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Can a Turtle Live in a Fish Tank

can a turtle live in a fish tank

Every owner always wants a variety in every aspect of their aquarium. As they say, the more, the merrier. Whether it’s the accessories you put inside or the different species of fish you are planning to have in the fish tank, putting a lot of variety will make the aquarium colorful and more lively. But what about putting other aquatic animals, specifically the turtle, in the tank. Is it doable? Can a turtle live in a fish tank?

Aquatic turtles have the ability to live in a tank. They can also live with other bigger fish, but there is a risk that the turtles might eat them when it comes to smaller fishes. These animals are strong swimmers but also comes with specific requirements to let them live fully in the fish tank. But can these turtles live with your fish in one single fish tank? Let us find out below.


Keeping Fish with Turtles the Right Way

It is certainly possible to keep fish and turtles in one single fish tank. But, there are a lot of guidelines that you need to follow, or else you will put the fish at risk. There are different things that you can do to help you succeed in keeping both aquatic animals.

Choosing the Right Fish

I am not encouraging you to just look for any fish that you will put together with the turtle. You need to select the fish that can live with this reptile carefully. One factor to consider is the fins. Those fishes with short fins naturally do not attract the attention of the turtles. On the contrary, those fishes with longer fins, such as goldfish, will definitely attract the turtles, putting them at risk.

You will also need to consider fish that has an excellent activity level. Meaning, choose a fish that is always swimming around and not those that are chilling around in one corner because they will be in danger. Tiger barb and zebra danio are some of those fish with excellent activity levels. So, the more active the fish is, the lesser the turtle gains interest in eating the fish because of their constant movement.

Another factor in choosing the fish is the intelligence level. You will look for a fish that, before the turtle can attack them, they have already swum away for safety. Or, they know how to defend themselves once the turtle attacks them.

keeping fish with turtles the right way

Scaping the Tank

How you scape the tank can also determine the risk factor in putting both the fish and the turtle in one single aquarium. If you just scape simply without any decorations or accessories, the tendency is for the turtle always to have the sight of the fish making them at severe risk of attack or chase and possibly being eaten.

However, if you scape the fish tank well, it will give the fish the opportunity to hide or break the line of sight of the turtle. Putting a lot of decorations, accessories, plants, and driftwoods will allow the fish to go in and out to make them more secure. Should it happen that the turtle chases them, the fish will have enough space to escape ending the chase immediately because of the inability of the turtle to keep up with them. But you must also be careful in putting more accessories and decorations as it might limit the turtle’s space to swim.

Tank Size

If you consider a turtle as your pet, you will need to have a big tank. The bigger the tank, the better because the huge space will give enough space for the two aquatic animals to swim freely in the fish tank without having physical contact. The more space everyone has, the fewer chances that the fish will be eaten.

Fish Introduction

The next factor is how you will introduce the turtle to the fish. But the most important thing before putting the reptile in the fish tank is to make them full. Make sure that the turtle is not hungry when you put it inside the fish tank. It will be better for you to feed the turtle first before making them swim in the aquarium.

You will also need to strictly monitor the turtle in his early settlement of the aquarium. If it happens that the reptile is very aggressive or the fish are so stressed, you can consider temporarily move the turtle away and put the animal in isolation. Then, you can return it later. Monitor the turtle in the first 24 hours to check on their activities. Usually, there will come a time that they tend to lose interest in the fish and just usually live together.

Other Factors to Consider

  • An aquarium with at least 55 gallons of capacity is perfect if you plan to include turtles as your pet along with the fish
  • A heat bulb is very helpful if the temperature of your fish dips below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. You might need a night-specific heat lamp to provide the temperature you need at night.
  • You can also use an underwater heater to maintain water temperature.
  • Since turtles are active during the day, they need enough daylight, probably from the sun. But if you keep them away from the sunlight, lighting the aquarium with a UVA bulb for 12 hours a day should be enough for them.


Can a turtle live in a fish tank? Yes, it is possible to consider turtles as your pet as they have the ability to live in a fish tank. But can this reptile live together with fish? Yes, they can, but there is some risk involved if you want both in one fish tank. There are many factors to consider if you’re going to keep these pets together.

For one, you will need to make a proper selection of fish species. Then, you need to have excellent scaping in your tank to make it safer for the fish. In addition, you will need to consider the size of the fish tank as you need a bigger one to accommodate both the turtle and the different types of fish.

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