How to Get Rid of Fungus on Map Turtles

Written by ann lapan
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How to Get Rid of Fungus on Map Turtles
Map turtles can sometimes contract fungal infections. (turtle image by JASON WINTER from

Map turtles, also known as sawback turtles, are native to the continental United States. They are often considered similar in appearance to painted turtles. However, because the map turtle's natural habitat is so widespread, there is a diverse assortment of map turtles, each with its own colouring and appearance. Like other turtle species, map turtles can sometimes contract a fungus. This fungus, which is usually a fuzzy or pasty white, green or yellow growth on the skin or shell of the turtle, is not only unpleasant to look at but can cause some health problems.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Chlorine
  • Antifungal turtle dip
  • Antifungal turtle ointment
  • Aquarium salt
  • Sulfa turtle drugs
  • Vitamin C

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  1. 1

    Move the turtle to a temporary hospital tank and wash the turtle's habitat with chlorine. You should always keep the turtle's habitat and water clean, since a dirty habitat leads to fungus. The special chlorine wash helps to remove any residual fungus.

  2. 2

    Rinse the habitat well to remove all traces of chlorine.

  3. 3

    Scrape or brush all the fungus gently from the turtle's shell and skin.

  4. 4

    Create an anti-fungal dip for your turtle. You can find these dips at pet supply stores. Follow the instructions on the dip package.

  5. 5

    Let the turtle dry completely.

  6. 6

    Dab an anti-fungal ointment onto any areas of the turtle that were infected with fungus.

  7. 7

    Reintroduce your turtle to the tank. If you have other unaffected turtles, keep the infected turtle in a separate tank.

  8. 8

    Add a small amount of aquarium salt to the water portions of the turtle habitat. Aquarium salt can help reduce fungus growth. Add up to a quarter cup of salt for every five gallons of water to treat fungal infections.

  9. 9

    Add sulfa drugs to the habitat. Sulfa products can help to reduce fungus growth. Follow the directions on the sulfa drugs package.

  10. 10

    Give your turtle a small amount of vitamin C with its normal food.

  11. 11

    Repeat steps 3 through 7 for several days or until the fungus completely disappears.

  12. 12

    Bring your turtle to a veterinarian if you still can't get rid of the fungus.

Tips and warnings

  • Provide a spacious living area for your turtle. Turtles that don't have enough room dirty their area quickly, which can cause fungus growth. Cramped turtles may also become stressed. This lowers their immunity and allows fungus to grow.
  • Always feed your turtle a varied diet of highly nutritious foods. Good nutrition makes for healthier turtles, and healthy turtles grow less fungus.
  • Provide a spot out of the water in the habitat for your map turtle to bask on. Make sure this area is well lit, either with natural sunlight of artificial aquarium light. This space allows the turtle to dry out somewhat, escaping the constant damp that can cause fungus.
  • To suppress fungus under everyday conditions, use a tbsp of aquarium salt for every five gallons of water.

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