How to Provide a Healthy Turtle Habitat

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Turtles are cold-blooded animals and thus rely on external heat to warm up their bodies. It is very important to maintain proper temperatures to secure the health of our turtles. If the temps get too high or two low it can turn fatal.

Water and basking temps

The water should be 80 - 82 degrees Fahrenheit ( 26.5 - 27.5 Celsius) for a hatchling or a sick turtle, and 77 - 80 degrees F (25.5 - 26.5 C) for a healthy turtle over a year old. The basking (dry land) area should be 10 degrees F (6 degrees C ) warmer than the water to entice the turtle to warm up by basking.

Example of average temps:

Average water temperature: 78 - 80 degrees F
Average land temperature: 87 - 90 degrees F

You can use a variety of ways to check the temps of the tank. We recommend investing in thermometers to monitor your water and basking temps. Tape thermometers can be stuck to the outside of the glass. You could also buy a digital thermometer with a sensor on it for reading basking temps as well as water temps.

Digital Thermometer
This picture shows a digital thermometer monitoring the basking area temps

For a second opinion or additional way to monitor the temps you can also buy a glass thermometer to occasionally monitor the temperature of the water or land. Be careful not to leave glass thermometers in the tank (water or basking area), as some turtles will attempt to eat them!



To maintain the water temps you must to have a fully submersible heater. One that is highly recommended is a titanium heater. These have proven to be trusted safe heaters and they will not break such as a glass heater. It is wise to place your heater at the opposite side of the tank than the basking area.


You must keep the basking area temps about 10 degrees higher than the water. You may have to adjust the temperature if your turtle isn't basking at these temps to find what works best for your turtles. As we know, turtles can be stubborn and some may bask when it's 10 degrees higher while others won't unless it's 8 or 12. You can play around with the temps by positioning your heat light closer or farther away from the basking area or by installing a dimmer switch to the heat bulb. Make sure not to put it too close as to burn your turtle. Positioning the light at different angles will also help adjust the temperatures of the basking area.