The Top Turtle Tank Accessories to Boost Your Pet's Quality of Life!

by Joshua Paulson

The Top Turtle Tank Accessories to Boost Your Pet's Quality of Life!

In This Article:

Turtles can live for quite a long time, so if you want to keep a pet turtle, they deserve the best environment that makes them feel at home. A well-maintained and properly equipped tank is a major player in your pet turtle's health, behavior, and overall quality of life. This article will discuss how to create a natural habitat for your shelled friend, how to set up their tank, and what turtle tank accessories every good turtle home should have. You'll also find some tips for picking out the right accessories and caring for your pet.

Turtle on a piece of wood

Understanding Your Turtle's Natural Habitat

The first thing to remember when trying to set up an environment that mimics a turtle's natural environment is that not all turtles are the same. You'll want to determine which habitat your turtle or tortoise species typically live in. Freshwater turtles prefer being in ponds, lakes, and rivers, for instance, while land turtles prefer dry land but still need access to shallow water. Your turtle's species will affect how much water would be best for their terrarium. To replicate their natural environment believably, include plants, rocks, and suitable basking areas, and set up appropriate temperatures. The tank should encourage natural behaviors and create a comfortable and stimulating place where they'll live their best life.

Importance of Proper Turtle Tank Setup

Two turtles in an aquarium walking on rocks

For the tank to truly replicate the natural habitat turtles live in, it should have the right accessories to promote natural behavior like swimming, basking, and scavenging. Accessories like rocks, hiding spots, basking areas, and spots where the turtle can warm up will prevent some unfortunate issues that could befall your pet. A safe and healthy home that supports their physical and mental health will protect the shelled creatures from respiratory infections, shell rot, and stress.

Essential Turtle Tank Accessories

By now, you have a good idea of the importance of creating a homey turtle environment, so let's get into the nitty-gritty of what your pet turtle needs for a healthy and happy home. Here, you'll find an overview of the must-have pet turtle tank accessories that bring the habitat together, such as lights, heating, and enrichment items.

Tanks and Aquariums

Turtle on a peice of wood looking through his glass cage

There would be no point in tank accessories for turtle tanks without the right tank. Glass aquariums are tried-and-true. They're transparent, so the turtle gets a good amount of light, and the glass is relatively easy to keep clean. Plastic tubs may be better value money for the money if you're on a budget, but it can be harder to keep spotless. If space allows, natural outdoor ponds are the ideal home for most species of turtles. You'll need to consider the size and growth potential of your pet when deciding which type of tank is right. A tank that is too small would be cramped and might stunt its growth.

For example, a common red-eared slider can grow to a foot long and require a 120-gallon tank, so it's best to go big. In general, a turtle needs 10 gallons of tank space for every inch in length, and the water depth should be at least two times its shell length. But your home or apartment's space constrictions will also dictate your choices.


Your pet turtle should live in a clean home to stay healthy and happy. And you can achieve this with water filters. Canister filters are powerful and effective; they work to remove waste, debris, and unwanted chemicals from the water. The under-gravel filter might not be as efficient, but it does provide a neat setup tucked away beneath the substrate, so it could be better for smaller tanks. Lastly, internal filters are small and straightforward to install, not the absolutely most efficient, but satisfactory jacks of all trades.

Turtle swimming with hiud head above the water

Heaters and Thermometers

You mustn't forget to regulate the water and air temperatures of the turtle's home. Heaters will keep the environment of their tank at the right level, preventing many potential health issues for your reptilian companion. Submersible heaters, under-tank heaters, and heat lamps can all regulate the tank temperature fairly well, and the most suitable one will mostly depend on the tank's shape and size. Along with heating accessories, you'll want to use thermometers to check whether you're in the safe range for whatever turtle species you have.


UVB and UVA lighting affect a turtle's well-being more than one might imagine. The UVB light helps them produce vitamin D3, which will keep their shell strong and support calcium absorption throughout their long life. UVA light encourages natural activities such as basking and scavenging for food. Plus, providing the appropriate natural or artificial sunlight will also help your pet stay in sync with their natural day-night cycle so they get a healthy dose of rest.

Turtle walking on rocks

Basking Platforms

Turtles need somewhere solid to climb and bask for proper health. Even freshwater turtles will want to rest every now and then. They risk developing shell rot and fungal infections without a platform and heat lamp. When constructing and installing a basking platform, make sure it's easy for them to get on and off. It needs to be a safe, sturdy spot where they can warm up and dry out when they feel like it.


What covers the bottom of your turtle's tank? That's the substrate – sand, pebbles, or sometimes you may leave it bare-bottom. The substrate creates a natural habitat for your swimming companion. Pick wisely based on the kind of turtle you have, how big, and what type of setup you've decided to create. Some turtles don't mind a tank without substrates at the bottom, but some might prefer to burrow in some sand.

Side profile of a turtle inside his terrarium

Decor and Plants

Decorations and plants in your turtle's tank transform it into a beautiful and stimulating habitat. Of course, tank decor will make it more eye-catching in your living room, but your pet will also find something to appreciate. They can explore hiding holes, such as rocks and caves, and driftwood gives them a great spot for basking in the sun. Live or artificial plants add vibrancy and texture, but double-check if they are turtle-safe before adding them to the enclosure.

For example, hornwort is one of the most common aquatic turtle tank accessories. It grows quickly, filters the water from excess nitrates, and is relatively hardy, requiring minimal care. Due to its fast growth rate, it is an excellent turtle snack, and the turtle itself will keep the plant from overgrowing the tank.

Turtle on a white background

Additional Turtle Tank Accessories

Turtles can benefit from some extra additions to their environment. Besides the basics, a few fun and well-being-promoting items will make for an even more enjoyable and stimulating space for the sweet reptilian buddy.

Calcium Supplements

Turtles can't make their own calcium, so they need to get enough from external sources such as food, especially for their shell health. An easy way to give them a natural source of extra calcium is to give them supplements like Turtle Bone.

Close up photo of a turtle


To keep the turtle's home secure, using high-quality, safe adhesives is a good idea. Non-toxic and waterproof adhesives like 100% Clear Silicone Rubber are great products with a reputation for quality and durability.

Suction Cups

When you need to keep your turtle's tank accessories firmly in place, suction cups are the way to go. Industrial-strength magnetic suction cups are really robust and can handle some heavy-duty use, so give them a try if you can get a hold of them.

Behavioral Considerations in Tank Setup

A proper tank setup helps the turtle stay healthy both mentally and physically. The tank should allow them to enjoy life swimming around, basking in the sun, searching for food, hiding, and exploring new places. A lackluster or cramped tank will make them feel distressed or lethargic, which will negatively impact their physical health, too.

Potential Health Issues Related to Tank Setup

Turtle eating green leaf

Neglecting the tank can lead to respiratory illnesses, shell damage, and major stress for your pet turtle. These issues, if nothing changes and they persist, will shorten the turtle's lifespan. Clean the tank regularly. Change their water when it starts to look murkily greenish or brown. Monitor temperature fluctuations, especially when seasons change, so your turtle doesn't get too cold or hot.

Tips for Choosing the Right Accessories

Consider your turtle's species and growth potential, their tank's size, and your budget when looking for the most suitable accessories for a turtle tank. If you're on a budget, you may not have the opportunity to purchase every top-of-the-line accessory, but you should still aim for reasonable quality. So keep your pet's safety in the forefront and choose accessories that would guarantee your pet the most safety and comfort as your budget allows.

Proper Care and Maintenance of Turtle Tank Accessories

Turtle under a cave

Take good care of your turtle's tank accessories to keep them in check. Check the tank for cracks; ensure that the heater and thermometer work correctly and don't pose an electrical danger. Replace UV bulbs about once every 6 to 12 months. Keep their basking platform, substrate, decoration, and plants clean. Replace worn calcium supplements, ineffective adhesives, and damaged suction cups.

Ensure a Happy, Healthy Habitat for Your Turtle With Quality Cage

Give your turtle a home they'll love. The right turtle tank accessories let you put together an outdoor-like setting inside their cozy little abode. The exotic pet store Quality Cage offers all kinds of turtle accessories and exotic pet supplies, even turtle aquarium toys. Get everything from basking spots to filter systems so your shelled friend can feel their best.



What should turtles have in their tank?

The tank basics include a heater, thermometer, and filter. UV lighting helps their shells stay healthy. Substrate, basking platform, turtle aquarium decor, and plants create a stimulating, natural environment. Some additions, like calcium supplements, can make your turtle healthier.

What accessories does a turtle need?

Water filters keep the water clean; thermometers help with regulating the temperature in the tank; UV lights and artificial sunlight promote health. They also need extra items to feel comfortable and engaged with their environment.

What decorations can I put in a turtle tank?

Turtle-safe decorations, like certain plants (edible live plants or turtle-safe fake ones), rocks, hiding caves, and driftwood are ideal for a turtle tank. They will let the turtle feel at home and improve its quality of life.

What not to put in a turtle tank?

Sharp or abrasive objects can injure your turtle. Toxic or chemically treated decorations are also harmful – don't add these. Some small objects might be a choking hazard. And, naturally, an overcrowded tank will feel constrictive to your pet.


Have Questions About Turtle Habitat and Care?

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Author: Joshua Paulson and Quality Cage Team
Josh is the owner and CEO at Quality Cage Crafters since 2015. During his time at Quality Cage Crafters he has been able to learn from tens of thousands of pet owners and pet educators. He blends his ambition for manufacturing and passion for animal care to create solutions for pet owners, breeders, animal rescues, and zoos. He has brought together a team of great animal lovers to create high quality pet care content for the Quality Cage Crafters audience.

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