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Discussion Starter #1
Hi! I have started this thread from another topic as I need some help with Gussy the now female turtle! (thanks for sexing her folk!)

This is the situation. She is a rescue turtle, I rescued her from a guy that fed her pork chops and pizza, and he never had a UV lamp, the man mentioned paddling pool, so I guess she spent her day time in the paddling pool or something. We rescued her in September last year so we have had her seven months now, so its hard to tell if these shell issues are due to inadequate care during her vital younger years or something we are doing wrong.

her shell measure 9x7", and we think about three years old, but she is big.

Our set up is this:

Tank is 4 ft by 1 ft (way too small, we know, last tank shattered out the blue, we are buying a medium 4x2x1ft laguna tub asap..is that a good size?)
Filter is eheim classic 600, powerful, happy with it
Heater is on sometimes, but we keep the temp about 20-22 degrees C.
Basking light and UV lamp- mecury vapour bulb, its a large one, set at a foot and a half above the basking spot. Do not know the temp, its not too hot when i put my hand under but need to get a thermometer obviously.

Gussy is very very active. She is not eating very much, she eats a lot one day then nothing at all for ages, but she is not really eating at all at the moment. We feed her Tetramin pellets, supplemented with fresh raw fish, prawns, leaves and she has a cuttlefish bone too (which the previous owner never had). She sometimes goes to eat but spits it out and looks at me like, what the hell?? so not eaten a while.

So really not sure where we are going wrong, aside of course, for the space.

I am starting to get a bit worried about the lack of eating. Ive called so many vets today, but no one will see her. One actually said to call London zoo (we live by regents park)! They all reccomended a vet in Sheen but thats the other side of london and she is not a specialist, just has an interest. Even the royal vet college refused to see her and she had cut herself this morning on the slate, ridiculous.

Some readers of the previous topic pointed out that her undershell looks very pink and the seam is very apparent, can anyone please help me by elaborating on possible problems or causes or what this means? The shell is not soft, not smelly, just pinkish. They also mentioned scutes, please explain!

We are new to turtles and are doing everything we can to give her the best possible life.

Lastly, any ideas about plants? We put lots of plants in, but looking for some living larger leafed species to offer Gussy some hiding places. We normally get lots of different from the aquatic (checked, non toxic) but she eats them all very quickly hee hee!

Oh, and she also keeps escaping and walking about. We try to stop her but she's going nuts sometimes! I know that being out the water can stress her, do they get bored?
 

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It was me that commented, and I'm sorry if I made you panic, but as I said we did really need more photos.

Hopefully, Jo or Graham, who are among the best and most knowledgeable keepers on here will be about later to advise.

Having seen the additional photos I still think she is rather pink, but we need some more opinions.

As for the cut on her leg, this can be home treated by using Betadine or similar and dry docking her, which means leaving her out of water on a damp towel, but in a deep plastic box for a some hours between treatments. However, if you are not confident about this, please wait for some more help.

Retained scutes - these are where the bits of shell have not shed and the new ones force them up. Air gets under them and make them appear to be sticking up with sort of bubbles underneath. With the proper temperature under a basking light these will gradually come away, but do not pick them off!

As for her diet, Reptomin and wheatgerm pellets (for fish) are good along with pondweed, duckweed, Romaine lettuce, dandelion leaves and water cress. At that size she will not need a heater as 20c room temperature water is fine.

As I say, I hope I haven't worried you too much, but I did say with more photos etc we can help you and your turtle.

Well done for taking her in. The diet she had previously is horrendous. As for her climbing out of her tank - can you build an above tank basking area until you get your new setup. Basically, we screwed three lengths of Perspex two nearly the length of the tank and the third the width, to wooden battens and then this sits on the edge of the tank thereby preventing escapees.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
yes, we tried building her a basking area at the top of the tank, using a perspex ramp with some gripping, and a wooden frame to make a nice open topped boxed area. She is very perverse, in that she can find the easiest climbs very difficult, but can climb out the tank which is actually quite difficult in that she puts one leg up on the edge and hoists herself up. But, she cannot seem to get up on the ramp we made, even though we made sure the angle and weight worked. She couldn't use it. So we went back to the slate ramping to give her some basking time.

Back to the drawing board methinks... Need a more solid ramp with a good grip, that wont scratch at her shell.... She's pretty heavy...


Poor little gus!

Would love to see photos of home made ramps for large turtles guys!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Could the shell problem be caused by over basking? She spent a period a couple of weeks back of basking non-stop..., the water temp was about 22.
 

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Hi there.

Given her previous history, I actually don't think she looks too bad at all.

If the plastron of a slider looks 'pinkish' it's usually an indication of septicemia.. however, I do not think this is the case here. There are two reddish marks towards the back end of the turtle and looking at your set up, I think it's reasonable to assume these are scuff marks, getting on and off the basking area. Nothing too serious, but keep an eye on it. You cab try softening the edges of the basing area with cork bark, astroturf or similar. Better still, have a go at building an over tank basking area as has been suggested... this way you can fill the tank right up and maximise swimming space.

The scutes are the keratinous plates that cover the turtles shell.. these will periodically get shed as the turtle grows. Poor diet, lack of heat and/ or UV will prevent the turtle shedding these properly and the shell will start to look rough and bumpy. When the weather gets warmer, you should consider putting Gussy out in the garden to benefit from some natural sunshine... your laguna tub, or a paddling pool with a basking area would suffice as a temporary outdoor enclosure.

Other ways of improving shell condition is diet. Yours sounds good. Plenty of plant material and the addition of some good quality Koi wheatgerm pellets will assist. Don't worry about Gussy not eating, adult turtles can go a good while without food.. and of course shhe will be nibbling on the plants.... Are you certain of her age? She has the appearance of an older turt.

As for plants - bulk by elodea (ebay)... she will get cover and a snack all in one.
 

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Have just looked at your other pics

Re the plastron, I see signs of rapid growth (her previous diet would explain this) and retained scutes (covered in last post)

http://www.reptileforums.co.uk/forums/members/bubo-albums-gus-picture134681-imag0059.jpg


In my opinion, good husbandry is what she needs now... oh and she is a female cumberland slider :2thumb: (yellow horizontal head stripe and 'tear drop' shaped black plastron markings are identifiers)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
hey thanks!


No we are not really that sure on the age. The man who had her said he was two n half in september, he had her from the tiny hatchling so i assumed it was right.

So turtle jo, do you concur that Gus is now a Gussette? There are more photos on my album :)

Thanks, i feel a lot better now! Will work on that upstairs basking spot.
 

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The pinkness is either calcium deficiency (which sounds right re: diet etc), or wet shell rot. The way you tell the difference is to use your fingernail to squeeze the pinkness in the middle of the scute. If the pinkness gently fades, you are seeing normality- ie blood under the scute . If there is considerable squishing of a clearish liquid, and the scute feels soft, then you have wet shell rot.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
hahah brilliant thanks!!

I didnt get your sexing and identification till after i posted my previous, sorry to make you repeat yourself!

How exciting!
 

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hey boxman, the shell is hard, no softness or clear liquid. When I gently press the pink bits it fades a bit. I am thinking this is all due to the pork chop and pizza diet. She has a cuttlefish bone when she eats, limestone powder came with it but i dont really know what to do with that.

Its so weird finding out our augustus is a girl. And not a YBS... Hmm. Need a new name then!

THANKS EVERYONE!
 

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The tub you're looking at - 4x2x1 I'd say is still too small. Is 1' the depth? Ideally I think you want 2' depth. So I'd say 4' x 2' x 2' is probably the minimum you want to go. Also think about how you will provide a basking area as it may mean eating into the space.

I'm sure someone who knows more will comment.

This is my Laguna 1300. Roughly it's 6' long x 4' wide x 2' deep and cost me £150 from my local gardening centre. The Dock area is one of those gardening trays (seed tray / handy tray), it's bolted onto the side and supported underneath by block work.

 

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Discussion Starter #15
yes 1 was the depth. Ok, so we will go bigger! Will go for the large laguna tub, which is the one you have.

Cool.

I like the basking spot, great photo, good to see and has definatly given me some ideas!

What filter are you using? I have the eheim 600 litre, i think that should be ok.
 

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I'm using a Hozelock Aquaforce 4000 solids pump coupled with a Hozelock Bioforce 5500 pressurised filter.

The big Laguna is 1300L so a 600 Litre filter won't be good enough. You want to be turning over at least double the volume every hour so that's 2600 Litres so you're going to need to look for better filtration.

The kit I bought was about £120 from my local garden centre which was cheaper than I found it online.
 
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