Water Turtles as Pets


Aquatic turtles or water turtles spend most of their time in the water. They leave the water only to bask on dry land. Water turtles make great pets and with a little care and understanding will live a long and healthy life. Besides proper food, turtles need space, light and moisture.

Water Turtles as Pets

The Turtle Tank

Now that you have decided on getting yourself a turtle, you need to get a turtle tank! Here are some guidelines to help you get started:

  • The tank must be big (at least 40 gallons i.e. roughly 150 lts.). While buying the tank you need to make provision for the fact that the turtles will grow.
  • Fill at least 3/4ths with water. Do not use tap water .The chlorine and possible fluoride found in tap water is harmful for your pet. Give your pet filtered water to drink and De-chlorinated water for swimming.
  • The quantity of water is important. The depth of the water in the tank should be as much as the width of the turtle.
  • Keeping wooden boards or bricks as land areas for the turtle is good. They should be kept dry and gently sloping into the water for ease in climbing on and off.
  • These ‘land areas’ should be cleaned frequently.
  • Avoid wood chips and barks as they get moldy and grow fungus, which can cause problems for your pet.
  • Turtles love shelters. Find a shelter proportionate in size to your turtle or make one from stones.
  • Plants in your tank should be kept after ensuring that they will not harm your pet. You can keep a combination of real and artificial ones or all real ones as you feel comfortable with.
  • Adding a teaspoon of salt per gallon of water help protect the turtles from shell and skin diseases by reducing the levels of harmful bacteria.
  • Turtles are carries of Salmonella. Proper hygiene is a must for good health of your pet and all who come into contact with your pet.
  • Wash your hands properly after handling your pets.
  • Keep water in the tank fresh
  • Remove waste promptly.
  • Install a water filtration system

Regulating Heat and Temperature for your Pet

  • Turtles need approximately 12-14 hours of sunlight daily to help synthesis Vitamin D3.
  • Set up a good quality UV lamp along with automatic timer your tank. The Optimal temperature range would be 71-86°F.
  • Turtles need a long time to adjust to changes in temperature. as the owner, you need to ensure that your pet is not subjected to extreme changes in temperature as this will cause stress and can even harm your turtles immune system.

Feeding your Pet Turtle

  • Turtles should be fed two to three times a week.
  • Food requirements vary from species to species.
  • Try feeding in a feeding tub outside the tank. This will reduce waste
  • Many turtles will eliminate immediately after eating. Leaving in the feeding tub for a while will ensure less waste in the tank
  • Overfeeding is a strict no. By not overfeeding, you also keep the waste low.

By following these broad guidelines, you can ensure a long relationship with your pet turtle.


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