What is A Good Tank Size for Turtles—Is 50 Gallons Enough

By Eddie Waithaka @aquariawise

What is A Good Tank Size for Turtles—Is 50 Gallons Enough

Many hobbyists assume that a tank of at least 100 gallons is necessary for turtles, but this is not always the case. Depending on the turtle type, a tank between 40 and 80 gallons may be ideal.


Red-eared sliders are arguably the most popular aquarium turtle species and reach 12 inches long as adults. A 30-gallon tank is a good size for a single juvenile red-slider or common-musk turtle, and 50 gallons is enough for two red-eared-slider-sized juveniles or a single adult.

You only need to ensure the tank size provides enough space (2.5 to 5 times your turtle’s size) for your turtle to swim and explore and can accommodate a platform for basking.

If you plan to keep your turtle with fish, consider your fish size needs when choosing your fish tank and a place for your livestock to hide, so allow several more inches for that.


Get a 50 to 70-gallon-long tank for your turtles instead of a 30 to 70-tall (high) one.

Get better insight below.

What Size Tank Do I Need for 2 (Two) Turtles

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the size tank best for turtles depends on the adult size and species of the turtles in question.

That said,…

A good rule of thumb is to provide at least 25 gallons of water per turtle or 2.5 to 5 times your turtle’s size. So, for example, if you have two turtles, you would need a tank of at least 50 gallons in size.

If you are keeping a small species of turtle, such as a red-eared slider, a tank that is 40 to 50 gallons in size should be adequate for a pair. However, if you are keeping a larger species of turtle, such as a common snapping turtle, you will need a tank of at least 100 gallons in size.

A good tank size for two average-sized turtles would be a 75-gallon tank. Anything smaller may not be big enough for them to live comfortably, and a bigger tank may be too big and unnecessarily expensive.

Is 50 Gallons Enough for A Turtle

While 50 gallons may not seem like a lot of water for a turtle, it’s enough for a healthy adult common-size turtle. A healthy turtle only needs a tank that holds 30 to 55 gallons of water, depending on the species.

Your 50-gallon is good enough if your turtle has space to swim, submerge, and bask on a platform on one side of the tank. Without enough water, a turtle can become dehydrated and develop health problems, but too big a tank is not the best value for money.

Is A 30 Gallon Big Enough for A Turtle

A 30-gallon tank is big enough for a single small-sized turtle like a red-eared slider kept singly with only the necessary equipment in the tank.

However, it is not enough for large turtle species or a pair of tiny sliders.

Your 30-gallon is also not enough if you want to keep your turtle with fish and inverts or when you require to add plants, decorations, wood, or rocks inside the tank for aesthetics.

Turtle Tank Size Requirements

Turtles require a lot of space to swim and explore, and a small tank can quickly lead to boredom and health problems. To provide your turtle with a healthy and happy home, choose a tank large enough for them to live in comfortably.

At the very least, your turtle tank should have space for a platform, a submerged area for your turtle to swim, hiding spots, and room for decorations, equipment, and accessories.

Below is a table for tank size requirements for common tank turtle species.

Turtle NameDescriptionAdult SizeTank Size
Red Eared SliderA semi-aquatic turtle common in pet stores. They are so named because of the red stripe around their ears. They are a popular pet, easy to care for, friendly, widely available, and can be kept in a small tank.12 Inches30 to 50 gallons
Eastern Box TurtleThe box turtle is a terrestrial (mostly land) turtle found in the eastern United States. This turtle is an omnivore and eats a variety of food items, including insects, fruits, and vegetables. It is a shy turtle and often hides until it’s comfortable. It is also a long-lived pet and can live for up to 100 years.5 to 7 Inches75 gallons (box, not tank)
Razor-Backed Musk TurtleRazor-backed musk turtles are popular pets and can be kept in varying habitats, including tanks, ponds, and streams. Razor-backed musks are hardy turtles and can tolerate a range of conditions. They are generally peaceful and shy but can be aggressive toward other turtles of the same species.5 to 6 inches30 to 50 gallons
Western Painted TurtleThe western painted turtle (Chrysemys picta bellii) is a small, aquatic turtle found in the United States and Mexico. This species can be found in several habitats, including ponds, marshes, and slow-moving streams. In captivity, a western-painted turtle can be kept a fish tank equally sized to that of a red-eared slider.5 to 10 inches30 to 50 gallons
Spotted TurtleThe spotted turtle is one of the smallest in the world, measuring only four to six inches in length. Despite their small size, spotted turtles are hardy creatures and make excellent pets.about 4.5 inches25 to 40 gallons
Common Musk TurtleThe common musk turtle is a small, freshwater turtle. They are typically around three to six inches in length and can weigh up to a pound. They are dark brown or black, with a yellow or light brown stripe down their back. Common musks are one of the best turtle choice for a beginner and can live for up to thirty years.3 to 6 inches25 to 40 gallons
Yellow-Bellied SliderThe yellow-bellied turtle is a small, brownish reptile found in woodland areas throughout the eastern United States. These turtles are easily recognizable by their bright yellow undersides. They are shy creatures and will avoid humans until they get comfortable.13 inches50 to 75 gallons
African Sideneck TurtleWith its long, slender neck and spiny shell, it is a striking sight. This turtle is found in the swamps and rivers of Africa and is a popular pet in the United States. Despite its exotic appearance, the African side neck turtle is a hardy and resilient animal well-adapted to varying environments.7 to 12 inches50 to 75 gallons
Reeve’s TurtleReeve’s turtles are one of the turtles you will find in the pet trade, and for good reasons. They’re hardy, attractive, and relatively easy to care for. The average size of a Reeve’s turtle is around 4-6 inches long, but some individuals have been known to grow as large as 8 inches long.4 to 8 inches25 to 50 gallons

I hope this table (though not exhaustive) has provided you good insight into turtle tank sizing.

That’s all for this post. See you at the next one.

← All articles

The Aquarium Club ↓

Join the 37k+ strong aquarium community

The AquariaWise Newsletter is known for cutting through the noisy world of pet fish keeping showcasing stunningly breathtaking aquarium fish and superbly insightful aquarium plants to help you bring out the peace and serenity you seek with your aquariums. And it doesn't stop there... think aquarium fish care, plant care, building fish tanks, everything aquariums... you'll be right at home.