You are here:

Turtles/Turtle Skin Sore



I have two red eared sliders in 160g indoor pond. We recently switched them into the pond about 1 month ago. Shortly after we noticed one had a sore on its neck. To me it looked like she scratched herself on something and it was an open wound. It was still a black colour like her skin. We were worried about infection so we have been putting melafix in the tank for 3 days now. Today we took her out and the sore is now white like the layer of skin has been taken off and slightly bloody. I can't seem to find anything online about this. Its not fuzzy like fungus or scabby or anything, just a circle. I've attached a picture. Please ignore the mess around her, we feed them in a separate tank which she was in when i took it - her tank isn't normally that messy! Any suggestions as to what to do/what it might be?

On a separate note, have you had any experience with ponds? Since we have switched them to their bigger tank with epdm liner, the water seems to be oily. We have enough filtration/heater/lights etc. I'm not sure what could be causing it.

Hi Sasha,

It does look like an abrasion of some kind.  Although I haven't been able to find anything about Melafix being toxic to turtles, putting an antibiotic-type treatment in the water isn't very effective for treating this kind of skin wound.  What I would do instead is clean it daily with either nolvasan if you can get it, or a diluted solution of Betadine (dilute to the color of tea), apply an antibiotic ointment (triple antibiotic is fine, but if you can get silcadene ointment even better; here it's prescription), and then dry dock her for at least a couple of hours.  She may be willing to sleep in a towel-lined box overnight.  That should get it healed up .

It's possible your other turtle nipped her, so keep an eye on them for signs of aggression.  Sometimes when they are moved into new quarters it takes a while for them to settle down.  As far as the oiliness goes, how many gallons is your filter rated for?  Sliders can be pretty dirty, as you know, so excellent filtration is really imporant.  For the size pond you have, the filter should be sized for 300 gallons capacity, and bigger would probably be better.  If it's less than that, it could be your problem.  


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts




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.

©2017 All rights reserved.