What Pets Can Be in the Same Tank As a Turtle?

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What Pets Can Be in the Same Tank As a Turtle?
Small freshwater turtles are most commonly kept as pets. (Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Certain types of animals are more compatible than others as pets living in the same tank as a turtle. Thus, when deciding on the choice of pets, more attention must be given to the type of species and what food the turtle eats. Other considerations are the turtle's mature size, which animals will pose any health risks to the turtle, and the size of the tank.


Turtles have a lifespan of at least 30 years, and depending on the species (small aquatic turtles are more commonly kept as pets), those adorable 4-inch pets can grow to over 12 inches in length. A single turtle will thus need at least a 55- to 75-gallon tank with warm water (27.7 to 30.0 degrees C) to swim around comfortably with other pets, some UV light and dry space for basking. Do not overcrowd the tank with creatures.

What Pets Can Be in the Same Tank As a Turtle?
A pet turtle which can grow over 12 inches in size needs a large-enough tank. (Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Turtle diet

Most turtles are omnivores; they eat plants and vegetables and also hunt small fish, small reptiles, worms, krill, amphibians, river shrimps, insects and mollusks. Since the turtle is a slow creature, it's best to house it with fast-moving fish and other pets that won't be caught by the hungry turtle. Also, larger creatures such as catfish that are too big for a turtle's mouth and do not release any dangerous toxins are good as pets.

What Pets Can Be in the Same Tank As a Turtle?
Common snapping turtle eating a sunfish (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Turtles and Fish Species

Mary River turtles are the most common species kept as pets. Mud or musk turtles usually mix well with basking turtles, but do not keep different size turtles together because they can attack each other. Of the fish species, Plecostomus are ideal as pets because they clean the tank by eating algae. Other good species include tropical perch, guppies, rosy barb and Chinese algae eaters, which are all fast swimmers. Rope fish, Oscars and small catfish are also suitable choices.

What Pets Can Be in the Same Tank As a Turtle?
Catfish are too large for the turtle's mouth. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)


Crayfish (crayfish) which are no bigger in size than your pet turtle are also appropriate as pets because they don't usually attack turtles and they help to clean the tank by scavenging. Although turtles love eating snails, pond snails are an exception because they can grow too large in size for the turtles to bite and thus can also live with your pet turtle. They are also good for clearing algae and any uneaten food.

What Pets Can Be in the Same Tank As a Turtle?
Crayfish help to keep the tank clean. (Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

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