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Not basking

Discussion in 'Keeping Turtles Indoors (Aquariums)' started by ashtimba, May 11, 2017.

  1. ashtimba

    ashtimba Hatchling Turtle

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    IMG_2155.JPG IMG_2156.JPG IMG_2154.JPG Hi all

    Thanks to all the information and advice here I think I have now got Raphael's tank set up right! But since moving him to a larger tank some months ago, he will not bask. I have gotten a larger turtle dock, and replaced his basking lamp and repositioned it over the ramp of the dock. He will hang onto the edge of the ramp with his front legs, but will not go any further. I have put sand on the dock to see if he goes on when I'm not around but no indication that he's been up. He still has not shed properly. I take him outside in the sun/shade for 20 minutes most mornings as recommended. Please let me know if I'm doing something wrong! Any advice is appreciated!!

    Raphael is a Saw-shelled turtle, 1-2 years old. He is 8cm (SCL). His tank is 4ft x 2ft, has river sand and calgrit substrate, UVB 10.0 fluoro < 15cm from water level, basking dock, basking lamp (Swamp Glo), driftwood, val and elodea. He is fed every second day with prawns or woodies, pellets once a week, feeder fish in tank. Water temperature is 24 degrees, basking temperature is 33 degrees. Water parameters are:
    pH 7.6
    High pH 7.8
    Ammonia 0
    Nitrate 0
    Nitrite 40.
    I added salt to the water at the recommended rate but do not have a salinity meter to check it.

    I really want to do the right thing, so please, any comments or advice??

    Thank you

    Megan
     
  2. Craig

    Craig Owner/Administrator/Public Officer
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    Hi Megan, you're doing all the right things, but you just need to be a little patient. Freshwater turtles are by nature timid and very wary of changes to their surroundings. It will take some weeks before Raphael stops being timid and feels safe in his/her environment. Adding some more logs, ornaments and plants will help to make the tank less bare.
    Putting one of the aquarium background posters along the back of the tank and sides will make the tank less open and help Raphael feel safe. Painting the back and sides of the glass black with glass specific water based paint will also do the job and looks really good too. It helps to make them feel much more secure.
    Turtles are creatures of habit and when there have been major adjustments to their homes it will take a while to adjust.
     
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  3. Craig

    Craig Owner/Administrator/Public Officer
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    You could also install a custom made backdrop like the ones in the photos below. They provide cover and places for your turtle to climb on and explore.
    This one comes custom made to suit the dimensions of your tank. It also incorporates a heater cover that looks like part of the back wall.
    This one can be purchased from Universal Rocks.
    pagetn03429.jpg

    This is a very simple backdrop.
    a8af4dc836f61966c3f5ad685b57bf79.jpg
     
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  4. Aussiepride83

    Aussiepride83 Administrator
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    Hello, sorry if you mentioned this and I missed it but what is your basking dock temperature? If it's too hot or too cool, they won't use the dock. Aim for a temp of 30°-34°C.
    20160420_161015.jpg

    It will also make a difference if you reposition your lamp so when the turtle hauls onto the dock, the lamp is hitting its carapace instead of its face. I've trialled this on my own setup and found it does make a difference.
    4434-1484428363-64dadb0c4490f19269e74dc84381667b.jpg

    4117-1462253933-29b90c0bec7966332b807d7bc70ff6a5.jpg

    P1000328.JPG

    I recently moved my entire turtle tank setup when I moved house and setting the lamps up this way had them basking again as normal within 2-3 days.
    Your turtles don't want to be hauling out of the water to a bright light hitting them directly in the face. It has that "kangaroo in a spotlight effect" on them.
     
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    #4 Aussiepride83, May 11, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: May 11, 2017
  5. ashtimba

    ashtimba Hatchling Turtle

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    Thank you so much Craig! I'm trying to be patient but the longer it takes the more I worry!!

    I had a backdrop on his smaller tank and he was basking in it. I was planning on getting a backdrop for his new tank, so will definitely do this asap. I love the 3D ones but have read a lot of people find them difficult to clean and/or they take up too much room in the tank. What are your thoughts? I'll stick with a simple one for now.

    Are there any fake plants or ornaments that are suitable? I have a couple of fake plants in there that seem to be ok, but I did have more which he just seemed to get aggressive with and ripped apart. I removed these ones fearing he would eat them and/or injure himself. The real plants he has mostly eaten or ripped apart. I have heaps of fish tank ornaments but am not sure what they are made out of, so haven't used them. I don't want to use anything that's not suitable.

    Thanks again for all your help!
    --- Double Post Merged, May 11, 2017, Original Post Date: May 11, 2017 ---
    Thank you Kev! You must have posted as I was replying to Craig.

    The basking dock temperature is 33 degrees. I have repositioned the lamp since the photo to over the ramp after reading your suggestion on another post. But I will check the direction of the lamp to ensure it's not hitting him in the face!

    Thanks again. This site is awesome!!
     
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  6. Craig

    Craig Owner/Administrator/Public Officer
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    You're very welcome Megan.

    I understand how you feel. You just want the best for your turtle and worry when they don't behave normally.

    The flat ones are much better as they leave more space for your turtle as he/she grows as you mentioned. Of the two in my post above the Universal Rocks one looks better although the other one would be a little easier to install.

    Yes there are plenty of fake plants that are suitable. Some tall plants to create a visual barrier would be really good which will also create a place to hide in. Also, a large Terracotta pot plant pot cut in half (after it is soaked in water for at least 24hours) will be ideal for Raphael to hide in and help him/her feel less exposed. Below is a photo of one of Kev's half Terracotta pots being used by two Flaviemys purvisi turtles. Some more driftwood added to your aquarium would be good for your turtle to hide behind.
    4061-1456912789-73960a33de828b4a42fcdebb053a018c.jpg

    Thank you Megan for the positive comments about our not-for-profit charity's forum. We try our best to be helpful.
     
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  7. ashtimba

    ashtimba Hatchling Turtle

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    Thanks again Craig. In regards to the fake plants, are the plastic aquarium ones OK? I was just worried he'd try to eat them after he ripped some apart! I will get a terracotta pot (what's the best way to cut it in half??), and look for some more driftwood. I have ordered a background online. Sorry for all the questions, they seem pretty basic I know, but I don't want to get it wrong!
     
  8. Craig

    Craig Owner/Administrator/Public Officer
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    Yes the large Aqua One aquarium plants are non-toxic and safe if eaten. I have used them with all of my indoor turtles.
    The important things with the half unglazed Terracotta pot is to make sure that the turtle can easily turn around inside them without getting stuck. As your turtle grows you will need to replace the pot with a larger one if it looks like Raphael could get stuck.
    You need to submerge the Terracotta pot in a bucket or laundry tub with water covering it for at least twenty four hours so that when you cut it, it doesn't chip or crack. You'll need to use either an angle grinder with a masonry cutting disc on it or a hacksaw. The hacksaw will obviously use a lot more elbow grease than an angle grinder.

    Photo below courtesy of Kev McKay (@Aussiepride83 )

    4306-1474355858-cd2942dea492e2d9ebe9fcf538f29376.jpg

    Don't worry about all the questions, we're here to help!
     
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  9. ashtimba

    ashtimba Hatchling Turtle

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    Thank you! Good to know the plants are safe, I'll put more in. I may need to enlist the help of my son to cut the pot in half, I don't have an angle grinder!!:)
     
  10. Aussiepride83

    Aussiepride83 Administrator
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    Hi, sorry I've not been on here much in the last 24 hours, was having some issues with my own setup, particularly my canister filter that needed my attention to fix. I'd just finished cleaning my canister and installing a replacement UV globe in it at 4pm yesterday and after reassembling it and hooking it up again, it wasn't working. It was sucking air into it from somewhere and causing an air-lock and it wouldn't work properly. By 6:30pm I'd located the suspect seal, (the bleeder cap at the top of the intake elbow) and resolved the issue by coating the thread on the cap with lanolin grease. After that 3 hour drama, I wasn't in the mood for anyone else's problems. :laugh:
    20170511_185412.jpg

    With the terracotta pot caves, (they're a great idea I got from Craig some 5 years ago) just make sure the pot you choose is raw, not sealed as this will allow for nitrifying bacteria (the good stuff you want) to colonise on the surface of the pot too (extra bio filtration) and make sure the pot is at least twice the diameter of your turtle. As Craig said above, this is extremely important... don't choose a pot that your turtle can just fit into snuggly as turtles won't reverse into them like a crayfish reverses into a piece of PVC pipe. A turtle will walk in head first and then turn around and settle itself. You do NOT want your turtle getting its shell wedged into a terracotta pot cave, it will certainly drown.
     
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  11. ashtimba

    ashtimba Hatchling Turtle

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    Thanks Kev. No worries, I'd be done following an ordeal like that too!! I will definitely make sure the pot is large enough for Raphael and not sealed. I have also made sure his basking light is not directed in his eyes.
     
  12. Aussiepride83

    Aussiepride83 Administrator
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    Nice work, you're doing everything right. :goodjob:
    --- Double Post Merged, May 13, 2017, Original Post Date: May 12, 2017 ---
    Just snapped this photo of my ELN chilling out in his half terracotta pot turtle cave. Turtles really love them, they're the perfect shelter.

    20170513_141418.jpg
     
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  13. ashtimba

    ashtimba Hatchling Turtle

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    Thanks guys! I really appreciate the advice, support and encouragement!
    --- Double Post Merged, Jun 21, 2017, Original Post Date: May 13, 2017 ---
    IMG_1642.JPG IMG_1651.JPG Hi guys!

    Just wanted to update.....

    I've added a background, more plants, half terracotta pot, and repositioned his dock and basking light. I even dropped the water temp from 24 to 23 degrees. But he still is not basking!! I am still taking him outside for 20 minutes most days. IMG_1645.JPG IMG_1646.JPG IMG_1647.JPG IMG_1648.JPG

    Any other suggestions??

    Sorry, I don't know why the photos appear as they do!

    Thank you as always,

    Megan
    --- Double Post Merged, Aug 14, 2017 ---
    IMG_1731.JPG IMG_1728.JPG IMG_1727.JPG Hiya all

    Just thought I'd give an update....

    Raphael is still not basking! He has however, ripped out some plants (Elodea and Val) which now float at the bottom of the dock ramp, and I have noticed he spends some time resting atop of these. I guess this is his form of basking, but it doesn't allow him to dry out completely. I am ensuring I take him outside every day for 20 minutes. Any thoughts?

    I have noticed he has put on weight since I added a lot of feeders to his tank, despite cutting back on feeding him prawns/woodies. He devours any amount of duckweed I put in but does not appear to eat the elodea and val. What are your thoughts - is he putting on too much weight? He was a cranky boy/girl today and did not want photos taken!!

    Thank you!!

    Megan
     
  14. Craig

    Craig Owner/Administrator/Public Officer
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    Hi Megan, Saw-shelled turtles don't bask as much as a lot of other turtles do. In the wild they prefer to live in water where the foliage along the banks is very dense, which offers added safety. In all my time doing research on freshwater turtles and in the data collection for the Mary River Traveston Mega Dam, all Saw-shelled turtles were found in rivers and creeks with closed canopies Don't be too worried if you don't see your turtle basking too often. Have you tried using a video camera to catch your turtle basking or baking soda/sodium bicarbonate on the basking dock and look for tracks when you get home?

    Raphael looks pretty good, and is possibly just a fraction overweight. It's great to see some of those old scutes starting to lift up.
     
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  15. ashtimba

    ashtimba Hatchling Turtle

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    Thank you Craig.

    I have tried using sand on the basking dock previously to look for tracks but never saw anything. I'll try again. I'll also cut back a little further on feeding and monitor his weight.

    Some of the old scutes have lifted completely, and many more are lifting. It's taken a long time!! I am certainly learning a lot of patience- from cycling to basking to shedding - patience, patience, patience!!

    Thanks again

    Megan
    --- Double Post Merged, Oct 13, 2017, Original Post Date: Aug 15, 2017 ---
    IMG_2185.JPG

    Hi all,

    I haven't posted for a while so thought I'd give an update. As you can see from the photos, Raphael is slowly, slowly losing those unshed scutes. It has taken 10 months to get here but we are still progressing!! He still doesn't bask on his dock, but will lay on plants floating on top of the water and rest on the ramp. He is very active and full of attitude!

    Again, thank you so much for this site, and all your advice and encouragement! Your reassurance and reminders to be patient are greatly appreciated also!

    Megan
     
  16. Craig

    Craig Owner/Administrator/Public Officer
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    Hi Megan,

    Yes it does take a long time to remove old scutes. It definitely is looking better though!

    Could you please take a side profile photo of your turtle's head please? I am concerned with your turtles head shield and whether or not something is going on underneath it.
     
  17. ashtimba

    ashtimba Hatchling Turtle

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    IMG_0017.JPG IMG_0016.JPG Thanks for your reply Craig. I appreciate your concern! Photos attached - I hope they are ok.
     
  18. Craig

    Craig Owner/Administrator/Public Officer
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    Going by your 4 photos in post number 15, there seems to be a raised lump developing on the head shield directly above the brain. Between January and October the lump appears to have grown larger.
    Have you noticed that there is a lump gradually getting larger on your Saw-shelled turtle's head?
    The above two photos don't help unfortunately.
     
  19. Aussiepride83

    Aussiepride83 Administrator
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    I agree, there is definitely a noticeable lump on your turtle's head that isn't normal.
     
  20. ashtimba

    ashtimba Hatchling Turtle

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    Hi Craig and Kev

    Thank you for your replies. I have noticed the area on his head but assumed it was still his head shield needing to shed. I hadn't noticed it getting any bigger however can see what you mean in the photos. What do you suggest I do?