Setting up your terrarium for aquatic turtles

The turtle is one of the most domesticated reptiles in the world.

Cute, discreet and easily manipulated, it appeals to young and old alike…

And it has that little something regressive in it that brings us back to childhood!

But do not embark on their adoption without researching.

How to properly arrange my aqua terrarium for my water turtles?

Discover all our tips for getting started on this adventure and pampering your favourite little critters!

Step 1: Know the needs of your water turtle

Freshwater species are ectothermic animals that need an ambivalent environment.

Between water and land, they move back and forth necessary to regulate their body temperature.

Indeed, the latter depends on the temperature of the environment in which they live.

How to maintain them to offer them a fulfilling life?

This is the question you should ask yourself before you think about inviting them to your home.

Various parameters must be taken into account when choosing your tank: the dimensions, the water, the surface out of the water, as well as the light…

To help you, there are complete kits for aquatic turtles, available on Amazon.

Also, keep in mind that these little beasts grow larger over time.

While a young aquatic turtle measures between 4 and 5 cm, it can reach 25 or 30 cm in adulthood.

So be sure to change its environment and habitat accordingly.

And finally, don’t forget to install your reptile tank on the right piece of furniture.

Step 2: Choose an aqua terrarium with the right dimensions

More than a simply decorative accessory, the aquarium is the place of life for your little reptile.

Of course, you can give importance to its design so that it adapts harmoniously to the interior of your home …

But choose it especially while thinking of your aquatic animal.

For his well-being, he will have to live in an ecosystem close to his native environment…

And this first of all involves the purchase of a spacious and comfortable bin.

A spacious tank for these aquatic reptiles

The glass aquarium is ideal for providing a comfortable habitat for your marine animal.

It must allow evolving in an environment that is close to its natural habitat.

The available surface should be large enough to allow your reptile to roam, bask in the dry and swim.

Ideally, the length of its tray corresponds to 7 times the length of the plastron.

For the width, count here a dimension of 7 times the width of the faceplate.

Generally, u will average 60 cm long and 30 cm wide is enough to welcome your pet as it should.

The right height for diving

The height of the water is essential for your friend’s water activities.

If it is a species that likes to swim, the ideal depth of its tank measures 3 times its size.

If she prefers to walk at the bottom, you can very well decrease this height.

Fill the water up to half the tank, because if it comes too close to the edge, your animal may tip over or intentionally escape from its habitat.

Ideally, count a height of about 30 cm . 10 cm should separate the surface of the water and the top of the tank for a young turtle, and 20 cm for an adult specimen.

For safety, you can install a mesh cage above.

The number of turtles

These small creatures generally have a solitary and territorial character and we advise you to install only one per tank.

Although this water reptile is not always a very docile animal, some species can coexist in the same habitat.

Of course, in order for them to become the best friends in the world, you need to provide them with a space large enough for them to live together peacefully.

If the height may not change, for a question of comfort, we advise you to add 30 x 30 cm of surface for each additional inhabitant.

Step 3: Have clean and temperate water

Caring for a pet takes responsibility.

Indeed, in addition to feeding it, monitoring its health and ensuring the cleanliness of its habitat are just as important for its well-being and its adaptation in our home.

The frequency of water change

Like any aquarium, this freshwater reptile tank needs regular cleaning.

Your new tenant can get the water dirty in a matter of days, just by eating and defecating.

The ideal is of course to keep the water clear at all times, at the risk of seeing bacteria develop.

The installation of a filtration system and a water conditioner is essential to decrease the frequency of water changes.

Here you can wait up to 2 weeks before changing it!

The most effective is to integrate an external filter in your installation.

Another advantage of the external filter is that it does not encroach on the available surface of the animal.


Temperature is crucial for reptiles because they are cold-blooded animals.

It is important to be able to regulate and monitor it.

As the aqua terrarium contains water, the heater is installed high up, with a ceramic heat lamp simulating the rays of the sun.

In their natural environment, the temperature varies from one species to another.

So please inquire about the need for the one you adopt to best reproduce its biotope.

Step 4: Use a suitable light

Light is an essential element for your turtle.

It lights and heats its habitat to best meet its natural needs.

Here are the main things to know to help you choose the right equipment.

The importance of light

In nature, the sun is the source of heat and light that punctuates the daily life of your aquatic animals.

Type A (or UVA) and type B (UVB) ultraviolet rays are essential for this reptile since they allow it to synthesize vitamin D, stimulate activity and appetite.

An essential substance that fixes calcium and promotes bone and shell formation.

UV lamps

Is your aqua terrarium placed in an indoor environment?

It is imperative that you install an ultraviolet light source in the container.

Depending on the quality and the brand, the lamps have a different lifespan.

They must therefore be replaced regularly in order to provide your water turtle with enough light all year round.

Step 5: Arrange the “beach” area well

In order to regulate its body temperature, this species needs to get dry from time to time.

To enjoy a good sunbath and warm-up, the creation of a small artificial beach is essential.

The water turtle is semi-aquatic

Since the water turtle is semi-aquatic, it spends part of its time out of the water.

To fit out your house, place an accessible part out of the water.

This “beach” will allow him to stay dry after each dive …

After all, who has never wanted to bask in the peace and bask the pill in the sun?

Is your tenant not very sporty?

If necessary, facilitate access to this dry area using an access ramp.

Don’t forget to decorate your pond with decorative accessories such as:

  • Plastic plants will not be edible.
  • Resin roots on which they can rub.
  • Caves where they can hide.
  • Nice drinking troughs and feeders in the shape of rocks.

In addition to adding a good decorative point, these artificial plants will add a touch of life.

Your turtles will also rub against these plants to get rid of their moults, while the playful ones will use them to hide there.

The need for warmth

This submerged part is essential for your pet’s heat needs.

This is also why we place the ceramic heating lamp above this strategic part of the aquarium.

The land part will be used by your animal to rest after the effort.

For example, it allows him to warm up after his little dives when the need arises…

But did you know that this sunbathing also facilitates digestion?

Is your facility now ready to welcome its new occupant (s)?

All you have to do is find it a place of choice to make it the flagship piece of your interior!

Place your bin in the right place to enhance your torture, in the living room or in a clearly visible place.

So your visitors will be able to admire your pets, and you will also be able to monitor them closely: thermometer, cleanliness of the water …

Due to its heavy weight when it is filled with water, position your tank on a solid aqua terrarium cabinet.

Choose a matching aesthetic, such as the Karapas cabinet, to enhance your installation and present it to your guests in style.