Turtle Wont Eat Mealworms or Any Worms?

Topic: Hello, We are pretty new RES parents (to two). Nice to be a part of an active group that we can learn from. Wish mine would let me take pics, but they seem camera shy. Currently we have a 20 gal tank, floating dock, submersible heater, basking lamp, daylight lamp (12 hours), live and artificial plants (want another tall plant as a secondary hideout), of course water conditioner and the right diet (veggies / protein). Anything we are missing? Here is a pic of their home before we made a few tweaks (changed to separate lamps). Also might get a different thermometer. Plan on a 100 gallon after we move next year. Would love feedback!


@Reply: I would take the gravel out as they can swallow it (they grow fast so even if their mouths are too small now they won’t be for long lol) That can be fatal and also you can raise the water level. RES love swimming and are wonderful swimmers even at a young age.

@Reply: What kind of filter are you using?

@Reply: The bottom of my pond is covered in 4 inches of pea gravel. The turtles don’t swallow it.

@Reply: Its only a matter of time. Trust me. I;ve seen the consequences of turtles swallowing gravel. Some times they can just pass it after a few days of constipation but there are some that are severe and need surgery and that is insanely expensive and the turtle may not survive. Its a lot better to take it out and be safe than to take a chance they may not swallow it.

@Reply: Let me qualify my answer, the gravel in the bottom of my pond is larger than the turtles head so they can’t swallow it even if they wanted to. But you are right anything very small could lodge in the throat.

@Reply: as long as the gravel is large thats fine. im talking about people putting the gravel used for fishtanks in with their turtles. thats dangerous.

@Reply: River stones are safe, but hide a lot of waste. I guess ponds with good filtration could use river stones, but tanks with stones only hide waste and make it hard for proper filtration.

@Reply: I agree small tiny gravel can be very dangerous for turtles. I have an excellent filter in my pond so waste is carried away and the pond water is still crystal-clear after a year. But gravel in a tank would hide the waste and make it difficult to clean out anyway. I just found this on the net and think it’s a pretty good article.

@Reply: We have smooth river rocks/stones. Didn’t get gravel as we read that was dangerous and too scratchy for their belly. I chose the bigger rocks from the bag and tossed anything under 1″. I can easily take out anything under 2 1/2″. Put it in to anchor plants. We have a canister filter. Make sure the turtle cage or aquarium is clean too. Water level is actually 4 inches higher than that pic (we were still setting up). Thanks for the advice and the link!

@Reply: Thanks, I hope so. My husband and I are big on researching…pretty much everything, lol. We love our turtles and want to do right by them, so they live a long and happy life. I’m really liking the canister. Do you use a vacuum too for cleaning bottom?

@Reply: for my 55 gallon yes but very rarely. my 150 gallon the adults to a pretty decent job of sturring it up so the canister sucks it up. i use sand in both mine. I also feed them a lot of mealworms. They are a great source of protein but you have to be careful of the mealworm heads some people say.

@Reply: Might go on to sand as well when we upgrade. Any suggestions to encourage them to eat more veggies? Can I withhold food a couple of days, so they are hungry enough to eat more?

@Reply: yes thats usually what you do. turtles normally wont eat veggies until a year old then you dont feed them for a few days and only offer romaine lettuce until they eat. turtles can go months without eating so with holding food for a few days isnt going to hurt them.

@Reply: That’s great to know, thanks! Y’all are great for being so helpful! I never knew how much I like turtles, but now I can’t imagine not having them.

@Reply: My RES loved lettuce from the moment I got him. I always leave a leaf in his tank for him to graze on. I currently feed him pellets everyday because he still isn’t a year yet and needs more protein. He loves the cuttlefish fish bone I put in his tank for extra calcium and he loves his freeze dried mealworm treats and freezes dried shrimp treats.