The Ultimate Guide To Red-Eared Slider Turtle Care

 The Ultimate Guide To Red-Eared Slider Turtle Care

How Do You Take Care Of A Red-Eared Slider Turtle?


Red-eared slider turtles are aquatic pets that need proper housing space to swim and bask. A water filtration system is essential as well for proper maintenance.


You are going to learn about red-eared sliders, their habitats, diet, and overall maintenance. 

Finding A Healthy Turtle


Like any other animal, aquatic animals are very sensitive to changes in their environment. Poor water conditions or inconsistent temperatures can have an impact on their health. 


Some pet stores might not have proper water maintenance and can cause the turtles to become sick. It is important to know the signs of a healthy turtle versus a sick one. 


A healthy red-eared slider will swim around a lot, have ease climbing up and down to their basking place, and be alert. 


An unhealthy turtle will have limited mobility and just seem lethargic.


Taking home a turtle that might not be in the best condition and nurse it back to health is always encouraged for an experienced turtle owner. 


Red-eared sliders can grow up to 12 inches in length and live up to 20 years if you properly take care of them. 

Housing Habitats


Baby red eared sliders start small in size and need a 20-40 gallon aquarium. However, as they grow larger, they will need an aquarium that can hold up to 100 gallons of water.


This seems like a huge tank, but you could always make it be a display piece in your home. A tank like this would do well in a wall insert so that way it’s not taking up room and you can enjoy seeing your turtle every day. 


Outdoor enclosures and ponds are also an option for housing red-eared slider turtles weather permitting. 


They must get the proper heat and UVB lighting as well. 


For an indoor aquarium, you need a tank that can hold up to between 50-100 gallons. You will also need a heat lamp and a UVB lamp. The aquarium also needs a screened lid so your turtle can’t climb out. 


A good substrate that you need is slate or bigger rock pebbles. A substrate that is too big for your turtle to try and eat is safest to purchase. When you place the substrate in the water, it needs to make a slant towards the basking spot so they can climb in and out easily. 


The temperature of the aquarium needs to be 95 degrees in the basking spot and 75 degrees at the cool end. A ceramic heat bulb is perfect for your aquatic turtle. The heat bulb just needs to be located above the basking spot.


UVB lighting needs to be on  12 hours a day. A water heater to keep the water at a consistent temperature will make maintenance easier. 


Any temperatures less than that can harm your turtle and cause respiratory infections. 


Something important that you need to know is that you must house red eared sliders alone. They cannot be housed with other turtle species. 

Water Maintenance


Keeping the water clean is going to be the most time-consuming part about having a red-eared slider. 


Uneaten food or any feces need to be removed immediately. The habitat will also need to be disinfected once a week. Drain the water and place your turtle in a safe place while you are cleaning the tank.


Once you have finished cleaning the tank, make sure it does not smell like any cleaning materials. The chemicals can hurt your turtle. The water needs to be clean and dechlorinated. 


A water filtration system is going to be one of your best purchases as well because it will help keep the water clean. It is going to reduce how often you clean their tank and save you time. You still must clean their tank, but the filtration system will save you a lot of time. 


I would recommend getting some sort of protection for your filtration and heater system. The turtles can be destructive at times and break the supplies. You can purchase a heater guard to protect your water heater. 



Red-eared sliders are not typically social with their owners. It is common for aquatic turtles to try and swim away.  This means that you should not pick them up often.


The only time it is acceptable to interact with your turtle is to take it out when you are cleaning their tank. They are very fearful and they could bite you. It is possible that they can swim up to you to beg for food, but every turtle is different. 



Red-eared sliders need to eat turtle pellets. You can also give them freeze-dried krill as a treat. They also eat dark leafy vegetables and sliced carrots.


All of these can be put in a little food bowl near the basking spot for your turtle. Red-eared sliders will need to be fed every day too. 

Wrapping Up


Red-eared sliders require a lot of care and are higher maintenance since they are aquatic animals. I would not recommend being a first-time pet owner and getting a red-eared slider. These turtles need care from someone with experience, plenty of room, and a lot of time. 

Jade Messieh

Proud bearded dragon, tortoise, crested gecko, and green tree python mom. I've always been passionate about animals and hope to help other reptile & amphibian enthusiasts along their journey!

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