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Turtles/red eared slider


QUESTION: Hi. i've recieved a baby RES as a gift, but i think it has a respiratory infection. He doesn't eat, always floating opens his mouth alot and bubbles comes out of his nose. i took him to every vet in my country but they all said that they have no clue about reptiles. Please help, it's been more than a month and i'm really desperate.
Thank you.

ANSWER: Hi Narjis,

It does sound like a respiratory infection, but since it's been so long it may be due to something else.  A hatchling RES with a full-blown respiratory infection usually won't survive for long.  Can you give me more information on how you have him set up?  I need to know the tank size, the size of the turtle, type of filter, water and basking temperatures, and diet.  Has he eaten at all?  Once I have more information I can give you better advice.  Unfortunately, a true respiratory infection requires antibiotic treatment, but as I said, that may not be the problem at all.  Often incorrect temperatures, poor water quality, etc. can cause symptoms that look like respiratory symptoms.  I'll try to post back as soon as I can after I receive the additional information.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Jeane,
Happy new year.
Thank you for your promote reply.
I really hope it's something that i can be able to fix.

I'm using an infrared heat emitter 60 watts,i don't have a thermometer but the water is always warm due to the heat emitter
I set him under the sun when the weather is a bit warm but since it's winter, this is doesn't happen everyday.. i bought UVB bulbs several times but they don't seem to last more than a couple of hours.
so i guess he is not exposed to enough sunlight.
Until couple of days ago, i haven't had a filter, but i always change the water twice or 3 times a day. now i have a zoomed 501, that i'm going to install.
- As for the symptoms:
He doesn't eat at all.. i tried everything, shrimps, tuna fish, chicken, fruits, vegetables, turtle pellets.. but he didn't like any of them.
- He openes his mouth quite a lot, always floating, with one side higher than the other and can't hold on under the water.
- there are bubbles coming out of his nose.
- he doesn't move a lot and sleeping most of the time.
thank you.

You didn't say how big the tank is, but I suspect that it's too small.  A hatchling RES needs at least a 20 gallon tank, and a 30 would be better (with a filter that can handle at least twice the tank's capacity).  If the water is warm to the touch, it's too warm.  You really need something to measure the temperature of the water and basking area.  There should be a basking bulb (light) rather than the ceramic heat emitter.  If he's getting too hot, then he definitely wouldn't eat, and that could be causing his symptoms.  You want a basking area of about 88-90 degrees (but not the whole tank!), and the water should be 10-15 degrees cooler.

Here's some links that will give you more detailed information on how to set up the tank correctly, care, and diet:

Read it over, and then if you have more questions on how to get him set up, post back and I'll do what I can to help.


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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.


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.

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

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