Can You Put A Turtle In A Fish Tank?

can you put a turtle in a fish tank

As per scientists, fish have a longer life expectancy in captivity than in the wild because there is no predation, food is always available, and their environment is less harsh. Fish life is easier in a fish tank.

Perhaps, an essential step in fish ownership is choosing the right fish tank and aquarium supplies for your home. You should make sure that the fish tanks are big enough for the fish you keep in them. Small fish tanks are harder to maintain and often lead to the fish’s early death. You need to take care of many factors before purchasing a fish tank.

The fish is small in size as compared to the turtle. So you usually buy an aquarium or a tank based on how many fishes you have and the size of the fish. But what about keeping the turtle in the fish tank? Can turtle be kept in the fish tank? Will they survive or die? This article will tell you whether you should keep your turtle in a fish tank or not.

Related Article: Can Turtles And Fish Live Together?

Can you put a turtle in a fish tank?

Yes, you can put a turtle in a fish tank. However, before selecting a fish tank, you need to keep a few things in mind, like the tank should have enough space for the turtle species you are willing to keep inside. Also, the tank should have an easy design for installing water filters and other accessories available in the market.

Many turtle owners use the fish tank for turtles as they are easy to get and eye-pleasing. But it also depends on the turtle species and size whether you can use a fish tank or not. The fish tanks are usually made of transparent glass and are very attractive. You can place these tanks on the table top, drawers, desks etc.

There are various fish tanks available in pet stores and online websites that you can purchase easily. Setting these tanks for your turtle is very convenient compared to outdoor ponds and tubs. Every single commercially –made basking dock is made for them as well.

The tanks are available in different shapes, sizes and types. Most fish tanks are rectangular, but you can easily get them in square and circular shapes as well.

Can you put Box turtle in a fish tank?

Yes, you can put box turtles in a fish tank. For box turtles, floor space is very important compared to the depth of your fish tank. They need a larger area to roam around, so make sure the tank has sufficient space for them.  

Although you can use the fish tank for box turtles, the first preference is a plastic tote or container specially designed for reptiles. They are large at the bottom and not very high. Due to this, you will place enough substrates for possible future excavations.

This also maximizes the area of the ground space and allows you to put a smaller water-filled plate, container or tray inside. The best thing about the setup in some tanks is that you can add a lot of substrates to let your box turtle dig and burrow. Box turtles require an environment that is space-saving and cheaper than the fish tanks.

Box turtles spend most of their day on land and some time in the water. If you want to use a fish tank for the box turtle, you need to divide the bottom of the fish tank into a land area and a shallow water area.

Can you put a Red-Eared slider turtle in a fish tank?

Red-Eared slider turtle can be kept in a fish tank. Adult Red-Eared slider turtle length ranges from 5-9 inches, while adult female Red-Eared slider turtles can reach lengths of 12 to 13 inches. So make sure to select a larger tank, so the turtle doesn’t outgrow the tank anytime soon. 

Most aquatic pet turtle owners use a glass fish tank because it is easy to set up and obtain.The red-eared slider is an aquatic turtle, and a fish tank is most suitable for such turtles. 

Are turtle tanks the same as fish tanks?

Yes, Turtle tanks are similar to fish tanks. The only difference is sizes and accessories. Bigger tanks are recommended for turtles to have enough space to swim and eat. 

The Turtles need a spacious and clean environment for good health. If the tank is good enough, you can put more plants and rocks for them to climb and enjoy. Some tanks also come with built-in lamps and a filtration system for the water.

Below are some of the turtle tanks you can use for your turtle.

Turtle TankFeaturePurchase Link
Tetra 55 gallon aquarium kit55-gallon capacity, comes with water filter, heater and water conditioner, other accessoriesBuy on Amazon
Tetra aquarium reptile glass kit20-gallon glass aquarium, comes with water filter and heating lamps, other accessoriesBuy on Amazon
Fluval spec V aquarium kit5-gallon glass aquarium with cover, comes with LED lighting and 3-Stage filtration systemBuy on Amazon
Tetra glofish 3 gallon aquarium kit fish tank3-gallon cube capacity, 3i filter, LED lightingBuy on Amazon

How do you turn a fish tank into a turtle tank?

Now that we know that fish tanks can be used for your turtles. Let’s learn more about how you can convert a fish tank into a turtle tank?

First of all, you need to choose a large glass tank. Your turtle will require a glass fish tank that can provide at least 10-15 gallons of water for every 1 inch of turtle. The glass used for the tank should be at least 0.4 inches so that it does not break.

Depending on the size of the turtle and the number of turtles, you need to choose the fish tank you will be utilizing. The tank should be deeper than its width. Sometimes, if your turtle turns upside down, it needs enough space to flip itself upright. You can keep the length of the tank four times the length of the turtle and the width of the tank twice the length of the turtle. The height of the tank needs to be two times the length of the turtle.

Use a water heater to help maintain a consistent temperature for your turtle. Also, use a good water filter, as turtles create a lot of mess. A large canister filter works best for the water tank. Provide a good lamp for your turtle. Use a heat lamp and UVA and UVB bulbs. Read more about turtle’s lighting requirements here.

Use thermometers to monitor the temperature of the water and the temperature of the basking area. Ensure that the tank has a heatproof metal screen cover for the top of your tank.

Make sure to fill the tank with clean water. Both Aquatic and Semi-Aquatic turtles need a land area inside the tank. They use this land area for basking. So please provide them with a land area in the tank. Also, spread substrate on the bottom of the tank if you place live plants inside. Last but not least, you can keep decorations inside the tank but make sure that you do not create an enclosure or tight spots that your turtle could get stuck in as you place equipment and decorations in the tank.


Turtles can live in a fish tank. Depending on the turtle’s size and species, you need to choose the right tank for your turtle. Fish tanks can certainly be used for turtles by making a few changes inside the tank. Aquatic turtles are best suitable for fish tanks. Turtle owners prefer fish tanks for the turtle as they are very attractive and easy to get. Bigger tanks are recommended for turtles so that they can have enough space to swim and eat.