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Pelodiscus sinensis (Chinese Softshell Turtle)

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Large turtle with a flattened, rather leathery shell, a long neck, and a distinctive tubular snout. Juveniles are speckled brownish-green above and orange with distinctive black patches on the underside. As they mature these colours fade and the turtle becomes essentially drab green.

Primarily a food animal, these turtles are farmed in large numbers in Asia. Some specimens turn up in aquarium stores.

Fish information (behaviour and breeding):

Omnivores, these turtles will eat most foods but the diet should be varied to avoid problems with constipation and vitamin deficiency. Small meaty items such as prawns and mussels should be augmented with turtle pellets and green foods such as pond weed (Elodea) and curly lettuce. Take care not to overfeed.

A vicious biter, both towards tankmates and anyone fool enough to handle it without due care.

Almost entirely aquatic, this turtle may leave the water to bask, so at least some dry land under a UV-B lamp should be provided. A ledge just below the water's surface is also appreciated and will be used in the same way. These turtles like to burrow into the sand at the bottom of the aquarium.

Growth rate is extremely rapid, and they can reach full size within a year or two. Obviously this means that they should only be kept in a very large aquarium. Strong filtration and lots of water changes are important because they are very prone to fungal infections of the shell.

Family Group: Amphibians and Reptiles
Distribution East Asia; China, Korea, Taiwan, southeastern Russia, Japan, Vietnam
Temperature 24-28 C
Size Shell length up to 25 cm, usually smaller
Water Parameters Adaptable, but avoid extremes
Water PH 6.5-8.0
Water Chemistry Adaptable
Diet Adaptable
Sociability Aggressive
Care Level Expert only
Schooling Fish No