What Causes Cloudy Water in a Terrapin Tank?

Diamondback Terrapin

Written by Anthony

I am a content creator by profession but exotic animals are one of my great passions in life. Over the course of my adulthood, I have had the pleasure of looking after stick insects, terrapins, an Egyptian tortoise, giant African land snails, a crested gecko, a Chilean rose tarantula, a couple of curly-haired tarantulas, and a selection of millipedes, centipedes and worms!

Last Updated on October 22, 2020

Terrapins require a tank with plenty of water in which they can swim about in. However, they also need an area on which they can bask. The size of tank will depend on the (eventual) full size of the terrapin species in question. A rough guide is around ten to fifteen gallons of water for every one inch of terrapin. This means that if you do not have a full-size tank already, you will need to make sure your tank size grows with your terrapin. If you are interested, Amazon stocks a great selection of tanks. Click here to take a look (opens in a new tab).

Most terrapin owners do choose a larger sized tank in which their terrapin can grow comfortably. Terrapins do require plenty of room to swim about in, so the tank should be at the very least three to four times the length of the terrapin while the width should be around twice its length.

An important addition to the tank should be a filter, which will help to keep the water clean and avoid the need to change it on a daily basis. Having a good filter in place will mean that the water will only require changing about once every couple of weeks. Click here for filters on Amazon (opens in a new tab).

Why is My Terrapin Tank Cloudy?

The water in your terrapin tank can become cloudy, but it is important to distinguish between new water that has become cloudy or water than has become cloudy after some time. Water in a terrapin tank will naturally become cloudy with time due to the fact that terrapins eat and poop in the water. They are actually quite messy when eating, and consequently food inevitably finds its way to the bottom of the tank.

After a week or two, this waste can result in the water becoming cloudy as the filter simply cannot cope with the amount of waste. This is your cue to change the water.

If, on the other hand, the tank water is cloudy as soon as it is filled, you might need to check to see if there is a problem with the filter. A common problem is a filter that is not powerful enough for the size of the tank.

It might also be the case that the filter you are using is not working properly. Filters will need to be cleaned regularly, so it is imperative that this is done correctly.

How Do You Keep Terrapin Water Clean?

Keeping terrapin water clean is no easy task. As mentioned above, terrapins can be quite messy so the water can get cloudy very quickly. There are, though, some things you can do to alleviate this issue and reduce the frequency you need to change the water.

The first thing to do is make sure the tank is big enough. If the tank is too small or there is more than one terrapin in the tank, you will need to change the water more often.

Because terrapins are the messy eaters they are and drop food to the bottom of the tank when eating, it is good practice to get into the habit of removing uneaten food. You can use a net to pick up the dropped food and get rid of it before it begins to dirty the water too much.

There are those that prefer to move their terrapins to a separate feeding tank at feeding time. This tank should have water of the same temperature as the main tank but nothing else. The terrapins are placed into this feeding tank to feed; when finished they will be moved back to the main tank. This practice allows for longer periods between water changes in the main tank. The downside of this though is that regular handling of terrapins can cause unnecessary stress.

Red-Eared Slider
Red-Eared Slider

Your terrapin tank should also be vacuumed regularly, especially if you have a substrate at the bottom of the tank. With an aquarium vacuum, you can vacuum the tank to remove a lot of waste, but at the same time you can do a partial water change. This will help to keep the water cleaner for longer and reduce the number of times you need to do a full water change. Click here for a fantastic range of aquarium vacuums at Amazon (opens in a new tab).

Not for a terrapin tank, but turtles are close enough 🙂

Photo Credits:

You May Also Like…

Or How About…

Why is My Sugar Glider Biting Me?

Why is My Sugar Glider Biting Me?

Sugar gliders, like many other animals, will occasionally bite their owners. This biting often occurs when the sugar...

Why is My Sugar Glider Hissing?

Why is My Sugar Glider Hissing?

Experienced sugar glider owners will be aware of the many sounds their pets make, but new owners will often be...