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Bored, stressed, or neither?

PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2017 10:14 am
by Kingbird44
Hi guys,

I'm mildly concerned about Sedge's behavior recently. When I come home in the afternoon or evening, instead of finding him on the basking dock, I find him somewhat curled up, on the bottom of the tank in the rocks. As soon as he sees me he perks up and swims around and begs- it's not like he is acting lethargic really, I don't think. He is just as happy to eat as ever,and his eyes and face look fine. I thought maybe he is doing a bit of "sit and wait" hunting, because he does like digging in the rocks, but it doesn't really seem like it.

Then I thought maybe he was getting bored in his tank or didn't like some changes to the basking area. So, I made a few new changes to the basking area, which I think he liked even less. Then I moved things on the basking area again, and now he has barely basked in maybe a week.

I put a few of his pellets on land normally, and he goes and grabs them and brings them back in the water. That's really the only time I've seen him on land lately. I'm not sure if I just made things worse by messing with the basking area, because it's not unusual for him to not bask for a few days if I alter too much on the basking area. But he started doing this before the recent changes to the basking area- so I don't think it's just that. I just don't know if I made it worse.

Anyway, I don't know if he's getting bored or stressed because he needs a bigger tank? Or if he is having some reaction to the Prime (see below, I don't see why this would be, the parameters seem pretty similar to before), or if there's something else going on.

He is in a 29 gal (full to the top with ATBA). Water temp is 76-78 and the basking area in the high 90s (with a pretty good gradient, I think). Nitrates can get a bit high, but nothing different than in the past.

Sedge is creeping up on 4 inches, and I would like to upgrade him to a 55 gallon next, but I didn't have any real plans to do it that soon since I don't know where I'm going to be after grad school- in the next year and a half or so. Ideally I would upgrade when I know more about the future.

Other changes are that I started using a python for water changes and I've switched from Reptisafe to Prime. I don't really understand why, but the fish in the tank seemed to react poorly to the past couple water changes- ever since I started using Prime. They got super stressed and the danios hovered by the tank floor. After a little while of keeping Sedge out of the tank, they recovered but Sedge has been eating a couple more fish since then probably because they are weaker.

Re: Bored, stressed, or neither?

PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2017 11:17 am
by litefoot
If you don't mind I can offer something , yes Sledge is trying to tell you something. The seasons are changing and Sedge knows that , trust him , it could be as simple as your ambient air temp in room is different. Not the basking platform temp itself but the ambient temp. Different vents for a/c and heater , the direction it blows ?

Other thoughts :
1) A lot of water conditioners use Sodium Thiosulfate ! reptisafe is one of the worst for turtles just pull up it "MSDS" sheet think it can still be found on this forum. Prime .... , well as you know I am old school. Most people like me are trying to keep things out our tanks for control. I do Not use any chemicals ! If you use correct amount of carbon and change it regular No need for any conditioners. Carbon does get saturated with the toxins and no real cheap way to test it at least a cost effected way. Cheaper just to change it , most last 4-5 weeks.

2) Pull up online your water company's fact sheet by law must provide in the US ! Any changes chlorine / chloride / chloramines my water company does change up from summer to winter , does yours ?

3)A turtle has better instinct to what it need than us. What is the real output of your UVB. If it's getting 6-8 months old may not be doing it's job. I try to tell people to write down the date installed to keep some kind of track of it. I have tested new one's that could not produce , sometimes coming off an assembly line that does happen. This is why I have a UVB meter , a must to me ! Also now use Mega Ray's they are very much worth it and produce UVB much longer than any other's ! Which saves money.

Just give it a thought but Sedge is telling you something. These are simple to check into , keep observing my Piggley tells me a lot !

Re: Bored, stressed, or neither?

PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2017 11:23 am
by Kingbird44
I've actually never used carbon. I guess maybe I should? But my tap water has upwards of 1 ppm Ammonia in it :-(

Apparently I was smart and recorded when I changed the UVB bulb on my Google Calendar. April 2nd. Do you think that would really make him not want to bask though? Either way, I have a spare and I'll change it.

Re: Bored, stressed, or neither?

PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2017 11:36 am
by litefoot
Understand , that's why one must learn to cycle a tank properly , a good cycle will take much better care of the nitrite , nitrate and ammonia than any chemicals. Learning cycling does not come over night it takes time , I and some long timers can tell by just looking at water and can see it off just a bit so maybe an extra water change is needed. Every tank is different , even the decorations , rocks , substrate used effect cycling. Most that say they are cycled but still have fluctuations bottom-line it's not cycled !

Some say they use purgein don't need carbon. They do totally two different thing one can not compare ! Carbon for toxic chemicals and purgein for organic waste. I use both !


What brand type and style UVB it depends. Most of those CFL type 5.0 or 10.0 only last a few months using my meter.

Re: Bored, stressed, or neither?

PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2017 11:43 am
by Kingbird44
But cycling doesn't help with nitrates...(?) There is no bacteria, as far as I know, that deal with nitrates, which is why we have to do water changes, right? My tap water has ammonia, so even if the tank is cycled, it will have a little bit of ammonia right after a water change.

Re: Bored, stressed, or neither?

PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2017 11:47 am
by litefoot
Yes and water changes but it all works together. It comes down to what you read and trust by doing homework to believe. 5 articles go one way then 5 the other , I go by what works for me !

I count water changes as part of the cycling process but you need a good cycle to get to that stage.

Sorry did an edit while you where typing remember I'm old and slow. About your UVB.

Re: Bored, stressed, or neither?

PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2017 2:07 pm
by steve
It happens to my RES too, I think they're just a little bored or under the weather. After a few days they go back to their normal routine.

Re: Bored, stressed, or neither?

PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2017 4:36 pm
by Kingbird44
Well I changed the bulb and fixed the basking area, I think. Hopefully he'll bask some day soon...

Re: Bored, stressed, or neither?

PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2017 6:03 pm
by litefoot
Piggley has four spots I can Not touch , if so he will pitch a fit ! I can move anything else in the tank but not his favorite spots. His Best spot is his cave it has a big boulder in front he props up on. Also creates a circular current in front of it which carries the shrimp to him which is why I have to keep the shrimp in the plant tank. Eating to many !

Re: Bored, stressed, or neither?

PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 7:09 pm
by Kingbird44
Well, Sedge finally seems to approve of the changes!

Re: Bored, stressed, or neither?

PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 6:34 pm
by skipolippers
Well as mentioned our boys get the "Winter blues" up here. They can tell the shorter daylight hours, the temperature changes and taste it the the well water (plant growth flavours seeping from surface water) I read a book 30 years ago that said they like routine. Now I would tend to learn more towards "control". they are children that have their own "room" and you can't come in (except to clean or feed). The olny changes they like are for the better, more food/treats, more sun or more hugs.

Re: Bored, stressed, or neither?

PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2017 8:34 pm
by Kingbird44
I guess the shorter days are noticeable. But I don't remember Sedge doing this last year. I think part of his brain is telling him to hibernate...he loves to just chill in the rocks and plants on the tank floor lately. That's often where I find him lately. If he is going to bask, its at like 7pm right before the lights go off...

Re: Bored, stressed, or neither?

PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2017 10:33 pm
by steve
Sounds like it's seasonal to me too. It doesn't seem to bother my female RES, but my male RES does have changes in appetite and basking routine.

Re: Bored, stressed, or neither?

PostPosted: Mon Nov 06, 2017 1:31 pm
by Kingbird44
Thanks for your thoughts everyone :) guess I don't need to worry

Re: Bored, stressed, or neither?

PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 4:34 pm
by Kingbird44
Well, it's been a month since this post and Sedge still barely basks. I insulated the ATBA, so the ambient temperature is nice and warm, I changed the one side so that there are two exits possible from land, and the uvb bulb was changed less than a month ago.

Since I'm going to take him out when I do a water change, I was wondering if you guys thought it made sense for me to dry dock him during that time? I've never done it before and I know he will be grumpy about it but I want him to get a bit more drying time!
Or maybe I should just let him do what he wants... I don't know how to extreme the changes are in the winter for some of your turts.

His "near death" experience a week ago doesn't seem to have dramatically changed his behavior ;-)