home Aquarium How to equip a red-eared turtle aquarium

How to equip a red-eared turtle aquarium


The species of flat water turtles has several subspecies Homopus:

  • boulengeri;
  • areolatus;
  • signatus;
  • femoralis;
  • solus.

Animals of this species are distinguished by a strongly elongated skull, and in adulthood rarely exceed 10 centimeters in length. The head is proportional, on the neck there are special small protective shields, the carapace is convex, oval, slightly extended forward. Shades of carapace range from dark brown to olive. Females in comparison with males are large, in one clutch they lay up to 5 eggs.


After looking at your little miracle and reading our article, you decide that we were mistaken in the recommended aquarium volumes. Two hundred liters, and this cute little one? No, the requirements are not overstated. The turtle has to grow and grow. and you won’t have to buy a new aquarium for it in a year. The information that if you keep your pet in a small container, you can keep its miniature size, is an outright lie. The animal, one way or another, will grow, but it will be sick and crooked.


In nature, hibernation is a reaction to adverse environmental conditions, cold and heat. Such sleep for animals helps to survive these periods.

At home, where they are comfortable, there is no need to hibernate. Don’t induce hibernation!

Health care

Compliance with all the rules for the care and maintenance of waterfowl turtles in a home apartment protects the animal from possible infections and diseases. However, any pet can get sick.
Common diseases and treatments are presented in the following table:

Does not drown, falls over, does not eat, wheezes, white mucus and blisters from the nose

Deadly. It is treated in a hospital or at home by injection

Conjunctivitis / swelling / redness of the eyes

Swollen eyes, redness, suppuration under the eyelids, lack of appetite

The curvature process is irreversible; local treatment

Diarrhea / constipation, the presence of helminths in the tests

Increased shedding, skin redness, white growths

What is forbidden to use

Spinach, cabbage, peas interfere with the absorption of calcium. Tomatoes are undesirable, they replace calcium with phosphorus in the process of life.

Nuts and seeds of berries cause gastrointestinal complications comparable to the effects of ingested stones. Sour citrus fruits cause stomach ulcers.


In nature, animals begin mating games in March and June, and at home they mate all year round. In good conditions, the female will lay 3-4 clutches of two dozen eggs per season.

Prepare a suitable nest for a pregnant female.

During pregnancy, the female spends more time on land, her need for calcium and UV rays increases.

Aquarium soil

If you live in the spirit of minimalism, then the ground, like other decorative elements, is not required. But he significantly revives the atmosphere of the red-eared dwelling. Gravel is not suitable (animals can swallow it and die). It is better to use large stones: it is both safe and easier to care for the aquarium.

Temperature regime

The recommended water temperature for a red-eared turtle is 23-28 ° C. The temperature on a shaded (cold) land island should be 23-25 ​​° С, and in a brightly lit (warm) area. 28-32 ° С. This is an absolutely ideal option for arranging the temperature conditions that are most suitable for the red-eared turtle.

Heating is required to create these temperature conditions. The main heating is carried out using a special lamp, which is fixed over one of the islands. If the temperature during heating by the lamp is insufficient, then additional heating is applied.

A submerged aquarium heater can be used. Particular attention should be paid to its location: the turtle should not be able to accidentally bite into the electrical wire or damage it with its shell.

equip, red-eared, turtle, aquarium


The health of the turtle directly depends on the state of the water in the aquarium, so it must be kept clean. For the terrarium, it is best to use external aquarium filters of any type.

The better the filter works, the less often a complete water change will be needed.

To maintain the ecological balance, it is necessary to regularly replace half of the water volume weekly. Before replacing, the water is defended.

How to equip an island?

The red-eared turtle leads a sedentary lifestyle, spending a lot of time not only in the water, but also on the shore, therefore, in the aquarium, it is necessary to equip at least one, and preferably several land areas per turtle (one in a shaded place, and the other in a brightly lit warm place ). On land, the turtle receives oxygen and enjoys UV rays.

  • The land area must occupy at least a quarter of the area of ​​the entire bottom.
  • Land areas should have a sloping bank that rises smoothly from the bottom. Steep drops are not allowed. You can build a ladder or mini-ladder, put a large stone or a grotto with gentle walls.
  • The surface of the islands should be made of high quality materials and be rough. If there is soil on the island, then it should not crumble into the water.
  • If there are several turtles, then the land should have such a total area that all individuals simultaneously have access to it and can fit.
  • If there are several islands, then some of them may not be completely dry, but covered with water by a few millimeters.

The islet should be located about 30 cm below the edge of the terrarium so that the animal does not get out and run away.

Choosing an aquarium

When choosing the size and type of aquarium, it is necessary to take into account the dimensions of an adult animal and the characteristics of its body. Red-eared turtles spend a lot of time underwater or at the bottom of an artificial reservoir, where they feel safe.

The volume of the aquarium is selected depending on the size and number of turtles. For one turtle 13 cm long or a pair of young individuals 10 cm long, a one-liter aquarium will suffice. As it grows, the container is replaced with a larger one. So, for a pair of turtles 20-30 cm long, a two-hundred-liter aquarium is already required.

The red-eared turtle is a swimming reptile. In addition to water, dry land is vital for her, on which she heats up and gets an ultraviolet tan. The recommended size of the land area is at least 25% of the total area of ​​the aquarium. It is advisable to firmly attach the island to the base of the container.

The container should be equipped with a lid, such that pets cannot move it and get out, but at the same time it is well breathable.


Most hobbyists ignore the need for UV light in red-eared turtles. Nevertheless, UV radiation is vital for them (only UVB and UVA rays! UVC is absolutely not allowed, as they burn out the retina and lead to blindness of the animal!). Without it, vitamin D3 is not synthesized in the body of turtles and calcium is not absorbed. The consequences of this are rickets and the death of the animal.

The UV lamp should shine 12 hours a day. Install it from above at a distance of at least 30 cm from the ground. The lamp is changed once a year.

Aquarium decoration

The main principle for choosing decorations is safety. Do not use items made of environmentally hazardous materials, with sharp corners or edges.

Green plants can be planted for young turtles. Adults do not need soil, and they can eat or damage plants.

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In an aquarium with red-eared turtles, artificial plants made of plastic or silk will be appropriate. They are fixed in the ground with weights. Artificial vines can also be installed on the islands.

To decorate the terrarium, you can use a variety of driftwood, grottoes, unusual stones and other elements. The driftwood should not be fresh, as it will release harmful substances into the water. It is better to take pieces of wood that have been lying in the water of any body of water for a long time. The bark must be removed from them.

Red-eared turtles aquarium

Correct selection of the tank

To choose a suitable aquaterrarium for a red-eared turtle, you should focus on the size of an adult and general breed characteristics. Even if, when buying, the seller assures that the representatives of this breed are dwarf turtles and are able to live almost in a box, you should not believe this.

“Krasnushki” prefer to spend most of their time in water or even on the ground of an artificial reservoir. Based on the size of adults of this breed, they can not be called dwarf in any way: the length of males raised in captivity reaches 17 cm, females. 3-4 cm more.


Turtles often eat small stones, which can be triggered by a lack of minerals, curiosity, or smells that make the reptile appetite. But whatever causes this behavior, it is dangerous for turtles and can cause serious problems with the digestive tract, up to the death of the inhabitant.

Therefore, do not place fine soil on the bottom of the tank. In addition, it is more difficult to clean and becomes dirty quickly. Experienced owners advise buying pebbles, the particles of which are not less than 0.5 cm. But you can completely do without this element, especially since the turtles themselves do not need soil. And if the aquarium looks dull without it, you can lay out a variety of larger pebbles on the bottom.

Providing light and ultraviolet

In their natural environment, red-eared reptiles periodically crawl out of the water onto land, where they warm up, lying on coastal zones. To provide the pet with conditions close to natural, it is advisable to install an artificial lighting device above one of the islands.

There should be a sufficient distance from the island to the light source so that the lamp warms up the air to 29 °.31 ° C, but does not overheat the reptile. If several individuals live in the tank, then they can climb onto each other’s backs, striving closer to the warmth. it is important that they do not come close to the device. At night, lighting and heating devices must be turned off.

Also, these reptiles dive not very gracefully, they raise a whole cloud of spray. And then water can fall on the lamp base and destroy this hot part of the device. It is better to cover the luminaire with a shade that protects it from moisture and steam.

Often, the owners of these reptiles do not attach due importance to their special need for ultraviolet radiation. However, only with sufficient illumination, the pet’s body is able to independently produce the required amounts of vitamin D3. This element, in turn, is necessary so that calcium supplied from food can be perfectly absorbed.

With a lack of ultraviolet rays, the turtles develop rickets, and without timely treatment, individuals die. As a result of practical experiments, it was possible to find out that the ultraviolet lamp should work for about 10-12 hours per day in order to provide the red eagle with the necessary rays. The device is installed at a distance of 35-45 cm from the land surface, and the lamps should be replaced every 12 months.

Tank volume

As for the volume of the tank, it should be calculated based on the fact that one reptile 12-13 cm long or a couple of 8-10 cm individuals requires a 100 liter container. But it should be borne in mind that the turtles will grow, develop, and sooner or later they will have to replace their house with more spacious apartments. For example, two 20-30 cm reptiles will need a tank with a volume of 200-250 liters.

It is important for owners to know that in a small container, water becomes polluted very quickly, which leads to various diseases that are often diagnosed in red dogs.

Amount of water

Do not fill the tank, there should be a distance of at least 20 cm from the water level to the edges.On average, the level does not exceed 2/3 of the tank volume.


Young turtle loves plants, as well as the neighborhood of small, peaceful fish. But adults perceive both fish and vegetation as food. Adult turtles can seriously harm greenery by eating it clean, so it’s better to decorate their house with artificial flora. And if we take into account the dimensions of the individuals, all decorative elements should be fixed using special weights.

Natural driftwood can be used as a decoration for the dwelling of redheads, only they must first be cleaned of bark, grottoes, unusual stones and more.

Temperature requirements

Stability is important for reptiles. this refers to the temperature of the aquatic environment and air, and it is desirable to maintain the indicators within the framework. The optimum temperature for turtles on land is 27 °.28 ° С, for water. from 30 ° to 32 ° С. If you allow a significant increase in the temperature of the air in the tank (this often happens with improper installation and use of lighting devices), then the animal can overheat and die.

As for water, in order to maintain performance, it is better not to rely on your own feelings and not to allow it to cool below 20 ° C. It is advisable to install a heater that maintains the required temperature. You should regularly measure the air and water indicators in the aquarium in order to adjust them in time. And for this it is necessary to install thermometers in the tank.

Choosing an aquarium

Aquariums for red-eared turtles are selected strictly parallelepiped in shape. In some cases. with a lower front side height. In width, the size of the dwelling should be from 6 longitudinal dimensions of the shell for free swimming. The depth of the aquarium is comparable to the height.

The height of the aquarium for the aquatic turtle is selected above the water (land) level by 20-30 cm. Red-eared turtles get out of the tank. For rational use of space and to prevent water evaporation, it is recommended to cover the vessel with a fixed glass or plastic lid with a grate under the illuminators.

  • Level. not less transverse: the turtle must be able to roll over freely.
  • Acidity: pH 6-8 (mains drinking water).
  • Hardness: not regulated. Useful increased carbonate “hardness” kH as an additional source of calcium.
  • Temperature: 24-28 ° C. When the temperature drops to 20 ° C, red-eared turtles catch a cold. Equip the aquaterrarium with a thermostatic heater. Place the device in the corners: damage by the shell is excluded. Take care of the protection of the wire: curious animals try everything “to the teeth”. Heater power. 1 W per 1 liter of water. An external thermometer is preferred. Red-eared turtles are playful, smash.
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Water filtration is required. Red-eared turtles are gluttonous, excrete feces abundantly. To prevent water bloom, the appearance of unpleasant odors and the development of algae, 1 / 4–1 / 3 of the volume is replaced weekly. Biofiltration is advisable.

Intensive filtration is required. External (canister) filters are preferred. Productivity. 6-8 vessel volumes per hour.

Avoid the accumulation of feed residues and faeces. Siphon the turtle at least once a week.

Change from 1/3 of the volume weekly. Use standing water. Increased chlorine provokes eye and skin irritation.

Decoration features

They use massive stones, driftwood, artificial plants. Experienced aquarists call plastic structures “kitsch” with an unknown chemical composition, and avoid placing them.

Decorations also serve as shelters. Young turtles especially need shelters. Decoration with artificial plants is forced. Red-eared turtles eat natural greens.

Decor elements should not have sharp fragments. Animal skin is easily damaged.

Soil and plants

Use rounded (to prevent injury) pebbles 6–8 cm as a soil. Red-eared turtles swallow small pebbles and get sick. A sandy substrate is inappropriate, since there is no point in planting plants. Will be pulled out and eaten. Before placing in the jar, rinse the soil and boil for an hour.

Large shells in the ground are recommended. Increase the concentration of calcium in water.

Rub-eared turtles almost do not eat plant foods for up to a year. They are not interested in plants. Greens absorb harmful substances and help balance the composition of the water. Tropical and subtropical plants are suitable.

As they grow older, the proportion of plant food increases. If there is a herbalist or conditions for growing fast growing plants floating in the water column, add to the turtle. He will not eat everything, and the water will become cleaner.

  • Hydrocotyl white-headed or vertical.
  • Javanese moss.
  • Fontinalis.
  • Naiad guadalupe.
  • Indian fern.
  • Peristula brazilian.

Elodea won’t do. Poisonous juice is harmful to the inhabitants.

Alternative: Equip the red-eared turtle tank with a perforated plant corner. Lay preferable soil for plants.

Disinfect plants from third-party sources before placement. Soak for 2 minutes in a slightly pink solution of potassium permanganate (“potassium permanganate”).

Lighting and heating

Vitamin D3, vital for the red-eared turtle, is produced when the body is warmed up by the sun’s rays. In aquaterrariums, sunbathing is simulated by incandescent lamps and ultraviolet (UV).

Incandescent lamps are used ordinary and halogen. Halogen is twice as efficient due to the increased temperature of the coil. Ordinary power. 40-60 watts. The optimum temperature for heating the shell is 30–33 ° C. The distance from the light source to the surface is determined empirically.

Luminaires are used with an external reflector and located inside the lamp bulb. The beam angle must be sufficient to cover the entire surface of the pet. Incandescent lamps service life. 1000 hours.

When water hits the bulb, the lamp bursts. Ceramic lamps with no visible light component have no drawback.

Provide areas that are inaccessible to heating lamps. The temperature in the “shade” is 25–28 ° C. determined more by the water temperature.

Use ultraviolet lamps in the UVB range (wavelength 280-315 nm). The maximum production of vitamin D3 was recorded at 297 nm. Irradiation with light from 315 nm causes the degradation of cholicalciferol. From 320 nm. degradation of vitamin D3. Illumination recommended 7000-9000 lux (lumen per m2).

A reflector for UV lamps is required. Radiation with a wavelength of up to 400 nm is not recognized by the human eye, but it has a harmful effect on the cells of the fundus. Silicate glass retains 90% of ultraviolet radiation. Metal mesh. 10-20%, depending on the mesh size.


UV radiation is invisible to humans. Causes light and phosphor-treated objects to glow.

The source of ultraviolet radiation is mercury lamps or light-emitting diodes (UV LEDs). LEDs preferred: service life of 50,000 hours or more, energy efficient.

Conventional lighting is provided by fluorescent or LED (color temperature from 7000 K) luminaires. The luminous flux is 40-60 lumens per 1 liter of water. Daylight hours. 8-10 hours.

Everything about aquaterrariums for the red-eared turtle

Turtle aquaterrariums are a microclimate vessel that includes both aquatic and surface environments. Usually purchased or self-made aquariums with an organized island inside are used.

A turtle tank should not be high, but length and depth are more important: they form the swimming space and surface area. Freshwater red-eared turtles are common in aquaterrariums.

The freshwater red-eared turtle (Trachemys scripta elegans) is the accepted Russian-language name for the reptile, a subspecies of the red-eared turtle. The English name is “Red-eared slider”. “Red-eared” are called because of the red lines behind the eyes, the ears are missing.

Natural habitat. stagnant reservoirs and swamps of the subtropical Southeast of the United States. Spread across the south, crowding out local inhabitants.


Red-eared turtles breathe air. If the vessel is closed, ventilation is provided by holes in the lid. In cans from 800 liters, water is blown with air or an exhaust hood.

When the ambient temperature rises, forced ventilation will cool the aquarium by a couple of degrees. Due to energy consumption for water evaporation.

Arrangement of the island

Making an aquarium for a red-eared turtle with an island or shore is a must. The pet spends most of its time underwater. Drying is required for rest and warming up.

  • The surface of the coast (island) should not be slippery.
  • Sizes. 3-4 dimensions of a turtle. For several individuals. 2 tortoise dimensions per inhabitant.
  • Provide “sunny” and “shady” beaches.
  • The location of the land is strictly above the water level. Turtles need to dry.
  • The beach is fixed. Must be able to withstand the animal.
  • Do not use suspicious non-food materials. Red-eared turtles are prone to poisoning.

Cut glass (acrylic) to the desired area. Finish sharp edges with a touchstone or emery material. Lubricate one surface with glue and sprinkle with sand or rounded pebbles 4–6 mm. After drying at the desired height, glue the cans to the walls. Use only aquarium sealant!

Prepare a snag or stump with a hollow of the desired height. Cook wooden materials for 5-6 hours in 5-6 receptions with a change of water. Soak until the medium stops staining and becomes negatively buoyant. Resin and oak (stains the water) will not work. Glue or fix with pins (titanium or plastic) a glass or plastic pad. The site is processed as above.

If the water layer is small, lay out a kind of grotto or bridge out of flat stones or ceramic tiles. Use aquarium sealant for bonding. Avoid massive structures. Excessive load on the glass is unacceptable. Suspended (on a fishing line, for example) structures are successfully used. Shore elements made of stainless steel are acceptable (grades 12X18H10, 12X18H10T).

It is obligatory to equip land with ladders (ladders, slopes with a slight slope) for the possibility of comfortable crawling of the red-eared turtle to the surface. Rigid or semi-rigid structures are made of rubber with reinforcing elements or plastic. At home, they are pasted over with fragments of bath rugs or plastic grates.

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.

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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 to achieve a temperature of 23-28C. In the dark, the lights are turned off.
  • The most significant aspect in the maintenance of 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.

Conditions of detention

The decision to have an exotic pet requires the owner to take a serious approach and take responsibility for the life of the little creature. For normal life, pets need the correct arrangement of an aquarium for a red-eared turtle. The following aspects play an important role in the maintenance of reptiles:

  • Isle.
  • Water environment.
  • Water temperature.
  • Ultraviolet bulbs.
  • Aquarium filter.

Before setting up an aquarium for a red-eared turtle, you should know how much water you need to pour into the container. As mentioned earlier, reptiles are aquatic animals that need an aquatic environment. it is in the water that exotic pets feel safe and calm. In order for the pets to swim without difficulty and feel comfortable, the water level in the aquarium should be at least 0.4 m. The fluid is changed weekly, renewing 30-40% of the volume. It should be noted that replacement water is pre-defended so that harmful substances evaporate. If the terrarium for red-eared pets is equipped with a high-quality filter, a fluid change is made every 1.5 weeks.

Red-eared turtles are sedentary pets that, in their free time from swimming, prefer to lie on an island. to bask. The size of the dry area should be ¼ of the capacity of the container. In addition to dimensions, it is important to firmly fix the land so that the island does not stagger, can support the weight of the pet, and is stable. You can make an islet in the terrarium for a red-eared turtle with your own hands, fixing the base and laying out a gentle bank of stones.

How to equip land. rules and recommendations:

  • The land area is crafted with a smooth shore, which must slowly rise so that pets can climb the island without any problems.
  • The island needs to be crafted from natural materials in order to avoid poisoning the aquatic environment. The surface of the island should be decorated with a rough material, otherwise the turtles will slide off. A substrate can be used as a covering, however, by choosing this option, you need to make sure that the soil does not fall to the bottom.
  • If two or more pets live in the aquarium, the dry soil area is multiplied so that the turtles can fit. In this case, you can make one island dry and lit, and the other wet and darkened.
  • A land plot in a terrarium with turtles is placed 30 cm below the edge of the container, otherwise the pets will run away.

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. In order 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.

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.


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.

Aquarium decoration

Setting up a turtle aquarium is a creative process in which every owner can show their imagination and test themselves as a designer. However, in the pursuit of beauty, one should not forget about the design rules, the purpose of which is to create comfortable conditions for pets. How to equip an aquarium for turtles correctly and aesthetically:

  • Decor. when decorating a container with ornaments and decorative elements, objects made from environmentally friendly materials are used. Sharp-edged or plastic elements should not be placed in aquariums. To give the reservoir a picturesque look, pebbles, driftwood and shelters are placed in aquariums.
  • Soil. the substrate for the bottom is used in the middle fraction, since small particles are swallowed by the turtle. In addition, the fine substrate quickly gets dirty, and cleaning it is a laborious process.
  • Vegetation. Live flora is used in aquariums with juvenile turtles, as adult pets can eat grass. It is wiser to place artificial silk vegetation in the container, securing the flowers with weighty objects or weights. Land areas can be decorated with artificial flowers.

and caring for red-eared turtles requires an investment of time and effort from the owner of the reptile, but the work will be rewarded with the well-being and vigor of the pet. Having acquired a cute turtle, you should provide a properly equipped house for the reptile, where the pet will grow and develop, bringing joyful moments and moments.