Types of Turtle Tank
Most turtle tanks are large glass/acrylic containers or a kind of plastic tub, fashioned into a shape which turtles can thrive in.
Glass containers are the most common and most decorative, giving you a fantastic view of your turtle and their habitat. As they are so common, they’re also often easier to combine with other accessories you need like lamps and lights. They are, however, much more expensive than plastic options.
Plastic tubs are far more affordable and often are shaped to already include a platform and pool area, already saving you money on decorations and inner structure! Unfortunately though, because of their material, it’s often difficult to see your turtle in any other way than an aerial view, which makes them less visually appealing. But as a material, they are more durable than glass, as they’re unlikely to break and can’t be scratched or cracked by your turtle.
Suitable Types Of Glass Tank
The first thing you need to work out when purchasing a glass/acrylic turtle tank is what to look for when browsing. Good quality tanks specifically designed for turtles are hard to come by and so it’s rare you’re going to be able to bag yourself the perfect starter kit.
In terms of tanks, it is perfectly acceptable to shop for structures listed as terrariums, vivariums, aquariums and paludariums.
However, you always need to be thinking about whether they could be made suitably semi-aquatic. Unless you have a land turtle, the tank needs to be able to support a large amount of water and so must boast glass of 10mm thickness at a minimum!
Terrariums are so-called because they are habitats which feature plant life and they make great homes for amphibians and reptiles. They are often a very good choice for turtles and most terrariums can be made semi-aquatic.
Lots of people assume aquariums are just for fish, but there’s nothing stopping you turning it into a turtle tank! Just make sure it can accommodate the accessories you need and that it can be fitted with a suitable platform or rock for turtles to grab themselves a breather when they feel like it!
A paludarium is a great enclosure to watch out for, as it literally means a habitat which can support aquatic and terrestrial elements. That means you don’t have to fret about whether it can support water as well as land, as it’s guaranteed!
Vivariums are the main type of tank you need to watch out for, as reptile models are typically a combination of wood and glass, which obviously wouldn’t be so good at containing water. For land turtles, they are perfectly fine, but for aquatic turtles, they tend not to be a great choice as the glass is often not thick enough to support water.
Important Things to Consider
Unless you own a land turtle, the majority of pet turtles are aquatic and so you need a tank that can support large quantities of water without succumbing to the pressure! The tank, therefore, needs to be made from a strong and reliable material such as glass. However, acrylic options are lighter and less prone to cracks and damage.
If you’re lucky, you might find a turtle tank which includes plenty of all the other kit you need to look after your little shelled buddy. But it’s unlikely!
That means it’s crucial to check whether your desired tank can accommodate essentials such as filters, heaters and lights that a turtle needs to thrive!
Just like with any animal, turtles can get ill if they are not kept in a spick and span living environment and so you’re going to need to keep it relatively clean. It’s wise then to avoid over the top environments with a million nooks and crannies you’re going to struggle to squeeze into and scrub!
The hardest part about choosing a suitable turtle tank is getting the size and dimensions right.
In general, your tank will need to be able to provide 38 – 57 litres of water for every inch of your turtle’s size. So if you’re caring for a seriously tubby turtle, you’re gonna need a seriously big tank!
If you have more than one turtle, size the tank according to your largest pal and then add half the size of the original measurement.
In terms of dimensions, the length of the tank should be three to four times the length of the turtle and the width twice their length.
The height should also be twice their size and provide a foot of height above their platform so they are unable to climb out.
Room For Basking Area/ Decoration
Aquatic turtles need an area of land to bask in, often under a warm light source so that they can dry off after a day swimming!
It’s also important for their happiness and for aesthetic quality that the inside of the tank reflects your species of turtle’s natural habitat, which you’ll want to try and replicate with certain plant and rock types.
Make sure that the tank you purchase has sufficient space to fit in all this terrain, creating an enjoyable environment your turtle can call home!
Remember that your tank is going to be holding a great deal of water, which according to basic physics, is going to make things seriously heavy! You, therefore, need to make sure that you have a stand or area of your home where you can place the tank where its weight will be sufficiently held.
Setting up a turtle tank might seem like a costly, long and confusing process, but it doesn’t have to be! If a turtle tank makes it obvious where parts and accessories can be installed and even features things like decorations and platforms already in the tank, it’ll make things a lot easier for you!
It’s important to remember that turtles are semi-aquatic and that your turtle tank is never going to be an aquarium filled almost to the brim with water. That means if you require a tank size which can hold 50L of water, it’s not wise to purchase one with a maximum hold of 50L, as otherwise, your turtle won’t be able to come up for air!
Some people prefer to have a roofless turtle tank as it means they can more easily give their pet access to basking and UVB lamps. However, lidless options pose a greater risk of turtles being to clamber out and escape, especially if the height of the tank is not sufficiently tall enough, so beware!