How to Set Up a Tank for Your Red-Eared Slider Turtle
For your convenience, we have put together a list of supplies that ReptiFiles personally recommends to help you set up a tank for your red-eared slider turtle, exactly the way it should be. In other words, we’ve practically done the shopping for you! 😉 This page also contains affiliate links. For information on why we use affiliate links, please read our Affiliate Disclosure.
Although red-eared sliders are commonly available in pet stores and at reptile expos as “easy” pets for first-time reptile owners, please note that even the easiest reptiles can be expensive and high-maintenance to keep. And the red-eared slider is one of the most expensive and highest-maintenance species addressed here on ReptiFiles!
If you are not prepared to purchase EVERYTHING required for the health and wellbeing of a red-eared slider, this is not the pet for you.
For advice on how to choose a healthy pet red-eared slider, click here.
Click the link for each item below to see which specific products we recommend.
- Large Waterland tub*
- 34” T5 HO forest UVB bulb n/a
- 34-46” T5 HO 6500K fluorescent or LED lamp
- 36” T5 HO fixture with reflector (UVB bulb may be included)
- 90w PAR38 halogen flood bulbs, x2
- 5” dome heat lamps with ceramic sockets, x2
- Infrared thermometer
- Light fixture chains (for hanging from ceiling), x6
- Extension cords, as needed
- Aquarium water heater, rated for at least 200 US gallons
- Plastic water heater cover
- Canister water filter, rated for at least 400 US gallons
- Chlorine/chloramine removal water treatment
- Surge protector power strip
- Ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI)
- Play sand (for shoreline area)**
- Environmental enrichment (live plants, large rocks, wood, toys, etc.) (NOT OPTIONAL!)
- Turtle pellets
- Old, soft toothbrush
Approximate investment before turtle purchase: ~$1700 USD
*You can save A LOT of money by using a 150+ gallon stock tank purchased from a local farm supply store instead, but do note that you will need to build an escape-proof artificial shoreline around it.
**Please just buy this locally rather than trying buy it online. You will save SO much money on shipping.
All of these supplies for just one turtle may seem ridiculously expensive, and after seeing the number above, you may be questioning whether all of it is really “necessary.” The answer? Yes. It is necessary! We at ReptiFiles advocate for a higher, more humane standard of reptile care, and that starts with more investment in the enclosure and supplies. Reptiles are NOT cheap pets.
Fortunately, with this shopping list, you can buy things one at a time as your budget permits.
Keep in mind that your red-eared slider turtle tank needs to be 100% ready to go before you bring home your new pet. This will save you a lot of stress, and does your new pet a big favor, too.
We also recommend finding an experienced reptile veterinarian in your area. It’s always better to do a little bit of research when nothing’s wrong than to find yourself in a panic when your pet gets sick.
- Introduction to Red-Eared Sliders
- Trachemys scripta Subspecies
- Shopping List: Supplies You Will Need
- How to Select and Buy a Pet Red-Eared Slider
- Enclosure Size & Roommates
- Lighting & UVB Requirements
- Heating Requirements
- Creating a Basking Platform
- Water Management
- Environmental Enrichment: Decorating the Enclosure
- Feeding Your Red-Eared Slider
- Handling Tips & Behavioral Notes
- General Health Guide
- Additional Resources