Tuesday, August 23, 2011

5 Ways to Spoil Your Pet Red Ear Sliders

I'm writing this as a follow up to a previous post of mine about 5 things you need to know about raising red ear slider turtles as pets. If you're one of the cool people on Earth who keep a red ear slider as a pet, I bet you can't deny that they're amazing aquatic pets. They have personality, something that other aquatic pets don't often display. One thing about raising red ear sliders is, just like other pets, you need to spoil them sometimes. Below I've numerated the ways how I spoil my own red ear sliders.

1. Spoil them with Treats
Once a month I steer away from their diet of pellets and vegetables to give them fruits like mangoes, papaya and cantaloupe. You still have to follow the head-size serving rule though.

You can also feed them apples, bananas, grapes, but these should be fed to them very rarely. Another option would be to drop some live guppies in there, but a lot of people frown on feeding live animals to other animals.

Now a very important reminder, do not overfeed your turtles. Overfeeding causes your turtles to develop pyramiding. Pyramiding for is when bulges appear on the shell because the turtle's body is growing faster than it's carapace. It resembles the shape of a pyramid. It is also permanent, and doesn't look good on your turtles.

2. Occasional walks outside
Preferable on low-cut, grassy areas. This is very helpful for your red ear sliders because they will be exposed to natural sunlight, as opposed to artificial sources, like a UVB bulb. UVB rays help in the metabolism and overall health of your turtle. Make sure you keep an eye on them as you don't want to lose your turtles.

3. Srub those shells

Now you don't have to do this every day. Maybe once a month, or whenever you have free time. This would help clean their shells from algae or mineral deposits. It's best to use the same water in your tank, and a toothbrush (make sure no one will use these anymore). Do not use soap, ever. It's extremely harmful for the turtles.

4. Refresh the water
30% water changes are necessary in keeping the water safe and clean for your turtles, and for you as well, since old, dirty water smells of ammonia. Water changes are can be done once a month. The reason why you only do 30% water changes and not more is because if you do, you would then replace the hard earned beneficial bacteria in your tank water.

Your tank takes time to mature, and doing anything more than thirty percent could kill a lot of those bacteria, especially if you're using tap water, which might be chlorinated. Chlorine is highly toxic for red ear sliders.

Another note on doing water changes. If you can, avoid using fresh tap water. You can remove the chlorine from water using a chlorine removing substance, or you can store water in a barrel or a tub for future use. Chlorine disappears after about two days. I recommend the second option.

5. Build an ATBA

An ATBA, or Above Tank Basking Area, is something you could build up from common household items like some cardboard, vinyl tiles, plastic, etc. The point is to have a basking area for your turtles above the tank, so as you could add more water to the tank for more swimming space. The ATBA is where your turtles go to most of their day to bask under your heat lamp and UVB lamp (if you're using one).

You can also get creative with your ATBA by turning it into an Above Tank Basking Apartment. You can add decorations, leaves, sand, little rocks and more to improve the look and environment for your turtle.

Below are some pictures of ATBAs from other red ear slider owners.

Do you have red ear sliders? How do you spoil your pets, regardless if you have a dog, cat, snake or any other kind of pet? Feel free to leave a comment below about your thoughts, or if you have anything to add. Also, please reshare this post by clicking on the buttons to the left.

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