How to take care of a pet turtle

You had long wanted a pet turtle, and today when you went to the pet store, you could not resist the urge any longer. Now you need to know how to take care of a pet turtle to ensure it stays healthy and lives a long time. But how?

Preparing Your Turtles Habitat

The first thing you will need for your turtle, whether a land turtle or a water turtle, is a large aquarium so that the turtle has access to both water and land. Read this article to learn more about the best pet turtles for beginners.

Size of Habitat

How big a tank do you need? A rule of thumb is for every inch of shell your turtle has, you should allow 10 gallons of a tank of water. So, if you get a four-inch red-eared slider, he would need at least a 40-gallon tank but remember he will grow, and his needs will expand as he does.

Baby turtles are irresistible but remember; they do not stay little for long. Will you be able to keep up with tank space as his needs change? IN time, he may even need an area outside to accommodate him.

A Heat Lamp

Although, turtles when outside, need a place to get out of the heat and cannot survive well in some colder environments in winter, to be healthy, they typically require a heat lamp when indoors year-round.

Turtles need the UVB rays to stay healthy from a heat lamp when left indoors year-round.
Place the heat lamp away from the water. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when setting up the light.

Thermometer and Heater

Pet turtle care

You may need a heater to keep the water above 80 degrees at night in colder environments or in the winter to ensure it stays at an optimal temperature for your pet turtle. An aquarium heater can help keep the water at a specific temperature all the time.

A Basking Light

A basking light will give your turtle a place to get that warms him up to a temperature of between 90 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. The light will be much like him basking on a rock out in the sun in an outdoor environment. Sunlight helps turtles have a strong shell.

Keeping the Habitat Clean

One of the best ways to keep your turtle healthy is to keep their home clean. Not only does their water need to be changed, but their habitat should also be cleaned and disinfected at least weekly with a bleach solution to kill any bacteria that might make them sick.

Keeping his habitat clean and at optimal temperatures will help keep your pet turtle healthy and living a long life.

Food, Water, and Exercise

Provide both food and exercise to keep your turtle healthy. Baby turtles eat mainly meat until they are older. Adult turtles eat both meat and plants and need both to be healthy.


If you purchased a baby turtle, then you will want to buy them baby turtle food. Follow the instructions on the food to know how much to give them each day. You should also provide them with edible plants in their habitat to nibble on each day.

If your turtle goes outside, you may want to plant some edible plants in a flower bed or other place to nibble safely while outdoors. They will also eat bugs when they are outside if they find any. Some lovely leafy vegetables and freeze-dried mealworms are good choices for their diet too.

You can add a few goldfish for larger turtles or some feeder fish to give them some meat to eat.

Calcium can be added to their food a couple of times a year by dusting their food with it.

Do not overfeed them, or they may outgrow their shell if they grow faster than it does.


Pet turtle in an aquarium

Baby turtles need a water temperature of around 86 degrees Fahrenheit. It should not be deeper than the width of his shell since he is still learning to swim.

If the tank does not have a good filtration system, you will need to change his water daily since it will get nasty, to keep him healthy. With a filter, you may wait up to three days before changing the water out.


Turtles like humans and your other pets need exercise. It is not enough to keep them in their habitat all the time. It would be best if you took them outside to roam around every day or let them walk the room or your house for a portion of the day.

You will want to protect them from predators when they are outside and prevent accidents in the house where they might get their shells from becoming broken.

When you provide your pet turtle with quality food and clean water, and adequate exercise, you will increase its chances of being healthy and happy.


A turtle is a fantastic pet, but they require a lot of attention to ensure they are healthy and happy. Ensuring you know how to take care of a pet turtle is important before you choose a turtle. Whether you choose land or a water turtle, they will need a large tank with an adequate area to be in the water and have places to bask and enjoy time out of the water.

To be healthy, they will need their environment to be kept clean and controlled. You will need to provide both meats and plants to give them the nutrients they need for their best health. When you meet these conditions, you can expect to have your pet turtle for many years to enjoy.