new turtle owner needs advice

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carlamae
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My daughter, (8 yrs. old) got 2 baby RES for Christmas. We have a small lagoon for them, and have been putting them under a small lamp during daylight hours (actually, about 8 AM to 8 PM) and leaving the lagoon unheated at night. I help her change the water every couple days. The turtles have never been seen eating their little pellets,(although I guess they could be eating when we are not watching) and their shells are now covered with a layer of soft, slimy, white fuzzy substance. What is going on? Are we doing something wrong? Do they need a lamp over them 24/7? Any advice you could give us would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks,
Carla and Maggie
Herbertluver
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Those ponds are inadequate since they are usually too small to fit a water heater. Water should be between 80 and 84 degrees(during the day and night)for babies. The light needs to be one that gives of UVA and UVB light, I would recommend Zoomed reptile light 5.0. If they go without UVB light it will lead to shell deformities. The soft white fuzzy substance sounds like fungus. Pellets are okay if given in conjunction with other foods such as earthworms(chopped up). To enhance their calcium intake roll the chopped up earthworms in calcium powder(with out phosphorus) about once a week. I would suggest moving the two RES to a twenty gallon tank so it could accommodate the UVA/UVB light and heater.
shelngav
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Here is a site that talks about how to care for shell fungus. http://reslider.free.fr/sickness.html Hope this helps!
mariza
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You need to get your turtles out of that lagoon (also known as a deathbowl) and into a proper set-up. The slimy/fuzzy substance on their shells is bacteria, the result of not being able to bask, dirty water and lack of proper lighting. For basics they need:

1. At least a 20-gallon tank or equivalent (for example a Rubbermaid storage container) Water depth should be at least as deep as the length of their shells, and you can gradually go deeper. A guide for tank size is 10 gallons of tank per inch of shell lengthwise (add the two shell lengths together for the size they need).

2. An easily accessible basking area that can accommondate both of them.

3. A UVB light (necessary for the health of their shells). If you buy a coil one, position it over the basking area no more than 12 inches away from your turtles (6-8 inches is best).

4. A heat lamp to be used WITH the UVB light (you can buy a basking light or use a regular light bulb). The light should be positioned over the basking area to provide a temp. of 85-90 F.

5. A submersible water heater to keep the temp steady somewhere in the range of 78-80F (Water should be 7-10 degrees cooler than the basking area.)

6. A water filter unless you plan to do really frequent water changes. (The water in that lagoon you\'re keeping them in now turns into a sewer within hours of changing it).

7. A balanced, varied diet. A pellet like Reptomin Baby is good as a staple. Other suggestions were mentioned in the previous post.

8. Since they\'re new, a hide box or plastic plants for cover would give them privacy and a sense of security.

9. Thermometers to check temps.

10. Read some care sheets on RES. Try http://www.tortoise.org/archives/elegans.html
http://www.chelonia.org/Articles/trachemyscare.htm
http://www.resoasis.com/habitat.htm for starters. There are many if you look.

11. Please teach your daughter to respect and care for these creatures now that she has them.
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