Baby Turtle wont eat

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Scarlet knight

Aquarium Advice Apprentice
Jan 2, 2011
Allentown, Pa
We bought a baby hatchling Map Turtle at a reptile expo over the weekend. I was told it eats commercial turtle pellets. I bought it Saturday, it is now Monday night and it hasn't eaten yet.
I have been placing it in a separate dish to feed. It doesn't take a nibble. I tried Repto-min, small carrot peelings, grape slices, spring mix... Not a bite. I have also rubbed pieces of food around it's mouth area to try to stimulate feeding and can't engage it to eat...Tonight I placed a few pieces of Repto-min in the tank with it, if the filter doesn't get it first...
Any advice? I'm nervous and I don't want to loose this little critter!
Keep him in the tank to feed, this is where he will be the most relaxed.

ReptoMin is not worth feeding, get Zoo Med and/or Nutrafin Max Turtle Gammarus pellets. You can also feed high quality fish foods (they eat the same things in the same ecosystem).

What is the water temp?
What is the basking temp?
What lighting do you have? (Please be exact.)
What size tank?
You can turn off the filter while you feed if it is an issue.
The lighting is a 100 watt bulb on a heat lamp. Also have a 10 gallon sized florescent strip light. It is in a ten gallon. Water temp is 76 f. Lights are off right now. I will record basking temp in AM. Water temp is 76 f.
Bring the water temp up to about 80F. Do you have a fill spectrum UVB bulb? If not you need one. You can get one for the fluorescent fixture. Get at least 8.0 UVB if not 10.0 (the box will have those numbers on it). While you are there get the better foods. The basking temp should be at least 10 degrees warmer than the water.
I know my turtle wont eat if its out of the water. His tank is filled with water and has three stacked stones in the one corner for when he wants to "sunbath". You could also try feeding it bugs or turtle loves it when we find him a bug. If you cant find any a place like petland always carries live bugs of some sort.

*by "filled with water" i mean 6 or 7 inches of water in the tank...a baby would probably only need about 3
Have you tried buying a bunch of Anacharis from your LFS? Map turtles eating habits are reverse that of those of most other turtles their diet is mostly vegetarian as hatchlings becoming carnivorous as they mature.
Thanks for all the suggestions...I have raised water temp to 80 f. Purchased the zoo med turtle food. Starting feeding in its tank...Still hasn't gone for it...

I bought a zoo med basking bulb, basking temp is 80 f. should I get a higher wattage bulb? Will higher wattage = higher temp?

I priced the full spectrum fluorescent bulb- only saw the UVB ratings in 2,5, & 10. The 10 UVB bulb would be too big for my lamp, protruding out., and was 30$. They had 10 UVB 18 inch strip bulbs for 24$- will they suffice? That way I wouldn't have to purchase the deep lamp as well.

I have taken a few strands of anacharis from my fish tank and floated it in there as well... Hopefully it'll munch on it...

Thanks for all your advice. It is much appreciated... Just will feel better when it's eating...
Whatever UVB 10 bulb that fits your fluorescent fixture is fine.

Yes, higher wattage heat bulb will mean a warmer basking area. Just double check the max wattage of the fixture.
I bought the Zoo med 10 UVB/15 watt strip lamp/ full spectrum. Question: it seems like less light is omitted from this bulb, a blue-er duller light. Is this normal?
I was thinking maybe it would be brighter...

I tried feeding it a red wiggler and a small mealie worm, no luck, I still have not observed it eat.
Have you tried the Frozen Blood Worms? He might go for that maybe. If not any fish will gobble them down.
turtles are omnivores, and actually eat very little animals. How big are you talking when you say hatchling? 1" or 2" in size? you can try feeder guppies, they are really small and might entice it to eat, if not itll get to it later.

I have a RES and shes a big girl now but she rarely eats meats or pellets she loves her fruits and veggies.
You can get duckweed and alot of it and throw it in the tank. They can go for a long period of time without eating but I dont think yours has any reserves built up to do that.
Guppies, small snails, ghost shrimp, etc. are all good options. So are the plants (which may bring in the snails for you).

It is not the brightness of the light that is critical, the new one has enough light in the right part of the spectrum. This is what is critical in making vitamin D3, which is vital for them to use calcium, which is vital for them to maintain a healthy shell. This along with a complete and balanced diet will make a healthy turtle. Then it is just a matter of keeping the water clean.
I had a similar problem when I had a baby turtle, he didn't feed for a few days, I put ghost shrimp in and after a few days of sharing the tank with them he ate them up, then after a week he was eating pellets and carrot peel, just make the habitat a stress free as possible to encourage Him to eat.

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