Red-eared sliders (Trachemys scripta elegans) are aquatic turtles native to central and southern regions of the United States. These reptiles are common in the wild in their range, and they're commonly kept as pets. Captive red-eared sliders thrive when they reside in settings that are similar to their outdoor habitats: wet and warm. They'll need a heat source, a spot to pull out of the water and bask, and just the right amount of water.
Red-eared sliders typically do well in aquariums, just as long as they're the appropriate size. Young specimens need aquariums that can accommodate roughly 20 gallons or so. Adult red-eared sliders, on the other hand, need aquariums that can accommodate about 75 gallons at the minimum. Bigger is generally superior. If you have enough space, a 90-gallon aquarium is optimal for an adult red-eared slider; tack on between 10 and 20 gallons for every other specimen. Red-eared sliders require a lot of swimming space.
Sufficient Water Depth
If you're not sure whether your red-eared slider has enough water, you'll appreciate this simple formula: If his water is a minimum of two times as deep as the length of his shell, then you're in good shape. Shallow water can be a hazard to red-eared sliders -- overly shallow water can lead to the risk of your turtle dropping to his back and not being able to correct himself, therefore preventing him from being able to breathe. Because of this danger, it's crucial to make sure your red-eared slider's water is always deep enough. If you have any specific questions about your pet's water, consult a reptile veterinarian immediately.
Drinking Clean Water
When red-eared sliders swim, they drink the water -- so it's crucial that their tank is always clean. A water filters will help. Also, when you spot any bits of fecal matter, take them out as soon as possible. Try to skim such matter out at least once per day, as turtles are prolific in the elimination department. It's vital to switch the water out on a weekly basis or more frequently. It helps to feed the turtles in different enclosures. Doing this prevents their living quarters from getting dirty as quickly.
Other Water Details
If you're not sure what type of water your red-eared slider needs, look no further than the tap. Tap water is appropriate for these sliders, but only if all of the chlorine is properly taken out of it. Always take your red-eared slider's water needs seriously. If he's swimming around in -- and drinking -- water that's in any way unclean or otherwise unsuitable, he could suffer problems such as parasites. Keep the temperature of the water between 75 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit: Since they're cold-blooded reptiles, excessive cold can trigger a variety of health issues for them, including gastrointestinal woes.
- Tortoise Trust Web: Red-Eared Slider Care
- SPCA LA: Red-Eared Sliders
- Pet Education: Red-Eared Slider Care - Housing, Diet and Characteristics
- Happy Hollow Park & Zoo: Red-Eared Slider
- Wright Bird & Exotic Pet House Calls: Dr. Wright's Quick Guide to Red-Eared Sliders
- Veterinary Center for Birds & Exotics: Turtle Care
- VCA Animal Hospitals: Turtles - Aquatic - Feeding
- Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images