How to Find the Best Aquarium Tank for Your Turtle

How to find the correct size and type of aquarium for your aquatic turtle.

Getting the correct size aquarium tank for your turtle can be crucial to your turtle's health and happiness. Your reptilian friends need to be able to swim comfortably throughout the tank, but should also feel like they can hide if they get scared. The sizing of the aquarium is particularly important because swimming will be your turtle's primary form of excercise. So consider it not just a house for your pet, but also a gym!

Things To Keep in Mind:

  • Your turtle needs space to swim
  • Your turtle needs space to bask and dry off to prevent disease
  • Your turtle is going to grow

You should find an aquarium with the knowledge that your turtle will grow. The rule of thumb is that a single turtle will need between 5 and 10 times their carapace (shell) length in gallons. In metric units the liter capacity should be about 7.5 to 15 times the length of the carapace in centimeters. Round up so you don't have to buy more than one aquarium!

An adult male Red-eared Sliders will be between 8-10 inches (20-25 cm) when fully grown and the females will be larger at 10-13 inches (25-33 cm). For a fully grown Red Eared Slider at about 12 inches long you'll need a 120 gallon tank (454 liters). For young ones measuring about 4 inches (20 cm) you can get by with a 30 gallon (113 liters). Remember, buy larger since baby turtles grow quickly!

Our Recommendations

Aquarium Tanks are pretty similar if you are looking for a glass one, the harder part is knowing all the extras you need to pick up. We've created another guide that explains all the other things a turtle needs in our Easy Habitat Guide. I highly recommend you at least take a look to make sure you have everything you need.

Actually getting the right aquarium tank is not hard. The best way to get one is to go to a local pet store and pick one out, which saves you the hassle of worrying about shipping something so large and fragile. Petco for example sometimes has a sale on aquariums where you can purchase them for $1 per gallon, which is an amazing deal. If you can do that sale I'd recommend it! But, if you prefer the convenience of home delivery we've included some Amazon links here as well.

Recommended Product

Glass Aquarium Kit

We have a 29 gallon version of this one. Its a good size for younger turtles. The nice thing about this kit is that it comes with much of what you would need already. Just keep in mind the sizing rules we explained above.

Recommended Product

Terrarium Screen

Screens do two things for you. They keep your turtle from climbing out and they make it much easier and safer to mount lights above the aquarium. In most cases you can simply set the light right on top of the screen and not worry. You need to be very careful with heat lamps and heating coils though, because they can get hot enough to melt plastic and potentially start fires.

Final Notes

Again, pay attention to your turtle's final adult size when you purchase a tank. Its easier to purchase one once, than to have to buy a few over the course of a couple of years. Having more space for your turtle makes it easier on you as well since more water means your turtle will have fresher water for longer. For more helpful hints take a look at our Easy Habitat Guide!