Aquatic Turtle Supplies & Accessories

The Python No-Spill siphon: definitely one of the more important turtle supplies.When you consider that most aquatic turtles can easily live for more than 20 years in captivity, the relatively small up-front costs associated with basic turtle supplies seems trivial.

Nevertheless, there are many turtle supplies and turtle tank accessories that seem useful but really aren’t necessary, which could coax you to part with money that would be better spent on core equipment (e.g., tank, filter, lighting, etc.).

For what it’s worth, the following turtle supplies are, in my opinion, high-quality and provide good value.

Our Picks For Best Turtle Supplies

Turtle Tank Enclosures

Aquariums are great for underwater viewing. However, in most cases they are generally too small for many basking turtles; and more suitable larger aquariums tend to be very expensive. It’s worth considering a turtle tub or plastic stock tank instead. These are usually much cheaper compared to a tank of a similar capacity; they also tend to provide more floor space for your turtle; and are much more easily cleaned given their light weight. For a rundown of some of your favorite alternatives to an aquarium, check out our review of Low-Cost Turtle Tank Enclosures.

Turtle Tank Lighting

Virtually all species of commonly available turtle will need a heat lamp for basking. And they should also be provided a UV-B emitting bulb to allow them to synthesize vitamin D3. Here are some of our favorite lamps/heaters for use with most turtles and setups.

Zoo Med Aquatic Turtle UVB and Heat Lighting Kit

Turtles will normally require both their heat lamp and UV-B emitting lamp to be focused on the same area. Now you could buy these items individually, which is fine, but it can be hassle setting up individual clamps and the whole setup can get a bit bulky. That’s why if you are in need of both, it makes sense to consider the Zoo Med Aquatic Turtle Combination UV-B & Heat Lamp unit.

This combination fixture gives you the best of both worlds and facilitates easy setup. The dual bulb shroud also makes very efficient use of room and minimizes individual power cords that would ordinarily be needed. Each socket can house bulbs up to 100 watts in power. This fixture comes with a UV-B and heat lamp bulbs included.

If you are looking for bulbs separately, I’d suggest the Zoo Med ReptiCare Ceramic Infrared Heater (for heat only) and the Zoo Med ReptiSun 5.0 UVB Mini Compact Fluorescent Bulb for UV-B.

Turtle Docks & Ramps

All turtles will need a land area, and it can be a real pain to make your own with rocks, wood or other objects. Not only do these things displace lots of water area you turtle could otherwise use, but they can trap waste and uneaten food, making maintenance considerably more difficult. If you are not into DIY, there are a couple very nice ready-made land areas that are particularly easy to use with aquariums. For our picks of the best models, check out our article on Turtle Basking Platforms & Turtle Docks.

Turtle Filters

Without powerful filtration, your turtle tank will smell like a toilet, because that’s what it is. Turtles are constantly producing dilute waste, which you can’t even see. Nevertheless, this waste – in the form of toxic ammonia – can accumulate and harm and or irritate your turtle if not broken down. The only way to do this is with bio-filtration. Purchasing a quality filter that can handle the high volume of waste a turtle produces is not just a good idea, it’s a requirement for long term turtle health (and odor-free tanks).

Do not make the rookie mistake of buying a cheap filter! Learn more about turtle filters and review our recommended models by reading our article: All About Turtle Tank Filters.

Turtle Tank Maintenance

In addition to using good filtration, you will need to periodically change some of the tank water. Ideally, you should aim for changing 50% of your turtle’s water weekly. And while doing it, it is a good idea to vacuum up any solid waste, uneaten food, or other debris on the tank floor. To do this, you will need a decent siphon. Here are a couple good options.

25 Foot – Python No Spill Clean and Fill Siphon

The Python series is one of the most popular, and for good reason.

This “no-spill” model allows you to suck out nasty tank water and replace it with ease. If you’ve done lotsĀ  of water changes before, you know how tedious they can be. This model is particularly good for larger tanks, where you are moving lots of water. Remember that you should not clean your tank with hot water or soap and water. This kills all of the good bacterial in the tank (the kind that break down waste products). Flushing and rinsing your tank with cool water is sufficient.

If you have a smaller tank to maintain, you could probably get away with a more simple siphon, such as the Python Pro-Clean Gravel Washer and Siphon Kit. Note, however, that this model is only good for removing the water. You will need a separate hose (our use buckets) to refill the tank.

Turtle Water Conditioners

Aquatic turtles do great in virtually any tap water. However, to prevent irritation and upsetting the “beneficial” bacteria in your tank, you will want to be sure you have neutralized two common tap water chemicals – chlorine and chloromine.

The Best Water Conditioner – Seachem Prime

I can tell you without hesitation that the very best water dechlorinator/conditioner on the market right now is Seachem Prime.

No matter what anyone else may tell you, this is the best value and most potent formula you can buy. And a little goes a very long way. A 500 ml. bottle can treat up to 5,000 gallons of water! In addition to treating for chlorine and chloromine, this stuff can also temporarily neutralize ammonia and nitrates. This is a real benefit for people cycling new tanks where the filter media does not yet have a colony of denitrifying bacteria. Tropical fish enthusiasts have been using this conditioner for ages.

Do yourself a favor, do not waste your time with other concoctions that say they do all kinds of things for your turtle; your turtle doesn’t need them! Stick with this Prime; it’s the only water conditioner you will need. You won’t regret it!

Turtle Food & Supplements

Turtle food and nutrition is a rather broad subject and there a lot of opinions on the matter. However, the high-quality prepared foods today, which come fortified with many or all of the essentials, make balanced nutrition easy. For a thorough discussion of turtle foods, required supplements and which ones we like best, check out our article dedicated entirely to Selecting Turtle Food.

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