Can You Put A Turtle In A Fish Tank

by Carl Crane | Updated: November 25, 2021

If you give it some thought, you would agree that adding a turtle to a fish tank isn’t the same as adding a fish to a turtle tank.

Turtles are more demanding than fish and so the requirements to have each isn’t the same.

Red-eared sliders and other turtles do not spend all of their time underwater as is the case with fish and so they require a platform on which they can bask.

Leaving a turtle underwater all day gets them drowned.

So if you are pondering on the question, “can I put a turtle in a fish tank?” the short answer is yes but not until you have made some modification to the tank to ensure your turtle can survive there.

Advantages of Putting a Turtle in a Fish Tank

As compared to other options available to place your turtle, a fish tank is a better choice for your turtle for the following reasons:

Disadvantages of Putting a Turtle in a Fish Tank

The biggest disadvantage of putting your turtle in a fish tank is that you need to go for the biggest size available.

This is because turtles need a lot of space and as a rule of thumb, the minimum capacity of the tank should be 10 gallons for every inch of the carapace.

Now you would think this isn’t a problem when your turtle is still small and a common mistake turtle owners make is to go for a small tank at the beginning.

Turtles grow up very fast and you’d be changing that tank soon, so always go for the biggest you can get.

This will cost you more from the start but it’s worth it in the end.

Also, additional work would be required in order to make the aquarium comfortable for your pet turtle.

This is in the form of mounting platforms, installing powerful filters, heaters, lighting, and others.

Best Turtles for Fish Tank

The best turtles to put in a fish tank are those that spend more time in the water than on land.

With this group of turtles, you can use an above-the-tank basking platform to provide a place for your pet to dry off, while still having enough space to swim in.

Some examples of turtles that are best suited for fish tanks are:

Can Fish And Turtles Be In The Same Tank?

Yes, both fish and turtles can stay together in the same tank but this is largely based on the feeding habits of the turtle, territorial behavior, and the conditions both pets require to be healthy.

Turtles that are carnivores can’t stay together with fish because they will see the fish as food.

Some species of turtle-like snapping turtles are very territorial and are best left alone.

Also if the living conditions like lighting and heat are not the same for each, they can’t possibly cohabit.

Before having both pets stay together, consider the following:


Putting your turtle in a fish tank is easier to manage and more beautiful to behold.

But just as with everything else, adequate preparation needs to be done first.

Knowing the needs of your turtle and making those needs available will make your pet very comfortable and happy.

If you want to include a fish to the tank to improve the aesthetics, you need to carefully select both fish and turtle species to ensure that they can stay together.

Apart from the careful selection of species, adequate provisions need to be made to encourage peaceful cohabiting.

Carl, the reptile-obsessed creator of this website, got his first turtle years ago and he made a ton of mistakes along the way. His goal now with TheCritterCove is simple: help others to not make the same mistakes that he did!