Can I Use Tap Water For My Turtle Tank?

Can I Use Tap Water For My Turtle Tank
Written by Mehwish Imtiaz

Setting up your pet’s tank does not involve complicated rocket science. Once you know how to work with it, you are actually a pro in days. However, if you are new to pet turtles, especially to the reptilian world, setting up proper housing for turtles may raise multiple questions.

Also,  the housing requirements vary significantly with the difference in turtle species, even in aquatic ones. So, in this article, we are going to discuss the fundamental yet frequent question we get a lot, i.e., if I can use tap water for my turtle’s tank. If no, do I need to add any specific kind of water or a filter in my turtle’s tank?

If you think you can use tap water casually for your turtle, then, strictly speaking, it is a BIG NO. Tap water can affect your turtle’s body in the long run. Turtles require dechlorinated water for swimming and filtered for drinking. Tap water contains chlorine, fluorine, and many minerals making it heavy and hard water for turtles.

So, Avoid using tap water for your turtle tank.

Also, the safety of the tap water depends upon the place where you live. It may or may not be safe for your turtles.

One way to use tap water for turtles is by making it dechlorinated. In this way, the tap water will not harm your cute little delicate pet turtles. Here I am going to discuss a few points for how to make tap water safe.

How Can I Make Tap Water Safe For My Turtles?

You can perform the following experiments to make tap water safe for your pet turtles:

Using A Water Conditioner To Dechlorinate It.

Conditioning the water is done before entering the turtle in the tank. Water conditioners are in the form of liquid chemicals that can detoxify heavy metals. Doing this also eliminates the chlorine content of water. Thus, it makes the tap water safe for your pet turtle.


Avoid the long-term use of water conditioners. It may harm your turtle.

Some Great Options For Water Conditioners

Here are a few good water conditioner choices I found in online markets:

Api Tutle Water Conditioner

API turtle water conditioner is very popular among herpetologists. It is gentle and has outstanding results. Also, as it is designed specifically for turtles, it is hypoallergic, with minimum to no side effects for your turtle in the long run. Also, if your tank also houses fish along with pet turtles, using an API water conditioner is one of the best choices you can have in online markets.

It removes chlorine, chloramines, and heavy metals. Also, it controls the growth of algae and promotes the growth of healthy bacteria.

You can buy API Turtle Water Conditioner from Amazon for $14.19(pack of 3 of 8 Fl Oz).

Seachem Prime Fresh And Saltwater Conditioner - Chemical Remover And Detoxifier

Seachem is a concentrated water conditioner that can also work really well on even seawater. It efficiently removes chlorine, chloramines. It also effectively detoxifies nitrite, ammonia, and heavy metals and makes it to adequate concentrations, making the environment best for your aquatic pets, including a turtle and fish.

You can buy Seachem Prime Fresh and Saltwater Conditioner from Amazon for $4.31(3.38 Fl Oz).

Tetrafauna AquaSafe Reptile & Amphibian Water Conditioner

TetraFauna water conditioner is a really nice hypoallergic water conditioner that neutralizes and detoxifies heavy metals, chlorine and chloramines. Also, it protects the fragile skin of your turtle. If your turtle shares a tank with other pets, e.g., fish or small amphibians, a TetraFauna water conditioner is one of the best options you can have.

You can easily find TetraFauna AquaSafe Reptile & Amphibian Water Conditioner from Amazon.

Let It Sit!

Letting the tap water sit for a day or two (in sunlight) to dissolve/remove the chlorine naturally is another method to make it usable for your turtle’s tank. You can also expose the water to oxygen in a tub. Let the chlorine in the water evaporate.

Important Information

Simple chlorine is easy to evaporate from the water by leaving it to sit for a day or two. But sometimes the water also contains chloramines which will not evaporate. To remove it you must have to use a dechlorinator to make it safe for use.

Boil The Water

Boil the water and cool it. As we know, when we boil water, the gases evaporate along with the water vapours. So, it is a good option. You can simply boil the water to evaporate the chlorine in the form of gas.

Do not forget to completely bring the water at room temperature before putting the turtle in the water otherwise it can harm your turtle.

Use Vitamin C

Some turtle owners claim that there is another option to use vitamin C for cleaning the water. It is probably the best option as it is quite cheap.

You can simply buy a capsule or powdered vitamin C. It can remove both chlorine and chloramine. But you have to use a large concentration of vitamin C to remove chloramine.

About 35-40 Mg of vitamin C  for a gallon.

Hazards Of Using Tap Water For Turtles

  1. Remember, they are living in the tank and can not get out of it on their own. Turtles swim in the tank with their eyes open all the time. Chlorinated water can affect your turtle’s eyes. It may cause an infection.

Chlorine in the water will affect your turtle’s gills. It will make it difficult for them to breathe and swim. So, they can also die soon in spite of being really long-living pets.

Effect Of Tap Water On Soft And Hard-Shelled Turtles

Hard-Shelled Turtles

Hard-shelled turtles can bear a slight change in the average water pH level. Hard-shelled turtles, for example, red-eared sliders, can tolerate the water pH ranging from 6.8 to 8.5.

Soft-Shelled Turtles

As the name suggests soft-shelled means, they have sensitive shell surfaces. They can tolerate the pH ranging from 6.5 to 7.5.

No less than pH 6.5 of water should use.

Diseases Caused By Uncleaned Tap Water

Respiratory Issues

  1. Wheezing sounds
  2. Lethargy (Your turtle will feel tired all the time.)
  3. Weight loss due to decreased appetite.
  4. Nose and mouth bubbling.

Ear Infections

  1. White discharge from ears.
  2. Swelling of ears.

Vitamin A Deficiency Can Cause Weak Eyesight.

  1. Swelling of eyes

Shell Issues

  1. Peeling of the skin of the shell in soft turtles.
  2. Spots on the shell.
  3. Abnormal shell growth.
  4. Bleeding in some areas of skin.

Frequently Asked Questions

Now, let us discuss some frequently asked queries we get about the water turtle needs in the tank. I hope thi will clear any further ambiguity you have related to the housing of your turtle.

Do Turtles Need Chlorinated Water?

No, as chlorinated water is dangerous for most amphibians. It is also hazardous for turtles.  Although it will not harm the turtles much in some circumstances but still in my opinion, you should avoid using it. It can cause eye redness and swelling showing and infection in turtles.

Can A Turtle Live Without A Filter?

Yes, turtles can live without filters. But, their tanks require proper cleaning.  So, if your tank does not have a filter, you should change the water now and then if seen contaminated. You can change a quarter of water every day, so the water does not get cloudy or dirty.

Can A Turtle Live In Cold Water?

No, turtles are cold-blooded animals. They require warm water either by heaters or natural sunlight. If the water temperature is less, it can prove to be fatal for your pet turtle.

What If I Use Distilled Water Instead Of Tap Water?

Yes, in fact, it is easy to use distilled water instead of tap water. Tap water requires cleaning processes, while distilled water is always ready to use.

Distilled water is dechlorinated and light-weighted for the turtles.

As turtles swim, drink, and live in tank water. So, distilled water is suitable for drinking. Turtles owners often use distilled water for cleaning their turtles.

Difference Between Tap Water And Distilled Water:

Tap Water Distilled Water


Tap water is easy to use. Cheapest way.
Easy to use. It is costly


It will either be less than or more than 7. For example, 6.8 to 8
The pH of the water will be precisely 7.

Water Purification

Water conditioners are required to detoxify and eliminate heavy minerals.
No need for water conditioners.


Chlorinated Water
Non-Chlorinated Water

Do Turtles Need Special Water For Their Tanks?

Yes, they also require substrates in addition to water. Your turtle will also need a good basking area to dry after coming out of the tank.

Make sure the water level must be enough for the turtle to swim. But it should be at such a level that your turtle can climb out of it on its own.


Turtles are one of the low maintenance pets. However, it would be best if you were careful about the habitat you are providing to these little creatures so they can live a healthy life with you. Remember that turtles are undoubtedly one of the most extended living pets you can ever have; however, if you are negligent in providing a well-balanced diet, or habitat to these pets, they may catch a life-threatening disease soon.

I hope this article helped you maintain the best water condition of your tank. In case of any further questions, you may comment down below or contact us. We would be happy to help.