Will reach adult size in 12 to 18 months under ideal conditions; upgrade habitat size as your turtle grows.
A well-balanced red-eared slider diet consists of:
- red-eared sliders need a pelleted commercial diet.
- Commercial turtle treats and freeze-dried krill may be given as treats.
- Non-toxic aquatic plants (anachris, water lettuce), dark leafy vegetables and sliced vegetables such as squash and carrots.
- Comet goldfish, earthworms and insects may be offered as treats.
Things to remember when feeding your red-eared slider:
- Fresh, clean, chlorinefree water should be available at all times.
- Feed all turtles daily; need to be fed in water to eat.
- Size - Appropriately sized habitat, at least a 40 gallon breeder tank with a screened lid so the turtle can’t escape. A good rule of thumb is 10 gallons per inch of turtle; adult turtles will require more room.
- Be sure the habitat selected is wide enough o give the turtle room to comfortably turn around.
- Habitat - Aquatic turtles drink the water they swim in, so it needs to be changed frequently.
- Substrate - Slate, rock or gravel that is too large to eat is optional; water for swimming area; some aquatic turtles require a shallow area they can rest in the water with their head sticking out. Red-eared sliders require a turtle dock area to bask out of the water; create basking areas for easy entry and exit to water.
- Temperature - Temperature gradient (95°F for the warm end/basking area and 75°F for the cool end/water); use a basking bulb and submersible heater as primary heat source.
- Lighting - UVB rays with full spectrum lighting for 10 to 12 hours a day is required. Incandescent lighting is needed for basking area.
- House adult aquatic turtles alone and do not house different turtle species together.
- Turtles do not like frequent handling and may bite when frightened.
- Aquatic turtles are excellent swimmers.
- Turtles will bask regularly under a heat lamp in a dry, warm area.
- Keep the habitat clean and remove uneaten food and feces right away.
- Thoroughly clean and disinfect the habitat at least once a week: place turtle in a secure habitat; scrub the tank and furnishings with a 3% bleach solution; rinse thoroughly with water, removing all traces of bleach smell.
- Add clean, dechlorinated water with a temperature range from 70 to 75°F before returning turtle.
Grooming & Hygiene
- Aquatic turtles occasionally replace their individual scutes as they grow.
Signs of a Healthy Animal
- Active and alert
- Eats regularly
- Healthy, hard shell with no lesions
- Clear, bright eyes with no swelling
- Healthy skin with no sores
- Clear nose and vent