We are getting a lot of customers coming in lately with sick turtles.
The poor little things are often close to death and all we can do is refer them to the vet. In most cases, the cause is the same.
When you purchase a turtle, remember it will grow to the size of a dinner plate, very quickly as in, less than four years.
Turtles DO NOT GROW TO THE SIZE OF THIER TANK
Turtles need U.V B and vitamin D, by way of a special light, to be able to absorb the calcium that they require to grow.
They must have this light replaced every year, preferably every 9 months if being used correctly at eight hours per day. Because most of us forget to turn it off, the light is often on for far more than the required eight hours, meaning the life of the globe is less...
They must have readily available calcium, both in their water and in their food. ALL OF THE TIME NOT WHEN YOU FEEL LIKE ADDING IT
They can't utilise it to grow, if they do not have any in their environment.
(Its not like they can hop out of the tank and go get some themselves.)
Lack of calcium causes the shell to soften. As the turtle is trying to grow, their body uses up the calcium stores in their own spine (shell) the shell becomes soft and squishy, then begins to rot and ulcerate... their growth will obviously be stumped and the animal will become lethargic.
The next big issue is the size of the tank.
Your turtle needs at least fifty litres of water IN ITS FIRST YEAR OF GROWTH.... THEN YOU NEED TO UPGRADE
Turtles have no saliva, they drink constantly, which means they urinate constantly.
If your tank is too small, they are drinking their own waste CONSTANTLY
so buy the biggest tank you can possibly afford, or after the first year, supply your turtle with a safe fenced pond area.. (in summer)
Filtration needs to be the best you can afford too. the better the filter, the more waste it will break down, giving a cleaner environment to your turtle.
TURTLES DO NOT COME FROM SALT LAKES stop adding turtle salts!!!
Stop adding ph buffers to disguise your acid water problems.
You do need to make sure that your ph stays neutral to slightly alkaline.
Instead of disguising your waste filled, acid water by adding cal grit..get a decent filter and add naturally occurring KH powder.
KH feeds your good bacteria, the bacteria that is breaking down your turtle's waste, and in correct quantities will naturally correct your ph levels. This will need to be replenished regularly as it is being used up regularly.
If your pet shop or aquarium does not know what kh is... or how to test for it, find a store that does. (this also goes for fish tanks)
FILTRATION .... A CANISTER IS BEST. IT MUST TURN OVER YOUR WATER AT LEAST FOUR TIMES AN HOUR. AND HAVE THE ABILITY (MEDIA) TO BE ABLE TO GROW AND STORE GOOD BACTERIA
If your filter is too small, or inadequate it will not be able to grow enough good bacteria.. meaning your turtle is swimming in its own "pee" being ammonia.
Ammonia and Acid water will ulcerate your turtles skin..
drinking their own urine will make them sick.
ITS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE PEOPLE.. IF YOU CAN NOT AFFORD THE CORRECT SIZE AND STYLE, THE RIGHT FILTER AND THE ASSOCIATED EQUIPMENT FOR YOU TO BE ABLE TO KEEP THIS COLD BLOODED REPTILE.... IN YOUR HOME AS A PET....
DO NOT BUY IT, ACCEPT IT FROM A FREIND OR "RESCUE" IT FROM THE WILD...
CHRISTMAS IS COMING. PLEASE DO YOUR RESEARCH AND ASK AS MANY QUESTIONS AS POSSIBLE TO MAKE SURE THAT THIS IS THE RIGHT FIT FOR YOUR FAMILY. BEFORE YOU DECIDE..