When dealing with a pet like a turtle, you typically want to do whatever you can to ensure that your animal is comfortable and happy.
Since humans are so different from turtles, it may be challenging to figure out exactly what your amphibian friend would find comfortable, especially when it comes to its tank or enclosure.
In today’s guide,
we’re going to take a look at whether or not a turtle tank can be too deep.
We’ll discuss the ideal size of tank depending on the size of your turtle, and we’ll give you a few pointers to determine if the depth of the water in your tank is ideal.
Can a Turtle Tank Be Too Deep? yes, it’s possible for a turtle tank to be too deep, and you’ll always want to make sure that you have the right water depth for your turtle to be comfortable. One of the easiest rules to follow is that the depth of the water in your turtle’s tank should be between two and three times deeper than your turtle’s shell is long.
Ensuring That Your Turtle Tank Has the Ideal Depth
As we mentioned earlier, a concrete way to determine the best depth for your turtle tank is to use a tape measure to figure out the length of your turtle’s shell.
You’ll want to measure from the furthest forward point of your turtle’s shell to the back of it, where it tapers into the opening for the turtle’s tail.
Using this measurement, you can multiply it by about 2.5 to determine the perfect depth for your turtle tank.
Keep in mind that this is only a general guideline, and depending on its preferences and how good of a swimmer it is, your turtle may prefer a deeper or more shallow tank.
One of the best ways to figure out what size of tank would work well for your turtle is through trial and error.
While this may be a little more pricey than using the calculation that we mentioned to find the perfect size of tank, trial and error will allow you to determine what would be comfortable for your turtle, specifically.
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Keep a close eye on your turtle while it’s in the tank.
If you see it looking uncomfortable when it tries to reach the surface of the water or the basking area, then you know that your turtle tank is too deep for your turtle.
You’ll typically notice your turtle struggling close to the top of the water when this is the case.
Is it Even Possible for a Turtle Tank to Be too Deep?
Something that turtle owners wonder is whether it’s even possible for a turtle tank to be too deep in the first place.
While it’s certainly possible for a turtle tank to be too deep for your turtle to reach the basking area on its lung capacity, it’s very unlikely that you’ll find a tank big enough to do this.
Since turtle tank manufacturers have no reason to make a tank that’s too large for a turtle to realistically live in, then you’ll have trouble finding an incredibly deep tank.
One of the only times when you’ll have to deal with a turtle tank being too deep is when the tank has been custom-made.
If you’re working on a custom tank, follow the guidelines that we’ve mentioned to ensure that your basking area isn’t out of reach of your amphibian friend.
However, turtles are strong swimmers, especially if they’re older, so you shouldn’t typically worry about your turtle tank being too deep.
A bigger worry that turtle owners should have when determining the size of their turtle tank is the tank being too shallow instead of too deep.
We’ll discuss the downsides of a shallow tank and how to avoid buying a tank that’s too shallow in the following section of our guide.
Is My Turtle Tank too Shallow?
If your turtle tank is too shallow, you run the risk of negative effects on your turtle’s health.
One of the main risks of having too little water in a turtle tank is that the water can easily get saturated, as there won’t be enough room for particles in the water to disperse so that they don’t threaten your pet’s health.
There are many things that can be floating around in your turtle tank’s water, and none of them are very pleasant.
One of the common things that you’ll find in a turtle tank’s water include little bits of fecal matter or even food that your turtle didn’t decide to eat.
This will also make it more difficult for you to maintain the status of your turtle’s tank, as you’ll have to put additional work into ensuring that the turtle tank remains clean.
A little bit more water can go a long way towards reducing the amount of effort you have to put into keeping your turtle’s habitat clean.
One of the main issues with dirty water is that it promotes the growth of algae which may or may not be harmful to your turtle.
While some forms of algae are inert, other kinds of algae may be poisonous to your turtle, and even if they may not kill your pet outright, they will have negative effects on its health.
Another issue with shallow turtle tanks is that they may diminish the amount of space that your turtle has to move around within the confines of the tank.
If your turtle somehow ends up on its back in a shallow tank, it won’t have enough water underneath it to make a graceful maneuver to flip itself.
Basic Guidelines for Turtle Tank Sizes
For most average-sized turtles,
you shouldn’t have any trouble keeping them comfortable in a 15-gallon tank, particularly if the turtle is alone. But a 10 gallon turtle tank would be too small.
On the other hand, owners raising two turtles will have to increase the size of their tank, but doubling the size would be overkill for just two turtles.
A pair of turtles can comfortably be raised in a 20-gallon tank, as those extra five gallons provide enough space for the second turtle to have a comfortable living space for itself.
Keep in mind that different species of turtles will grow to larger max sizes, so you may eventually need to upgrade your tank throughout your turtle’s lifespan.
Another thing to keep in mind is that a 15-gallon tank won’t necessarily hold 15 gallons of water, as much of that space will be taken up by solid things like a basking platform or decorations.
Remember that your turtles will also displace water when they’re placed in the tank, so don’t overfill your tank unless you want it to overflow.
If you want to make sure that you get the right kind of tank and you’re shopping based on the amount of water that you’re going to be putting in the tank.
Add an extra 33% to whatever amount of water you’ll be putting in your turtle tank, and this should give you enough space to fit in the turtles and any solid objects as well.
Another formula that you can use to determine the ideal size of your turtle tank based on the volume of water in the tank is by putting in ten gallons of water per inch of turtle length.
Keep in mind that this is in gallons of water and not tank capacity, so use the handy way of estimating tank size that we just mentioned.
How to Fill a Turtle Tank With Water
When your turtle is young, you may not even want to fill your turtle tank to the top, as you should first get an idea of how comfortable your turtle is with swimming.
Also read -> Do Box Turtles Swim?
Some turtles are good swimmers since the day they’re born, while others may have trouble reaching the surface of the water.
If you notice that your young turtle is struggling when trying to reach the water surface, you can only fill up your turtle tank to the halfway point until it gets more comfortable.
As your turtle ages, you can gradually increase the water level in the tank to ensure that your pet’s living in the best possible conditions.
Every time you add water to your turtle tank, spend some time watching your turtle swimming around to ensure that your pet is comfortable.
If you don’t see any issues after increasing the water level, then keep it at that point.
On the other hand, if your turtle has issues reaching its basking platform, remove some of the water that you added.
Keep in mind that most turtles shouldn’t have trouble with a tank being too deep, as they weren’t always domestic animals, and they didn’t always have the luxury of growing up in a controlled environment.
Most turtles will be capable of handling deeper waters than we give them credit for, but there’s no reason to take unnecessary risks with your pets.