need red ear slider turtle advice!!

  1. bizaliz3 Fishlore VIP Member

    Well, yet another tank has been set up in my house. UGGG

    My 14 year old has been saving her money for a snake and has now changed her mind and is getting this red ear slider turtle. She has done a lot of reading on the subject. So props to her. But I still feel like we are rushing it.

    I am hoping for some fishlore friends who have some experience with these guys. Especially since they are mostly aquatic!!

    My daughter found a nice 20 gallon long on craigslist. It is made for aquatic reptiles in that one side is just a half pane of glass so you can hang the HOB filter on that and not have a long loud waterfall. (since the tank will only be half full) problem is, there is a plastic piece that is supposed to go around the HOB filter to fill in the open area where that half pane of glass is missing. So we will have to find a way to close off that large opening so the turtle doesn't crawl out. (Any ideas?) It also came with the screen lid and we put one of my cycled marineland 100 HOB filters on the side that has the half pane of glass missing. Another problem has arisen with that...the intake tube is too long. It touches the bottom of the tank which works right now (since it is bare bottomed) but we want to put sand in there.....

    I did some digging and found what this set up is supposed to look like brand new. It comes with an aqueon HOB filter but the intake tube has an 90 degree elbow piece that turns the intake away from the bottom (since it is so shallow) I am not sure how to replicate that with ANY of my HOB filters. So that missing plastic piece on the side of the tank and the lack of a intake tube that is "L" shaped is throwing a wrench in things. BOOO

    Right now I have the tank, the screen lid, a filter and a heater (for the water) and it is cycled and ready to go (sort still needs substrate, but I need to figure out the filter intake issue before I can do that). The tank also came with a nice turtle basking pad. The only other thing we really need at this point is the lighting. I have read that we need a UVB light AND a heat light. My daughter only has enough money left (after buying the tank) to get the turtle. So we are at a stand still. She is afraid the turtle she wants will be sold before she is able to get the lights. I am trying to find a lighting solutions for her that is as inexpensive as possible, and will allow her to get her turtle. And then worry about upgrading the lighting later?? Like...are there any cheap DIY ways to provide the heat and least temporarily? OR....can the turtle be ok without the UVB light for a short time? I have a light we can use for heating the basking dock temporarily.....And we get some GREAT afternoon sunshine in my daughter's room that could shine on that tank and provide some UVB

    Thanks for taking the time to read this. Please provide me and my daughter with any advice you can! Thanks!! :)
  2. aliray Fishlore VIP Member

    I have not kept turtles in 40 years but I think they get a foot across the shell at full size. What a lot of turtle keepers do is put the turtle in a feeding area like a big plastic container to feed them as it keeps the tank much cleaner. Even a plastic dishpan would work. You could check into the metal rounded , short hood type lights that you get for baby chicks and thy clip on the box or tank. First though you would have to see if the reptile type bulbs would fit it. Why are you heating the tank water? I don't remember red eared sliders needing heat in a normal house temperature. Things change a lot in 40 years. How big is he now? Alison;)

  3. bizaliz3 Fishlore VIP Member

    I'd say he's about 5 inches across

    Regarding the heater it would be more about keeping the temperature consistent. I keep my home cooler at night than I do during the day. Without a heater the temp would probably average about 75.

    I like the idea of feeding him outside of his tank. I'm going to use that idea. Thanks
  4. dandelion Member Member

    I saw this and had to post! I even moved off my phone so I could type more (lucky you haha). Anyways I owned red-ears for probably 5 years. We had a pool out in the country in the mid-west and found a little (half dollar size) red ear in the pool. We were surprise seeing as we lived a ways away from the river and were on top of a hill. He was not injured or anything. Perhaps a bird dropped him? I really still have no clue. We kept the turtle until he was about hand size, and at this time the same incident happened again (I really would of liked to know where they were coming from). Anyways, I would love to try and help you!

    First off, I would highly advise against sand. No sand, no substrate, nada, nothing. Just kidding, sorta. No sand and no small substrate. I say this because they are very messy. Very messy and their tank gets extremely dirty extremely fast. We had a huge filtration system for a 35 or 40 gallon tank and it helped a ton, but still got very dirty. Sand and smaller substrate can be an irritant or swallowed (no common but possible) and will be very hard to keep clean unless you want to constantly change it or siphon it. However there are options to make it pretty. I would recommend large rocks (minimal golf ball size) to cover the bottom. Algae is a common problem as well, as turtles have a lot of waste. This is why most people end up just leaving the bottom bare, as it won't get soiled and helps the filter clean up most dirt, debris, waste, food, etc. Personally we found it worked best with a bare bottom, strong filter, but having the land area decorated. They do spend most of the time in the water so a simple platform is really all that is needed. However you could make a floating shelf and try to put some plants (landscape the tank) in a small corner. When the turtle is small, large rocks and underwater (large) acceseries are nice and will help him always to reach the surface. Speaking of which, as the turtle grows, it is recommended to have a deeper tank. This is another reason sand or small substrate is a bad idea for red ear sliders. They are very active swimmers and it is possible that everything on the bottom would get kicked up.

    A heater is recommended. Houses do tend to be quite a bit colder than the turtle prefers so a constant water temp will help him always be active, always eat, and just be happy. As for lighting, we had a metal clamp lamp (the cheap ones you find in hardware stores) that we sat on top for awhile until we got a different hood (the original was just wire). We bought two light bulbs, the heating day-time bright light with UVA and UVB and the night time light (yes this is also necessary, both heating). They do make the two combined into a single lightbulb at petsmart--after googling I was unable to find it. Perhaps I don't remember it's name... This is necessary for proper growth and shell formation, which is desperately needed for smaller/younger turtles who are developing their shells. Also, another note on the lighting, go for blue when choosing the night-lighting. Red is not fully proven but can be bad for the red-ear sliders. I don't fully remember the article I read but it does mess with their hormones. I remember finding this out after using the red light and wondering why the turtle was suddenly not as active or acting different (feel free to google and see what you can find). Also make sure that the temperature on the heating area is not too hot.

    I also recommend buying a few cuttlefish bones for calcium. This will prevent any shell growth problems. Cuttlebones are usually in the bird area and are cheap. They also last awhile. It is also necessary for their growth. Turtle shells are a lot more sensitive than assumed. I would recommend reading about red-ear slider turtles, or aquatic turtles, shells and their needs.

    If you have any questions please ask! I enjoyed having our turtles as the water quality is never an issue. Just cleanliness.

    **edit: I FOUND THE BULB! It is expensive...but is a way to only need one bulb minus the night light. Here is a link to it. Emits both UVA and UVB. It might end up being cheaper by a few bucks all in all but mostly it saves time and room. and heat bulb

    If you are still needing a cheaper option for a temp idea, I would buy the UVB bulb, and then get a high wattage regular lightbulb. This would be a better alternative to the opposite way. Just make sure the regular bulb does give off heat.

    Also another thought came to mind: Our turtle ended up needing a shell moisturizer. This is not needed, as too much moisture can harm the shell just as too dry of a shell will. However if you see that part of the shell is starting to crack, this will be needed. It is usually due to a lack of nutrients and another reason the shell needs should be thought of as crucial as the water a fish lives in.

  5. bizaliz3 Fishlore VIP Member

    Thank you so much for your response! You are exactly the kind of person I was looking for :)

    This is my daughter's turtle but I'm secretly pretty excited about it too :)

    Here's a couple pics of the set up.. what do you think?.[​IMG]

    I had some leftover plastic pieces for my glass tops on my other aquariums and I was able to squeeze one on to the side to fill some of the gap.... but there's still a small opening[​IMG]

    Theres a common goldfish in there keeping it cycled until we get the turtle. The place we're getting the turtle from is going to take the goldfish. I've been trying to rehome him forever! So I'm happy about that

    Speaking of which, how exactly do I acclimate a turtle?

    For the record...that light only supports a 15 watt bulb.... so it's really not doing the trick

    edit...also, as you can see, I put one of those wall thingies in there...the ones you use to separate substrate....I was planning to use that to keep sand away from the intake of the HOB filter. But you are saying no substrate at maybe that won't be needed....
  6. dandelion Member Member

    I added something to my previous post about the light bulb! Please look! :;tea

    Anyways, the setup looks great! Close to what we had for ours once it was larger than a dime (not really a dime but still, bigger than an egg lol). I can't exactly tell where the hole is at, but turtles can climb...well they have claws that help them grip and they can somehow wiggle into odd places. As long as it is small enough it should be okay. Since it is a younger turtle I would definitely get a water heater, but it is not necessary and could be added later as long as there is enough basking heat. However the main thing for turtle acclimation is to just have everything set and working. Make sure the light has been on awhile and that the environment is not changing. They can get stressed easy and be skittish at first. The best way to deal with this is having everything set so the only thing adjusting is the turtle to the environment. He probably won't eat the day you get him or the day after (but might, each one is different). However, if the turtle does not eat for awhile it means the temperature is too cold (more than likely not a hot enough basking area). I'd say it looks great!
  7. dandelion Member Member

    I forgot to comment on the filter! The filter tube being so close to the bottom is a good, no GREAT, thing. There won't be much floating in the water unless it gets stirred up. You could raise it a little bit if you notice it is not cleaning as well but in my experience the closer to the bottom the less mess on the bottom. However that also depends on what type of food you plan to feed. Regardless, I always preferred the filter tube low.

  8. bizaliz3 Fishlore VIP Member

    If you look at the 2nd picture, the one from the side...the first line you see is the water line. Above that is another inch of the glass wall and then attached to that is a plastic piece that you use to extend the back of glass lids. The space between the top of that plastic piece and the top rim of the tank is open....I would say the opening is about 4-5 inches above the water line....and the opening itself is maybe 3-4 inches it's a big opening. The question is whether or not the turtle could climb that 4-5 inch wall above the water line in order to get out....

    I am thinking about just taping some netting over it or something. I don't know....
  9. bizaliz3 Fishlore VIP Member

    It will work great if we don't put any substrate in there. Or as long as that wall ornament thing can keep all the sand away from the intake. But if you think that substrate would be a bad thing...maybe we should avoid it altogether. I can't raise the intake at all. It is where it is and there is no wiggle room. :-(

    Do I have to acclimate the turtle to the water itself? or just the temp of the water? With fish it is important to acclimate them to both the temp AND the water itself (due to ph differences or nitrate differences or whatever) Do I need to worry about that part of it with the turtle?
  10. bizaliz3 Fishlore VIP Member

    The guy at the LFS who has the turtle keeps live bearers (I think guppies and endlers) in the tank with the turtle. I guess the turtle takes care of any babies that are born? Did you ever do that? He also feeds him turtle food and stuff....but he says he never has babies in that tank because the turtle eats them (but he doesn't eat the adults) What do you think about that?

  11. dandelion Member Member

    I would do the netting idea just to be safe. I didn't think our mini dachshund as a puppy could climb the dog gate or our cat open doors...but I found out they can...:eek:

    Chemically the turtle should not need adjusting. It is suggested that the water placed in the tank from the tap is cold, as some water heaters can have corrosion or lead problems (so I've heard but never had a problem with). I think this mainly depends in how old of a house or how old your water heater is and if you live in the city or not. It is up to you, and another reason to have a water heater. The only thing I would treat would be the chlorine or chloramine. When we had the turtle we lived in the country and had a well so this was never an issue. The turtle is more "human" in a way as it has a skin and shell instead of breathing through the water. Of course metals and salt in water can be harmful to the turtle. But how much of a problems these are in the water just depends on where you are. I would buy a treatment for the chlorine just to be safe. Besides that the turtle will be fine. We ended up having ours straight into a tank which means no biological filter. This didn't harm the turtle, just left the tank stinky, cloudy, and needing too many water changes. Establishing the biological filter will help the quality of the water, which is good for the turtle but it isn't a life or death situation like fish. Besides chlorine and maybe contaminates from the water heater, no water acclimation is really needed or happens. If the tank constantly is cloudy or dirty, a larger filter is probably needed. The turtle will be fine simply going from petstore to tank.
  12. dandelion Member Member

    We kept some goldfish with the turtle. They will eat the babies haha. You could keep guppies and endlers but they may disappear. I would keep fish with the turtle if you wanted to do the extra water work and not mind losing one every so often. The turtle will add stress to the fish of course. I think one of the gold fish ended up dying from getting stuck to the filter. It is up to you, after the goldfish I didn't keep any just to have. If I ever bought any it was for a snack for the turtle.

    Speaking of which, one time we bought ghost shrimp and they disappeared the next day. So either they were ate or ran out of the tank. We still don't know. Turtles will eat life things if you start them early with them (otherwise they just get lazy for pellets). I say try it and see what happens. If anything they live in the tank or dye as a snack.
  13. bizaliz3 Fishlore VIP Member

    Here's a couple pics my daughter took of the turtle at the lfs[​IMG]
  14. dandelion Member Member

    He is adorable!
  15. aliray Fishlore VIP Member

    I love that second photo. Alison