How Do I Keep My Turtle Water Clean?

By | March 13, 2020

Turtles have been among one of the most aquatic reptiles to watch because of their attractive color markings and calm personalities, causing no harm to humans. As fashion goes, turtles also make suitable interactive pets. Over the years, the household fashion of maintaining a domestic aquarium has been In vogue. Thus, it is not uncommon for people to pet turtles outside their natural habitat.

How Do I Keep My Turtle Water Clean?

Common red-eared sliders or aquatic turtles live up to a lifetime and saying that must be weirdly shocking but it’s true. Turtles defecate in the same water where they eat and swim. It implies if you do not keep the water clean, it will result to harbour waste products such as ammonia and nitrites that can build up to harmful and unbalanced water levels, risk the reptiles, and show up in cloudy and smelly water. Proper tank handling and selecting the best turtle filter are the two big parts of providing your little pet with a proper enclosure so that they can be grown to be a larger investment than you initially expected.

Some of the most important turtle housing choices that are to be considered healthy for aquatic turtles to be kept properly filtered and dechlorinated water, with the correct temperature, pH level, and salinity are –

Choosing the Right Tank:

Turtle keepers must be acquainted with the rule of the shell to determine how big a tank is required for the proper inhabitation of the reptile. The appropriate tank size is that for every inch of the carapace (upper shell) length, the tank must hold 10 gallons of water and that the turtles’ size shouldn’t exceed 25% of the floor surface area. The bigger the tank surface area is, the better it is for the turtles to breathe and swim because limiting space effects in their growth and overall health for sustenance. Overall, turtles can accelerate toxin accumulation by excretion and a properly sized tank can keep the water cleaner with time.

Choosing the Right Filter:

How Do I Keep My Turtle Water Clean?

Turtles can normally sustain in a saltwater habitat where they extract nutrients from algae and other sea plants for respiration. But a pet turtle is kept away from all that and requires good filtration so that it can sustain without hindrances and the water remains purified. Choosing the best turtle filter like a canister or over-the-side filter that can tackle chloramines as well as keep the ammonia in check with the method of biological filtration.


Changing waste harboured aquarium water or vacuuming it on a fixed basis can help in keeping up with the water purity levels and prevent from smelling pungent and looking dirty. Using a siphon type vacuum can help clean the water partially. Draining waste particles by sieving it off by a vacuum suction also counts as water change. Water change is required at least twice in a month and the best turtle filter will help to discharge the high nitrate levels that make the aquarium cloudy and smelly. Other areas include –

  1. Scooping out faeces or any leftover food from the water should be done daily. If you own a suction-hose, you can also easily drain and refill the water.
  2. In 2-3 weeks, you are ought to clean certain water percentage, scrub of the walls, rinse the water and refresh the filter that can get jacked off by disposal waste. Appearance is a priority and you would not like your aquarium to look like a waste disposal ground.
  3. You should prevent any kind of soap, bleach or detergent powders to clean the tank and should only use cleaners made especially for turtle tanks.
  4. Research on salinity levels and check on your aquarium using a hydrometer by including sea salt as some turtles require higher and lower levels of saline depth at different stages of development.
  5. Water temperature is to be checked for the turtles may die with more heat or more cold.

What to Keep in Mind Before Cleaning the Tank –

How Do I Keep My Turtle Water Clean?

You should never go for 100% water change regularly but for every one or two months. The first thing is if you have a substrate, you need a gravel cleaner to drain about the leftover waste from the tank. Some of the highlights are –

  • A dechlorinating liquid must be used to get rid of chlorine and chloramines from the water.
  • Friendly bacteria must be added to help lower the ammonia and nitrite levels from the water.
  • Before changing water, take the turtle(s) out of the tank and put them aside into a small container with food.
  • Before taking the water off, first put off the heater and the filter.
  • Scrapping off the algae from the aquarium glass using any magnetized algae scrapper.
  • Using a siphon to cycle the work out to a bucket on a lower level just to spot clean the bottom area of the tank where the detritus or mold is rotting.
  • Cleaning the filter at the same time should be done by not throwing off the filter media like its pad or sponge because it houses a lot of beneficial bacteria which ends up breaking down the waste in your turtle tank.
  • Prevent washing the filter in tap water but try to rinse it in tank water so that it doesn’t throw up the nitrogen cycle.
  • As water cloudiness is caused by bacterial bloom, choosing the right turtle filter can help with the water balance and cope with the gravel nutrients.

Bottom Line –

How often you should clean depends on the number of turtles and the food you provide. Thus, filtration is necessary to keep the alkaline water levels in check. Regular attention to replacing water is the key as turtles can shed salmonella in their faeces and that bacteria can contaminate shell diseases. Thus, it is mandatory to incorporate the right filter with clean discharging capacity to optimize the tank water for your reptile’s safety, health and happiness.