Do Turtles Need A Water Heater?

do turtles need a water heater

Most of the turtle owners use water heaters to keep their turtles warm. This is to maintain their metabolism and regulate the temperature of their body. It is especially difficult for the turtles to regulate their body temperature and get sick in humid areas.

Turtle owners find using the water heater convenient for their turtles. The wild turtles are frequently subjected to change in environmental conditions, so in colder climates, they undergo hibernation, which avoids the extreme cold situation.

There are many turtle heaters available that we will see in this article, but can turtles survive without these water heaters? This article will answer everything you want to know about the water heaters for your turtle tank.

Related Article: Do Turtles Need Filters?

Does the turtle need a water heater?

Yes, turtles need a water heater. It’s one of the essential requirements for the turtle, particularly in areas where the environmental condition switches frequently.

For the turtle’s good health and better growth, it should be kept in a constant temperature range. The pet turtle is entirely dependent on its owner for all its requirements. If you are a turtle owner, you must keep it in a suitable environmental condition for its safety and growth.

There are multiple water heaters available in the pet stores and on amazon and other online sites. Before buying the correct heater for your turtle, make sure you keep in mind a few of the below points.

  1. The first thing you should look at is the heater’s power. In a very cold environment, you need a more powerful heater than a normal one, and in a warm environment, you can use a less powerful heater.

    The environment plays a key role when deciding which heater to buy for your turtle. For larger tanks of 75 gallons and more, you can use a heater of 300 watts power; for 65 gallons tank, you can use 250 watts power; for 40 gallons tank, you can use 150 watts power; and for 20 gallons tank, you can use 75 watts power.
  2. Adult turtles can manage the colder temperature, but when it comes to baby turtles, the proper temperature of the heater needs to be adjusted. Baby turtles or hatching turtles require a bit warmer tanks than adult turtles. You can get a water heater of temperature 73-85 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Don’t make the water very hot, and make sure you remove the heater if there is no or less water inside the tank; otherwise, there is a possibility that the heater can get burnt and lead to burns and injuries to your turtle.
  4. Make sure you buy a reliable heater for your turtle. Metal heaters are found to be safer than glass ones. It is believed that the turtle can break the heater and can get injured or electrocuted.

How to keep turtle tank water warm without a heater?

The best way to keep the turtle tank water warm is by keeping the water tank directly under sunlight or using heat lamps. 

Sunlight can give the required warmth to your turtle to regulate its body temperature. It also provides the UVA and UVB rays to the turtle, which helps them produce vitamin D3. To keep their shells healthy and strong, this plays an important role. 

Heat Lamps are proven to be very effective in keeping your turtle warm. This helps the turtle to maintain its metabolism rate. You can check out our article: How To Keep A Turtle Warm Without A Heat Lamp?

Most of the turtle owners use under-tank heaters for their turtles. This does not warm up the water nor regulate the water temperature. It’s recommended not to use under-tank heaters as they are expensive and not worthy.

Aqua thermometers are great equipment for your turtle. You can use two aqua thermometers to check the water temperature and basking area temperature. The aqua thermometer most turtle owners prefer is an LCD Digital aquarium thermometer.

Do Baby turtles require a water heater?

Yes, baby turtles require a water heater. Baby turtles need more warmth compared to adult turtles. The temperature range for baby turtles should be 78 degrees and more.

Especially if the baby turtle is sick, it needs even more temperature than the baby turtles who are well. The water temperature can be raised up to four degrees Fahrenheit than its preferred temperature. If the temperature is too cold and there is no water heater and other heat sources, the baby turtle can lose its life.

Here is the list of water heaters that can be used for the turtle.

Water Heater Power of the heater Features Link to purchase
Freesea Aquarium Heater50W-100WSubmersible heater with LED temperatureBuy on Amazon
BOEESPAT Aquarium heater100W-500WSubmersible heater with anti-scald protector and aquarium thermometer.Buy on Amazon
Aqueon Pro50W-300WSubmersible heater with auto shut off when overheated.Buy on  Amazon
Eheium Jager Aquariumthermostat heater25W-300WSubmersible heater with shatterproof glass constructionBuy on Amazon

If you do not wish to use a submersible heater, you can use in-line external aquarium heaters. These heaters are installed outside the aquarium in the output line of your external canister filter. By doing this, you can get the correct temperature for your turtle without placing it inside the water tank. This also works great for the safety of your turtle.

You need to consider a few things when using an external aquarium heater, such as the wattage should be sufficient for your tank, fittings should fit your filter hoses, and so on. External heaters should be used very cautiously because they can burn out if operated dry. So once you install them start the filter and make sure the water is flowing through the heater before you turn it on.

Check out one of the best in-line external aquarium heaters you can use in-line external aquarium heater. Below is the link for in-line external aquarium heater which you can buy from amazon.

What is the water temperature required by Aquatic turtles?

Generally, aquatic turtles like Musk turtles, Red-eared sliders, and painted turtles require a temperature of about 78-82 degrees Fahrenheit when hatching. Once their shell is about 3.8 centimeters in length, the temperature can be reduced to about 74-76 degrees Fahrenheit.

The right temperature is extremely important for your turtle well being. If the temperature is not right, there is a possibility of health problems in turtles. If the temperature is too low, then the turtle can probably get sick, and if the temperature is very high, the turtle will ultimately not come out of the water to bask, which can make them ill.


Turtles need a water heater to keep them warm, maintain their metabolism rate, and regulate their body temperature. The water heater is one of the very important needs of the turtle. The adult turtles can manage without the water heater, but the baby turtles find it difficult to regulate their body temperature without the water heater as they require more warmth. Particularly when the baby turtles are sick, you need to increase the water temperature so that their condition does not worsen. There are many water heaters available in pet stores and online sites. Ensure enough water in your water tank before using the submersible water heater. Even if you are using the In-line external water heater, make sure you don’t operate it dry as in both cases, the heater can burn out.