Can You Put Turtles in a Fish Tank?

It’s one of those questions that people have been asking for decades. Can you put turtles in a fish tank?

Yes, you can keep turtles in a fish tank. But there are a few other things to consider concerning this question before you go out and get your turtles! Turtles are not like regular aquarium fish. They have many needs that you must attend to for them to thrive in a fish tank.

This article will talk about having turtles in a fish tank. Keep on reading to find out more!

Keeping Turtles in A fish tank

To ensure your turtle has the home it needs, you must know the ins and outs of keeping them in a fish tank. Too many people are unaware of these special requirements and find themselves with sick turtles or, worse- dead turtles.

Here is a brief breakdown of the turtles’ special requirements:

Dry and Wet

Turtles are reptilian, making them cold-blooded animals (they cannot regulate the body heat). They need both dry and wet areas to thrive.

Therefore, you will have to provide these features in the fish tank. You should set up your fish tank mini-beach or dry platform separate from water to accommodate the turtle’s needs.


There are many issues with keeping turtles in a fish tank. One of the most significant is temperature. Turtles can’t regulate their body heat, so they rely on activities such as basking in the sun and swimming in water to help regulate it. You thus have to control the temperature in the fish tank.

Turtle tanks should come with two thermometers—one for the tank water and the other for the dry area. The optimal temperature for water is about 72 F and 77 F, while the dry place should go as high as 80 F to 85 F. Get your heaters and sun lamp ready because you will need them.


Much like their diet, turtles are omnivorous. They will eat anything organic and meaty that they can find in the water or on land. The best food for a turtle is a live insect, crickets, mealworms, or some fresh liver and meat from your meal. Of course, protein-based food should be supplementing turtle food from your local store.

Being omnivorous, you do not want them anywhere near a tank filled with lie plants. The turtles will eat all the plants up and happily thank you for a wonderful meal.

Filtration and Cleaning

Turtles produce a lot of waste. I mean a lot. You can not compare waste from fish to waste from turtles. Generally, they are filthy, which translates to a lot of cleanup jobs on your part.

The best way to do this is with a water robust/heavy filtration system. You’ll want one that does at least 200 gallons per hour or, even better, 300-350 gallons in an hour.

Turtles also dig through the dirt when they’re on land, so you’ll need appropriate substrate for their tank as well. Gravels are the best substrate because it’s easy to vacuum clean.

It would help if you also did a 25% water change every week to keep nitrates down and ammonia levels up so turtles won’t be stressed while in water.


Turtles need a lot of space. The rule of thumb is about 10 gallons of water per inch of shell length. It would be about 40 gallons for an average turtle!

Space is essential for the turtle as the young turtle’s growth is directly equivalent to the tank’s space. They grow to fit the small space they live in. if you want a normal-sized adult turtle, tank space is your keyword.

Can turtle live with fish in the same tank?

Yes, you can keep turtles and fish in the same tank. It depends on the type of turtle you are talking about. Some turtles (like painted turtles) can be housed with fish in the same tank because they only prey on tiny fish. Hence, most aquarium fish will survive being in the same tank with them.

However, most turtles will eat any fish they can. It would be best to keep the turtle in a tank full of fish unless you want them gone when you wake up.


So maybe you’re not ready to put a turtle in your fish tank. That’s fine. But now that you know you can do it do ample research before deciding if this is something for your home aquarium. Go for it when you feel ready to tackle the challenges ahead. You will be fine!