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Aquatic turtles are among the most popular reptiles kept as pets. There are many aquatic turtle species that make great pets when cared for properly. Although there are many different types of aquatic turtles in North America, the maintenance and care requirements in captivity are all very similar. It is important to remember that turtles are long lived animals and many will live more than 20 years. Keeping a turtle is a long-term commitment and needs to be considered before purchasing. Please do not release pet turtles into the wild.

• Common Name: Aquatic Turtles

• Scientific Name: Graptemys spp., Trachemys spp., Pseudemys spp.+

• Distribution: Southeast and Central U.S.A. • Size: 5-12″

• Life Span: 6-35+ years


• Hatchling & juveniles will need a minimum of a 20 gallon aquarium.

• Depending on species, adults will need a minimum of a 40 gallon aquarium per pair of turtles.

• Zoo Med’s new Turtle Tub™ is a great choice for all aquatic turtles! • Provide hiding places and basking areas with Zoo Med’s Turtle Dock™, Turtle Hut™, Floating Turtle Log™ and Mopani Wood™.

• Provide filtration with Zoo Med’s Turtle Clean™ or 501 or 511 Canister Filters.

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• Daytime Terrarium Air Temperature: 75-80° F.

• Basking Spot: 85-90° F Zoo Med’s Turtle Tuff™ Splash-proof Halogen Lamp is the safest and best choice for providing basking heat to your turtles.

• Water Temperature: 78-80°F.

• A quality aquarium heater will be needed to maintain water temperatures between 78-80°F.

• Position basking areas in places where turtles can exit the water, such as on land or over a Turtle Dock™.

• Halogen, Ceramic Heat Emitters, and ReptiTherm® UTH are good choices for heating Bearded Dragon enclosures.

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• UVB Lighting is essential for aquatic turtles to process calcium in captivity. Lighting should be provided for 8-10 hours per day.

• Without UVB lighting turtles will develop serious health problems such as Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD).

• Zoo Med’s ReptiSun® 5.0 UVB Linear and Compact Fluorescent Lamps are a great choice for providing UVB. The PowerSun® is a great choice to provide both UVB and basking heat, however care must be taken to keep the lamp away from water.

• We recommend using Zoo Med’s Lamp Stand to safely mount your heating and lighting devices over your enclosure.

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• Zoo Med does not recommend using substrates such as sand or gravel for aquatic turtles. These substrates can be accidentally ingested and may cause impaction.

• Land Area: Eco Earth®, ReptiBark®, or Forest Floor™ are good choices for land areas.

• ReptiSand® mixed with Eco Earth® is a great egg laying medium for turtles.

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• Leopard Geckos are insectivorous and will need to be offered a variety of insects to stay healthy.

• Insect size = width of gecko’s head.

• Leopard Geckos should be fed crickets or mealworms dusted with ReptiCalcium® and ReptiVite™ as directed.

• Always remove uneaten crickets after each feeding.

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