Need advice on a red eared slider (turtle)
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Old 02-25-2013, 12:08 AM   #1
calebkraft
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Need advice on a red eared slider (turtle)


My neighbor is moving out. I noticed he had a 10 gallon in his trash so I asked if I could take it (you can always use another tank right?). He said "yeah, and as soon as I find a home for my turtle, you can have another if you want it".

Well, I know turtles are dirty and generally in aquariums too small, so I had little interest in taking it, but I did feel really sorry for it. I figured worst case scenario, I could wait till he moved and release it back into the wild (he caught it locally as a baby).

Sure enough, he had this 6 inch long red eared slider in a filthy 10 gallon with no filtration.

However, this guy also works with glass and just happened to have this really big custom tank he built sitting there. He was more than happy to give me that too! This thing is roughly 6 feet long, 12 inches deep and 13 inches wide. It is super thick glass and has reinforcements along the top.

I know I need to set something nice up for this turtle immediately. poor thing. I am going to start googling their care and maintenance right now. Any advice would be appreciated (food, water depth, cohabitants, plant compatibility, etc).


I currently have 2 large-ish aquariums already (30 and 50) that are heavily planted. I may give turtle one of those boring tanks and scape this super long one with some tiny rasboras or something. Still haven't decided.
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Old 02-25-2013, 12:19 AM   #2
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Here's a pic of the poor guy.





and here's what might be his new home if I don't decide to give him one of my other tanks instead.
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Old 02-25-2013, 12:42 AM   #3
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Wow! That's a beautiful tank!
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Old 02-25-2013, 01:41 AM   #4
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I think the turtle will be fine in one of your other aquariums. I've had three red eared sliders that are happy and healthy. They are currently in a 75 gallon, filled about 2/3 of the way up. Filtered by a Fluval in tank filter. I'd really like to get a canister for it though. Make sure you get a reptile light for it to bask under. I like to feed mine plant clippings from my other tanks as a snack. For a staple diet I use reptomin turtle food. Also throw in some rosie reds once in a while for enrichment and a snack.
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Old 02-25-2013, 01:55 AM   #5
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1. what are rosie reds?

2. can the turtle live with any plants in the tank or will it just destroy everything?

3. Assuming there were enough hiding spots, I assume there could be fish in the tank as well (though I can't imagine fish in a tank without plants now).
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Old 02-25-2013, 02:02 AM   #6
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1. Rosie Reds are just feeder minnows.
2. My turtles pretty much eat all the plants, or make a mess of them when I put them in. My turtles are also pretty big though at this point. I usually only throw in stems, so perhaps other big leafed plants could work?
3. I've kept some cichlids with them for months, then one day it'll be gone...
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Old 02-25-2013, 02:19 AM   #7
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ok, here's the other big question.

They've had this turtle for about a year. They found it at a local stream. Is there any reason that it wouldn't be fine to put it back into the local stream?
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Old 02-25-2013, 03:21 AM   #8
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Quick googling shows that the RES' native habitat is indeed in missouri too... Is the stream an actual wildlife habitat area or is it more near manmade areas?

The reasons against releasing are
1. Disease... dont know what the turtle has come across in captivity and putting it back out there might introduce something
2. Its cold out there atm- You would have to wait til warmer weather to release it, otherwise it'll die
3. Not sure how healthy it is based on his past living conditions- he might not do well out there

MAYBE 4. They are an introduced species where that stream is (I have no idea) and putting back invasive animals not a good idea.

As for keeping it...
1. Over 50+ (who knows) year commitment inc. gross water if you dont keep up on WC
2. Will eat some plants, might be able to get some hardier plants but they bump into things and might disturb the plants
3. Need a UVB light stat!
4. Feeder fish is not a good diet for it, they are unhealthy..no real reason to give them feeder fish when they can get pellets/fresh greens/feeder insects. Can always breed livebearers to feed
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Old 02-25-2013, 03:31 AM   #9
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I kept 3 RES for about 10 years. Eventually they got target than dinner plates and I gave them to a foundation to release back in the wild.
An adult RES needs something like 70 gallons of water alone to have a proper living environment. I kept them in a 75g, and it was over crowded and I felt bad for them.
A friend still keeps his RES in a 75g, and has for for about 20 years. I still feel its not enough room, and the big guy is nearly the width of the tank.

If I were you I would release it in a lake come spring. RES are hardy and can survive just about anything. Another friend once lost his in his backyard, and found it the following spring. It survived 8 months in a typical suburban yard in the north east.

RES just aren't proper house pets, contrary to popular beleif. They just get too big and no one ever has a proper environment for them.
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Old 02-25-2013, 03:33 AM   #10
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And feeder fish are great if you supplement them with healthy food. They give the turtle some excersise and some fun chasing them around the tank. I use to buy them by the hundred so that they would breed in the tank and give them more food.
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Old 02-25-2013, 04:41 AM   #11
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The only foreign thing this turtle has been exposed to since they took it from the wild has been the pet-store purchased food.

I suspect that we might wait till it warms up outside and take it to the lake where all the other red-eared sliders are and release it. I garantee it will be happier there than in a tank in my home (even if it were 200g+). They simply get too big for the tanks I have or intend to have (just for a turtle).

Wish I had a nice pond. I'd totally keep him around. But I'm really doubting his quality of life in an aquarium once he reaches mature size.
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Old 02-25-2013, 07:24 PM   #12
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I pulled a 30 gallon bin from my attic and cleaned it out for a temporary home to get the poor thing out of that 10 gallon.


I also think I have a friend who really wants him and who has had turtles in the past successfully.
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Old 02-25-2013, 07:45 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calebkraft View Post
I pulled a 30 gallon bin from my attic and cleaned it out for a temporary home to get the poor thing out of that 10 gallon.


I also think I have a friend who really wants him and who has had turtles in the past successfully.
That looks SO MUCH BETTER than that tiny, filthy tank! I'm sure he's loving the extra room and clean water!
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Old 02-25-2013, 07:52 PM   #14
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That looks great.

If your friend wants the turtle and is good with them, by all means... Hopefully he has a tank where this guy can live once he is full grown in a few years (70 gallons of water, and a good amount of land) However, I really don't believe that turtles that get so large should be kept as pets. I have never seen a set up that can accommodate a turtle much larger than 6'' outside of a zoo or a store. But they can still be kept in smaller tanks, just as large fish can be (overcrowding is an issue for turtles also).
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Old 02-25-2013, 07:53 PM   #15
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I say put him near a lake and tell him seek freedom by following the north star
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