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Need advice on shell blackening

Discussion in 'Urgent Help Required' started by Mum, Aug 2, 2017.

  1. Mum

    Mum Egg

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    Hi.

    We are having a problem with my son's turtle.
    His scutes have got black (dirt) under them, I'm very worried it will turn into shell rot.
    I'm not sure if I should be using Betadine and scrubbing his shell. I don't want to stress him out if I don't have to.

    Just some background about him; we were given very bad advice from the pet shop and we're doing it all wrong for the first 6 months. We have been using this forum and website as a guide and have been doing everything possible for the past 8 months but our turtle never gets out to bask. We take him out in the sun every day for 15- 30 minutes, if it's raining, we still take him out until his shell is dry. We're in the process of getting a new dock that he might actually use which is in the mail.

    Apart from the black shell, he's a very happy turtle.

    image.jpg image.jpg
     
  2. Aussiepride83

    Aussiepride83 Administrator
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    Hello and :aftwelcome:

    First and foremost, your lighting setup is totally inadequate, it's much too far from the water to be of any benefit whatsoever. A T8 model fluoro light tube only emits UVB up to 15cm from the tube itself, therefore you need to raise the water level substantially (which you're unable to do because of the built in air vents in the tank you're using - due to it being a terrestrial frog enclosure and not a turtle tank.) It's imperative that you use a high quality UVB fluoro such as Exo-Terra Repti-Glo or Zoomed Repti-Sun and it MUST be rated 10.0 (10% UVB.)
    4438-1484428737-df10e23d4bc5c795048b18b7b12c0383.jpg

    4437-1484428735-10d27c4cd913cd92277656f77a20dd48.jpg

    UVB lighting (when using a T8 model fluoro) must be no further than 15cm from the surface of the water/docking area.
    2476-1389498004-4823fecc9deca41b7d7a1fdc26fa5f36.jpg


    When it comes to basking, it's not as simple as having a dock with a lamp above it. Turtles haul out to bask, primarily to warm themselves as they are ectotherms like ALL basking reptiles. Basically, the temperature on your basking dock must be within the range that our aquatic freshwater turtles prefer and in our experiences, 30-34 degrees Celsius gets the best results. You will need to move your basking lamp/s accordingly and position them until you have the desired temperature on the basking dock. The most accurate way to measure this is by using an infra red digital laser thermometer.
    4117-1462253933-29b90c0bec7966332b807d7bc70ff6a5.jpg
    30 degrees Celsius to 34 degrees Celsius is right on the money.
    4118-1462254326-dc39434e32563d26288f525d5ae178ea.jpg
    Get it right and your turtle will bask freely on a daily basis.
    4066-1456913184-eae69d29f1d9315477ac419de001ef93.jpg
    Flaviemys purvisi basking happily on a large Zoomed floating turtle dock.
    4064-1456913175-a1046a0b19905120d1e1f1a0e0e9646a.jpg

    What do you feed your turtle and how often? It looks like a common Murray River turtle, these guys get big and they get big fast. You're going to need at least a 7X2X2 - 8X2X2 aquarium to keep this one inside for life.

    To me, the blackness you're referring to looks to be like normal pigmentation (between the marginal scutes) there's a bit of a bigger patch under the first vertebral scute that I can't really see clearly because of reflective glare however going by the jagged alignment of the marginals, especially towards the rear of the shell, it's clear your turtle is growing very fast and has a layer of un-shed scutes (caused by dysecdysis) you need to be feeding it less, less often. A Murray river turtle's diet is predominantly made up of aquatic plant material (like all short-necked species) so they need to have a heavily planted tank so they can eat plenty of plant material to stay healthy and grow at a normal (slow) rate.
    3908-1445503762-e2174d14e87035748b13f53f3a427e71.jpg
    Macleay River turtle aquarium planted out with thin Vallisneria (ribbon weed.)
    3909-1445503772-1f93f12820b5928edc0bb2bb29b9f313.jpg
    Macleay river turtle eating one of their favourite foods, duckweed.
    3420-1418444299-26db00583aa2fe9c793cb35835ea9097.jpg

    Below are some of the standard posts and threads we ask new members to have a look at:

    Please read the 'AFT Turtle Care Guide' :arrowright: AFT Freshwater Turtle Care Guide

    The following is essential reading Quick Reference Guide :arrowright: How To Set Up An Aquarium For Turtles and Feeding Guide

    Why you Shouldn't Keep Two Turtles Together :arrowright: Keeping Two Turtles Together

    To understand why we make the recommendations that we do in the Care Guide
    please read this informative post :arrowright: Why we make the recommendations that we do here on AFT Part 1

    Also, it would be best to familiarise yourself with the skin infections care sheet located here :arrowright: Skin Infections

    After that, you can read the Most Common Mistakes made by novice keepers thread here :arrowright: Common Mistakes

    If your turtle is sick or injured and needs dry-docking :arrowright: Important Tips for Dry-Docking Sick Turtles

    If you have any questions about why we recommend Calgrit/Turtle Grit and River Sand instead of pebbles and small rocks, please read this thread as well :arrowright: Gravel Blockage-Very sick turtle!

    How to measure the
    Straight Carapace Length (SCL) of a Turtle's Shell :arrowright: Measuring the Straight Carapace Length of a turtles shell

    If you have any specific questions after that, please go ahead and ask. If you want to search a particular subject, look at the top of the page for the Advanced Search link and type in the word or topic you wish to learn about.

    © www.turtles.net.au (Please note- ATK FB)
     
    #2 Aussiepride83, Aug 2, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 2, 2017
  3. Mum

    Mum Egg

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    Thanks for all the info, I will look into either plugging up the holes or lowering the light and feeding him less. We were feeding him 5 times a week. The black you can scratch off with your fingernail so I don't think it's pigment. Hopefully he likes his new basking spot and will be able to do it by himself and shed properly.
    Thanks again for your time.
     
  4. Aussiepride83

    Aussiepride83 Administrator
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    You don't want to be scratching or scrubbing that off, that is new growth deposits being laid down between the scutes which eventually hardens and becomes the shell. That is how a turtle's shell grows.
     
  5. Mum

    Mum Egg

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    I'm very glad we asked then and that his shell is fine. We have plugged up the holes over the weekend and will be getting a 10.0 UVB fluorescent tube instead of the 5.0 UVB when I get the money. Your photos were really great, my son wants his tank to look just like yours. Thank you again.
     
  6. Craig

    Craig Administrator
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    Hi, I am concerned that your tank was only made to hold a certain weight/amount of water and as such thinner glass has been used in its manufacture as it is more of a frog terrarium/enclosure than a turtle tank.

    You may end up having a disaster if you put more water into it than it was designed for.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1