Hi all, newbie here! :-)

SassiPaws

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Hi guys and gal's. I just found this forum while doing some more research. I hope there's a few of you who can give me some advice and/or feedback.
I apologize in advance for the length of my post. I wanted to cover just about everything.

About 1 month ago, I found a western painted, desperately clinging for its little life on my Koi pond filter. We're guessing a bird dropped it flying over. We've decided to keep him/her, so we named it Nugget. Rather than always saying he or she, I'll just use it's name.

I'm including 3 photos, the day I found Nugget, with a dime for size reference.
Then, checking out the basking area. Lastly, the tank setup.

The 1st thing I'm trying to determine is, do I have a hatchling or a yearling? Nugget's shell is now about 2 inches. After 2 weeks, I noticed Nugget was and still is shedding skin and scutes. Now, after a month, I can tell Nugget has grown. You'll notice that in the 2nd pic while on the basking tray compared to the 1st.
I've got a 55 gal tank setup with a proper tower filtration system. I've restricted the tank swimming space until Nugget is bigger, you'll be able to see the plastic barriers in the tank. I wanted to make sure Nugget could find the food. The basking light 60 watt uvb ( just out of view ) is 18 inches above. Also, out of view is a 2nd light, just for lighting and the warmth it gives. I've also placed rocks around the tray so Nugget can't slip in-between the tray and glass.
The 2nd thing I'm trying to do is to get Nugget to eat pellets. Right now, I'm trying Zoo Med hatchling formula and ReptoMin. Not having pellets at 1st, Nugget was eating blood worms, tiny tadpoles, and crickets. Now Nugget is spoiled and wants ice cream before supper! Any advice on the transition in diet would be greatly appreciated. Also, again, I learned through research Nugget's had been getting too much protein. I have introduced some greens and fruit. Turns out the one thing the little booger will eat is banana. I assume because it looks like a cricket and is soft.
Lastly, Nugget's color has been dull since I found him ( fingers crossed, I hope it's a boy ). I realize that during shedding, this is normal. However, the new scutes aren't much brighter than the old. Is there something I can feed or do that can help the vibrancy increase?

Anyway, if you decide to look at the photos, you can zoom in on the 3rd pic and see Nugget there on a decor log he or she seems to be quite happy in the house. And has quickly learned I'm Mom! We're already bonding. And I can say Nugget is loved and will be well cared for :)
Any advice or feedback will be greatly appreciated.
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Ink

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Welcome to the forum.
 

EppsDynasty

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@SassiPaws ... Welcome to the bestest Turtle and Tortoise place on Earth. I am not really an expert but do have some time under my belt of caring and housing for Turtles. My experience in taking in Turtles that are not used to Pellets or eating a "Man Made" diet is it takes time and patience. You can get them to eat whatever it is you want them to by being consistent and deliberate. I use Mazuri Aquatic Turtle Food as the staple food, and get everyone to eat this before moving on to other options. The Mazuri has a great smell to the turtles and once they get the taste they love it which makes it a lot easier. I start by feeding every other day the food I am trying to get them to eat, give it 1 hour. If they do not eat it I remove it, give em time to get hungry. With this method I have been able to get Turtles to accept eating pellets within 2 weeks almost every time. You have to make them "Want" the food you are trying to get them to eat. Be consistent on feeding the same food and eventually they will eat it.
 

Markw84

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Hi, and welcome to the Forum.

Your turtle looks like a hatchling that overwintered in the nest and emerged when weather warmed late spring. So it may well have hatched last fall, but did not emerge from the nest until April or so.

Your tank is a good size for a hatchling. With painted turtles, once they are eating well, I do give them all the room in the tank and water that is as deep as you like in the tank. They are great swimmers and do not need shallow water. You have plenty of basking areas to get out of the water, but I would suggest adding some fake, plastic plants in the water to give the turtle places to feel more secure. In the wild, they would spend most all their time hanging in plants in the water. I get the 6 foot long plastic garland from a hobby store like Michaels. Cut 2-3 feet of it and place it in the water. It will make a huge difference in the way your turtle will feel.

I do use the Reptomin baby formula pellets for hatchlings. I like the extra calcium and D3 it contains. I start hatchling on bloodworms as you did, and then take 2-4 weeks to transition in pellets. Once a bit bigger I introduce the Mazuri Aquatic Turtle pellets. A high protein diet is a good diet for turtles. A baby painted turtle will not show a lot of interest in vegetable matter.

Looks like you are doing a great job with the only change I would suggest - add some plants for natural cover.
 

SassiPaws

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@SassiPaws ... Welcome to the bestest Turtle and Tortoise place on Earth. I am not really an expert but do have some time under my belt of caring and housing for Turtles. My experience in taking in Turtles that are not used to Pellets or eating a "Man Made" diet is it takes time and patience. You can get them to eat whatever it is you want them to by being consistent and deliberate. I use Mazuri Aquatic Turtle Food as the staple food, and get everyone to eat this before moving on to other options. The Mazuri has a great smell to the turtles and once they get the taste they love it which makes it a lot easier. I start by feeding every other day the food I am trying to get them to eat, give it 1 hour. If they do not eat it I remove it, give em time to get hungry. With this method I have been able to get Turtles to accept eating pellets within 2 weeks almost every time. You have to make them "Want" the food you are trying to get them to eat. Be consistent on feeding the same food and eventually they will eat it.
Thanks you for helping. I'll look for the Mazuri food. I have been feeding everyday since Nugget is so small. But I'll take your advice and let him getting hungry then try. As you know though, it'll be hard watching him beg lol
 

SassiPaws

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Welcome aboard. Nugget sounds like a lucky find. For transitioning Nugget to pellets, consistency is key. Try Mazuri Aquatic Turtle Food and be patient. Feeding every other day and removing uneaten food after an hour can help. Eventually, Nugget should develop a taste for pellets. Best of luck with Nugget's diet and care journey.
Thanks,, it was a lucky find! I'm thrilled to have Nugget and thankful the filter didn't drown him/her!
And thanks for the welcome :)
 

SassiPaws

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Hi, and welcome to the Forum.

Your turtle looks like a hatchling that overwintered in the nest and emerged when weather warmed late spring. So it may well have hatched last fall, but did not emerge from the nest until April or so.

Your tank is a good size for a hatchling. With painted turtles, once they are eating well, I do give them all the room in the tank and water that is as deep as you like in the tank. They are great swimmers and do not need shallow water. You have plenty of basking areas to get out of the water, but I would suggest adding some fake, plastic plants in the water to give the turtle places to feel more secure. In the wild, they would spend most all their time hanging in plants in the water. I get the 6 foot long plastic garland from a hobby store like Michaels. Cut 2-3 feet of it and place it in the water. It will make a huge difference in the way your turtle will feel.

I do use the Reptomin baby formula pellets for hatchlings. I like the extra calcium and D3 it contains. I start hatchling on bloodworms as you did, and then take 2-4 weeks to transition in pellets. Once a bit bigger I introduce the Mazuri Aquatic Turtle pellets. A high protein diet is a good diet for turtles. A baby painted turtle will not show a lot of interest in vegetable matter.

Looks like you are doing a great job with the only change I would suggest - add some plants for natural cover.
Thanks Markw84 for your advice and support. Would it be ok if I call you Mark? Feel free to call me Sassi.
I too thought it hatched last year once I learned that could happen. I'm thrilled I found Nugget. With your help and others in the forum, I think Nugget will have a great life with us.

I'll definitely look for the Mazuri food, another member suggested the same. I've been feeding daily, my inexperience made me feed as I do my fish. Now I see I've been overfeeding which explains Nugget being fussy. Also there's been a little curving of the shell near the hip area on one side. Is that a result of to much protein? Once I start the proper feeding regime, can that be corrected over time? I'll hold off with the greens and fruit until Nugget eats pellets better and is older. I've also been sitting in the same spot during feeding so Nugget knows it's time to eat.

I do have a couple plastic plants that Nugget likes to hide behind or sleep at night, but I can get some garland. I think he/she would like that. Nugget likes to nibble on both water hyacinth and plastic plants.
Thanks for the tank advice also! I'd love to open the rest of the swimming area and add more water. I'm sure Nugget would appreciate the space. I guess I was afraid if the water was too deep he/she would be overwhelmed or could drown. I'll try raising the water level a few inches at a time.

Thanks again for your advice. Being new here, I'm not sure how to thank everyone, but it's greatly appreciated!
Have a great day!
 

SassiPaws

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I'll take some closer photos when I can. I just finished taking the barriers down and Nugget's checking it out, I don't want to add stress. I'm taking Mark's ( sorry Mark, I forgot your full username ) advice and opening the swim area. Thanks for asking, I'll try later today when I can hold Nugget
 

Markw84

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I'll definitely look for the Mazuri food, another member suggested the same. I've been feeding daily, my inexperience made me feed as I do my fish. Now I see I've been overfeeding which explains Nugget being fussy. Also there's been a little curving of the shell near the hip area on one side. Is that a result of to much protein? Once I start the proper feeding regime, can that be corrected over time? I'll hold off with the greens and fruit until Nugget eats pellets better and is older. I've also been sitting in the same spot during feeding so Nugget knows it's time to eat.
The Mazuri is good. I use it as I have so many turtles to feed and can buy the big 25 lb bags. A good koi pellet is also a great food and well balanced for most aquatic turtles. It contains both the protein and the vegetable matter - so great for a turtle food.

The curling of the shell is caused by excessive IRA in the basking area. The same thing that can contribute to pyramiding in tortoises. Looking back at your post I get the feeling you are using a Mercury Vapor basking bulb? If so, that could be the issue. I like to use a low wattage incandescent bulb for basking along side a small tube fluorescent for UVB. The UVB should extend over the basking area AND a portion of the water where there is some plants to hang in. A good amount of turtle basking is done floating in plants near the surface.
 

SassiPaws

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The Mazuri is good. I use it as I have so many turtles to feed and can buy the big 25 lb bags. A good koi pellet is also a great food and well balanced for most aquatic turtles. It contains both the protein and the vegetable matter - so great for a turtle food.

The curling of the shell is caused by excessive IRA in the basking area. The same thing that can contribute to pyramiding in tortoises. Looking back at your post I get the feeling you are using a Mercury Vapor basking bulb? If so, that could be the issue. I like to use a low wattage incandescent bulb for basking along side a small tube fluorescent for UVB. The UVB should extend over the basking area AND a portion of the water where there is some plants to hang in. A good amount of turtle basking is done floating in plants near the surface.
I've got plenty of Koi food I'll try that too. I'm hoping to be able to introduce Nugget back into the Koi pond one day. My Koi are quite large about 5 lbs, so I'm hoping there won't be any conflict.

What is IRA, I've not heard of that before?
I'm looking at the box the bulb came in. It's a Zoo Med 60w daylight reptile bulb. This one we got on Chewy, it has a turtle pic on it. I'm betting that's why my partner bought it. It says it provides UVA, maybe the bulb is the problem. I'll get the right bulb and see if that will help. I should have looked at it closer.

I took your advice and removed the barriers. I can't add too much water at this point. I'm using rocks to protect Nugget from getting stuck between the basking tray and glass. And of course, that's weighing the tray down so it can't float yet. Hopefully he/she will get bigger soon so that won't be an issue.
Thanks again for your help. I know it'll take some time with a new bulb, but I'll update on how Nugget's doing with a proper UVB.
 

SassiPaws

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Welcome to the forum.
Nice to meet you Ink. Thanks for the welcome! When I can, I hope to find threads of owner with photos of their turtles. I've always thought they are so cute, and smart. Nugget and I got very lucky finding each other 😊
He/she was so wore out from hanging while the filter was pulling 1000 gl an hr. Nugget's a warrior!
 
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