Aquarium for the turtle

Turtle aquarium – what do you have to consider?

If you want to buy an aquarium for the turtle, there are a few things you should consider before. In our new Turtle blog post we show you all the facts and fun information you need to know.

Turtle – non-swimmer, seahorse or free swimmer

Even if the title suggests a joke, the most important factor before buying the pool and furnishing is: How well can the turtle swim?

A turtle that can only swim a limited amount of water needs a lot of land and shallow water, otherwise it can drown. Here you should consider whether you would rather choose a terrarium or an aqua-terrarium instead of an aquarium.

Pool size

The basin size of water turtles is often underestimated. In the pet shop the cute little tank carriers are still very young. Of course the turtles are still growing and this growth must be taken into account. You cannot generalize the tank size like in some other manuals, because different species reach different sizes and have different needs. So not only the final size of the adult pet plays an important role, but also whether the turtles have large swimming areas, sun areas or other requirements. After all, all the required areas must be planned into the pool and arranged correctly.

No matter if it is a dwarf turtle or a larger species, the pool should not be smaller than 120×60 cm for a species-appropriate keeping. The more inhabitants of the tank are kept, the larger the tank must be planned.

Equipment for water turtles

Hans / Pixabay

Since all turtles, also water turtles need a part of the land for sunbathing and relaxing, it is technically wrong to talk about an aquarium. Here it concerns an aqua-terrarium. The most important point of the tank is the land zone besides the swimming area. This resting point must offer enough space for all land inhabitants to find a resting place at the same time. Even if probably one or the other water turtle splashes in the water again and again, the sociable animals like to come together to take a sunbath on land.

Exactly here we come to the next important point: The turtles like it sunny and warm. So neither a heat lamp on land nor a heater in the pool should be missing. The heating can be realized economically with a heating rod. This can be adjusted to the optimal temperature and always starts heating when the temperature falls below the desired temperature.

The land area should be easy to reach for the armoured animals. For this purpose a not too steep ascent is necessary, because turtles find it difficult to climb steep areas.

Water quality

Clean water is also a central aspect for healthy animals that feel well. This can be achieved by regular care and a water change, but above all a sufficiently strong water filter. This can be installed in the pool or as an external filter in the outside area of the pool. It is a fallacy that a small amount of water is easier to maintain than a large amount. With little water, the quality tends to tilt more easily into a negative range. So be generous with the elixir of life.

By the way, most complete sets for the turtle have a basin with cover, which is complete nonsense. This creates an unbelievably high humidity which can strain the lungs of the shell and the shell cannot dry. Again, it is important to know exactly what kind of turtle it is and to imitate the natural habitat as perfectly as possible. The turtle will never climb out of the steep wall of the tank, so save the price for the cover.

Do not use sharp edges, otherwise your pets will get hurt.


Planting for turtle tanks is relatively easy to realize. It serves not only to imitate a natural environment, but also to promote healthy water quality. Plants that grow out of the pool are particularly beautiful, but you should take special care that they do not prevent the turtle from swimming. Not every plant is suitable for turtle keeping here. Plants can not only improve the water quality, but also pollute the water by rotting plant remains.

Therefore it is also recommended to maintain the plant stock regularly. Many aquarists generally advise against planting turtles in the tank, as they are eaten and can bring parasites into the tank. Plastic plants are often recommended here. I am not a fan of plastic decoration and in nature the turtle has plants available. Just inform yourself well where your turtle friend comes from and take this into account when planting.

Popular plants for a turtle tank:

  • Sword Plants
  • Bamboo sticks
]The great advantage of sword plants is that they are very robust. But be careful, some plant species are poisonous and you have to observe if your turtle uses them as food.

The most common mistakes in the turtle aquarium

Here once again the most common mistakes you can make when buying and setting up a turtle aquarium:

  1. too small tank
  2. lack of knowledge of the turtle species
  3. wrong and unhealthy food
  4. Ignorance about the life span of the animal
  5. no resting place for sunbathing
  6. restricted swim range
  7. too steep ascent to the rest area
  8. Cleanliness of the pool
  9. Price of acquisition and maintenance

Often the tank is chosen too small and you hear excuses like that the turtle spends most of the time outside the tank and can walk on the floor or in the garden. But running around the house is stressful for the animals and is not necessarily appropriate for the species. Turtles naturally do not like to be lifted. In the wild, this only happens when they are caught or caught by a predator. Therefore, a sufficiently large tank is optimal. The same applies to the swimming area and the sunbathing area.

Swimming area and pool size

The swimming area should be at least twice the depth of the shell length, even for inexperienced swim turtles. It is best to let the tank slowly get deeper and to create a mountain by climbing possibilities like sticks, roots and stones. The sunny area should not be chosen too small, because turtles are alternating warm reptiles that depend on a source of heat from outside. The sunny place has temperatures of up to 40° C. This can be easily achieved with a metal vapor lamp.

Turtle species

The most important thing before buying is to get to know the type of turtle. The better you copy the natural environment of your terrarium inhabitant, the more comfortable it will feel and the healthier it will be. Not all species are the same and have different requirements. Don't rely on the dealer, but get reading and background information.


Turtles usually eat a lot of meat food and therefore the amount of excretion that pollutes the water is very high. So the most important thing for a healthy animal husbandry is to keep the tank clean.

By the way, there are also minimum keeping conditions of the Ministry of Agriculture if you want to know more about keeping turtles. When buying a turtle, especially if you buy one for children, please note that it is not a cuddly toy and may even expect it to snap at you.

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