Useful Tips

All about aquaterrariums for the Red-eared Turtle


In Russia, these exotic aquarium inhabitants are called red-eared, and in Germany - red-cheeked, and all thanks to the distinctive feature of the turtles - red spots in the area of ​​the cheeks-ears. The second name of the breed is the yellow-bellied turtle, which has a yellow plastron. These reptiles have gained great popularity among aquarists due to their original appearance, relative unpretentiousness and long life cycle. But only a pet that lives in comfortable conditions and receives the required care can live several decades in captivity. Which aquarium for a red-eared turtle is suitable, and how to properly equip it so that the pet feels at home?

Correct reservoir selection

To choose a suitable aquaterrarium for the Red-eared Turtle, one should focus on the size of the adult and the general pedigree characteristics. Even if at the time of purchase the seller assures that the representatives of this breed are dwarf turtles and are able to live almost in a box, you should not believe this.

"Ruby" prefer to spend most of the time in water or even on the ground of an artificial reservoir. Proceeding from the sizes of adult individuals of this breed, they cannot be called dwarf in any way: the length of males that grew in captivity reaches 17 cm, females - 3-4 cm more.

Capacity volume

As for the volume of the tank, it should be calculated on the basis that one reptile with a length of 12-13 cm or a couple of 8-10 cm of individuals requires a 100 liter capacity. But it is worth considering that the turtles will grow, develop, and sooner or later they will have to replace their house with more spacious apartments. For example, two 20-30-cm reptiles will need a tank already with a volume of 200-250 liters.

It is important for the owners to know that in a small container the water is very quickly polluted, which leads to various diseases that are often diagnosed in rubella.

The presence of sushi

Representatives of this breed are floating reptiles, so they need a land area for recreation. In addition, they like to get out of the water and bask. Experienced breeders of these pets are advised to divert approximately 20-25% of the total area of ​​the aquatic area under the islet. It is important that the climb is gentle and non-slip, so that the reptile does not have difficulties when it gets out of the water.

Do I need a cover in the aquarium

When arranging a house, it is necessary to take into account - it must have a lid that will reliably protect the container and at the same time pass air well. Owners who neglect this condition may one day not find the inhabitants in the home. What are the chances of a red-eared turtle to survive without water?

In fact, if you discover the loss in time and go in search, in most cases the travelers are sluggish, but alive. Representatives of this breed can live on land for 1-2 days, but they will not be able to completely avoid drying out.

Important points in equipping aquaterrarium

Before installing and equipping the tank, consider the following points:

  1. It is necessary to choose a suitable place for it - it is strictly forbidden to put it on a draft or near a window where direct sunlight will fall into the container - both of these can lead to diseases of the inhabitants and subsequent death.
  2. Water volumes and land sizes should be calculated - given the length of individuals and their number.
  3. It is important to take care of a comfortable temperature regime, high-quality water filtration, lighting equipment and access to a sufficient amount of ultraviolet rays - all this is necessary for the full life of turtles.

Water and land

Turtles are not very mobile reptiles, their rhythm of life differs from the way of other aquarium inhabitants. But the red-eared dogs are able to surprise - they move quite quickly, can show aggression both against other inhabitants, and towards brothers.

They live both in the aquatic environment and on land, need moisture, sunlight, coolness. In general, everything should be in moderation. Creeping onto the islet, the reptile receives the necessary amount of oxygen, and also basks under the ultraviolet rays. In nature, reptiles rest on stones, snags, they even climb onto debris or tires, garbage that sticks out of the water.

One part of the land should be located in the water. It’s possible to build for the pets a non-steep staircase with wide steps or a miniature gangway, a large stone with a flat surface or a mainsail with a gentle ledge. Special decor for the aquaterrarium can be purchased at the pet store or built with your own hands. In any case, it should not have sharp edges and burrs. Another caveat - you can not use plastic structures.

The land must be firmly fixed, because if this is not done, a large and physically developed turtle will easily roll a poorly fixed structure. However, she may be seriously injured. When choosing material for an island, you should give preference to high-quality, non-toxic, rough, well-textured products.

It is important that the turtle can calmly and without difficulty move around the tank. If you place land near the walls of the aquarium, your pet will often be injured or may die. Another caveat - the island is best placed 20-25 cm below the edges of the tank, otherwise the reptile may show miracles of dexterity. The rubella are often moving through the walls of the aquariums and "running".

About water filtration

Pure water is a prerequisite for the maintenance of red-eared turtles, of course, if the owner cares about the health of his charges. The reptiles themselves leave a lot of garbage and biowaste, they like to raise suspension and eat in the water. Naturally, all this does not allow water to remain clean and transparent for a long time.

To provide your pet with a suitable aquatic environment, you should equip the aquarium with special external filters. You can purchase any model, regardless of the type and shape of the tank. Indoor appliances are not recommended, as they become very clogged with suspensions and lose their effectiveness.

If the filters are functioning properly, the owner can save himself from frequent cleaning of the tank with a complete water change. To maintain ecological balance in an artificial reservoir, water should be replaced weekly by 40-50% of the total volume. In the tank, you can fill in ordinary water, previously defended in room conditions. This is an important point, allowing you to rid the water of excess chlorine and other harmful elements.

Temperature requirements

Stability is important to reptiles - this refers to the temperature of the water environment and air, and it is desirable to maintain indicators within the framework. The optimum temperature for turtles on land is 27 ° -28 ° C, water - from 30 ° to 32 ° C. If we allow a significant increase in air temperature in the tank (often this happens when the lighting devices are not installed and used correctly), then the animal may overheat and die.

As for water, in order to maintain performance it is better not to focus on your own feelings and not to allow it to cool below 20 ° C. It is advisable to install a heater that maintains the required temperature. You should regularly measure the air and water in the aquarium in order to adjust them in time. And for this it is necessary to install thermometers in the tank.

Providing light and ultraviolet light

In the natural environment, red-eared reptiles periodically creep out of the water onto land, where they warm up lying on the coastal zones. To provide the pet with conditions close to natural, it is advisable to install an artificial lighting device over one of the islands.

There should be a sufficient distance from the island to the light source so that the lamp warms up the air to 29 ° -31 ° C, but does not overheat the reptile. If several individuals live in the tank, they can climb each other on their backs, striving closer to the heat - it is important that they do not come close to the device. At night, lighting and heating devices should be turned off.

Also these reptiles dive not very gracefully, they raise a whole cloud of spray. And then water can fall on the lamp base and destroy this red-hot part of the device. It is better to cover the lamp with a shade protecting it from moisture and steam.

Often the owners of these reptiles do not attach due importance to their special need for ultraviolet radiation. However, only with sufficient illumination, the body of the pet can independently produce the necessary amounts of vitamin D3. This element, in turn, is necessary so that calcium coming from food can be perfectly absorbed.

With a lack of ultraviolet rays, turtles develop rickets, and individuals die without timely treatment. As a result of practical experiments, it was possible to find out that an ultraviolet lamp should work for about 10-12 hours a day to provide the rubella with the necessary rays. The device is installed at a distance of 35-45 cm from the land surface, and the lamps should be replaced every 12 months.

Features of filling and design of the tank

The basic principle that should be guided when equipping a dwelling for red-eared turtles is safety during use. Do not chase beauty, losing sight of the danger of decorative elements - toxic materials, elements with sharp edges and corners - no place in the aquaterrarium!

Turtles often eat small pebbles, which can be triggered by a lack of minerals, curiosity or smells that cause appetite in reptiles. But whatever the cause of this behavior, it is dangerous for turtles and can cause serious problems with the digestive tract, up to the death of the inhabitant.

Therefore, do not place shallow soil at the bottom of the tank. In addition, it is more difficult to clean, and it is quickly contaminated. Experienced owners advise buying pebbles, particles of which are at least 0.5 cm. But you can completely do without this element, especially since the turtles themselves do not need soil. And if an aquarium without it looks dull, you can put a variety of larger pebbles at the bottom.


Turtle youngsters love plants, as well as the neighborhood of small, peaceful fish. But adults perceive both fish and vegetation as food. Adult turtles can seriously harm the greenery, eating it clean, so their house is better to decorate with artificial flora. And if you take into account the dimensions of individuals, all decor elements should be fixed using special weights.

Natural driftwood can be used as decoration for the dwellings of rubella, only they should first be cleaned of bark, grottoes, unusual pebbles and more.

The best aquarium for the Red-eared Turtle

Even a novice in the aquarium business should be clear - the reptile content in a small tank signals the neglect of the owner to his pet. If the turtle does not have enough water for swimming, it is prone to various dermatological infectious diseases, dystrophic changes and softening of the carapace.

Traffles are exotic, extraordinary reptiles that refute all stereotypes about the slowness, clumsiness and dullness of these animals. They can be very sweet, but also able to show character and do not hesitate to express discontent. And it is precisely for their liveliness and charisma that aquarists all over the world adore them. Of course, rubella, like other pets, require good care and suitable conditions. And if the pet is provided with a comfortable home, he will live for more than a dozen years.

DIY water area

It is not always possible to select the aquaterrarium for the red-eared turtle of the required parameters. Many remodel a vessel from a pet store or order. Experienced aquarists make the jar on their own.

You can make an aquarium or purchase it from silicate or organic (acrylic) glass. Traditional glass is durable. Acrylic is prone to scratches, which makes it difficult to clean the walls of algae. Poor thermal conductivity facilitates the creation of a microclimate. Organic material is shock resistant. Machinable. With a similar capacity, the design weighs half as much. Plastic products are usually installed in public places or if there are children.

  • The turtles hatched from an egg have an average size of 3 cm. During the first year of life, they grow up to 10 cm. An aquaterrarium from 50 liters is suitable.
  • By the third year, the size will exceed 15 cm. Water volume: 80–100 liters.
  • The aquaterrarium for the Red-eared Turtle is 3 years old (20–25 cm) - from 100–150 liters.
  • Adult (30 cm) red-eared turtle is contained in an aquarium of 200 liters.

Aquarium selection

Aquariums for red-eared turtles are selected strictly parallelepiped in shape. In some cases, with a lower height of the front side. In width, the size of the dwelling should be from 6 longitudinal dimensions of the shell for free swimming. The depth of the aquarium is comparable to the height.

The height of the aquarium for a water turtle is selected above the water level (land) by 20-30 cm. Trachemys emerge from the tank. To rationally use the space and prevent the evaporation of water, it is recommended to cover the vessel with a fixed glass or plastic lid with a grill under the illuminators.

  • Level - not less than the transverse size: the turtle should be able to roll over freely.
  • Acidity: pH 6–8 (tap drinking water).
  • Rigidity: not regulated. Useful increased carbonate "hardness" kH as an additional source of calcium.
  • Temperature: 24–28 ° C. When the temperature drops to 20 ° C, red-eared turtles catch a cold. Equip the aquaterrarium with a thermostatic heater. Place the appliance in the corners: shell damage is excluded. Take care to protect the wire: curious animals try everything "by the tooth." Heater power - 1 W per 1 liter of water. Thermometer preferred external. Trachemys are playful, smash.

Water filtration is required. Trachemies are voracious, excreting feces profusely. To prevent blooming of water, the appearance of unpleasant odors and the development of algae, 1 / 4–1 / 3 of the volume is replaced weekly. Suitable biofiltration.

Filtering is required intensive. External (canister) filters are preferred. Productivity - 6-8 vessel volumes per hour.

Avoid accumulation of residues of feed and feces. Siphon the turtle at least once a week.

Change weekly from 1/3 of the volume. Use the treated water. High chlorine levels cause eye and skin irritation.

Soil and plants

As a soil, use rounded pebbles (to prevent injuries) 6–8 cm. Small stones, red-eared turtles swallow and become sick. Sandy substrate is impractical, since it makes no sense to plant plants. Will be pulled out and eaten. Rinse the soil before boiling it and boil it for an hour.

Large shells in the ground are recommended. Increase the concentration of calcium in water.

Trash-eared turtles hardly eat plant food for up to a year. Plants are not interested. Greens absorbs harmful substances, helps to balance the composition of water. Suitable tropical and subtropical plants.

As you grow older, the proportion of vegetable feed increases. If there is a herbalist or conditions for growing fast-growing plants floating in the water column, add to the turtle. He won’t eat everything, but the water will become cleaner.

  • The hydrocotyl is white-headed or vertical.
  • Javanese moss.
  • Fontinalis.
  • Naiad Guadeloupe.
  • Indian fern.
  • Brazilian pinnacle.

Elodea will not do. Poisonous juice is harmful to the inhabitants.

Alternative: equip the aquarium for the red-eared turtle with a fenced perforated wall corner for plants. Stack soil preferred for plants.

Disinfect plants from third-party sources. Soak for 2 minutes in a slightly pink solution of potassium permanganate ("potassium permanganate").

Arrangement of an island

The design of the aquarium for the red-eared turtle islet or shore is required. The pet spends most of the time under water. Land is required for rest and warming up.

  • The surface of the coast (island) should not be slippery.
  • Sizes - 3-4 dimensions of the turtle. For several individuals - 2 turtle dimensions per inhabitant.
  • Provide for “sunny” and “shadow” beaches.
  • The location of land is strictly above water level. Turtles need to dry.
  • The beach is fixed. Must withstand the animal with a margin.
  • Do not use suspicious non-food materials. Trachemons are prone to poisoning.

Equipping a terrarium for a turtle is easy. If there is no time or desire, in pet stores there are ready-made designs. Interesting models with suction cups.

Cut the glass (acrylic) to the desired area. Sharp edges with a donkey or sandpaper. Lubricate one surface with glue and sprinkle with 4-6 mm sand or rounded pebbles. After drying at the desired height, glue the jars to the walls. Используйте только аквариумный герметик!

Подготовьте корягу или пенек с дуплом нужной высоты. Деревянные материалы варите в течение 5–6 часов в 5–6 приемов со сменой воды. Вымачивайте до прекращения окрашивания среды и приобретения отрицательной плавучести. Не подойдут смоляные породы и дуб (окрашивает воду). Glue or secure with pins (titanium or plastic) a glass or plastic pad. The site is processed as described above.

If the water layer is small, lay out a flat stone or ceramic tile like a grotto or bridge. Use aquarium sealant for bonding. Avoid massive designs. Excessive glass loading is not permissible. Suspended (on a fishing line, for example) structures are successfully operated. Valid shore elements made of stainless steel (grade 12X18H10, 12X18H10T).

Be sure to equip sushi with ladders (ladders, slopes with a slight slope) for the possibility of a comfortable crawling of a red-eared turtle to the surface. Rigid or semi-rigid structures are made of rubber with reinforcing elements or plastic. At home, they are pasted over with fragments of bath mats or plastic grilles.

Lighting and heating

Vitamin D3, vital for the red-eared turtle, is produced when the body is warmed up by the sun. In aquaterrariums, sun baths are imitated by incandescent and ultraviolet (UV) lamps.

Incandescent bulbs are used ordinary and halogen. Halogen is twice as effective due to the increased temperature of the spiral. The ordinary power is 40-60 watts. The optimum shell heating temperature is 30–33 ° C. The distance from the light source to the surface is determined empirically.

Lamps are used with an external reflector and located inside the lamp bulb. The beam angle should be sufficient to cover the entire surface of the pet. The service life of incandescent lamps is 1000 hours.

When water enters the bulb, the lamp bursts. Ceramic lamps without visible light are lacking.

Provide areas inaccessible to lamp heaters. The temperature in the “shadow” is 25–28 ° C. determined more by the temperature of the water.

UV lamps use the UVB range (wavelength 280-315 nm). The maximum production of vitamin D3 was recorded at 297 nm. Irradiation with light from 315 nm causes the decomposition of cholcalciferol. From 320 nm - the breakdown of vitamin D3. Illumination recommended 7000–9000 lux (lumen per m2).

A UV reflector is required. Radiation with a wavelength of up to 400 nm is not recognized by the human eye, but adversely affects the fundus cells. Silicate glass retains from 90% of ultraviolet radiation. Metal mesh - 10–20%, depending on the size of the cell.

UV radiation is invisible to humans. Causes a glow of light and phosphor-treated objects.

The source of ultraviolet light is mercury lamps or light emitting diodes (UV LEDs). LEDs are preferred: service life - from 50,000 hours, energy efficient.

Normal lighting is carried out by fluorescent or LED (color temperature from 7000 K) lamps. Luminous flux - 40-60 lumens per 1 liter of water. The length of daylight hours is 8–10 hours.


Ruby-eared turtles breathe air. If the vessel is closed, ventilation is provided by openings in the lid. In cans of 800 liters or more, water is purged with air or an extract.

When the ambient temperature rises, forced ventilation will cool the aquarium by a couple of degrees. Due to the energy costs of water evaporation.

Decoration Features

Use massive stones, driftwood, artificial plants. Experienced aquarists call the plastic structures “kitsch” with an unknown chemical composition and avoid placing them.

The scenery also serves as shelters. Especially young turtles need shelters. Making artificial plants forced. Red-eared turtles eat natural greens.

Decor elements should not have sharp fragments. The skin of animals is easily damaged.

Conditions for keeping the Red-eared Turtle

The rubella tortoise critically needs only water and a beach with the recommended temperature parameters, a balanced diet. For the proper development of the skeleton and the shell, the animal needs calcium. Vitamin D3 is needed to absorb calcium.

Sources of vitamins for predatory red-eared turtles are food and ultraviolet (for D3). Therefore, it is important to mimic the diversity of natural foods and sunlight. The tortoise is omnivorous. At the age of 2-3 prefer meat food. After puberty (4 years), 30–50% of the diet is plant food.

  • Meat, except for pork and lamb (excessively fatty). Heart, liver weekly (vitamin A). In natural conditions, they successfully hunt rodents and birds.
  • Grasshoppers, locusts, cockroaches without legs (there are thorns on the legs). Earthworms, land snails.
  • Aquarium snails are useful. Chipping shells limits unwanted beak growth.
  • Sea fish (river dangerous parasites) with medium-sized bones. Do not remove the entrails; they contain vitamin A. Fatty species (capelin, mackerel) are pre-soaked. Crab meat, mussels, unpeeled shrimp. Aquarium animals of suitable sizes.
  • Aquarium plants, except for Elodea. Indoor plants: cacti and agave with spines removed, tradescantia, hibiscus, tradescantia.
  • Non-toxic herbs, beet tops and carrots, nettles. Dried for the winter.
  • Oatmeal (Hercules). Vegetables, fruits, berries. Sunflower and pumpkin seeds.

If a red-eared turtle nibbles cuttlefish bone placed in a jar (sepia, sold at pet stores), there is not enough calcium in the diet. Adjust the menu in favor of small fish, insects. Add limestone to the soil. Add calcium gluconate to food (sold in pharmacies). Check for enough UV light. Pet stores offer mineral and fortified supplements for turtles. Lack of calcium causes rickets in animals.

Turtles feed up to a year once a day. Gradually reduce the frequency of feeding by introducing a weekly fasting day. Three-year-olds have enough food 2-3 times a week.

How to choose an aquarium for the Red-eared Turtle

Choosing an aquaterrarium for a red-eared turtle, be sure to take into account the size of the animal and features of his body. These water turtles spend a lot of time under water, feeling safe there.

The aquaterrarium should be of such a size that turtles can have a lot of space for swimming with a mandatory exit to land. Terrariums can be low with a large area, and with the help of stones you can lay out a natural ashore.

  • Such aquaterrariums are ideal for small turtles that swim a lot and often crawl out to bask.
  • Larger animals can escape through low sides.

Thus, if the turtle has a length of 10-13 cm, then an aquarium of 100 liters will be enough for it. As it begins to grow, they acquire a larger capacity. When this animal reaches a length of 20-30 cm, it will already need a 200 liter aquarium.

Too small volume of the aquaterrarium contributes to the rapid pollution of the water, from which red-eared turtles can become ill.


Aquarium water temperature should be 23–28 degrees. If there are two islands of land, then one should be in a shaded place, and the temperature there should be 23-25 ​​degrees. And on a warm island, the temperature is usually 28−32 degrees. Such temperature differences are considered ideal for these animals.

To create this temperature, use a special aquarium lamp. Lowering the temperature below 20 degrees negatively affects the health status of this pet.

Lighting and ultraviolet lamps

In natural habitats, red-eared turtles often creep out to land to bask in the sun. Water areas also need lighting, so they use 40–75 W incandescent lamps. It is necessary to hang a lamp over an island of sushi. The distance from it to the lamp should be such that the air warms up to 28−32 degrees. At night, the lights are turned off.

Many owners of red-eared turtles do not even realize that these pets are in dire need of ultraviolet radiation, which helps the body absorb calcium and synthesize vitamin D 3. Their lack contributes to the development of rickets and even death of the animal.

A UV lamp emitting UVB and UVA rays should be purchased. It is strictly forbidden to use a lamp with UVC rays, because they burn the retina, making the turtle blind.

The UV lamp is turned on every day for 12 hours. It must be installed from above at a distance of not less than 30 cm from the ground. Replace the lamp once a year.

Water filtration

Aquarium water must always be cleanthen turtles will not hurt. External aquarium filters of any type are suitable for terrariums.

It is better not to use internal filters, because they quickly become clogged with suspensions, losing their effectiveness.

The better the filter, the less often you will need to change the water in the aquarium. To ensure that the water is constantly clean, it is changed every week by 30-40% of its volume.

How can I arrange an aquarium

Whatever the design, the most important thing is that they are safe. It is forbidden to use objects made of materials that can emit harmful substances, have sharp corners and edges.

The soil used to cover the bottom should not be very shallow, otherwise the turtles will swallow it. In addition, it is quickly polluted and poorly cleaned. The best option is the use of small pebbles.

Aquarium with turtles can be decorated with artificial plants made of silk or plastic. Fix them at the bottom with the help of goods. The islands look good with artificial vines.

Also, the terrarium is decorated with a variety of snags, unusual stones and other elements. Driftwood must be used those that have lain in water for a long time. Fresh driftwood may begin to release harmful substances.

Forbidden aquariums for turtles

The following aquariums cannot be used. for aquatic turtles:

  • Having a volume of 50−70 liters. If the tortoise lives in such a small space for a long time, then over time it develops infectious skin diseases, degeneration and softening of the shell.
  • In which a sushi island is made of plastic.
  • In which it is impossible to install lighting, ultraviolet lamps and filtration. Their absence leads to the death of turtles.

Thus, it is still not very easy to take care of the rubella. Only compliance with all conditions of proper maintenance makes the life of turtles long and happy.