Fungal Infection

Red-eared slider fungal infections are fairly common, and one of the many reasons why it’s so important to invest in an excellent water filtration system and perform regular water changes.


  • Small raised green patches on the skin or shell
  • Soft/fuzzy white or yellow patches

Don’t mistake the patches of white that normally occur as part of shedding with fungus. Fungus returns when brushed off — shed doesn’t.


  • Poor sanitation
  • Infrequent water changes
  • Cold basking temps
  • Lack of/not enough UVB
  • Inadequate filter


One popular at-home treatment is to put your turtle in a salt bath. You will need sea salt, a 10-gallon tank or tub, and a clean sponge. Add 5 gallons of water and ¼ cup of salt. Water temperature should be between 75-85°F, no hotter. Allow the turtle to soak, scrubbing gently at the affected area(s) with the sponge.

After 30-40 minutes of soaking, remove, swab the area(s) with povidone-iodine solution, and allow the turtle to dry off under a heat lamp before putting them back in their enclosure. Repeat this every day for 2 weeks, and don’t use the sponge for anything else. At the end of the process, throw away the sponge.

If the salt bath doesn’t clear up the problem, make an appointment with an experienced reptile veterinarian. The turtle may need to be dry docked during recovery.


To help prevent your turtle from developing a fungal infection, here are some things you should be doing:

  • Inspect turtle regularly for injuries
  • Install proper filtration
  • Perform regular filter maintenance as needed
  • Quarantine new plants or fish before adding to the enclosure
  • Provide proper lighting and diet
  • Do regular water maintenance


Fungus likely linked to freshwater turtle shell disease. (2019, July 17). Veterinary Practice News.

McArthur, S. (1996). Veterinary Management of Tortoises and Turtles (pp. 74–75). Blackwell Science.

Turtle Fungus (How To Prevent & Treat It). (2020, April 7). All Turtles.

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