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Dead turtle

One of my turtles died recently, and I'm not sure what to do with the other one. They were tank mates, and I've had them for about 6 or 7 years. I feed them every two or three days, and when I fed them last, he was fine. I've been too busy to spend time watching my turtles recently (family is coming today). Today I went to feed them and Steven's head was covered in white stuff, and he was clearly dead. Now Spike (the other turtle) is kind of lazy and didn't eat the food I offered him. I don't know what to do in terms of tanks/filters/water. I have him in a temporary setting with no circulating water. I don't know what to use to clean the tank and what to do with the filtration system to ensure that Spike is safe. I have no idea why Steven died. He was well fed and his tank was safe and clean as far as I can tell from things I've read. The turtles are red-eared sliders that I got on vacation before I knew better. Someone please help me.

Hey, I have sliders too.

It sounds like a fungal infection. My advice would be to take Spike to a veterinarian who sees "exotics" if possible - if you can't find one, you can call up a regular small animal vet, and they usually have a whole notebook of other vet specialty practices.
In the meantime, I'd dispose of all the water in the tank, even if it looks clean, and wash the rocks/gravel/whatever well as is possible (rinsing, rubbing), and clean out the side of the tank. And clean the filter, and replace the filter pad (I think they all have filter pads? and possibly a carbon inner portion).

Also, I found this online:

"Fungus appears as white or grey specks, furry spots or lumps on the fleshy parts. Any
turtle suffering form this should be seen by a veterinarian specializing in exotic pets.
Adding 1/4-cup table salt to each five gallons of water is a good preventative. Fungus
remedies sold for tropical fish can be added to the water. Shell and skin fungus can
be painted with 2% gentian violet and allowed to dry for 6 hours before putting the
turtle back into clean water. Natural sunlight is beneficial, but be careful not to let
the turtle overheat."

Also, see if you can get the temp of the water (just with a regular thermometer, or pet stores/aquarium places sell cheap sticker thermometers that stick to the tank, though they only estimate the temperature). The water for a slider, I believe, should be 75-80ºF. If the temp is off, aside from impacting the health of the turtles (as they're "cold-blooded"), could promote growth of certain fungi and bacteria.
If possible, give the turtle access to unfiltered (not through glass) sunlight at least 30 minutes per day. Full-spectrum bulbs should theoretically be able to replace sunlight, but in my experience, they're not as good as regular ole sunlight.

I got my turtle before I knew better too. Within 2 weeks of purchasing her, she had life-threatening pneumonia and almost died (the vet was actually surprised she pulled through)... though I realize now she probably already had it when I bought her, turtles are *really* sensitive to their surroundings.
I hope Spike pulls through =)

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Hi, I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your pet turtle...I hope you will seek out veterinary care for the other one....but I just wanted to say something else about his possible behavior.

I had red-eared sliders for several years growing up..Petree and Crystal were tank mates. When Petree died suddenly, we found them in the tank with Crystal touching Petrees front foot with hers. We actually could not tell that Petree was dead at first because when we touched her she seemed to startle. So we took her to the vet, the vet told us she was dead but that turtles have such a reactive nervous system that they will have reflexes still after dying. The vet said Petree died of a turtle flu.--anyways, I told you that to say, we got a cause of death on Petree and also learned that Crystal was not sick.

But what started happening with Crystal was like something I just could not ever have imagined could happen to a TURTLE. She entered a severe depression. She barely moved, she barely ate. She looked sick. She actually looked like she was going to die.  :( After several months of her just getting worse and worse my little brother, sister and myself convinced my parents to let us get another tank mate for her in the hopes that it would cheer her up. So, we got Hercules and Crystal perked up right away. Her whole demeanor changed, where she barely responded to us touching her while she was depressed she began to jovially swim about her tank and sunbath on rocks with her new companion...it was like the difference of night and day immediately.

I later learned that turtles live in colonies and often work cooperatively (they will stack on top of one another to make a sort of ladder with their bodies to get out of a steep enclosure, for example) I really think that turtles are sometimes a species that requires a companion in order to live and be happy (at least if they have always had one) I know I also found desert tortoises in pairs too---and not just mating pairs. Sometimes two young females of similar ages...its kinda weird and I don't have a lot of evidence or research to back up my claim. Its mostly anecdotal, but I wanted to let you know my experiene in the hopes that you can use it to help Spike if that is what is wrong with him.

Keep an eye on your turtle. Maybe have it checked out by a vet and quarantine it for a while...once you know it is physically healthy, if it is still acting depressed it might be time to think about either rescueing another red eared slider (lots of little kids get them and then discover they dont like all the work that goes with it you can probably find one pretty easily on pet finder or something...) Or if you don't want to or cant or take on another new turtle, maybe consider re-homing your turtle to a home with other sliders? I know that either way it will be a hard choice. We had to give our sliders to a friend who is a teacher that would keep them in her classtoom when we moved from sunny, warm Tucson to Maine. :-\ It was sad but I think it was the best thing for them.

I'm wishing you the best of luck! I hope your little guys is feeling better soon! :)>>>  Get well Spike! I hope that he will snap out of it and be healthy and back to his old slf in no time, and that all my ramblings will be for nothiing! Keep us updated, please.

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Yeah, if your turtles were buddies, that might be the case too.

(In my case, my two turtles HATED each other most of the time, and the one turtle seemed happier once the other one went missing . Still, we adopted another turtle, and they seem to get along better since the new one is younger and "inferior". Reptiles are interesting!)

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