Urgent Care :: Shell rot + not eating + not floating + frantic behaviour

This is not a substitute for qualified and relevant veterinarian care.
Read this before you post a new topic here.

Post Posted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 2:46 am   Shell rot + not eating + not floating + frantic behaviour

So some background on this Red Ear Slider...
I had to adopt it from my mom's friend because she was migrating and there was no one to adopt it.
She brought him in a 10 inch by 10 inch by 17 inch glass tank, and instructed me to a) feed it 10 pellets once a day b) clean filter and change water once every two weeks.

Some things to note is that it didn't come with any basking area and UVB light. I suppose it was able to live healthily for 10 years till now because we live in Singapore, which is a perpetually sunny and warm country with temperatures around 80 degrees F (27 degrees C) or more very often.

This is my very first reptile, and I followed her instructions for 2 weeks, where he was fine. He was eating his pellets and pooping fine. However, he suddenly stopped eating. I took him out to inspect his shell and realised that it's actually very flaky and white. I read some forum and realised that it's probably shell rot. So I started dry docking him from yesterday.

I keep him in his tank, only no water. There is indirect sunlight where he is at. I rehydrate him by bathing him in a smaller container for about 1.5 hours, twice a day. I leave him lettuce and watermelon and some pellets for him to eat during his bath. After the baths, I apply slightly diluted betadine on his shell and return him to his tank.

My worry is his very frantic behaviour in the dry tank. He seems to be trying to escape, scratching at the glass and trying to stand on his hind legs. This causes him to slip and hit the glass bottom with a sound of a rock being tapped on glass. He runs around a lot, and his throat bulges up and down quite fast. Is this normal or is the dry docking very uncomfortable for him?

Also, he never tries to float. When I bathe him, he simply falls right to the bottom of the container and sits there.

He used to live with another turtle, and when he grew big enough, he apparently had a very violent fight that the other RES had to go to the vet for stitches. After that, the other RES had to live in the bath, while he lived in the glass tank (nothing laid out on the floor).

Please guide me!! I don't know if this counts as an emergency, but he seems to be having a lot of problems at once, and it's really worrying. I'm willing to put in a lot of effort for this boy's health.

How big is your turtle? :arrow: 5.5 inches
How long have you had it? :arrow: this is the third week I've had him, but he's 10 years old.
What is the water temperature? :arrow: before the dry docking, it was probably 27 degrees C (80 degrees F)
Did you use a thermometer? :arrow: no.
Are you using a water heater? :arrow: no.
How much water is in there? :arrow: before the dry docking, the water was slightly above his shell.
Are you using a water conditioner? :arrow: no.
Are you using any filtration? :arrow: yes.
What is the basking temperature? :arrow: 27 degrees or higher (80 degrees F)
Is there a basking light? :arrow: no, but many hours of indirect sunlight now that he's dry docking.
Is there a basking platform that is easy to climb on? :arrow: no.
What kind is it or what is it made out of?
Is there a UVB light? :arrow: no.

What have you been trying to feed it? :arrow: I fed him pellets as instructed by the previous owner, but after reading forums I give him lettuce, watermelon and some freeze dried bloodworm (the only thing he seems to eat).
When was the last time your turtle ate? :arrow: he probably ate proper food about 4 days ago.

How big is the tank/pond/enclosure? :arrow: 10 x 10 x 17 inches
Is the tank near a window? :arrow: no.
Is the tank in a room with a lot of activity? :arrow: mostly no. only during mealtimes.

Have you read the Basic Care section? :arrow: yes.
Have you searched the forums for similar situations? :arrow: yes. That helped me to start the dry docking and treating the shell rot with betadine. I tried to feed him more colourful plant-based food as well.

Is there any other unusual activity/symptoms? :arrow: explained above.
unagisenpai's RES.jpg
Posts: 2
Joined: Dec 29, 2017
Gender: Female

Post Posted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 12:52 pm   Re: Shell rot + not eating + not floating + frantic behaviou

Thank you so much for your advice! I'll post another picture in a few days.
Today, I tried gently scraping the carapace, and I got lots of white dandruff-like things, as well as bigger flakes tinged black at the side.
Are the bad stuff coming off or is that his actual shell that I am scraping off? :?

He still isn't eating anything.

Thanks once again!
Posts: 2
Joined: Dec 29, 2017
Gender: Female

Post Posted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 4:00 pm   Re: Shell rot + not eating + not floating + frantic behaviou

I think he might have either what we've described as "bacterial scoring", hard water deposits or fungus. It might not be fungus unless he recently shed, but some closer pics of how it looks might help. It there are little pits, I think it might be bacterial scoring and that will go away after a shed or two. Hard water deposits usually build up slowly, but you would also see that around the tank, decorations and filter too.

Can you post a picture of it dry and a bit closer? Maybe before/after you do a gently scrub/cleaning?
User avatar
Site Admin
Posts: 30756
Joined: Apr 11, 2005
Location: New York, NY
Gender: Male

Post Posted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 5:33 pm   Re: Shell rot + not eating + not floating + frantic behaviou

Since I first spoke to you I put your picture on my 5D monitor. I did not see any pitting which is good. Pitting would be a sign of bacterial problem.
Depending on what part of the world you live in ( Oh Singapore ) may be mineral deposits ? Simple way to find that out is to get some "Distilled White Vinegar" not apple cider type. Get smallest bottle only need a little. With a rag wipe down the shell only. If mineral in one or two rub downs it will remove / dislove the deposits. Fast and simple way to rule out mineral deposits which I think it may be or some of may be.
Also I would not dilute the betadine , most OTC are only 5% or less. See what if any comes off with the vinegar . Keep up with the betadine to clean him up good. Then post photo so we can see better , when dry please.

Getting any of that reading done , not just the basic care , also open any links on the pages too. You need to get him out that 10"x10" cell.
One way to prevent problems will be to offer him a good habitat.

The not eating , he's still adjusting ( only with you a short time ) must get him to eat! Try Live minniows , they may be to fast for him so stun them first or hold by tail so he can get them. Live worms just keep offering food ! Turtles have to eat in the water they have no slave glands !
Posts: 1647
Joined: Nov 7, 2016
Location: New Orleans
Gender: Male

Post Posted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 9:02 pm   Re: Shell rot + not eating + not floating + frantic behaviou

Found your water quality report in Singapore. Looks like good water but has minerals in it. Do you get your water from one of these waterworks? Click on attachment to read better. Try that distilled white vinegar may help.
001 - Copy.jpg
Posts: 1647
Joined: Nov 7, 2016
Location: New Orleans
Gender: Male

Return to Urgent Care

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests