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Painter Turtle

22 16:06:22

My turtle
My turtle  
QUESTION: Hello,I've had my painter for over 2 years now, I dont know how old it is. But, I do know he was a baby when I received him. I keep him in a 20 gallon tank, mostly filled with water, filtered, heated accurately, and I feed him once a day (store food).  Just today I noticed some foam around his mouth while he was "sun" bathing.  I have not done anything different since I've had him, with besides the fact that I added a new baby turtle to the tank about 5 months ago.  One other thing I've noticed recently is that he has a hard time swimming to get his food.  Maybe too much water in tank?  I pride myself in the care of my turtles and have never lost any.  I appreciate your feedback, thank you.

ANSWER: Hey Wailym,

Thank you for your question! It always thrills me to hear of people who care enough about their turtles to do their best to care for them.

First off, I will remind you that I am NOT a vet, and as such I can only tell you what I have learned from experience...this is NOT to be taken as the gospel. You will need to take your turtle to a vet to find out what exactly is wrong. There are a couple different options for what this foaming around his mouth could be. The two most probable options are both pretty serious medical issues for turtles.

First is a Upper Respiratory Infection(URI). These are very dangerous in turtles who can rapidly go downhill from the infection. This could also be a very real reason that the turtle is having trouble swimming. URIs require antibiotics from the vet to be cured.   

Second is a condition called Mouth Rot(Stomatitis). This is usually a build up of bacteria inside the turtles mouth that can cause ulcers as well as many other severe issues. This also is another condition that will require antibiotics to be cured.

Hopefully this will help you out some, If you have any other questions please don't hesitate to ask follow-up questions.

One last note: I was looking at your picture and you have a beautiful turtle. I would however recommend you change the gravel out of your tank. Turtles have a really bad habit of eating gravel and getting impacted. I would go either with an empty bottom, sand, or large river stones. All of those are very turtle safe options :-D

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

QUESTION: Hello again.  Thanks for your very prompt response!  Unfortunately, I do not have a Vet near me that will see turtles.  So, while I try to find one, is there anything that I can do to make my turtle more comfortable?  And one other thing I forgot to mention is that we also have a few feeder fish in tank.  I bought them for this turtle thinking he wanted to eat some live food, but never did and know they're just swimming around.  Maybe they are keeping the tank too dirty? And I will take your advice and remove the gravel.  I have half gravel and half river stones right now.  Thanks again.

While waiting for the vet, if he's having trouble swimming I would definitely lower the water level so that he doesn't accidentally get tired and drown. Also make sure that he continues to eat. Be sure that your tank is heated well enough and that the basking platform is easily reachable.

As for feeder fish, there is nothing wrong with feeding some fish...provided they are the right kind. Comets(Goldfish), can be identified by their shiny scales and oval shaped bodies. These are the worst kind of fish for turtles to eat. Comets are VERY fatty. It's the equivalent of feeding a kid nothing but candy bars & donuts every day. The kind of fish you want to feed are called "Rosy Red Minnows". They can usually be found at any large pet store, and sometimes walmart. They look like little minnows, not little goldfish. They are long & skinny. You can also buy feeder guppies if you can find them. You have to watch out because when you go into the pet store to ask for them, sometimes they will still give you comets but usually its just because the employee doesn't know the difference. Either way, giving them fish wont hurt them provided you balance out the diet with vegetables and pellets. I always have a few minnows swimming around my tank.

Glad to hear that you are changing the gravel. :-)