Can Red-Eared Slider Turtles Live in Tap Water? (Full Beginner’s Guide)

Copyright: mariedaloia

Red-eared turtles are the most popular and common pets for turtle enthusiasts. They are native to the central and southern US. Also known as Trachemys Scripta Elegans, they are common in the wild. They are friendly in nature and are easy to care for. It makes them a popular choice amongst other turtle species.

In captivity, the red-eared slider turtles can survive either in indoor tanks or outdoor habitats. They need to have water where they can swim as well as a basking area. Heat and UV lamps are also required if you want to keep a red-eared slider as a pet. These are necessary for them to maintain their health.

Like other turtle species, water is very important for the red-eared sliders. They spend most of their time in the water since they are aquatic turtles. The quality of water can greatly affect their overall health. It’s essential for their survival that’s why the water should be clean and safe for them.

Can Red-Eared Slider Turtles Live in Tap Water?

Yes, the red-eared slider turtles can live in tap water. But the chlorine must be taken out first before letting the turtle in. It needs to have good water quality and it should be taken seriously. That way, your turtle will not end up getting irritated because of the chlorine and other minerals from tap water.

When the red-eared slider swims in the water, it will also drink from it. If the water is unsafe or dirty, the turtle may end up having parasites. The water temperature should also be around 75 to 85F. That’s the ideal temperature for them since they are cold-blooded. If the water is too cold, the turtle might develop health issues.

How to Make Tap Water Safe for Red-Eared Slider Turtles?

If you will use tap water, you need to make it safe for your red-eared slider. There are some ways to do this so you don’t need to worry. You can dechlorinate the tap water by using a water conditioner. Another way is to just let it sit in the container for around 24 to 48bhours. The chlorine will be gone after a day or two. 

However, it’s more efficient and faster to use a water conditioner to treat the tap water. Water conditioners are safe and also inexpensive. It’s readily available from any pet store so you can use it to ensure water safety. This is recommended if you’re planning to use tap water for the turtle tank.

Can you use bottled water for your red-eared slider? Sure, you can use bottled water for the turtle tank. It’s safe for turtles since it’s clean and they can drink it without issues. But that can add up and end up being costly. Using water conditioners is more affordable. You can also let the tap water sit for at least 24 hours. That’s more cost-effective and efficient.

Why Use Water Conditioner for the Turtle Tank?

It’s the easiest and most reliable way to dechlorinate tap water. Using a water conditioner will offset the chlorine. It can also remove other harmful substances from tap water. That will prevent ammonia from building which is bad for turtles. It’s also the quickest method to treat tap water.

There are different variety of water conditioner around. Just choose whatever you like from any pet supply store. They are very effective and cost-effective. Make sure to go for the water conditioner for reptiles. That will be the most effective for the turtle tank since it’s specifically made for reptiles.

Remember to always use a water conditioner when you clean and change the water in the turtle tank. After that, you should add the recommended dosage. Add one drop to every gallon to make the tap water safe. Don’t put the turtle back in the tank after the water change without adding the water conditioner.

Can Tap Water Kill Red-Eared Slider Turtles?

No, tap water can’t kill your red-eared slider. But the chlorine can irritate the turtle and can cause health issues. It depends on the water source where you live. Contact your local water company to check it with them. That way, you can treat the water for your red-eared slider.

Every place has a different water source so it’s best to ask around. Although the best thing to do is to use a water conditioner. It will help you to have peace of mind knowing that the water has been treated. Letting it sit for 24bhoirsbshoukd be enough to make it suitable for the turtle tank.

What Are the Requirements of Red-Eared Turtles?

1. Tank Size

The red-eared slider turtles can thrive in a turtle tank just fine. As long as you provide them with the ideal tank size, the turtle will survive. For young turtles, they need to have at least a 20-gallon turtle tank. The adult red-eared slider should be in a 75-gallon tank at the minimum.

A bigger turtle tank is better for any thelte species. If you can, get a 100-gallon tank for your red-eared slider. They need to have a wide swimming space. The red-eared sliders also sleep in the water. Giving it enough space for the water will help them feel comfortable. They also need a basking area.

2. Water Depth

The water depth is also important for red-eared slider turtles. If you’re not sure about how deep the water should be in a turtle tank, measure the turtle. The depth should be twice the length of its shell. If the water is shallow, it can be dangerous for your red-eared slider. If it’s too deep, the turtle may drown.

If the water is too shallow, the turtle may flip on its back. It can’t correct itself and get stuck in that position. The red-eared slider will be unable to breathe. Make sure that the water is deep enough for your turtle. That way, the red-eared slider will feel comfortable swimming. It will also avoid accidents from happening.

3. Clean Water

The water on the turtle tank must be clean since turtles drink the water as they swim. Have a water filtration system to maintain the cleanliness of the water. When you see the fecal matter, make sure to take them out of the water as well.

Switch the water out at least once a week. Feed your turtle in a different enclosure to avoid the water being dirty. It will avoid the need to frequently clean the turtle tank. Get a powerful filter so that the water can move and avoid parasites to grow.

What Kind of Water Do Red-Eared Sliders Need?

The red-eared slider turtles are freshwater turtles. They live in different bodies of freshwater. That includes ponds, streams, and creeks. Although they can live in different freshwater habitats, red-eared sliders prefer calm and still water. That means more vegetation and a lot of basking spots for them.

As aquatic turtles, red-eared sliders can be found in the water. It’s where they swim, drink, eat, and even sleep. They feel safer when they are in the water so the water quality must be good. That’s why you have to simulate the same environment when it’s in captivity.

You can use either tap water or bottled water for the turtle tank. It doesn’t matter if you use tap water though as long as you treat it first. But you have to judge for yourself if the tap water in your area is safe for turtle tanks. The chlorine from tap water can irritate the turtle’s eyes. Make sure to treat the water before adding it to the turtle tank.

How Long Do Red-Eared Sliders Live?

In general, turtles are known to have a long lifespan. As long as they have the right conditions, they can live for a long time. The red-eared slider turtles are not an exception. They live long so you have to make sure that you can take care of it for years to come.

As pets, the red-eared slider turtles can live for about 20 years or more. If they are in the wild, they can even reach up to 70 years. Their long lifespan seems to be extended when they are in the wild. It’s because they have the ideal conditions for them to live.

Some red-eared sliders can even reach 30 years in captivity. They will have shorter lives if they are not being cared for properly. Their living conditions can also make their lifespan shorter. Turtles are known to be tough and they can still manage to reach at least 20 years old when they are in captivity.

How Long Can a Red-Eared Slider Live Out of Water?

The red-eared slider turtles are aquatic animals. It’s hard to imagine that they can survive out of water. But these reptiles are tough and can endure harsh conditions. Compared to other turtle species, the red-eared sliders are tougher. They stay in the water but also go on land to bask.

The red-eared slider turtles can go on without water for a long time. Although in general, aquatic turtles can’t live out of water that long. The type of species and environmental conditions will determine how long a turtle can survive out of the water. Meaning, not all turtles can survive that long.

When the temperature is cool, the red-eared slider can stay out of water longer. They can do that for several days. Ideally, they should only be out of the water for eight hours a day. Turtles need to get in the water for digestion, metabolism, and avoid being dehydrated. It can be detrimental to their health if they stay longer out of water.

What is Best for Turtles, Tap Water or Distilled?

Water is very important for the red-eared sliders. They need it to swim, eat, drink, and sleep. That’s how essential water is for the turtle’s survival. But if the water quality is poor, that can cause some health issues for the turtles. If you can’t decide which water source to use for the turtle tank, keep on reading.

1. Tap Water

It’s the easiest and most inexpensive source that you can get. Tap water is almost in every house. If the tap water has good quality in your area, you can use it for the turtle tank. But don’t just get it straight from the faucet. Treat the tap water first to ensure that it will be suitable for your red-eared slider.

  • pH Level

The red-eared slider turtles have hard shells. They are more tolerant of the pH levels of the water than soft-shelled turtles. pH levels of 6.2 and 85 are good for them. For softshell turtles, they need to have 6.5 or lower since they are more sensitive. If you have an exotic turtle, check with the vet first.

  • Chlorine

Tap water contains chlorine but the concentration will not harm turtles. But if you can smell and taste the chlorine from it, make sure to treat it first. Use a water conditioner or let it sit for a while. Those methods are cost-effective to get rid of chlorine in tap water. Make sure to do that first before putting it in the turtle tank.

  • Other Chemicals

Depending on where you live, the water may have other chemicals. They add them to the water to make it easier to transmit and store. Use a reptile water conditioner to treat the water from other chemicals. It’s the easiest and efficient way to make the water safe for your red-eared slider.

2. Distilled Water

Using distilled water is expensive but it’s safer for turtles. If you use this, you don’t need to use a water conditioner anymore. It doesn’t contain chlorine or other chemicals compared with tap water. The pH level is also neutral which is 7.0. Distilled water can be bought at any grocery store. You can get it anytime you need water for your turtle tank.

Is Purified Water Good For Turtles?

Yes, it’s good for turtles since purified water is already treated. It has a neutral pH level of 7.0 already. The purification process already removed the toxic chemicals, heavy metals, sediments, and bacteria. It’s the purest kind of water that you can find. The impurities are already removed which makes it safe to drink.

Purified water is safe for humans which makes it good for turtles. The stages of water purification involve ion exchange, sediment filter, granular activated carbon, UV disinfection, and reverse osmosis. It will ensure that the water will be free from heavy metals such as mercury.

Chlorine, sand particles, bacterial, and other impurities are also taken out from the water. Purified drinking water is the ideal drinking water for humans. It’s also best for sensitive turtles compared to treated tap water. It’s available in groceries as well so it’s easy to find when you need to do a water change.


1. Is Tap Water Bad for Red-Eared Slider Turtles?

Yes, if the tap water is not treated it will be bad for your red-eared slider turtle. Tap water contains chlorine and fluoride. High concentrations of them are harmful to turtles. Although it’s the easiest water source to use for the turtle tank. It’s also more cost-effective than other types of water available.

Tap water is an inexpensive option but it has harmful contents that can affect turtles. Depending on where you live, the quality of tap water may vary. If the tap water in your area is not safe to drink, that means it’s not also good for turtles. You should check to bother options before adding them to the turtle tank.

In some places, tap water is treated with chlorine to kill the bacteria content. Tap water can be harmful to your turtle. Especially if you don’t treat it first. The pH level of the water should also be safe. The chemicals in tap water disrupt the pH level of the water. Use water conditioners or let the tap water sit overnight if you decided to go for this.

2. How to Use Tap Water for Red-Eared Slider Turtles?

Tap water is readily available since it’s already present from every home. If you decide to use tap water for your turtle tank, make sure it’s treated. It can be used for the red-eared sliders swimming area. Using tap water should be fine as long as it’s treated first.

It will be good for the swimming area on the turtle tank. But it’s not ideal tonne used as the turtles drinking water. You should give them purified or fresh spring water to drink instead. That will ensure the red-eared slider turtle’s safety since those types of waters are safe to drink. Even humans can drink purified water.

3. Can Turtles Live in Tap Water?

Yes, turtles can live in tap water as long as it’s been treated first. It’s convenient to use tap water since it’s already available. But you need to consider the turtle’s safety first. If you decide to use tap water for the turtle tank, check it with your municipality first.

If the quality of tap water in your area is good, that will be fine to use. The red-eared slider turtle can live in tap water. But make sure to dechlorinate it first before adding it to the turtle tank. Even if the quality of tap water is good, treating not first is better. It contains chlorine and other harsh chemicals.

Not treating the tap water before putting it in the turtle tank can be harmful to your pet. It can be dangerous for the turtle’s health. Aquatic turtles like red-eared sliders spend their time mostly in the water. They need to have a good water quality to stay safe. Use a water conditioner to make it faster to do this.

4. Can Box Turtles Drink Tap Water?

No, drinking tap water is not ideal for box turtles. It contains chemicals that can harm them. Instead, use purified water for the turtles to drink. That us the safest type of water for them since it was processed to get rid of different compositions.

Tap water contains chlorine and other substances that can harm the box turtle. Treat the tap water first before using it for the box turtles swimming area. Make sure to provide purified water for your pet to drink. It will ensure your turtle’s safety and wellbeing.

5. How to Dechlorinate Tap Water?

Dechlorinating tap water means treating it from harmful components. Use a water conditioner for reptiles to make it safe for turtles. It will get rid of the chemicals and other substances that can harm your turtle. You can get it from the pet supply store to ensure that the water will be good.

Another method to dechlorinate is to leave the tap water in a container for at least 24 hours. The chlorine will evaporate during this period. After that, the tap water will be safe to use for the turtle tank. Dechlorinating will eliminate chlorine and chloramine from the tap water. Those chemicals are harmful to turtles.

Chemicals are added to the tap water supply so that they can kill the bacteria present. But it can be toxic for turtles. Treating it will make it safe for them to swim around. Even if chlorine is fine for humans, it can irritate the turtle’s eyes and skin. It’s best to treat the water before using it in the turtle tank to avoid problems.


It’s alright to use tap water on the turtle tank. Provided that you treat it first before using it. Use a water conditioner to make it safe for your red-eared slider turtle. It will neutralize the chemicals and the pH level of the water. Even if the tap water in your area is not that good, it will be fine to use if you treat it first. This will ensure the safety of your red-eared slider turtle so it will stay healthy. They can live in tap water only if it’s treated.

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