1. AFT is Celebrating its 16th Consecutive Year of Helping Freshwater Turtles & Turtle Keepers Online and 22nd Year providing the AFT Care Guide. AFT is a not-for-profit charity administered 100% by voluntary staff only.

Is this shell rot?

Discussion in 'Common Health Problems, Injuries and Treatments' started by Neffy, Oct 9, 2017.

  1. Neffy

    Neffy Hatchling Turtle

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2017
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    4
    Hi, so I got given an Eastern long necked turtle who was going to be killed if not re-homed. As soon as I saw his shell I knew something wasn't right. Pretty confident it's shell rot, am I right?
    Thank you!
    1507536570397577432774.jpg 20171009_191032.jpg
     
    #1 Neffy, Oct 9, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 22, 2017 at 8:22 AM
  2. Craig

    Craig Owner/Administrator/Public Officer
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2001
    Messages:
    11,801
    Likes Received:
    946
    Hi Neffy and welcome to AFT,

    Actually all of the problems on the carapace (top part of the shell) are just a bit of shell pitting and some unshed scutes that need to shed ASAP to prevent any shell rot from occurring as unshed scutes create a perfect environment for the bacteria that cause shell rot.

    There is also pitting on the plastron (the bottom part of the shell) as well as some unshed scutes that also urgently need to be shed. Under the unshed scutes on the plastron there may be some shell rot but I am not 100% positive as I need to see the areas once those old scutes are shed properly.
     
  3. Craig

    Craig Owner/Administrator/Public Officer
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2001
    Messages:
    11,801
    Likes Received:
    946
    The best way to help the turtle shed their scutes is to give it plenty of 'dry time' outdoors (not in water) under direct sunlight with strict supervision to make sure that it doesn't overheat, nor is attacked by ants or predators like Kookaburras.
     
  4. Neffy

    Neffy Hatchling Turtle

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2017
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    4
    Thank you for your reply. I've been dry docking him for 2 days now, allowing 4 hours in the water to eat, go toilet, etc. Is this not needed now ? Do I leave him in his tank as normal but give him outside time everyday ?
     
  5. Craig

    Craig Owner/Administrator/Public Officer
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2001
    Messages:
    11,801
    Likes Received:
    946
    If you want you can post photos of the tank and the set up that you will be keeping the turtle in.

    Below is a link to a post showing exactly how a turtle tank should be set up.
    https://www.australianfreshwatertur...aquarium-for-turtles-and-feeding-guide.15322/

    Below are some of the standard posts and threads we ask new members to have a look at:

    Please read the 'AFT Turtle Care Guide' :arrowright: AFT Freshwater Turtle Care Guide

    Why you Shouldn't Keep Two Turtles Together :arrowright: Keeping Two Turtles Together

    To understand why we make the recommendations that we do in the Care Guide
    please read this informative post :arrowright: Why we make the recommendations that we do here on AFT Part 1

    Also, it would be best to familiarise yourself with the skin infections care sheet located here :arrowright: Skin Infections

    After that, you can read the Most Common Mistakes made by novice keepers thread here :arrowright: Common Mistakes

    If your turtle is sick or injured and needs dry-docking :arrowright: Important Tips for Dry-Docking Sick Turtles

    If you have any questions about why we recommend Calgrit/Turtle Grit and River Sand instead of pebbles and small rocks, please read this thread as well :arrowright: Gravel Blockage-Very sick turtle!

    How to measure the
    Straight Carapace Length (SCL) of a Turtle's Shell :arrowright: Measuring the Straight Carapace Length of a turtles shell

    If you have any specific questions after that, please go ahead and ask. If you want to search a particular subject, look at the top of the page for the Advanced Search link and type in the word or topic you wish to learn about.
     
  6. Craig

    Craig Owner/Administrator/Public Officer
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2001
    Messages:
    11,801
    Likes Received:
    946
    What you're already doing is perfect!

    The only thing needed is the additional dry time outdoors under natural sunlight. Try to do this in the mornings or late afternoons when the sun isn't too hot. Cloudy days are perfect as there is plenty of UVB but it's not as hot.

    Turtles left outdoors trapped in escape proof containers under the sun dehydrate and overheat quickly. It would be like leaving a pet dog in a locked car in the sun.

    Do you have a reptile fluorescent tube over his enclosure/tank that produces 10% UVB?
     
  7. Neffy

    Neffy Hatchling Turtle

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2017
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    4
    OK I will start doing natural sunlight tomorrow, is 20min enough or should he be out longer? I will post a picture of my setup, yes we have a 10% UVB tube light over the tank.
    We have a canister filter as well but something is wrong with it so had to use an internal instead until it is replaced.
    20171009_201938.jpg
     
    #7 Neffy, Oct 9, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 22, 2017 at 8:23 AM
  8. Craig

    Craig Owner/Administrator/Public Officer
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2001
    Messages:
    11,801
    Likes Received:
    946
    Yes 20 minutes at a time would be fine. If you can do it more than once a day until the old scutes have been shed that would be even better.
     
  9. smoyle

    smoyle Adult Turtle
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2016
    Messages:
    517
    Likes Received:
    72
    Hey Neffy, welcome to AFT! What a cute little turtle you have there. :)

    How far are your UV lights from the surface of the water in your tank? If it's more than 15cm (assuming you have T8 lighting) your turtle will be missing out on the benefits of the lighting, as the UVB rays won't reach further than that. If that's the case, just raise the water level until it's less than 15cm away from the lighting. It will give your turtle more room to swim too, so he/she will appreciate it. :)
     
  10. Neffy

    Neffy Hatchling Turtle

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2017
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    4
    Its
    The light is 16cm from the surface, some water has evaporated so im sure it would have been 15cm, due to clean them this weekend
     
  11. Neffy

    Neffy Hatchling Turtle

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2017
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    4
    Just a quick update on my little ELN fellow, he has shed some of his scutes ! I've been giving him daily sun for 45min-60min and dry docking under UVB light for about 10 hours a day. I put him in a cage layered with a towel so the plastic doesn't get too hot and burn his feet and sit beside him.

    I've attached some photos for you, do you think there's any sign of rot?
    1507865663780629569042.jpg 15078656767521634131879.jpg
     
    #11 Neffy, Oct 13, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 22, 2017 at 8:25 AM
  12. Neffy

    Neffy Hatchling Turtle

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2017
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    4
    He also has quite a few soft spots so I've added more calgrit to his tank and also a turtle block. I can't overdo it with calcium can I?
     
  13. Craig

    Craig Owner/Administrator/Public Officer
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2001
    Messages:
    11,801
    Likes Received:
    946
    Hi, the areas that I am corned with are circled in red. There are too many on the carapace to circle. In my experience, any risen lumps that are higher than the rest of the shell can indicate that there may be something sinister happening under the scutes between the bony shell and the scutes. I'm not say that these lumps are definitely shell rot, but are similar looking to areas that have shell rot or pustules inside them. I have fixed many turtles with shell rot for people.
    I lance or use a fine needle to dig under the scutes and have removed a cheese like, granular pus from inside the wound. I then flush the wound with saline solution, then use a soft toothbrush and wash the open pustules with a 2% iodine solution. I then dry-dock the turtle making certain that the turtle doesn't lose more than 9% body weight as at 10% weight loss your turtle will be dehydrated.

    1507865663780629569042.jpg

    15078656767521634131879.jpg
     
  14. Craig

    Craig Owner/Administrator/Public Officer
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2001
    Messages:
    11,801
    Likes Received:
    946
    I am concerned that the soft spots have shell rot under them where you would find the cheese like, granular pus I mentioned before.

    You should try to keep the GH (General Hardness) and KH (Carbonate Hardness) within the recommended parameters.
    GH should be between 180ppm to 200 ppm and KH should be close as possible to 80ppm.

    General Hardness
    Water can contain many dissolved substances from organic and inorganic compounds, which are described as ‘trace elements’. Many of these trace elements are important in sustaining life within all ecosystems. They include calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, sulphates and chlorides. General Hardness is the levels of calcium and magnesium concentrations found within a body of water. General hardness is caused by acids reacting with magnesium and calcium to form calcium sulphate, calcium chloride and magnesium sulphate and magnesium chloride. The desired range for general hardness is between 180ppm and 200ppm. General Hardness can also be raised by adding Turtle Grit to your aquarium substrate.

    Carbonate Hardness
    Carbonate hardness can best be described as the levels of carbonate and bicarbonate found within water. Carbon dioxide dissolved in water reacts with calcium and magnesium to form carbonates. Heated water in tropical aquariums could cause the carbon dioxide to be released and a white, crusty deposit (calcium and magnesium) may form on the glass.
    The Carbonate hardness of water and pH go hand in hand. Carbonate hardness helps to control and stabilise the pH. Acids produced in anaerobic (lacking oxygen) pond and aquarium biological filtration systems will reduce the carbonate hardness value found in water, and will therefore make it difficult to keep the pH stable. Raising carbonate hardness levels can be done by adding Turtle Grit. Carbonate hardness test kits are available from most good aquarium outlets or pet shops. The ideal level of carbonate hardness in a turtle tank is 80ppm.
     
  15. Neffy

    Neffy Hatchling Turtle

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2017
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    4
    Great :(
    Do you happen to know any vets that work with reptiles in the Newcastle region? There's no way I could do that myself. :thumbdown:
     
  16. Craig

    Craig Owner/Administrator/Public Officer
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2001
    Messages:
    11,801
    Likes Received:
    946
    Yes, there's a couple of vets at the Sugarloaf Animal Hospital that have worked with turtles and are very experienced.
    02 4955 1833
     
  17. Neffy

    Neffy Hatchling Turtle

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2017
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    4
    Thanks heaps, I really appreciate it ! I hope it's not too bad, I've really fallen in love with this little guy. (:dontknow)
     
  18. Craig

    Craig Owner/Administrator/Public Officer
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2001
    Messages:
    11,801
    Likes Received:
    946
    I'm being very cautious with this as I haven't seen the turtle firsthand.
    I'd hate for the turtle to develop full blown shell rot under our nose and not have identified it for you. You're doing the right thing by taking the turtle to the vet.
     
  19. Craig

    Craig Owner/Administrator/Public Officer
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2001
    Messages:
    11,801
    Likes Received:
    946
    You're welcome! I can understand that you have fallen for your turtle. I am very passionate about turtles and have loved them since I was a little boy. That's why I do what I do. :)
     
  20. Craig

    Craig Owner/Administrator/Public Officer
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2001
    Messages:
    11,801
    Likes Received:
    946
    I wish you the best of luck with your little ELN Steph!