Which is Better Distilled or Tap Water for your Turtle?


The water is where your turtle will spend most of it's time. They swim in, eat in, and drink this water so this is an important element to get right. There are two water sources that you should consider: Tap Water and Distilled Water.

Tap Water

This is the easiest and cheapest way to go. If your municipality has good quality tap water (a lot of cities and counties publish water quality reports) you can consider using tap water with a little bit of simple treatment. If you aren't sure what to look for in an water report (I can't blame you, they're pretty technical), here are the highlights to keep in mind:



Other Chemicals

Again, if you decide your tap water is good enough you can use a water conditioner (easiest and probably safest), or just set the water out overnight in a large container to allow the dissolved chlorine to dissipate into the air. Sunlight will facilitate the dissipation.

Zoo Med Reptisafe Water Conditioner

This will neutralize the chlorine, ammonia, and nitrates. It also slightly decreases PH. This small bottle will condition about 88 gallons. You can also go for the 64 ounce size which will do up to 640 gallons.


This is a more expensive, but safer option for a sensitive turtle. Conditioner isn't necessary for distilled and filtered water since it shouldn't contain chlorine or any other additives found in tap water. Also, PH will be at the neutral 7.0. You can buy distilled water at any grocery store. Many stores also have water filters so getting larger quantities would be easier that way.


In most cases you are perfectly fine using tap water, but you should use a water conditioner unless you've really investigated your local area's water supply. A water conditioner will neutralize the worst chemicals in tap water.

However, if you have an exotic turtle species, or know they are sensitive to water changes and chemicals distilled or filtered water is a better solution.