Exotic Pets

Tips for Taking Care of Your Aquatic Turtle

Caring for an aquatic turtle can be a rewarding, fun experience. However, it does come with its own set of challenges, so it’s important to ensure that you’re properly looking after your pet.

To take care of your aquatic turtle, provide a suitable habitat with proper heating, lighting, and filtration. Offer a balanced diet of commercial turtle food, live or frozen food, and vegetables, and ensure a place to bask out of the water with proper UVB lighting. Regular cleaning, veterinary check-ups, gentle handling, and quarantine for new turtles are also important.

With the right knowledge and understanding, you can make sure your aquatic turtle stays healthy and happy for years to come! Here are some tips for taking care of your aquatic turtle:


Tip 1: Provide a Suitable Habitat

Aquatic turtles are an excellent pet choice. If you are considering getting one, it is important to make sure that you provide the right habitat for your aquatic turtle. Here are things to keep in mind:

Provide a Suitable Habitat

Provide a Suitable Habitat


A good temperature range for your aquatic turtle’s habitat will be anywhere between 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the day, with a spot of basking at 90 degrees. Use an aquarium heater or under-tank heating pad to keep the temperatures where they should be.


The substrate is the material you put on the bottom of your tank. You can use gravel, sand, reptile carpet, or rocks depending on what type of turtles you have and their preferences. Make sure it is non-toxic and won’t produce sharp edges if ingested by accident.

Filters and Cycling

Filtration is important for keeping the water parameters stable and toxic gases out of the water due to evacuation by mechanical filtration mediums such as sponges and carbon pads as well as chemical filtration using activated carbon media bags placed inside hang-on filters. Additionally, cycling is essential for maintaining the nitrogen cycle which breaks down organic waste into less harmful compounds so they don’t pollute the water resulting in health issues or death of inhabitants.

Plants and Decorations

Aquarium decorations such as live plants (not artificial ones) are always appreciated by aquatic turtles because they give them places to hide from potential enemies including predators like cats or birds looking through windows when kept outdoors. Some more active species might even require rock walls, caves, or other objects to climb on top of to constrict their movements helping them stay healthy both physically and mentally speaking!


Tip 2: Maintain Appropriate Water Temperature

Aquatic turtles need water temperatures between 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the day and a basking area at 90 degrees. To maintain these temperatures, you should use an aquarium heater or an under-tank heating pad. Make sure to monitor the temperature regularly, if it is too cold or too hot, your turtle can become ill or even die. Additionally, consider adding a thermometer inside your tank so you can easily check the temperature level at any time. Keeping appropriate water temperature is essential for your aquatic turtle’s health and well-being!

Maintain Appropriate Water Temperature


Tip 3: Offer a Balanced Diet

A balanced diet is crucial for the overall health and well-being of aquatic turtles. Here is a list of foods that can be included in a balanced diet for these turtles:

  1. Pellets: Commercial turtle pellets are a balanced and convenient food source for aquatic turtles. They are specifically formulated to provide all the necessary nutrients for healthy growth and maintenance.
  2. Live or frozen foods: Live or frozen foods, such as feeder fish, brine shrimp, and bloodworms, can be offered as occasional treats. These foods provide essential vitamins, minerals, and protein.
  3. Vegetables: Dark leafy greens, such as kale and collard greens, as well as carrots, squash, and green beans, can be offered as a source of vitamins and fiber.
  4. Fruit: Fruits, such as strawberries, melons, and raspberries, can be offered as a treat in moderation, as they are high in sugar.
  5. Calcium supplement: To ensure proper shell growth and overall health, a calcium supplement should be added to the turtle’s food regularly.

It’s important to remember that a balanced diet will vary depending on the species and age of the turtle, and it’s best to consult with a veterinarian or a reptile specialist to determine the specific nutritional requirements for your turtle. Additionally, it’s important to avoid feeding your turtle foods high in fat or protein, such as beef or chicken, as these can cause health problems.

Offer a Balanced Diet


Tip 4: Provide a Basking Area

A basking area is a vital part of your aquatic turtle’s habitat. It allows them to regulate their body temperature and gain the necessary vitamins from UV light, as well as provides an area to rest when they are feeling sluggish or vulnerable. Here are tips to keep in mind when creating a suitable basking area:


Place the basking area in an area that will receive direct sunlight on at least one side throughout the day. If this is not possible, consider investing in a UVB light bulb so it can absorb essential vitamins and minerals from the light.


Position an appropriate platform near the heat source so your turtles can easily climb out of the water to bask for long hours at higher temperatures than those of the tank water, usually around 90 degrees Fahrenheit. This will help stimulate activity which is beneficial for its health!

Basking Light

Monitors need UVA and UVB rays from sunshine or special bulbs to stay healthy and active so make sure your turtle has access to both when selecting a basking bulb. You should also provide darkness overnight so replace the special lighting with dimmer bulbs or use natural moonlight from outside windows instead!


Add other accessories like branches, rocks, or logs that offer an optimal climbing experience and allow your turtle some privacy while they bask!

Provide a Basking Area


Tip 5: Clean the Tank Regularly

Maintaining an optimal environment in your turtle’s tank is essential to its health. To do this, you must clean the tank regularly. Here are five steps to help make sure that it’s done properly:

Clean the Tank Regularly

Clean the Tank Regularly

Step 1 Remove Debris

Start by removing any debris or uneaten food from the bottom of the tank as this can lead to excess waste and foul odors. Use a net to catch any large pieces and sweep out fine particles with a gravel vacuum.

Step 2 Clean Decorations

Next, use a disinfectant safe for aquariums on decorations like rocks, logs, and plants to remove any visible dirt or grime then rinse them off with clean fresh water before putting them back into the tank.

Step 3 Change Water & Add Conditioner

Once you have finished cleaning, it’s time to do a partial water change – This means draining 20-30% of the water from the tank and replacing it with clean freshwater that has been dechlorinated and treated with a conditioner specifically designed for tanks and ponds (this will prevent harmful chemicals like chlorine from entering your turtle’s system).

Step 4 Test Parameters

Monitor and adjust parameters such as pH level, ammonia levels, nitrates, nitrites, alkalinity, and hardness before putting your turtle back in the tank! This will help keep everything running smoothly in their habitat while offering them the best living conditions possible!

Step 5 Rinse the Filter & Monitor the Filtration Rate

Lastly, rinse out any mechanical components that make up your filter system if necessary (make sure power is off first) then turn it back on once done to ensure it is working correctly at the optimum filtration rate.


Tip 6: Proper Lighting

Lighting is an important part of your turtle’s habitat that should not be overlooked. Not only does proper lighting enable them to absorb necessary vitamins and minerals, but it also helps build an environment that mimics their natural outdoor environment. Here are three tips to keep in mind when selecting the best lighting option:

Natural or Artificial Lighting

If possible, choose a location with natural sunlight – this will provide the most detailed and realistic representation of a wild turtle’s habitat. Alternatively, you can use artificial lights such as full spectrum lighting (UV-B/A) lamps that emulate the sun’s rays and offer more control over the intensity and duration of light exposure.

UVB Rays

Offer essential vitamins and minerals needed for shell growth, bone health, reproduction, and organ development so make sure to select a bulb specifically designed with high levels of UVB rays (typically upwards of 5%).

Heat Lamps

Keep in mind that turtles require warmth from an external source like basking bulbs or heat lamps when choosing your lighting option! This will help regulate their body temperature and prevent stress-related illnesses associated with a metabolic bone disease or other conditions caused by temperature fluctuations!

Proper Lighting


Tip 7: Regular Veterinary Check-ups

Regular veterinary check-ups are an essential component of proper care for aquatic turtles. These check-ups can help detect and prevent health problems early on, ensuring the best possible outcome for your turtle. During a veterinary visit, the doctor will examine your turtle, checking for any signs of illness, such as abnormal behavior, changes in appetite, or physical changes in the shell, eyes, or skin.

The doctor may also take a sample of the turtle’s blood or feces for testing to check for any underlying health issues. Regular check-ups also provide an opportunity to discuss proper nutrition, habitat requirements, and any other concerns you may have about your turtle’s health. By scheduling regular veterinary check-ups, you can help ensure a long, healthy life for your aquatic turtle.

Regular Veterinary Check-ups


Tip 8: Handle With Care

Handling aquatic turtles requires care and caution to avoid causing stress or injury to the animal. Turtles are sensitive creatures, and handling them can be stressful, especially if they are not used to them.

To handle your turtle safely, it’s important to support the entire body and avoid holding it by the tail or legs. When picking up your turtle, place one hand under the front of the shell and the other hand under the back of the shell, and gently lift it out of the water. It’s also important to avoid exposing your turtle to sudden temperature changes, such as placing it in direct sunlight or on a cold surface, as this can cause stress and lead to illness.

Always be gentle when handling your turtle and take care to minimize stress and discomfort for the animal. By handling your turtle with care, you can help ensure a healthy and happy pet.

Handle With Care


Tip 9: Avoid Over-stocking

Over-stocking an aquatic turtle’s habitat can lead to a variety of problems, including high levels of stress, decreased water quality, and the spread of disease. It’s important to provide enough space for your turtle to swim, bask, and hide, as well as to ensure adequate filtration and aeration of the water. Crowding can cause increased aggression among turtles and can also lead to a buildup of harmful waste products in the water, which can have serious impacts on the health of your turtle.

When choosing a habitat for your turtle, be sure to consider the size of the enclosure and the number of turtles you plan to keep, and always follow the recommended stocking guidelines to ensure the health and well-being of your turtles. Additionally, it’s important to monitor the water quality regularly and make changes as necessary to maintain a healthy and clean environment.

Avoid Over-stocking


Tip 10: Quarantine New Turtles

Taking care of your aquatic turtle takes dedication and responsibility, but the rewards are worth it! Here are some tips to get you started:

  1. Maintain clean, healthy water in the tank. This includes regularly changing 25-50% of the tank’s water each week.
  2. Provide your aquatic turtle with a nutritious diet, including a variety of proteins, vegetables, and other food sources.
  3. Protect the environment from potential predators by keeping other animals out of their habitats.
  4. When introducing new turtles to an existing tank, make sure to quarantine any newcomers for 30-60 days to ensure they don’t introduce any diseases or parasites into the existing environment.

Quarantine New Turtles


In Conclusion

Taking care of aquatic turtles requires dedication, patience, and knowledge. When done correctly, these reptiles can live long and healthy life. You will need to provide an appropriate habitat with the right temperature, lighting, and diet; maintain clean water; choose a suitable basking area; avoid over-stocking; and quarantine any new arrivals before introducing them to the tank.

Additionally, regular veterinary check-ups and handling with care are essential in caring for your aquatic turtle. With proper care and attention, you and your turtle can enjoy many happy years together!

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply