Turtle Seems Depressed & Sad?

Question from Michelle:
Hi, I have a four year old yellow belly slider. I recently moved back in with my parents since I have graduated college. I have been here for a couple of weeks, and she was fine. Until this week, she has been “begging.” (swimming fast on top of the surface water causing splashing sounds).



I have done some research and all I could find was either she IS begging or stressed out. I have a 18×16 inch tank, and she is about 7-8 inches wide right now. (I know she will grow a bit more in the next year)

She has numerous of food to choose from–pellets, plants, fish, mineral stick, dried shrimp, meal worms and crickets. There is a bit more traffic by the tank, and wooden floors. (Before, I lived in a single apartment with carpet floors) Considering I am recently graduated, looking a career job, and have a retail part time job now… Money is a bit tight. My first question is, is she stressing out or begging? If she is stressing I will shell out the graduate money I received in order to be a responsible turtle mom, but I want to make sure that is the case before spending a ton when I should not until I find my career job. (I really want to hook her up with something big and fantastic that she can live the rest of her life in) My second question, and final, is if I do have to buy a bigger tank, what size do you recommend? I am assuming since she is female she will be around 9-12 inches wide when she is done growing next year. Thank you for your advice, I apologize for the lengthy comment but you understand.


Answer from Chris W:
It seems to me that your turtle is in WAY TO SMALL of a cage for it’s growth. You say the turtle is 7-8 inches long or wide, and the tank is only 18 inches long. That is the measurement of a 10 gallon aquarium and I want to preach to you about LACKING to keep up with the growth of the turtle. A yellow belly slider is going to need a 55 gallon tank at bare minimum once it grows a little bit. That means that a 55 gallon tank is around 45-50 inches long if that gives you an idea of how large the tank should be. I’m guessing maybe your turtle is just swimming around and wanting to do something with itself.. BOREDOM and just like the idea of you being stuck inside of a small closet for every single hour of the day. Upgrade your tank to a 55 gallon aquarium.

Answer from Pete R:
Buying tanks that are larger is not even that expensive. Do not go to Pet Smart and buy a 55 gallon tank because they are a total rip off there. Get on craigslist and start looking for a used one. It doesn’t have to be super nice because turtles usually have dirtier tanks than fish anyhow. And walmart has a deal right now on a 75 gallon aquarium with a huge filter for $140 dollars roughly. (give or take). Keeping a filter that will keep up is also very important.




Answer from Mark P:
Try some live minnows in the tank with the turtle too. They needs things to do like swim after fish and play with things. Fish are a great addition. The more you can make your tank look like real habitat to them the better your tank will be and the healthier your turtle will be in the long run. Don’t take what these guys are saying too harsh because lots of people do the same things with putting a turtle in too small of a tank. It starts as a baby and they think its alright and then it grows and the thought of upgrading the tank with their growth just gets forgotten about. Your turtle will be much happier with a larger tank though.. FOR SURE.

One Comment

  1. C R Riley

    How do you know if a turtle has a fungus or or just needs to be scrubbed more often. My turtle I have had for one year and I have never had this problem, but a friend gave me a turtle he did not have time to take care of any longer, and after giving the new turtle a bath I noticed he had long stringy stuff hanging off of him. Does any one what this could be?

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