Turtle Woes

June 2, 2007

Lando is sick, sadly. To the semi-novice herpetologist (person who studies and cares for reptiles and amphibians) this is very stressful. Lando is essentially paralyzed in one of his front legs because of a lack of UVB rays. This can be remedied via a better lighting setup, essentially. The other possibility is that he has broken front right leg, perhaps from an encounter with the male betta (named Lambda) in the tank. I doubt this is it.

On top of this, Lambda (the betta) has some bad fungus growing on him. Not that this is horrible in and of itself, because many times, fish with fungus can recover even if it covers the majority of the skin, but the source of the fungus is of some concern. There are three possibilities in my mind.

  1. The six crappy 28 cent Wal-Mart goldfish carried some fungal diseases internally, and when they died and were ripped apart by the other fish, the fungus was released in to the water. This is highly likely (considering the one goldfish turned extremely green after dying), and is my hypothesis.
  2. The bricks that are currently acting as basking areas for Lando carried some sort of fungus on them that was then released in to the water (I didn’t really clean the bricks at all in my “Hooray I got a turtle” excitement. Dumb on my part, so this is definitely viable)
  3. Stressed out fish will have lowered immune systems. Seeing as there are plenty of things to stress out fish (territorial other fish, big turtle that likes to incite some anger), this is possible.

So, there’s a broken/paralyzed leg on the turtle, the fish are infected with some sort of fungus, and on top of all that, all of the other fish, plus the turtle, ate the sickened, dead fishes. This means that all of these fish and reptiles also have the fungus in their stomachs. Crap. Hopefully, this won’t be a long term problem and will clear up.

So, my courses of remedy?

  • Using a tablet form medicine that dissolves in to the water, designed to remove fungus. This contains, essentially, methelyne blue. Already done this.
  • Also, to cure the fungus, one tablespoon of salt (per ten gallons) will be dissolved in to the water. This doesn’t hurt the freshwater fish in any way, it just simply salinates the water just barely enough to ward off fungus. However, you have to get pure salt, not iodized. The iodine WILL hurt the fish, most likely killing them.
  • Increase the calcium intake for Lando. This is pretty easy, I just simply feed him some fresh greens rich in vitamins, and get him a supplement from the store in Painesdale. Expected cost: $10
  • Get a new lighting setup. I can get a reptile UVA/UVB bulb for my current hood for about $20-30, and a significantly better basking light for another $6
  • Get rid of those cursed goldfish. They are always a bad idea unless you keep them in a bowl by their lonesome.

So, until we get some of these things set up, it’s going to be a grueling two or three days keeping these guys alive. I may have to take Lando outside for some good sunshine tomorrow (if it doesn’t rain again).

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