Hi, I am new here...but not new to owning turtles, however, I do have some questions.
First a little history about my turtles:
1. Red-Eared Slider about 2 years of age, raised from hatchling. I believe to be a male, however, his claws are not extremely long as of yet, but his cloaca is far from the shell and the tail is fairly fat. His shell is 6 3/4 inches long.
2. Mississippi Map Turtle (or False Map Turtle) same age above, and also raised from hatchling. I believe to be male. He is significantly smaller then the Red-eared slider, and has a far placed cloaca. His shell is about 4 1/2 inches in length.
My set-up. I have a 60 gallon plexiglass (long) tank w/ about 8 inches of water, large river rock as a substrate, and large rocks set up to form a cave and also a basking site. I have a Vita light tube, as well as Zoo Meds 75watt UVA Basking light. I use AquaClear for conditioning the water, and I also change the water once a week. I have a Fluval 404 fully submersible filter, as well. There are calcium blocks in the tank too. Oh! The tube light does have a plexiglass protective cover and I am wondering if that blocks some important UVA and UVB's to the turtles? From my research those rays cannot pass through glass or plexiglass correct? Should I remove that "cover"?
My concern is with the shells of the turtles. Although I have had red-eared sliders in the past, I purchased them as adults and not hatchlings. Recently I have noticed some ridges on the plastron. Should the plastron be smooth, or will it have some texture? Do the turtle shells (not their "skin") ever "shed"? Because I have noticed at times them losing some very thin layers on the shell. I get nervous at this being shell rot. Or MBD. Also, could you give me some better ideas about what MBD looks like? There is also one wierd splotch of a tannish-reddish brown on his carapace. I feel that he has always had this odd coloring, but am wondering what blood looks like under the shell. Any offerings?
My turtles are highly active, however, my false Map basks far more then the RES. I do take them out to get natural sunlight, (is that bad??) I feed them dried Krill, live feeder fish, blood worms, brine shrimp, mealworms, crickets, greens, mango's, grapes, Turtle sticks, and occassionally fresh fish (washed) that I buy. I have tried other fruits and vegetables but they really like the meaty stuff. Better ways to get them to accept fruits and veggies??
The turtles have also been housed together since we got them as hatchlings...this I am sure many of you would find bizarre. But, they get along great. They definately do this wierd claw-flutter thing to each other, and I don't know what that means. I figure they are just talking to each other, or trying a mating ritual. Any other suggestions?
I also wanted to know of some great plants (we usually put in water hiacynth) for them.
I have Turtles and Tortises for Dummies which has been a great resource, but I am looking for some detail, to shell rot and MBD, basically.
Also, if you are in the Hollywood area, a great aquatic VET reference would be nice.
Thanks for all your help, and what a great resource!