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Dark spot and soft shell

Discussion in 'Urgent Help Required' started by Dakota98, Aug 3, 2017.

  1. Dakota98

    Dakota98 Egg

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    Hey guys,

    My short neck turtle has started to get this dark black spot on his shell which is soft to touch and underneath it's soft too with spots on it.

    We have him in a 2ft tank with a dry dock and 10.0 UVB bulb. We run the tank at 24 degrees C and he has calgrit and aquarium sand on the bottom. His diet includes live plants, fish (the occasional that he catches) aquatic turtle juvenile floating pellets.

    We take him out of his tank a couple of times a week in the sun, if not just out to dry for at least 10-15 minutes. His light goes on in the morning and off at night.

    We haven't tested the water as such, never had a problem with it since day 1 (we are on rainwater). We don't lose any fish unless the turtle eats them, our fish even breed in this water.

    Please help my little guy!

    Cheers.

    IMG_9767.JPG IMG_9770.JPG IMG_9766.JPG image.jpg image.jpg
     
  2. Aussiepride83

    Aussiepride83 Administrator
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    Hi and :aftwelcome:

    There's several problems with your setup, firstly, it's too small for the water chemistry to ever be stable and secondly, the UV lighting is much too far away from your turtle, so far that it's rendered totally ineffective. Please see the following thread. This was posted just yesterday, a similar setup to yours with the same issues that need addressing.
    Your turtle appears to be developing a type of shell rot that forms in pustules within the shell.
    https://www.australianfreshwaterturtles.com.au/threads/need-advice-on-shell-blackening.15443/

    Are you using any salt in the aquarium at all??
    --- Double Post Merged, Aug 7, 2017, Original Post Date: Aug 3, 2017 ---
    Yep, no worries, you're welcome...
     
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  3. smoyle

    smoyle Sub-Adult Turtle
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    You could tell this wasn't going to end well by the quote, "We haven't tested the water as such, never had a problem with it since day 1." If you haven't tested it, how would you know if there's a problem or not? o_O
     
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  4. Craig

    Craig Administrator
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    I guess it wasn't that urgent after all. :barton: Errrr huhhhh.
     
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  5. Aussiepride83

    Aussiepride83 Administrator
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    Still kill myself laughing at this every time I see it. ROTFL
    --- Double Post Merged, Aug 8, 2017, Original Post Date: Aug 8, 2017 ---
    This is an example of where the saying "ignorance is bliss" comes from.

    Using rainwater for a turtle is a really poor choice. Rainwater is really soft/acidic with a pH value usually less than 6.0 and has no minerals in it at all. This is why rainwater is great for showers or using in kettles etc because it doesn't produce that limescale buildup, however, rainwater will reduce a turtle's shell and bone integrity to that not dissimilar to playdough... hence the title of this post "black spot and soft shell."

    Unless you're keeping Emydura macquarii nigra that are the only species adapted to living in pure Rainwater, you should be using ground/tapwater.
     
  6. Craig

    Craig Administrator
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    :like: If you run your mouse over the gif you might get a laugh at the name. :laugh:
     
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  7. ashtimba

    ashtimba Hatchling Turtle

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    Kev, can you please clarify re using rain water? I assume you mean using rainwater alone, without adding salt and without the necessary water testing (as the OP indicated)?
     
  8. Craig

    Craig Administrator
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    Hi Megan, I'm assuming Kev means soft water that comes off a roof and is stored in a poly tank or Galvanised tank. The water will not contain minerals and be soft water with a pH below neutral (acidic). Water stored in cement tanks will be alkaline and will contain lime.

    Soft water has a natural tendency to become hard by leaching calcium from whatever source of calcium is in it. Thus a turtle's shell will slowly leach the calcium from it if the water is soft like pure rain water. If Calgrit was added to the tank then this would be OK as the calcium and other minerals will leach from the calgrit source and not the turtle's shell.

    This is why a sea shell will slowly dissolve in an aquarium with soft water.
     
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  9. Aussiepride83

    Aussiepride83 Administrator
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    What Craig has said above is true but the amount of calgrit recommended by AFT to buffer pH, KH and GH would not be near enough when factoring in Rainwater. I did an experiment myself to test this with crayfish. Every crayfish kept in rainwater died after a failed moult while those in groundwater thrived and are breeding. Calgrit will buffer groundwater sufficiently but not rainwater. The calgrit would be exhausted very quickly when every water change performed adds more soft rainwater. The other problem is the nitrogen cycle itself softens water.

    This is why the poster's turtle has a soft shell.
     
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  10. ashtimba

    ashtimba Hatchling Turtle

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    Thank you Craig and Kev for your explanations- I wasn't aware of this but it makes sense. Now I'm really worried - rainwater from a poly tank is all I have access to and have been using in Raphael's tank!! How do I ensure it's suitable? Is it a matter a monitoring KH and GH? Adding more calgrit? I actually removed some calgrit a little while back, on Kev's recommendation, to try to reduce pH (which still sits at 8.0). Please help!
     
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  11. Aussiepride83

    Aussiepride83 Administrator
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    If your chemistry is showing water that hard, you don't have anything to worry about. My rainwater is in a corrugated iron tank and I have an iron roof and my rainwater is really soft with 0.01ppt salinity.

    My town/tap water however has a pH of 7.6 straight from the tap and a GH of 260.
     
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  12. ashtimba

    ashtimba Hatchling Turtle

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    Thank you Kev! I have started breathing again now after a minor panic!! I just start thinking I know what I'm doing then I read something like your previous post!! I'm trying so hard to be the perfect turtle mummy- thank you for being my go-to for any and all information!! Poor Raphael would probably be dead if I hadn't found this site!
     
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