You’re probably well aware that most turtles need a large tank to live in. While this is mostly true, there are some species of turtles that can live in small tanks. Also, baby turtles of all species can be kept in small tanks. In today’s article, I will review the best tanks for small turtles.
Best Tanks for Small Turtles
The best tanks for small turtles are the Aqueon Standard Tank, Tetra Aquatic Turtle Deluxe Kit, and the Aqua Culture 20 gallon tank.
Aqueon Standard Tank
The Aqueon Standard Tank is the cheapest tank for small turtles, and you definitely get the biggest bang for your buck. You can buy the 20 gallon tank from Petco for only $28. The 40 gallon tank costs $60. These are “long” tanks, which mean they are wider than they are tall.
This is better for turtles because it gives them more lateral space to move. The 20 gallon tank is 30.5 inches long and 13 inches tall. The 40 gallon tank is 26.19 inches long and 17 inches tall.
Aqueon Standard tanks are made from high quality glass that does not scratch easily. This is the tank that I use an Aqueon Standard for my red-eared slider tank, and I have never had a problem. The glass stays pretty clear, and it is easy to clean.
I can really only think of two downsides to this tank. The first is that you cannot get this tank shipped to you. This is actually pretty standard for most tanks because it is hard to ship them without the glass breaking. Therefore, you have to pick this tank up from a Petco store location.
The second downside is that this tank does not come with a cover. However, this is not really an issue since your turtle won’t be able to climb out of the tank as long as the water level isn’t too high. If you want a high water level, you can always by a cover separately.
Tetra Aquatic Turtle Deluxe Kit
If you are getting a small turtle and starting from scratch without any other turtle tank accessories, this Tetra Aquatic tank kit is a great solution. It can also be shipped to your house, so it’s a good option if you can’t pick up a tank from a nearby pet store. While the price is a bit steep, it is a good deal once you see everything that comes with the kit. The kit comes with everything you will need for your turtle’s habitat.
This includes a 20 gallon tank that is 34 inches long and 17.7 inches tall. The accessories in the kit include a three step filter that is built inside of a rock and operates like a waterfall, food for your turtle, water conditioner, rock for a basking platform, basking lamp, and a fake plant. It also comes with a screen cover that you can put over the tank. Along with preventing your turtle from escaping, you can also set the basking lamp directly on top of the screen.
While this kit certainly includes everything that you need to get started, it does cost $178, so it might not be in your price range. There are also two other downsides that I think are worth calling out.
While the filter that comes in the kit has a really cool aesthetic, it can only filter water up to a couple inches. If you want to fill the majority of your tank with water, you will need a different filter. Similarly, the basking rock that comes with the kit will only work if the water is around 4-5 inches or less.
For this reason, this kit is only a good choice if you have a baby turtle, or a turtle under 2-3 inches. A turtle bigger than 3 inches will need more water/space to swim around in, so you will need to get a different filter and basking platform.
Luckily, both of these things are relatively cheap. You can buy a solid filter for $20, and then you should be able to find a basking platform for under $15.
Aqua Culture 20 gallon tank
If you are looking for a tank for your small turtle that ships to you, this Aqua Culture 20 gallon tank is your best option. It is available on Walmart and only costs $44. It can be shipped to your house in under a week and has a 90 day money back guarantee.
This means that if your tank is damaged at all when it arrives, you can easily return it to get a refund. It is packaged with special material that makes it unlikely for it to be damaged while it is shipped to you. The tank is also made from high-strength silicone in glass, so it is pretty durable.
The main downside of this tank is that it’s not as long as the other tanks. It is 24.25 inches long and 16.75 inches tall. In order to provide your turtle with enough space to swim, you will want to fill up the majority of this tank with water.
How big of a tank do you need for a small turtle?
For a turtle that is 1-2 inches, you will need at least a 10 gallon tank. A 3 inch turtle will need at least a 20 gallon tank.
Once your turtle grows beyond 4 inches, you should get a 40 gallon tank or bigger. If you have a 40 gallon tank, you should check out my article on what turtles can live in a 40 gallon tank.
How much water do you need for a small turtle tank?
The amount of water that you need for a small turtle tank will be dependent on the size of your turtle. Ideally, you want the water depth to be at least 2-3 times the length of your turtle’s shell.
For example, if your turtle has a shell length of 2 inches, you will want at least 4-6 inches of water in the tank. This will give your turtle enough space to swim around and stay active.
If you don’t have enough water in your turtle tank, your turtle will probably suffer from health issues such as pyramiding or diseases due to poor water quality.