How To Make Tap Water Safe For Turtles?

how to make tap water safe for turtles

The turtles spend most of their time in the water. Hence, water is essential for turtles and plays a vital role in their lives. If you have an aquatic turtle as a pet, you need to take utmost care of the tank water.

Aquatic turtles swim and drink the same water. Therefore you need to ensure that the turtle’s tank water is clean and safe for them. If the water is dirty, the turtle cannot see properly. Dirty water could also lead to health problems, including eye infections or vision loss.

There are different types of water available for human consumption like tap water, distilled water, bottled water, etc., but when it comes to your pet turtle, which water is safe for them? Can you use tap water for the turtle tank? Let’s find out in this article.

Related Article: How Long Can Turtles Live Without Food?

Can you use tap water for your turtles?

Yes, you can use tap water for your turtles. But it should be avoided if contains any chemical like chlorine.

Tap water is the most budget-friendly and convenient water source. It is probably the first choice of most turtle owners. However, not all metropoles have high-quality tap water. Tap water usually contains chemicals such as chlorine, fluorides, and chloramine which are bad for your turtle’s health.

Although it is safe for humans, it can harm your pet turtles. The tap water needs to be cleaned before the turtle dive in it as it can be extremely hazardous for the turtles who spend most of their time in the water.

How to make tap water safe for turtles?

Tap water can be made safe for the turtles if you take appropriate steps before providing it to your beloved pet turtle. You can use different methods to make tap water safe for your turtle.

  • The first one is to let the tap water sit in a separate container under the sun for about 24-48 hours so that the chlorine gets dissolved naturally. 
  • The second one is you can use a water conditioner to dechlorinate water. 
  • The third one is removing the leftovers of the turtle, which can keep the turtle tank water clean. 
  • The fourth one is using built-in water to keep the tank water clean.

1. Let the water sit outside

This is a very convenient and preferred method that you can use to clean the tap water for your turtle. You can pour the tap water into a container and keep it under the sun. Leaving the water for 24-48 hours works great to clean it naturally. The UV rays from the sun can easily dissolve the minerals in the water and make it clean for your turtle.

Ensure that nothing falls inside the water when kept outside as the debris can unbalance the water’s PH level.

2. Use a water conditioner 

You can drop the water conditioner in the water and wait for some time. It should completely dissolve in water. A water conditioner is an effective method for cleaning tap water. It facilitates the detoxification of heavy metals from water and helps grow beneficial bacteria in the water.

The water conditioner removes chlorine, fluorine, and chloramine from the water and makes it very safe for the turtles. A water conditioner is the most recommended as it keeps the water crystal clear. There are many water conditioners available online and also in pet stores.

I recommend using API-Turtle-Conditioner (water conditioner), as I have personally used this for my turtle’s tank. It works great to condition the water and is cost-effective too. Below are some more options for the best water conditioners for turtle tanks.

ProductPurchase Link
API Turtle Water ConditionerBuy on Amazon
Fluker’s 42000 Reptile Aloe DechlorinatorBuy on Amazon
Tetra Pond AquaSafe Buy on Amazon

3. Remove the leftovers from the turtle tank

Turtles are messy animals and create a lot of mess inside the water tank. They defecate a lot and also make a mess while eating. If not cleaned from time to time, it decays and makes the water dirty.

Due to the murky and dirty water of the tank, the turtles cannot see clearly. Also, they don’t like to stay in an unclean environment and then try to escape from that place. You need to clean the water tank often to keep the water clean. We have explained everything about cleaning the turtle tank in our article: How Often To Clean Turtle Tank?

4. Built-in filters for your turtle

Try to purchase a good filter that can serve multiple filtrations to clean the water. You can go for Whisper-Tank-Filter. It does the job really well as it is all in one air pump and water filtration system.

Tetra Whisper Internal Filter For Aquariums

It aerates the water, and its air-driven design filters up to 125 GPH while oxygenating water. A built-in filter helps you keep your water tank clean without needing to clean it again and again.

Related Article: Do Turtles Need Filters?

Can tap water kill your turtle?

No, tap water cannot kill your turtle. However, it can lead to multiple health issues if you do not condition it before providing it to your turtle.

Tap water consists of chemicals that are harmful to turtles. Though these chemicals are not dangerous for humans, turtles are very sensitive to chemicals. Proper water treatment can help you provide clean and safe water for your turtle.

Untreated tap water could cause pH level imbalance which can cause health issues in the turtle. It can also cause the water in your turtle’s tank to become hard, leading to calcium build-up on the turtle shell. The white calcium that builds up on your turtle’s shell can further result in shell rot.

The untreated tap water also kills the beneficial bacteria in the water tank, making the water very harmful for the turtles. If your tap water has a high level of chlorine, it can hurt turtles eyes making them appear squinted.

Can you use bottled water for turtles?

Yes, you can use bottled water for your turtle. Using bottled water is safe for your turtle to swim or consume. But it will be a costlier option for you than using a water conditioner or some other water cleaning procedure.

You can also use a built-in filter or keep the tap water under the sun, giving you the same result.

Can you use a fish water conditioner for turtles?

Most turtle owners use the same products for turtle and fish tanks. Some products are safe for both fish and turtles to be used, but some are not. You need to make sure that whatever fish product you are using is safe for your turtle.

Fish water conditioner is the same as a turtles water conditioner, so it can also be used for turtles. Also, it will not cause any harm to your turtle, so you can certainly prefer this option.

Can red-eared slider turtle live in tap water?

Yes,red-eared slider turtle can certainly live in tap water but dechlorinate it before using it for your turtle.

The red-eared slider is a hard-shelled turtle, and the water pH level of 6.5-8.5 works well for these turtles. They love to swim, and hence the water provided to them needs to be clean and safe for them.

If the water is untreated, it can harm them, and hence the turtle owner needs to be very cautious while providing the tap water to them and ensuring it’s clean. You can use the water conditioners to dechlorinate the water you provide to your red-eared slider turtle.


If you want to see your turtle safe, you must provide them with clean water. Tap water is the most budget-friendly and convenient option, but it consists of harmful chemical which needs to be treated. You can use a water conditioner or keep the tap water under the sun for 24-48 hours to make the water safe for your turtles. There are also built-in filters available to help you keep the water clean. Remove the leftovers of the turtle so that the turtle does not find it difficult to swim as they are not able to see in murky water.