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Best Plants for Turtle Tanks

Plants for Turtle Tanks You Need to Know This main picture

Adding live, water-based turtle plants are a great idea to spruce and liven up your turtle’s habitat. Here’s how to do it the right way. 

First of all, let’s address a basic question.

Can live plants be added into a turtle tank?

The answer, quite simply, is yes.

But:

  • you need to get the right turtle plant
  • you need to know the disadvantages and advantages to having live plants in your tank 

Let’s start with some very obvious advantages when it comes to adding plants for turtle tanks.

Advantages: 

  • Beautifies your tank and makes it more fun and lively to look at 
  • Your turtles (if they had a choice), would probably prefer to be in a tank that replicates their own native habitat as best as possible 
  • Live plants help naturally remove waste from the water, especially ammonia and nitrite (which build up fast in aquariums with turtles)
  • Reduces algae growth

Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there, because if you are thinking of adding live plants to a turtle tank, you need to do it the right way. If you add the wrong plant, or introduce it incorrectly,  you could end up either losing the plant or even worst, your turtle.

Let’s start with some basic requirements and conditions:

For instance, most turtles become more herbivorous as they age. Sliders for instance, typically have a diet consisting of about 75% vegetables and plants as they get older. For this reason it’s probably better that plants be added to the tank when the turtles are still young.

Moreover, you will need to be conscious of something else, namely, the ability of any plant you get to be able to grow and mature given the low-light conditions of most turtle tanks.

The reason for this is that most store-bought light bulbs are typically in the range of 1 watt/gallon, whereas live aquarium plants normally require at least double or triple that, from 2-3 watts/gallon. Thus, try to look for live plants that will thrive in low-light conditions. Here is a one of our favorite lights for turtle tank plants.

The best plants for turtle tanks are Java Fern, Waterweed, and Anubias Barteri.

plants for turtle tank

Aquatic plants for turtles

Below are some of the best aquatic plants for turtles. These plants will be easy to grow and maintain, and will also give your tank more character. These plants are great for red-eared slider tanks.

Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus)

One of the best live plants to add to a turtle aquarium. It’s tough, hardy, cheap and is easily found in most pet supply shops. It can be grown both entirely submersed (underwater) or partially. Best of all, most turtle species will not eat it.

Java Fern is not a plant with naturally strong roots and attachments, so you will have to attach it yourself.

The way you do this is to take some floss and strap its roots to an object like driftwood or some stones in your aquarium, and over time it naturally attach itself. By itself however, it will just float around your tank. You can buy a Java Fern online here on Amazon.

Java Fern Live Aquatic Aquarium Plant

java fern for turtle tank

Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus)

Anubias species

Another good choice for your tank. These are leafy-plants that taste absolutely horrendous to most turtles, meaning they will leave them alone.

They are also incredibly easy to grow and maintain. All that’s needed is to tie them to a rock or piece of driftwood and let them sink to the bottom. If you can, cover the base with substrate to make sure it has a solid foundation.

These plants are very slow-growing, and sometimes will be covered by algae.

Turtles also sometimes knock their leaves off. Here are some options if you want to buy an Anubias Species plant online. 

Anubias Barteri “Nana” Live Aquatic Plant

Anubias Barteri "Nana" Live Aquatic Plant

Waterweed (Anacharis)

This extremely fast-growing plant cannot be in the same tank with slider and painted turtle species as they will consume them, and consume them fast!

However, if you have other types of turtles, such as a box species, they will probably love them! They look beautiful in tanks, and provides lots of area for a turtle to nestle in and relax.

Compared to the Java Fern and Anubias species of aqua plants, they also will need a bit more light to grow and mature.

The cool thing about this weed is its ability to attach and anchor itself to the bottom (or near anything it can attach itself to) of your tank. Here are some great Waterweed plants.

Anacharis Egeria Densa Freshwater Live Plant

Anacharis Bunch plant for turtle

This extremely fast-growing plant cannot be in the same tank with slider and painted turtle species as they will consume them, and consume them fast! Compared to the Java Fern and Anubias species of aqua plants, they also will need a bit more light to grow and mature. The cool thing about this weed is its ability to attach and anchor itself to the bottom (or near anything it can attach itself to) of your tank.

All three of these choices would make the best live plants for turtle tanks.

Whatever you choose, make sure that you have the following to ensure that your plant can grow and thrive in your habitat: 

  • a powerful turtle tank filter.
  • a strong UV-A and UV-B bulb that will give off enough rays for good plant growth and health 

Another thing to consider is whether or not you will add fish to your turtle tank. While fish can definitely make your turtle tank more exciting, they may also eat some of the live plants. If you want to put fish in your tank, you should check out my article on can turtles live with fish?

It is essential that you have an understanding of turtle safe plants. Before you just throw any plant into your turtle tank, you will need to ask a few questions when it comes to plants for turtle tanks.

  • Will this plant be poisonous or toxic to my turtle?
  •  Will it even be able to grow due to the low-light level and/or my turtle possibly eating it?

painted turtle in grass

Before you just throw anything into your turtle tank, you will need to ask a few questions when it comes to plants for turtle tanks.

Aquarium plants for turtles

Most aquarium plants for turtles are not going to harm your turtle if or when they are consumed. Turtles often eat a wide variety of plant and foliage when they are in the wild, and they often are willing to try something that looks green and delicious at least once. 

That being said, there are certain things that grow in the wild that are just downright harmful for turtles, such as ivy, milkweed and water hemlock. Some plants contain harmful toxins, and if your turtle consumes even small amounts, it can have very damaging effects on your turtle’s health.

Here is a list of plants and vegetables that you should never, under any circumstances, feed or let your turtle eat: 

  • Onion, avocado and potato 
  • Boxwood and yew 
  • Hyacinth 
  • Rhododendrons 
  • Azaleas 
  • All plant bulbs and seeds (they cause intestinal damage and the turtles cannot process them) 

Always double-check to make sure that whatever plant you choose will not harm your turtle.

Additional note: All of the live plants listed in this article will be safe for your turtle to consume.

Let’s move to the second point.

Live plants for turtle tank?

The decision to add live plants to your tank also depends on the age of your turtle.

Sometimes, live plants can result in an algae bloom in your turtle tank. This can be dangerous because it depletes the oxygen levels in your turtle tank water. If you notice that your turtle tank is growing a lot of algae, you should look into getting a moss ball. It helps trap phosphate in your turtle tank and helps remove algae.

turtle tank moss ball

Do turtles eat plants?

Turtles are herbivores, and they do eat plants. In the wild, the majority of a turtle’s diet consists of plants. If you do put live plants in your turtle tank, there is a good chance that your turtle will eat some of them.

What plants do turtles eat?

Some common plants that turtles eat include Duckweed, Waterweed, Java Ferns, and moss. Obviously, you should never feed your turtle fake plants.

Best fake plants for turtle tank?

If you are worried about putting live plants in your turtle tank, you can always put in fake ones. The advantage of fake plants is that they require less maintenance and last longer than real plants. Here our my favorite fake turtle tank plants. They cost less than $6. You can click on the picture below for more details.

If you have an enclosure instead of a tank, I recommend checking out plants for desert tortoise enclosure.

Sours: https://www.turtleholic.com/best-plants-for-turtle-tanks/

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NewLuv4Fish said:

Yeah I wouldnt let it touch the water. But how would a turtle climb up a small fragile vine plant anyway without the vine breaking off?

Compared to what it use to be in, the turtle would appreciate a 12in. deep 48X12 space of water. That seems like alot of swimming space to me for a 4in. turtle. The height only needs to be twice as deep as the turtle is long (or wide, can't remember which but either way its around 4in. which means it would have 3x as deep of water).

Anyone know what plants AREN'T poisonous...or which ones ARE. And I'm just talking about above water plants nothing in the water. I want some plants that stay small.

Click to expand...

My Eastern Painted turtles climbed out when English Ivy (a poisonous plant, but the turtles never ate it I guess) grew into their pond while I was in college. 3 out of 5 managed to climb out. I found one of them in another one of my ponds, so in the end I lost 2.

Just remember, the more swimming space the better! These water turtles live in lakes, ponds and rivers, not mere gallons. The more space the better. Have Sploke show you how big they get. He has a nice link to a picture you'll like!


It's tricky finding out what plants are poisonous and what are not. Most plants listed are poisonous to mammals, so their toxins may or may not effect reptiles. I know African violets are harmless and easy to grow, so you could give them a try! Here’s a link that may help you out: http://www.anapsid.org/resources/plants.html

 

Sours: https://www.aquariacentral.com/forums/threads/plants-in-a-turtle-tank.125267/
How to Light Up Your Turtle Tank - So EASY!

Lucky Reptile LP-72 Ivy Vine

Box Contains Each order comes with 1 x Lucky Reptile Ivy Vine, Product Description These long plastic vines look very natural and are excellent for decorating your tropical terrarium, Are excellent for decorating your tropical terrarium. Lucky Reptile LP-72 Ivy Vine: Lucky Reptile: Pet Supplies, LP-72, Contain large leaves that offer protection from sight, Buy Lucky Reptile LP-72 Ivy Vine at UK, Lucky Reptile jungle vine plants are also an excellent addition to your turtle tank as attractive basking and recreation areas, The large leaves offer protection from sight and additional hiding places to the animals, Provide additional hiding space to the animals, Free delivery and returns on eligible orders, These long plastic vines look very natural. Especially frogs will love them, An excellent addition to your turtle tank as attractive basking and recreation areas.







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Tank vine turtle

Thrive Semi-Aquatic Turtle Tank Vine, Size: Large | PetSmart

Enhance your turtle's habitat with this Thrive Semi-Aquatic Turtle Tank Vine. This terrarium fake turtle vine may be used in both aquatic and semi-aquatic turtle environments, and offers barriers that allow turtles to find comfort when they feel like hiding. Only at PetSmart. Features: Enhances aquatic and semi-aquatic turtle environments Provides visible barriers and hides to help make turtles comfortable Includes: Reptile Turtle Vine plus suction cups Dimensions: 18 in x 16 in (45.7 x 40.6) Directions: Clean and dry terrarium glass where suction cups are to be placed. Press suction cups firmly to adhere vine to the back of your turtle environment. If you notice your turtle starting to eat the vines, remove immediately. Caution: If you notice reptiles eating plant, remove immediately. Never use soap or detergent on any items placed in your terrarium, as they are highly toxic to pets. Advice for Use: Rinse in warm water before placing in terrarium. Ornaments may discolorin saltwater. Thrive Semi-Aquatic Turtle Tank Vine, Size: Large | PetSmart

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