How to Clean an Aquatic Turtle Tank

By Zach Lazzari

Aquatic turtle tanks require strategic cleaning. Poor maintenance leads to health issues, foul odors, cloudy water and tank stains. Cleaning the tank with hard chemicals is not an option and may harm your turtles. Conduct regular water changes and maintain the water quality and pH balance for the sake of your turtles' health.

Water Filters

Filters are a critical component for any aquatic turtle tank. Numerous styles of filters are available; biological and mechanical forms being the best choices in turtle tanks. Biological filters break down solid fecal matter and nitrates with bacteria. They effectively limit waste accumulation in a turtle tank. Mechanical filters use a straining method to clean solids from water. A charcoal filter will also remove odors from the tank.

Vacuum Cleaners and Straining

Use a mesh aquarium net to strain visible waste from your tank. Excess food and feces removal on a daily basis drastically improves the cleanliness of the tank. Also use an aquarium vacuum to clean waste from gravel and substrate. Both tools are readily available through pet supply stores.

Water Changes

Change the water in your aquatic turtle tank monthly as a maintenance method. Do not replace all of the water -- you want to retain bacteria and organic materials that make for a healthy ecosystem. Replace only one-quarter of the water at a time.

Introduce Oxygen

Oxygenated water discourages bacterial growth; place an aerator in your tank to improve the environment. It will disturb the water and prevent crud from sticking to the tank and environment. The filtration systems will collect the loose debris.

Hard Water Stains

Hard water stains develop over time, creating an unpleasant look on your tank. Place the turtles in another tank, and remove all water and material from the tank before cleaning. Take a soft pumice stone, dip it in water and rub lightly against the stain. Wipe any sludge free with a paper towel to clean the glass. Do not use chemicals to clean the stains, as they may harm the turtles.