Turtle Fungal Infection Symptoms & Treatments (External Vs Internal)

Turtles are susceptible to a variety of fungal infections, which can cause serious health problems. Fungal infections can be difficult to treat and may require long-term treatment.

External fungal infections


These emerge as solid white lumps around the toes and eyes, then spread to other parts of the legs and neck. The fungus may also grow in areas where the skin or shell has been damaged.


In very mild instances, merely painting the afflicted region with high-grade aquarium medicine and ensuring sufficient water quality may suffice. It is also strongly advised to add a little salt (5 to 10 grammes per litre) and medicine to the water. Most anti-fungal and anti-bacterial aquarium treatments include components that are effective in treating fungus and are safe for turtles, whether applied to the skin or mixed into the water.

If your turtle is more badly impacted by external fungus, or if you are unclear about how severe the illness is, combined therapy is the best option. This therapy involves painting the afflicted region and giving the turtle a medicinal salt bath (details), and it may also be useful for turtles with internal illnesses. The use of this therapy for external fungus ensures that any undiscovered locations of infection are treated and that the infection does not move to the bloodstream.

Internal infections


The turtle’s underlegs and shell may be pink, or the underside of the shell may be pink. The turtle will be sedentary and will not eat. External fungal infections are also possible.


Internal fungal infections may be difficult to treat properly. We propose giving the turtle a medicinal salt bath as described below, as well as painting any exterior infection locations with an aquarium anti-fungal treatment.

How to treat turtles with a medicated salt bath?

The medicinal bath may be administered in either the aquarium or a separate container. Which is better will depend on the circumstances. If your tank is huge or you have more than one turtle, you should definitely treat each one separately. However, if the aquarium is tiny or the turtle is too big to be treated in another container, therapy may be done in the tank. Even if treated in a separate container, it is advised that you are regularly clean and replace the aquarium’s water, as well as treat it with some salt (3 to 5 grammes per litre) and a half-dose of medicine. This will protect any other turtles you have from fungal diseases and will give the optimum environment for the treated turtle to be returned to prevent re-infection.

When a turtle gets fungus, it may become quite feeble, particularly if it is young. As a result, it is preferable to create a small bath with water only deep enough to cover the shell. The turtle does not have to swim up for air this way. However, since you want the turtle to remain mainly submerged while being treated, this is the one moment when you should not provide it with a place to come out of the water.

A temperature of between 24°C and 26°C is ideal for treating your turtle, but it must not be too chilly (below 20°C). Place the container or aquarium in a warm location, and if required, add aquarium heating. Filtration is normally unnecessary at this time since you don’t need to feed the turtle (it’s unlikely to eat anyhow) and you’ll need to replace part of the water anyway.

Use 10 grammes of sea or aquarium salt per litre of bath water, as well as the full prescribed dosage of an aquarium anti-fungal treatment. Paint the medicine on the problematic portions of the turtle’s skin as well. At least half of the water in the bath should be replaced every day, and remember to add additional salt and medicine when you do (but only enough to treat the amount of new water). The turtle should be disturbed as little as possible, except by changing the water.

The duration of therapy depends on the severity of the fungus; for surface fungi, 3 to 5 days is typically adequate; for interior infections, a week or more may be required. After a few days, the turtle should seem more energetic, and you may try feeding it some food (try a few frozen worms or some dried shrimp).

Look for any symptoms of fungus on the turtle. If it seems to be better, you may return it to the aquarium or replenish it if it was used for therapy. To ensure that therapy is thorough, maintain proper water quality with a little salt and medicine. Keep the turtle in shallow medicated water if it seems to be free of exterior fungus but is still listless, feeble, or hesitant to feed.

Until it starts eating, tempt it with dry shrimp or frozen bloodworms. If the turtle is particularly weak, it may take many days, if not weeks, to recover completely. You may return the turtle to the tank or gradually raise the water level if it is being treated in the aquarium after it is eating and clear of other symptoms. However, while the turtle is healing, be sure to offer it clean water (including some salt and medicine if necessary), warmth, and lots of resting spots.

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