, 2017 7:11 pm   New RES owner, CL rescue, tons of questions !

Hi everyone,

New to the forum, and to being a turtle owner as well.

Long story short, I recently acquired 2 RES turtles from someone on Cl who was moving across the US.

He might have been doing his best, but the conditions he kept them in was terrible : 20gal tank half filled, ridiculously hot basking area, fed only hatching pellets twice a day for .. ever, very little water filtration, etc .. There's a male and a female, male's supposedly around 3yo and female a bit older, she's definitely bigger than him.

The first thing I did was switch them to a 75gal tank, started feeding them veggies (mostly red leaf lettuce so far, a couple small pieces of fruit), offering them some cuttlebone, and switched them to the "next level" of pellets which are labeled as being "growth" ones. I think they'd need to switch to the "maintenance" ones for adults pretty soon, at least for the female, but I figured it was probably better to make some kind of "transition step" in between going from the super small pellets they were used to eat to the new much larger ones for adults.

I'm new to owning turtles, and while I've done lots of research on them, I still have a couple "silly" questions I'd like to have a definitive answer on :

- both of them, but mostly the male show signs of pyramiding on the shell. From what I've seen that's unfortunately not surprising given the diet they were on. Is there something special I should do, or do I need to pay special attention to this in some way ?

- another thing I've noticed is that the male has a small "crack" in the back of his shell. It seems like an old injury, and is all healed and solid now as far as I can tell. Again, should I pay special attention to this in some way ?

- about the lighting : should I keep the heating lamp on at night ? It produces some light, but if I'm not mistaken it doesn't produce UVB (I have a different bulb for that, which is on during the day). I saw somewhere that switching on/off those heating lamps made them die faster, but was wondering if the turtles were affected by lighting at night (as long as it doesn't involve UV light), and whether they needed the basking heat as much during the night (I'm guessing that in the wild, the radiant heat is mostly present while the sun is).

Thanks in advance for your help, let me know if you needed some more info or details, I'll post pictures of the shells shortly as I assume that'll be much more helpful than a written description !
EastBaked
 
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Post Posted: Sat Jun 10, 2017 12:21 am   Re: New RES owner, CL rescue, tons of questions !

Hi EastBaked! Their new diet seems fine, just try not to overfeed on the pellets/treats. The size of the pellets are not a big deal, just get a good brand and go from there... Omega One is the popular pick right now.

How bad is the male's pyramiding? Usually, you just need to make sure he's able to shed normally.

Any pictures of the crack?

The lights need to be off or they won't be able to sleep. Do you have a submersible water heater?
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steve
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Post Posted: Sat Jun 10, 2017 10:31 am   Re: New RES owner, CL rescue, tons of questions !

Hi Steve,

Thanks for your answer !

Will look into getting Omega one pellets to replace the ones I currently have.
Not sure how bad the pyramiding is, but I saw that RES are usually not that affected, and it's definitely noticeable on this guy ! Will get a picture soon. As for the crack, it really seem like an old thing, but I'll see to get a picture of this area as well.

Noted for the lights out at night, good thing that's what I had been doing so far. This does include the heating light to be off at night as well right ?

I have a submersible water heater, but so far as it's pretty warm where I live (gotta love California) the water usually stays between 76 and 80 farenheit without being heated (except after water changes or such)

Will look into adding pictures to my posts.
EastBaked
 
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Post Posted: Sat Jun 10, 2017 10:36 am   Re: New RES owner, CL rescue, tons of questions !

Here he is, pyramiding looks pretty noticeable on these. Will try to get one of the crack next time he's out basking.
The shell is not smooth around the edge, as the "scales" are pointing towards the outside instead of connecting smoothly into one another.
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EastBaked
 
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Post Posted: Sat Jun 10, 2017 10:53 am   Re: New RES owner, CL rescue, tons of questions !

Both heat lamp and UVB off at night the water heater will take care any warmth if they want it. In summer time the water heater may not kick on due to the higher temp in your area but one is still needed. A timer works great for the bulbs. Keep it like nature day / night cycle !

Boy that "CL" person had him on a very poor diet , not healthy ! Even a few sheds may not help him much with that pyramiding .
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Post Posted: Sat Jun 10, 2017 1:44 pm   Re: New RES owner, CL rescue, tons of questions !

Noted for the lamps, thanks. I assume this goes for any other kind of lighting as well right (tank decorations, halogen light, other ambient light sources outside the tank and such) ? I have the heater in the tank and plugged in, but for now I never see it turning on except when I first filled the tank. If needed I'll get a larger one for winter, but for now that small heater is more than enough.

Indeed, the only "diet" he was following was feeding them hatchling pellets (filled with fat and protein) twice daily, and nothing else (no veggies no nothing), for at least 3 years or so .... Is there any risks linked to that level of pyramiding ? Anything special I should do or pay special attention to ? I haven't noticed any "problems" on his shell (not discoloration, white marks, soft spots or similar), but would like to get this little guy all the care he needs and has obviously been missing !
EastBaked
 
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Post Posted: Sat Jun 10, 2017 3:25 pm   Re: New RES owner, CL rescue, tons of questions !

Yes on all lights , off at night he must be able to sleep !
The pyramiding , until it sheds can't answer that. He already has some retained scutes. You can only offer him the best home to be happy and healthy and have patience. To me a turtle is a family member and if I took a sick rescue in or adopted a handicap child would not get rid of them. I offer it a good home and could have a good life. There will be problems down the road "yes" you just cross one at a time and make it work. Times it won't be easy , if not for you re-home both so they could have a chance to live a full life. Turtles are not for everyone. Think about it hard , its great you want to keep maybe one and myself only have males . I'm old and much easier than all that goes with females. And yes money does come into this , lets just be real ! Say if one can't pay there bills now how are they going to take a turtle in and they and it be happy and healthy? Lots to think about.
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Post Posted: Sun Jun 11, 2017 5:57 pm   Re: New RES owner, CL rescue, tons of questions !

I'm optimistic that the shell will look a little bit better after a few sheds. My turtle also has some shell deformities and and just make sure he sheds normally and do an inspection every now and then.
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Post Posted: Sat Jun 17, 2017 11:05 am   Re: New RES owner, CL rescue, tons of questions !

Great, thanks again for all your answers !!
I saw people talking about doing a light cleaning/brushing once a month or so to help keep the shell clean and help with shedding. He's basking a lot (I'm guessing not having the basking area the same temperature as the sun's surface must be helping a bit) these day, and I can definitely see some old layer of shell starting to peel off, especially near the edges. I read that you don't want to pull on these or try to remove these yourself, no matter how close to falling they look, but was wondering if the brushing could be any helpful.
Finally, I saw that blueberries are believed to help with scutes shedding (I could be wrong but I believe you were the one saying this on another post Steve). Should I give them a few ones (just once) ?
Also, I managed to take a couple pictures of the ''crack'' on the back of it's shell. It really looks like an old injury healed up, but I'd rather be safe than sorry.
Again, I truly appreciate the time you take to get back to me on all these silly questions, it's really helpful to me, and so great to have people who know what they're doing help out beginners like me !
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EastBaked
 
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Post Posted: Sat Jun 17, 2017 3:28 pm   Re: New RES owner, CL rescue, tons of questions !

I wouldn't worry about light cleaning/brushing unless there is some algae on the shell. If you gently press down on the scute and see water seep out around the seams, then it might be ready to come off. If you're careful, you can help remove some of the ones that are very loose and thin.
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Post Posted: Sat Jun 17, 2017 4:24 pm   Re: New RES owner, CL rescue, tons of questions !

Yes he's ready for a good shed. Blueberries has no science behind it , sure whomever used it was more a coincidence at the time turtle was shedding. Fruit is not a natural food wild RES's would normally encounter and should be limited to rare use.
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Post Posted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 12:40 pm   Re: New RES owner, CL rescue, tons of questions !

Ok, I'll just keep an eye out for this and make sure everything looks "as it should".
Thanks for the clarification on the blueberries, I gave them a couple ones a few days ago (which they looooooved once they understood it was food), but I'll keep it as an occasional treat (read somewhere that it should be limited to once a month max : sounds about right ?)
How often are they normally supposed to shed ? Does the skin and shell normally shed roughly at the same time ? They're basking a lot (I'm guessing the better environment is helping a bit), which I assume helps with the shedding, and both have some skin shedding (was super scared at first when I saw it, before I realized what was actually happening), but only the male seems to be shedding some of his shell for now, so hard to compare the evolution.
Again, thanks A TON for your help !!!
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Post Posted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 9:25 pm   Re: New RES owner, CL rescue, tons of questions !

Shedding is a bit of mystery, but wild RES normally shed once a year. Since our guys are active all year round, it can be hard to predict. Glad to hear things are improving!
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Post Posted: Sat Aug 05, 2017 2:56 pm   Re: New RES owner, CL rescue, tons of questions !

I have baby rio grande red ear slider turtles and i have the day light(uvb) and a basking light on for 12 hours for them and then have a night time(black light for reptiles) that i put on at night for them. And they sleep.
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Post Posted: Sat Aug 05, 2017 3:17 pm   Re: New RES owner, CL rescue, tons of questions !

They do not need a black light and I would avoid using one with them.
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