General Care Discussion :: Water Test Reference?

Taking care of your turtle's overall health.

Post Posted: Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:28 am   Water Test Reference?

I have a 5 in 1 test strip kit to measure my RES's water safety and I noticed that my nitrite levels are high and my Carbonate hardness is low after a 20% water change/filter rinse. I used tap to rinse initially and then used some tank water over it. I don't plan on doing this again, just going to replace and use only tank water.
I do have Fluval bio rings and carbon to replace old media as needed.
I would just like some opinions on how to stabilize these problems in a healthy way?
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Post Posted: Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:31 am   Re: Water Test Reference?

Additionally: my RES has been shedding a lot. I wrote up a new diet plan that cuts out a lot of protein and lowered her water temperature from 80°F to about 76°F. I also have been giving her small pieces of cuttlebone (she won't eat it if it's the whole big thing)
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Post Posted: Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:19 am   Re: Water Test Reference?

How old is your tank ?
If your nitrite is high then it hasn't cycled properly yet. Keep up with your water changes and only lightly rinse your filter/media when needed. If you clean your filter every week beneficial bacteria won't grow and your tank cannot cycle properly. I did that mistake when my turtles were babies, I didn't know anything about aquariums !
Eventually your good bacteria will grow and your nitrite will go down. Thankfully turtles aren't as sensitive to water as fish, so just keep at it and he will be fine.

How big is your RES ? Is it young ? Young RES tend to shed more than adults. What do you mean exactly by shedding a lot ?
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Post Posted: Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:35 am   Re: Water Test Reference?

A lot of long time turtle keepers do not use the test "strip" kits , the are known to be very inaccurate ! If you as a beginner do test use a "drop" type found to be more reliable than the strips. A popular one is the API master kit !

Study up on cycling a tank and keeping a cycle going it will help with the water parameters. And yes never use tap water to clean bio ring's that will kill all that good bacteria needed for a good cycle. Do not wash all that brownish junk off the ring that's your good bacteria , only rinse with tank water to remove any bulk waste. May want to rearrange media in filter so a pad is protecting the rings to keep bulk waste off them making it easier to maintain.

You must live in part of the world/US that has soft water for carbonates to be low. Sliders are hardy and really don't care about hardness / softness . Other type of turtles are more sensitive to it but not sliders.

High nitrites is saying you just haven't found the perfect balance on the parameter's yet. No one formula works for all , too many factors involved with each individual setup. The best turtle media for you , filter , maintenance and the right percentage for water changes you need . At times going from a 20% water change to a 15% change make's a very big difference. YES "less" most people keep changing more and more and more which does not allow the cycle to be established. You must monitor each stage of cycling , test a lot to even know whats going on. There will peak and lows at each stage , must study up on proper cycling. There will be times more will be needed but not here for this case ! Keep note's on what works and or what you tried will help. To get a good cycle started it takes 5-7 weeks "after" you find the correct balance need to achieve it. Then you must maintain the cycle some never achieve a cycle , it takes time . To get there you must monitor each stage of cycling each peak and fall at all times to even know if you have a cycle even started then to be able to maintain it ! It's been found anything under 30 gallons is very hard to get a cycle. The larger the water volume the easier it is. That's why for a turtle we recommend 10 gallons water for every inch of shell. Not really for more swimming room but to be able to control the water parameters !

Do you know someone with a well maintained and clean tank that you can get some seeded media from. Or that will let you put some of your media/rings in there tank for a few weeks to become seeded will help kick start your tank for a cycle to begin ?

Bottom - line you tank is not "cycled" to be having high nitrites after maintenance is done. What's your nitrates running ? That will tell you what (%) of water changes you need to be doing and when. A cycle up and running needs to be established to get to this point !

Cuttlebone is ok only if you remove the "backing" on it for a turtle , that backing is not safe for turtles ! Goggle it to see videos on how to remove backing so safe for turtles !
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Post Posted: Wed Nov 22, 2017 7:30 pm   Re: Water Test Reference?

@pokepony: Sorry, I've been reading but haven't had much time to reply. I'm following both of your advice. I still need to get the new pH test kit. By shedding, I mean she always has dead skin hanging off of her, all over her body. She has also started nipping at her front leg. This is what she looks like:
She is 4 inches long, and I believe she is about 2 years old? This didn't start until we got the new filter. The tank is pretty new, only had the water in it about 3 weeks now. We've been mostly feeding her green leaf lettuce and carrots with some occasional mealworms, shrimps, or pellets twice a week. This is a kind of recent diet change. We also turned her water temp down to about 76°F from a recommendation. Don't worry, Litefoot! I cut the cuttlebone backs off before they are even around the tank!
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Post Posted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:34 am   Re: Water Test Reference?

The shedding is normal, and indoor kept RES are believed to shed more than others.
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