Red-eared sliders make charming and interesting pets, but these turtles have specific housing and habitat requirements. To keep your red-eared slider healthy and happy, be sure you provide all the essentials.
Red-eared sliders require a considerable amount of space in a tank or aquarium. Ten gallons of tank per each inch of shell length on a turtle is a suitable size. By these measurements, an adult red-eared slider may one day require a 90- to 120-gallon tank. The habitat should be roomy enough to hold a large swimming area on one side, and a sand or rock bank on the opposite side for basking and resting.
Heat and Lighting
All reptiles enjoy space for basking, and red-eared sliders are no exception. Cover one side of the habitat with a reptile basking light over a rock on which the turtle can rest. By keeping the light over mostly one side, your cold-blooded turtle can self-regulate his internal temperature by moving from the warmer area to the cooler area at will.
Water and Filtration
Red-eared sliders need their water temperature kept between 75 and 78 degrees. Clean water is imperative to turtle health, because it can greatly reduce the chance of infection, algae and fungal growth in the tank. Choose a filter that has the capacity to clean 5 to 10 gallons of water more than your tank contains. A high-capacity filter will not easily get clogged on waste material, but will still need regular maintenance.
Red-eared sliders are solitary animals, and it is not recommended that they ever be housed with another turtle. If you brought home a very young and small red-eared slider, buy an enclosure that will house your fully grown turtle. It will be more costly to buy two or more tanks by the time he reaches maturity. A glass tank may be the best choice, as acrylic will scratch more easily.
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Olivia Kight is an experienced online and print writer and editor. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 2012, and has worked on education, family life and counseling publications. She also gained valuable knowledge shadowing a zoo veterinarian and grooming and socialize show dogs, and now spends her time writing and training her spunky young labradoodle, Booker.