My turtles shells are turning white, why?

Discussion in 'Turtles' started by turtledaddy, Jan 30, 2005.

  1. turtledaddy Embryo

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    ;) My turtles are turning white around the edges. I have 2 red eared sliders for about 3-4 months. I have a 10 gallon aquarium with half water and half rocks so they can bask in the UV lamp attached to the side. I know they sit in the sun lamp and the tank is in the in a sunny window. i use tap water with Chlor out per directions. What am i doing wrong? Not enough light? Do i need a filter system on the tank? Thanks in advance,
    new turtle daddy
  2. Hummingbird Embryo

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    hey turtledaddy! welcome to reptilerooms!

    first of all, i want to let you know (if you don't know already) that res get pretty big. males can reach over 8" long (and that's just the shell length - not including the legs and neck/head). females can get over 12" long (once again only including the shell). one adult female needs at *least* a 90 gallon tank and one adult male needs at *least* a 75 gallon. one adult female and one adult male together would need at *least* a 100 gallon tank.

    as for light - uv is absolutely vital to aquatic turtles. you need a completely dry basking area with a fluorescent tube-type uv bulb about a foot above it. the only kind of bulbs that produce all of the necessary wavelengths are the fluorecent tube-type uv bulbs. these bulbs tend to lose the ability to put out the neccessary wavelengths pretty quickly, so they need to be changed at least every 6 months. the uv bulb should be on about 14 hours per day during the summer and about 12 hours per day during the winter.

    you definately need a filter. i would just get a small fluval 2 or duetto 100 or something for right now, but when you get your big adult tank(s) you'll need a much bigger one. i love the fluval 404 and/or rena filstar xp3. they are great. you can get them for much cheaper online at than at almost any petstore.

    i would also consider getting them a bigger tank soon. it doesn't have to be their huge adult tank(s), but 2 juvenile res (6 months ~ 3 years old) are going to need at least a 40 gallon breeder tank to share. they needs lots of room to swim and having only half of a 10 gallon isn't gonna cut it - even for hatchlings. instead of piling up rocks (which turtles are constantly swallowing) which takes up swimming space, get a larger flat rock and place it on some kind of stand (like the rubber-coated metal kitchen organizer racks Kitchen Organizer Picture or locker shelves Locker Shelf Pic/Description). also, aquatic turtles don't need any substrate and substrate usually only makes it harder to clean the tank. turtles will swallow anything and everything, so get all the things out of the tank which are smaller than the turtles' heads.

    the filter, larger tanks, and increased uv should help the shell problems. if any redness or puss or soft spots or anything appear, get them to the vet immediately and start dry-docking them (keeping them out of the water for a few hours each day).

    lastly, get the tank out of the window! glass filters out the needed uv rays AND magnifies the heat (thus scalding the poor little guys).

    if you have any other questions, we're here!

    good luck!
  3. Hummingbird Embryo

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    and i almost forgot - another reason the shells may be turning white is because of the lamp you have on them - it is probably too hot and too close to the basking area. no lamp should be closer than a foot to the basking area and the basking area should never be hotter than 85F (80F is perfect for basking temp - water should be 70F - 75F).
  4. turtledaddy Embryo

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    thanks for the info. our res are very small, their shells are a little bigger than a 50 cent piece. about 2-3 inches. how much room do they need? we eventually will try to move them to an outdoor pond in the future. will that work? what size, type of light rests a foot above basking spot? thanks!
  5. Hummingbird Embryo

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    since they are just new hatchlings a 10 gallon should be okay for the next few weeks. but once they are 6 months old, they need to be in a 40 gallon breeder size.

    and don't forget about the basking area info i gave you (don't pile up gravel - use a flat rock on a pedestal of some sort - see my previous post).

    the kind of light that needs to be 1 foot above the basking area is a fluorescent tube-type uv bulb. the best ones are the ReptiSun 5.0 ( ReptiSun Pic and Info) or the Iguana Light 5.0 (Iguana Light Pic and Info) or the Desert 7% (Desert 7% Pic and Info) or the ReptiGlo (ReptiGlo Pic and Info).

    lastly, an outdoor pond would be great. make sure that there is some kind of fence around it or the turtles WILL get out. i would use corrugated metal sheeting and pound it about a foot into the ground. make sure it sticks up above the ground a good 2 feet, too, or they will climb over it. don't use wood (it rots) or metal screening/chicken wire (it cuts their feet and they can actually climb over it!).
  6. turtledaddy Embryo

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    what about food, what all can turtles eat? we use hatchling food and the occasional cooked hot dog or carrot.
  7. Hummingbird Embryo

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    hey turtledaddy!

    res, like most aquatic turtles, should have a varied diet. BUT hot dogs shoudl not be part of that diet (way too high in fat and nitrates). carrots are okay for a snack.

    most commercial turtle foods are very high in protein - this can cause shell problems, so commercial turtle foods should actually only be a snack as well. the main food items should be crickets, feeder fish, earthworms, brine shrimp, bloodworms, romaine lettuce, berries, banana, squash, and apple.

    one of the most common mistakes that new aquatic turtle owners make is over-feeding them! herps require a surprisingly small amount of food each day. a hatchling should be fed only the amount of food that will fit into his head, once per day, 7 days per week. after that age of about 18 months, a res should be fed only the amount of food that will fit into his head, once per day, 4 or 5 days per week.

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