Why Is My Turtle Floating?

Why Is My Turtle Floating

Turtles are amazing creatures and make fascinating pets, but sometimes their behavior can be puzzling. If you’ve ever noticed that your turtle seems to be floating at the surface of the water instead of swimming around, don’t worry – you’re not alone.

In this post, we’ll take a look at some possible reasons for why your turtle is floating and what you can do to help get them back in the water where they belong!

Related Article: Can A Turtle Flip Itself Over?

Why is my turtle floating?

There could be several reasons why your turtle is floating. The most common reason is gastrointestinal problems or gas buildup. Other causes may include a poor diet, respiratory infection, certain medications, or any health condition. If your turtle is floating upside down, this could be a sign of severe illness too.

Below are some reasons why your turtle might be floating and what you can do about it.

Gas buildup

If your turtle is suffering from gas buildup, you may notice that they are bloated and their stomach looks swollen. This can be caused by a number of things, including eating too much, eating too fast, or swallowing air when they eat.

To help your turtle with gas buildup, you can try feeding them smaller meals more often throughout the day instead of one or two large meals. You can also try offering them food that is easier to digest, like turtle pellets instead of insects or worms. And finally, make sure your turtle isn’t eating too quickly – provide them with plenty of time to eat and don’t let them jump into the water after they’ve eaten.

Medication or certain health conditions

One of the reasons a turtle may float is due to medication or a certain health condition. For example, if the turtle is taking antibiotics, this could lead to an upset stomach and gas buildup, causing the turtle to float. Additionally, respiratory infections or other health problems can also cause the turtle to float. If your turtle is floating and you’re unsure of the cause, it’s best to consult a veterinarian.

Poor diet management

A turtle’s diet should consist of fresh vegetables and fruits, as well as meat. If a turtle is not getting the proper nutrients, it will start to float. Food with low nutrition often causes the turtle gastrointestinal problems and gas buildup which will cause the turtle to float. Just like humans, turtles also need to pass gas. If they can’t do so, the gas will be built up in their intestines and make them float.

To avoid any such condition one should provide their turtle with a variety of food items and commercial turtle pellets. A well-packed nutritious food will keep their digestion strong and they will less likely to float.

Respiratory disease or infection

Respiratory disease is a common cause of turtle floating. When a turtle has respiratory disease, the lungs can’t work properly and the turtle can’t get enough oxygen. This causes the turtle to float because it doesn’t have the strength to hold itself down.

If your turtle is affected by a respiratory infection, you’ll see them float at the surface of their enclosure and have difficulties staying submerged.

Other turtle health problems that cause them to float are pneumonia, pleurisy or bronchitis.

If you think your turtle may have respiratory disease, take it to a veterinarian for treatment.

Factors causing respiratory infection in turtles

  1. Water temperature: Turtles are ectothermic reptiles and their body temperature is regulated by the environment. If a turtle lives in water that is too warm or too cold, it will put the turtle’s health at risk and cause different problems, including respiratory infection.
  2. Water quality: The water turtle lives in must be of good quality, meaning that it is clean and has the right chemical composition. If the water is not of good quality, turtles can develop different health problems, including respiratory infections.
  3. Turtle’s habitat: It is important to create a healthy habitat for your turtle. If the turtle lives in an unclean environment, or if the water is not of good quality or filtration is not proper, the turtle will be more susceptible to developing respiratory infections. Turtle poops a lot and so it is needed to install a powerful filter to keep the tank water clean. The turtle waste and leftover foods can develop bacterias that could cause respiratory problems for your turtle.
  4. Poor diet: A turtle’s diet is very important for its overall health. If a turtle does not eat a balanced diet, it will be more susceptible to developing different health problems, including respiratory infections. It is important for the turtle to fulfil their daily vitamin A requirements to keep their immune system functioning properly. Vitamin A helps to fight off infection and harmful germs and keeps the turtle healthy.
  5. Stress: Stress is also a factor that can contribute to the development of respiratory infections in turtles. If a turtle is stressed, its immune system will be weakened and it will be more susceptible to developing respiratory infections.
  6. Improper basking setup: If a turtle does not have a proper basking setup, it will be more susceptible to developing respiratory infections. A turtle needs a basking spot with the proper temperature and efficient UVA/UVB light in order to stay healthy. UV lights help turtle regular their body temperature and metabolism. It also helps in the absorption of calcium which is important for the turtle’s shell.

Product Recommendation

We recommend the following product to help turtles with respiratory infections.

Image Product Price Purchase Link
REPTAID XL – Immune Support – for Reptiles 250g & More $32.97 Buy on Amazon
REPTAID – Immune Support – for Reptiles Under 250g $26.97 Buy on Amazon
API Turtle Fix $6.43 Buy on Amazon
Fluker’s Eco Clean All Natural Reptile Waste Remover $5.04 Buy on Amazon

Why is my turtle floating sideways?

There are multiple reasons why a turtle may start floating sideways or tilted on one side. The most common reason is due to a gastrointestinal problem or gas buildup. The other possible reason could be the severe stage of respiratory infection.

However, turtles may also float due to certain medications or any other health condition. If you notice that your turtle is floating and you are not sure about the underlying cause, it is best to take the turtle to a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Is it normal for my turtle to float?

Turtles are aquatic creatures and so you might be wondering if it’s normal for your turtle to float. The answer is, it depends. There are a few reasons why your turtle might be floating and each one requires a different approach. Turtle floating occasionally is normal. However, if it is happening frequently or your turtle is floating upside down then it could be dangerous or your turtle might be sick. In such a situation it’s important to seek veterinary care.

Do dead turtles float?

There is no definitive answer to this question as it depends on the particular circumstances of each case. However, in general, it is believed that dead turtles do not float. This is because the turtle’s shell is filled with gas, which causes it to sink. Additionally, the turtle’s body is usually heavier than water, making it more difficult for it to stay afloat.

There are, however, a few exceptions to this rule. For example, if a turtle has died as a result of drowning, it may float due to the air that is trapped in its lungs. Additionally, turtles that have been bloated with gas may also float after death.


There can be a variety of reasons why your turtle is floating, but the most common one is gas buildup. Sometimes respiratory infection or a poor diet can also be to blame. If your turtle is floating upside down, it might be a sign of something more serious and you should take it to the vet.