This turtle is native to the southern parts of the United States. However, with the increased interest in pet trade today, it is popularly reared as a pet in many parts of the world. If you are among those who love to have pets with a long lifespan, the red-eared slider and other turtle species are an ideal choice.
Although it is said that aquatic turtles require minimal maintenance and grooming, the care for these turtles involves more than just providing an aquatic habitat and regular feeding.
Look out for signs of sickness like a soft shell, sluggish nature, less appetite, or mucous secretion from the nose and mouth.
The size of the tank is not an issue for rearing juvenile sliders. If you are keeping a mature one, it usually grows to more than 10-12 inches, thus requiring an aquarium of about 100 gallon size. In case maintaining a large-sized aquarium is a concern for you, consider keeping your pet in an outdoor pond and erect a secured fence to protect it.
Setting up the Tank
Fill the aquarium or garden pond with enough water so that your turtle can swim freely. Also introduce river rocks to set up a basking area for it. To be more precise, the water quantity should be about 10 gallons per inch of your pet size, while the basking area should be about one-third of the tank size.
The ideal water temperature range is 78-80 °F for hatchlings and juveniles, and 72-76 °F for adults. The air and basking temperature should be 70-80 °F and 80-90 °F respectively. Installing a good filter system is imperative to keep the aquarium water clean.
As this turtle breed is omnivorous, make sure you feed it a correct blend of natural and commercially-sold foods. As per experts, the proper diet is 50 percent vegetables (carrots, lettuce, water hyacinth, duckweed, etc.), 25 percent live foods (earthworms, crickets, shrimp, etc.), and 25 percent commercial foods.
It is best to feed your turtle in a separate tank to maintain cleanliness in the original enclosure.
Although this reptile is a voracious eater, strictly avoid feeding it in excess amounts or more frequently. Uneaten food will rot and soil the aquarium water, making your pet prone to illnesses. Whenever possible, remove the unused food and excretion from the enclosure. A 25 percent water change on a weekly basis is advisable to keep the water clean.
While keeping this wonderful turtle as a pet along with other inhabitants, make sure you keep a keen eye over it. It tends to be very aggressive at times, thus affecting those sharing the same tank. With proper care, you can enjoy the company of your pet for as long as 35 years.