Low-Cost Turtle Tanks

I’m a big fan of using just about anything else that can reliably hold water and resist a bit of scratching for turtle tanks, especially for basking-type turtles like sliders and painted turtles. For me, the greater floor area of those larger, shallower containers all give a turtle what it usually wants most, horizontal movement. Sure, a 55-gallon tank sounds big, but as far as usable space for the turtle, it is not very big at all, and it’s a real PITA to clean. Moreover, for their size, aquariums are just plain expensive unless you happen to find a sale or pick up a used aquarium on craigslist.

From smaller to larger, here are some great and cost-effective alternatives to a traditional aquarium.

Zoo Med 13- Gallon Turtle Tub

The Zoo Med turtle is a good example of light weight design with generous floorspace. It’s also noteworthy in that it comes with a built-in land area and ramp, with a deep cavity that lets you create your own land with natural substrates or earth-like materials. I just wish it were bigger.

At 13 gallons, it’s too small to hold even a single adult basking turtle. But for hatchlings and immature turtles, it certainly does much more than a standard 10-gallon fish tank. In fact, if you just got a baby turtle and needed an overall setup fast, the Zoo Med Turtle Tub Complete Kit is worth considering. The kit comes with the tub, a lamp stand with a 100 watt sun bulb/dome fixture, a decent canister filter, an 8-oz. bottle of reptisafe, 16 quarts of land substrates, some food, and a turtle care guide.

Rubbermaid 50-Gallon Weather-Resistant Stock Tank

This stock tank has more floor area than a 55-gallon aquarium and come at less than half the price.

This oval stock tank measures 55 inches long and about a foot high; this distributes its 50-gallon capacity over a shallow but broad water area, making it great for turtles.

You also don’t have to worry about breaking it, the heavy-duty construction of these commercial tanks cannot be compared to kids’ pools. It can be left outside year round, and would make a nice turtle pond if dug flush into the ground.

Bang for your buck, a very nice enclosure.

Tuff Stuff Products 140 Gallon Recycled Plastic Stock Tank

Now were talking. This is a great 140-gallon turtle tank that can house and potentially be used to breed a couple of good-sized basking turtles. It is made of a very hard recycled plastic that is extremely strong and requires virtually no maintenance. It has good proportions, with a nearly 2-foot water depth. There’s a smaller version if you are more interested in a 100 gallon turtle tank. Basking turtles love to swim and are very graceful swimmers at that. A tank of this size gives them a bit more room to kick their legs.

Again, you would pay at least double the price of this tank for an aquarium of a similar capacity. And unlike an aquarium, you can actually pick this one up when empty and hose it out! What else do you want?

Rubbermaid 300-Gallon Black Stock Tank

Why stop there!? If you’ve got room for this beauty and want to keep some very happy turtles, this 300-gallon turtle tank will not disappoint. There is just so much more you can do with this kind of room. And your turtles can really get some speed swimming across the length of this tank.

It also has plenty of diving room too, at 25 inches in maximum depth. The tub is 69 inches long and about 63 inches wide. This would also make a good koi pond!

While it’s not cheap, compared to the cost of smaller pre-fabricated “pond” liners, it’s a steal. We think this is a great option for anyone who wants a small pond without the expense and setup hassle that normally goes with them.

Share this post:

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment