Acquiring Homes for Aquatic Turtles - Pisces Pet Emporium

Who doesn't love turtles?! Turtles are reptiles of the order Testudines, characterized by their special cartilaginous shell developed from their ribs, known as their shell. Turtles DO have nerve endings in their shell, so yes, they can feel your hand when you pet or stroke their shell! Turtles can make great, interesting pets if properly cared for, and setting up a dynamite enclosure for your new friend is the first step!

Turtle vs Tortoise

A very common misconception is labeling tortoises as turtles, and vice versa. So what is the difference?  

Tortoise  Turtle
Area Dwells well on land Dwells well in water
Shell Mostly large dome shaped shells Mostly flat, streamlines shells
Limbs Feet are short and sturdy with bent legs Webbed feet & long claws
Lifespan Lives 80-150 years Lives 20-40 years
Diet Mostly herbivore, some prefer live food Omnivores


Tank Size

When purchasing your turtle tank make sure it is an aquarium tank or a terrarium tank capable of with holding the weight and pressure of large amounts of water. The tank should be terrestrial, meaning it should be longer than tall, offering a larger footprint. A general rule for water volume is 10 gallons of water per inch of turtle for a single animal. Using this math, we can estimate that you will need between 75 - 100 gallons to house a full grown adult. It is very important that the water depth in the tank is at least 1.5x your turtles width, so they can safely flip themselves upright if they get turned upside-down. So if your turtle is 6 inches wide, you should have 9 inches of water minimum!


Aquatic turtles will need a dry basking area where they can soak up some sun! Depending on the breed of turtle and the size of your tank, you may want to go with a built-in dry land area, or simply a turtle dock. If you are looking for a smaller, removable dry land area, Pisces recommends: Zoo-Med Turtle Dock. Adding live plants will bring more of a natural look to your tank. Substrate on the bottom of the water also looks great, however it is not mandatory. 

Heat, Light & Filtration

As mentioned above, your turtle will be looking for some nice warm air to bask under. Pisces recommends: Exo Terra Swamp Basking Spot for a bulb, because it is splash, mist and shatter proof! Your turtle will also require UVB lighting. Make sure to acquire the proper wattage and intensity of UVB for your tank parameters. The water in your tank must also be filtered. We need to filter our water because waste builds up in the water (feces & uneaten food). If this waste is not removed, the toxins will rapidly build up and cause illness and death to your turtle. Pisces recommend: Exo Terra ReptiClear Terrarium Filter. An aquarium heater or two is also mandatory to keep your water temperature proper and constant!

 Well done! You are on your way to starting a flawless turtle terrarium! If you have any question, please call, message or visit us in store! Of course, visit our website  for any online shopping needs for your awesome turtle tank! 

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