How to make an aquaterrarium for turtles step by step

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If you have decided to have a turtle as a pet in your home you have entered the right place, in this AnimalWised article we will explain how to make an aquaterrarium for turtles step by step along with curiosities and useful information.

Remember that this article is a general guide to turtles that live between land and water, for that reason do not hesitate to consult a professional for specific details of the species you have..

¡Let's start making the aquaterrarium step by step!

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The first step to know how to make an aquaterrarium for turtles step by step It will consist of gathering the materials that we will need:

  1. Tortum: It is basically a standardized glass container for turtle aquaterrariums. They are always wider than they are tall and have an area where the turtle can get out of the water. We could define it more colloquially as a specialized aquarium for turtles.
  2. Filter: There are special filters for turtles, but with a slightly more standard one we can do it anyway.
  3. Water heater: What this instrument will do is heat the water to certain degrees that we have previously configured.
  4. Thermometer: We will always need to see if the temperature is ideal for our turtles, we have to take into account that temperature and humidity are two of the most important factors for the health of our turtles.
  5. Special lamp holder and lamp for turtles: This is a key factor since all reptiles need UV rays. If we do not supply ultraviolet rays to our turtles they will get sick and very possibly not survive..
  6. Decoration elements: Normally special stones and logs are used, it depends on the variety of turtle we will ideally use one or the other.

Once we have everything that we are going to use at hand we will have to get to work with the aquaterrarium cleaning. We will take the tortum and clean it well. It is advisable to leave it for 1 hour with boiling water so that there are no traces of dirt of any kind.

When the appropriate time has passed, we will remove that water and fill it with good water for our turtles. In most cases, people do not tend to take care of the levels of PH, calcium ... But if we want the best for our turtles, this step would be ideal, we would simply have to buy a water measurement kit where we will determine using test tubes and liquids. the current state of the water and we will proceed to its correct stabilization.

I repeat that this step is not strictly necessary, I have seen turtles in relatively poorly maintained water and they were healthy. But keep in mind that they pass most of the water inside and if we have stable water this will favor their growth and their shell..


Once the aquarium is completely clean, we will proceed with the installation of the accessories that will be filter and heater:

The first thing we will start with is to leave the filter in place. One piece of advice, if we leave the filter with the "cannon " of the water pointing it will be better than if we point it to the closest one, as this will favor the correct cleaning and purification of all the particles in the aquarium.

Then we must install the water heater in an area that does not disturb the subsequent decoration. In particular, we usually put it glued to the side.


The next step will consist of add decoration that we like the most. A set that, while cheap, remains super natural is to fill the bottom about 3 cm with special sand for aquaterrariums and then add a couple of mangrove logs for example.

Take into account in the decoration process that we must leave an area where the turtles rest and just where the main focus of the light points. This space will surely be the most used by our pets and if we take care of it, they will thank us..

We will also have to assess for what type of turtles we are making the aquaterrarium since the decoration may vary. Consult the professional who recommends you for your specific turtle species.


Once we have the decoration as we like the most, we will simply have to add water. One piece of advice I give you is that you go adding the water partially and slowly throughout the aquarium because if you do it a little "rough " you will surely destroy the decoration that you have put.

To say that the water at least has to be drinkable, if we do not have the means to leave it in optimal conditions of calcium and others, it does not matter a bit, but please, do not use tap water, it could be tremendously harmful to our turtles.

When you have the water, if we have used a good specialized substrate to decorate the floor, we can include aquatic plants that will give an incredible touch to the aquaterrarium. Of course, you will have to be careful since some turtles eat the odd variety of aquatic plant.

If we want to give the water a touch of reddish color, as in some rivers, by adding several logs, (previously cleaned with boiling water) the water will take on that characteristic tint and our turtles will think that they are in the middle of nature.


When we have all the other points well done, the water at a good temperature, the decoration strategically placed, a good stream of water oxygenating and cleaning the aquarium, etc. We will can install lighting now.

For the correct growth of any type of reptile, the UV capture. Reptiles, as we surely already know, are cold-blooded animals, so they need these rays to regulate their body temperature and not fall ill..

We will have to point the main focus of the light to the rest area that we have enabled for the turtles. Be careful, do not bring the focus too much or too little, with a distance of 20-30cm will be enough. If we get the light too close we could cause burns and if it is too far, it may not cause the effect we want.


After the laborious process of acclimatizing the aquaterrarium, we will wait one day so that all the decoration materials settle, the water is rinsed and the temperature is regulated. When we pass the waiting day we will proceed to add to our turtles.

A tip, turtles like many reptiles, grow depending on the size of the container in which they are. This is a survival characteristic that they have acquired over the years. If we see that our turtle does not move easily through the aquaterrarium, we will have to get a bigger one for its health.


If you have not yet decided which turtle to host in your home, we recommend that you review the different freshwater turtles and the care of freshwater turtles. However, if you are still not sure about wanting a water turtle, you can also browse among the land turtles.

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