Can I Put My Turtle Tank by the Window?

When you get a new pet in the house, you want to do anything possible to make sure that it’s as comfortable as possible, and the same rings true when that pet is a turtle. Today, we’re going to take a look at where you should put your turtle’s tank. More specifically, we’re going to explore whether or not you should put your turtle tank by the window.

To give you a better idea of where to place your turtle’s tank, we’ll be discussing the benefits and disadvantages of putting a turtle tank near the window. We’ll also discuss other turtle tank placement strategies that you can use to ensure that your little amphibian friend is as happy as can be.

Can I Place a Turtle Tank by the Window? The short answer is that yes, you can place your turtle tank anywhere you want as long as it’s not a hazardous area where the tank can easily get overturned, potentially injuring your turtle. This includes near the window, but one thing that you may have to consider is that sunlight can potentially increase the rate of algae growth in your turtle’s tank.

Downsides to Putting a Turtle Tank by the Window

Let’s discuss some of the major disadvantages to putting your turtle tank by the window. This will help you determine whether or not positioning your turtle tank near the window is worth the extra work you’ll have to put into maintaining your amphibian friend’s habitat.

Temperature Changes

Since the sun will be beating directly on your turtle tank (and the water within), you’ll have to expect the temperature to heat up a lot more than a tank that’s kept in a darker part of your room. These temperature shifts may not be an issue for a human being that has superior temperature regulation, but remember that turtles are cold-blooded animals.

Like any creature with cold blood, turtles have difficulty regulating their body temperature on their own, and they typically rely on the environment to help them do that. This is why you’ll often see turtles digging holes in the summertime, as it will allow them to use the ground to cool off.

Turtles do a similar thing in their tanks, as they will go higher up in the water to increase their blood temperature and they will dive deeper in the water when they start getting too hot. Even wild turtles do this, and it’s often a lot more effective in their environments since the water is deeper.

On the hottest days, wild turtles may even reach the bottom of their body of water and they can burrow into the mud there so that they can make their body temperature even colder!

To ensure that the temperature remains consistent in your turtle tank, you’ll want to hook up a few thermostats that will take readings from various areas inside of the turtle tank. You may also want to hook up a way of managing the temperature in the turtle tank automatically, as the sun will gradually increase it over the course of the day.

One of the most important things that you can do to ensure that your turtle is comfortable when the sun is hitting its enclosure is to use a ventilation system that will reduce some of the heat that the water retains. Keep in mind that this may not always be sufficient, especially during the summertime when ambient temperatures are even hotter.

If the water is still too hot, even with a ventilation system, one of the best ways to quickly reduce the temperature of your turtle’s water is to throw some ice cubes in there. Keep in mind that this is heavily reliant on you or someone else, so be sure that you can always pay attention to your turtle on those hot days.

Another way to reduce the radiant heat from the sun is to block out some of the rays on the side facing the window. One of the easiest ways to do this is to use cardboard or thick paper glued to the side of the tank that faces the sun, though this will also reduce the amount of sunlight that your turtle gets.

However, having paper stuck to the side of a turtle tank will have other benefits. Since turtles don’t necessarily understand how transparency works, the paper can give a turtle a better idea of the boundaries of their new environment, particularly if they’ve been swimming into the glass.

Finally, if you don’t like the idea of using background paper in your turtle’s tank, you can also add some plants to the side of the tank that faces the sun. This will help block out some of the sun rays without diminishing the aesthetics of your turtle’s tank, helping regulate the temperature more stylishly.

Of course, plants will typically be less effective at insulating a turtle tank from the sun than background paper will be, as the plants will have less overall coverage. There’s also the issue that the plants are inside of the tank, instead of outside of it, like the background paper, so they’ll still radiate some of the heat that they absorb into the surrounding water.


The other issue that you can expect to face when your turtle’s enclosure is near the window is increased algae growth. While algae isn’t technically a plant, it’s still a creature that uses photosynthesis to produce its energy, meaning that the sun is responsible for its growth.

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Since positioning your turtle tank near the window means that it’s going to be seeing plenty of sunlight, this will supercharge the growth of any algae in the tank. While algae can still grow outside of the sunlight, it will grow much slower since it’s relying on reflected light for nutrition.

To reduce the algae levels in the tank, you’ll have to regularly replace the entirety of the water in the tank, which can often take quite a bit of effort on your part. If you relish maintaining your turtle’s tank or if you have plenty of time on your hands, this may not be much of an issue for you.

On the other hand, busy people may not have quite enough time to regularly change out the water in their turtle tanks, so we have a few solutions that you can use to reduce this algae growth in the sun.

First of all, try to clean out any algae you see manually, as this will help inhibit the growth of harmful strains of algae that can potentially harm your turtle. The best way to do this is to use a net or scoop to remove particulates from the water, including uneaten bits of food and your turtle’s poop.

Next, you’ll want to invest in a good enough water filter to get some of the algae out of the water before it has a chance to bloom. 

When you change out the water in your turtle tank, you should use a specialized cleaning solution to get any remaining algae off of the windows or it will keep growing. Be sure to use the right cleaner, as you should be sure that it doesn’t contain any potentially toxic products that can hurt your turtle when you refill the tank.

To ensure that you don’t bring any foreign contaminants into your turtle’s environment, you should also thoroughly wash your hands before cleaning the tank. The same applies in reverse, as you should always wash your hands and arms after you’re done maintaining your turtle tank.

Do I Still Need a UV Light When My Turtle Tank Is Next to the Window?

One would assume that a separate UV light would no longer be necessary with the sunlight filtering into your turtle’s habitat, but this would be a wrong assumption. UVA and UVB, which are the essential rays that your turtle needs to remain healthy are filtered out by the glass of your window and the tank.

This means that your turtle may look like it’s benefiting from the additional sunlight, but it isn’t actually getting the much-needed nutrients from that sunlight. Like with any UV light, you’ll want to ensure that you keep it on and off in 12-hour cycles to resemble the diurnal cycle.

UVA is a necessary part of the body to keep its metabolism functioning properly, and UVB rays allow your turtle to absorb vitamin D from the sun. Vitamin D is required for the body to properly process calcium, allowing your turtle’s bones to develop properly.

These UV rays also help contribute to the creation of a healthy immune system, ensuring that your turtle is always ready to fight off infections and other illnesses.

While turtles can be provided with vitamin D supplements, they can also be potentially hazardous if they’re not provided in the right amounts. That’s because it’s possible for a turtle to overdose on vitamin D, so it’s often a better idea to just give your turtle the right amount of UV light each day.

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