Best Turtle Tank – Choosing the Right Habitat

The tank you choose for your pet turtle is of the utmost importance, as this will ultimately become your turtle’s whole world. The long-term wellbeing and health of your pet turtle will be determined by the quality and size of the turtle tank you choose. To choose the right tank for your turtle that’s fits your budget, you must first understand their needs.

Because many pet turtles are aquatic, your tank should be constructed with durable materials that won’t be susceptible to breaking or cracking. You have to make sure it is able to sustain high water pressure. While glass is often used for turtle tanks, acrylic is a lighter material and as not susceptible to damage.

It’s essential that your turtle tank is simple to keep clean. Just like with any pet you take care of, your turtle’s good health depends on a clean and hygienic environment. Ideally, you won’t select a tank with lots of tucked away areas, because this can make cleaning difficult.

Choosing the Best Turtle Tank for Your Budget

So now you know what you’re looking for, let’s go shopping! Below we’ve listed our choices for the top 5 best turtle tanks.


1. Tetra Aquatic Turtle Deluxe Kit 20 Gallons, aquarium With Filter And Heating Lamps

*Best Turtle Tank Overall – Price and Quality

It shouldn’t be a difficult task choosing the best tank for your pet turtle. This kit consists of a 20-gallon volume tank that’s ideally suited for small and young turtles. While this tank is intended explicitly for aquatic turtles, you can quickly adapt it to house terrestrial turtles if you want to. Besides the tank, the kit comes with a covered top plus accessories that include a lamp for heating, a basking platform, filter, and cartridges. We believe the 20-Gallon Tetra Deluxe Aquatic Turtle Kit is the ideal kit for those just starting with pet turtles and offers good value for money.


  • The 20-Gallon Tetra Deluxe Aquatic Turtle Kit comes complete with all the supplies you could need to get started;
  • This 20-gallon volume tank is perfect for small turtles; and
  • You have the freedom to decorate the tank any way you please.



  • This would not be a suitable tank for large or multiple turtles; and
  • The decorative filter uses a considerable amount of room.

Tetra Aquatic Turtle Deluxe Kit 20 Gallons, aquarium With Filter And Heating Lamps, 30 IN (NV33230)


2. Exo Terra Glass Natural Terrarium Kit, for Reptiles and Amphibians, Short Wide

*Best Tank for Land Turtles

Land turtles require a unique type of tank that gives them enough space to move around and easy to access and not too tricky to clean. The large, wide size of the All-Glass Exo Terra Terrarium is perfect because not only does it have access from the top, it also has two large opening doors on the front that open outward. While this tank comes without additional accessories, it’s an easy tank for anyone to customize.


  • The large size of this tank makes it suitable for more giant land turtles;
  • The tank contains two front doors which open for easy access; and
  • This tank has been designed with ventilation and lighting.


  • Compared to other turtle tank options, this one is quite expensive; and
  • No additional accessories are included in the kit.

Exo Terra Glass Natural Terrarium Kit, for Reptiles and Amphibians, Short Wide, 24 x 18 x 12 inches, PT2604A1



3. SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium Combo Set

*Best Turtle Tank for Multiple Turtles

This is definitely an upscale turtle aquarium that would be an amazing home for just about any turtle or turtles. Acrylic aquariums are seventeen times stronger than glass aquariums while being much clearer! A 24 inch light is included with this set as well as a reflector. It’s a premium turtle habitat that will keep your pet happy.


  • This tank is constructed of lightweight, durable acrylic materials;
  • The large size of this tank makes it perfect for multiple or more significant turtles; and
  • The kit includes a powerful light fixture.


  • The Acrylic SeaClear Aquarium Combo Set was not explicitly designed for pet turtles; and
  • The only accessory you receive with this kit is the light fixture.

SeaClear 30 gal Show Acrylic Aquarium Combo Set, 36 by 12 by 16", Cobalt Blue


4. Aqua Culture 10 Gallon Aquarium Starter Kit with LED

If this is your first turtle, you may not want to spend a lot of money. Some turtle tanks can be quite expensive, especially when you purchase a kit that comes complete with everything, so if you need an affordable tank that’s complete and ready to go, have a look at the Size 10 Aqua Culture Starter Kit. It’s inexpensive, and setting up is very easy.


  • This all-inclusive kit is very affordably priced;
  • All accessories are included in the kit; and
  • Setting up is a breeze with this turtle tank.


  • This turtle tank is only recommended for very small or young turtles
  • The rock decoration does take up a considerable amount of space.

Aqua Culture 10 Gallon Aquarium Starter Kit with LED


5. Zilla Reptile Starter Kit 10 with Light and Heat

If you’re planning on keeping aquatic turtles, you need to choose a specifically designed tank with sufficient swimming space and accommodate the required accessories. This turtle tank comes complete with everything you need for your turtle. The kit comes with a filtration unit, a heat lamp, a water conditioner, turtle food, and more. Note that the filtration unit is also a climbing and basking surface.


  • The rimless design is unique and beautiful;
  • This turtle tank comes with everything you need; and
  • With its 20-gallon capacity, this tank is perfect for a small turtle.


  • The Zilla Turtle Habitat Kit comes without a lid, which means other pets could threaten your turtle; and
  • This tank may not be big enough to accommodate large turtles.

Zilla Reptile Starter Kit 10 with Light and Heat, Desert


Turtle Tank Buyers Guide

Usually, most folks will immediately purchase a ten-gallon fish tank when getting a new pet turtle, but that is only good while the turtle is young and little.

It is not a good idea to do this, as you will only have to buy a bigger one when your turtle gets older. That is going to cost you both money and time.

Key Things to Look for in the Best Turtle Tank

Size of Turtle Tanks

We recommend turtle owners buy a reptile habitat or aquarium tank that will accommodate your turtle when it becomes older (and more importantly, larger).

Plus, if you plan to have two turtles, the size of the tank doesn’t need to be doubled. However, you must add up the requirement of ten gallons for each inch your turtle’s shell is long, as well as add thirty-gallons of water for each of the turtles you plan to house.

Turtles require big tanks to live in, and we have noticed times when pet stores sell inappropriate sized setups for them. At times you’ll find places selling a baby turtle with a tiny beach aquarium type of setup, and it only provides a small area for water without providing hardly any dry land area.

These are horrible for turtles, and it’s recommended to avoid them. Your turtle needs an appropriately sized tank, which means it should be a large one.

A frequent misunderstanding is believing the turtle’s tank size limits its growth. In other words, some people think if you prchase a small turtle tank, your pet will stop growing once it reaches a comfortable size in the tank, and it will not grow any larger than its habitat can support.

That’s a false assumption, and your pet turtle will continue to grow until it reaches its total adult size based on the type of turtle species you have.

Note: Typically, female adult turtles grow to be bigger than males.

Simplicity of Affixing Filters, Heaters as well as Additional Components of a Turtle Tank

Before even purchasing a turtle tank, be sure that all the components you have are simple, and you know how to connect them.

If you’ve got (or plan to get) a hood or lid for the tank, you need the correct measurements, so you know which one to buy and can avoid needing to go back to the store to exchange it.

Durability of Turtle Tanks

Durability is a crucial factor to take into consideration before buying a tank for your turtle. Water turtles can live thirty or more years in captivity; therefore, it’s best to have a durable tank that doesn’t damage easily, so you won’t have to buy a new one.

The top kits include long-lasting materials and a durable foundation that provides your pet with a long-lasting home that won’t break down.

Furthermore, it is best to purchase a well-known brand even if it costs more instead of a less familiar one. Still, a few unknown brands do have a lot of features with them, so you might have to read customer reviews, as well as research them before buying one. Amazon obviously makes this really easy.

When you decide to buy some other components for the tank, make sure they are also durable. You don’t want a car with a nice frame but a faulty engine.

Turtle Tank Setup

When doing the setup for a turtle tank, the goal is to give your turtle adequate room and depth so the turtle can submerge his whole body, as well as swim, turn around, and be able to exercise.

Obtaining the right measurements for a turtle tank will allow your pet turtle to be happy and not stressed due to living in a too-small tank.

Veteran turtle owners say you should get a tank equaling 10x the length of your turtle’s shell is in gallons.

Remember that baby turtles grow pretty fast, so a small tank isn’t going to last long, and you’d have to purchase a bigger one reasonably quickly. Plus, if you want two turtles who live together, you should purchase a larger tank instead of a tiny one.

Turtle Tank Filters

It’s a good idea to consider your turtle tank’s water quality when you are setting up a tank for a water type turtle. Water turtles tend to be messy when they eat, and they additionally produce a large amount of waste.

Therefore, the tank needs to have a filtering system, so the water stays clean. If not, you’d have to change your turtle’s water often.

Some owners decide to use tanks with no filter. However, we suggest that it’s a bad idea. Filters for a turtle tank are not expensive, and they’re a good idea for the money you spend.

Even if the turtle’s water appears clear looking, harmful bacteria can be present, and various kinds of chemicals can build-up that can hurt turtles. It’s easier to maintain a clean turtle tank if you have a lot of water in it too.

Some kinds of filter systems for turtles may additionally be used in a fish aquarium.

But since turtles make a bigger mess than fish, you may have to buy a more powerful filter to deal with the waste they produce. Just because you have a filter, that doesn’t mean you do not have to periodically change your turtle’s water, because that is still necessary.

Turtle Tank Basking Platform

All water turtles additionally require a place where’s there is dry land. Usually, this is known as a basking platform. They must be able to come totally out of the water and dry off and get warm via a warming light.

When they bask and get warm, they also require some ultraviolet light source, more precisely a source of UVB light.

The most popular method of supplying heat and a UVB/ UVA light for water turtle tank setups is special lamps or bulbs attached to a tank or hung over the top.

Some choose to alter their turtle’s tank, so it’s half land as well as half water if they have a large enough tank.

The land portion of your tank can include a substrate like bark. Only be sure you can keep everything in the land portion clean. There can also find a nice turtle basking platform online.

Decorations for Turtle Tanks

Something else to consider when doing a turtle tank setup is you can decorate it to match a turtle’s natural habitat based on the species of turtle you have.

It would be best if you did some research before decorating to know what your turtle’s natural habitat requires so you can duplicate it in the tank. Obviously an aquatic turtle would require a different ambiance than a land or box turtle.

Turtles are curious animals, so that they might dig up and eat the decorations you place in the tank. So, you need to make sure the items are big enough and safe so your turtle won’t get sick or have blockage.

Turtle Tank Types

Different kinds of tanks for turtles can be found for sale, dependent on what people like, and what a turtle requires based on the species and its size.

Aquatic turtles need more of a fish tank type turtle aquarium whereby a land turtle could live in a reptile habitat.

Whenever you look for an appropriate turtle tank, you ought to think about what it’s made of and if that is safe for the kind of turtle you have and meets its habits and other characteristics.

Turtle Tank Lids and Hoods

To ensure your turtle is protected and safe, you ought to think about getting a lid or hood for his tank.

Obviously a turtle can’t scale the sides of a glass fish tank so this is more about stopping things from going in than going out. The lid should consistently stay at the tank’s top to be sure no dust, dirt, or other items can fall into the turtle tank at any time. It additionally acts as a barrier between the turtle and its heat and light sources mounted onto his tank.

An additional reason you ought to have a cover for the turtle tank is so the turtle can’t escape. This is obviously in the case of an aquatic turtle where the water reaches near the top of the fish tank. Turtles are quite smart and will continually look for methods to get out, particularly if they notice anything outside their tank they are interested in, so having a lid on your tank prevents the turtle from escaping.

When you pick a lid for your turtle tank, get a lid with interlocking parts that you can open from the outside.

The top frequently used raw material for tank lids is steel mesh. Most people who have a turtle as a pet prefer this as it is heatproof. Because a heat lamp gets put onto the top of a lid, it’s best to have it made of a component that won’t melt or catch on fire. Plus, steel mesh additionally delivers adequate ventilation, which means the tank stays airy and secure.

Turtle Tanks with a Stand

A turtle tank stand provides you a way to set it up easily exactly wherever you wish it to go. The majority of tanks for turtles should be large and vital to have a stand, so your back is protected as well as there won’t be any accidents if you decide to change your tank’s location.

Selecting the correct stand should be done correctly and not random, so you have to think about all the requirements when choosing it.

Ponder the Tank’s Weight, Shape, and Size

You must consider all the tank’s features before selecting a stand, so it works correctly.

If you’re buying a substantial size turtle tank, it ought to be strong and durable enough to be carried and not break down. So, choose one that is strong enough to hold up the tank’s weight.

When selecting a stand, you need to be sure it fits the measurements of your turtle’s tank. A few of them are designed to provide a rectangular shaped tank, but you can find others to fit all kinds of shapes and sizes. Be sure to check out this info before buying a stand.

Turtle Aquarium Tank Stand’s Material

Metal stands are frequently used, particularly for supporting a big turtle tank. Metal will provide lots of support and not be damaged.

Another option is a tank made of wood. While they last a while, they can deteriorate quickly after you exposed them to water. Therefore, if you buy a wooden one, look it over often to prevent an accident.

Make Provisions for Your Gear

The tank stand can furnish enough room for both the tank as well as the kit for it. A few tanks have a storage section as well as a door. This type is quite good at preserving your tank’s beauty since all your gear is going to be kept there out of sight.

The simplicity of Setting up a Tank

Your skill in setting up the components should be considered when you buy a stand for your turtle tanks because some are hard to construct.

Even if someone helps you set up your first turtle tank, you might have to move it eventually, and that could prove not easy. If you do it wrong, you could even damage your stand. Therefore be sure you buy some setup that you can handle with ease.

Stand’s Height

The stand’s height is quite vital in the ability to access and see it. If the tank is short, the frame should be tall, and then it will be easy to interact with the turtle.

A few of them come with a permanent height, but a few can be adjusted. Most people prefer adjustable heights, so it’s simple to change then stand to a new location.

Turtle Tank Setup

Most turtle owners keep their pets in a fish tank aquarium, as it is one of the simplest types of homes to house your pet and perhaps the most available in pet stores.

There are several reasons this is true, and an aquarium for your turtle is pretty, easy to decorate, and simple to buy and set it up.

Plus, you can find them in lots of different shapes, sizes, and kinds, and that’s a great advantage.

Plastic Turtle Tank

Contrasted to a turtle tank, a tub is a lot less expensive and great for the budget. It costs less to buy a tank made of plastic that can hold twenty gallons of water than to buy a twenty-gallon fish tank aquarium for your turtle.

Tubs are so inexpensive that a 120 gallon tank (tub) costs a mere seventy bucks, which means it costs less than a dollar a gallon. The downside of course is that they look cheap and don’t have the aesthetics offered by custom turtle habitat with a nice aquarium kit, power filter, turtle basking platform, vegetation, etc.

But if you are a bit short on funds and still want to buy your kid a turtle, this might be your best option as a turtle habitat. You can get a cheaper aquarium kit that works and you will just need to clean it more often.


Whether you decide on a large aquarium fish tank, a designer turtle habitat or perhaps even a plastic tub; the most important thing is how you take care of your turtle and his habitat. Providing the best environment with clean water flow, quality food, a proper heater and a safe space is key for your new pet.


How big of an aquarium tank or reptile habitat should I purchase for my turtle?

This answer will lead into the next question below. How would you like to spend your life in a small room? If it were a luxurious condo with all the ammenities, your life would be a lot better, right? Turtle aquariums should not be the littler aquarium sizes for fish. If you can afford a 50 gallon or bigger, that is great obviously.

Is it cruel to keep turtles in a tank?

As a pet owner this question can apply to almost any animal. Would a horse prefer to run free in fields or a fish in a pond? The answer is yes. We can definitely say that it is far more humane and kind to keep your turtle in a giant turtle habitat versus a small aquarium tank. The best turtle tanks are as big as you can find and afford. Making sure you have a heater and water filter is also the right thing to do for the health of your pet.

Recent Content