Does Aquatic Turtles Tank Need Aquarium Heater

Featuring a shell, turtles are reptiles. According to the basic lifestyle, turtles are classified into three types – aquatic, semi-aquatic, and terrestrial turtles. Some of them are hardy, like Mississippi map turtles. While some are not. But both of them require careful maintenance, especially in cold seasons. Next, we will discuss something about aquatic pet turtles’ maintenance in winter.

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Can a turtle survive in cold water

Actually, turtles’ body temperature is not controlled by themselves, but by the environment. Then, can they survive in cold water? The answer is not absolute. However, turtles tend to be sick if you keep them in cold water for a long time. Or they may even suffer death. As the cold water lowers the metabolism, and then the heart rates and blood circulation also become slow. Hence, it is recommended to avoid cold water, and maintain an appropriate temperature.

Generally, most common turtles require a water temperature of 68-79℉. And the ideal water temperature for turtles should be 65-86℉. Nonetheless, there may be a little bit of difference between diverse turtle species. In the table below, we will list the temperature requirements for some turtle species.

Turtle species Water temperature Air temperature Basking temperature
Painted turtles 75-80℉ 80-85℉ 85-95℉
Red-eared slider 72-76℉ 75-85℉ 85-95℉
Musk turtles 78-82℉ 75-82℉ 82-90℉
Map turtles 75-80℉ 79-85℉ 85-95℉
Box turtles 72-75℉ 70-80℉ 80-90℉

How to care for pet turtles during winters

Usually, some turtles would hibernate in winter, while others would not. And the latter need to heat their habitat. As for hibernating turtles, you’d better not disturb them. Accordingly, you should not take them out for basking. On the contrary, the turtles that need to heat their habitat require sunbath.

Actually, sunbath helps to remove harmful bacteria, get calcium, and improve turtles’ appetite. Nevertheless, you should ensure that there is a warm temperature. Otherwise, your turtles may get sick. Moreover, you should also add an aquarium heater, build a basking platform, and make sure proper diet. Specifically, the water temperature would rise after adding an aquarium heater. And the turtles need to get out of the water’s surface to breathe fresh air.

As a result, the basking platform should not be too high. Besides that, you should keep a balanced diet, and avoid overfeeding. Some nutritious food should be the first alternative, such as insects, feeder fish, and live shrimp. Additionally, you should feed them once or twice a day, and make sure they can finish eating within 5 minutes. Consequently, turtles’ appetites can get improved.

To reduce the temperature differences between water and air, you can cover the turtle tank with a lid, which has holes. It prevents rapid descent of temperature and avoids a huge gap between the water temperature and air temperature. In addition, you should be careful when you do water changes. And measure the water temperature before adding. It would reduce temperature fluctuation.

Heating an indoor aquatic turtle habitat

As we have mentioned above, it is best to keep turtles in a warm environment. Then, how to heat an indoor aquatic turtle habitat? Exactly, adding an aquarium heater is one of the effective ways. How can you know whether your turtle tank needs an aquarium heater or not? On the one hand, you can check the temperature. Provided that the temperature is lower than 60℉ in winter, it is necessary to add an aquarium heater. On the other hand, observe your turtles. You should add an aquarium heater if your turtles are:

  • sick
  • young (less than 2 years old)
  • no more than 2 inches
  • native to tropical areas

An aquarium heater running automatically is perfect. For example, an aquarium mini heater is not bad. It is suitable for 1-13 gallon turtle tanks. Furthermore, the mini heater is made of high-quality quartz glass, waterproof double seal material, and also covered with a protective case and shatter-resistant construction. It makes the heater safe to use.

On the other side, there is no doubt that you should install the aquarium heater properly. Otherwise, your aquarium may get destroyed. Here are some tips:

  • The aquarium heater should be kept underwater completely.
  • You can add a low-power filter to circulate the water. It partially prevents excessive water temperature.
  • Turn off the aquarium heater when doing water changes.

Aquatic turtles basking in the heat

A basking platform is a place for turtles to sunbathe. Nonetheless, sunbath is beneficial to breathe, kill bacteria, and absorb calcium. Thus, it is essential to build a basking platform. Next in this segment, we will cover how to build a basking platform.

To begin with, you should consider the size of the basking platform. Usually, the basking platform should be larger than the turtles. Accordingly, there is enough room for them to move and enjoy. Also, the size of the basking platform is determined by the size of the turtle tank. Moreover, the height of the basking platform depends on the water height and tank height. The basking platform should be higher than the water height in your turtle tank. But it should not be too high, or your turtles would get out of your tank easily.

Furthermore, turtles are not picky about the color of the basking platform. But you should avoid transparent ones due to turtles can not find them. As a result, turtles may get injured or shocked accidentally. Additionally, the basking platform is a place for turtles to rest. Therefore, you should build a basking platform with a flat surface. Because a sharp surface would cause injury to turtles. In addition to this, the basking platform requires sufficient light. Full-spectrum clip on light is feasible. The 14W clip on light is special for an 11-19 inches tank. It has Day-Night dual timer, which includes Sunrise-Day and Sunset-Moon. And there are also nine colors for you to choose from.


Aside from the aquarium heater, you should also get other aquarium equipment to keep turtles comfortable and healthy, such as a reptile lamp, a thermometer, and a turtle aquarium filter. Finally, thanks for your reading.

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