What is the best turtle tank?
With so many good turtle tanks on the market, it can be hard to know where to start looking.
I struggled when I was looking for my first 100-gallon turtle tank.
What I’ve learned since then is that bigger is better – especially if your turtle (or turtles) have some growing to do.
After reviewing the many different options out there, we’ve narrowed it down to these 10 best turtle tanks.
We’ve included a range of tank sizes and price points. However, our top pick is the 150 Gallon SC Aquariums Tank– especially if you have more than one turtle.
Best Turtle Tanks
150 Gallon Turtle Tank
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75 Gallon Turtle Tank
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55 Gallon Turtle Tank
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What size turtle tank is best?
The most important question you need to ask when buying a tank for your turtle, is how big does it need to be?
The worst thing is to put a turtle into a tank that is too small.
The general rule of thumb is 1 inch of the shell to 10 gallons of water. Just measure the length of your turtle’s shell and, say it is 4 inches, you will need at least a 40-gallon tank.
However, also keep the following in mind:
- A turtle is best with a water depth 2.5 times its length
- You need room in the tank for a basking platform, which may tank up water space
- Your turtle will grow – it could be another inch longer within a year
- If there are multiple turtles in the tank you will need more space
Here are our 10 favorite tanks.
1. SC Aquariums 150 Gallon Starfire Glass Aquarium
After countless hours of research, we came to the conclusion that a larger tank is best for turtles.
So many pet turtles are kept in tanks that do not suit them.
Just think about how much space they have in the wild, and then imagine stuffing them into a 40-gallon turtle tank or smaller!
A 75 – 150 gallon tank is great for turtles, but as I’ve said, again and again, bigger is better!
The 150 gallon tank pictured above is from SC Aquariums, and it’s one of the largest that you can easily buy to have shipped to your home.
Larger tanks require special delivery options or to be picked up from the store.
- A good size for turtles (especially larger turtle breeds)
- Has a built in overflow box
- Removable black vinyl on back
- Good value for money
- More difficult to move and maintain
- Costs more than smaller tanks
2. Tetra 55 Gallon Aquarium Kit
The Tetra 55-gallon aquarium provides your turtle with a safe and natural environment to roam around freely.
It weighs 79 pounds and is 52 x 16 x 24 inches.
The feature that makes this tank stand out is its durability and reliability. This tank comes with everything you need for an easy tank setup.
Some of these accessories include a heater, a thermometer, and some plants. You’ll also find a filter, a hinged lid, and an LED light that mimics natural daylight.
It also comes with an instruction manual to guide you through the setup process.
- Made with high-quality material
- Comes with many accessories for an easy complete setup
- Can be placed on a shelf or a stand
- Set up for fish – adapt for turtles
3. Tetra 20 Gallon Complete Aquarium Kit
The Tetra 20-gallon is designed to last. This tank is 30 x 16 x 20 inches and weighs 34 pounds.
It comes with everything you need to set up a safe, natural environment for your turtle.
Included with the tank are:
- A mini UL- certified water heating system
- A net
- Bottle of Tetra SafeStart to make the water safe for your pet
Lighting is one of the most important things you can provide for your turtle.
See this guide to turtle heat lamps for more info on what you will need to have set up.
It also comes with a whisper-quiet water filtration system. It provides a powerful water flow without making any noise.
Some decorative artificial plants give the tank a natural environment feel.
They also give your plants a safe place to get away to a quiet corner.
- Comes with many useful accessories
- Comes with a lifetime warranty
- Made for turtles
- Instructions aren’t very clear
4. Terrestrial Turtle Tank
The Exo Terra is the perfect turtle tank for land turtles (though it’s probably not suitable as a good tortoise enclosure).
It’s well-designed for easy use and maintenance. It’s 36 x 18 x 18 inches and weighs 50 pounds.
In the front, there are two doors. They make setting up the tank and cleaning it a piece of cake.
The top stainless steel cover can be removed when cleaning or decorating the tank.
The Exo tank has a locking mechanism for added safety.
The background is a natural-looking rock formation. This provides your turtle with a safe and organic environment.
The bottom is raised to make room for a substrate heater. You can also add heat cables, and they’ll be well-hidden.
The bottom frame is also waterproof and leak-resistant.
The Exo tank is made from durable, scratch-resistant glass. It’s designed to accommodate proper tank lighting and allow for good ventilation.
- Suitable for large land turtles
- 2 front doors
- Made from scratch-resistant glass
- Doesn’t come with any accessories
- Smaller turtles may crawl in the space between the floor and the plastic backing
5. 20 Gallon Turtle Tanks
The Tetra Aquatic Deluxe 20-gallon turtle tank comes with so many great features.
It’s a good size for someone who’s just bought their first new aquatic pet turtle. It’s easy to set up, and your aquatic turtles will have a blast playing in their new tank.
One of the best things about this turtle tank is that it comes with everything you need to make your turtle happy and content. Some of these include a basking platform, some plants, a lid, and some lights.
We also love the water filter. It’s designed to look like a rock. The water pours out of the top just like a waterfall.
- Made from glass
- Metal lid can be locked
- Comes with many accessories
- Doesn’t come with a heater
- The bottom of the tank is prone to leaking
- The price is a bit high
6. Reptile Habitat Aquarium Tank
This Reptile Habitat isn’t only Amazon’s Choice, it’s every turtle lover’s choice as well.
This kidney-shaped turtle tub is made from durable plastic that won’t leak. It’s 16 x 9 x 5 inches and weighs a mere 2 pounds.
One of the best features of this tank is designed with a built-in ramp. Your turtle will enjoy getting in and out of the water with this non-slip, adorable handy ramp.
Want to spoil your turtle even more?
There’s a feeding bowl built into the ramp.
When your pet turtle climbs the ramp to get dry and relax, he’ll find his bowl of snacks waiting for him at the top.
It also includes blue platform plants. They’ll help you start setting up your turtle habitat on the right foot.
All types of plants are important in your turtle tank. They help your turtle feel it’s in a natural, safe environment.
- Great value for the price
- Made from durable plastic
- Has a built-in non-slip ramp with a feeding bowl
- Comes with platform plants
- Too compact for most types of turtles
7. Aqua Culture Aquarium Starter Kit
The Aqua Culture Aquarium makes it easy for anyone who’s just bought their first pet turtle.
It’s made from scratch-resistant glass and has a 55-gallon capacity and weighs 72 pounds. It’s 32 x 21 x 14 inches.
It comes with a few essentials, such as a LED light and a set of filters. The sponge filters work to clean out the water from carbon, ammonia, and other harmful chemicals.
One great feature is its 200-watt submersible water heater that comes with two suction cups to hold it up inside the tank.
Also included are a thermometer, two plastic tank lids, and a net.
- Made with tempered scratch-resistant glass
- Easy to set up and use for beginners
- Comes with many accessories
8. SeaClear Big Turtle Tank
The SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium is considered one of the most versatile turtle tanks.
It’s 36 x 12 x 16 inches and weighs 20 pounds. It’s made from sturdy acrylic, which is much stronger and more durable than glass.
Acrylic is also much lighter than glass tanks.
Another benefit of acrylic tanks is that they’re less prone to chipping, making them safer to use, especially around children and pets.
This tank comes with a reflector and a 24-inch electric light fixture.
It’s designed with suitable openings at the top for your turtle to bask, get dry, and relax a bit.
- Durable and lightweight
- Resistant to chipping or cracking
- Comes with a reflector and light fixture
- Doesn’t come with a filter
9. Rubbermaid Foam Tank
All Rubbermaid products are known for their versatility and low-maintenance, and this turtle tank is no exception.
It’s 53 x 31 x 25 inches and weighs nearly 35 pounds.
Its large size makes it perfect for a big turtle or several smaller ones. There’s plenty of room to talk around leisurely.
One great feature is that it’s not as deep as other turtle tubs.
Another of its terrific features is that it’s made from durable structural foam. This material is durable and resistant to scratches and cracks. Plus, it prevents leaking.
Even though it doesn’t come with any accessories, it does include a handy water level controller.
It consists of an oversized plastic valve, which keeps the water levels constant. It also makes it easy to drain the tank and clean it.
- Extremely durable
- Water level control system
- The valve is prone to leaking
- Parts can’t be replaced
10. 40 Gallon Turtle Tank
This beautiful tank comes in a range of sizes from 40 gallons to 150 gallons. It can also be purchased with or without a stand.
A 40 gallon turtle tank is good for those who are just getting started and have one or two small turtles. Just make sure you grab a turtle basking platform separately.
These tanks are better than the cheaper options with features including thick (12 mm) low iron glass, an installed rubber leveling mat, a mesh cover, and plumbing system (either internal or external).
- Many buying options in the range
- Quality product from good retailer
- Good inclusions
- A higher price tag
Turtle Tank Buying Guide
We’ve already covered the best size tanks for turtles at the beginning.
Here are a few other things you need to consider when buying a turtle aquarium.
Some of these items are absolutely essential, such as turtle heat lamps, while others are not so important, such as a stand – unless you have a dog).
1. Turtle Tank Hood
All turtle tanks should have some type of covering or tank hood on top. Most come with a LED that mimics natural daylight.
Hoods also help protect your turtle from anything that may fall in, and it keeps your turtle from possibly getting out.
Some covers come with a locking mechanism to prevent curious turtles from pushing them off.
2. Turtle Tank Stand
Some turtle tanks work better with a display rack.
Placing your tank on a stand makes it easier to put it anywhere you want. Stands come in all sizes and designs.
Finding the right stand depends on the size of your tank.
3. UV Lights For Turtles
The right type of lights (example here on Amazon) can mean the difference between a healthy turtle and a sick one.
Turtles need to bask in the sunshine, and UV heating lights, LED strips, and reflectors are the next best thing.
Make sure you get these two types:
- UVA lights stabilize the mood and get it to eat right
- UVB lights help with the production of vitamin D3 for healthy bone and shell growth
4. Water Heater
The best water temperature should be between 74 and 82˚F.
Look for turtle tank water heaters that warm up the water evenly throughout the entire tank.
Use a thermometer to make sure the water temperature is just right.
The following guide can help you find the best heater for your tank:
- Up to 15 gallons = 50 watts
- Up to 40 gallons = 100 watts
- Up to 65 gallons = 150 watts
- Up to 75 gallons = 300 watts
5. Basking Platform
This may seem like a fun luxury for your turtle, but it’s the exact opposite.
Turtles can get sick and die if they don’t find a warm place to rest in the sun.
Basking platforms, or turtle docks, should also be warmed. They should be between 85 and 90˚F.
You can mount a heat lamp above this area.
Make sure to keep it at a safe distance to prevent your turtle from reaching it and getting burned.
6. Water Filter
As turtles move around the tank, they make a big mess.
A turtle tank water filter can help reduce the mess and provide a powerful supply of clean water.
Even though decorations make the tank look pretty, they’re not considered a necessity when it comes to turtle tanks.
However, aquarium driftwood is one good option, along with these other items which make for fun turtle toys.
Turtle Tank FAQ
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about setting up and maintaining a turtle tank in the home.
Remember that different varieties and sizes of turtles have different needs.
How often should I clean the tank?
Turtles make a lot of mess, so you have to be vigilant when it comes to cleaning the tank and water.
In general, tanks should be cleaned once every 10 days. But it mainly depends on the type of filter you’re using.
Between each cleaning, remove any large particle floating around daily. Each week, check to make sure the water is pH balanced, or between 7 and 8.
You should also replace the water, at least partially, to maintain its level.
How much water does my turtle need?
A good rule to follow is for every inch of your turtle’s height, you should provide at least 10 gallons of water.
Can I use tap water to fill the tank?
In most cases, it’s safe to use tap water.
But to be safe, check the pH value of the water to make sure it doesn’t contain any chlorine or other harmful chemicals.
Best Turtle Aquarium
Finding the best turtle tank is the first step in setting up a happy, healthy habitat for your turtle.
After reading our product reviews and buying guide, you can now pick a tank that offers your turtle everything he needs.
Our top pick is the Tetra 55 Gallon Aquarium Kit.
It has everything you can possibly ask for in a tank. Plus, it’s large enough for one big turtle, or a couple of small ones.
If you’re looking for something a little less pricey, then check out the Reptile Habitat Aquarium Tank.
It’s the perfect size for a small turtle, and it comes with some fun accessories to keep him pleased and in good shape. Also, you can’t beat the price.