General Care Discussion :: New to turtles, not sure if I’m doing this right

Taking care of your turtle's overall health.

Post Posted: Thu Apr 02, 2020 3:07 pm   New to turtles, not sure if I’m doing this right

Hey guys, so as the topic says... I’m a new turtle owner. My wife and 4 year old son literally walked out the front door of our house and on our front patio there was a little itty bitty baby red slider. It’s roughly the size of a half dollar coin. Now I’m familiar with reptiles as I have had snakes and currently a created gecko. I’ve had my RES for about a week now and I don’t necessarily think I’m doing anything wrong but I feel like he’s not eating how he should be. He’s in a 20 long with about 5 gallons of water, water temp is 80, basking spot is 88-90. He has two separate floats. A mopani log and a small turtle dock. Also using an aqueon 20 gallon heater and a 10-30 gallon whisperer filtration. The lighting is a Zilla day white light 50 watt, and a zoomed reptisun 5.0 uvb. His water was treated with reptisafe conditioner. His foods are zoomeds turtle treat krill, zoomed aquatic turtle food hatchling formula, zoomed reptisticks, I bought a couple dozen pinhead crickets. I also have a colony of Dubia roaches for my crested gecko that I’m interested in feeding “turtley”. I have calcium and vitamins that I share between the turtle and the gecko. The veggies I’ve been using are carrots and turnip greens. So my frustration is that he doesn’t want to seem to eat. I’ve been placing him in a separate container to observe he’s getting nutrition, and also to keep the tank cleaner. In the separate container he’s eaten nothing. In the week I’ve had him he’s had 3 crickets, two bites of krill and 2 bites of carrot. He also never seems to bask. He hides far away in a corner under a fake anemone. The only time he’s eaten is with tongs in the enclosure. Any suggestions or should I stop letting my emotions take over?
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Post Posted: Fri Apr 03, 2020 4:45 am   Re: New to turtles, not sure if I’m doing this right

Hi from Piggley and me.
Look at top header under habitat . Directly tied to how a turtle metabolizes food / eat.
Also under nutrition read methods to entice eating.
Any pictures of setup and turtle you could post may see something ?
Most beginners don't realize turtles are escape pro's may be a neighbors , ask around.
Some take a long time to adjust to a new setup . It's hiding says it's not comfortable yet.
You may want to read SDS's on that water conditioner and use another. General types are not safe for all turtles. Type reptisafe in search box above for more info.
You can to help get some nutrition in it , try this. Get some unflavored pedialyte , mix it 50/50 with warm water in that separate container. It will drink some to get some more nutrition in it until it adjust to the setup and you.
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Post Posted: Fri Apr 03, 2020 11:04 pm   Re: New to turtles, not sure if I’m doing this right

Thanks for your feedback. I definitely did a lot of research this past week and read a lot into this little guy. For the most part I have done just about everything the header of the forum said for habitat and enticing eating. I looked in the search bar about reptisafe and didnt get any good reading or information about it. I just saw a lot of 50/50 use and don’t use it. First thing in the morning I will definitely send a picture of my set up and the turtle. As far as him being a neighbors I don’t think he is. 3 other people in my area also found a baby RES. They are rather native turtles to our area. I have asked around and no one is missing a baby turtle. This weekend I’ll definitely try to pedialyte tip.
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Post Posted: Sat Apr 04, 2020 7:04 am   Re: New to turtles, not sure if I’m doing this right

Understand your 50/50 review on conditioners. It’s mostly beginners against long time keepers. I only have six decades in this and we have several generations of Herpetologist in the family also being Native American I look at things differently. I want full control on what goes into the tank. Nature has done great for millions of years. Man made chemicals only convert one chemical to another and is still in the tank. My attempt was to get your interest up and look deeper. Extensive research needs to be done especially now a days. Too many looking for a magical pill to even do simple maintenance. A quick drop of this PH up then a quick drop of that PH down. A pill to sleep and a pill to wake up … Anybody can buy a domain today and list not so true info. Some companies spend more on marketing to make there product sound great , only to find out it's not. I use SDS’s to see chemicals used to do what they claim, one would be surprised what you find that’s allowed . To me natural methods are very much safer , no chemicals. Setting water out the chlorine will gas off over night. Using carbon correctly will remove chloramines. No chemicals ! If in the US water companies by law must send you copy of their quality report or at least post it for you to find. People may be shocked whats allowed even by law on what goes into the water supply. Just look at bottled water sales and some of them have been shut down due to whats in the water. Some chemicals take a few years to see the effect and we find out was not safe. Bottom line lots of wrong / misleading info on the internet , use google doc’s and discern documented fact. Also most basic care sheets are only for beginners with babies. With some newbies a baby turtle's life span is only two year due to improper habitats when done correctly a captive turtle can live 50 years. Must match info for the size , species and age of turtles. Turtle have different stages of life and requirements change.
Having had snakes and a gecko today you already know how important studying first can be in preventing lots of issues. With turtles prevention is key too. Also observing well.
Looking forward seeing some photo’s.
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Post Posted: Sat Apr 04, 2020 8:57 am   Re: New to turtles, not sure if I’m doing this right

Yeah, no I completely agree with you litefoot. I have the pictures.. I just can’t figure out how to post them?
Markmassey
 
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Post Posted: Sat Apr 04, 2020 9:52 am   Re: New to turtles, not sure if I’m doing this right

For a normal photo to fit on this forum will have to resize them. 600x600 works well or about 800x800 also works , just like resizing photo for an email. Or use a hosting site and add link.
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Post Posted: Sat Apr 04, 2020 9:55 pm   Re: New to turtles, not sure if I’m doing this right

I just can’t find a way to be able to actually attach it
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Post Posted: Sun Apr 05, 2020 1:42 am   Re: New to turtles, not sure if I’m doing this right

May have type of Windows system , see those three dots at top right on your screen under the close button , click on it , new window opens. Or if you hide the computers toolbar open it to see this . If you have a smaller monitor than your software default is set for and use this feature to enlarge the text ( zoom (+) ) at the top right click the (-) sign until you see forums full screen [ Upload attachment] below the submit button bottom left.
Or use the (Full editor ) button on forums page next to the submit button and scroll down to see upload attachment bottom left.
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Post Posted: Sun Apr 05, 2020 10:42 am   Re: New to turtles, not sure if I’m doing this right

Ok this should be it’s set up
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Post Posted: Sun Apr 05, 2020 10:42 am   Re: New to turtles, not sure if I’m doing this right

And here’s the little guy
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Post Posted: Sun Apr 05, 2020 11:29 am   Re: New to turtles, not sure if I’m doing this right

Sounds like you're off to a good start. I would probably increase the water level... do yo have a heater? If the filter has a carbon insert, you don't need any water conditioner.

I would look into a better foods than the ZooMed brand. Omega One, Mazuri, and Reptomin are probably the best brands (in that order). Feed him in his tank, avoid excessive handling for now. Do you have any minnows or guppies? Live prey always get their attention. Also cover the sides of the tank for a bit, give him space/time to adjust but make sure he's eating.
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Post Posted: Sun Apr 05, 2020 12:51 pm   Re: New to turtles, not sure if I’m doing this right

The heater is just to the left of the filter. It’s an aqueon 20 gallon heater. Keeps the temp just around 80 currently. Originally had it set to 78 but with further readings I heard a lot of 80 degrees for hatchlings so I increased it. How much more water would you suggest? It’s currently in the 4 gallon range. So keep in his tank and hand feed with tongs? I’m just afraid letting the food float in that size he won’t eat. He has eaten krill, carrots, and crickets with tongs. Everything else seems to just float around until it dissolves. I think that black piece in front of the filter is “carbon”?
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Post Posted: Sun Apr 05, 2020 12:52 pm   Re: New to turtles, not sure if I’m doing this right

Here’s a close up of the filter
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Post Posted: Sun Apr 05, 2020 12:55 pm   Re: New to turtles, not sure if I’m doing this right

Also last night when I fed him he actually ate the krill and took a bite of the reptistick which was soaked in tuna water. That would be the 2nd time trying the tuna juice enticing. This was in the separate container in the above picture. So with carbon filter I do not need to condition water? I do plan on buying a couple guppies or minnows but currently I have crickets and Dubia roaches. He’s eaten a few of the pin heads and I have yet to try Dubai’s as I do not know if that is a good option? I’m also rather hesitant to feed these live prey as often as I’ve read it will make them fat and use only as treats, and also addiction which may want them to only eat these as they age rather than veggies and pellets? I just want to do the right thing...
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Post Posted: Sun Apr 05, 2020 3:04 pm   Re: New to turtles, not sure if I’m doing this right

Think off to a good start too ! I also would fill tank about half way so you could still prevent escape and make cycling it easier so your filter works better. Turtles love to swim as much as bask. With two docks plenty of area to hang on to and rest if needed. That filter uses a pad impregnated with carbon and in 4-6 weeks will get saturated needing to buy another and another. If not replaced will release toxins back into the tank. Make you own for pennies. Know what you start out with from water supply company. If chlorine you can also set it out over night and chlorine will gas off. If chloramine the carbon will remove it. Try to fit a DIY media bag with real carbon to me would work better then no water conditioner needed .
It’s personal to me but I do not like double fixture for beginners. Uv heat bulb needs one distance for proper temp and a UVB placement is different . And each type UVB / CFL , tube or even mercury vapor are all different placements to get the best uW/cm² needed. Do you have a UVB light meter to know for sure the readings since you have had snakes and now a gecko ?
Don’t use tongs could hurt it’s beak. You and your turtle are missing out on building trust. In time he/she will look forward to hand feedings. Some turtles need longer to adjust to new home and handler than other , give it more time. Once it feels more comfortable eating will get better and trust will build.
The separate feeding tank for a baby is a no to me , too much stress on a baby trying to adjust to one tank more or less two. Babies do not like change at all. When about 3” a juvenile yes they start to love change and once adult keeps there curiosity in check and happy.
Live prey is good for a baby up to one year old due to how fast at this stage they grow. They need more protein now but a juvenile should be one 40-50% veggies and by adult 70% veggies with protein every other day.
The dubia roaches is not a normal food in the wild a turtle eats. Being a baby as a treat once a month is ok but may have to break the legs off to make it easy.
Being turtles are so curious I would get rid of the regular aquarium gravel. Turtles will eat it causing blockages then big problems. Use a rock that wont fit in it mouth for safety. River rock’s even for an adult is safe or sand that’s too small so not to create a blockage is good too.
I would be looking for an upgrade tank and filter too they in the first year grow fast. Turtle's produce a high bio load so a good flow rate will be needed. A canister type is better and does not take up valuable swimming room. And you can setup media more for turtle than that fish media sold in most filters. Or fill the tank all the way and build an “ATBA” to buy some time when it gets a little bigger. Being an old retired man I setup an adult tank once , even for a baby , so not to have all those upgrades and save lots of money.
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