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Advice

Discussion in 'General Turtle Care Discussion' started by smoyle, May 30, 2017.

  1. smoyle

    smoyle Adult Turtle
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    I'm back from my time away now, and keen to get back on the horse (turtle?) and would love your advice @Craig and @Aussiepride83 .

    I went and visited my local aquarium today, which has Macleays. I'm wary of going for another Macleay, but my first one came from this place (the second two didn't), and it was super healthy. My wife is not a fan of ELNs and I can't really do any bigger than a 4ft tank, so as I understand it, Macleays are really my only short neck option for a 4ft tank.

    They have two batches at the place - one about 4-5 months old, and one that is a year and a half old. The year and a half olds are all huge - like 10cm or larger. The 4-5 month old batch ranges from about 7cm down to about 3cm. There's one 5cm, and the rest are under 4cm. According to the guy that's down to how much they've been outcompeted for food given they're all fed in the tank at the same time.

    Given all this, I'm wondering: am I better off going for a larger one (say the 5cm), since it's obviously a bit more robust but perhaps less healthy in the long run because it's grown too fast, or am I better off going for a smaller one, which is less robust now but has a chance of being healthier in the long run? What things might I look for in terms of health signs? Either way I'd be keeping a daily written list of food, sun time, etc.

    Or am I better getting none of these and waiting for one to pop up on here? I know nothing is given (of all people, boy do I know) but I'm really asking for your best guess, based on your experience. Thanks.
     
  2. Aussiepride83

    Aussiepride83 Administrator
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    Hey mate. For their ages, they're all massive. What are they being fed? The 1 year old Macleays are the size of 4 year olds!
    This is one of those times where @Craig and I would really need to actually SEE the turtles to give you a thumbs up or down.

    Just keep in mind mate that your tank is big enough for an ELN for life. They're a very robust species, a lot more tolerant and very slow growing. They aren't nearly as susceptible to the issues that Macleays are.

    Your wife may not be a fan but first impressions quickly change, ELN's are loaded with character and personality. Mine which was bred by Craig is a complete dope but she is a really great turtle that's never presented with any major health issues, is a good eater, always sheds perfectly.
    Screenshot_2017-01-24-04-22-58.png
    If you're going to stick with a Macleay, make sure the one you choose is alert and responsive. It must obviously have bright and clear yellow eyes which aren't cloudy/hazy or swollen looking. The hatchling must have 5 claws on each front foot and 4 on each hind foot, the tail must be checked to be sure it hasn't been bitten off. The shell, (carapace, bridge and plastron) should pass a visual inspection, be firm, not soft or squishy, free of obvious damage or infection.
    Check the beak, make sure it's intact and not damaged.
    Craig will add his thoughts.

    Healthy hatchling Macleays are bright and alert. Remember, while small, they're a BIG turtle in a small body and pack plenty of attitude.
    7574-20150106_093049-1.jpg
    My adult female was a biter as a hatchy and I always found her nips amusing when handling however there's nothing amusing about them now. I've been bitten twice by her this week and I bled both times. It's not pleasant.

    ELN are reluctant to bite and if they do, it hurts about as much as getting pinched by 2 cotton tips.
    If a Macleay bites onto your hand, you have to fight your initial reaction to drop/throw-it!
     
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    #2 Aussiepride83, May 30, 2017
    Last edited: May 30, 2017
  3. smoyle

    smoyle Adult Turtle
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    Thanks Kev. Are you saying 3cm SCL at 4-5 months is massive for a Macleay? Most of them are that small, just a few that are huge. I think they're being fed pellets mostly, hence the hugeness If the few.

    They're definitely all bright and alert, my main concern is just that they're so tiny and fragile. If I did go for one of the tiny ones, would I need to lower the water level? I have plenty of val in there. Also, should I remove the gambusia?
     
  4. Craig

    Craig Owner/Administrator/Public Officer
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    Hi Simon, I believe that if you can find one that is around 12 months old it would be much better. Obviously it would have to be healthy too. Just my opinion. The turtle will be already established and having survived the first 12 months, would be one of the strong ones. A survivor.
     
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  5. smoyle

    smoyle Adult Turtle
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    Yeah that would be my ideal too. The only problem is that by 12 months in any store (or person's home) they tend to be massive. I haven't seen any a year old under about 7cm - anywhere. Any ideas?
     
  6. Aussiepride83

    Aussiepride83 Administrator
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    Hi mate, no, 3cm is right for a 4-5 month old. If you get one of these, you'll need to get it onto duckweed as soon as you can which will pack it full of essential vitamins and nutrients without the super growth rate of the pellets. They may be tiny but tiny turtles are stronger than you think if cared for properly. Warm your tank to 26°C and pretty much leave it at that year round for the first 2 years.

    I'm not going to tell you not to lower your water level, I got my 4 Macleays off Craig when they were 4-5 months old and only 3-4cm and put them straight into my full 4×3×2, however my confidence wasn't shattered as yours understandably is. That's not to say I didn't have any sleepless nights mind you. As long as your val reaches right to the surface you should not have any problems. How deep is the tank the turtles are currently kept in at the store compared to your tank? Perhaps match the store's tank water level, increasing the level slightly over several weeks to your desired level. This will allow your turtle to adjust.

    Gambusia were never a problem with my small Macleays but again, my situation doesn't necessarily dictate what yours will be like.

    When starting out with a small turtle, it gives your tank a really good chance to establish plants and fish stocks (breeding live bearers) as baby turtles are so much less destructive. I would suggest possibly removing all the gambusia and getting one or 2 dozen domestic guppies with a male to female ratio of 1:3 and letting them go nuts in your tank. Before you know it you should have a self sustaining school of bright guppies which will be aesthetically pleasing to you and safe yet enticing for your turtle.

    PS. If you don't mind me asking, what is the store asking for, $$/Macleay hatchy? I don't want you getting ripped off! $120 each would be the maximum acceptable price.
    --- Double Post Merged, May 31, 2017, Original Post Date: May 31, 2017 ---
    Wait until my pair breeds and I'll give you one. :laugh: You'll have to be patient though! She's big enough now to have eggs this coming season or next. Any Macleay of mine though is going to be cranky if the female's temperament is any indicator to go by.
     
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  7. smoyle

    smoyle Adult Turtle
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    Ha, $120 would be a dream...pretty much impossible to get a Macleay hatchie for less than $190 down here. If you know of any other breeders that might have some I'd be happy to look into it, or even travel if need be.

    There's plenty of duckweed in the tank, while I was away it spread to cover the whole surface. Kept the nitrates down at least so our house sitter didn't have to do any water changes.

    What does raising the temp do? I imagine it increases their metabolism, but to what effect? It's on about 24 at the moment.

    The store water level is probably half to a third of mine. The val reaches the surface though. I could definitely lower mine for a while and gradually increase it. Good idea on the guppies - I've been trying to breed them in a smaller tank but the babies just keep getting eaten, even with plenty of java moss in there. They're also weirdly stunted in size.

    Not sure I can wait 2-3 years for yours to be year olds Kev - turtles certainly are addictive!
     
  8. Craig

    Craig Owner/Administrator/Public Officer
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    It doesn't matter how big they are mate just as long as you provide the right diet and quantity when it comes into your care.
    It would be your best option as it would be past the vulnerable stage as I mentioned.
     
  9. smoyle

    smoyle Adult Turtle
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    Ah thanks Craig - that's what I'm asking really. In that case I'll look around.
    --- Double Post Merged, Jun 5, 2017, Original Post Date: May 31, 2017 ---
    Question on the difference between short necks and long necks: ELNs don't eat aquatic plants, but you still feed them an amount the size of their head, same as short necks right? So the amount of protein-type food (i.e, fish, insects, crustaceans etc) is the same for both types, and short necks eat plants as extra on top of that?

    And one more question, if I did go for a year old Macleay, and assuming all other appearances are equal, is it true that going for the smallest one is best? What effect does them growing too fast have over the long haul?
     
  10. Craig

    Craig Owner/Administrator/Public Officer
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    Yes mate, although if you're adding an aquatic plant like Duckweed and they eat more than an amount the size of their head it doesn't matter. They could basically eat aquatic plants all day although normally they wouldn't. They would mix it up at different times of the day with insects, fish and crustaceans in the wild.
    Don't worry if short-necked turtles eat aquatic plants over and above the amount the size of their head each day.
    Don't forget that as turtle's get older you do not need to feed them every day as per the Care Guide. This includes ELN's.
    With Eln's, having live feeders in the tank removes the need to feed them every day.
    'Feed your baby turtle a portion the size of its head every day up until approximately 7 cm Straight Carapace Length (SCL). Larger juvenile turtles (7cm SCL to 12cm SCL) only require feeding every second or third day and larger turtles (12+ cm SCL) only require feeding only every fourth or fifth day.'
    Obviously monitor you turtle's weight closely to make sure that they aren't staving like these turtles:
    img_0261.jpg

    1681-bongo_784579.jpg

    Or becomes overweight like these turtles below:

    Buddha.jpg
    FAT NLT's.jpg

    No mate, the smallest one is usually the 'runt' of the clutch and doesn't thrive like the others, it just survives. If it was me, I would go for one that was the average size, being not the biggest or the smallest.

    None whatsoever if it's within the first 1st year of the turtle's life, provided the turtle hasn't reached adult size of course, which has been known to happen. Hatchling turtles and young juveniles grow at a much faster rate than sub-adults and adults do. The growth rate decreases dramatically after the first year of their life in the wild. The same should happen in captivity but more often than not doesn't, as turtle keepers feel sorry for their turtles when they do the 'feed me dance' in the tank begging for food.
     
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    #10 Craig, Jun 5, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2017
  11. smoyle

    smoyle Adult Turtle
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    Thanks so much Craig! Don't know what we'd all do without your wisdom and experience. :)
     
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  12. Craig

    Craig Owner/Administrator/Public Officer
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    Ah mate, you're very welcome. I just do it for the love of turtles. Doing it for those who appreciate it is an added bonus!
     
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  13. Aussiepride83

    Aussiepride83 Administrator
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    Join Anna's band of dummies at Australian Turtle Keepers 2.0. ROTFL
     
  14. smoyle

    smoyle Adult Turtle
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    By the way, though I know they're a serious form of neglect, I can't help laughing at those pics of overweight turtles...they look like they're wearing shells three sizes too small. :laugh:
     
  15. Craig

    Craig Owner/Administrator/Public Officer
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    We call them 'Sumo Turtles' and the biggest one was called Buddha.

    They kind of remind me of these bacon and sausage turtles for some strange reason. :laugh:
    Bacon and sausage turtles 2.jpg


    fat bum.jpg
     
    #15 Craig, Jun 6, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2017
  16. smoyle

    smoyle Adult Turtle
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    OK, decision time @Craig @Aussiepride83 . These are a few of the critters at my local aquarium. They have a few adults/sub-adults in one tank (the smallest of which is chewing/biting the others, surprise surprise), and a few year olds and 4-5 month olds in the other tank. The year olds are about 6-7cm (I'm guessing) and the younger ones are more like 3-5cm (mostly under 4).

    So, some pics. First the year olds, which look like they might have dysecdysis:

    20170606_161400.jpg

    20170606_161355.jpg
    Then there's the 4-5 month olds which look less ratty, but are obviously younger:

    20170606_161407.jpg
    20170606_161420.jpg
    So they range a bit in colour and size, but that's the range. I guess the question is, am I better going with the year old ones, given they seem to be having trouble shedding, or do I go with the younger ones, with the risk they may be a bit more risky/fragile? I know you said older is better Craig, but I wanted to double check now I have pics and having a better sense of their relative condition. Thanks!
    --- Double Post Merged, Jun 7, 2017, Original Post Date: Jun 6, 2017 ---
    Not sure if you guys missed my questions above, or got sick of answering my questions (wouldn't blame you!) or just ran out of time, but thought I'd check I case it was the former. I'm leaning towards the year old (well, 18 month old really). Part of me doesn't like failing though and is tempted to try again...
     
  17. Craig

    Craig Owner/Administrator/Public Officer
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    Sorry mate, I missed this one. The younger one in the photo above looks like it is in perfect health to me. I know what I said before about the older turtles being stronger, but personally, I would pick one of the younger turtles if it is as good as the one in the photo just above. It doesn't have a blemish on it.
     
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  18. smoyle

    smoyle Adult Turtle
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    Thanks Craig!
     
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  19. Aussiepride83

    Aussiepride83 Administrator
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    Sorry Simon, I saw your post last night but didn't get back to answering it, got a bit going on. Yeah I agree with Craig, you don't want to start out with those ones with dysecdysis.
     
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  20. Craig

    Craig Owner/Administrator/Public Officer
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    I agree with Kev, who agrees with me too Simon! :D