home Aquarium How to equip a red-eared turtle aquarium

How to equip a red-eared turtle aquarium

Lighting installation

It is impossible to properly equip an aquarium for a red-eared turtle without installing two types of lighting. The main function of the incandescent lamp is to heat the land area (island), where the animal gets out after eating. For the process of digestion, a reptile needs an air temperature of at least 28-33 degrees, otherwise the metabolism slows down. If the temperature drops below 20 degrees, the animal can become seriously ill. To ensure suitable conditions, you will need a 60-75 W incandescent lamp, which must be positioned directly above the island. Clothespins are well suited, which are conveniently attached to the side of the aquarium.

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For keeping the turtle at home, the presence of an ultraviolet lamp is critical. Without the opportunity to bask in the sun, the reptile quickly weakens and becomes vulnerable to disease, and the inability to absorb calcium due to lack of vitamin D leads to the development of rickets. To avoid these consequences, you need to install a special UV lamp that turns on every day for several hours. It is important to remember that reptiles overheat quickly, so there must be a shaded corner in the avcaterrarium where the temperature does not exceed 25 degrees.

IMPORTANT: When purchasing a UV lamp, you need to pay attention to the type of radiation. Only UVB and UVA rays are suitable for reptiles, a UVC-labeled lamp can burn the retina of the turtle’s eye, making it blind.

Filters and aeration

  • external. they are installed outside the aquarium, have several compartments, and due to the high pump power, they are best suited for large-volume containers;
  • internal. submersible devices, which are installed at the bottom or near the wall of the aquarium, are designed for a volume of no more than 50-80 liters;

Filtering equipment for an aquarium uses different types of cleaning, the most common is mechanical. water is driven through a sponge, which retains dirt particles. A much more effective method of purification that uses the multiplication of bacteria. they feed on organic residues and at the same time enrich the water with useful compounds. Oxygen is required for the vital activity of bacterial colonies, therefore, a water aeration device must be installed in the aquaterrarium. Most external biofilters already have a built-in aeration function.

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Dimensions of the aquaterrarium

Setting up a turtle aquarium starts with buying it. A common mistake novice breeders make is choosing a small aquarium (up to 50 liters). Such a container is well suited as a first home for very small individuals, but they will grow very quickly and soon the aquarium will have to be replaced. For a grown reptile with a shell size of 10-15 cm, it is recommended to buy an aquarium for at least 100 liters. For a pair of animals, it is better to purchase a container of 150-200 liters. Red-eared turtles are very mobile, swim a lot, and also like to lie on the bottom for a long time. Therefore, the water level should be at least 40 cm. with a large volume of water, it will become polluted more slowly and less often require replacement. The height of the tank does not have to be very high, but too low sides can cause the reptile to escape. It is better if there is a reserve of 15-20 cm above the water level, then the mobile turtle will not be able to climb over the wall.

IMPORTANT: If the sides are not high enough, you can keep the turtle with less water. But it is necessary to ensure that the water level slightly exceeds the width of the animal’s shell.

Soil selection

The turtle should be comfortable to move along the bottom and push off from it. The soil should also not accumulate dirt, release harmful substances or pose any other health hazard to the pet. Therefore, it is not recommended to use sand or peat. it is difficult to wash them with high quality, the paws of the animal will be tied in such material. Small pebbles or glass beads are much more convenient to care for, but an adult can easily swallow their particles. Natural pebbles, artificial granules or special mineral blocks, which additionally saturate the water with calcium, are best suited.

How to equip a red-eared turtle aquarium

In nature, red-eared turtles live along the shores of lakes and rivers in a subtropical and temperate climate. Therefore, for the home keeping of this heat-loving reptile, it is necessary to properly equip an aquarium (aquaterrarium) with suitable conditions.


An aquarium complex for a red-eared turtle must necessarily include land areas. Reptiles spend part of their time on the shore every day, basking under lamps. this is how the process of digesting food takes place. To properly equip the aquarium, you will need to purchase a special island or attach a shelf with a gentle slope to the water.

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It is necessary to install these devices so that at least 25-30 cm remains to the edge of the sides, then the animal will not be able to get out.

The size of the land depends on the number of individuals kept, but the minimum volume should be 25-30% of the total area of ​​the aquarium. It is better to place several islands, make them different in height, place one under the lamp and the other in the shade. The surface of the islands must be rough, with irregularities, otherwise the turtles will slide and will not be able to rise out of the water.

How to decorate an aquarium

Setting up an aquarium for a red-eared turtle is not limited to installing the necessary equipment. In addition to functional devices, there are many decorative items that will help create a special atmosphere in the pet’s home.

Beautiful driftwood is placed at the bottom or installed as an additional island, algae and vines made of plastic or silk look good in water and on land. The soil is decorated with shells, starfish and transparent colored glass granules. An unusual grotto islet can be made with your own hands by folding a semblance of an arch made of flat large pebbles.

IMPORTANT: Optional accessories will help you decorate your aquarium and make it look spectacular. Be aware, however, that many materials can pose a health hazard to reptiles or release toxic substances. Objects with sharp edges, fragile walls cannot be used as decorations. the turtle can bite off a piece or get hurt. For this reason, it is not recommended to put artificial plants, accessories made of thin glass or plastic, or small shells in the aquaterrarium with adults.

Conditions of keeping the red-eared turtle

For the normal life of the animal, the following conditions of detention must be observed:

  • Water.
  • Land.
  • Temperature.
  • Lighting.
  • The use of ultraviolet lamps.
  • Filtration of water.

In order for the turtle to swim freely and easily perform various maneuvers, the water level in the terrarium should be at least 40 cm. It should be changed once a week, but not completely, but only 30-40% of the total volume. The newly poured water must first be defended for 5 days.

The red-eared turtle is considered a swimming reptile. In addition to water, it can also be on land, crawling out to warm up. This area should cover 25% of the total terrarium area. Attach the island to the base of the tank.

The top of the aquarium should be covered with glass with small holes allowing air to pass through. This is necessary so that the animals do not get out.

The red-eared turtle is rather inactive, and spends a lot of time on land. You can equip several islands for her. One can be in a shady place, and the other in a brightly lit.

There are some points to consider when arranging a land island in a terrarium:

  • A piece of land is made with a sloping shore, which should gradually rise from the bottom. Steep cliffs are not recommended.
  • The islet is made of quality material, and the surface must be rough so that the turtle clings to it with its nails and gets out of the water. You can put soil on it, but be sure to do it in such a way that it does not crumble into the water.
  • If there are several red-eared turtles in the terrarium, then the area of ​​the island is increased so that all animals can fit on it.
  • If there are several islets of land, it will be good if some are completely dry, while others are slightly damp.

The land area is made 30 cm below the edge of the terrarium so that the animal cannot get out.

How to properly set up a red-eared turtle aquarium

Red-eared turtles belong to the aquatic species of these animals. Keeping them requires a large and comfortable aquarium. It is correct to call it aquaterrarium, because such a reservoir contains water and has access to land.

This animal is demanding about its place of residence. Therefore, you need to know how to equip a terrarium for a red-eared turtle in such a way as to create a natural habitat for it. Only in this case, this animal will live a long life, devoid of disease.

Filtration of water

The water in the aquarium should always be clean, then the turtles will not get sick. All types of external aquarium filters are suitable for terrariums.

It is better not to use internal filters, because they quickly become clogged by suspensions, losing their effectiveness.

The better the filter, the less often you will need to change the water in the aquarium. To keep the water constantly clean, it is changed every week by 30-40% of its volume.


The water temperature in the aquarium should be 23-28 degrees. If there are two islands of land, then one should be in a shaded place, and the temperature there should be 23-25 ​​degrees. And on a warm island, the temperature is usually 28-32 degrees. Such temperature changes are considered ideal for these animals.

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To create this temperature, use a special aquarium lamp. A drop in temperature below 20 degrees negatively affects the health of this pet.

How can you arrange an aquarium

Whatever the decoration items are, the most important thing is that they are safe. It is forbidden to use objects made of materials that can emit harmful substances, have sharp corners and edges.

The soil used to cover the bottom should not be very fine, otherwise the turtles will begin to swallow it. In addition, it quickly becomes dirty and poorly cleaned. The best option is the use of medium-sized pebbles.

You can decorate your turtle tank with artificial silk or plastic plants. They are fastened to the bottom with weights. Islets look good with artificial vines.

Also, the terrarium is decorated with a variety of snags, unusual stones and other elements. Driftwood must be used such that it has been in the water for a long time. Fresh driftwood can release harmful substances.

Lighting and UV lamps

In their natural habitat, red-eared turtles often crawl out onto land to bask in the sun’s rays. Aquaterrariums also need lighting, so 40-75 W incandescent lamps are used for this. It is necessary to hang the lamp over the land island. The distance from it to the lamp should be such that the air warms up to 28-32 degrees. The lights are turned off at night.

Many owners of red-eared turtles do not even realize that these pets are in dire need of ultraviolet radiation, which helps the body absorb calcium and synthesize vitamin D 3. Their lack contributes to the development of rickets and even the death of the animal.

Purchase a UV lamp that emits UVB and UVA rays. A lamp with UVC rays should never be used, because they burn the retina, making the turtle blind.

The UV lamp is turned on every day for 12 hours. It must be installed from above at a distance of at least 30 cm from the ground. Replace the lamp once a year.

How to choose a red-eared turtle aquarium

When choosing an aquaterrarium for a red-eared turtle, be sure to take into account the size of the animal and the characteristics of its body. These aquatic turtles spend a lot of time under water, feeling safe there.

The aquaterrarium should be of such a size that the turtles have plenty of room for swimming, with the obligatory exit to land. Terrariums can be low with a large area, and stones can be used to lay out natural landfalls.

  • These aquaterrariums are ideal for small turtles that swim a lot and often crawl out to bask.
  • Larger animals can escape through low sides.


Thus, if the turtle is 10-13 cm long, then an aquarium of 100 liters will be enough for it. As it begins to grow, they acquire a larger container. When this animal reaches a length of 20-30 cm, it will already need an aquarium of 200 liters.

Too small volume of the aquaterrarium contributes to the rapid pollution of the water, from which red-eared turtles can get sick.


Modern terrariums come with a ready-made lid. The presence of a cover in the turtle’s dwelling is necessary, as it prevents the reptile from escaping from the house. However, it is important to remember that there must be ventilation holes in the cover.

Filtration of water

The water in the aquarium should always be clean, then the turtles will not get sick. All types of external aquarium filters are suitable for terrariums.

It is better not to use internal filters, because they quickly become clogged by suspensions, losing their effectiveness.

The better the filter, the less often you will need to change the water in the aquarium. To keep the water constantly clean, it is changed every week by 30-40% of its volume.


When everything you need for the comfortable existence of the red eagle has been bought at your home, you decided that it would be nice to think about the aesthetic function of the terrarium, so that when you come home from work tired and exhausted, you can rest your soul, looking at the beauty of the underwater world of your aquarium.

Well, let’s get started with the design. The bottom of the aquarium can be laid with colored pebbles. It is important to remember that the size of each pebble must be larger than the head of an adult turtle, otherwise the reptile can swallow it and choke, the consequences will be serious, up to and including death.

It is better to choose plastic plants for the aquarium, since red-eared turtles, despite their predatory nature, always do not mind eating a piece of algae. The artificial algae themselves should be firmly fixed in the ground so that the playful turtle does not dig them up with its sharp claws.

A wonderful solution would be to decorate the terrarium with various driftwood, clay houses or even caves. This will add beauty and mystery to the aquarium, creating the illusion of a real seabed. You can put a model of a sunken, algae-covered ship on the bottom, however, it is worth remembering that any part of the interior in the aquarium should not have sharp parts, otherwise your pet will be injured. You can put a mineral block in your aquarium to help purify the water naturally. It is important to remember that it is better to take old wood driftwood, that is, those that have lain under water for a long time. a fresh tree can release substances dangerous for reptiles.

An island of sushi can be made of stone, or you can install a plastic one, but cover it with pebbles so that the turtle’s legs do not slide on its surface. The height of the island should be such that your pet would not have the opportunity to crawl out of the aquarium and hide in an unknown direction.

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How to filter water?

In addition to regularly changing the water in the terrarium, it must be filtered. Conventional aquarium filters are suitable for this purpose. It is best to use external filters, as internal filters quickly become overgrown with algae, become clogged with sand and become unusable. You should not save on the filter, as well as on the UV lamp: the higher the quality of the filter, the less often you will have to change the water in the terrarium.

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Choice of capacity

Red-eared turtles are aquatic species, so they need an aquatic environment to feel safe. To raise a reptile in captivity, you need a properly equipped aquaterrarium. an aquarium filled with water and owning an island of land for the turtle to warm up and bask in the rays. When buying terrariums, you should select a container “for growth”, as the turtles are growing rapidly, and soon the pet will become cramped in a small container.

You can choose a suitable aquarium for a red-eared turtle based on the following data:

  • For a small pet up to 10 cm in size, a container with a capacity of 50 liters is suitable.
  • Young representatives up to 16 cm will feel comfortable in a reservoir of 80 liters.
  • An aquarium for red-eared turtles with a volume of 150 liters is needed for those pets whose size is up to 25 cm.
  • Formed pets need a container with a capacity of 150 liters or more.

When choosing aquariums, it should be borne in mind that in a small tank, the aquatic environment becomes more polluted, which leads to a deterioration in the condition of the turtles. In addition to capacity, the turtle aquarium is equipped with a ventilated roof that fits tightly to the tank so that pets cannot go on a journey.

What aquarium is needed for a red-eared turtle

A spacious and well-equipped aquaterrarium for the red-eared turtle is the key to successful reptile keeping. Turtles are exacting about housing, so it is extremely important to provide a cozy house for cute pets, otherwise the reptile will get sick and die. For a pet to live a long, carefree life, you should know how to equip a terrarium, and what is included in the design of an aquarium for a red-eared turtle.


The health of pets depends on the purity and safety of the aquatic environment, therefore, you cannot do without a filter in aquaterrariums. The device will help the owner to maintain the cleanliness of the aquatic environment without effort, and will allow less frequent water changes.

It is better to install external filtration units in aquariums with red-eared turtles, since the internal type device quickly clogs up and loses its performance. The better the filtration device, the less often you need to replace the fluid in the reservoir.

Temperature regime

Temperature regime in the habitat of turtles:

  • The best water temperature is from 23 to 28C.
  • The surface of a darkened land area should have a temperature of 23-25C.
  • Intensely lit land. 28-32C.

To create such conditions for pets, reptile owners use heating elements. lamps and heaters. In the first case, the lamp is placed over a dry area in the reservoir, but sometimes this heating is not enough. Then they use an aquarium heater, which is placed with caution: pets can accidentally touch the wires and get injured.

Ultraviolet lighting

The main principle of keeping turtles in captivity is to create a natural environment. In nature, turtles love to bask in the sun, so in an artificial reservoir you will need:

  • An incandescent light bulb is placed over land in order to achieve a temperature of 23-28C. In the dark, the lights are turned off.
  • The most significant aspect in keeping red-eared turtles is considered to be ultraviolet light, with the help of which reptiles absorb calcium, which is necessary for the strength of the shell. In terrariums, UV lamps should be installed at a distance of at least 30 cm from the soil. Duration of daylight hours. 12 hours.

Note: only UVB and UVA rays can be used.