How Much Water Does A Softshell Turtle Need? ( A Comprehensive Guide)

Attention, all turtle lovers and pet owners! Have you ever wondered How much water does a softshell turtle need to stay healthy and happy?

How Much Water Does A Softshell Turtle Need
How Much Water Does A Softshell Turtle Need

Well, wonder no more because we’ve got the answers. Water is essential in a softshell turtle’s life – it helps them regulate their body temperature, breathe underwater, and swim to their heart’s content.

As a softshell turtle needs enough water to submerge its body completely, typically at least 10-15 gallons for small species and 75-100 gallons for larger ones. Adjust the water volume according to the turtle’s size and growth.

In this blog post, we will dive into the world of softshell turtles and explore the essential factors that determine their water needs, such as habitat, water quality, and individual species preferences.

By the end of this post, you’ll clearly understand how to create the perfect aquatic haven for your softshell companion.

So, let’s take the plunge together and learn about the watery world these captivating creatures call home!

What Type of Water Should You Use for Your Softshell Turtle?

There are a few things to consider when choosing what type of water to use for your softshell turtle. The first is the temperature of the water. Softshell turtles are generally found in warm climates and prefer water at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you live in a cooler climate, you can use a heater to raise the temperature of the water. The second thing to consider is the quality of the water. Softshell turtles are sensitive to chemicals and pollutants, so using filtered or distilled water is important.

The third thing to consider is the size of the turtle. You’ll need a shallow dish or bowl if you have a small turtle. You’ll need a larger container such as a kiddie pool or bathtub, if you have a large turtle.

Water Requirements for Softshell Turtles:

1. Water depth:

Most softshell turtles require a large, shallow body of water to thrive. A minimum depth of 18 inches is needed for most species, with a few requiring as much as 2 feet.

A common rule of thumb is to provide 1 square foot of surface area for every 1-inch shell length of the turtle.

Turtles typically bask long on warm days and need an area to accommodate this behavior.

A basking spot should be provided that is large enough for the turtle to completely extend its limbs and head. The basking spot should be securely positioned so the turtle cannot tip over and drown.

2. Water quality:

Water requirements for softshell turtles will vary depending on the specific species and its size. For example, a large adult male can require up to 10 gallons of water daily, while a small juvenile may only need a fraction.

Softshell turtles are generally quite tolerant of a wide range of water conditions but prefer clean, filtered water with little chlorine or other chemicals.

A good rule of thumb is to provide as much water as possible for your turtle to swim, soak in, and clean and replace the water often enough to maintain good water quality.

3. Water temperature:

Softshell turtles are cold-blooded; their body temperature depends on the environment. In the wild, these turtles prefer warmer water temperatures, from 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (24 to 30 °C).

However, if kept in captivity, soft-shelled turtles should be provided with a heated basking platform near a warm tank area to warm up as necessary.

If a thermostat is used to regulate the temperature in an indoor or outdoor enclosure, ensure it remains at an adequate level for your turtle species.

4. Water filtration:

Regardless of their size, all softshell turtles require some form of water filtration to help keep the tank water clean and free from harmful bacteria and fungi.

Filtering the tank water will remove unhealthy particles and help keep your turtle’s environment healthy for swimming and soaking.

Depending on the size of your enclosure, an aquarium filter, canister filter, power filter, or other type of water filtration system may be necessary to maintain good water quality.

5. Cleaning:

Softshell turtles can produce large amounts of waste and require frequent tank water changes to maintain optimal water quality. The amount of water needed and frequency of changes will vary depending on the size of the tank, population, and other factors.

As a general rule, replacing 10-20 percent of the tank water every 1-2 weeks is recommended. Additionally, the basking area should be regularly wiped down with a clean cloth or sponge to remove any excess dirt or debris.

6. Supplemental water temperature or heating:

Softshell turtles typically require supplemental heat to regulate their core body temperatures. Any heat source, such as an aquarium heater, submersible heater, or basking light, should provide gentle and consistent warmth in the turtle’s tank.

ALSO READ:  Do Softshell Turtles Need Air?

Some softshells may also need additional cooling during the hot summer months, so monitoring the temperature and making adjustments as necessary is essential. Remember that sudden changes can cause stress for your turtle, and follow manufacturer instructions when operating any heating device.

 7. Substrate:

A type of substrate should be provided in the tank to give your turtle something to swim around or hide in. Sand, gravel, or even pebbles can work as long as they are small enough for the turtle to move easily and not become lodged under a shell.

Additionally, live plant life will provide oxygenation and beneficial bacteria to the water, making it more hospitable for turtles.

Aquarium Setup and Design for Softshell Turtles

There are a few things to consider when setting up an aquarium for softshell turtles. The first is the size of the tank. A 20-gallon aquarium is usually sufficient for one or two small turtles. You will need a larger tank if you intend to keep more than two turtles.

  1. It would help if you considered the turtle’s water needs. Softshell turtles require a large body of water to swim and dive in. They also need a basking area to soak up some heat from a basking light. It is important to provide both deep and shallow areas in the tank so that your turtle can fully submerge itself if it wants to.
  2. You must add some rocks, plants, and other hiding spots for your turtle to feel secure in its new home. Be sure to use live plants safe for turtles and Rocks that won’t crumble under their weight.
  3. You will also need to ensure the tank is tightly sealed so that no toxins from the aquarium can escape and harm your turtle. You should also use an external filter to clean your turtle’s habitat.
  4. Softshell turtles require a heated environment, so purchase a submersible heater with a thermostat. The temperature of the water should be maintained at 72-80 degrees Fahrenheit (22-27 degrees Celsius).
  5. UVB lighting is essential for providing vitamin D3 in your turtle’s diet and aiding in calcium absorption and shell growth. Combining tube and strip lights is preferable, however, if only one type is available, go with the tube light.
  6. Last but not least, you must feed your softshell turtle properly. A diet of pellets, freeze-dried shrimp, fish, insects, earthworms, and vegetables are great sources of vitamins and minerals necessary for healthy development.

Following these steps should help create a healthy and safe habitat for your softshell turtle. Make sure to provide a variety of items in the tank for mental stimulation, plenty of hiding spots, and open swimming areas. Softshell turtles can be fun and active pets when properly cared for and in the right environment.

Signs of Dehydration in a Softshell Turtle:

Dehydration is a serious problem for softshell turtles, and it cannot be easy to spot the signs. However, there are some telltale signs that your turtle is dehydrated:

  • Sunken eyes
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dry, flaky skin
  • Constipation

If you notice any of these signs in your turtle, it’s important to take action immediately. Dehydration can be fatal for turtles, so offer your turtle some clean water to drink and contact a veterinarian if the problem persists.

Tips on How to Properly Provide Water for Your Turtle:

While turtles are different from other pets in many ways, they have one common need: access to fresh water. Here are some tips on how to properly provide water for your turtle:

  1. Turtles need constant access to water to stay hydrated. A good rule of thumb is to provide a shallow dish of water that’s large enough for your turtle to soak in comfortably. The water should be changed daily and kept clean at all times.
  2. In addition to their regular water dish, turtles enjoy swimming and basking in the sun. If you have the space, we recommend setting up a small kiddie pool or similar container for your turtle to enjoy. Just be sure the sides are low enough for your turtle to get in and out quickly.
  3. It’s important to remember that turtles are messy eaters! Any food you offer them should be placed in a separate bowl from their water dish, as their feeding area will quickly become dirty and contaminated otherwise.
  4. Regarding the type of water you use for your turtle, tap water is usually OK if it’s free of chlorine and other chemicals. If you’re worried about this, consider investing in a simple filter or de-chlorinator for added peace of mind.
  5. Lastly, if your turtle has access to bodies of water outside (i.e., backyard ponds, rivers, etc.), ensure they’re clean and free from pollutants – some turtles will even feed in these areas! By following these tips, you can ensure your turtle stays happy, healthy, and hydrated all year round!
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The bottom line is that your softshell turtle needs a lot of water to stay healthy, so ensure you provide a large, clean tank or pond to swim in.

A common misconception is that turtles can get by on very little water, but this isn’t the case. Not providing enough water for your turtle can lead to many health problems, so don’t skimp on this important aspect of turtle care.

I hope this article has helped you understand the importance of providing your softshell turtle with plenty of water. To recap, water is essential for all turtles and especially for softshell turtles. Make sure to provide a large, clean tank or pond for your pet to swim in to stay healthy and active.

My name is Shayan Mondal, and I am a passionate turtle owner and enthusiast who enjoys sharing my knowledge and experience with fellow turtle lovers. As a proud owner of several turtle species, I understand the importance of proper care, habitat setup, and nutrition for these delightful creatures. This website regularly updates the latest insights into turtle health, diet, and conservation efforts.

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