General Questions about my Turtles - Paw Talk - Pet Forums
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-02-2004, 07:01 PM Thread Starter
 
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Post General Questions about my Turtles

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!
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-02-2004, 11:40 PM
 
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Okay, I'm not really an expert on turtles, but I can help with a couple of these.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AtlasnFash
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"?
Yes any glass will filter out most UVB/A light, it would be best to take the cover off.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AtlasnFash
Do the turtle shells (not their "skin") ever "shed"? Because I have noticed at times them losing some very thin layers on the shell.
Shells do shed, I wouldn't worry about it too much if the turtle isn't losing alot of the shell at one time, just "flakes".
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-02-2004, 11:55 PM
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Natural sunlight is always preferrable to bulbs, it is much better for them.

If your turtles are eating veggies/fruits at all, be happy. Many never do beyond the vegetable base in most commercial turtle pellets. The rest of the diet sounds great. Everyone laughs at 'For Dummies' books but they often have very good to the point information without a lot of gibbering and confusing scientific stuff that most people who just want a pet don't care about.

The slider is going to out grow the map turtle pretty fast, you will have to look into seperate housing at some point. Especially when your slider becomes mature. The fluttering is greeting/courting and is generally a good thing. Biting and chasing is not.

Shell rot usually manifests itself as a discolored patch on the shell. Quite often white in color. It can progress quite fast and can be contagious. It is usually caused by poor water quality, if you're cleaning it as often as you say, I wouldn't worry. I too use a Fluval 404 on a tank the same size... it has a Florida cooter, a red-eared slider and a common musk turtle in it that I've had from hatchlings. They're just getting to the point now where I am looking into larger, seperate, housing.

No idea on vets, but have a look at Herp Vet Connection and see if any of those work for you.

Rav

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-03-2004, 09:17 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for your advice!

C-
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-05-2004, 04:59 PM
 
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The fluttering you witnessed is a mating ritual. There is no saying if they will actually carry it through or not but it is possible. Performing the mating ritual does not mean that they will actually mate and it does not mean that they are of opposite sexes.

I would definitely try introducing a veggie or grass portion to the diet. As most aquatic turtles get older they tend to get more herbivorous. They depend on meat and protein less and less because they are not growing as much. The diet you are feeding them is very high in protein and could be contributing to the ridges you see on their shells. It could lead to pyramiding of the shell if you are not careful. THis will happen gradually over time so don't feel rushed to fully convert them overnight. It takes time and patience but their health really will benefit from a high fiber diet.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-06-2004, 05:55 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, Elfomatic!

That definately explains a lot!
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