General Care Discussion :: Skin Shedding

Taking care of your turtle's overall health.

Post Posted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 10:28 am   Skin Shedding

Angelina is shedding again. I've had her since late July, and this is the second time I've noticed her skin shedding. I know it is normal, but I don't know how often is normal. The shedding is as described in the "Health" section of this site as seen below:

Skin Shedding

Shedding is natural and normal for RES. Shedding skin has a thin, wispy and translucent appearance. Most often it is around the neck and the front and rear limbs. It is very easily visible underwater. Excessive shedding is not normal and is usually the result of water temperatures being too high, high protein diets, inadequate basking and fast growth. It could be a symptom of poor water quality or a developing infection. Proper diet and water conditions should be introduced to help avoid this.

What I don't know is what excessive shedding means. Does that mean how much they are shedding or how often?

Angelina probably has a shell length of 2 to 2 1/2 inches. She is in a 10 gallon tank (she will be moving to her 125 gallon after the first of the year).

I checked her water quality last night. I had been using the sticks you dip in but read somewhere on here they weren't accurate. That being the case I ordered a test kit with the tubes and drops. I just got it day before yesterday. The water PH is 7.6 (not really seen a lot about what PH level should be for a RES). Her amonia level is .25 ppm. Actually the color was more between 0 and .25 ppm, but after me looking at it, having my hubs look at it and my six year old we went with .25 ppm. Nitrite is 0 ppm. Nitrate is 80 ppm. I'm pretty sure the Nitrate level is too high. The instructions with the kids said 40 ppm or less for fish. Is that what it should be for a RES too? Could the Nitrate level cause excessive shedding?

Her water temp is 76 to 77 degrees. Her basking area temp ranges from 88 to 92 (depends on how high her basking area is due to water evaporation/addition of water).

So is the fact she is shedding a second time in a little less than four months considered excessive shedding? Also, are the additives they suggest adding to bring nitrate levels down safe, or should I just change the water and see if they come down (think the booklet said some drinking water has nitrates in it - think I might have read that on the Algae section too)? Also I've not noticed her shedding scutes, but I'm not totally sure what I should be looking for.

Oh, she eats pellets everyday (about 5). I try to feed her leaf lettuce everyday (occassionly she will only get pellets if the evening has been really hectic). I also give her carrot shreds once or twice a week. She has cuttle bone that I just leave floating in her water.

I'm just trying to make sure I am not doing something wrong that will harm her in the long run (or short run for that matter).
1 RES: Angelina
1 Beta: Simon (really Simon #2 but my daughter doesn't know Simon #1 died)
1 Miniature Schnauzer: Sugar
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Post Posted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 11:56 am   Re: Skin Shedding

Lettuce should be the everyday staple food and pellets I've heard are every other day? I didn't know when I first got my turtles and I did it too but now I'm giving mine lettuce everyday and I've seen a huge difference in them, also what kind of lighting do you use?

Have you checked this out?

http://www.redearslider.com/plants.html

http://www.redearslider.com/pellets.html
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Post Posted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 12:09 pm   Re: Skin Shedding

I *think* Angelina is considered a hatching, which I believe are to be fed pellets everyday. When are they considered not a hatchling?

I will be able to do a better job with the lettuce once my suction cup clips come in (have been shipped). I always feel like I have to cut it up small when it is just floating in the water, because it is hard for her to tear a small enough piece off. If an evening is really, really busy I don't always have the time to cut the lettuce up, so she doesn't get it that evening. She does get it most evenings and will get it every evening once the suction cup clips come in.

I have the ZooMed double dome light that has the UVA bulb on one side and a UVB bulb on the other (wish I had known you could get one bulb to do both - I was clueless when I went to Petsmart).

I do cut the hard backing off of the cuttle bone.
1 RES: Angelina
1 Beta: Simon (really Simon #2 but my daughter doesn't know Simon #1 died)
1 Miniature Schnauzer: Sugar
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Post Posted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 3:37 pm   Re: Skin Shedding

I hope a more experienced member can chime in on the pellets thing. I've seen alot of people post about how baby turtles need more protien in their diet than adult turtles but I'm not really sure if pellets everyday are good for the turtle no matter what the age. If it was me, I would just change up the diet a little bit and get her in direct sunlight more often. I think shedding (whether too much or not enough) ultimately has to with what the balance is between vitamans and UVB.

She's still little, and I think it's awesome that you care about your turtle and learning as much as you can for her. I'm sure she will be fine in the longrun.

Btw, I didn't know about the mercury vapot bulbs either, when I found out I bought the solar glo 125watt. My turtles LOooooove it. They sometimes bask for like 4-5 hours straight. I've been searching alot about that on this forum and from what more of the experienced owners are saying, for the time being (Some of the other companies are having issues), if you plan on going with a mercury vapor bulb, go with powersun by zoomed.
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Post Posted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 4:55 pm   Re: Skin Shedding

I've been feeding pellets everyday based on this info. http://www.redearslider.com/pellets.html The third sentence says "Hatchlings or turtles under a year old should be given pellets daily." At one point on here I saw someone say every other day. I commented that I must be overfeeding, because I fed my hatchling everyday. I was then pointed to the above link and told everyday for hatchlings. I certainly appreciate you chiming in and the info you've provided. :D There is a lot to learn when it comes to turtle keeping. Especially when you were told you had a girl (no way to know right now), only need a 10 gallon aquarium :shock: , no equipment :shock: and could use water straight from the tap.

I'm not sure how old my turtle is. I got her at the end of July. Not sure how big she was then. I'm guessing around two inches long now (I'm gonna have to measure). I don't think it looks like she's grown much at all since I've had her. I have had at least one person say they think she has grown. I sure wish I knew for sure how old she is.

How many turtles do you have? How big are they?
1 RES: Angelina
1 Beta: Simon (really Simon #2 but my daughter doesn't know Simon #1 died)
1 Miniature Schnauzer: Sugar
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Post Posted: Sat Nov 19, 2011 1:49 am   Re: Skin Shedding

I have two females. One is about 8 inches the other about 5 or 6. They are rescues, I've had them a couple months. It wasn't planned, but that's how all my pets seem to be, but I fell in love with them and I want to give them a good home, so currently making plans on building them their permanent home, during the day I take them out into their kiddie pool to get sunlight, I have a huge half domed cement block I found in a field that they use to bask in there. If it says everyday for a hatchling then I wouldn't change that. I guess you just have to find out when she would no longer be considered a hatchling, also it is possible that her shedding might not be excessive.
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Post Posted: Sat Nov 19, 2011 9:51 pm   Re: Skin Shedding

Excessive would be constant heavy sheds, you'd probably notice it building up in the aquarium walls. There will probably be some shedding all the time, especially around the feet. 5 pellets sounds fine, is there any other protein in the diet?

Generally, underfeeding is better than overfeeding.
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Post Posted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 11:14 am   Re: Skin Shedding

Thanks Steve. I've seen no build up of skin in the aquarium and only noticed the shedding during two different periods in the almost four months I've had her. So if she is still a hatchling and I only feed her pellets every other day with veggies everyday, will it hurt her?

Generally she just gets pellets as her protein. Occassionally I will give her some dried shrimp (two or three pieces that are small). If I do that, she either doesn't get pellets that day or only gets two or three.

I tried to do a web search to see if I could find anything that might help me better determine her age. I know it is very hard to tell unless you know when they were born. I did find some information that states that their shells get darker as they get older. One thing I read said a hatchling's shell will be more of a kelly green. Then as they get older the shell will turn to an olive green and sometimes eventually to brown. When I got Angelina her shell was definitely lighter than it is now. I would describe her shell color at this point as olive green. I measured her this weekend, and she is 2 1/4 inches from the tip of the shell at her head to the tip of her shell at her tail. I'm beginning to think that she is probably around a year old now. When I had her out this weekend I took some pics of her, so I'm going to post them shortly.
1 RES: Angelina
1 Beta: Simon (really Simon #2 but my daughter doesn't know Simon #1 died)
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Post Posted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 11:23 am   Re: Skin Shedding

Some pics.

Here is her shell dry. What can you tell me about it? I'm thinking it looks like she is shedding or will be shedding soon. Is that correct? I also noticed her shell is a little soft back by her tail (like if you gently press on it, it gives just a little). Is this normal? The rest of it felt hard.

Image

Image

I believe I read on here that their shells should be smooth. If you run your fingers over Angelina's shell, it feels a little bumpy... life the middle of the scutes are humped up just a very little bit. Is that pyramiding or normal. Obviously from this pic her shell humps up in the center too. Should that be?

Image

Image

I appreciate any insight anyone can give me. I tell you in just almost four short months I have fallen in love with this little thing. I want to make sure I am taking the best care of her I can.
1 RES: Angelina
1 Beta: Simon (really Simon #2 but my daughter doesn't know Simon #1 died)
1 Miniature Schnauzer: Sugar
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Post Posted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 10:35 am   Re: Skin Shedding

From the pictures, it looks like fast growth or very irregular feedings. Not necessarily pyramiding but it should be smoother as you noted. Is it possible someone is sneaking food to her? The shell will be slightly pliable for turtles under a year old. and some of the scutes do look like they will shed.
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Post Posted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 11:59 am   Re: Skin Shedding

Steve all I can tell you about is the last four months. I am the only one that feeds her. My just turned six year old helps, but she can't really do it on her own. I'm pretty sure she wouldn't be sneaking food to her, because if I don't "remind" her that she is supposed to "help" feed, she doesn't even bother to suggest or attempt it. There is no way the hubs would feed her. He wasn't thrilled when we came home with her, so to keep her, she became my responsibility. My almost two year old is not big enough to get to where I keep her food.

Like I said above, since we got her she has been given five pellets (mini pellets) a day until just recently. There would be veggies thrown in here and there. Not sure how I missed it but I didn't realize until just recently that I should be giving her veggies everyday even with the pellets. For some reason I thought as hatchlings it was pellets everyday and veggies a few times a week. So right now I am giving her pellets every other day (still not sure this is right since I'm not sure how old she is), lettuce everyday, 2 or three dried shrimp about once a week (# of pellets reduced usually by the number of shrimp that day) and once a week a baby carrot on a day when she doesn't get pellets.

So do you think it is ok to go ahead and just give her pellets every other day (what I'm doing now), or should I keep her at everyday until I've had her a little longer and know she would be closer to a year if she isn't a year already? Above you said generally underfeeding is better than overfeeding. I'm thinking keeping her at every other day is probably better.

Thanks for all your help!
1 RES: Angelina
1 Beta: Simon (really Simon #2 but my daughter doesn't know Simon #1 died)
1 Miniature Schnauzer: Sugar
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Post Posted: Fri Nov 25, 2011 12:37 am   Re: Skin Shedding

I guess reduce it to 3 or 4 for now and feed everyday if you are to add some veggies. The main thing is to be consistent with the feedings.
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Post Posted: Tue Nov 04, 2014 11:17 pm   Re: Skin Shedding

Mom2RES wrote:Shedding is natural and normal for RES. Shedding skin has a thin, wispy and translucent appearance. Most often it is around the neck and the front and rear limbs. It is very easily visible underwater. Excessive shedding is not normal and is usually the result of water temperatures being too high, high protein diets, inadequate basking and fast growth.


George is shedding, eats tuna (protein), is getting her basking set up in a day or so, and has grown remarkably in less than three months.

It could be a symptom of poor water quality


She eats and lives in the same container, so I change the water frequently and use water conditioner.
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