Aquatic turtles need big tanks with lots of water. In this quick article, you’ll learn how to find the best red-eared slider tank for you.
This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to purchase through my links, at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Red-eared sliders are excellent pet turtles. They’re tough, personable, and extremely popular.
But you need to know how to house them properly.
Best indoor setup for a red eared slider turtle
The best indoor setup for a red eared slider must include a proper tank. I have seen so many people make so many basic mistakes with these turtles that I felt I just needed to write this article.
The Best Tank for a Red-eared Slider
In my opinion, the best red-eared slider tank for most people is going to be a glass aquarium. It will look nice, be easier to install your turtle tank filter, basking spot, etc. and will save you a little bit of space versus a stock tank.
Red-Eared Slider Tank Size
I’ll get straight to the point here. A Red-Eared Slider tank size should ALWAYS be very large.
Now, I know this doesn’t tell you exactly how big your tank needs to be, so instead, I want you to follow a simple rule.
You should have at least 10 gallons of water for every 1 inch of shell length, measured vertically. So, if your red-eared slider’s shell is 6 inches long, the tank size of your red-eared slider should be at least 60 gallons of water.
In my opinion, it’s best to simply get the biggest tank you can afford as soon as possible. Even if your turtle is still a hatchling. It doesn’t take long for a red eared slider baby to grow to their full-size.
That means you should be looking at large turtle tanks, around 80-100 gallons.
If you have one red-eared slider, I don’t recommend anything smaller than a 55-gallon turtle tank.
Red Eared Slider Turtle Tank
Below are some great options for buying big Red Eared Slider Turtle Tanks.
55 Gallon Turtle Tank
If you are looking for a 55 gallon turtle tank, you have two options. You can either buy the tank by itself, which ranges from $75-$90, or you can buy the 55 gallon aquarium kit for $229. The kit comes with a bunch of turtle tank essentials including a LED low profile hood, quiet flow power filter, submersible heater, water conditioner, and a setup guide. You can click on the photos below for more info.
75 Gallon Turtle Tank
You can buy this 75 Gallon Turtle Tank from Petco. You can order it online and have it shipped to you, or you can pick it up at a nearby store.
120 Gallon Turtle Tank
The only 120 gallon turtle tank for sale online is from Amazon. The tank is made from Starfire glass, which does a better job of controlling temperature inside your tank.
150 Gallon Turtle Tank
If you want to go really big, you can check out this 150 Gallon Turtle Tank from Amazon.
There’s another reason you need to get a large turtle tank.
Your tank needs to be filled with enough water so that your turtle will not drown.
This means that there needs to be enough water in the tank so that your red-eared slider can rotate 360 degrees, while still being totally submerged in the water.
Believe it or not, red-eared sliders can sometimes drown. This can happen if they get stuck in the water. This usually happens in 1 of 2 ways:
- The turtle gets caught in or under something, like a pipe or stone.
- The turtle gets stuck after flipping, under a few inches of water and can’t flip back over.
If you are looking for the best food for your Red Eared Slider, I recommend the Freeze Dried Shrimp & Mealworms for Aquatic Turtle.
So, know that you know that red-eared sliders need large tanks, you need to know what you need for a basking platform, as well as what type of tank you should get.
Best basking spot for Red Eared Sliders
Below are the 3 essentials for a red eared slider basking area. You need to have a basking platform, light, and replacement bulbs. All three of these products cost around $20.
|Penn-Plax Basking Platform|
|Check Price On Amazon|
|UVA UVB Turtle Basking Light|
|Check Price On Amazon|
|UVA UVB Replacement Light Bulb|
|Check Price On Amazon|
Red Eared Slider Tank
When it comes to a Red Eared Slider Tank, I recommend one of the two tanks:
- Glass aquariums.
- Stock tanks.
Each has their own advantages and disadvantages.
Glass Turtle Tanks
I love traditional glass aquariums. They have a few key advantages, in that they are:
- A lot more pleasing to look at. You can also easily see what your turtle is doing.
- Easier to set-up equipment in. This is because most equipment is built with glass tanks in mind.
- Available in a variety of sizes AND shapes.
Glass red-eared slider tanks are a good option if you are looking for something pleasing to look at and easy to setup equipment in.
My Recommendations for Glass Red-eared Slider Tanks
I have done a bit of searching and tried to find some good, well-reviewed glass tanks that are not going to cost you your entire paycheck. If you’re looking at glass tanks, check out and see if some of these are up your alley:
- Tetra 55 Gallon Turtle Tank– It might get a little cramped inside. However, if you’ve just got one and you want to go with a bare-bottom (no substrate), this will definitely suffice. It’s super affordable, reliable, and best of all, has really good dimensions for a red-eared slider environment as its a wide and shallow rather than deep.
- 90 Gallon Seapora Turtle Tank (click to learn more on Amazon) – To be honest, I don’t have any personal experience with Seapora products. However, if you are looking for something a little bit bigger than the smaller 55-gallon tanks, but not as large as the 100 gallons, this could fit the bill. It’s pretty inexpensive for a 90-gallon tank and has really good dimensions for a turtle environment (48 inches long by 24 inches wide by 16 inches tall).
With traditional glass tanks, your options are more plentiful. Besides coming in a lot more sizes, literally from a single gallon all the way up to 400 or more gallons, you’ve got a lot of options with regard to shape, as well.
Besides a good-looking red-eared slider turtle tank set-up is absolutely amazing to look at.
Most aquarium equipment, such as filters, water heaters, and more, are built with these types of tanks in mind.
Another great advantage of glass tanks is that you can put in ornaments and make your turtle tank a special theme. If you are into Star Wars, I recommend checking out this star wars aquarium decor.
Disadvantages of Glass Tanks
With every advantage comes a disadvantage. And with these kinds of tanks, there is a big one; price.
The bigger your tank, the more you are going to pay the big bucks. These tanks can easily cost hundreds of dollars, with some going well over $1,000.
If you are dead-set on getting a tank but a little cash-strapped I would suggest checking out second-hand goods websites such as Craigslist to see if anyone is selling one for a decent price. You can usually get them quite a bit cheaper that way.
Otherwise, you’re probably going to end up shelling out at least a few hundred bucks on a tank.
The other big disadvantage with these tanks is that they can break easily during shipping.
Now, when they are all set-up, in a stable, good location they are quite reliable and safe.
Rubbermaid Turtle Tanks
The other type of red-eared slider tank I would recommend is something called a stock tank. More specifically, I would recommend looking at stock tanks made by Rubbermaid.
They aren’t necessarily pretty, but stock tanks are durable, super-easy to clean, and deep enough for your turtles to swim in.
Rubbermaid tanks (click to learn more on Amazon) also have a lot of advantages. For example, they are:
- Good quality, durable and will not smash easily like a glass tank.
- Easy to drain water out of.
- Available in a variety of sizes, from 50 gallons all the way up to 300.
- Deep and wide, giving your turtles a lot of space to swim.
Rubbermaid stock tanks are a good option if you are looking for something super durable and tough. If looks aren’t particularly important to you, and you simply want something comfortable for the turtles, these things rock. In my experience, they are also easier to clean.
They come in a variety of sizes: 50, 70, 100, 150, and 300 gallons. I would probably not opt for the 50-gallon stock tank simply because it is not deep enough, at around 12 inches.
The build quality on these is very good. They are thick, tough, and built to last. They are nearly indestructible.
Another useful feature of these tubs is the conveniently placed oversized drain plug, which lets you quickly drain water for changes and cleanings.
Drawbacks of Rubbermaid Stock Tanks
There are a few drawbacks to stock tanks.
- Firstly, they aren’t exactly eye-pleasing! If you are thinking of placing your tank in an area of your house which often receives guests, such as your living room, it’s probably going to be a bit of an eye-sore. These tubs are generally better suited for basements or a place away from high-traffic areas.
- Secondly, you will need to do a little bit more work in terms of outfitting the tank with all the necessary gear your red-eared slider needs. I’m talking about things such as a water heater, filter, UV lamp, basking area, etc. Most equipment is built with glass aquariums in mind.
In particular, the basking area might be problematic for you if you aren’t good at building or custom designing things yourself. You will basically be limited to a dock that you will need to create yourself.
Whether you have a glass or plastic tub tank, you can always add some plants to your turtle’s ecosystem. To learn more, check out my article on turtle safe plants.
The Best Indoor Setup for a
Red-eared Slider Turtle
If you want to properly care for a red-eared slider, you need to know that these animals need to be in lots of water!
In fact, the typical red-eared slider will live around most of its life swimming, floating, eating, and sleeping in water. The remainder of its time is usually spent basking in a warm spot somewhere.
It is crucial that the red-eared slider turtle tank you setup prioritize water. I have seen so many photos of friends’ and family members’ red-eared sliders where the aquarium is just too small or there isn’t enough water.
Overall, the choice that you make should depend on what are the most important factors for you.
- Easier to drain and clean.
- Much more durable.
- Much deeper and wider than most tanks, allowing your sliders to have a bigger swimming area.
- Not really pleasing to look at.
- They will require a bit of handy work in order to install things.
- Much more pleasing to look at.
- Easier to hook up equipment with, and fit things like basking tanks with no modifications.
- Come in a variety of sizes and shapes.
- More expensive.
- Much easier to break.
If you are interested in the diet of a Red Eared Slider, check out my article on Red Eared Slider Food.