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22 16:15:27

i am not sure what kind of species it is or how old, i do know i got it from a pet store. It is about the size of a half dollar it is in a 5 gallon tank i think. he eats baby turtle food sticks twice a day, about six of them each time. the water is always at room temperature. i have a heating/basking lamp for him and a basking perch for him to sit on. his tank has a filter and i change the water and clean it at least once a week sometimes more. there are some stones that i got at the pet store to put in the bottom of his tank to control the current. there are also some fake rocks and a fake plant in there. then i have a jar in there to control the current also. the guy at the pet store told me this would be okay. the lamp is about 12 inches away from his perch like i was told. it has an open tank (no lid or anything on top), i was also told that this was okay. i believe it is a boy turtle but i am not sure. the problem i am having is that every so often i find this white chalky paste or flemish looking stuff in the tank around where he likes to hang out and swim. i am not sure if he is throwing it up or pooping it out. what is the problem and what can i do?

Its called uric acid and it is a part of the urinary process. Normally, however, their urine is watery, so this is not a great sign- it is not a terrible sign- but not a great sign.

Please forgive me for saying this, but there is almost nothing in your letter that indicates that things are going well for your baby. I am going to guess it is a Red-ear Slider- the most common pet turtle, but most of what I am about to say applies to all water turtles.

The bad news is a 2-parter.
1.) Pet shops rarely sell you the right stuff for the less common pets. The shelves of most pet stores are covered with crud our pets don't really need- but lots of people either buy it or are told they need it.

2.) Most of the 'common information' on raising baby turtles is very outdated- it was invented in the 60's to sell turtles- not to take the right care of them.

What turtles really want are three basic things:
1- GOOD WATER. This means...
- at least 10 gallons of actual water per inch of shell length. A Red-ear Slider can easily grow to 10" long, so would need 100 gallons of water, or a mostly filled 120 gallon tank, as an adult.
- warmed to 75-80 with a good water heater on a good thermostat. A lamo alone will not heat the right sized tank.
- filtered with a powerful, external cannister filter rated about 3 times bigger than the tank. Go ahead and get a BIG one. It will save you money in the long run.

- smooth, safe to crawl on surfaces it can get totally out of the water on- but stay over the water (rocks are not a good idea.)
- the basking site should be warmed to about 90F
- and lit with a good lamp for 12-14 hours a day. A decent basking lamp offers light and warmth

- feed a baby every day an amount of food about the same size as its head. As it gets older, keep the portion the same size as the head, but after a couple years, skip a day.
- make about 1/2 of the meal good name-brand pellets
- for the other 1/2 use live or frozen/thawed (NOT freeze-dried) 'fish foods' like small fish, worms, insects, beef heart, shrimp, krill, etc. Babies do best with blood worms and other small foods.

There is a great site at or the forums at

Good luck!