Best 55 Gallon Tank for Turtle: The Ultimate Guide

55 gallon tank for turtle

Another important aspect to consider is the durability of the tank. Turtles can be quite active and may occasionally scratch or bump into the tank walls. Therefore, it is essential to choose a tank made of sturdy materials that can withstand these activities without cracking or leaking.

Additionally, a 55 gallon tank provides enough space to incorporate a proper filtration system. Turtles are messy animals, and their tank water needs to be kept clean and free from harmful bacteria. A good filtration system will ensure that the water remains clean and healthy for your turtle’s well-being.

  1. Size: Turtles need plenty of space to swim and explore. A 55-gallon tank provides enough room for your turtle to engage in natural behaviors, such as swimming, diving, and basking. It also allows for the addition of plants, rocks, and other decorations to create a more naturalistic environment.
  2. Temperature Regulation: Turtles are ectothermic creatures, which means they rely on external heat sources to regulate their body temperature. A larger tank allows for a better distribution of heat, making it easier to maintain a suitable temperature gradient within the enclosure. This is essential for your turtle’s overall health and can prevent conditions like shell rot or respiratory infections.
  3. Behavioral Enrichment: Turtles are curious creatures that thrive on mental and physical stimulation. A 55-gallon tank provides ample space for your turtle to engage in natural behaviors, such as exploring, swimming, and basking. It also allows for the addition of various decorations and hiding spots, which can provide your turtle with much-needed enrichment.
  4. Longevity: Turtles have an incredibly long lifespan, with some species living for several decades. Investing in a larger tank from the start ensures that your turtle will have a suitable home for its entire life. It also reduces the need for frequent upgrades and minimizes the stress of transitioning to a new environment.

Factors to Consider when Selecting a 55 Gallon Tank for Turtle

Choosing the right tank for your turtle is crucial for its health and well-being. Here are some important factors to consider when selecting a 55 gallon tank:

Size: Turtles need ample space to swim and move around. A 55 gallon tank is a suitable size for most turtle species, but it is essential to consider the adult size of your turtle and its specific needs. Some larger turtle species may require a bigger tank to accommodate their size.

Shape: Tanks come in various shapes, including rectangular, square, and circular. Rectangular tanks are the most common and provide the best swimming space for your turtle. The shape should allow for easy installation of a filtration system and accessories.

Accessories: Consider the accessories you will need for your turtle tank. These may include a basking platform, rocks, plants, and hiding spots. Ensure that the tank has enough space to accommodate these accessories while still providing ample swimming room for your turtle.

Lighting and Heating: Turtles require both UVB lighting and heat sources to stay healthy. Ensure that the tank has a suitable area for installing a UVB lamp and a heating element. The lighting and heating options should mimic the turtle’s natural habitat and provide the necessary heat and UVB rays for its well-being.

Water Quality: Turtles are sensitive to poor water quality, so it is crucial to maintain clean and properly treated water. Consider the type of water your turtle requires (saltwater or freshwater) and choose a tank that allows for easy water changes and maintenance.

By considering these factors, you can select a suitable 55 gallon tank for your turtle that provides the necessary space, filtration, lighting, and water quality for its overall health and happiness.

Best Tank Brands for Turtles in a 55 Gallon Tank

Best Tank Brands for Turtles in a 55 Gallon Tank

1. Zoo Med

Zoo Med is a well-known brand that specializes in reptile products, including tanks for turtles. They offer a variety of tank sizes, including 55-gallon options, that are specifically designed to meet the needs of turtles. Zoo Med tanks are made from high-quality materials that are resistant to scratches and cracks, ensuring the safety and longevity of your turtle’s habitat.

2. Exo Terra

3. Tetra

4. Aqueon

Aqueon is a well-established brand in the aquarium industry and offers a variety of tank sizes suitable for turtles, including 55-gallon options. Aqueon tanks are made from high-quality glass that is both sturdy and crystal clear, providing optimal viewing of your turtle. They also come with a range of accessories and optional features, such as LED lighting and filtration systems, to enhance the overall habitat for your turtle.

Choosing the Right Filter System for Your 55 Gallon Turtle Tank

Type of Filter

There are three main types of filters to choose from for your turtle tank: mechanical filters, chemical filters, and biological filters. Mechanical filters physically trap debris and waste particles, chemical filters use activated carbon or other substances to remove impurities, and biological filters use beneficial bacteria to break down ammonia and other harmful compounds. It is recommended to use a combination of all three types of filters for optimal water quality in your turtle tank.

Size and Capacity

Media Replacement

Noise Level

Many filter systems can produce noise, which can be bothersome if you plan to keep the turtle tank in a quiet area of your home. When choosing a filter, consider the noise level it produces and opt for a quieter model if noise is a concern for you.

  • Choose a filter system that is appropriate for a 55 gallon tank.
  • Consider using a combination of mechanical, chemical, and biological filters.
  • Ensure the filter has a sufficient flow rate for your tank size and number of turtles.
  • Check the cost and availability of replacement media for the filter.
  • Consider the noise level of the filter system.

By taking these factors into consideration, you can select the right filter system for your 55 gallon turtle tank. A properly functioning and well-maintained filter will help to keep the water clean and the turtles healthy and happy.

Lighting and Heating Options for a Turtle Tank

Lighting and Heating Options for a Turtle Tank

Another option for heating is an underwater heater or submersible heater. These devices are designed to maintain a consistent water temperature, which is especially important for aquatic turtle species. The heater should be placed in the water and set to the appropriate temperature range for your turtle’s needs.

It’s also beneficial to provide a separate source of UVA lighting, which helps simulate natural sunlight and enhances the overall well-being of your turtle. UVA bulbs can be placed throughout the tank to provide a more natural lighting environment.

Remember to monitor the temperature and lighting in your turtle tank regularly to ensure they are within the optimal range for your specific turtle species. It’s also important to provide a proper light cycle, with both a day and night period, to mimic the natural light patterns turtles would experience in the wild.

By providing the right lighting and heating options in your turtle tank, you can create a comfortable and healthy environment for your turtle to thrive.

Substrates and Decorations for a Turtle Tank

Turtles in a 55-gallon tank require appropriate substrates and decorations to create a comfortable and stimulating environment. Here are some factors to consider when selecting substrates and decorations for your turtle tank:

1. Substrate: Choose a substrate that is safe for turtles and easy to clean. Avoid using gravel, as turtles may ingest it and suffer from impaction. Instead, opt for larger river rocks or sand that can be easily cleaned and does not pose a risk to your turtle’s health.

2. Basking Area: Turtles need a dry basking area where they can rest and soak up UVB light. Place a flat rock or platform in the tank to create a basking spot for your turtle. Make sure the basking area is accessible and securely placed to prevent accidents.

3. Hideouts: Turtles also need hiding spots to feel secure and protected. Provide them with caves, PVC pipes, or turtle-specific shelters where they can retreat when they feel stressed or want privacy. Ensure that the hideouts are escape-proof and large enough for your turtle to comfortably fit inside.

4. Plants: Live or artificial aquatic plants can add visual appeal to your turtle tank and provide shelter for your turtle. Live plants help maintain water quality by absorbing nitrates and providing oxygen. However, if your turtle is prone to digging or eating plants, artificial plants may be a safer option.

5. Toys and Enrichment: To keep your turtle mentally stimulated, consider adding turtle-safe toys and enrichment items. Floating objects, mirrors, and puzzle feeders are great options to provide entertainment and engage your turtle’s natural instincts.

Important Note: Regularly inspect and clean the substrate and decorations in your turtle tank. Remove any debris or waste to maintain a clean and hygienic environment for your turtle. Also, monitor your turtle’s behavior to ensure they are not showing any signs of distress or discomfort from the decorations in the tank.

By carefully selecting appropriate substrates and decorations, you can create a visually appealing and engaging habitat for your turtle in a 55-gallon tank.

Maintaining Water Quality in a 55 Gallon Turtle Tank

Maintaining Water Quality in a 55 Gallon Turtle Tank

Proper maintenance of water quality is crucial for the health and well-being of your turtle in a 55 gallon tank. Here are some important factors to consider:

  • Regular Water Changes: It is essential to perform regular water changes to remove any accumulated waste, debris, and toxins. Ideally, you should change 20-25% of the water every week to maintain optimal water quality.
  • Use a Reliable Filter System: Investing in a high-quality filter system is essential for keeping the water clean and free from harmful substances. Look for a filter that is specifically designed for turtle tanks and can handle the size and requirements of a 55 gallon tank. It should have mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration capabilities.
  • Proper Feeding Habits: Overfeeding can lead to excess waste and decreased water quality. Follow a proper feeding schedule and only provide the amount of food that your turtle can consume in a few minutes. Remove any uneaten food to prevent it from decay and polluting the water.
  • Keep the Tank Clean: Regularly clean the tank by removing any uneaten food, waste, and debris. Use a gravel vacuum or siphon to clean the substrate, and scrub the tank walls with an aquarium-safe brush to remove any algae buildup.
  • Monitor Temperature: Turtles require a specific temperature range for their overall health and well-being. Maintaining a stable and appropriate temperature is crucial to prevent stress and illnesses. Use a reliable heater and thermometer to regulate and monitor the water temperature.
  • Provide Adequate Oxygen: Turtles require proper oxygen levels in the water to thrive. Ensure that the tank has sufficient aeration and circulation by using an air pump or powerhead. This will help oxygenate the water and prevent stagnant areas.
  • Avoid Using Harsh Chemicals: When cleaning the tank or treating any water quality issues, avoid using harsh chemicals that may harm your turtle. Opt for turtle-safe products and carefully follow the instructions provided.

By following these tips and maintaining water quality in your 55 gallon turtle tank, you can create a healthy and thriving environment for your turtle to live in.

Turtle Feeding Guide for a 55 Gallon Tank

1. Variety is key:

Turtles are omnivores, meaning they require a combination of plant matter and protein in their diet. Offer a diverse range of foods such as commercial turtle pellets, leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, and insects. This variety will provide the essential nutrients needed for their growth and development.

2. Proper portion sizes:

It’s important to feed your turtle an appropriate portion size based on its age and size. Overfeeding can lead to obesity and health issues, while underfeeding can result in malnutrition. Consult with a veterinarian or turtle expert to determine the correct portion sizes for your specific turtle species.

3. Feeding frequency:

Younger turtles require more frequent feedings, usually on a daily basis, while older turtles can be fed every other day or a few times a week. Adjust the feeding frequency as your turtle grows and based on its individual needs. It’s important to maintain a consistent feeding schedule to promote healthy digestion.

4. Calcium and vitamin supplementation:

Turtles need adequate amounts of calcium and vitamins to maintain strong shells and overall health. Dusting their food with a reptile calcium supplement or providing a cuttlebone can help ensure they receive the necessary calcium. Additionally, consider using a reptile vitamin supplement to prevent any vitamin deficiencies.

5. Feeding techniques:

There are a few different feeding techniques you can use in a 55-gallon turtle tank, such as scatter feeding, using feeding platforms, or hand-feeding. Scatter feeding involves releasing the food into the water, allowing the turtle to forage and exhibit natural feeding behaviors. Feeding platforms can be used to separate the turtle from the food, preventing any unsanitary conditions in the tank. Hand-feeding can help establish a bond with your turtle and ensure they are eating their food.

By following this feeding guide, you can provide your turtle with a well-balanced diet and promote optimal health and growth in your 55-gallon tank. Remember to observe your turtle’s behavior and consult with a veterinarian if you have any concerns about their feeding habits or nutritional needs.

Common Mistakes to Avoid when Setting Up a Turtle Tank

1. Choosing a tank that is too small

2. Not providing enough filtration

Adequate filtration is essential for maintaining water quality in a turtle tank. Turtles produce a lot of waste, which can quickly lead to poor water quality if not properly filtered. Invest in a high-quality filtration system that is designed for turtle tanks and make sure to clean and maintain it regularly to keep the water clean and clear.

3. Neglecting proper lighting and heating

4. Using improper substrates and decorations

5. Neglecting water quality maintenance

Regular water changes and water quality testing are crucial for maintaining a healthy turtle tank. Turtles produce waste that can quickly build up and impact the water quality. Make sure to perform regular water changes, test the water parameters, and use water conditioners as necessary to keep the water clean and safe for your turtle.


By avoiding these common mistakes when setting up a 55-gallon turtle tank, you can create a safe and comfortable environment for your turtle to thrive in. Providing the right tank size, filtration, lighting, heating, substrates, and decorations, as well as maintaining proper water quality, will help ensure the health and well-being of your turtle for years to come.

Common Mistakes to Avoid when Setting Up a 55 Gallon Turtle Tank

1. Inadequate tank size

2. Poor filtration system

3. Incorrect lighting and heating

Turtles require both UVB lighting and a heat source in their tank. UVB lighting is essential for turtles to synthesize vitamin D3, which is necessary for proper calcium absorption. A heat source is also important to maintain the proper temperature range for your turtle’s species. Make sure to provide a basking area with a heat lamp and UVB light to meet your turtle’s lighting and heating requirements.

4. Lack of hiding spots and enrichment

Turtles need hiding spots and enrichment in their tank to feel secure and stimulated. Provide plenty of caves, rocks, and plants for your turtle to explore and hide in. Adding floating and sinking toys can also provide mental stimulation for your turtle. Avoid having a bare tank with no decorations or hiding spots, as this can lead to stress and boredom for your turtle.

5. Poor water quality maintenance

Regular water changes and maintenance are crucial for a healthy turtle tank. Failure to properly maintain water quality can lead to a build-up of harmful bacteria, ammonia, and nitrates. Test your water regularly and perform partial water changes to keep the water clean and safe for your turtle.

6. Incorrect diet

Feeding your turtle a proper diet is essential for their health. Avoid feeding your turtle a diet that consists primarily of pellets or processed foods. Instead, offer a variety of fresh vegetables, fruits, and proteins to ensure your turtle is getting the nutrients they need. Consult with a reptile veterinarian to create a well-balanced diet plan for your turtle.

Avoiding these common mistakes when setting up a 55 gallon turtle tank will help ensure that your turtle has a healthy and stimulating environment to thrive in.