Turtle tanks

Proper turtle tanks are very important if you want to keep pet turtles. Turn around yourself. Do you like where you live? If your answer is "yes" than you are probably very happy and satisfied. Same with pets - they love, they need and they enjoy a nice habitat setup.

To prepare a nice habitat for your pet you will need:

  • a tank
  • dry land area in the tank - basking area
  • turtle tank filter
  • lamp
  • heater
  • you can (but do not have to) add decorations

Tank setup is what sometimes makes turtles a little bit expensive to keep. At least at the beginning. But once you set it up, your turtle will not be a menace to your budget.

I will try to help with advice how to set the tanks up properly with the least possible amount of money. If you can afford it, you can always buy a tank that is all set to be a pet turtle's home. If not, read on.

When you are preparing to accommodate a pet, turtle tank is what costs the most. I recommend getting a tank that can accommodate a grown up turtle. By buying a smaller tank you will save some money at the beginning but you will have to get a bigger one later anyway. Please skip a plastic pet turtle container with palm tree in the middle.

You do not even have to buy a tank. Most men are really handy so it would not be too hard to make a tank. You could just decide on the measurements, get some glass panes and glue them together with silicone.

Let us not forget one important thing. Since I am talking about a small apartment and not a lot of space to put the tank in, it will probably be visible, so we will have to make it look nice.

To make a nice home for your little aquatic turtle you will need what could be called an aqua-terrarium. Usually it is made of glass and I would recommend this material for the tank. Just make sure the glass is not too thin because if it would be, it could break and make a big mess in your small apartment.

small pet turtle in tank
Small pet turtle in a tank
turtle tanks setup
Turtle tank setup
Both photos courtesy of Dimitris Siskopoulos

Why aqua-terrarium?

Because your pet will need both water and dry land area in the tank. Usually 2/3 of water and 1/3 of land or in other words basking part. If you do not provide a dry land area then the water level should be as high as a turtle can reach it while standing on his back legs. For proper growth of the pet it is better to have a larger water part.

Turtles use the land area to rest and bask. You can buy basking area in pet supply stores. Or you can build a basking area yourself. How ever you decide to make the basking area it should be located under the lamp.

You should not put the lamp too close to it so the turtle would not get burned. If the lamp is very close to the basking part you should protect it so the pet can't touch it.

The height of the basking part should not allow the turtle to reach the top of the tank when he is standing on his back legs since he could climb out.

You need to put a lamp in the tank as it is very important for turtles' health. They need UV rays and heat to metabolize calcium and vitamin D. You can buy a reptile lamp in a pet shop.

Although in nature they get light and heat from the sun it does not mean we should keep turtle tanks in direct sunlight. The glass sides of the tank will filter almost all the UV rays and it will help the growth of algae. So the best place to put turtle tanks is away from direct sunlight.

The lamp will not only be good for providing your pet with light but most of them serve as air heaters for the tank. Air temperature in turtle tanks should be 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius).

Water needs to be warm too. To keep the water warm enough you will need a little heater. They can be bought in pet supply stores. Some of them are completely submerged, some partially. Which ever heater you get, the water should be around 79 - 86 degrees Fahrenheit (26 ? 30 degrees Celsius).

Keep the temperature constant. You should measure it from time to time. You can use water thermometer (inside) or digital tapes (outside).

To keep the temperature constant you can also use the tank cover. In case you do buy/make a tank with cover make sure it has good ventilation system. Cover can be useful if the pet can reach the top since it will prevent the turtle from climbing out.

Water filtration system will help you keep the tank cleaner. If you don't have money to get a filter pump you don't have to, but it will make the maintenance much more difficult.

Decorations are not a must in turtle tanks. If you put water plants as decoration count on them being eaten very fast. You should also pay attention not to put any small objects in the tank because a turtle could swallow them.

Don't put anything in the tank that is not previously disinfected since it can contain all sorts of pesticides and bacteria.

To make it simple on you, just put a background image on the back side of the tank, from the outside. Put a couple of nice rocks on the bottom of the tank and that will be just enough. The tank will serve its purpose and look nice in your small apartment. It will also be easy to clean a tank decorated this way, with only a few simple details.

If you are a creative person you can really make something out of the tank. Different tank sizes and shapes, creative and unique basking areas and crazy tropical background images can really make your home look nicer.

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