Aquatic Turtle In a Tropical Fish Aquarium: Fact or Fiction

If you love fishes and turtles, there is a question that might come into your mind. You might ask yourself, “Can I keep my fishes in the same tank as my turtle?” There are different possible ways that you can address this question, and you will learn about all of that in this article.

Can A Turtle Live In A Fish Tank?

You can allow your turtle to live inside a fish tank. In fact, for a major percentage of all turtle owners, a fish tank can be considered as one of the most comfortable and easiest habitats that turtles can live in. There can be various reasons for this, as fish tanks are easy to set up, easy to acquire, and are nice to look at. Another big advantage for going for fish tanks is that there is a good variety of sizes, shapes, and types that you can use for your advantage.

The two most common fish tanks to place your turtles in are outdoor ponds and indoor plastic tubs. But let us look at the pros and cons of going for this type of enclosure.

  1. Indoor Plastic Tubs – This type of habitat is perfect for keepers who would prefer to get a turtle habitat that is located safely inside the comfort of your own home. Usually, indoor plastic tubs are placed inside a spare bedroom or garage. These tubs are mostly found The problem with these tubs are:
    1. Indoor tubs are a little unsightly to have around.
    2. Indoor tubs can take more space if compared to aquariums.
    3. Turtle owners might have to get some custom work in terms of building a basking platform, hooking up the water filter and other types of equipment, because most turtle accessories have only been created with traditional aquariums in mind.
  2. Outdoor Ponds – This type of habitat can be the perfect enclosure style for your pet turtle. The biggest drawbacks of going for this type of living area is:
    1. Outdoor ponds can be very expensive to install and establish.
    2. Outdoor ponds need a lot of space to be able to create it.
    3. You will have to be prepared to deal with inclement weather, cold seasons, and potential predators, when your turtle is left to live outdoors.

Why Turtles Can Thrive In Living In Aquariums

Fish aquariums are very versatile for turtles. They are aesthetically pleasing, to begin with, and the vast majority of the raw materials for this type of living condition are made from see-through glass. The build quality of a lot of aquariums is usually very strong and sturdy and you can easily place them on drawers, desks, tables, and other areas.

Another great thing is that they come in so many options in terms of shapes, sizes, and types. For example, they can be as small as 5 gallons, but they can be as big as 125 gallons. Most shapes that are available are rectangular, but it can also be cylindrical, circular, and coming with many interesting edges.

Setting fish aquariums can also be million times easier compared to setting up indoor tubs and outdoor ponds. First, most water filters are readily made available for fish aquariums. Next, every single type of basking docks is also designed well for aquariums. Same goes to water heaters as well.

If there is a disadvantage to look at when it comes to using a fish aquarium for a turtle, it might be the sizing requirement. The general requirement is usually 10 gallons per inch of size of your pet turtle.

Can You Have Fishes And Turtles Inside The Same Fish Aquarium?

Yes, you can. Fishes and turtles can share the same aquarium. But, of course, you must note very well that there are many specifications that come with. You should make sure that you get everything right, because it can be hard to make this living set up work. This concept is usually not advised for beginner keepers, as some experience must be able to help before exploring a harder caring activity.

Can Different Species Of Turtle Live Together?

Before answering the big guns, first think about this. Is there a possibility that two turtles can behave properly inside the same tank? In fact, you should properly maintain a mixed-species turtle habitat, and in order to achieve this, for the following reasons:

  1. Turtles that are different species will often end up fighting each other, injuring, maiming, and killing each other.
  2. If there are three or more turtles of the same species wherein one is a female, it will surely end up in fights for attention and breeding purposes.
  3. There are turtle species that are actually very violent that you can never mix them with other species.
  4. Even a larger turtle of the same species can bull and injure a smaller turtle.

Tank Specifications To Accommodate Fish & Turtles

  1. Make sure that the aquarium is big enough for the turtle, wherein measurements should have 10 gallons of water for every 1 inch of turtle shell.
  2. If you are adding fish to a tank, you should go for fish aquariums sized 80 gallons and up.
  3. Turtles need a water filter, especially canister filtration systems that are powerful enough to deal with all of the waste that turtles emit. This is because of some bits of food that they tear away, as well as other things that they nibble off.
  4. Make sure that you are able to check, control, and maintain the pH levels of your tank. It must regularly be between 6 to 9 pH levels.
  5. Always aerate your water, as pumping oxygen will create a great environment for your fish and turtles.
  6. Fishes need hiding places for the times where fishes stress them out by chasing them. It can be large rocks, PVC pipes, commercial fish hideouts, turned over flowering pots, and pieces of driftwood.

How To Choose The Right Turtle

If you want your fishes to survive, the most important thing that you should do is to make sure that the species that you choose is one that can live with fishes peacefully. There are certain species of turtles that are more adaptable and skilled at eating fish and hunting down fishes compared to other species.

For instance, if you have some painted turtles, cooters, or red eared sliders, they might be too good for being hunters that fishes will not thrive there. Introducing some schools of fishes in an aquarium with these species inside will surely be a recipe for disaster.

If you have one of this aggressive species, you might want to consider waiting until the turtle has matured and become much older. This is because as they add years to their lives, they tend to eat a lot more greens and vegetables and a lot less protein.

When this thing happens, there is a great chance that your turtle will be les s likely to see fishes around them as a source of food.

How To Choose The Right Fishes

If you think about it, it can be hard to choose what kind of fish will thrive in an environment where they have to share their space with turtles. Most experts advice that the species that you should get are quick, intelligent, and feisty.

There are numerous fish species that will definitely not do well if they have to spend time with turtles, and they are just quite a few ones who can. These are the main fish qualities that you can focus on:

  1. The fishes must be small and slender. Fishes that have long fins, long tails, or larger sizes are less likely to be able to escape should the situation call for it.
  2. The fishes must be speedy and quick. They must have great reflexes as they must still get away from a more lumbering turtle that can be trying to pursue them.
  3. The fishes must be intelligent compared to other types of fishes. You might get the fastest fish in the world, but if it has weak instincts that will teach them to survive, the fish will not be able to be alive for very long.
  4. The fishes must be brave and a little feisty. You have to be very careful in choosing for this part because you do not want one that is too aggressive and will attack your turtles.

The usual types of fishes being chosen for the most common pet turtle species are yellow cichlids, zebrafish, and tetra fish. The best thing about these species is that they are much affordable and they are usually available in local pet stores. These species usually grow up to be as big as 1 to 2 inches when they are in captivity. More importantly, these species thrive in freshwater and they have the smarts and the speed that they will need to survive.

Can Turtles Live With Tropical Fishes?

In general, it is not recommended for turtles to live with tropical fishes inside their tank. The reason behind this is that most tropical fishes have long fins and long tails. Otherwise, these fishes can attract a lot of unwanted attention to themselves.

At one point or another, your turtle is going to get curious and take a nip at any type of fish that you add to your tank. Lots of tropical fishes have these long fins and tails that are just asking to get trapped inside the mouth of a turtle. It can be very difficult for this kind of fishes to hide from your turtle just in case it seeks to attack.

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