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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 14-06-2013, 01:19 PM
Egg
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 4
Default Yellow Bellied Slider - Shell concerns

Hello Everyone,

I've searched the internet and this forum but couldn't find information specific to my problem.

My girlfriend and I recently bought a couple of YBS and we've had them for about a week now. Judging by the size they are probably around 2 months old.

I noticed earlier that one of them seemed a bit unhealthy swimming lop-sided, not eating a lot and basking very often. I though it had a respiratory infection but the turtle spent the next 2 days basking and resting and then it was fine, swimming well, no problems with diving, etc.

My main concern at the moment though is its shell which doesn't look too healthy.
I noticed today a strange looking blister like bubble on its carapace which looks a bit milky inside. The shell itself also doesn't look like it's in a very good condition. I'm not sure whether the blister is soft because i was afraid to touch and press it in case I could hurt the turtle or burst it. I took a few photos though so I hope you will be able to advise me as to what it is and what I should do.

The turtles have a basking lamp and a UVA+UVB lamp. Water temp. at night is aroung 20-21C and during the day 22-25C. The basking temp. is around 30C. They have a bit of cuttlefish floting around for them to nib on (although the turtle with shell condition doesn't really move away from the basking lamp a lot so it doesn't eat it).

They are fed by the empty head rule, the get frozen blood worm, ReptoMin and SeraReptil which according to the label should contain vitamins needed for them. They are not too keen on the Reptomin and SeraReptil probably because they got a taste for the dried shrimp which I quickly removed from the menu after discovering they have virtually no nutritional value apart from protein and fats so at the moment I'm trying to get them to eat better stuff.

I included everything I can think of just now if you need more information please ask. Any advice will be appreciated.

Also if someone could tell me how exactly I should feed them I'd be greatful because I found so much contradicting information on the internet that it just messed with my head. I feed them once a day, using the empty head rule atm.

Kind Regards
Tomek

P.S. How do I check whether my turtles' shell is hard enough? Or too soft.

photo 1 - http://images47.fotosik.pl/1850/d56454426d23cf33med.jpg

photo 2 - http://images38.fotosik.pl/2077/3111d0ad874f4306med.jpg

photo 3 - http://images41.fotosik.pl/2072/3366eeca092f4994med.jpg

photo 4 - http://images41.fotosik.pl/2072/04ab086c218b0fd1med.jpg
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 14-06-2013, 10:28 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: County Durham
Posts: 141
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Welcome

Aww, these guys look young! I don't keep these myself so wouldn't like to comment re. the shell, someone more experinced will be along to help you I'm sure.

I can however say that the way you are feeding as per the head being hollow is correct.

I think you should get your basking spot up to around 35 deg. It should sit around 10 deg higher than the water and I believe these little guys like to bask a lot

good luck and enjoy them.
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old 15-06-2013, 03:54 PM
Egg
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 4
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Hey, thanks for the reply.

As to the basking light I will need to relocate it slightly as the heat is mostly concentrating just a few inches off the basking area and I reckon the temperature after I move it would be just perfect and if it's too hot I can always rise the light a wee bit.

I hope someone can help me soon with regards to the shell problem I have with the little one.

Kind regards
Tomek
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  #4 (permalink)  
Old 17-06-2013, 01:21 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 78
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firstly let me make it clear I am in no way an expert, I just keep turtles.

from the pictures, it's only the 1st and last pic I can see any abnormality. It may just be a birth defect, or it could be an infection, it certainly does not look like shell rot, unfortunately when you get a baby turtle they are not always in the best of health. If you are really concerned it may be best to take it to a reptile vet for an expert opinion, I recently took on an adult turtle and it cost me £18 for a consultation, imo money well spent.

If you do suspect an infection/illness, raising the water/basking temps to 25/35 degrees C respectively will help to increase the turtles immune system, and will not cause any harm to the healthy tankmate.

Feeding wise I think you are doing extremely well compared to most new owners. A varied diet is key, just to supplement what you are already feeding I would add some water plants, like pondweed or duckweed, romaine lettuce, kale (my sliders love kale) and carrot tops (the green part) just for everyday grazing, youngsters may not take to the greens immediately, but it should form most of their diet as adults so best to introduce it as soon as possible to get them used to it. Also in this weather I leave my windows open for insects to fly in, any daddy longlegs, moths ect. that fly into the house get a quick dunking in the tank then get scoffed up by the turtles. You can also feed earthworms/slugs/snails from the garden as a treat, this does carry a risk of introducing parasites to your turtles, but personally I feel the benefits outweigh the risks, at the end of the day, if you are going to keep your turtles outside, then how can you stop them eating anything that would find it's way into the pond/garden?

UVA/UVB is important, so it is good you have provided that, if you can, get a small paddling pool and get them out in the garden for a couple of hours when the weather is nice. Natural sunlight is infinitely better than anything a bulb can produce. If you do put them out just make sure they have an area they can climb out of the water onto, and also a shaded area where they can escape the sun if they need to.

Last edited by Simon004; 17-06-2013 at 01:26 AM..
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Old 17-06-2013, 09:00 AM
Egg
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 4
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Hey there.

Thanks for an answer. The blister thing shrunk in the past few days and it looks like it's drying up so it does seem to be a bit better now. I was also thinking that the wee one might be changing the top layer of its shell and that's why it looks as it looks. I've read somewhere that they can do it from a very young age and that one of the signs is the outer edge of the shell lifting/rising.

The turtle does look a lot better now though it moves around a bit more and for the past few days the appetite was good so I got it to eat a bit (I always watch them feeding so I make sure they eat as much as they should, the bigger one is a bit of a greedy vulture so I have to make sure it doesn't steal from the other one haha).

As to the romaine lettuce and carrots I was wondering if pesticides can just be washed off or is it better to buy organic stuff? With regards to snails/slugs and earthworms I think they are too big for the wee turtles just now but it will certainly be on the menu when they get bigger.
I was considering introducing freshwater snails into my tank (the pest type that every fish tank owner hates to have in theirs as they eat plants) but I'm worried that the turtles could overfeed on them as I've heard they can eat a lot even if they are already full and that's an easy way to overfeed them imo as you can't really control what they eat.

Anyway thanks for replying.

Have a nice day
Tomek
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  #6 (permalink)  
Old 17-06-2013, 09:40 AM
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Having looked several times at the photos, I would say it is just shedding. This is perfectly natural and as the turtle sits under a heat source the scutes lift away leaving fresh clean shell underneath. Do not pick at them though. You may see the turtle rubbing on a piece of bogwood or tank ornaments to get them off. Small thin bits should come away, but sometimes they can come off in much bigger thicker pieces.

The blister looking thing could well be trapped air or water. Shell rot smells and often oozes and is red. If there are any signs of this then dry docking and veterinary treatment is needed.

Young turtles will have softer shells, but with the proper lighting and a good diet there is (usually) no cause for concern.

Obviously this is going from what I have seen from the pictures. Continual basking from turtles can the sign of a respiratory problem. Keep an eye out for any mucus around the face and constant gasping/mouth opening whilst basking.

Make sure there is no bullying and that they get an equal share of food.

If these are females they will reach 12"+ needing a very large tank/indoor pond and/or outdoor pond especially for the summer months. Two males may not get on and a male will continually pester a female meaning that they will have to be separated.

A good external filter is a must - Amazon have the Eheim 2213s for about £30 (if they have any left!).
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Old 17-06-2013, 11:00 AM
Egg
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 4
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Hey Stephen

Thanks a lot. I've kept a close watch for the past few days and it doesn't show any of the signs for the respiratory problems at the moment. As to the shell it seems that so far you are right as to the shedding.

I do make sure they get an equal share of food and so far they are living in piece so there isn't any bullying going on.

I am aware that they might need separating in the future and a much much bigger tank and I have a full intention of upgrading the existing one as soon as they need it I'm trying to care about them the best way I can. I'll have a look at that external filter you mentioned.

Thanks
Tomek

P.S. The other turtle's shell is quite dark green colour and it looks like algae grow of some sort and it's covered in such a way that the patterns are quite difficult to see in some places. I was wondering if I should clean it off with a soft unused toothbrush or just leave it be? It did get better since I bought it in the pet store but I'm asking just in case I'm not sure if their shells should be cleaned manually or if they are fine just on their own.

Last edited by Teer; 17-06-2013 at 11:09 AM..
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Old 17-06-2013, 11:21 AM
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My Maps get the algae, I used to use a toothbrush but I just leave them now as I keep handling to a minimum and a bit of algea doesn't hurt them I don't think.
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Old 17-06-2013, 01:51 PM
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As above regarding the very soft toothbrush. As they mature though their shells do get considerably darker.
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