Taking Care of Baby Red-eared Slider Turtle

Taking Care of Baby Red-eared Slider Turtle

If you have just brought home a baby red-eared slider turtle, congratulations! This little guy is going to need some extra special care if he’s going to grow up healthy and strong. In this guide, we will go over everything you need to know about taking care of your new pet turtle. From providing the right habitat to feeding him the right food, we’ve got you covered. So read on and learn how to be a great turtle parent!

Related Article: How To Clean A Red-Eared Slider Turtle Shell?

What do healthy baby turtles look like?

The first thing you should look for when you purchase a baby turtle is its shell. The shell should be hard, not rubbery, and free of any cracks or chips. It should have a green color with red or yellow stripes on its head and neck. If the turtle is sick, you will notice that its shell will be dull and it may have mucus around its nose.

If it has a white layer on its shell then it means that either the turtle is not getting enough calcium or it has been living in the hard water tank. You may have to feed your red-eared turtle plenty of calcium supplements to cure calcium deficiency.

Next thing is to check its shell for any shell disease like shell rot or broken shell. A broken shell means the turtle may have been injured, so it is important to take it to the vet. If you notice any red or white spots on its shell then it means that your turtle has a shell disease or shell rot and you need to take it to the vet immediately.

Another thing to look for is its eyes. Healthy turtles have clear and bright eyes. If the eyes are cloudy or sunken, it means that the turtle is not getting enough food or is sick.

Lastly, check if it swims properly. A healthy turtle should be able to swim quickly and smoothly. If it sinks to the bottom or floats on the surface, then it means that something is wrong with its health.

If you want to purchase a baby red-eared slider turtle, it is important to do your research first and find a reputable breeder or pet store. This way, you can be sure that you are getting a healthy turtle.

What to feed baby red-eared sliders?

One of the most common questions I get from new turtle parents is “What do I feed my baby red-eared slider?” And it’s a great question! Baby turtles have very specific dietary needs that are different from their adult counterparts.

In general, baby turtles should be fed a diet that is high in protein and low in fat. This is because their growing bodies need lots of protein to build new tissue, but they can’t process fat very well. A good diet for a baby red-eared slider should include:

  • Turtle pellets: Turtle pellets are a great source of protein and essential nutrients for your turtle. Look for a brand that is specifically formulated for baby turtles. Check our recommended turtle pellets for your baby turtle.
  • Insects: Baby turtles love to eat insects! crickets, mealworms, and earthworms are all great options.
  • Vegetables and fruits: Baby turtles should also have a few vegetables and fruits in their diet for vitamins and fiber. Some good options include kale, collard greens, spinach, carrots, apples, and blueberries.

As your turtle grows, you can slowly start to introduce more fat into its diet. Adult turtles can eat a diet that is around 20% fat, but babies should be closer to 12-15%. This can be achieved by adding things like chicken, fish, or beef to their diet, as well as higher-fat vegetables like peas and corn.

One of the most important things to remember when feeding your baby turtle is to avoid feeding it food that is too large. Baby turtles have small mouths and can’t eat food that is too big. This can lead to choking or difficulty swallowing. Cut their food into small pieces that they can easily eat.

Another important thing to remember is to never feed your turtle food that has been treated with pesticides or chemicals. These can be very harmful to your turtle and can make them sick. Only give them fresh, organic food.

How often should I feed my baby red-eared slider?

It’s important not to overfeed your baby red-eared slider turtle. They should be fed every day, but only a small amount at a time. You can use the 10-minute method to figure out how much to feed your turtle. This means that you should only offer food for ten minutes and then remove any uneaten food. This will help you prevent overfeeding and ensure that your turtle is getting the right amount of food.

Another way to feed your baby RES turtle is to give them food as much as can fit in their head. This way, you can be sure that they’re not overeating and getting the right amount of food.

Red-eared sliders should be given food daily until their shell size becomes around three to four inches. After that, you can start feeding them every other day.

It’s important not to underfeed your baby red-eared slider turtle as well. They need enough food to grow and be healthy. If you’re not sure how much to feed them, you can always ask your veterinarian for help.

What do I do if my baby red-eared slider won’t eat?

If your baby red-eared slider turtle is not eating, there are a few things you can do to try and get them to start eating again.

The first thing you should do is check the water quality in their tank. If the water is dirty, it could be causing your turtle stress which will lead to them not wanting to eat. Clean the water and make sure the filter is working properly.

You should also check the temperature of the water. If it is too cold, your turtle will not be active and may not want to eat. Red-eared slider turtles need a warm environment to be healthy and active. Try raising the temperature of the water a few degrees and see if that gets them to start eating.

If the water quality and temperature are both fine, then you may need to try a different type of food. Baby red-eared turtles are mostly carnivores. Try offering them live foods such as crickets or earthworms. You can also offer them frozen or freeze-dried foods such as shrimp or krill. Some turtles also like to eat vegetables. Offer them a variety of foods and see what they will eat.

If your turtle still is not eating, then it might be feeling stressed due to certain reasons. Maybe there is not enough space in their tank or they do not have enough hiding spots. Turtles like to feel safe and secure, so make sure their environment is suitable for them. Avoid touching or holding your turtle as it will only make them more stressed. Sometimes turtles also get stressed due to noise or when people pass by their tank too often. Try to create a quiet and peaceful environment for your turtle.

If after trying all of these things your turtle still will not eat, then it might be sick. Take them to the vet to get checked out and find out what is wrong. Once they are feeling better, they will start eating again.

Baby red-eared slider turtle tank setup

One of the most important things you need to do for your baby red-eared slider turtle is to set up its tank correctly. This means having the right size tank, with a proper basking platform, hiding spots, and clean water. Water filters, UV lights, and water heaters are some of the most crucial things which they would need for a healthy life.

Here are the detailed requirements for each of these aspects of their tank setup:

Tank size

For one baby red-eared slider turtle, you will need at least a 30-40-gallon capacity tank. If you have more than one turtle, you will need an additional gallon of water per turtle. Red-eared sliders spend most of their time in the water so they would require a larger space. Ideally, it should have 10 gallons of water for every one inch of the turtle’s shell. As red eared sliders grow rapidly a larger tank would save your money and time as you wouldn’t need to get a new tank for them every few months.

Basking platform

Basking dock is where your turtle will go to bask in the sun or UV light and dry off. It should be large enough for them to fully stretch out their body, and it should be at one end of the tank so they can easily get to it from the water. The basking platform can be made of different materials like rocks, logs, or even floating rafts. Just make sure it is safe for your turtle and can support its weight.

Hiding spots

Hiding spots are important for turtles as they provide a place for them to feel safe and secure. It can be something as simple as a cave made out of rocks or a log. Just make sure it is the right size for your turtle and that there are no sharp edges that could hurt them.


Water is one of the most important things for red-eared slider turtles. It should be clean and free of any chemicals or pollutants. The water should also be deep enough for them to swim and dive in. A good rule of thumb is to have at least water that should be about twice as deep as your turtle is long. Make sure you are using distilled water or de-chlorinated water. In case you are using tap water, then using a water conditioner is advisable. Check our recommended list of turtle-safe water conditioners.

Water filters

Water filters are important to keep the water clean and free of any harmful bacteria. There are many different types of filters available, so you will need to choose one that is best for your turtle’s needs. A three-stage filter would do just fine for baby turtles.

If you have more than one turtle in the tank then you might require a more heavy-duty filter to clean some extra poop. The water filter should be kept on the entire time for a clean tank. It is advised to get a filter that can filter out double the tank capacity.

For example, a 20-gallon water capacity filter would be needed for a 10-gallon tank. It is because most filters are for use in a fish aquarium, not a turtle one. Fishes create much less mess than a turtle, and so a more powerful filter would be required.

Find out the best water filter for your turtle tank.

UV lights

UV lights are important for baby turtles as they help to promote their growth and keep them healthy. It is advised to get a full-spectrum UV light that emits both UVA and UVB rays. UVB light helps turtle’s bodies produce vitamin D, which is important for their health.

Vitamin D helps turtles to absorb calcium, which is important for their shell growth. UVA light helps to keep your turtle’s mood healthy and also aids in their vision.

The UV light should be placed over the basking platform so that your turtle can bask in it and absorb the rays. The light should be on for about 12 hours a day to mimic their natural environment. Find out some best recommendations for UV light for your baby slider.

Water heaters

Water heaters are important for keeping the water at the right temperature for your turtle. The ideal water temperature for a red-eared slider is about 78-80 degrees Fahrenheit.

You will need to get a water heater that can heat the entire tank of water. It is advised to get a submersible water heater as they are much safer than the ones that go on the outside of the tank.

Make sure you get a thermometer to monitor the water temperature so that it does not get too hot or too cold.

Why is my baby red-eared slider not basking?

One of the most common problems that baby red-eared slider owners face is that their turtle isn’t basking. This can be really worrying, as basking is essential for turtles’ health.

There are a few reasons why your baby turtle might not be basking. The first reason could be that the tank isn’t big enough. Baby turtles need a lot of space to move around, and if they don’t have enough space they won’t be able to get to the basking spot.

Another reason could be that the basking spot isn’t warm enough. Turtles need a basking spot that’s about 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius). If the basking spot isn’t warm enough, your turtle won’t be able to thermoregulate properly and could get sick.

The last reason could be that there aren’t enough hiding spots in the tank. Turtles like to have a lot of places to hide, and if they don’t feel safe they won’t come out to bask.

Sometimes, baby turtles avoid basking when they are newly introduced in the tank. This is because they are still getting used to their new environment and they need some time to feel comfortable. If your turtle is avoiding basking for this reason, just give them some time and they should start basking eventually.

Read more about when do turtles stop basking.

Common health issue in baby red-eared slider turtle

Baby red-eared sliders are very much vulnerable to health problems. Some of the most common health issues are shell rot, eye infection, vitamin deficiency, metabolic bone disease, and respiratory infections. If not treated on time, these health problems can be fatal for your baby turtle.

Let’s understand each of these in more detail.

Shell rot

One of the most common issues you’ll face while taking care of your baby red-eared slider turtle is shell rot. It’s a condition that happens when their shell becomes cracked or damaged, which then leads to an infection. The good news is, that it’s treatable with the help of a veterinarian. Clean tank water with regular washing of turtle shells would help keep shell diseases in check. Providing turtles with basking lamps would also help keep their shell dry and free from any bacterial or fungal attack.

Read more about shell diseases in turtles.

Eye infection

Another common health issue is eye infections. Baby turtles are more prone to them because they have a weak immune system. The best way to prevent this is by keeping their habitat clean and taking them to the vet for regular check-ups. Turtle poop when decomposes it releases ammonia which is very harmful to their eyes and can cause infections. Keeping tank water clean and keeping your water filter on all the time can help prevent this.

Vitamin deficiency

Baby turtles can also suffer from vitamin deficiencies if they’re not getting the right nutrients in their diet. This can lead to metabolic bone disease, which is a serious condition that weakens their bones. To prevent this, make sure you’re feeding them a variety of foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals.

Metabolic bone disease

Metabolic bone disease is a serious condition that can occur if your turtle isn’t getting the right nutrients in its diet. This can lead to weakened bones and deformities. One common problem is turtle shell pyramiding, which is when the shell grows abnormally. To prevent this, make sure you’re feeding them a variety of foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals. Avoid overfeeding your baby turtle as it can also cause shell pyramiding.

Respiratory infection

Respiratory infections are also common in baby turtles. They can be caused by bacteria or viruses, and they can be deadly if not treated immediately. Signs of respiratory infection in baby red-eared sliders are wheezing, sneezing, and gasping for air. If you notice any of these symptoms, take them to the vet right away.

These are some of the most common health problems that you might face while taking care of your baby red-eared slider turtle. However, with proper care and treatment, they can be easily prevented. The best way to prevent this is by keeping their habitat clean and taking them to the vet for regular check-ups.


Raising a baby red-eared slider turtle is not as difficult as it may seem. As long as you provide them with the right environment and food, they will thrive. Be sure to keep an eye on their water quality and temperature, and make sure they have plenty of places to hide. A healthy diet for your little slider should include insects, vegetables, fruits, and plenty of turtle pellets. With a little love and care, your baby turtle will grow into a happy and healthy adult!