Feeding and Nutrition :: tries to eat and misses????

Turtle diets and eating habits discussed here.

Post Posted: Sun Apr 13, 2008 9:54 pm   tries to eat and misses????

My little guy seems so hungry but most times grabs all around the food and misses the pellets. He is small about the size of a 50 cent piece and is albino. WE have a filter sytem, basking area, two lights, blue for day time and red for night time. We also have live plants. We have tried small guppies but they keep dying. We worry he cant see? Any suggestions to set our mind at ease. He appears healthy. Does have a bit of peeling skin now and then. We have had him about 3 months. Thnaks
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Post Posted: Sun Apr 13, 2008 10:01 pm   

How do you mean "misses"? Do you mean he's totally off the mark when he goes for a bite, or that when he bites, the kibble gets pushed out of the way?

You could try feeding him in a smaller container, but it may take him some time to get used to it.
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Post Posted: Sun Apr 13, 2008 10:37 pm   

It's possible the light is bothering his eyes. For daytime, white light similar to sunlight is best. You need two bulbs during the day. Both bulbs should be positioned over the basking platform. Here's a description of the two bulbs:

1. Heat bulb. The purpose of this bulb is to provide the heat over the basking area that will motivate your turtle to get up there and bask. It also aids in digestion. A regular household incandescent bulb is fine as long as it heats the basking platform to around 88 to 90 degrees. I think people often use a 75 watt bulb for this purpose.

2. UVB bulb. A turtle needs to be exposed to UVB light so his body can absorb the calcium he eats. Otherwise the calcium goes to waste. He has to have good amounts of calcium of course for his shell and bones. The UVB bulb will be a specialized fluorescent bulb that you get at a pet store or on-line pet supply place. Most people use compact fluorescents although if you have a fixture for it a tube fluorescent is also a good choice. Whatever bulb you get must say on the packaging that it provides at least 5% (or 5.0) UVB. The bulbs that say "full spectrum" or "basking bulb" are not the right type. Any bulb that provides UVB also provides UVA, so you'll have both covered. A good bulb is the Exo Terra Repti Glo 5.0 26 watt compact fluorescent.

That's assuming your tank is smaller than 50 gallons. If it's larger, then the best setup is a single MVB bulb setup.

For night, you don't need any bulb shining at all. It should be dark in the turtle tank, like it would be in nature if he/she lived in a pond. Turtles sleep in the water, so the water heater should keep him/her warm enough without a lightbulb or heat lamp.
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Post Posted: Sun Apr 13, 2008 10:40 pm   

(Sorry for the double post). I'm concerned that the guppies keep dying. Is it possible the water isn't healthy? Do you test for ammonia and nitrites? How does it look - crystal clear or cloudy? Any unpleasant smell?

Poor water quality can irritate a turtle's eyes.
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Post Posted: Sun Apr 13, 2008 11:22 pm   

Do you think you could post a pic of the tank? That would be most helpful.
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Post Posted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 8:48 am   

Albino RES hatchlings have poor vision and are sometimes visually impaired. It should improve, but how much is uncertain.
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Post Posted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 5:05 pm   

I've heard that Albino really cant see. I dont know if this is true though
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Post Posted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 6:04 pm   

Thanks so much for all the help. You are all great!!!! I will try to download a pic of the tank. It is a 10 gallon. We have 2 lights a UV which is blue. The pet store said we needed the blue kind because Surf is albino., and a regular UV could burn the turtle. Then they said we needed the red light to keep him warm at night. I like the sound of a water heater better.

The water is very clear and doesn't smell. We have a large filter(20gal) on the tank. We also live plants in the tank. Surf does get on the basking ledge. He always seems ravinious. He "misses" totally. Sometimes he lunges for the pellet and comes up out of the water a few inches from the pellet. We watch him close and he does manage to eat some too. He also tries to get the pellets and grabs the basking ledge like its food!

The pet store said they will test our water when i was there today so tomorrow we will bring a sample.

I love the site and all the info. Will get a pic posted. Thanks again. Linda & Bridget
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Post Posted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 11:02 pm   

It's not that important, but most of the time pet store employees don't know what they're talking about. If it's a specialty reptile store the I'd say go for it, but chains don't know enough.
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Post Posted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 11:58 pm   

Is the blue light bulb like this one?

http://reviews.petco.com/3554/102885/reviews.htm

This bulb may be fine for some purposes but it doesn't provide a certain wavelength of light - UVB - that a turtle needs. Exposure to UVB light causes a turtle's body to produce vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 is required in the metabolism of calcium. If a turtle turtle doesn't have it, the calcium he eats is wasted and he'll develop soft shell and bone and shell deformities which ultimately are fatal. Natural sunlight provides plenty of UVB but we have to supplement it somehow for our indoor turtles.

I don't know about albino turtle eye and skin sensitivity to UV light. However, we have several other members on here with albino or pastel turtles. Why don't you try doing a search on "albino" and then pm or email some of the other people with turtles like yours and see if they are having any problems with lighting.
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Post Posted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 9:30 am   

A water heater is definitely the route to go, the light won't sufficiently keep your water warm. And a 10 gallon tank isn't going to last your little turtle very long, so start looking for upgrades, a 75+ gallon tank, a canister filter, etc. And as far as I remember, people with albino turtles still have a similar tank setup, with the real UVB bulb, but they keep shady places around the tank and basking area so the turtle can get out of the light.
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Post Posted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 7:31 pm   

They rely more on their sense of smell than their eyesight for grabbing food up close (they all tend to be nearsighted). I would try a separate, smaller feeding container to help contain the food a bit, especially if he's eager, strikes at the food and misses only to push it away in the water. Have you tried handfeeding him? Will he take food from your fingers?
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Post Posted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 9:59 pm   

He/she wont eat from our hands. Surf keeps trying and finally does get the pellets. I have learned so much from the site already. We introduced some bib lettuce today. Maybe carrot slivers next? Our local pet store is a small mom and pop type so this weekend we are going to go to a bigger place and switch to a regular UV bulb and also get a water heater and thermometer. He must be getting enough to eat because hes growing! Thanks so much for the help. Linda&Bridget
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Post Posted: Wed Mar 06, 2024 8:03 pm   Re: tries to eat and misses????

Hi There. I know this is late but the cool thing about turtles owners are that we all probably have them around after 10 years haha My terrapin does the same. I think she might be having an ongoing vitmin A deficiency because she refuses veges and I've been trying to get her to have a better diet for years. I've finally found some fortified pellets with vitamin A among other vitamins that she accepts now and hoping for a quicker recovery. Mine also has trouble walking and swollen eyes. I'll update this in a week or 4 once I see improvement but I'm fairly certain she may have developed poor sight because of the vitamin A deficiency and is why she can smell the food and bites frantically but misses it. I don't have easy access to an exotic vet here but someone told me years ago that she needed vitamin supplements and I had to administer them orally and there was major improvement in her mobility after that. This was easily 10 years ago. If you have access to an exotic pet vet it will be good to have her checked and a vitamin supplement plan made for yours. :)
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Post Posted: Thu Mar 07, 2024 12:10 am   Re: tries to eat and misses????

How old is your RES? They sometimes miss food that is on the surface when they are underwater.
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