red eared slider tank size

What is the Right Tank Size For a Red Eared Slider?

If you are in the process of purchasing a baby red-eared slider, naturally, you want to prepare yourself and learn everything about these animals. The first thing that probably came to your mind was the question: What’s the right red-eared slider tank size? 

Building a natural habitat for your turtle is important. But what’s more important is setting up an appropriate tank so your turtle can live a long and comfortable life. If you do it right at the beginning, everything that follows will be much easier. 

What’s the best red-eared slider tank size? As a rule of thumb, a red-eared slider turtle requires 10 gallons of water for a 1 inch of length. For example, a red-eared slider with a size of 4 inches, will require at least a 40 gallons tank. 

That was the short answer to the question. Now, I’ll explain everything steps by step. 

Let’s get started. 

Setting up the right red-eared slider tank size 

Red-eared sliders are fantastic animals and great as pets, as well. They are not difficult to take care of, however, they have some specific requirements. One of those requirements is setting up the right tank size. 

Red-eared slider turtles prefer to have a lot of room in the tank to swim around. They are active swimmers, so you better provide them the space they need. For smaller red eared sliders a 30 gallon is the absolute minimum tank size. 

Of course, bigger is always better. Especially for animals that spend their fair share of time in the water, such as the red-eared slider. Turtles with a size of approximately 6 inches need at least 55-gallon tanks. And a full-grown adult red-eared slider needs a minimum tank size of 125 gallons. 

When you are setting up a turtle tank always remember that some of the decorations can take space, as well. And when it says big, it usually means a long turtle tank. Like I’ve mentioned earlier, aquatic turtles like to swim, so setting up a longer rather than tall is always the best solution. 

Red-eared sliders don’t necessarily need glass aquariums. As long as the tank size is big and long enough, every container, or tab that you can use as a habitat for your turtle will do just fine. 

Set up the appropriate red-eared slider tank size and your turtle will certainly be happy. 

Does a baby red-eared slider need a big tank? 

One common scenario that I’ve seen on several occasions is when people ask pet store owners the question: What tank size do I need for a baby red-eared slider? Most of the time it results in giving the wrong answer. 

Most pet store owners want to just make quick money and will sell everything they could. 

Oftentimes they’ll sell you the inappropriate size of the tank. And they do that because if they recommend the appropriate tank size for a baby turtle, many of the potential buyers will have doubts about buying a turtle in the first place. So, they do what’s most convenient for them. 

They’ll sell you a smaller tank a the hope you buy the turtle. However, that’s not the right way to do it. For a juvenile red-eared slider you need at least a 30-gallon tank. Bigger is always better. If you can’t afford a bigger tank at the beginning, start small, but increase the size over time. 

A smaller tank should be only a temporary habitat for your turtle. 

Can I have other animals in my red-eared slider tank? 

Red-eared sliders don’t always get along with other animals. They are aquatic animal, therefore their tank mates should be aquatic animals, as well. They can live with other species of turtles, however, not every other species of turtles are suitable companions. 

You can put fish in your red-eared slider tank, however, it often results in fish being eaten. If you are interested to learn more about this topic you can check our article on that subject: Can fish and turtles live in the same tank

How many turtles can you put in a tank? 

You can keep more than one turtle in the tank. I have personally kept more than one turtle in a tank, and I haven’t had any problems. 

However, you need to be careful. More turtles in your tank mean more space. Consider increasing the size of the tank if you ever decide to keep more than one turtle. 

Turtles are messy animals and if you want to keep more of them, you need to pay attention to the hygiene in the tank.  And, of course, it’s advisable to keep turtles with a similar age in your tank.

Frequently Asked Questions 

How big should a tank be for a turtle?

Aquatic turtles require at least a size of a 30-gallon tank. Increase the size of the tank, as the turtle grows older. An adult red-eared slider needs a minimum size of 100-gallon tank to live comfortably. 

Is a 10-gallon tank big enough for a turtle? 

No, 10-gallons tank is not big enough for a turtle. Even if the turtle is small, the minimum recommended size for a juvenile red-eared slider is 30 gallons. 

What turtle can live in a 20-gallon tank? 

A recommended minimum size of tank for red-eared sliders is 30 gallon, however, it can live in 20 gallons for a short period of time. Increase the size of the tank when the right time comes. 

How many turtles can live in a 10-gallon tank? 

A 10-gallon tank is a small tank even for one baby red-eared slider turtle. A 10-gallon tank should be only a temporary habitat for a juvenile turtle. 

Final Thoughts 

As you have seen in this post, you have two options. Set up a bigger and longer tank from the beginning, or start small and gradually increase the size of the turtle tank with time. It’s really up to you. 

However, keeping your red-eared slider in a tank with appropriate size will give it more space for swimming, more space for growing and most importantly will make your turtle feel more comfortable. 

Now I’d like to hear from you. What’s your opinion on this matter? What’s the best red-eared slider tank size? 

Let me know in the comments!

2 thoughts on “What is the Right Tank Size For a Red Eared Slider?”

  1. What if l’m starting with a 20 gallon tank but the only difference between the 20 and the 15 is that the 20 gallon is taller. Does it matter which one l get? Do turtles need more height?

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