How Long Can Turtles Live Without Water?

Turtles cannot live without water for long, despite not being solely reliant on water to breathe. The length of time a turtle can survive without water is totally dependent on the turtle species and the temperature of the water in their tank.

Can turtles live with fish

Turtles need water for hydration, and to help speed their metabolism. If a turtle is lacking water, it will become dehydrated, weaker, and could eventually die if it does not have access to water. They do make for pretty interesting and challenging pets, as they need to live on both land and in water in order to survive.

Why Do Turtles Need Water?

Turtles are cold-blooded, which means that they rely solely on their environment to determine their body temperature. Typically in the wild turtles will swim in the water to cool off when the temperature is too hot outside.

Turtle tank water temperatures need to be perfect and well-monitored because if it is too cold, turtles can easily become ill and the same applies if it is too hot. The ideal tank temperature should be between 72-82°F (22°C-28°C). If you are acquiring fish for your turtle tank, you need to make sure both temperature requirements are compatible.

How To Provide Fresh Water For Your Turtle

There are many hobbyists that use different methods when it comes to providing their turtles with healthy water. Some use tap water, and while this is usually OK, some tap water contains more chlorine than others, and chlorine does not agree with turtles, often causing irritation.

Additionally, excess chlorine will destroy useful bacteria in your tank, which can interrupt the nitrogen cycle. By using a water conditioner you can easily dechlorinate your tap water before adding it to the tank.

You must also clean your tank regularly. Turtles spend a lot of time in water which typically results in the water becoming murky and unclean, which usually results in an unhealthy and potentially ill turtle.

Water filters are also a good idea if you have a turtle tank as they can produce a lot of waste, which is one of the many reasons why turtles are not compatible with goldfish since they produce a lot of waste too.

Can pet turtles drown

Which Turtle Species Make Good Pets?

Many turtle owners and enthusiasts would say that red-eared slider turtles, mud turtles, musk turtles, and painted turtles are the best species for beginners.

Something to always keep in mind when it comes to turtles is that they may start their lives small, but they can grow to some pretty big sizes, even outgrowing their tanks.

The turtles listed above are also semi-aquatic, meaning that they certainly require water and a good swimming area as well as a dry-land platform within your tank.


Turtles most certainly do need water to survive, but their length of survival depends on several factors. Age, species, and temperature all play the biggest roles in how long a pet turtle can survive without any water.

The main takeaway from this should be that providing your turtle with clean water consistently is of the utmost importance for your turtle's health and happiness.