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How Do I Clean a Turtle Tank

When you have a pet turtle, one of the most time intensive tasks will be cleaning their tank. In today’s blog, I will give you a step by step guide on how to clean a turtle tank in 30 minutes. I’ll also discuss how often you should clean a turtle tank.

How do you clean a turtle tank?

To clean a turtle tank, you must remove all of the objects in the tank, scrub the glass, and do a water change.

With the right equipment, this shouldn’t take longer than 30-45 minutes. If you are more of a visual learner, you can watch my video below.

Step #1: Remove your turtle

putting turtle in separate container

Before you actually start the cleaning process, you will need to remove your turtle from the tank. If you leave your turtle in the tank, it can cause them a lot of stress when you start moving things around their habitat. You should find a bucket that has a surface area of at least 2 times their shell area so that they have enough room to comfortably move around.

Step 2: Clean decorations

cleaning turtle tank decorations

The next step in cleaning a turtle tank is to remove all decorations and basking platforms from the tank. You should put them in a bucket that has water from your tank. Then, start to scrub down the surface of the objects with a sponge. This will help wash away any waste or algae in your turtle tank. As a reminder, make sure that the sponge doesn’t have any residual soap left in side of it, as this can cause damage to your turtles shell.

Step 3: Remove water

Now it is time to remove the water in the tank. If your tank water is dirty, I suggest removing anywhere from 50%-75% of the water in the tank. The easiest way to do this is with a syphon. I use a 25 foot syphon that I can reach all the way to my bath tub to drain the water. If you don’t have a syphon, you can just use a bucket to remove the water. However, this will take much longer.

Step 4: Scrubbing

cleaning turtle tank glass

Now you will want to clean your turtle tank with a sponge. You should start on the glass wherever you see any waste build up. You can use a sponge to scrub these areas. Since algae can spready pretty quickly, it’s important that you scrub anywhere in your tank that you see algae build up.

Step 5: Net cleaning

cleaning a turtle tank with a net

If there are any large pieces of waste that can’t be sucked up by the syphon, you should use a net to capture it.

Step 6: Clean filters

cleaning a turtle tank filter

A lot of people forget this important step when cleaning their turtle tank. While filters help clean the water, they also need to be regularly cleaned themselves. If a filter gets too clogged up with waste, it will eventually become useless. To clean a turtle tank filter, you just need to dissemble it and remove the sponges. Once you have the sponges, you should thoroughly wash them with warm water until they are clean.

Step 7: Fill up the tank

filling up turtle tank with water

Now that you’ve cleaned everything in the tank, it’s time to fill the tank back up with water. You can either do this with a syphon or a bucket. You can learn more in my guide on how much water should be in a turtle tank.

After you fill up the tank, its very important that you add a water conditioner. This will help remove any harmful chemicals that maybe be present in your tap water.

Step 8: Return your turtle

The final step is to bring your turtle back to their new, clean home. It may take a couple hours or even a day for the water to settle and get clear again.

How often should you clean a turtle tank?

You should clean your turtle tank every 4-6 weeks. However, you may need to clean it more frequently if you notice that your water is turning yellow/brown or cloudy. You might also need to clean your turtle tank more often if you notice a lot of algae build up. If you have to clean your turtle tank more than once every 2-3 weeks, I suggest that you get a stronger filter to help keep the water clean.

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