The Best Turtle Basking Platforms

TheCritterCove is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. See more here.

best turtle basking platform

In the wild, all turtles both aquatic and terrestrial bask daily. Basking refers to the act of lying in the sun to dry off and absorb sun rays.

Basking is crucial for a turtle’s well-being, particularly if they are spending time in an enclosed space.

Turtles require a specific amount of light each day to be healthy, which is why it’s critical to have a basking platform that delivers enough light and warmth for your turtle.

Basking is the act of a reptile sitting in a location where heat from its surroundings can help them warm up. Turtles require a warm environment, but not so hot that they become overheated.

Maintaining proper body temperature is crucial for turtles and requires an area that is both warm and not too hot. It’s also beneficial because it helps your turtle dry out and stay warm. Constant basking makes it more difficult for your turtle to get fungal infections because fungi need moisture to develop.

If your turtle is deprived of the opportunity to bask, it will become stressed and die as a result of a slew of health issues that will develop.

RELATED READ: How to Set Up a Turtle Tank

The Best Turtle Basking Platform

turtle basking
turtle basking

A good turtle basking platform is one that it’s first of all safe for the turtle. It should have a non-slip surface so that the turtle cannot accidentally fall off. The platform should also be large enough for the turtle to spread out its limbs and get a good bask.

Some platforms come with heating elements to keep the turtle warm, but these must be used with caution. The platform should not be so hot that the turtle can’t stand on it, and it’s important to make sure the heating element is covered so the turtle doesn’t accidentally touch it and get burned.

The platform should also be placed in an area where the turtle can get plenty of direct light. If you live in a colder climate, you may need to provide your turtle with supplemental heat to make sure it can bask properly.

When setting up any sort of basking platform, keep in mind that the turtle must be able to readily exit the water and avoid injuring its plastron. The basking platform is the most common cause of plastron issues.

Make sure there are no rough surfaces!

1. Penn-Plax Reptology Above Tank Basking Platform

Penn-Plax Reptology above tank basking platform is a health-conscious, innovative, and unique product that will aid in your reptile’s healthy development. It allows you to relax with ease while observing your pet bask from above.

The metal grill door at the top of this cage provides heat circulation while also making it easy to access your pet. It’s simple to open, close, and lock in place, and it allows heat transfer through the center.

The platform makes it easy to access, has a convenient and spacious design which makes it a very large basking platform for turtles.

amazon product

Top Pick

Penn-Plax Reptology Turtle Topper and Extension Clips

If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Specifications 🏷️Features ✔️
Overall Size: 17″ x 14″ x 10″
Inside Basking Platform:
16″ x 12.5″
Grill Door:
7.27″ x 8″
5.75″ x 8″
Hanging Platform:
11.25″ x 4″
Fits standard-sized tanks up to 55 gallons and 13″ wide.
Allows you to mount 2 clamp-style heat lamps.
Easy to climb.

2. Penn-Plax Reptology Floating Turtle Pier and Basking Platform

Looking for a cheap turtle basking platform? Look no further than Penn-Plax’s Reptology floating turtle pier and basking platform.

With four pylon supports and suction cups that attach to the bottom of your tank, this platform will stay in place while your pet enjoys drying off and regulating its temperature.

amazon product

Top Pick

Penn-Plax Reptology Floating Turtle Pier and Basking Platform

If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Specifications 🏷️Features ✔️
Overall Size:  16″ x 11″ x 1.25″
Pylon Adjustable:
As low as 3″ and up to 16″ in height
Secure supports.
Easy Access for turtles.
Designed for turtle tanks of 20 gallons or larger.

3. Penn-Plax Reptology Shale Step Ledge for Aquariums & Terrariums

Penn-Plax Reptology shale step ledge for aquariums and terrariums is a safe, tall, durable resin ledge great for climbing and basking.

Its realistic rock formation makes it perfect for any environment, and its size makes it perfect for any reptile.

Penn-Plax Reptology has a lot of basking rocks for large turtles which makes it great different types of turtles and tank sizes.

amazon product

Top Pick

Penn-Plax Reptology Shale Step Ledge for Aquariums & Terrariums

If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Specifications 🏷️Features ✔️
Overall Size: 8.75″ (W) x 6″ (D) x 11.2″ (H)
Basking Ledge:
5″ x 2.25″
Front Entrance / Exit:
3″ x 2.5″
Rear Entrance / Exit:
3.5″ x 3″
Middle Hole:
1.25″ x 2.75″
Safe for freshwater and saltwater aquariums.
A beautiful and functional piece of basking platform.
Has a sturdy base.

4. Zoo Med Turtle Docks

The Zoo Med Turtle Dock is the perfect way to provide your turtle with a safe and stable floating turtle basking platform.

The dock automatically adjusts to all water levels and features an underwater ramp that leads to a comfortable, faux-rock basking area.

Suction cups securely anchor the dock to your aquarium glass wall, holding it in place while allowing it to move up and down with the water level.

amazon product

Top Pick

Zoo Med Turtle Docks

If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Specifications 🏷️Features ✔️
Size: 19 x 10 x 3.8 inches
Item Weight:0.33 pounds
Shape: Stick
Made from a treated natural material that is safe for turtles that like to chew on things.
Powerful suction cups.
Solid hard foam, instead of hollow plastic.

5. Zoo Med 78098 Turtle Dock, X-Large

The Zoo Med Turtle Dock is a floating dock that provides your pet with access to a dry, warm area for basking.

The self-leveling feature automatically adjusts to the water height, and the submerged ramp allows access to the dry, warm basking area.

Attaches to tank with four suction cups and bracket. Made in the USA from high-quality polyethylene plastic.

amazon product

Top Pick

Zoo Med 78098 Turtle Dock, X-Large

If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Specifications 🏷️Features ✔️
Size: 23.5 x 14.4 x 4.5 inches
Item Weight:1.2 pounds
Shape: Rectangular
Extra-large turtle platform.
Great for large turtles and big tanks.
Can hold up to 3 turtles.

6. LaBrinx Designs Narrow Hanging Turtle Ramp

Looking for a versatile extra large turtle ramp that can help your turtles get out of the water and bask? Look no further than the LaBrinx Designs narrow hanging turtle ramp.

This clear acrylic ramp can be mounted with suction cups on the inside of the tank or hung up to 11″ from the upper edges of tanks, allowing you to place it exactly where your amphibious pals need it.

The friction grip tape on the dock also allows your turtles to easily crawl up out of the water and bask just as they would in their natural habitats.

amazon product

Top Pick

LaBrinx Designs Narrow Hanging Turtle Ramp

If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Specifications 🏷️Features ✔️
Size: 14 x 7 x 11 inches
Item Weight:1.61 pounds
Material: Acrylic
Versatile design.
Perfect for small and larger turtles.
The height is adjustable depending on the tank and pet.

RELATED READ: The Best Basking Lights for Turtles

Things to Look Out For In a Good Turtle Basking Platform

When choosing a turtle basking platform, there are certain features you need to look out for. These features are pointers to how well a product will serve you.

  • Look for a platform that is spacious enough so that your turtle can move around easily.
  • Your turtle needs to have easy access to the platform. Check the ramp to be sure it is easily climbable. Not wobbly or slippery.
  • The basking platform shouldn’t take up all the space in the aquarium.
  • Choose a platform that is strong enough to hold up to 3 large turtles.
  • Turtles are very good at escaping from their habitat and space. The platform should be secure and escape-proof so that no matter the tricks your turtle pulls, it won’t be able to escape.
  • The basking dock needs to be easily accessible. Check the submergible ramp to be sure it has sufficient grip on it.
  • If you are making a purchase, then normally the materials used are safe for turtles. But if you are going for a DIY platform, make sure the materials used are not toxic to your pet.
  • Check for a texture that will allow the turtle’s plastron to dry easily while basking. A plastron that doesn’t dry properly often leads to serious health issues.

RELATED READ: The Best UVB Light for Turtles

Types of Turtle Basking Platforms

There are some different types of turtle basking platforms to choose from. The floating dock, the ramp, and the stand all have their own unique benefits that can make your turtle’s life a lot easier.

Topper Basking Platform

Topper platforms are the best options when it comes to conserving space.

They sit at the top of your aquarium and allow your turtle enough basking space.

Setting it up, cleaning, and maintenance are all straightforward and easy. It gives you a whole lot and demands very little from you.

Most topper basking platforms come with a ramp so your turtle can easily get to the top and bask.

They have a natural design that is appealing to turtles and it is important because it encourages basking.

These types of platforms are very secure and your turtle won’t be going anywhere.

A downside to this type of platform is that it is made for most small-sized to medium-sized turtles, so the big ones can’t benefit from it.

Floating Basking Platform

Its simplicity of design and affordability is what make this type of platform popular among turtle owners.

It is very easy to set up and maintain. A major drawback to these types of platforms is the limitation in turtle size that can benefit from it.

It can barely bear the weight of a medium-sized turtle and is best for small ones.

So if you are using this type of platform, you will need to replace it as your turtle grows.

Basking Rock

This is a very popular type of basking platform.

They are usually used in conjunction with other types of basking platforms, but they can also work well as a standalone.

Basking rocks are very versatile and easy to use. They come in different shapes and sizes, so you can easily find one that fits your aquarium.

Cleaning and maintenance are also easy, and they are affordable.

The only downside to this type of platform is that it usually cannot accommodate a large turtle. So, if you have a big turtle, this might not be the best option for you.

Basking Log

This is a perfect basking platform for turtles that love to bask in the sun.

Basking logs are very natural looking and turtles feel at home on them.

They are also very sturdy and can hold the weight of a large turtle.

The only downside to this type of platform is that they are not very common. So, it might be hard to find one that fits your aquarium.

DIY Basking Platforms

As the days go by, DIY platforms are getting more popular. Basking platforms are easy to make and cost almost nothing and above all, turtles love to bask in them.

You get to use your own design and style it the way you want. Materials that can be used include Styrofoam, large river rocks, natural logs, etc.

If you have a large turtle, it is better to make your DIY platform using natural logs.

They can hold your turtle’s weight and turtles love them too. Before exposing your turtles to these types of basking platforms, however, run it under boiling water to make it germ-free and safe for your pet.

A downside to the use of DIY basking platforms is the mistake some owners make. Some use toxic materials unknowingly and end up doing more harm than good to their pets.

RELATED READ: How to Care For a Red-Eared Slider Turtle

Common Materials That Are Used To Make Basking Docks

red eared slider
red eared slider

The choice of material used in the construction of a platform is very important because a wrong material could be toxic to your turtle, or lower the quality of water in the aquarium.

Here are some common materials used in the construction:


Plastic is one of the most commonly used materials in the building of basking docks but not all plastics are good enough.

So if you want to make use of plastic, be sure that the plastic doesn’t emit Bisphenol A. These types of plastics are toxic and will cause harm to your turtle.


Styrofoam is another popular material used in the construction of turtle basking platforms.

They have good features like being lightweight and being able to support a good amount of weight.

If you want to make use of Styrofoam platforms, choose the one that is smooth and durable so as to bear the weight of your turtle irrespective of the size.

Another good choice of foam are those made from ethylene-vinyl acetate.

Do not make use of foam you get from arts and crafts stores as they are not strong and break easily.

The flakes and crumbs that are deposited after the break are also harmful to your pet.

Metal Sheets

The use of metal sheets is a good choice as metals are strong and long-lasting.

A downside to the use of metal sheets lies in the fact that they get corroded with time.

If you must use metal, make use of aluminum. It lasts longer without being corroded.

If you want to make your metal last longer, apply a protective layer on it.

Check that the protective layer is safe for your turtle before you apply it so your pet remains safe.

Ceramic Tiles

Just like metal sheets, ceramic tiles are very durable and can last a long time.

Unlike metals, they do not corrode, making them a great alternative to metal sheets, and they are more pleasing to the eyes.

Despite all the perks of ceramic tiles, they also have their downsides.

They are heavier than metal, and cannot float.

RELATED READ: Do Turtles Need Light at Night?

The Importance of Having a Basking Area

The remaining portion of your tank should be utilized as a drying area and a basking spot for your turtle.

You may also build your own pathways and platforms to create these areas yourself using rocks, logs, or pre-made ramps and platforms.

Stacking stones is yet another fantastic method to create a natural-looking environment.

Two things to consider here on rocks:

  1. Make sure they’re thoroughly washed to remove any parasites or other harmful organisms.
  2. Make that what you are building is sturdy as turtles have a tendency to rearrange things.

Turtles grow quickly, so, when they become big, it’s difficult to provide them with enough swimming area in addition to a secure basking location.

What you can do, in other words, is provide them with the entire aquarium for their swimming area by building a basking spot above the tank and filling it completely.

Another method to create a natural, functional, and readily available basking area is to use a large piece of driftwood. Some have suction cups and can be attached directly to the glass.

A key consideration when building any kind of basking area is to ensure that the turtle can easily exit the water and avoid injuring its plastron.

The basking platform, or at least the ramp section, is the most common cause of plastron issues. Make sure there are no rough surfaces! When it comes to softshell turtles, avoid using rocks and other abrasive goods as a basking surface.

Another point to keep in mind is that your turtle should not be able to get wedged between the glass and the basking area or any other portion of the basking area. If there’s a place where your turtle can fit, it’ll eventually find its way there.

When it comes to building a basking area it may be also useful to go online and check out some of the techniques other people have used to set up their turtle habitats if you want to do it yourself.

RELATED READ: Do Red Eared Slider Turtles Hibernate?

Product Table for Turtle Basking Platforms




amazon product

Penn-Plax Reptology Turtle Topper and Extension Clips

amazon product

Penn-Plax Reptology Floating Turtle Pier and Basking Platform

amazon product

Penn-Plax Reptology Shale Step Ledge for Aquariums & Terrariums

amazon product

Zoo Med Turtle Docks

amazon product

Zoo Med 78098 Turtle Dock, X-Large

amazon product

LaBrinx Designs Narrow Hanging Turtle Ramp


When it comes to turtles, they are not only very sensitive but also a lot of other things that need to be considered when building their basking area.

And one thing you cannot forget is the type of platform or ramp that will serve as their way out from the water.

Here are some tips and considerations for choosing platforms:

  • The best choice is one that floats because your turtle may end up wedged in between something which can result in injury;
  • A strong material such as metal should be used if possible or at least have a protective layer on top to prevent corrosion over time (aluminum being recommended);
  • Avoid any materials with rough surfaces like rocks, and make sure there’s always an easy exit point back into the water;
  • If you’re handy, making a platform or ramp is a great way to go and can be very aesthetically pleasing;