how to clean mold in turtle tank

Green and black mold are the two main types of mold that grow in turtle tanks. They thrive in warm, moist environments such as baths, showers, toilets, and even turtle tanks. Black mold is extraordinarily persistent and often difficult to remove due to its tendency to reappear.

Still, it is possible to permanently eliminate any type of mold in a turtle tank when the correct method is used. In this article, we’ll explain how and why mold grows in turtle tanks, as well as discuss ways to prevent it. Keep on reading!

Is mold in turtle tank dangerous?

Black mold is extremely hazardous to both you and your turtle. It can cause a range of turtle diseases including respiratory infections. It can also cause headaches, coughing, and sneezing in humans.

What causes mold to grow in turtle tanks?

Mold is usually brought into turtle tanks from external sources. Most turtle tanks get black mold from contaminated plants and rocks.

This usually happens when you bring a plant or rock from outside and put it into your tank. If you are interested in learning more about plants, check out the best plants for a turtle tank.

Additionally, a nutrient imbalance in the water can also cause black mold due to overfeeding or inadequate filtration.

Luckily, there are several methods that are great for removing black mold in turtle tanks.

How to get rid of mold in a turtle tank

The most effective ways to get rid of mold in turtle tanks is with hydrogen peroxide, reducing phosphate, water testing, and heat treatment.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen Peroxide is the most commonly used method for getting rid of mold. Simply soak all affected décor, such as rocks, platforms in Hydrogen Peroxide. If your plants are also developing black mold, soak them in a 1:3 mixture of Hydrogen Peroxide and water. This will be gentler on living plants and will also help kill any black mold on your plants.

If you have plastic plants, dip them in a 1:20 bleach-to-water ratio, though peroxide will also work. Soak the objects for at least 2 to 3 minutes, and then rinse everything visibly affected.

You should completely remove your turtle from the tank before you use hydrogen peroxide. And don’t return them until you have washed everything thoroughly with warm water.

Reduce Phosphate

Phosphates are produced by the decay of matter in your tank, including leftover food, waste, and plant decay. Feeding your turtle less frequently or changing the food you give it can help reduce the phosphate levels in your turtle’s tank. For a guide on feeding schedules, check out how much should you feed your turtle.

Because phosphate is used as a preservative in some foods, look for brands with lower phosphate levels. You can also change the water in your tank more frequently or use water treatments to buffer the water’s condition and change or stabilize the pH.

Testing Tap Water

Another way to prevent black mold is by testing your tap water for phosphates, as this can sometimes cause black mold to form. It is natural for tap water to comprise at least 1ppm of phosphorus, but if the levels are elevated, you should find another water source for your tank.

If you use water treatments, research the brand beforehand and make sure they are low in phosphate and that they are safe for your turtle. Furthermore, the best way to reduce phosphate in your turtle tank is to regularly clean your turtle tank as well as your turtle tank filter.

Heat Treatment

Mold prefer warm and moist environments, and it tends to dislike heat. Using heat treatment to remove mold from your tank is an effective method. Remove your turtle and live plants from the tank and place them in a temporary tank.

Next, set the water heater to 110°F to 120°F (45°C to 50°C) and wait an hour and a half. The heat should kill any black mold that has grown in your turtle tank. While you wait for the heater, add a couple of spoons of peroxide to the turtle tank’s water at a ratio of 1:150. It is crucial that you remove any gravel, leftover food, or waste from the tank before the heating process begins.


Mold is a hazard and one of the most challenging molds to kill. If you smell a strong odor coming from your tank or start experiencing symptoms like sneezing, itchy skin, coughing, and headaches, black mold is most likely forming. As a result of the black mold, your turtle will likely develop respiratory infections.

Keep in mind that black mold is a toxic substance that will harm your turtle’s health and can negatively impact humans as well. If it appears in locations other than your turtle tank, you should seek professional help to deal with it because long-term exposure to black mold can be harmful.

The best way to keep black mold from returning to your turtle tank and your home is to balance the phosphate levels in your tank, clean the tank, and change the water regularly.

Hopefully, this article helped you understand what mold is, why it occurs in turtle tanks, as well as what to do to eliminate it and prevent it from recurring. Good luck!

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