What Temperature Should a Turtle Tank Be

Do you know the importance of maintaining a water temperature in a turtle tank? Temperature is one of the most vital environment conditions, and it can even lead to the death of a turtle if it is not set properly. Like all other pets, turtles need a certain tank temperature to maintain their body temperature. It’s mandatory for them because it helps promote digestion, assist respiratory functions, and prevents turtle diseases.

Unlike humans, turtle are unable regulate their body temperature internally, so it is your responsibility to control their body temperature with their surroundings. Therefore it’s crucial that you do everything in your power to maintain the right tank temperature. If the water in your turtle tank is too cold, it can lead to respiratory illnesses. It can also lead to obesity, because your turtle will be less inclined to stay active and swim around.

So, if you want your turtle to remain healthy and avoid illnesses, then ensure that water temperature is within a few degrees of the target temperature. Now the question is, what temperature should a turtle tank be?

What should the temperature of a turtle tank be?

The temperature of your turtle tank is solely dependent on the species of your turtle. Below is a chart for the proper temperature of a turtle tank for some of the most popular turtle pet turtle species.

Turtle SpeciesWater TemperatureBasking TemperatureAir Temperature
Red-Eared Slider72-80 ℉85-95 ℉75-85 ℉
Painted Turtle75-80 ℉85-95 ℉80-85 ℉
Box Turtle75 ℉90 ℉70-80 ℉
Musk Turtle72-80 ℉90 ℉75-82 ℉

As you can see from the chart above, the basking spot temperature needs to be the warmest part of the tank. The air temperature should be slightly below the basking temperature, and the water temperature should be a couple degrees below the air temperature.

If you don’t have the right water temperature, it can result in a respiratory illness as the turtle below.

How to regulate the temperature of a turtle tank?

There are three things that all turtle tanks need in order to maintain a proper temperature:

  • Basking Light
  • Water Heater
  • Thermometer

Below are some of the cheapest options you can get for these products.

UVA/UVB Turtle Heat Lamp

basking lamp for turtle

KASANMU Aquarium Heater

heater for turtle tank

AQUANEAT Thermometer

thermometer for turtle tank

Important Things to Do to Maintain a Turtle Tank Temperature

You can keep your turtle healthy by providing a balanced temperature in the tank.

Control the temperature of the basking area in the turtle tank

The temperature of the basking area in the turtle tank must be controlled and maintained correctly. Electric heat lamps with UVB light can make the inside temperature too hot, and the turtles will avoid going to that place because they’ll have a fear of getting too hot or their skin drying out.

If the temperature inside is too cold, it can result in respiratory infection, which also isn’t good for turtles. Ensure that habitat lighting controls the basking area temperature. It’s crucial to control the temperature of the turtle’s habitat to help turtles to survive.  

Controlling the habitat temperature means that you control the body temperature of turtles. When you know how to control the temperature, it becomes pretty easy to heat the water and air within the turtle’s habitat.

Find the appropriate water temperature for the turtle tank

As you read in the chart above, the correct temperature for a turtle is highly dependent on the species. Additionally, you should know that turtles under the age of one will require slightly warmer temperatures. In most cases, this means the temperature should be around 5 degrees fahrenheight higher than the recommended target. .

Sick turtles also need higher temperatures than healthy ones. As mentioned earlier, turtles are ectothermic animals, and they are susceptible to respiratory illnesses. Raising the habitat temperature can help fight of bacteria and respiratory illnesses. Generally, you need to increase the air and water temperature of a sick turtle’s tank to around 4 degrees higher than the normal tank temperature.

In some cases, you may even need to quarantine a turtle if they are sick.

How to regulate the water temperature of the turtle tank

Use aquarium heaters to maintain the water temperature in a turtle tank. Ensure that you choose the right turtle tank heater because most of them are designed for fish tanks. The outer layer of the heater should have a protective covering, and it should be made of thermal-resistant plastic.

Your heating source should be powerful enough to heat the water available in the tank. You can purchase the water heater according to the capacity of the water tank you want to heat. If the places where you’ll keep the turtle tank are cold, you need the most powerful heaters. For warm places, you can use the less powerful ones. You should keep a close eye on your tank if you live in a cold area where the power frequently goes out, as only a couple hours without a heater can be deadly for a turtle.

Additionally, you can also look for heaters that are battery powered.

It’s always good to have an additional heater because you can use the other if one stops working. It’s essential to maintain the turtle tank temperature to help turtles survive. Multiple heaters can extend their life.

Final Words

Many people want to know what temperature a turtle tank should be. There is no specific answer to this question because it’s different for different species. We have given you a general overview of the proper temperature for a turtle tank and provided the resource to check the temperature guides for your particular turtle species.