Red-eared Slider Questions

Hey all, I have a question! I just recently got back into tank babies, and we got a red-eared slider. I’ve had them before, but I’m I guess what you would call a helicopter owner because of my anxiety. :sweat_smile: I have a lot of questions so this might be a bit of a long post.

The slider we “rescued” from Petco is missing some back toes and has a few sores on her leg. The people at Petco said she got attacked by the other turtles in the tank. I’ve been keeping her tank as clean as possible to try to help her wounds heal up. But I’m paranoid. Anyone have any tips on how to help make sure they heal up nicely? They look better than when we first got her, but again I’m paranoid. Is there anything else I can do to make sure she’s all good?

Also, she’s shedding her scutes, but it’s been 3 weeks now and I haven’t noticed any “progress” on the shedding. I’ve been researching, and am worried about ick getting stuck under the parts that are sticking up a bit. I’m under the assumption that I can’t just pull them off because the shell underneath could be raw and get infected. Not to mention, I don’t want to cause he rpain either. Any tips? I’ve got baby tooth brushes that are soft, and I gently rub it around her shell once a week with just water but it doesn’t appear to be helping. She’s also not fond of being handled so I try to minimize how much we mess with her until she’s more use to us.

The lady at Petco told me I shouldn’t use a heat lamp for her (which I’m fairly sure is incorrect because turtles can’t regulate their own temperature) so I don’t really trust her information. But she mentioned that turtles can’t eat mealworms because of the exoskeleton. So now I’m paranoid about feeding her dried mealworms. It’s been over 10 years since I last had a turtle. I remember most of the stuff but I’m definitely no expert. We feed her a mixture of pellets, river shrimp, crickets, and mealworms. Tried romaine lettuce, she was not a fan. She poked it with her nose and just ignored it after that. I left it in the tank for about an hour before I removed it.

She’s approximately 4-5 inches long, very active, and has started swimming up to greet us when we come over to talk to her. She still tucks away into her shell or swims away frantically if we move too fast. (Which always makes me feel bad dang it lol)

Anyway, any info you got would be much appreciated! Even if it doesn’t relate to my questions specifically. It’s been what feels like forever since I’ve had a turtle. We have the aquarium heater keeping the water between 70-75, her basking spot temp is 85. I have a cheap filter by tetra holding it over until we get the canister filter.

I tend to keep my aquaria cooler than most folks demand, but snakes, beardies, turtles, and SW fish/corals don’t seem to mind. My painted turtle tank is similar in temps to yours.

You will need a bigger tank, and soon. I have yielded to the standard demand of 10 gallons per inch of turtle shell. Though, I measure the plastron. It’s easier to measure and cheats a little on the small side.

Shrimp, crickets & c., all have exoskeletons. My painted turtles seem to enjoy them occasionally. Though, what they seem to thrive on is earthworms and duckweed. About half the time I steal duckweed from NH ponds. But, I raise the worms in bins. They eat shredded paper and food scraps, so I don’t worry about pesticides & c.

I also do a 50% water change, once a month. I used to use the RODI water you can get from many grocery stores, bring your own containers. Now, I am using water from our dehumidifier. Most folks clean more often, but I take the kids out of the tank to eat. And, I keep a few guppies in the tank which I never feed, save for turtle poop and duckweed. If they do die, and I have never seen that, the turtles must eat them.

1 Like

Yes, I definitely know it needs a bigger tank. We’re building a indoor pond with a 125 gallon stock tank so the 29 gallon she’s currently in is only temporary! I was pretty sure the lady at Petco was wrong but it makes me feel better to hear someone else say yeah that the mealworms are fine ya know? I was pretty sure it was fine because I thought I fed my others mealworms but the lady made me concerned. It’s been over 10 yrs since I’ve owned any turtles. I appreciate all the tips! Thanks a ton!

As a former employee for the competition, both stores have issues hiring people who don’t know enough and get fed questionable info from the training info. They may have been confused between superworms and mealworms depending on size of the turtle maybe? Even then if it’s just a treat a couple times a week that shouldn’t be an issue. Maybe if the only meal was supers? Shrug

I see the mention of the basking spot and heat lamp. Don’t forget the UV light. Also, super handy calcium supplement… Bird cuttle bone. It’s cheaper than the ones marketed for turtles. Just get the bird one, break it into halves and let your turtle have fun.

For the wounds, make sure the water stays clean. Unless the wounds begin to look seriously infected, that will go really far for the healing process. If the wounds do look worse or his belly also starts to look red, he might need a trip to the vet for a course of antibiotics.
The shell could be a combination of poor water quality for the store tanks and not enough vitamins/UV. Hopefully it will improve in time. If the areas between start looking white and fuzzy, that would be a shell rot issue.

Hope the little one heals up well for you!


Her basking lamp is the uvb lamp, and we have the cuttle bones for her but she just plays with them and pushes them around the tank until they sink, she hasn’t eaten them. She tried to bite it the first time I put one in her tank but I haven’t seen her mess with them since. I did get one of the turtle shaped calcium thingies for her cause I was hoping she would pick one of them to eat and she practically demolished it within about 48 hours. She doesn’t get the mealworms often, I mainly feed her pellets, river shrimp, and crickets. I’ve been a bit anal retentive about keeping her water clean. The bites on her back legs are looking better, but I’m one of those overly concerned paranoid owners. :sweat_smile::sweat_smile: I somehow always end up with pets that have at least one thing wrong with them. I’m attaching pics, once I can catch her with her back legs out I’ll post pics of the wounds on her back legs. Everytime I try she tucks in -_- lol

1 Like

Got it! Sort of. I’ll try to get better pics lol

1 Like

My friend feeds his turtles meal worm as treat youll be fine

1 Like

Thanks! Makes me feel better hearing multiple people say it! I’ve been reading about ways to help get them to eat veggies easier. One person said they used the repti sticks to poke through the lettuce so they would get use to it. I don’t use the repti-sticks I have round pellets from flukers. But I was hoping to use the mealworms to poke through instead! I feel more comfortable being able to do this now. If it works I’ll post it lol

1 Like

Also animals are highly individualistic, they have different personalities, different likes and dislikes and tolerance levels to various stimulus. Some of my scorpions like meal worms or super worms, others wont even touch them. Finding something that is healthy and your turtle likes may take a bit of trial and error. He or she will let you know what they like and what they don’t. Im kinda of a stresser person myself and im always analyzing thinking and rethinking everything. I stressed out big time when i got my 1st Rody boas, i literally cried over it. Theres a lot of good knowledgeable people here that have some good advice they use themselves. Its natural to worry about a 1st pet or 1st pet in a very long time. Anxiety definitely doesn’t make you a bad pet mom but a caring one afterall if you didn’t care you wouldn’t be here asking advice you would simply go on as if you knew it all. Im sure too your new baby is also adjusting to new surroundings new habitat and getting nursed back to health so im sure sometimes that can affect eating. Once your baby gets more use to everything and starts feeling better you may also see him or her eating better too.

1 Like

Thanks @rmleone

I’ve definitely noticed a difference in how she eats already. She’s not quite up to being handled stage but she’s more tolerate of the occasional heat or shell pets (as long as it doesn’t last too long.) She’s super curious and sits on her basking rock to look around the room. I’ve noticed she’s started to react to our voices more when we’re nearby and talking. Slowly but surely! The first few days she was definitely shocked and confused. But she’s settling down and playing a bit I guess now. She tosses the river rocks everywhere, and is constantly jumping off her basking rock for no reason only to climb back up and immediately jump again. I think she likes diving xD Kiddo put some of her art behind the tank as a background, and we’ve caught the turtle just staring at them a few times. We were thinking of getting a ping pong ball for a toy for her.

1 Like

I think enrichment would be good. I don’t know tons about turtles/tortoises more of a general study. Im oretty sure they are very social animals. Perhaps after your quarantine of your baby and proper healing, id probably recommend a companion turtle. Our neighbor growing up had tons of tortoises and they always hung out together. I believe most animals are social, i know for example my scorpions are not social but some are. I think under the right conditions ie; food, territory, hides there is possibility of cohabitation. Everywhere i read about Asian forest scorpions tells me these guys are definitely not sociable and will fight until one is left, now this can be a total fluke, or perhaps the general consensus is wrong im not sure, science is always changing and evolving what we once knew. I have kept my 2 forest scorpions together in the same enclosure and i have noticed some interesting things.

Although they have a 12x12x12 to themselves and they are the size of one of my finger tips, they have their own choice of burrows which are scattered about the enclosure, they often are in the same burrow together.

A number of factors could affect my observation such as the fact that they are broodmates. Being babies and being from the same brood perhaps brings a sense of safety? Im sure that perhaps as they get bigger they will definitely want their own burrow but i don’t know that since they are still pretty small. An abundance of food means they don’t have to compete for food to live, im pretty sure if they went unfed for a time one would likely predate the other, nature has a will to survive ( heck even humans ate each other to survive before ). Im interested in finding out if they are able to cohabitate peaceful. Being that they are nocturnal, it is difficult to observe their night-time routines, so im not privy to things like fighting if it occurs. Im trying to get good night cameras that i can use to capture their night-time activities. Black lights help you see them however they really hate that light, so far red lighting is the only light spectrum i know they cant see so they aren’t bothered by it. My eyesight is poor so some of the red lighting is strenuous on my eyes. I’ve seen someone house deathstalkers together however im not sure its wise to house any scorpion with potent venom together for saftey reasons, plus im not willing to sacrifice my $85.00 animal to test out whom can be housed together.

I guess i got away from the OP a bit but i do believe that a companion turtle to the one you have now will do them good.

1 Like

I love reading about others tank babies so I don’t mind if you’re response got “off topic” lol. I definitely wanna get her enrichment. I’m a bit worried about getting her a companion turtle because of fighting that turtles do. I’ll def have to research it more. But as for enrichment I totally agree. I feel like she’s bored a lot so I’m always going over to talk to her and she swims right up to the glass to greet me now! (Which just melts my heart with happiness.) I also wanna get more decor for her tank. She’s scratched the bottom of her tank from knocking around the rocks constantly. But we’re going to buy a stock tank tomorrow that’s slightly bigger than what she’s in now by like 10 gallons. So it’s not much bigger but her wounds look practically closed. I’m worried about the tank breaking with the way she kicks rocks around. She’s rather violent with the rocks.

1 Like

You could try course sand on the bottom or even aquarium sand, then put the rocks on too of that, kinda “plant” them so they are harder to move, you also can go with aquatic plants, they would look lovely and feel more natural for the tank baby. A naturalistic environment would also be enriching as well plus you, your family and guests get to enjoy a beautiful scenery like a little piece of nature in your home. Im not sure where you live, but i think all humans in a way need a nature connection i think its good for our peace. I live in the nasty city of LA ( not wholly my choice ) so im surrounded by all kinds of nasty elements, so emerging myself in my animals and their habitats is my way of peace. Honestly im more if a wood gurl than a hood girl but im wheelchair bound so living more rural is way more difficult for me. I lived in a small tiwn in Arizona, it was pretty but there was no sidewalk the nearest store was 1 mile away and the town consisted of 1 main street where shops were ( kinda like an island in the desert) highway 10 drove straight through it and i was always afraid id get rear-ended by a car being on the part where the sand met the asphalt. So im kinda city bound even though i really hate living here. The only thing nice is there is tons of publuc transportation that can take me almost anywhere i need to go. I still feel just as isolated living in the city as i did more rural for opposite reasons. LA is filled with homless people, trash, broken sidewalks and crime is through the roof so i stay inside to avoid being robbed or whatever.

Yeah I was thinking about adding some sand, driftwood, and some live plants to her tank! But Petco doesn’t have driftwood (they never seem to have anything I need or want. They don’t even have a light stand for my lamps so I gotta go to Amazon for that too.) So I’ve gotta find a good place online I can buy driftwood from. I was thinking about going to Etsy for plants cause petcos “selection” blows. Petco is literally the ONLY pet store we have where I live. If I want I could drive an hour away from home to check out some other stores but honestly I doubt I’ll find anything at this point.

I live in a super small town. I definitely agree on disliking big cities. The only draw back to my small town is we don’t have a lot of options for on person shopping, and I’m ridiculously picky about shopping online.

1 Like

Ive had 50/50 chance with plants i bought online. Some plants are doing great others not so. Some of the plants came with what i guess people call death plugs, its like a mesh wrapping around the roots. I guess its supposed to help the saplings but it just kills them. There is good driftwood on Amazon i buy a lot of driftwood for my invert enclosures ( i lile the lightweight to prevent possible crushing to my diggers) they have submersible driftwood for aquariums i guess its treated so it sinks. Amazon also has aquatic plants. All of my shopping is done well like 99% is done online since im unable to drive and real-estate on my lap is pretty small. What i like about Amazon is the fast free shipping i get and they are pretty good at refunding my money incase of package theft or broken etc. What i hate about Amazon is the drivers sometimes are lazy and wont follow delivery instructions and as of the pandemic they been pawning off shipping to the USPS which is even worse, because they are 100% lazy. Every time i order furniture type items ( not super big and heavy. Like maybe a coffee table) they will deliver like 10pm like what kinda wierdo delivers at 10 pm??? They will then claim they have no access to my building which is a lie because all the delivery services has a gate code we gave them. ( i know because i get FedEx and UPS a lot ). I stopped buying furniture from Amazon because they don’t seem to want to deliver it. I complained so many times at least last time they gave me a 50.00 credit to be used in Amazon plus my money back. Im not in great health and i go to bed early, im not waiting up til 930-10 pm for a package im usually in bed about 8. Some days im so ill i barely get up to eat, so i can’t be playing games with delivery drivers.

1 Like

Wow! We’ve had delivery drivers leave packages with electronics (and just anything else) out in the rain -_-

1 Like

Like i don’t know if things like that have been that way all along or is it like a generational thing?

Maybe its how i was brought up in a large family and i had lots of responsibilities growing up from taking care of siblings, caring for our animals and farm and helping the family business, helping to deliver newspapers, phone books ( what are those??? Ikr) Pennysaver, Blue Shopper, collection of newspapers for recycling. Then joining the military so i guess i was taught about work ethics and pride in your job. Maybe its just most people weren’t raised with values such as pride in a job well done etc. But i definitely see a difference everywhere. Im probably just old :joy:

My grandmother worked in our family business til she was 91 she never put up with anything and i never got away with a thing. She grew up in the depression so she was very hard and salty :joy:.

1 Like

It’s in the water or formula or something. Cause these ppl are flat out jerks lol parenting has changed too so that’s part of it I guess. Or people are just jerks by nature. Idk lol

1 Like