Although turtles are reptiles, they share the same aquatic ecosystem as fish.
This has led many pet turtle owners to question whether or not they can place small fish like guppies in their turtle’s aquarium.
The answer is yes; you can put guppies in your turtle’s aquarium if there’s enough space. However, keep in mind that turtles are omnivores, and they will often eat small fish if they’re hungry or bored. So while guppies and turtles can live together, there’s a high likelihood that your guppy may get eaten (especially if they don’t have enough space to run away or hide).
In today’s post, we’re going to take a look at how turtles and guppy fish get along, why you may want to consider adding fish to your tank, and how to increase your guppy’s chances of survival. Let’s take a swim!
Can Turtles And Guppies Live Together?
Guppies are small freshwater fish native to South American rivers.
At first glance, many people mistake them for beta fish.
However, unlike beta fish, guppies are a bit more hardy and typically require less maintenance than their Asian counterparts.
This is why guppies are an obvious choice to stock your aquarium with.
If you visit your neighborhood pond on a sunny day and take a look into the water, you’ll likely see turtles and fish swimming around and living in close proximity to one another.
So, many pet owners assume that that the two species get along well with each other. However, an open river or large pond is a lot different than a small, confined aquarium.
What’s The Advantage Of Adding Guppies To Your Turtle Tank?
Before we go any further, let’s take a second to answer an important question:
Why would somebody want to add guppies to their turtle tank in the first place?
Well, one reason is simply to give their turtle “company.”
They may not want to purchase another turtle or a larger aquarium to house multiple turtles, so adding some small fish can seem like a good alternative to keeping their turtle occupied and social.
Another reason why some pet owners add small guppies to their turtle’s aquarium is to take care of bugs.
For the most part, turtles completely ignore bugs, which means that pests like mosquitos or flies often use the damp environment of the tank to lay their eggs.
As you can imagine, this can be problematic.
Before long, you could have a small infestation on your hands. This is where the fish come in.
Unlike turtles, guppies love to eat small bugs and their eggs, making them a great form of natural “pest control.”
Do Turtles Eat Guppies?
While those are all good reasons to consider adding guppies to your turtle habitat, you should also keep in mind that turtles are omnivores.
This means that, like humans, they’ll eat just about anything that comes their way, including small guppies.
In the wild, turtles typically won’t go out of their way to hunt fish.
Small fish like guppies are fast, and adept at dodging predators.
A couple of quick maneuvers is all it takes to put considerable distance between the small fish and any predatory turtles in the area.
Turtles, being reptiles, need to conserve their energy and usually prefer an easy-to-eat vegetarian meal.
In a small tank, however, the situation is a lot different.
Instead of a large, deep pond with branches, plants, and other hiding spots, the guppy fish is trapped in a small, glass box with nowhere to run.
This means that your turtle won’t have to expend as much energy chasing the fish and is a lot more likely to turn the guppy into a quick meal.
That being said, though, not all turtles care for fish. Some turtles (especially the older ones) are simply too lazy to go out of their way.
They’d much rather sit around and eat their turtle food or any other snacks that you leave floating in their tank.
No matter how “vegetarian” your turtle seems, though, just remember that there’s always the possibility that your guppy may get eaten.
Animals aren’t always predictable, and just because your turtle’s never shown an interest in eating fish before doesn’t mean that there won’t be a first time.
What Type of Fish Can Be Kept With Turtles?
So, by now, you may be wondering, “are there any other types of fish that are safer to put in my turtle tank?”
Generally speaking, turtles prefer to eat small fish.
Their small size makes them easier to eat, and their long, colorful fins tend to attract the attention and curiosity of the turtle.
This means that small fish like goldfish, beta, or guppies are at greater risk of being eaten.
Conversely, large fish (such as koi or suckerfish) may be deemed “too big” for the turtle to bother trying to eat.
So if you are trying to put a fish in your turtle aquarium or turtle pond, your best bet is to select a larger freshwater fish.
They’ll still help with the bugs, add some color and life to your habitat, and will stand a better chance of living.
Things To Consider When Keeping Turtles And Fish Together
Here are a few considerations to keep in mind if you’re thinking of adding fish to your turtle habitat.
- Your Turtle’s Age
In general, young turtles are more carnivorous than older turtles.
They’re quicker, more energetic, and will often go out of their way to hunt a small fish.
Older turtles tend to be more vegetarian, so your guppy fish will always be safer.
- Your Turtle’s Eating Habits
If your turtle is only used to eating turtle food or a plant-based diet, they may not even consider eating the guppy.
However, if your turtle has shown a previous interest in eating fish or meat, then your guppy is at greater risk.
Also read – > Can a Goldfish and a Turtle Live Together?
- Cover For The Fish
Last but not least, if you do decide to add some guppies to your turtle habitat, make sure that they have somewhere to hide.
You place a little cave, a hollow log, or some rock formations strategically in the aquarium or pond.
If your guppy ever feels unsafe (or just needs somewhere to sleep at night), this will provide them with the cover they need.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if a puppy is right for your turtle habitat.
If you have a small tank with a young or bored turtle, there’s a pretty high chance that your guppy won’t last more than a few days.
However, if you have a larger habitat or older turtles, then your guppy may live a long and happy life alongside your turtle.
If you’re unsure, then your best bet is to try buying a larger fish like a koi fish or a suckerfish.
These fish are generally too big for your turtle to worry about, and they’ll also help keep the habitat clean and free from pests.
If you do decide to try putting a guppy in your turtle tank, just make sure that you get one of the less expensive varieties to start with!