Aquatic Turtles

Scientific Name: Graptemys spp., Trachemys spp., Pseudemys spp.+
Distribution: Southeast and Central U.S.A.
Size: 5-12″
Life Span: 6-35+ years


  • Hatchling & juveniles will need a minimum of a 20 gallon aquarium.
  • Depending on species, adults will need a minimum of a 40 gallon aquarium per pair of turtles.
  • Zoo Med’s new Turtle Tub™ is a great choice for all aquatic turtles!
  • Provide hiding places and basking areas with Zoo Med’s Turtle Dock™, Turtle Hut™, Floating Turtle Log™ and Mopani Wood™.
  • Provide filtration with Zoo Med’s Turtle Clean™ or 501 or 511 Canister Filters.


  • Daytime Terrarium Air Temperature: 75-80° F.
  • Basking Spot: 85-90° F Zoo Med’s Turtle Tuff™ Splash-proof Halogen Lamp is the safest and best choice for providing basking heat to your turtles.
  • Water Temperature: 78-80°F.
  • A quality aquarium heater will be needed to maintain water temperatures between 78-80°F.
  • Position basking areas in places where turtles can exit the water, such as on land or over a Turtle Dock™.


  • UVB Lighting is essential for aquatic turtles to process calcium in captivity. Lighting should be provided for 8-10 hours per day.
  • Without UVB lighting turtles will develop serious health problems such as Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD).
  • Zoo Med’s ReptiSun® 5.0 UVB Linear and Compact Fluorescent Lamps are a great choice for providing UVB. The PowerSun® is a great choice to provide both UVB and basking heat, however care must be taken to keep the lamp away from water.
  • We recommend using Zoo Med’s Lamp Stand to safely mount your heating and lighting devices over your enclosure


  • Zoo Med does not recommend using substrates such as sand or gravel for aquatic turtles. These substrates can be accidentally ingested and may cause impaction.
  • Land Area: Eco Earth®, ReptiBark®, or Forest Floor™ are good choices for land areas.
  • ReptiSand® mixed with Eco Earth® is a great egg laying medium for turtles.


  • Most aquatic turtles are omnivores that change their diet throughout their lives.
  • Zoo Med’s Aquatic Turtle Food has been formulated to offer balanced nutrition throughout the changing life stages of your turtle.
  • Reptisticks™ is a new floating food that is formulated with both fish and plant matter to simulate the natural diet of aquatic turtles.
  • Gourmet Aquatic Turtle Food is a great choice to offer your turtles as a treat or main diet.
  • Zoo Med has an entire line of Can O’ Insects that will help you supplement the diet and offer a variety of insects to your turtle.
  • Providing a Turtle Bone™ (Cuttlebone) will help maintain proper calcium levels and help maintain the turtle’s beak.

Habitats or Enclosures

Habitat / Enclosure Accessories

Heating & Heat Related Products



Nutrition & Related Products

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