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Shell Changes

Discussion in 'Urgent Help Required' started by Stacey22, Oct 3, 2017.

  1. Stacey22

    Stacey22 Hatchling Turtle

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    Hi,
    I have a juvenile Murray River turtle. I've had him for about four months and over the last month his shell has started to change. I'm hoping it's shedding.
    What do you think?

    Many thanks,
    Stacey.
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    #1 Stacey22, Oct 3, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 3, 2017
  2. Craig

    Craig Owner/Administrator/Public Officer
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    Hi Stacey, your turtle has a condition called dysecdysis (the inability to have a complete and proper shed of the scutes) where due to a number of causes including a poor diet, not enough UVB from a UVB producing fluorescent tube and not enough 'dry time' basking outdoors under natural sunlight may be the cause of it.
    I can count 4 layers of dead scutes that have not been properly shed. This is very problematic as it creates anaerobic (absence of oxygen) areas under the old scutes where gram negative anaerobic bacteria can live and start eating into the shell causing shell rot.
    I'm late for a doctor's appointment but will answer any more questions that you may have when I get back.

    Can you please upload a full photo of the tank as well as give us some history including diet and pH, ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, General Hardness and Carbonate Hardness levels of your water or anything else you can offer?
     
  3. Stacey22

    Stacey22 Hatchling Turtle

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    Craig,
    I'm afraid it may be a combination of his diet and no outside basking time.
    The diet I have him one is 5 floating juvenile pellets in the morning and a cube of blood worms at night. This is what the people I bought him from told me to feed him. There are live plants in the aquarium that he has been eating but that was not through design. I was also unaware, until reading your guide and numerous posts that he needed outside basking time.
    So today I've been in our dam and grabbed some tiny little fish. He seems more bemused by them and at the moment isn't really hunting them. I also bought some more thin val and hydrilla (thought it looked similar to elodea which I can't get in NSW) for him to eat.
    The water quality is as follows:
    ammonia 0
    nitrite 0
    nitrate 5
    pH 7.2
    kh 80
    gh 180
    Temperature usually sits between 22°C and 25°C.
    When I do a water change I add aquarium salt as well. I have also added calgrit to the substrate which I purchased as turtle pebbles from Pisces.
    He has a 30 watt, UVB 5.0 light on each day for 12hrs.
    The tank is 91cm x 36cm and I've filled it to 21cm. This means he has approximately 80 litres of water (not sure if this is enough). He is 8.5cm long along the middle of his carapace.
    I plan to make the turtle pudding for him and provide a range of aquatic plants as a staple.
    Can you explain best way to allow him to bask outside and how to alleviate the non shedding scutes in the short term?
    I can't thank you enough for your advice!
    Many thanks,
    Stacey.
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  4. smoyle

    smoyle Adult Turtle
    Staff Member

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    Hi Stacey, and welcome to AFT. Blood worms are only really good for baby turtles in the first couple of months, so ditch them, and pellets are really only a once a week thing. Which pellets are you using? There used to be two kinds AFT recommended, but since learning some new things about those types, they are no longer recommended.

    Get yourself some duckweed if you can, and grow your own supply.

    You'll also want to get rid of any rocks in your tank, even smooth ones, as they're too rough for a turtle's shell. Replace it with a substrate of river sand and the calgrit as per the AFT calculator on the right of the page.

    You'll need to up the UV light to a 10 as well, 5 is fine for frogs but no good for turtles. And it will need to be no more than 15cm from the surface of the water. That is likely one reason your turtle isn't getting any UVB.

    You'll definitely need to upgrade the tank soon to a much larger one, Murrays get huge fast and this one is already too big for that tank.

    As far as basking goes, a plastic tub that is UV stabilised is best - some people use kiddie pools, others just a plastic tub. It should just be dry to allow the turtle's shell to dry and flake off. You'll want to watch them the whole time for their own safety, 15-20 minutes of sunlight in the morning or afternoon is best.

    And stick around, good to have you round AFT. :)
     
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  5. Stacey22

    Stacey22 Hatchling Turtle

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    Thanks so much!
    I've ordered some plants from Watergarden Paradise. I could only get dotted duckweed from them. I hope that's OK!
    What size tank would you suggest I go for now?
    I'm definitely sticking around! You guys are amazing!
     
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  6. Craig

    Craig Owner/Administrator/Public Officer
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    Hi Stacey,

    I'd recommend a 6ft X 2ft X 2ft tank as Murray River turtles can grow very large quickly.
    You will also need a large canister filter like the Aqua One 2700UVC as a powerhead filter won't even cope with the bio-load of a 3ft tank. An additional powerhead will help with the flow of water in a large tank like a 6ft X 2ft X 2ft and help to prevent 'dead zones' where the water flow is minimal.
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  7. Stacey22

    Stacey22 Hatchling Turtle

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    Thanks Craig!
     
  8. Aussiepride83

    Aussiepride83 Administrator
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    Hi Stacey, your turtle only requires feeding once/day an amount the size of its head and it definitely doesn't need to be fed every single day. The metabolism of reptiles is a lot different to us mammals.
    Your turtle's diet should be as natural as possible, including such things as : -
    Aquatic plants - (Duckweed, Azolla, Elodea, Vallisneria),
    Earthworms,
    Silkworms,
    Freshwater shrimps,
    Freshwater crayfish (yabbies) ***claws removed,
    Wood roaches AKA speckled feeder roaches,
    Feeder fish such as guppies, Platy, mollies, swordtails, gudgeons. NEVER use goldfish (standard or fancy) for feeders.

    As previously mentioned, Murray's get very large. They're more suited for outdoor ponds rather than indoor aquariums.
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    --- Double Post Merged, Oct 4, 2017, Original Post Date: Oct 4, 2017 ---
    Indoor turtle aquarium setup. Custom built 4X3X2 holds approximately 550 litres and is filtered at the rate of 5,100 litres/hour.
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  9. Stacey22

    Stacey22 Hatchling Turtle

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    Thank you so much! I'm thinking once he is a bit bigger I'll get him an outdoor pond. The only problem I have is I live in the Southern Highlands of NSW and it does snow sometimes. Not really sure he'd be happy outside when that happens!
    Lots to ponder! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your knowledge!
    I really appreciate it!
    Stacey
     
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