Red Eared Sliders... Help!

carolc

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Hey everyone!
A month ago, I was asked to take in two "small" aquatic turtles. The woman said they had everything they needed, but if she couldn't find them a home, she was going to dump them. I love animals, so I immediately said yes. I would NEVER let someone dump an animal! (On that note, anyone in my area want some slightly feral kittens that were living in the sewer? They're still young enough that they might be great pets!)
When I got the unnamed turtles, my heart immediately sank. They were 2 red eared sliders, about 4.5 inches long (she said they're about 3 years old) and living in a ten gallon tank. They have one small filter good for about 5 gallons, a small floating basking rock, and no heating equipment. She was also kind enough to tell me that her young sons loved watching them eat, so they sometimes got fed up to 3 times a day. Also, they NEVER conditioned the water, just used tap. Yikes!
I've named them Tomato and Tomato (toe-mah-toe). For everyone's sanity, I'll spell it Tohmahto here!
Tomato is in better shape, with a shell only slightly ridged. She's a bossy bit of goods, and the only thing I'm worried about with her is that her shell is peeling and flaking off in sections. Should I be worried about this?
Tohmahto is more boxy in shape, with a very ridged shell. It almost looks like someone took a file or a chisel to the top of it, and each segment is white and discolored at the top sections of the ridge. I'll try to get a picture to post where Tomato's not laying on top of her! She is also flaking, but has started coming out of her shell -so to speak!- since she's been with me.
I have very little money to buy the amount of equipment that I know they need (I'm trying to find a 120 gal aquarium so I hopefully won't have to buy another.) I know they need a large tank, filters for 3x the size of their aquarium, basking light, uvb light (can uvb bulbs be used in a heat light? Are they actually the same thing?) water heater/thermometer, and a better basking area. What else do I need to know/get/where to get it/what in the world am I doing???

Sorry for the ridiculously long post!


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Yvonne G

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Hi Carol, and welcome to the Forum!

Don't worry about the peeling shell. That happens normally, but more often when the turtle hasn't been cared for properly.

It really would be in your best interest to try to set these ladies up outside in the spring time. It's so hard to keep a turtle aquarium clean in the house.

I commend you for taking these turtles in and trying to give them a better life. I'm sure you're going to be rewarded over and over again. They are very pleasant creatures to take care of.
 

carolc

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Hi Carol, and welcome to the Forum!

Don't worry about the peeling shell. That happens normally, but more often when the turtle hasn't been cared for properly.

It really would be in your best interest to try to set these ladies up outside in the spring time. It's so hard to keep a turtle aquarium clean in the house.

I commend you for taking these turtles in and trying to give them a better life. I'm sure you're going to be rewarded over and over again. They are very pleasant creatures to take care of.
I would LOVE to set them up outside! I don't have a pond or anything like that... What should I do to give them the best setup? What's the coldest outside temperature they can deal with? Thank you! :)
 

Yvonne G

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They hibernate, so the 'cold' doesn't really matter. But, because you don't have a pond, I'd just set them up in some sort of water trough. You can buy some pretty big ones at feed stores. Then if you don't want them to hibernate outside, you can bring them back into the aquarium in the fall. As long as the water doesn't freeze solid, a turtle can hibernate outside.

I have a big 600 gallon water trough for a snapping turtle. (You don't have to go that big for your two turtles) There's a Skippy filter to circulate and clean the water, and in the middle I have a large plastic flower pot turned upside down that has a door cut out of the top lip for a cave. Then there's a cement stepping stone on top of the pot. I fill the water up to the stepping stone and the turtle uses that to bask on. He lives there all the time, hibernating on the bottom all winter.

You won't be able to put your turtles outside until spring because they're not acclimated to the weather.
 

TortsNTurtles

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Congrats on your new turtles!! They look good for living in such conditions for 3 years. That is why I like RES they are hardy turtles. I am so happy they landed in a good home.
 

TortsNTurtles

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They hibernate, so the 'cold' doesn't really matter. But, because you don't have a pond, I'd just set them up in some sort of water trough. You can buy some pretty big ones at feed stores. Then if you don't want them to hibernate outside, you can bring them back into the aquarium in the fall. As long as the water doesn't freeze solid, a turtle can hibernate outside.

I have a big 600 gallon water trough for a snapping turtle. (You don't have to go that big for your two turtles) There's a Skippy filter to circulate and clean the water, and in the middle I have a large plastic flower pot turned upside down that has a door cut out of the top lip for a cave. Then there's a cement stepping stone on top of the pot. I fill the water up to the stepping stone and the turtle uses that to bask on. He lives there all the time, hibernating on the bottom all winter.

You won't be able to put your turtles outside until spring because they're not acclimated to the weather.

I would love to set my Myrtle out all year. I never thought of it. I live in the North East would a De-Icer for stock tanks help to keep it from freezing solid. What would be they good size stock tank for 1-2 RES adult turtles?
 

Yvonne G

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Well, the grow pretty big, and it looks like those are both females, so think 'big.' I would say maybe a 250 gallon stock tank? Of course, bigger is always better. I have mine set up where it gets morning sun, but is in the shade in the afternoon.
 

carolc

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Thank you all so much for the help and well wishes!
I live in Northern VA, so it can get pretty icy in the winter. Would it be better to bring them in, put in a heater (on a very low setting), or leave them be and just break up any ice on the water surface? Does anyone know what temperature they hibernate at? Obviously, I won't be putting them out until late spring, since I think I'm going to build them a permanent outdoor living space.
 

Tatergirl09

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Such a great heart to help...i can tell you will give them so much more love then they had previously. There are lots of helpful people here.... good luck!
 
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About lighting... so mercur vapor' bulbs' provide heat and uvb, for example: mega ray or solar glo produced by exoterra...
a simple 70 watt bulb produces only heat and light wich is necesary for the turtle but not enough... and that's just the bulb don't forget the lamp...
The source for, only, uvb can be :neon or coil bulb...and don't forget the necesairy lamp for that too...
Hope it helps :)
 
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For the basking area u can use a normal lamp, i had one of those with a tiny clip and a 70 w bulb, and u need a thermometer so that u can adjust the temperature on the basking area (max 30 degrees Celsius) ...if u don't have a proper basking area u can make one, there are youtube videos, or use a big rock,but don,t forget to boil it so u kill al the germs...
Light is very important to res, so u must close it at night, or use a dark bulb at night..
 

carolc

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Does anyone know what the discoloration and roughness on Tohmahto's shell is? Is that something I can and should fix? It's not slimy or anything, I give their shells a light brushing with an extra soft toothbrush once every two weeks to clean them up and prevent algae growth. (And she's been like that since I got her)
 

carolc

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Well, the grow pretty big, and it looks like those are both females, so think 'big.' I would say maybe a 250 gallon stock tank? Of course, bigger is always better. I have mine set up where it gets morning sun, but is in the shade in the afternoon.
I've heard on the oh-so-reliable internet that they should have about a gallon per inch, they grow to be no more than 12-15 inches, and 2 can live in the same amount of space as one. Is all that true? Or should I be looking at using a much larger space?
 
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I've heard on the oh-so-reliable internet that they should have about a gallon per inch, they grow to be no more than 12-15 inches, and 2 can live in the same amount of space as one. Is all that true? Or should I be looking at using a much larger space?
I know of 10 gallons of water/inch of shell...
 
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Does anyone know what the discoloration and roughness on Tohmahto's shell is? Is that something I can and should fix? It's not slimy or anything, I give their shells a light brushing with an extra soft toothbrush once every two weeks to clean them up and prevent algae growth. (And she's been like that since I got her)
maybe this can help...
 

TortsNTurtles

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I've heard on the oh-so-reliable internet that they should have about a gallon per inch, they grow to be no more than 12-15 inches, and 2 can live in the same amount of space as one. Is all that true? Or should I be looking at using a much larger space?

It is 10 gallons per inch per turtle. So with two large females they are going to need a larger tank than 125 gallons as full grown adults. They will reach the size of a dinner plate so they will be large and they are a deep water turtle. There is a link in my signature for a red ear slide forum. Steve and other members are great at answering RES questions.
 
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