How To Keep A Turtle In An Aquarium

The turtle is a fairly common animal that they love to start as a pet. If you are also thinking about acquiring a reptile with a shell, then you need to know what living conditions it needs, what it eats and what care it requires. After reading our article, you will receive all the information you are interested in.

Types of aquarium turtles

In aquariums, you can keep both large and small individuals. Below we will provide a description of the most popular types of aquarium turtles of small and large sizes.


Small-sized reptiles with a shell have a body length of up to 15 cm. Their main advantage is that they can be kept in modest conditions, which means that they will not take up much space in the apartment. The most popular among aquarists are flat, trailing, musky, spotted, three-winged Chinese species.

Flat (flat)

Reptiles of this species grow up to 8–9 cm and reach a mass of 100–200 g. They can be kept in small aquariums. They do not require special care, therefore they are recommended for maintenance to beginners and children. The basis of their nutrition is succulents.

How To Keep A Turtle In An Aquarium


These reptiles reach a length of 7–13 cm. They have several subspecies, the most common of which are yellow, silt and sonor. In the wild, they live in the Americas.

Omnivores, can eat insects, crustaceans, mollusks, amphibians, carrion, detritus and aquatic plants. In the aquarium, you can feed them with earthworms, bananas, dandelions, greens. This species prefers to live in captivity alone.

How To Keep A Turtle In An Aquarium


These reptiles have a body length of up to 12 cm. In nature, 4 species are presented, which vary in color and size. Distinctive features of this turtle are a long neck and a special smell that emits a body similar to the scent of musk.

Actually, because of this feature, this species got its name. On the dark head of this reptile there are light streaks. Musk males can be aggressive and bite. These reptiles are omnivorous, can eat both plant and animal food.

How To Keep A Turtle In An Aquarium


Spotted turtles feel great both on land and in water. They live in the USA and Canada. They reach a size of about 12 cm. For a comfortable existence in the aquarium, these reptiles should create islands of land.

The tortoise shell is dark brown. It is dotted with yellow spots, which disappear as individuals grow older. Spotted turtles feed on plant and animal food. In captivity they get along well with their relatives and can live in groups. When kept in an aquarium, they require a special composition of water.

How To Keep A Turtle In An Aquarium

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Three-keel Chinese

It is found in China and Japan. It has a body length of about 12–13 cm. On the head and neck, it has yellow stripes, and on the carapace there are three longitudinal keels. This species needs to be kept separate from other animals: it does not get along with fish, or with newts, or with snails.


Large turtles include individuals that reach a length of 25-60 cm. They, as a rule, are not kept in apartments, but only in large spacious houses that can accommodate an aquarium with a volume of at least 200 liters.


Trachemys is the most popular among aquarists, primarily due to its decorative effect. She has a bright green carapace with patterns of yellow stripes and spots. Long spots of bright red color are placed near the eyes. By the age of 5, the diameter of the shell reaches 30 cm.

The maximum length is 60 cm. Males are smaller than females, individual subspecies can grow up to 18 cm. This is a predatory species, it is demanding on the temperature of water and air. The minimum volume of the aquarium for its maintenance should be equal to 200 liters. Trachemys can make hissing, snorting, squeaking. The duration of her life in the aquarium is up to 50 years.

How To Keep A Turtle In An Aquarium


Representatives of this species have an oval or rounded shell, covered with multiple yellow spots. Their head is large, dark in color, strewn with small yellow or white spots. Paws are dark, with bright spots. Adult individuals have a carapace diameter of up to 35 cm. Reach a mass of 1.5 kg.

They need an aquarium with a minimum volume of 100 liters. Care should be taken when feeding these reptiles – they can be aggressive. They are predators. They require animal food and periodic inclusion in the menu of plants. In captivity, a marsh turtle can live for 30 years or more.

How To Keep A Turtle In An Aquarium


Turtle with a soft body and a long neck. The species belongs to predators. It has 2 subspecies: Far Eastern and Chinese. The carapace is round, reaches a size of 25–40 cm. It is covered with skin and does not have horny shields, painted green. The abdomen is yellow, the body is green with gray. There are dark spots on the head. On average, body weight is 5 kg.

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These reptiles can be very aggressive, biting and injuring a person. The peak of their activity occurs at night. To keep these turtles, an aquarium of 250 liters or more is required. The main menu is animal food, and the additional menu is herbal ingredients. Life expectancy is up to 30 years.

How To Keep A Turtle In An Aquarium

Matamata (Fringed)

Belongs to the family of Serpents. The length of the carapace reaches 40 cm: it has serrated edges and 3 keels in the form of teeth. The head is triangular in shape, flat, with a proboscis, long neck. The mass of adults is about 15 kg. The color and appearance allow the fringed tortoise to disguise itself as a snag or piece of wood.

Care and maintenance

Despite the fact that the turtle is considered an unpretentious pet, for a comfortable stay and proper development it needs to create certain conditions.

Aquarium volume. Contain turtles in rectangular aquariums or aquaterrariums, glass and plastic. Each species has its own recommendations regarding the conditions of detention. For small turtles you will need a glass house measuring 40 liters per 1 individual.

If there are more individuals, then, accordingly, the displacement of the home should be large. Large turtles will require 200–400 L aquariums. The dimensions of the turtle dwelling are calculated according to the following formula: the length of the shell of the largest individual is multiplied by 7.

Water. Reptiles at home are contained in tap water, defended for several days. The water depth should not be less than the diameter of the shell. The boundary water level will depend on the size of the species. Water should be changed at least once a month.

Video: features of the content of turtles Land. In addition to water, for these reptiles it is also necessary to create a land area on which they will periodically rest, bask and dry. 2/3 in the aquarium or aquaterrarium should be filled with water, 1/3 should be set aside for land.

A rough ladder should be equipped between them. There are aquariums that are immediately sold with an islet. It can also be equipped independently.

Priming. For aquarium turtles, the best type of soil is river sand with fine gravel. For some species, it is not needed at all.

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Lamp for backlight. It is used simultaneously for heating. Located above the land at a distance of 25-30 cm. Lamp power – 40-60 watts. The lamp must be in the aquarium, as the reptile activity depends on the body temperature.

UV lamps. For the turtle to develop correctly and feel good, it needs ultraviolet rays with a power of 5-12% UVB (depending on the type of reptile).

How To Keep A Turtle In An Aquarium

Water Aeration Filter. It is a must-have accessory in the home of the turtle. It must be of a certain capacity, in accordance with the displacement of the aquarium.

Water temperature. Another required attribute is a heater. The optimum temperature for keeping turtles is 26–27 ° С. The air in the aquarium should be warmed up to 26–30 ° С, on land – up to 30–32 ° С.

Plants. The aquarium should be decorated with living plants: Javanese moss, Elodea, Thai fern, hornwort, red ludwig, duckweed, water hyacinth, anubias, crictorins, apogetone.

Some species of turtles are incompatible with plants, because they like to dig them out of the ground. The representatives of the musky and red-eared species coexist most well with the underwater flora.

How To Keep A Turtle In An Aquarium

Is it possible to keep in the same aquarium with fish

This question is often asked by novice aquarists. Since turtles are predatory reptiles, you do not need to put them in the same aquarium with fish. Moreover, they should not be lodged with snails – a favorite delicacy of these reptiles.

In addition, as you now know, turtles in an aquarium need an islet of land and a low water level. In the house for fish land is not equipped.

How to feed aquarium turtles

Small individuals, up to 10 cm long, will have to be fed daily. Those with a body 10-15 cm long are given food every other day. Larger feed three times a week. The rest of the feed is removed half an hour after it has been poured.

Turtles are a great pet choice. They are unpretentious in care, do not require a lot of attention and significant costs. It is always interesting to observe them, monitor behavior, consider patterns on their shells, which helps a person to relax, relieve stress. With proper maintenance, these pets will be able to live near you for a long time.

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