Turtles are wonderful pets that can bring years of enjoyment. They’re relatively low-maintenance and can be a fun addition to any home. But before you bring home your new pet turtle, you need to make sure you have the proper habitat set up. Here’s what you need to create a safe and healthy environment for your turtle!
Buy These Things First
The basic necessities for a turtle habitat include:
- A large enough tank
- A basking area
- A water filter
- A light source
- Turtle-safe plants or decorations
- A tank substrate to cover the bottom of the tank (optional)
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s further explore each of these and figure out the best ones to get your hands on.
Choose An Aquarium, Not A Terrarium
Turtles need ample swimming space to stay healthy, and an aquarium is a great way to provide that.
A terrarium is not big enough or deep enough for most turtles, and it can quickly become too hot or humid for them. And, most importantly, a terrarium is not built to hold water. It’s just not strong enough.
An aquarium allows your turtle to swim around and get the exercise they need while keeping them cool and comfortable.
What’s The Perfect Size For An Aquarium?
That really depends on the type of turtle you have. But as a general rule of thumb, the larger the better. In general, 50 to 100 gallons should be more than fine. And, as a general rule of thumb, try and get 10 gallons for every inch of your turtle’s length.
However, if you’re still not sure what size to get, ask your local pet store or reptile specialist for help. They will be able to recommend the perfect size aquarium for your specific turtle. Or, just visit here and figure out what works best for your non-teenage, non-mutant, non-ninja turtle.
Do You Need A Cover For An Aquarium?
In fact, yes. But, not for the “obvious” reason. Your turtle (probably) won’t climb out and run away from the aquarium. The metal mesh covers are actually there to protect your pet from broken lamps.
These things get quite toasty and if splashed, they could break into million tiny pieces that could harm your pet.
And yes, you need a metal mesh cover. Don’t use glass or plexiglass. Those could melt or break, too.
Why Do Turtles Need A Basking Area?
Turtles need a dry basking area in their habitat because it allows them to regulate their body temperature and sunbathe. Although, to be fair, their “lampbathing” in this case. But nevertheless, it’s just something aquatic turtles do, and you have to allow them to do so.
The basking area should be large enough for the turtle to climb out of the water and get completely out of the water to bask. You can use a rock, log, or special basking platform designed for turtles. Basically, if it can safely hold a turtle and isn’t toxic – you may use it.
What Kind Of Light Or A Lamp Do You Need?
Basically, turtles need UVA and UVB light to stay in tip-top shape. This kind of light helps them metabolize their food, strengthens their shells, and prevents diseases.
So, when choosing a lamp or a light fixture for the habitat, make sure it emits UVB rays. This is absolutely paramount. Without UVB, your turtle probably won’t survive for long. So, go out and get yourself, or better yet, your turtle a basking lamp designed for reptiles or a fluorescent tube light that has been made specifically for turtles. The latter is usually placed inside the hood of the aquarium so your turtle can’t reach it and get hurt.
What Kind Of Water Filter Should You Buy?
As for what kind of filter you need – it really doesn’t matter. Any standard filter will do the trick, so don’t let greedy sellers take advantage of you. The one thing you need to make sure of is that the filter you choose is big enough for your aquarium.
As a rule of thumb, try and get a filter that can circulate all the water in your aquarium at least two to three times per hour. So, if you have a 50-gallon aquarium, get a filter that can move 150 gallons per hour.
What Kind Of Plants Or Decorations Should I Put In The Habitat?
You can really go crazy with this one because there are so many options. But, as always, use common sense. Don’t put anything in the habitat that could hurt your turtle or make the water toxic. Other than that – it’s pretty much up to you and your imagination.
Which Kind Of Substrate Is Best For Turtles?
As a general rule of thumb, if you don’t want live plants – you don’t need substrate at all. However, if you want to plant some greenery there, there are many different types of substrates you can use for your turtle habitat.
The best one to use is definitely Flourite. It’s the perfect choice for planted turtle tanks. Not to mention, it’s also very aesthetically pleasing, and once you filter out the “muddy” water from the Flourite – you’ll be left with a lovely looking bottom.
Other than that, you can also use fine sand (although we wouldn’t recommend it because it’s a nightmare to keep clean), rocks, or even just bare bottom if you don’t plan on planting any live plants in the aquarium.
Do I Need A Heater For My Turtle Habitat?
If you live in a place with a fairly stable temperature – then probably not. But, if the temperature in your area fluctuates a lot – then yes, you will need a heater to keep the water nice and warm.
Now that you know what you need to set up a proper habitat for your turtle, you can start shopping for the perfect home for your new pet. With a little time and effort, you can create a safe and enjoyable environment that will keep your turtle happy and healthy for years to come.