Note: If there is anything you would to see added, drop me a line. And if you need help, email or call. I am always glad to help with turtles. If I don't know the answer, I usually know where to get more information.

Note: This care sheet is put together from many sources: books, other care sheets, several people's personal experiences.

Note: For box turtles, refer to the box turtle care sheet. For mud turtles, see the mud turtle notes below. For softshells, see the notes on softshells below.

Is A Turtle The Right Pet For You?

Before You Get A Turtle

Some Common Water Turtle Species

There is no way this FAQ can describe all species available in the pet trade or in the wild. These are some of the species that are kept more commonly, and that I have experience with.

Basic Indoor Setup

Substrate In Tank

There is some controversy about this subject. No substrate seems to be the best solution. While it may not look as nice as a gravel bottom, it prevents some trouble. It also makes cleaning efficient.

Rock ingestion: Some turtles ingest rocks, from sand grain size to whatever will fit into their mouth. Some turtles get intestinal blockage because of it. Even sand can accumulate and eventually turn into a plug that needs to be surgically removed. Turtles that do not have the opportunity to ingest sand and rocks live happily. No one is sure why turtles ingest the stuff. It does not seem essential to their digestion. Possibly they do it because they are bored.

Turtles with blockages are a lot of trouble (ever tried to give Castor Oil to a turtle?) If you are worried about the slipperiness of the glass bottom for turtles that "walk" on the bottom, you could try a piece of shower mat (the version with the suction cups). This works well, but debris tends to accumulate under the mat (and gets not washed through the filter, so you need more water changes). Or you could use gravel that is so big, that there is no chance it will fit into a turtle's mouth.

Water Quality, Waste Management, and Filters

Water quality is the number one challenge when keeping water turtles. The ideal to strive for, is a lot of very clean water.

Heaters And Temperature

Basic Outdoor Setup





Common Health Problems

If Your Turtle Will Not Eat



Baby Turtles


Algae On Your Turtle

Turtles Carrying Disease?

When Is It Time To See A Veterinarian?

Sources Of Information


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