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Operation: Turtle Rescue

Discussion in 'Turtles' started by NettleJellies, Jun 20, 2017.

  1. NettleJellies

    NettleJellies Member


    Hey guys, new poster here-- I originally joined because I have recently developed a deep, deep love of ball pythons, and I wanted a site to be able to make sure that I was able to get help and have support with my endeavor to own one. Sadly, despite them having almost every pro and very few cons, my mom decided that she was not willing to get one because she does not like snakes. While I was very distraught about this, I realized through all the research I had done that I was not doing anything to take care of the current pets we had.

    We have one dog and two baby turtles. The dog is well taken care of, as far as I know, but I do know that the baby turtles are much worse for wear. We got the first one almost two or three years ago when we found it alone on a sidewalk at a park, and because I was rash and irrationally stupid back then we took it home. We luckily had a cage from our recently deceased gecko that we had cleaned out entirely and kept the turtle in, then we bought another baby turtle of a different species to stay with them. The first turtle was a red ear slider and the second is what I believe to possibly be a map turtle. They get along fine, but they haven't been growing too much(you'll probably see why later on in this post).

    My mom is notorious for neglectful care of animals and hardly has what it takes to really take responsibility with them, and when we got them I had no idea how much it took to take care of creatures because I was young and I hadn't been taught about it. Because I have been doing so much research, however, I know one thing-- these turtles are not being taken care of at all. Perhaps it is because my mom does not understand how to take care of them, or perhaps it is because I have just been to caught up in personal problems to realize it, but these turtles are just barely getting what they really need.

    Now that I know about the problem, I want to do what I can to make these turtles have a better life, even if I don't get a ball python out of it. I need to prepare myself for responsibilities and that means taking care of my animals, even if it's not really my job to do so. Please remember before reading about the rest of this that I am going to do everything I can to get these turtles what they need, but I am only one kid. I'm 15, turning 16 next week-- I don't have a job, I don't know how to drive quite yet(I'm learning under a permit), and I have to have my mom approve of everything otherwise it is not happening. Because it is summer I will have more free time, but this does not mean I will be able to acquire all of the equipment I need or that I will be able to make any immediate changes to what has happened, but I am writing all of this down here in hopes to be able to find support and suggestions to what I will be able to do to improve the lives of these animals. Please remember I am inexperienced and I have been taught very little, so be gentle.

    Alright, let's get started.

    1: TANK

    The tank has been a bit of an issue from the very beginning. We had a tank from before, which was the recycled and cleaned out tank from our deceased leopard gecko named Joey, but that one eventually got a crack underneath the bottom of it during one of our rare cleaning sessions. We used a smaller fish tank after that, which was tiny and I'm sure very cramped for the turtles. Shortly after that we finally decided to switch to another fish tank, a little bit bigger than the last one that was from our old house. That is the current tank we are using.

    It has a small land space that is magnetized to the wall, multiple round 'boulders' that are place around the middle, and a normal fish filter off to the side. A heat lamp was something my mom said it 'didn't need', as there were apparently 'temperature regulators' inside the tank. Not only do I doubt this to be true(I've felt the water with my fingers before, it's barely room temperature), but it is also lacking the heat that the turtles need for basking. How they have done well for this long is a mystery for me. The tank, the turtles and the rocks are covered with something akin to algae, though it is under control for now. The filter is not changed enough and cleaning is rare. There's no substrate underneath them and I don't even know how many gallons this tank is.

    This has always been my biggest problem with how my mom has taken care of them, so I will break my questions down as best as I can to get a thorough answer range.

    1. What is the best possible size of tank for two young turtles? How much will it cost, and where is the best place for getting a low-cost, good quality tank of this size?
    2. What are the best cleaning products for getting algae off of the glass, turtles and items in the tank?
    3. How often should the tank be cleaned?
    4. How often should the water filter be cleaned?
    5. Should I make sure to have the water 'purified' with turtle tablets or conditioners sold for turtles, or am I able to use normal tap water? What will normal tap water do to the turtles?
    6. Is there a point where algae covered items need to be thrown away? How do I get algae off the turtle's shells?
    7. How much land space is needed?
    8. Is there any kind of substrate I can use?
    9. What temperature and humidity should be in the tank at all times? Is misting required?
    10. How deep should the water be?
    11. Do they need night hours(lights turned off for 12 hours a day)?
    12. Anything else you can think of that might be helpful.

    2: TURTLES

    The two turtles we have, as mentioned above, are a red eared slider and (most likely)a map turtle. I don't remember exactly how long we have had them, but I do know that they have been slow to grow-- which is concerning, considering we've had them for at LEAST a year or two and I would assume they'd be almost half their full size by now. This is probably has something to do with undernourishment(more on this in the feeding section) and little tank room. I am planning on saving up to get them a bigger tank, but until then, I still want to know about any suggestions you might have on the issue.

    On top of that, there's behavioral problems. Both of them get pretty snappy when we are handling them for cleaning or for feeding, and while we've never been bit by them before it is still a concern that this might happen. They are fine with one another, honestly they get along like two peas in a pod, but towards humans it's always hissing and opening their mouths in an angry fashion. This is understandable considering the circumstances, but I would like it if I could get advice on possibly taming them down so it will be easier to feed them and to handle them when needed.

    We also do not have a vet that we currently know who does reptiles. I don't know any of the warning signs that a turtle might be sick, and I don't think I would be able to tell anything from their behavior as I have not been around them enough to find out.

    1. How big should they be after a year of growth from birth?
    2. Is there any way to tame them so they will not bite or be afraid of humans?
    3. Do they need enrichment toys of some kind? If so, what?
    4. Where would I find a good reptile vet in my area?
    5. What are the warning signs that a turtle might be sick with something?
    6. Can red eared sliders and map sliders even stay together in the same tank?
    7. Anything else that might be helpful.

    3: FEEDING

    Feeding is another big issue. Up until this point, there has been zero feeding schedule. I had no idea that they needed to eat every day, and even less idea that they needed a rounded diet. So far their diet has consisted of: feeder fish(goldfish if my mom couldn't find any), turtle pellets, strawberries(rare) and more recently a strawberry flavored food nourishment. This nourishment is said to be perfectly fine for feeding them by itself with nothing else, but the problem is quantity.Without the feeding schedule, we have neglected feeding them on a regular basis and had no idea just how much food they needed to consume. While they don't exactly look emaciated or malnourished, I can assure you that they have not been getting all of the food that they need.

    I have recently decided to actually start following the instructions on the food packet, which says to feed them 10-20 of the little strawberry flavored bits every day. I have also used the old fish tank that we used before this one as a feeding tank, feeding them both separated from one another so that they both get enough food. Still, I have a few questions on the schedule.

    1. How often do they need food, and how much?
    2. How much variety do they need?
    3. What foods are not turtle safe?
    4. Should they be fed on land or in water?
    5. Is there a particular time of day they should be fed?
    6. How can I tell what food brand is best?
    7. How much food is too much, and what are the side effects?
    8. Anything else that might be helpful.


    I understand that this list of problems and questions is probably highly concerning to anyone who keeps a reptile themselves and actually did the research, but because I would like to be able to reconcile for these mistakes in the best way possible I ask you to be gentle with the way you handle these questions. It was not my intention to let this go on for so long and I am going to try my best to amend for these problems.

    I want the best for these turtles and I will do as best as I can to fix things, but until then, I need your advice on how to handle these turtles. So feel free to add any advice you have that may go outside of the lines of these questions, and sources are very much appreciated.

    The size of the turtles, pictures of tank conditions and other things will be added as soon as possible, but for now I am focusing on getting together all the things I will need to be able to achieve this endeavor. Until then, thank you for responding, and I hope you have a good day.
  2. NettleJellies

    NettleJellies Member

    I was able to get few pictures of the tank and turtles, but I already took them out once today and I didn't want to agitate them, so I won't be doing a full picture examination of each turtle yet.

    This is a picture of tank quality as of today. Very murky, very algae covered as you can tell.

    Here's a picture of Jeff, the red eared slider. They are pretty small, like I talked about in the post above. They're more scared of us than our other turtle, Jim. I noticed while taking pictures that the bottom of their shell has a worrying pink line on it, but they wouldn't sit still long enough for me to look at it closer to see if it was just my eyes fooling me. I will examine them better later.

    This is a very blurry photo of Jim. I believe they are a map slider, but it's harder to tell with all the algae on their back. They are a bit more aggressive when it comes to humans and almost completely unafraid of being handled, as long as you're up for keeping their little mouth away from anything you don't want bit. They're also bigger, making them easier to pick up, but a lot more to handle.

    This is the top of the turtle tank. There's a light inside of it, but it doesn't heat up the tank so much as just provide light as needed. I have no temperature or humidity gauges yet to figure out exactly what the temperature is inside, but my fingers can touch the water and tell you it's at least a little less than room temperature.

    Here's an aerial view, with Jim's little head poking out to say hello. You can see the algae covered rocks near the middle, and the small little landing space held up by magnets on the corner. The landing has algae on it too(not as much on top), but it can only really fit one turtle comfortably(usually Jeff because Jim is nice to him). Jim sometimes is able to cuddle up with Jeff on there but it's quite the tight fit, and if I walk in the room they immediately jump off of it.

    This is a side view of the filter, showing off just how bad the algae is on this side of the wall. We have tried scrubbing it, but not very often, leading to sufficient growth.

    Sorry for the awkward side view here, but this is the current food that we are feeding the little guys. Not nearly as often as we should, at the moment, but starting today I have been working on their feeding schedule, so I think they will be okay.

    Those are all of the pictures for now. I was going to add them to my first post, but for some reason I couldn't find an edit feature on these forums...? Weird, I guess.​
  3. Jay1718

    Jay1718 Established Member

    I'm glad you stepped up and are trying to make things better for your turtles.
    I'm not sure how big your turtles are but you will need a large tank to house them as adults if you kept them together at least a 75 gallon. A much cheaper way would be large Rubbermaid container. If you are dead set on a aquarium, get the biggest you can afford now, it would be cheaper to go ahead and get the big tank, than buying a smaller one and then upgrading. But a large Rubbermaid container would work fine.
    I use fluval submersible filter, U4s. I have two and a small U2 to move the water at the top.
    A canister filter is probably the best option, but I would be that one in a million person who flooded the house lol.
    Water temps should be 74-78 degrees. Basking temps should be 89-95 degrees.
    A heat lamp is a must as well as uva and uvb lighting. A mvb is the best option for basking turtles as it provides heat as well as uv rays.
    The diet for the red eared slider, should consist of pellets and leafy greens. With feeder fish and the occasional feeder insect. I alternate different types of pellets every 2 or 3 days, but offer greens every day. I'm not sure about the map turtles diet, so check up on that.
    In my opinion the best commercial food is Mazuri aquatic turtle food, but I have several brands that I mix to add variety.
    The basking platform should allow your turtles to completely dry off, if not it can cause all kinds of health issues. I use the zoomed floating docks.
    As far as substrate, I use nothing, my turtle will eat anything. If you want rocks make sure they are bigger than the turtles head.
    I offer mine turtle cuddle bones as a calcium supplement. It is said if you offer a proper diet you don't need them, but mine love them and it keeps his beak trim.
    As far as cleaning the tank, try white vinegar and a razor blade. It can come off but might take some work.
    I just seen the pics you posted. I'm sure you know the tank is not adequate. So I'm not gonna grill you by any means. The water level is way to low, and the filter isn't going to keep up with a turtle. Try getting filter rated for 3 or 4 times the tank you have. A good rule of thumb is for every inch the turtle is long, you need ten gallons of water. So if you have a 3 inch turtle you should have 30 gallons of water.
    I hope this has helped at least a little bit, my mind seems to be scattered today, so sorry if this advice seems all over the place
    NettleJellies likes this.
  4. NettleJellies

    NettleJellies Member

    Thank you for your response.

    Tank is so far the biggest problem for me. Rubbermaid might work, but I'll have to check where to get that big of a box and what the requirements for a proper turtle tank in it would be. I was guessing it'd probably be around a 65-75 gallon tank after I did some research on it, but the tank will be something that will take a little longer to get. My mom is the main decider on a lot of things, and every time I have told her we need to get a bigger tank she groans about it and tells me to stop harping on her. Until I can get enough money and convince my mom to go to a pet store with me to look at tanks, it's a non-negotiable thing. But I will certainly try to clean it when I can-- I'll be open to being able to clean it Thursday, but it might take a little help from my brother before it can be completely cleaned of grime.

    A submersible filter sounds like it would be a good idea, though I am not completely sure where to buy one and how much. It's pretty obvious that the current filter is not cutting it at all, but hopefully I can fix that soon enough. Until then, water changes will probably have to happen often, and since I can't count on my mom doing that I'll have to look at some tutorials on how to best switch out the water in a tank.

    I'm not sure what the current light inside the tank is, but I'm thinking it's probably a fluorescent of some kind. My main concern was the heat lamp, of course, and we have a heat lamp of some kind that should work, but I need to be able to get a new top for the aquarium to do this.

    I want to be able to get a couple of humidity/temperature checkers inside of the aquarium to make sure it is doing well. Other than heat lamps, can you think of any good ways to get the tank heated up, just in case the heat lamp isn't enough for some reason?

    I looked up what a map turtle's diet consists of, and it turns out they are a bit more carnivorous and quite the eaters. Makes since-- Jim tends to eat a lot of the food, which is why I did separate feeding today to make sure Jeff got all of the food bits he needs. I can add some more variety to their diet when possible, though I'm not sure what we currently have in the refrigerator...probably some broccoli, carrots and other things of the such. I'll see what I can find that is turtle safe. They still have one feeder fish left in the tank and my mom doesn't usually get more until they eat all of them, so for now the meat part will rest on that until I can convince her to get me some more things to feed them.

    White vinegar sounds good, though I'm not sure if I have any razor blades around the house...I was thinking I could probably order a specialized brush online to see if that works at all. Do you have any suggestions for getting algae off their shells and the rocks in their aquarium?

    I have compiled a 'to-do' list of sorts from what you've told me:
    [ ] - 75 gallon tank or a rubbermaid container must be purchased for the tank
    [ ] - Measure the turtles and figure out how much water is needed in the tank
    [ ] - More basking space
    [ ] - Clean the tank
    [ ] - Buy something to track the temperature
    [ ] - Vary diets with greens and more protein, especially Jim's
    [ ] - Buy a submersible filter

    I still have quite a few questions on the sheet that are yet to be answered, so if you or someone else has anymore answers, feel free to chime in. Until then I will make sure to check up on what I can do with the current list of things and go from there. Thank you for your time!
  5. NettleJellies

    NettleJellies Member

    Oh, and I'll add in a list of the questions that still need to be answered in case anyone wants to try their hands on that:

    1. How often should the tank be cleaned?
    2. How often should the water filter be cleaned?
    3. Should I make sure to have the water 'purified' with turtle tablets or conditioners sold for turtles, or am I able to use normal tap water? What will normal tap water do to the turtles?
    4. Is there a point where algae covered items need to be thrown away? How do I get algae off the turtle's shells?
    5. What humidity should be in the tank at all times? Is misting required?
    6. Do they need night hours(lights turned off for 12 hours a day)?
    7. How big should they be after a year of growth from birth?
    8. Is there any way to tame them so they will not bite or be afraid of humans?
    9. Do they need enrichment toys of some kind? If so, what?
    10. Where would I find a good reptile vet in my area?
    11. What are the warning signs that a turtle might be sick with something?
    12. Can red eared sliders and map sliders stay together in the same tank?
    13. How often do they need food, and how much?
    14. What foods are not turtle safe?
    15. Should they be fed on land or in water?
    16. Is there a particular time of day they should be fed?
    17. How much food is too much, and what are the side effects?
    18. Anything else that might be helpful.

    Thank you for your time, and have a good day!
  6. Jay1718

    Jay1718 Established Member

    1. I completely clean mine once a month. And do 20 percent water changes every week. Without a more powerful filter you will need to clean it more often.
    2. I clean the filters about once a month
    3. I have well water, so I don't use conditioners. But you can use repto safe, or just let the water sit for 24hrs.
    4. I scrub my turtles shell with a toothbrush. I'm not sure about the other items you mentioned.
    5. I don't worry about humidity in a turtle tank
    6. Lights should be on 12-14 hrs, and then off, to have a day and night cycle
    7. Growth largely reflected by diet and living conditions. I'm not sure what the growth rate is supposed to be.
    8. Taming lol, they will get used to you but there is always a chance they will bite. They shouldn't be handled to much.
    9. No toys needed. Mine like to bite his cuddle bone.
    10. Ask your vet to recommend a herp vet, or check online
    11. A turtle not eating, or swimming funny. Bubbles in the noise. A lot more, google that
    12. They can live together, just watch for aggressive behavior
    Gotta go for now
    NettleJellies likes this.
  7. NettleJellies

    NettleJellies Member

    Okay, thank you!
  8. Cry Baby

    Cry Baby New Member

    oh my, those poor little turtles, I don't know too much about turtles. But I would like to just say that I'm very impressed and happy your taking on this big of a task. After reviewing your information you provided I believe you would be a great ball python owner. And I look forward to future updates on your progress with those little guys <3
  9. Jay1718

    Jay1718 Established Member

    13. I offer mine leafy green every day, and pellets every 2 or 3 days
    14. As far as what's not safe, google is your friend. I don't give mine mammalian meat. Such as beef, pork and such. But not sure what the whole list is for unsafe foods
    15. They should be fed in the water, they do not have saliva so they need the water to help swallow the food.
    16. I feed mine in the morning around 7 am. I try to feed in the mornings so he can bask after he eats.
    17. It is kinda hard to over feed greens, but only feed the amount that will fill its head, not including the neck, if it were hollow
    One more thing an aquarium heater is a must, you can get one at Walmart for around 20-30 dollars.
  10. NettleJellies

    NettleJellies Member


    First day of improvements. Today, I had my brother home from summer school to help, so I was able to get a little be more done. Last night I turned off the lights of the turtle tank for the first time, so hopefully that helped them just a little bit with sleep. After I woke up around 8:00am, I turned on the light and took a shower, which meant they had experienced at least 12 hours of darkness for the first time since they have been in the new tank. I hope they slept well.

    After the shower I had breakfast with my brother and then got to work with the turtles. First I filled up the second 'feeding' tank and put Jeff in it instead of Jim. Jeff proved difficult, as his fear of new environments made him unwilling to eat anything I put in for him. I fed Jim while I was waiting and in the process I found a clamped lamp that I could use for lighting, which still had a bulb in it and was in working order. I clamped it onto the tank Jim was in, letting the fluorescent light that was built in stay open. That would allow more air flow, and the light would hopefully heat up the small basking area some more.


    Jeff still wasn't eating, so I put him back in the normal tank and moved Jim to the feeding tank. Jim kind of 'threw up' some of the food(it wasn't actual vomit, just spitting the food back up) and then ate it again, so I decided to let him finish with that and take feeding amounts a bit more slowly. Jeff ate a little bit more in the normal tank, but he is a slow and messy eater-- he rips off little chunks and barely touches his food after that. Even so, after thirty minutes he had only been tearing at little bits of one of the smaller food pieces underwater. I was worried that he might want to eat the food above water instead, but he didn't even touch it up there, so after fifteen more minutes I assumed he probably just was full from yesterday. After all, neither of them were used to this concept of such endless amounts of food compared to it's usual scarcity. After awhile I let them be and left a few more pieces on the land in case they were still hungry.


    I found something interesting while I was waiting for Jeff-- in my old nail case, there was a scrub brush! I looked it over a bit and washed it off in the sink just in case there might be anything harmful on it, then tried scrubbing off Jim's shell while he was on a sort of 'rack' on top of the feeding tank(I put the rack there because he gets squirmy and tries to get out of my hands, and due to the fact that I 1. do not want my fingers bitten and 2. do not want to drop him due to his sharp little claws on my hand, I decided it would be best to have something to catch him in case the worst happened). The scrub brush worked amazingly! I could finally see his little markings again now that most of the algae was off. I put him back in the feeding tank and tried it on Jeff since he still was barely eating, and he got scrubbed off too. His markings were finally visible as well! I then began trying to scrub off the aquarium sides despite the fact that I said TOMORROW would be cleaning day, and I got off quite a lot of algae! I still have one more side to do. The murkiness in the water is because of the algae, which I will be cleaning out tomorrow when I can.


    I checked out the bottom of the turtles while scrubbing, by the way, and I found my suspicions to be true. On both of them they have pink flesh in between the shell. Maybe this is just because of the pink food, or maybe the algae is doing something to it-- I don't know. I don't think my mom will get them checked out by the vet right now, but if any of you guys have a clue on what is happening, please let me in on it. With Jeff not eating so well, it's worrying...


    Since the miracle scrub brush worked so well, I decided to try to clean off one of the rocks and see how it worked. It didn't do very well, as you can see, but it took off a little bit. We may have to get new rocks and such for the environment, but for now they are doing okay. I cleaned everything up after that, leaving the turtles be inside the normal tank and such. The tank's water level is still low, as I am aware of, but I am going to start distilling water after this. We have a small water conditioner, I just don't know how to use it.


    The submersible filter, bigger tank and other items have not been bought yet. They may have to wait until after my birthday, when I will most likely be getting money that could be used for different pieces of equipment.


    [ ] - 75 gallon tank or a rubbermaid container must be purchased for the tank
    [ ] - Measure the turtles and figure out how much water is needed in the tank
    [ ] - Fill tank with however much water is need
    [ ] - More 'enrichment' items
    [ ] - More basking space
    [/] - Clean the tank/turtles
    [ ] - Buy something to track the temperature
    [x] - Get a working basking light
    [ ] - Vary diets with greens and more protein, especially Jim's
    [ ] - Buy a submersible filter
    [ ] - Get an aquarium heater

    1.5/10 Completed


    @Jay1718 - Thank you for taking your time to offer so many replies! The distilled water replacement will be ready by tomorrow-- I'm putting water conditioner in just in case. It's good to know I don't have to watch humidity levels, and I tried the light thing last night. I think they did okay with it. The greens we have seem to be okay with turtles but I want them to get more used to daily feeding sessions before I try feeding them more advanced types of food. The aquarium heater thing is a good idea-- I'll look into it.

    @Cry Baby - Thank you! I'm glad to know that you think I would be good at it. I was a bit worried since I had let this go on for so long that I'd be considered unworthy for a ball python, but I hope that this can not only help the turtles but convince my mom that I am ready for a ball python.

    Thank you everyone for your support, and also a big thank you to my brother for helping out with pictures while I held the turtles. Since all of my questions above have been answered, it's now mainly a waiting game to see how long it takes to get everything I need. If anyone has anymore advice or comments, feel free to comment!


    My mom made me remove the fluorescent light from the tank. She said the 'tank was warm enough without it' and then got on to me for sassing her, not listening to me about all of the improvements I made to the tank. She' a mood. When I can and when she is not home I will put the light back up, but until then they will have to be in the more cold water. The basking area and the aquarium heater are now almost imperative, that way I have a non-obvious way of keeping the turtles warm without alerting my mom about it.
  11. Jay1718

    Jay1718 Established Member

    Heat is essential for the turtles, I know you are at you mom's mercy with the lamps and aquarium heater. It's not really a option to not have it. A turtle can tolerate a lot of neglect and live years. 4 or 5 years is nothing than can live 40 years or more.
    I believe what you are calling a map turtle is actually a yellow bellied slider, care is the same as the red eared slider.
    Respect your mom, but if the conditions don't improve as far as lighting and heating your turtles lives will be shortened significantly. The pink you were seeing is from not drying out properly, and can get pretty nasty. Google shell rot in aquatic turtles.
    Best of luck, I know you are trying your best, but if your mom insists on not providing the proper environment, you may consider finding them a new home. I not being mean or pass judgement, just care what is best for the animals
    TamJam and NettleJellies like this.
  12. NettleJellies

    NettleJellies Member


    I'm going to start this log with a little bit of a disclaimer: last night, my mom almost barred me from doing anything with the turtles completely, which was alarming and completely off put. I wasn't sure what to do, but this morning she texted me that I could put the light back on and that I could still work with the turtles. She still won't listen to me about the tank size or other things, but time will tell if I can convince her to let me help these guys freely. Now, back to your regularly scheduled log.

    Today was cleaning day! After finishing up breakfast and seeing my mom's text, I got straight to work with feeding. Jim was taken out and put in the feeder tank as soon as possible. I gave them both a few of the usual pellets but the weren't eating that much. Not even Jim, who's the most voracious eater I have. Worried about them not eating enough, I went to go get vegetables to try and give them a bit more of an interesting taste. I used red bell peppers, snap peas, carrots and bits of broccoli. All of them were cut into easy to bite sizes. I gave them each a few tastes of the different foods. Jim didn't eat that much at first, which only made me more concerned, but luckily Jeff's pickiness didn't hinder him from biting into a few of the different vegetables. After waiting thirty minutes to see if they'd eat anymore, I moved them both to the feeder tank and moved the light over onto that tank.


    (That's them together. They didn't stay any longer than two hours or so for the cleaning process, but they had light and they also had plenty of food if they still felt hungry.)


    I first scrubbed off the rocks and other things inside of the tank. My little miracle scrubber worked really well on these, especially under the water. I'm glad because I wasn't sure with how it was working on the rock from the last log. After I got the rocks cleaned out, I hauled the tank over to the sink and got the lone feeder fish out of it, putting them in a nice little bowl. They were a hassle to get out, causing them quite a lot of stress-- I can see now why the turtles haven't eaten them, they are just way to fast.

    I'm considering naming this fish because she's been in the tank so long...


    The tank took a lot of scrubbing. I nearly flattened my bristles, indicating that before I clean again next week I might need to get a new brush. I was eventually able to get it cleaned out though. The filter was cleaned as well, but I still have not been able to buy a new type of filter yet. The little filter bag was replaced with a brand new one for the first time in almost six months, so that was a relief to see fixed. As for new water, I wasn't sure exactly what I'd do-- I was only able to find one gallon to put the conditioner and the distilled water in, so I let that sit through the day. However, one gallon is not enough for the tank. My grandpa had a solution. His tank also has a conditioner, and apparently you don't even have to let it distill as long as you stir in the correct amount of conditioner well. I wasn't completely sure, but I decided to try it anyways. Using my own conditioner I filled up at least four more gallons to pour in, and I began to realize that because we do not have a submersible filter yet I would not be able to put in more water than that. I was a bit bummed out by that, but I decided to let one more gallon distill for later in case I might be able to squeeze in some more water tomorrow.

    (These are longer pictures because for some reason my phone camera didn't flip when I took them. Sorry, I know they stretch the post a lot.)

    That's the jug for distilled water and the box of new filter bags.

    The little bristles of the brush really get spread out during cleaning.

    I put everything back in, cleaned up and put both the feeder fish and the turtles back in the tank. With the light on, it made the basking area a bit warm, and I even caught Jim laying on the area a few minutes ago. This was all very good. They looked a lot cleaner and a lot happier. I knew that I still needed to order a few more things, get things figured out and such, but for the first time I felt like I was doing something I was meant to do.

    This one came out blurry-- sorry, Jeff just kept moving around.


    Then I read the replies to the last log. I'll get to those in a minute, but first let me go over the list and such.


    [ ] - 75 gallon tank or a rubbermaid container must be purchased for the tank
    [ ] - Measure the turtles and figure out how much water is needed in the tank
    [ ] - Fill tank with however much water is need
    [ ] - More 'enrichment' items
    [ ] - More basking space (!)
    [ ] - Treat the shell rot on both turtles
    [x] - Clean the tank/turtles
    [ ] - Buy something to track the temperature
    [x] - Get a working basking light(might need to improve upon this)
    [x] - Vary diets with greens and more protein
    [ ] - Buy a submersible filter
    [ ] - Get an aquarium heater

    3/11 Completed


    @Jay1718 - This is probably just the cherry on top of the cake full of things my mom is bad at, but I cannot believe that I was so oblivious to let it go on for so long. Shell rot is probably what killed the last turtle we had, which came as a companion for Jeff in the first tank. I had no idea...I looked up shell rot and there seems to be some fairly good ways of treating it online. I can probably manage these things, but I don't know how long without my mom interfering. She would probably refuse to listen to me about it. More basking space and a heater are even more important than before, then, and I will do my best to get on these as soon as possible. I could probably order them in the mail. I want to check and see if this is a good way to treat shell rot, so if you have time do you mind looking over this article and telling me if this is a plausible way for me to do it? I can land lock them temporarily and help them with some of the things, but the feeding tube will probably be impossible. It's a good thing that both of these turtles are used to not eating for weeks at a time, so if they don't end up eating during recovery I can still get them healed in time for them to get their appetite back.

    Honestly, I would have no problem giving them away-- I know that it would probably be best for these turtles to get a home that could do the best for them. The only problem is that my mom would not accept this in any way, shape or form, especially with how she refuses to listen to me on any of this. I will do my best to take care of them as much as I can until I figure out a way to deal with this-- if it comes down to it and she refuses to move about the subject, I might have to try and convince her to give them away. However, since I know she would probably call me obstinate and disrespectful, as well as be over all VERY WHINY over the subject, I am going to try my best before resorting to such measures.

    I didn't think that Jim was a yellow bellied slider mainly because the markings look so starkly different to Jeff's, but if this is true, at least it is not a huge problem for them being in the same tank. Thank you for informing me about the shell rot, and I will do what I can to figure out how to help them.

    In other notes, I am planning on making a Tumblr blog to keep track of these logs. It will be good for getting more feedback and it will also invite a larger audience of turtle and reptile owners, which will be helpful. Multiple followers of mine on my personal blog have become very concerned due to my mom's refusal to cooperate last night, so it was upon their request that I keep them updated as well. I will keep posting logs here regularly, but I just wanted to let you know in case you wanted another way to be able to look at the progress without checking back on the forums. I will post the link here once I am finished transferring the posts onto the blog in case anyone is interested.

    Also, just because it might help with other turtle owners, do you mind if I post your replies under your username here, as well as a link to your account on this site that way people will be able to see the answers to questions they might have themselves? I won't post it like that unless you want me to, but since they were well thought out I was thinking it would be a good idea to help others. It's fine if you'd rather me not though.
  13. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    I have a question. You refer to distilled water and distilling it. What do you mean by this?
    True distilled water is void of minerals and is not suitable for any aquatic life.
    NettleJellies likes this.
  14. NettleJellies

    NettleJellies Member

    @Merlin What I am referring to by 'distilled' water is leaving the water in a gallon jug for about 24 hours. In my distilled water, I also use a type of aquatic conditioner(usually around a teaspoon) to make sure that they get the minerals they need. I distill my water because I have been told that it is the best way to get rid of the harmful chlorine and other nasty chemicals in water, but I still want to make sure it has the right minerals, so I make sure to condition it first.
  15. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Ok what you are doing is dechlorinating.
    Distilling is a completely different thing.
    NettleJellies likes this.
  16. NettleJellies

    NettleJellies Member


    Despite hand pain from writing so many logs every day, I will continue forth, for the good of the turtles! My first order of business is that I found something amazing last night while I turned out the lights for them-- they have rocks that glow in the dark! I had no idea that this happened. This is great, since I was a bit worried about them not having anything to see by if they decided to go for a late night swim. Just a minor but very cool update on that.



    Today I added some more water into their tank from the water I treated last night, and so now it is at a much higher state! Still not as high as it should be, but it's a start until I can get a submersible filter. The tank conditions are still very clean, and I was able to feed both turtles without much of a problem. After around 4-6 pellets, though, neither was really interested in finishing the food. I let them try the same vegetables again, and while neither turtle fully ate them, they took some tastes of it. That should add some more of the vitamins they need. I would like to get some strawberries soon to give them.



    For the shell rot I decided it would be best to land dock them after an hour and a half in the water with the food, that way they have enough time to eat and do what they need to do. I put them in a plastic tub I have, lining the bottom with two old towels. I put the frays of the towel underneath that way they wouldn't nip at it. I used an old hermit crab water bowl(washed out of course) for some of the water, and after deciding it wouldn't be enough I also cut out the bottom of a foam bowl and put it at ground level with the towel wrapped around it. There is a shallow amount of water in case they feel that they are too dry, and this is found in both bowls. I also put a few of the glow in the dark rocks and a green glass orb thing that were inside of their tank, that way it felt like home to them. You can even see it through the side, which I think is cool.



    On one side of the tank there is a bit more padded bedding, with the fluorescent light hanging over it. I attached it to the feeding tank(which is empty of water for now) that way they can bask underneath it. I was a bit worried they might get out of the tub somehow, so I put part of the lid over the tub on the non-lit side. Then I used what I was using as a cleaning rack earlier to keep them in without disrupting the light, and on the part that wasn't covered I put a small towel over it. Our old sand scooper worked really well to hold it down, just in case they get ideas about getting out from the towel. I was wondering, should I keep them in the land dock at night as well? I'm not completely sure, but I just want to know your opinions.



    Jeff has the worst bits of shell rot. I want to help him get off the dead parts of his shell, but I think I should wait to scrub him off until I either get some cream or a disinfectant like the one mentioned in that one article I mentioned up above. If you have any ideas to help with shell rot, I would love to hear them! While they were land docked I was finally able to measure them as well. Jeff's shell is 2 1/2 inches in length and 2 1/2 inches wide; Jim's is 3 inches in length and 2 1/2 inches wide.


    [ ] - 75 gallon tank or a rubbermaid container must be purchased for the tank
    [x] - Measure the turtles and figure out how much water is needed in the tank
    [ ] - Fill tank with however much water is need
    [ ] - More 'enrichment' items
    [ ] - More basking space (!)
    [/] - Treat the shell rot on both turtles
    [x] - Clean the tank/turtles
    [ ] - Buy something to track the temperature
    [x] - Get a working basking light(might need to improve upon this)
    [x] - Vary diets with greens and more protein
    [ ] - Buy a submersible filter
    [ ] - Get an aquarium heater

    4.5/11 Completed


    @Merlin - Okay! Sorry, everyone else was referring to leaving it out like that as distilling so I thought it was the same term. Thank you for informing me!

    By the way, the tumblr blog has been set up and is now ready! I will need to update it with this log as of today, but almost everything else is there. It has more frequent updates as well as posts organized by date. Everyone's replies have also been posted there, with proper credit back to you through a link. I can remove them if you really want, but I thought that the full experience would be helpful to anyone on the tumblr blog who wanted more information like I did. Thank you for contributing!

  17. NettleJellies

    NettleJellies Member

    Tomorrow I may have to take a break from logging my progress because of my hands, plus my birthday party is at 10am. However, I will not stop taking care of the turtles or making small updates!
  18. Jay1718

    Jay1718 Established Member

    Turtles need to be in the water to eat comfortably.
    For shell rot, give the turtle a scrub with hibicleanse, make sure not to get it in their eyes, rinse and let them dry dock for a few hrs. I'm no vet but this can be used for minor shell rot. I read the article, I wouldn't feel comfortable scraping the pieces of infected shell off myself.
    I wouldn't keep them out of the water at night unless you are providing the proper heat, don't want them to catch a IR on top of things.
    By the way, I don't mind you posting my replies if you can tolerate some bad grammar once in a while.
    Happy birthday!!
    NettleJellies likes this.
  19. Darkbird

    Darkbird Moderator Staff Member

    Been offline for a few day, so hadn't seen this till now. Without reading the entire post, a large plastic stock tank from a feed mill or farm supply store works quite well, and are the cheapest thing you can get per gallon of space. I'm a minimalist when it comes to turtle setups, bare bottom with whatever rocks or bricks needed to make a good dry basking area. When I get a minute I'll go back and read the whole post, trying to get ready for work right now, lol.
    NettleJellies likes this.
  20. Darkbird

    Darkbird Moderator Staff Member

    OK, now that I've read the whole thread, I can say that Jay1718 has been giving you pretty good advice so far. Your on the right track with what your doing so keep it up as best you can. Don't worry too much about the algae, so long as you keep most of it cleaned off it is harmless. The biggest hurdle you seem to have is your mother. You might try getting her to read a care sheet, or even printing one out for her. Or even see if you can get her online to read this thread. However, if she refuses, there is not going to be much you can do about it. And obviously be respectful at all times, adults tend to hate it when kids tell them they are wrong, even if they really are. If I can find the shots I'll post what my setups look like to give you an idea.
    NettleJellies likes this.

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