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5 Best Indoor Setups for a Red Eared Slider Turtle

Most recommended
Turtle Tank Aquarium
  • Color: BLACK
  • Brand Hamiledyi
  • Material Plastic
A good choice too
Aquatic Turtle UVB Heat
  • Brand Zoo Med
  • LSW 100 Watts
  • Item Weight 1.6 Pounds
A good choice too
Turtle Lamp Combo Pack
  • Brand: Zoo Med
  • Size: 1 ( 2 Pack )
  • Color Basic
Magnetic Floating Island
  • Brand Exo Terra
  • Color Multi
  • Item Weight 1.72 Pounds
Turtle Lagoon
  • Size: 14 x 10 x 3″
  • Brand Lee
  • 14 x 10 x 3 inches

Choose the Best Indoor Setups for a Red Eared Slider Turtle

Customer’s Choice: the Best Rated Indoor Setups for a Red Eared Slider Turtle

19 users answered this survey. Please help us improve this review!

47.37% of users selected Turtle Tank Aquarium, 15.79% selected Aquatic Turtle UVB Heat, 10.53% selected Turtle Lamp Combo Pack, 10.53% selected Magnetic Floating Island and 15.79% selected Turtle Lagoon. Every month we analyze your answers and change our rating.

A red eared slider turtle is a popular pet, and for good reason! They are easy to care for and can live for many years. But one of the most important things you need to do when owning a red eared slider turtle is provide them with an appropriate habitat. In this article, we will discuss the best indoor setups for a red eared slider turtle and give you some tips on how to make your home suitable for these amazing creatures!

Terrapin Lake Reptile Aquarium Tank with Platform Plants

Looking for a temporary home for your turtle? This Terrapin Lake Reptile Aquarium Tank is perfect! It’s easy to clean and comes with a platform plant to give your little one a place to rest.

Plus, the feeding and swimming areas make it a great choice for baby turtles. Best of all, it’s cheap so you can afford to keep your little one happy and safe!

The Terrapin Lake Reptile Aquarium Tank with Platform Plants is a great way to provide your reptile with a temporary home. The tank is too small for bigger turtles and can’t be used as a permanent habitat, but it’s perfect for a short-term stay. The walls are thin and the platform is not tall enough, but the tank comes with plants that provide your reptile with a natural hiding place. The tank also doesn’t have a lid, so be sure to keep an eye on your reptile when it’s in the tank because it might escape.

  • Easy to clean;
  • Great as a temporary housing;
  • Good pick for baby turtles;
  • Has nice feeding and swimming areas;
  • Comes at a cheap price;

  • Too small for bigger turtles;
  • Can’t be used as a permanent habitat;
  • Not tall enough;
  • Comes without a lid;
  • Walls are too thin;

Zoo Med Aquatic Turtle UVB Heat Lighting Kit

Zoo Med Aquatic Turtle UVB Heat Lighting Kit is the perfect way to provide your reptile friends with the heat and UVB lighting they need. This complete system includes two lamps, one being a heat lamp and the other being a sun lamp, that can be operated independently via an easy-to-use 12-hour timer.

The lamps also come with vent covers to help control the heat and prevent accidental breakage. Plus, the compatibility with all R-type bulbs makes it easy to find the right lighting for your reptiles. And with the included lamp covers and vent covers, you can be sure that your turtles will be safe and comfortable in their new home.

Zoo Med’s Aquatic Turtle UVB Heat Lighting Kit is a great way to give your turtles some light to bask in. However, there are some drawbacks. The wiring is loose and can come undone easily, the bulbs don’t last very long, and the kit can arrive used. Additionally, it requires two outlets if you want to use both lamps, so keep that requirement in mind. Overall, this is a decent product, but be aware of its potential flaws before making a purchase.

  • Ability to control the lights separately;
  • Run on a timer;
  • Comes with a heat lamp;
  • Comes with a sun lamp;
  • Lamps covers come with vent covers;
  • Affordable;

  • Not long-lasting;
  • Wiring is loose;
  • Can arrive used;
  • Bulbs tend to blew;
  • Requires two outlets;

Zoo Med Turtle Lamp Combo Pack

Zoo Med Turtle Lamp Combo Pack offers a quality pair of turtle lamps that will provide your red-eared slider with plenty of heat and UVB. This pack comes with both a fluorescent and halogen lamp, so you can choose the best option for your needs.

Plus, the long lasting UVB bulb means you won’t have to replace it often. And if the heat bulb does eventually burn out, it can easily be replaced.

While the Zoo Med Turtle Lamp Combo Pack is a great way to keep your turtle healthy and happy, there are some things to consider. For example, the protective coating on the bottom of the lamp can wear off if your turtle likes to splash the water around. Additionally, many users have reported that the heat bulb in the lamp dies quickly, but you can get a replacement from your local pet store as we just mentioned. Overall, this is a great product for turtle owners who are on a budget.

  • Comes with both fluorescent and halogen heat lamps;
  • Great pick for red-eared sliders;
  • Good value for the price;
  • Long lasting UVB bulb;
  • Heat bulb can be replaced;

  • Protective coating can wear off;
  • You only get one pack and not two as stated;
  • Heat bulb dies fast;

Exo Terra Turtle Bank, Magnetic Floating Island for Aquatic Turtle Terrariums

Exo Terra Magnetic Floating Island is a great way to provide a naturalistic feel for your aquatic turtle terrarium. This floating island mimics the look of a real island, providing a great basking spot for juvenile turtles.

It’s also sturdy and easy to set up, making it a great choice for any turtle enthusiast. Plus, considering the price, it’s an affordable way to add some extra flair to your terrarium.

The Exo Terra Turtle Bank is a magnetic floating island for aquatic turtle terrariums. It is made of non-toxic materials and is safe for your reptile to use. The turtle bank can hold up some lighter weight, making it ideal for small to medium sized turtles. The weakness of the magnets can cause the turtle bank to move around. Additionally, it’s not ideal for adult and large reptiles as the weight will make it sink down, so be wary of that!

  • Provides a natural environment feel;
  • Great size for juvenile turtles;
  • Sturdy;
  • Worth the price;

  • Can’t hold a lot of weight;
  • Weak magnets;
  • Can start sinking after some time;
  • Not for adult turtles;

Lee’s Turtle Lagoon, Kidney w/Plant

Lee’s Turtle Lagoon may serve as a neat temporary home for your little baby turtles. This delightful kidney-shaped tank comes complete with a detachable plant decoration, making it the perfect environment for your little one to explore.

Easy to clean and maintain, the Turtle Lagoon is also ideal for feeding time, so you wouldn’t have to worry about soiling the main tank.

Despite this, Lee’s Turtle Lagoon won’t make a permanent paradise for your reptilian friend. The walls are too short, so your turtle can escape with ease. Additionally, the space is too small, and there’s nowhere to put equipment. Plus, it arrives without some key pieces, so you’ll have to deal with imperfect decorations.

  • Great as a temporary housing for baby turtles;
  • Decorations are detachable;
  • Easy to clean;
  • Can be used as a feeding tank;

  • Arrives without some pieces;
  • Walls are too short;
  • Too small for turtles;
  • No place for equipment;

Buyer’s Guide

Red-Eared Slider Turtles and Their Preferred Environment

Red-eared slider turtles are a species of semi-aquatic turtles native to the southern United States. They get their name from the distinctive red markings around their eyes and on their ears. Sliders are one of the most popular pets in the world, due largely to their small size, low cost, and easy care requirements.

While slider turtles can live in a variety of habitats, they do best in an indoor setup that replicates their natural environment as closely as possible.

Red-Eared Slider Turtles and Their Preferred Environment

First, let’s take a look at the type of habitat that these turtles naturally inhabit. Then we’ll go over some of the specific requirements for an indoor setup. Finally, we’ll give you some product recommendations to get you started.

Red-eared slider turtles are found in slow-moving rivers, ponds, lakes, and swamps with soft mud bottoms and plenty of aquatic vegetation. They are basking spots where they can climb out of the water to dry off and warm up. Sliders are opportunistic feeders and will eat just about anything they can catch, including fish, tadpoles, insects, and carrion.

In the wild, slider turtles spend most of their time in the water. They are strong swimmers and can stay submerged for long periods of time. When they’re not swimming, they’re usually basking on a rock or log in the sun.

Now that we’ve talked about the natural habitat of red-eared slider turtles, let’s look at some tips about how to take care of them. [1]

How to Take Care After Red-Eared Slider Turtles?

Red-eared slider turtles are not difficult to care for, but they do have specific requirements that must be met in order to stay healthy.

Prepare an aquatic habitat for them

First, you’ll need to prepare an aquatic habitat for your turtle. This can be done by filling a large aquarium or plastic storage container with clean, filtered water. The water should be deep enough that your turtle can swim and dive freely, but shallow enough that they can easily reach the surface to breathe.

You’ll also need to add some rocks, logs, or other hiding places for your turtle to bask on. Be sure to use safe materials that won’t leach toxins into the water. Finally, you’ll need to add some aquatic plants to help filter the water and provide hiding places for smaller fish and invertebrates.

Clean the turtle’s tank regularly

Next, you’ll need to clean the turtle’s tank regularly. This means removing any uneaten food, waste, and debris from the water. You can do this by siphoning out the water with a gravel vacuum or by carefully scooping it out with a cup.

You shouldn’t forget about keeping the glass clean as well, just avoid using any harsh chemicals while cleaning.

You should also perform a partial water change every week. This involves removing 25-50% of the water from the tank and replacing it with fresh, clean water.

Finally, you’ll need to clean the basking spot weekly. This can be done by scrubbing it with a soft brush and warm water. Be sure to rinse it thoroughly to remove any soap residue.

Provide your turtle with a proper healthy diet

Red-eared slider turtles are omnivorous, meaning they will eat both plants and animals. In the wild, their diet consists mostly of aquatic invertebrates, carrion, and small fish. You can replicate this diet by feeding your turtle a variety of live foods, frozen foods, and pellets designed specifically for turtles.

Be sure to offer a variety of food items to ensure that your turtle is getting all the nutrients they need. A good rule of thumb is to offer two or three different types of food at each meal.

It’s also important to provide your turtle with a source of calcium. This can be done by giving them pellets or sticks coated with calcium powder, or by adding a piece of cuttlebone to their enclosure.

In addition to their regular diet, you should also offer your turtle occasional treats like worms, crickets, or pieces of certain low-phosphorus fruit. These foods are high in calories however and should only be given in moderation.

Finally, it’s important to remember that turtles can carry Salmonella bacteria, which can cause illness in humans. To avoid this, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling your turtle or their food.

Provide your turtle with a proper healthy diet

How often you should feed your turtle entirely depends on their age, size, and activity level. As a rule of thumb, adult turtles should be fed 2-3 times a week, while juvenile turtles should be fed daily.

Maintain a proper temperature in the tank

In the wild, slider turtles are native to warm climates and prefer water temperatures between 70-90 degrees Fahrenheit. They also need a basking spot that is warm enough to allow them to thermoregulate their body temperature.

You can recreate these conditions in your home by using an aquarium heater to maintain the water temperature at a steady 85-90 degrees during daytime and around 70 at night.
You’ll also need to provide a basking spot for your turtle with an incandescent bulb or ceramic heat emitter. The basking spot should be warm enough that your turtle can comfortably bask without getting too hot or too cold.

It’s crucial to maintain a consistent temperature in your turtle’s enclosure, as sudden changes can be stressful and dangerous. Be sure to use a reliable thermometer to monitor the water temperature and basking spot temperature.

Make sure there’s enough water

A red-eared slider turtle’s tank should have enough water so that the turtle can swim around and dive. The water should be deep enough that the turtle can’t submerge its entire body, but not so deep. Usually a depth of 3 body lengths is enough for an adult turtle. [1],[2],[3],[4],[5]

Tank Size for Red-Eared Sliders

Red-eared slider turtles can technically be kept in small tanks, it’s not recommended. Red-eared slider turtles grow quickly and can reach up to 12 inches in length. They also produce a lot of waste, so a larger tank is necessary to ensure that your turtle has enough room to swim and exercise and that the water stays clean. A good rule of thumb is to provide at least ten gallons of tank space for every inch of turtle shell length. So, for a full-grown red-eared slider turtle, you should have a tank that is at least 120 gallons.

If you are keeping more than one red-eared slider turtle in the same tank, you will need to increase the size of the tank accordingly. As a general guideline, you should add a half of the single turtle tank size for each additional turtle.

So, if you are keeping two turtles, you should have a tank that is at least 180 gallons.

Of course, if you have the space and the budget, it is always better to be safe than sorry and get a larger tank. A larger tank will provide your turtle with more swimming space and will also help to keep the water cleaner for longer periods of time.

Another factor to consider when choosing a tank for your red-eared slider turtle is the shape of the tank. A rectangular tank is going to be much easier to set up than a round or hexagonal one.

If you pick a tank that is too small for your turtle, it can lead to health problems such as shell deformities, respiratory infections, and a shortened lifespan. So, make sure to get a tank that is big enough for your turtle and that has plenty of swimming space. [1],[6]

Role of Filters and Their Types

Aquatic turtles are messy creatures and will quickly pollute their environment if it is not properly maintained. For that reason, it is essential to have a filter in your turtle’s tank.

Role of Filters and Their Types

A filter is a mechanical and/or chemical device used to remove impurities from water. In other words, it cleans the water your turtle will be swimming in. A properly functioning filter is one of the most important pieces of equipment in any turtle tank because it helps to keep the water clean and free of harmful bacteria and toxins.

There are several types of tank filters available to choose from. We shall go over each of them.

Mechanical filters

Mechanical filters are the most common type of filter used in turtle tanks. They work by trapping debris, such as uneaten food and waste, in a media that can be easily removed and replaced.

The most popular types of mechanical filters are canister and HOB filters.

Canister filters

Canister filters are one of the most popular types of filters for turtle tanks. They are very efficient at filtering water and can be used in tanks of all sizes. Canister filters are typically placed outside of the tank, which makes them easy to hide and helps to keep your turtle’s home looking neat and tidy.

Canister filters are very powerful and can be used to filter large amounts of water very quickly. This is ideal if you have a turtle that produces a lot of waste or if you have a tank that is larger than 50 gallons. Canister filters should be cleaned every few months, or as needed, to ensure they are working properly.

Another benefit of canister filters is that they offer a lot of flexibility when it comes to choosing media. Media is the material inside the filter that actually does the work of filtering the water. One downside of canister filters is that they can be expensive and tricky to set-up.

HOB filters (hang on back)

HOB filters, or hang on back filters, are another popular type of filter for turtle tanks. They are easy to set-up and can be used in tanks of all sizes. HOB filters hang on the back of the tank and can be easily hidden by plants or decorations.

HOB filters are not as powerful as canister filters, but they are still very efficient at filtering water. This makes them a good choice for smaller tanks or for turtles that produce moderate amounts of waste.

One of the main advantages of HOB filters is that they provide a good amount of water flow and filtration without being too strong for turtles. This makes them ideal for use with baby turtles or turtles that are not very strong swimmers.

Another advantage of HOB filters is that they tend to be very quiet, making them ideal for use in bedrooms or other quiet areas.

The main disadvantage of HOB filters is that unless you have special filter cutouts in your turtle tank, you won’t be able to set these up.

Biological filters

Biological filters are another common type of filter used in turtle tanks. They work by using bacteria to break down waste products in the water. The bacteria are usually housed in a media chamber within the filter.

The benefits of using a biological filter include:

  • They are very effective at removing ammonia and nitrites from the water.
  • They help to maintain a healthy population of beneficial bacteria in the tank which can help to prevent disease.
  • They are relatively easy to maintain and do not require much upkeep.

The main downside of biological filters is that they can be expensive to purchase initially. However, they will save you money in the long run as they will help to keep your turtle’s tank clean and free of harmful bacteria and toxins.

Chemical filters

Chemical filters are devices that use chemicals to remove impurities from water. The most common type of chemical filter is an activated carbon filter. Activated carbon filters work by adsorbing (attaching) impurities onto the surface of the activated carbon particles.

Chemical filters are effective at removing a variety of water impurities including dissolved organic compounds, toxins, and colorants.

The main downside of chemical filters is that they must be replaced frequently because the chemicals they contain will eventually become exhausted and need to be replaced. [1],[7]

Now that we’ve looked at some of the best indoor setups for a red eared slider turtle, let’s go over some things to keep in mind when choosing one for your pet.

Turtle tank size

The first thing you need to consider when setting up an indoor habitat for your red eared slider turtle is the size of the turtle tank. A common rule of thumb is that your turtle tank capacity should be at least 20 gallons for baby/juvenile and 60-125 gallons for an adult. Of course, bigger is always better when it comes to turtles, so if you have the space for a larger tank, go for it! Your turtle will appreciate the extra room to swim and explore.

Another thing to consider is the shape of the turtle tank. A rectangular or square turtle tank is going to be the best option as it will give your turtle more floor space to move around. A round or circular turtle tank might look nicer, but it’s not going to be as functional for your turtle.

Turtle tanks can be made out of glass or acrylic. Glass is going to be the heaviest option, but it’s also going to be the most durable option. Acrylic is a lighter weight alternative to glass, but it’s not as scratch resistant.

When it comes to choosing a turtle tank, the other thing you need to be sure of, is the presence of a tight fitting lid.

Turtles are notorious for escaping their tanks, so a secure lid is a must! For this reason, pick a tank with taller sides rather than a shorter one.

Consider the space for all the equipment as well as the turtle tank itself when choosing a location for your indoor turtle habitat. You’ll need to have enough space for a filter, a heating element, and a basking spot. A common mistake people make is underestimating the amount of space they need for all of this equipment. Be sure to measure everything out before you purchase your turtle tank so that you know it will fit in the space you have available. [1]


There are a few different options when it comes to turtle substrates. The most popular option is probably going to be sand. Sand is a natural substrate that turtles are accustomed to and it’s also relatively inexpensive. Another popular option is river rock. River rock is a little bit more expensive than sand, but it’s also easier to keep clean.

Gravel is another option for a turtle substrate, but it’s not as popular because it’s difficult to keep clean and can be harmful to turtles if they ingest it. If you do choose gravel, be sure to get the larger size so that there isn’t a risk of your turtle swallowing it.

If you’re not sure which substrate to choose, try out a few different options and see what your turtle prefers. [8]

Good basking spot

Your turtle is going to need a good basking spot in its indoor habitat. This is where your turtle will soak up some heat and dry off. The basking spot should be located under the heating element so that the temperature is just right for your turtle. A basking spot can be anything safe from a piece of driftwood to a large rock. Be sure to choose something that’s big enough for your turtle to comfortably bask on, but not so large that it takes up too much space in the tank.

Basking spots can also be purchased commercially. There are many different options available, so take some time to find one that you think will work well for your turtle’s needs.

A common mistake people make is not providing their turtle with enough space to bask. Be sure to give your turtle plenty of room to move around on its basking spot. A good rule of thumb is that the basking spot should be at least half the size of the turtle tank. [1],[9]

Water heater

Turtles are cold-blooded, meaning they rely on the environment to regulate their body temperature. Turtles in the wild soak up the sun to warm up and cool down as needed. To regulate the temperature in their indoor habitat, you’ll need to provide a water heater.

Water heater

There are a few different types of heating elements that can be used for turtle tanks. The most common type is probably going to be an aquarium heater. Aquarium heaters are easy to use and relatively inexpensive, but they only should be used if the temperature drops below the norm. Better option would be a basking lamp with a mercury vapor bulb. Basking lamps emit both light and heat, so they’re perfect for creating a basking spot for your turtle. [1]

UV lights

UV lights are an important part of a turtle’s indoor habitat. UV lights help turtles to absorb calcium and produce vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for turtles, as it helps them to develop strong shells.

Your turtle will need a UV light regardless of whether or not it’s exposed to natural sunlight. If your turtle isn’t getting enough vitamin D, it could develop health problems such as shell deformities or metabolic bone disease. [9]


How do you house a red-eared slider?

The most common way to house a red-eared slider is by using an aquarium. The minimum size for an adult turtle is a 65-gallon tank, but the larger the better. If you have multiple turtles, you will need to increase the size of the tank accordingly. You can also use a Rubbermaid storage container or stock tank as a temporary housing as long as its walls are tall enough to prevent your turtle from escaping.

Another option for housing your turtle is an outdoor pond. This is only recommended if you live in an area with warm weather year-round and if your pond can be securely enclosed to prevent predators from getting in. Your turtle will need access to a basking spot where it can dry off and get some UVB rays from the sun.

Do red-eared sliders need a heat lamp?

Yes, red-eared sliders need a heat lamp to maintain their body temperature. The ideal basking temperature for a red-eared slider is around 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit.

A heat lamp will also help your turtle to thermoregulate, which is when they regulate their own body temperature. This is an important process for turtles as it helps them to digest their food properly and absorb the nutrients they need.

How big of a tank do you need for 2 red-eared sliders?

The recommended size tank for two red-eared sliders is at least 80 gallons. However, the bigger the better as these turtles can grow quite large. If you have the space, a 120-gallon tank would be ideal.

How deep should a red-eared slider water be?

The water should be deep enough that the turtle can completely submerge itself, but not so deep that it can’t touch the bottom. A good rule of thumb is to make the water depth one and a half times the length of the turtle.

Red-eared slider turtles are strong swimmers and need a lot of space to move around in their tank, so take the depth factor seriously to ensure your pet reptile is happy.

Useful Video: How to Setup a Turtle Tank


If you want to keep your red eared slider turtle healthy and happy, it’s important to set up their tank in a way that mimics their natural environment as closely as possible.But you also shouldn’t neglect proper tank maintenance. By following the tips we’ve provided in this post, you can choose an indoor setup that is both comfortable and stimulating for your little friend.

The five setups we’ve covered are all great options, but it really depends on your individual needs and preferences. Consider the size of the tank, the material and dimensions of the basking spot, as well as whether you want to include a filter and heating and UV lights. Ultimately, with a little bit of research and some careful planning, you can create an ideal environment for your new pet turtle that will keep him healthy and happy for years to come. Thanks for reading!


  1. https://www.cascadekennels.com/red-eared-slider/
  2. https://www.petsmart.com/learning-center/reptile-care/
  3. https://www.petco.com/content/petco/PetcoStore/en_US/pet-services/resource-center/caresheets/red-eared-slider-care-sheet.html
  4. https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/pet-turtles-cute-commonly-contaminated-salmonella
  5. https://turtlefruit.com/blogs/articles/cuttlebone-guide
  6. https://www.myturtlecam.com/multiple-turtles-in-one-tank.php
  7. https://www.myturtlecam.com/turtle-tank-filtration.php
  8. https://www.myturtlecam.com/lighting.php