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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I wonder if anybody could help.

We have two 7-8 year old terrapins - a YB and one other. Theyve been living together since very young and get on fine. In the past two weeks the water, all of a sudden, is getting cloudy very quickly. The filter isn't getting clogged and is working fine. We've changed the water two or three times and its fine for a day or so then becomes cloudy again. I got home this evening and the water and gone a dark brown colour - bit like peat.

We're not over feeding them and majority of their diet is greens.

The change in water condition has coincided with them becoming much more lethargic and hiding in their shells. They both sometimes go through phases but neither is snapping out of this one. Both shells feel hard and there is no sign of any damage to the skin or eyes, but they are both keeping their eyes closed a lot.

There's obviously a problem but I'm not sure what - any ideas?

We live in North Yorkshire but can't seem to find a specialist vet anywhere close by. If anybody could offer any advice,it would be much appreciated.

Many thanks

Andrew
 

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What kind of filter are you using, do you have substrate and have you recently added any decor such as bog wood, cork bark etc
 

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Tank size and volume of water?

Have you tested the water?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
tank is 4ft x 2ft x2ft. Water about 70-80l

just got an internal filter but its still clean when the water has gone cloudy/brown.

Everthing was fine until a week or two ago then it just happened - no gradual decline in tank or terrapins.

probably a stupid question but how do i test the water?
 

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You test the water with a water testing kit, the kind you use for aquariums.

Sounds as though your tank is a reasonable size, maybe still not big enough though, and there's no way an internal filter is going to cope with the waste from two adult turtles, you need a large external one.
 

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Have you noticed any poo/undigested food in the tank? I only ask as it popped into my head that maybe your turtle/s had diarrhoea? If so, then that could tie in with them being lethargic if they're not well.

When I was dry docking one of mine ages ago, she was on antibiotics and when she was in the bath she had one bout of bad diarrhoea and it instantly turned the whole lot of the water cloudy brown.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
thanks for advice guys.

i don't think its diarrhoea as the water seems to change from cloudy white to brown in stages.

have now done a complete water change and got rid of the gravel which seems to have helped.

have also taken them to the vet this morning (in leeds) who is concerned one might have septicemia. doing blood tests now which should reveal if there's a problem. fingers crossed they recover ok.
 

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Do you have Bogwood/Driftwood in the tank that you've recently added? This wood contains tannins which, although they won't affect your turtles, it causes the water to go brown, and the tannins can leach from the wood for months, most people boil the wood and put in a bath of hot water for a week before using it. Keep an eye on the PH too, Bogwood lowers the PH over time.
 

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Thats already been answered. Turtles have been known to swallow gravel which can cause impaction so its for the best to remove it. If you want substrate perhaps large smooth peebles, slate chips or sand are viable options. Although all will trap some dirt and without a good source of filtration will just lower the water quality.
 

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If it goes dirty looking in stages then it probably is just dirty. Removing substrate will help keep a cleaner tank, and if you can get a new filter that's better equipped to deal with turtles that should help. Your filter might not be strong enough to even draw waste in (or perhaps isn't working properly?), and that could explain both why the water gets so dirty fast and why the filter isn't filthy.

Can I also ask why you only have 70-80L in a 4x2x2 for two 7-8 yr old turtles? That's not much water in a pretty big tank for 2 turtles which at that age must be a decent size :) Once you get a new filter you can raise the water level as much as physically possible, your turtles will thank you for it and keeping water conditions in check is actually easier in a larger body of water.
 

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With turtles of that size and age, you should have your tank full to the brim which would be over 400L

do you feed your guys in the tank or in something else?

my 4ftx1.5ftx1.5ft tank is 3/4 full and is at 120L, with a full tank and a decent external filter or even two it should stay clean unless there is something else contaminating the tank.
 
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