If you are a turtle owner or fan of baby turtles as pets, water is pretty much everything your and your turtle’s life revolves around!
A turtle may seem a hardy one compared to the fish, and no doubt excellent survivors. But still, when you keep them at home, tending and taking care of them is as important as with any other pet.
They are out of their natural habitat, and you are the only savior of that little armor guy!
So, in this article, we will discuss in detail whether tap water is acceptable for your turtle? If not, how can you make tap water safe for turtles? Are there any risks associated with using tap water for turtles?
Can You Use Tap Water For Your Turtle?
Yes. You can use Tap water for your turtle, but not without taking certain steps, which is important because tap water differs in world areas.
And you have to make it safe for your turtle because water is practically where your turtle lives, eats, and drinks.
Why can you not use tap water just as it is? It is because tap water contains a lot of minerals in varying concentrations.
These minerals primarily include fluorine, iron, and heavy amounts of chlorine. Water that contains these minerals and salts is called hard water.
And, though it may not be dangerous for other animals for drinking purposes, chlorine can damage the eyes of your turtle.
Salts of calcium can deposit in the turtle’s shell and cause damage. Excessive Calcium deposition can even solidify the shell so much that it hinders its normal movement.
How Do You Make Tap Water Safe For Your Turtle?
Now here comes the important part. Yes, you can use tap water to fill the tank of your turtle, but not without making it safe. So how to make tap water safe for turtles?
There are two ways of making tap water safe for turtles:
1. Use A Water Conditioner For De-chlorination
A water conditioner is a must-have if you keep aquatic animals such as turtles and fish at home. Don’t forget to add a water conditioner whenever you fill your turtle’s tank or aquarium with tap water.
It’s super affordable; you will probably not have to spend more than 10 dollars on it.
The water conditioner you use should be especially effective against the chlorine compounds in tap water. Chlorine has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.
That’s why on a state level, chlorine is added to water to kill such disease-causing organisms. Humans don’t use this chlorinated water for drinking that much, and it is not dangerous for human consumption either.
But aquatic life such as turtles and fish are susceptible to chlorine compounds, especially chloramines. Chloramines are compounds containing chlorine and ammonia.
Types Of Water Conditioners
There are three basic types of water conditioners for your turtle tank:
- De-chlorinators that are effective against chlorine only
- Chloramine neutralizers break down chloramine into chlorine and ammonia
- Complete Water Conditioners that are active against both chlorine and chloramines
Note that not all the water conditioners available in the market are effective against chloramines.
I say you prefer the complete water conditioners to make tap water safe for your turtles and free from both chlorine and chloramines.
According to the suggested ratio, add the water conditioner and rest for a few minutes. Once you see that the water conditioner has dissolved, you can safely add the water to your aquarium.
Note: FOLLOW THE MANUFACTURERS’ INSTRUCTIONS. Always add the water conditioner according to the prescribed ratio.
There are yet no cases reported of any aquatic animals such as turtles or fish dying because of water conditioner. But adding too much conditioner is not suggested.
Cases such as when you empty the whole bottle of water conditioner can be dangerous.
Special Tips And Instructions With Water Conditioner:
- Always read the instructions carefully. And don’t forget to follow them too!
- Purchase recommended conditioner for turtle’s aquarium – to get rid of chlorine in your tap water and all its compounds, including those with ammonia.
- Leave the water with a water conditioner for some time. And then add it to the aquarium.
2. Leave The Water To Sit Under Sunlight
You don’t have to depend on a water conditioner all the time. If you don’t have one at the moment, or you have run out, you can use this method to make tap water safe for turtles:
The cheapest method to make tap water safe for turtles is using sunlight, and it is an equally reliable one.
- Take a glass container or a plastic tank. The walls should be transparent and clear to allow sunlight to pass through the tap water.
- Keep the container in direct sunlight for 24 hours.
- Add the tap water to your aquarium.
The recommended minimum duration for keeping water under the sunlight until it is completely safe is 6 hours.
But we recommend that to be safe, you keep your tap water for almost 24 hours under direct sunlight.
How Do I Know If Tap Water In My Area Is Safe For Turtles?
The suggested healthy pH range for turtles is between 6.5 and 8.0. And it is the pH that will tell you if the tap water is safe to use for turtles or not.
If you have just moved, or your baby turtle is new to your home, and you want to check if tap water is safe to use, get a pH tester. It will not cost you more than 10 dollars.
Although slight pH changes won’t affect that much, it has to be in the recommended range. Low pH can irritate your turtle’s eyes.
And pH cannot be adjusted by mere filtration, disinfection, or putting the water under sunlight.
To lower the pH, you can add driftwood to the aquarium.
And if the pH of your region’s tap water is too low, you can raise it by adding ordinary baking soda or a pH increase additive.
Will Tap Water Kill My Turtle?
Tap water cannot and will not kill your turtle. But to make it entirely safe for your turtle, you have to get it treated, disinfected, and de-chlorinated.
For that, we have discussed two ways of making tap water safe for turtles. Besides, you can also adjust the pH of the tap water using driftwood or pH increase products.
We cannot say that tap water is completely safe for turtles because it contains chlorine compounds. But yes, it won’t kill your turtle.
And for your turtle’s health concerns, you can use a water conditioner to make tap water safe to use for turtles.
Water conditioners are pretty famous for aquatic pet owners. And you will find so many products on the market that you may feel dizzy for a moment.
Always go for the ones that are active against chlorine and its compounds. Apart from getting rid of chlorine, a normal pH range is also essential.
Zoey is a long-time pet owner and animal rights advocate, a vital part of Purrfect n’ Pawesome. She shares her unique experiences and learnings with her readers to enhance their understanding of pet behavior and nutrition. Along with being an active pet writer, she volunteers at multiple animal shelters, rescue centres with some bespokenly awesome pets.
Zoey has a lot to share when raising the pets and spending life being their true friends. She has a quite pampered Persian cat and a Ragdoll, whom she loves the most. Readout her blogs to know more about being a responsible parent to your beloved pets.
“I love to be around cats and dogs; that’s my passion and my trick to get away from all the negativity and soaking in unconditional love and affection. Being attached to this platform gives me the reason to be vocal about pet love, care, and nurturing. Although I am not an expert or veterinarian by any means, I have a lot of experience and learnings to share with my fellow readers.”