November 4, 2019

Our Favorite Turtle Aquariums

Turtle Aquariums - Featured Image

There are many things that you should take into consideration when it comes to buying an aquarium for a turtle.

For starters, what type of turtle do you have or plan to have? What turtle necessities will you need in order to offer your particular pet a healthy, happy, and safe habitat to flourish within.

These are just a few of the questions that come into play when deciding on a home for your pet turtle.

Top 5: Turtle Aquarium Reviews

Tetra 55 Gallon Aquarium Kit with Fish Tank, Fish Net, Fish Food, Filter, Heater and Water Conditioners

The Tetra Aquarium is a 55 gallon tank kit that comes with several extras. It includes a 200 watt heater, a WPF 60 filter, plants, a fishnet, LED lighting, as well as Easy Balance Plus, TetraMin, and AquaSafe. The AquaSafe is used to condition the water within the tank. 


  • Comes with all that is needed for tank’s setup.
  • Good reviews by those who have personally used the tank.
  • Larger tank size allows for ease in keeping tank conditions managed and stable.


  • Filter is rather noisy.
Tetra Deluxe Aquatic Turtle Kit, 20-Gallon, 30 x 12 x 12-Inches

The second kit on the list is the Terra Deluxe Aquatic Turtle Kit. It is a 20 gallon tank that includes a ReptoFilter with three cartridges, a Turtle Terrace basking platform, a plant mat, and a screened lid with clips to lock it in place.

The ReptoFilter Is a three stage whisper system. It provides a cover to keep pets out of it while still giving them a place to bask. Also included with this kit are two dome lamps to allow light and heat to keep your aquarium pet happy and healthy. 


  • Great tank setup for starting out with a smaller sized turtle.
  • Includes all necessary essentials.


  • Tank is not suitable for larger sized turtles.
Marineland Contour Glass Aquarium Kit with Rail Light, 3-Gallon

The third tank on the list is the MarineLane Contour Glass Kit. It is a 3 gallon tank with curved glass and a rail LED light that has a three way switch. The light has the option to be blue only blue and white or off.

The kit includes a three stage filtration system that has an adjustable flow pump. The tank also includes a canopy that slides over the top making it easier to protect the water as well as help keep turtles safe. 


  • Lower priced tank kit.
  • LED lighting offers multiple settings.
  • Stylish look.


  • Tank is on the smaller side, making it less than the best option for a larger turtle.
Reptile Habitat,Turtle Habitat Terrapin Lake Reptile Aquarium Tank with Platform Plants (Blue)

Number 4 on the list is the Reptile Habitat. This is a unique Tink constructed in plastic that is both strong and durable.

The terrapin tank has a built in platform and a ramp that are perfect for giving a turtle a place to bask as needed. The tank also has a trough-like area to make feeding an easy task. 


  • Low price makes it extremely affordable.
  • Separates feeding area, swimming area, and basking area.
  • See through plastic allows for easy viewing from all angles.


  • Does not include any accessories, such as filter or lighting.
10 Gallon Aquarium Starter Kit Fish Reptile Turtle Habitat Tank Filter Lamp Lid

The next tank kit on the list is the Aqua Starter Kit. It has a 10 gallon aquatic reptile tank. Also included in the kit is a plastic platform for basking, an in tankfilter, and a clamp on the lamp.

The tank itself has a mesh metal cover to help keep the turtle safe in the tank. 


  • Perfect starter kit aquarium.
  • Popular brand that has well made products.
  • Price is affordable.


  • Tank is on the smaller size. An upgraded larger size would be needed as turtles grow.

Buying Guide

Buying an aquarium for a turtle is not something that should be a spur of the moment purchase. It is a decision that should be reached only after doing thorough research based upon your turtle’s specific needs.

Choosing your turtle is the first step, and this decision should be made after learning about different turtle species. This will help to determine which turtle species would fit best in your home, then allowing you to find the aquarium tank that will best give your newly chosen turtle it’s home.

Best Turtle Aquarium

Our top pick is: Tetra Aquarium.

Tetra 55 Gallon Aquarium Kit with Fish Tank, Fish Net, Fish Food, Filter, Heater and Water Conditioners

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I let my turtle out of its tank?

While turtles can do just fine out of the tank home or even out of the water habitat, it is best to allow them to spend most of their time in their tanks. They can be quick to hide and are often hard to find once they have disappeared into their hiding spot. If you do decide to take your turtle out of it’s tank, for whatever reason, it is recommended you watch it closely at all times and keep it from areas where it could encounter any type of danger.

Does my turtle need a heat lamp?

Turtles are cold blooded which means they need heat to help regulate their body temperature. Because of this they need a heat lamp in their tank. The kind of heat lamp is determined by the type of turtle you might have however. Different species of turtles need different heat bulbs and the length of time they need to be under the heat lamp will vary.

Can my turtle and fish live in the same tank?

Absolutely, turtles and fish can live in the same tanks. However there are certain conditions that will need to be met in order for this to happen while still keeping both the fish and turtle happy and healthy. For example, turtles will eat fish if they are smaller in size. Also, the tank would need to be large enough for both the fish and the turtle to have room to swim and also do what is necessary for them to survive. It is recommended that you still have a basking area for the turtle and provide any fish with an area to get away from the turtle if needed.

How much water should you put in a turtle tank?

The size of the turtle you have will determine how much water they'll need in their tank. It is recommended to get 10 gallons of water for every inch of the turtle. So, a 10-inch turtle would need at least 100 gallons of water and a 7-inch turtle would need at least 70 gallons of water.

What size aquarium should I get for my turtle?

You'll want to get a tank that is large enough to hold the water needed for your turtle, while still providing a little additional space. So, since a 10-inch turtle needs 100 gallons of water, you'll want to find a tank that is larger than 100 gallons if you have a 10-inch turtle.

Please keep in mind that turtles grow. While a 40-gallon tank may be sufficient for your young 4-inch turtle, it may not be large enough as your turtle ages toward adulthood. You may want to consider the anticipated fully-grown measurements for your turtle's species when selecting an aquarium. A little bit of research and planning up front may save you from having to upgrade your tank capacity later.

Is tap water safe for turtles?

No, tap water is not safe for aquatic turtles. Tap water often contains chlorine, fluoride and other chemicals that can impact the pH level of your turtle's habitat. Ideally, you should use de-chlorinated water for your turtle's swimming area and also provide separate filtered drinking water.

Salt also can help a turtle avoid skin and shell diseases. You may want to consider mixing one teaspoon of salt per gallon of water to help promote your turtle's overall health.

Do you need a water filter for a turtle's tank?

A water filter is highly recommended for your turtle's tank. The filter will help remove waste and keep the water clean. Turtles can carry salmonella and other bacteria.

Quickly removing the turtle's waste and keeping the water clean will help reduce the growth of salmonella and other disease-causing bacteria. It is recommended that you replace the water in your turtle's tank every 3 to 4 days if you do not have a water filtration system in place.

How can you keep a turtle warm without a heat lamp?

Ideally, you will want to make sure you purchase a heat lamp for your turtle's cage. Turtles require ample amounts of sunlight in order to remain healthy and happy. They bathe in sunlight for up to 14 hours per day in order to obtain sufficient vitamin D and to help maintain optimal body temperature.

You should buy a high-quality UV lamp with a timer to help ensure that your turtle receives the sunlight that it needs. Setting the temperature between 70- and 85-degrees Fahrenheit should provide a cozy and comfortable environment for your pet.

If you're in a pinch and can't get a heat lamp right away, or the one you have for your turtle's cage stops working before you can purchase a new one, you will want to be sure to keep your turtle warm. You can set the temperature for the room their cage is in to at least 75 degrees fahrenheit. Sometimes, people may wrap a towel or blanket around a turtle's cage to keep them a bit warmer.

What does a turtle need in its tank?

As noted above, turtles require up to 14 hours of sunlight per day. An area in the aquarium where your turtle can bask near the UV light is absolutely essential. Approximately 25% of the habitat's total area should be dedicated to an area where the turtle can sun himself or herself and get warm.

A non-glass water heater is also recommended to help maintain the water at the proper temperature. Turtles have been known to break glass heaters, which can pose a safety hazard to you and your pet when exposed to water. Heaters made of stainless steel or that have specialized protective coverings would be a better option to keep your hard- or soft=shelled friend safe.

Can I use sand in my turtle tank?

Yes, you can use sand in your aquarium. Soft, fine sand granules work best. Certain soft-shell breeds love to dig in sand or other materials at the bottom of their habitats.

Furthermore, sand can allow you to add live plants or other objects into the tank that will help you create an environment that looks more natural. However, fine sand can be difficult to keep clean and may pose health risks if your pet were to try and eat the fine grains.

Fortunately, there are numerous alternative materials that may be easier to maintain and keep clean. Gravel similar to the type used in fish aquariums are one potential option.

Similarly, large pebbles or rocks are another choice that can provide a natural element to the habitat that is easier to keep sanitary. Boiling the rocks prior to putting them in the tank will help kill algae and harmful bacteria that can grow in the tank.

Do turtles need an air pump?

An air pump is highly recommended for your pet's habitat. Adding air helps the water circulate, which in turn helps prevent bacteria and other harmful organisms from growing in the tank. As an added bonus, many turtles appear to enjoy watching and/or playing with the bubbles in their habitats.

If you want to have fish friends in the aquarium for your turtle, an air pump is critical. Fish and other pets that use gills to breathe will need oxygen in the water in order to survive. The pump will continuously add air to the water and allow fish to thrive.

What do turtles like to play with?

Turtles need mental stimulation and activity just like any other pet. Fortunately, a variety of options exist to help keep your turtle engaged and pique his or her curiosity.

Other pets in the tank such as fish, shrimp, or other aquatic life can provide a source of entertainment. However, please be warned that your turtle may actually eat some of these other creatures.

As an alternative, you can also add ping pong balls or rubber animals to the habitat. Turtles have been known to move these objects around their tanks as a way to play and get some physical activity.

It is important to note that these toys can attract germs and bacteria. You will want to be sure to clean them periodically, just like any other element of the habitat.

Live plants can also provide some interesting hiding places that not only are fun to interact with but also provide the turtle with a place that helps them feel safe. Please keep in mind that your pet may also try to eat the live plants. You should research your turtle's species to ensure that any live plants do not pose health risks.

Artificial plants would be a way to add color and interesting objects into the habitat without having to worry about your turtle having an unexpected snack.

What else can you do to enhance your turtle's surroundings?

In addition to plants, rocks and toys in your turtle's habitat, there are things that you can do outside of the tank that will also grab your turtle's attention. For example, you can put stickers or other decorations on the tank. These items not only give the turtle something to look at but can also serve as a place for them to hide from view.

How can I interact with my turtle and his or her habitat?

You can also play with your turtle by lightly tapping on the tank's glass. Some turtles even like to chase their owner's fingers around the tank as they swim back and forth. This activity not only allows you to connect with your pet but also helps alleviate boredom for both of you.

How often should you bathe a turtle?

Most experts suggest that you bathe a turtle 3 to 4 times per week on average. During warmer months it may make sense to bathe your pet every day to help reduce salmonella and also to lower the risk for skin and shell diseases.

You may wank to buy a separate plastic tub or other basin specifically for this purpose. Keeping a dedicated bathing container for your pet will minimize the potential for salmonella contamination for your other pets or for yourself.

Please keep in mind that it takes time for a turtle to adjust to new temperatures in its environment. Sudden temperature changes can actually shock your turtle's system and cause them to become sick. You should use a thermometer to test the bath water and ensure that it is consistent with the aquarium's water temperature.

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