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Turtles/red earded slider turtle & plants

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Question
her name is tilly and she is eight years old i have her in a 38 gallon tank with filteration , some live plants from pet store. she has the basking lights and night lighting in red . and my question is can i put any kind of house plants in her tank that wont hurt her. such as woundering jews, or phyladendrem devils vine. or are there any that i can put in the tank that you would know the name of .thank you for any info you can give or not and you have awsome day.she eats mealworms, imitation crab meat and somes shrimp dried and some , reptile sticks for turtles, ect. she is very spoiled i dont feed her in her tank for cleanlyness.

Answer
Hi Sharla,

Before I answer your question I do need to let you know that a 38 gallon tank is much too small for a mature RES.  A male needs about 75 gallons, but if Tilly really is female she needs at least 100 gallons, with corresponding filter, of course.

If you're looking for aquatic plants for her tank, there are a number that will be safe in her tank; however, she will eat them, so you may have to replace them regularly.  Of course, it's not a bad thing for her to be eating plants, and it will give her something interesting to do.  You can find a list of edible aquatic plants here:  http://www.bookbox.com/system/files/free_stuff/pdfs/012_TB_GER.pdf?download=1.  As far as houseplants go, wandering jew (Tradescantia) and spider plants are fine; more ideas here:  http://africantortoise.com/edible_landscaping.htm.

At her age, she should actually be eating quite a bit of plant material and less animal protein, so it would be a good idea to cut back on the protein and start feeding a variety of greens as well as the plants--turnip, dandelion, collard, kale, romaine, spring mix, etc.  It would also be a good idea to provide more variety of animal protein, especially in the form of live foods.  There's a good list of foods here:  http://redearslider.com/index_nutrition.html

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Jeannie

Expertise

Questions regarding husbandry of Russian tortoises and other Mediterranean species, sulcata, and redfoot tortoises; general tortoise and turtle care; box turtle care. If I can't answer a specific question, I can provide sources for further research. Disclaimer: My advice is not a substitute for vet care. If I think your tortoise/turtle has a specific medical condition or injury that warrants a vet visit, I'll tell you so, and if possible I'll help you locate a vet. It is neither legal nor ethical for me to provide veterinary advice.

Experience

I have kept and bred Russian tortoises for over ten years and have other Mediterranean species plus redfoots and box turtles. I've worked with other tortoise and turtle species while doing volunteer rescue work; mostly sulcata but some leopards, California desert tortoises, yellowfoots, all box turtle species, red-eared sliders, etc. I don't personally keep aquatic species, but have access to a wealth of information and research to help you with any questions you might have.

Education/Credentials
My knowledge is based on hands-on experience keeping, breeding, and working with tortoises and turtles.

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