Shell on baby RES

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Petunia89
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I have had two hatchlings for about one month. When I got them they were a bright green with wonderful markings. On one of them, about 1 week ago the markings seem to have started to \"vanish\" and is now light green in color where the markings were. It almost looks like the markings on top are being \"erased\". It is also slightly brown around the edges of the shell (top). The other baby is starting to have the same thing but very mild, and the edges look fine. They are a little soft on the bottom, but from what I understand this is normal in babies. It just feels a little tacky, not mushy or able to push in. I have a basking lamp and \"island\" for them and a Vita-lite (which is on for approximately 12 hours daily). They seem very alert and no other problems. They are about the size of a silver dollar now, and when I got them they were a little bigger than a fifty cent piece. They are starting to shed on their head and legs. I feed them Zoo-med hatchling pellets and live crickets (which they love). They aren\'t too hip on romaine lettuce, but have nipped at it, and spit it back out. Does it sound like they need more calcium? Or any other vitamin? I have hand fed them a cricket drenched in calcium powder. Sorry this got so long-winded. I am just completely new at this.

Thanks for any advice!
rfox
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You also might try a cuttlebone, like the one used for birds. Remove the hard back and break it up alittle and let the little ones nibble on it in their tank in addition to the calcium powder that you are using. The cuttlebone is a source of calcium. If you are not giving the calcium powder regularly this will help out.
Last edited by rfox on Sun Sep 07, 2003 7:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
mariza
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Does it look like the top layer of scute is going to shed? The shell can start to look a little dull/markings less clear before the scute is shed and it starts to lift off. You did say their heads and legs are starting to shed, which, assuming they`re not being overfed (how much are you feeding them and how often?) or the water isn`t too warm (78-80 F is good) is a sign of growth, as well as the fact they`ve gotten a little bigger. If you do have the water around that range, I`d have the basking area mid- to high-80`s (5-10 degrees higher than the water).

Does the brown around the edges on the one turtle come off? If so, how clean are you keeping the water? Do you have a filter? Do you change the water regularly? Babies` shells don`t harden until about a year, but even when very young the shell should not be soft as if giving way when pressed; it should be firm.

Besides the cuttlebone and powdered calcium supplement (use one that says \"phosphorus-free), you could look for gut-loaded crickets, which have added calcium. Make sure they are basking enough (the Vita-lite doesn`t have any plastic covering or other barrier that it shines through, does it?)
Petunia89
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I clean the tank and put in new water every 2-3 days and do have a filter. I also suction the poop and food particles out at least twice daily. Their light source (UVB) and basking lamp is over the screened top. The water is between 78-83, and the basking area is warmer, but I guess I should get an exact temp on that to make sure. I feed them crickets and pellets daily. Usually crickets (12-15) at one feeding and pellets at another (but I have been known to cave in to them between that when they swim frantically at the glass when they see me!). Is this enough food or too much? I feed the crickets with cricket gut load food. I was going to try a cuttlebone, but went with the calcium powder instead (and it is phosphorus-free). I think I will get the cuttlebone too.

Thanks so much for the help!
Petunia89
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Also, I forgot to mention they are hardy baskers!

Thanks!
mariza
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How big are the holes on the screen the UVB light is going through? I read that if the holes are less than one-eighth of an inch, too many UVB rays are screened out.
Petunia89
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Hmmm, I will have to check. I know the holes are much bigger than regular window screen. It is the screened top that came with the tank from the reptile store so I assumed it was fine. (should never assume). I will have to check out the exact measurement. Thanks so much for the advice!
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