Can Turtles Drink Tap Water? (Is It Safe?)

Water is very essential for turtles, especially for those aquatic ones that usually spend the majority of their time in the water.

It is sensible then to conclude that water has great effects on turtles’ overall health and wellness. That is why turtle owners need to know the proper way of maintaining safe and clean water in their pets’ tanks.

So, what type of water is good for your turtles? Is tap water a great option for your water tank? Is it a safe drink for your turtles?

[ez-toc]

Is Tap Water Bad For Turtles?

Yes. Tap water can be bad for your turtles as it can contain chlorine and fluorine in high concentrations which can harmfully affect them.

Tap water is the most convenient to use in your turtles’ aquarium. You can say it is the cheapest too, definitely!

However, with its affordable price comes having some toxic components that can harm your turtles.

Not all municipalities have high-grade quality tap water. If you are doubtful and want to make sure that your tap water is safe, you can check the water quality reports of your city.

Some cities are treating their water with chlorine to kill bacterias.

Tap water can be dangerous to your turtles if it is containing high concentrations of chlorine and fluorine.

Aside from checking this harmful component in your tap water, you should also be aware of its pH level. Chlorine and fluorine can upset the pH level of the water in your turtles’ tank.

The presence of other chemicals in your tap water is also possible as other municipalities add some compounds, for instance, for smooth storage.

Will Tap Water Kill My Turtle?

No. Tap water will not kill your turtles instantly. It can cause health-related concerns though if not treated well for your turtles’ use.

Knowing that tap water can have bad effects on your turtles, you might probably conclude that it can even kill your reptile pets!

Well, no need to overthink and panic as with the proper and effective treatment, your turtle will do fine swimming in tap water.

It can have negative effects on the wellness of your turtles, for sure, but it cannot totally kill them.

If your tap water has too much chlorine, it will hurt the eyes of your turtles or make them squint.

It can also affect the pH balance of the water which can distress your turtles’ health.

Hard-shelled turtles are more tolerant of pH levels than soft-shelled turtles.

Turtles with hard shells can live in water with a pH level between 6.2 to 8.5 while the soft-shelled ones should only be exposed to water with a 6.5 pH level and higher.

If the tap water that you put in your turtles’ tank is not treated, the chlorine in the water will kill the healthy bacterias too. Without these healthy bacterias, there will be a quick production of ammonia that can contaminate water, making it poisonous to your turtles.

How Do You Use Tap Water For Turtles?

You can use tap water for turtles as the main water for their swimming area.

You can definitely use tap water for your turtles, but with limitations.

Tap water, if treated properly, can be good water for your pets’ swimming area.

However, it is not recommended to be used as the drinking water of your turtles.

It would be best to give them fresh spring water or purified water.

Can Turtles Live In Tap Water?

Yes. Turtles can live in tap water as long as it is properly treated to ensure their safety.

Due to convenience and affordability, you might have decided to use tap water in your turtles’ tank.

You need to be sure first that the tap water in your municipality is of good quality.

Your turtles can live in tap water, but before putting your turtles in it, don’t ever forget to dechlorinate it first!

Even if you confirm that you have good quality tap water, you still need to do simple water therapy to remove chlorine and other chemicals.

If you miss this step, you are putting your pets’ life in danger.

This is very important especially if your turtles’ species are the kind that spends most or all of their life in the water.

Once you treat the tap water, its harmful components will dissolve making it safe for your turtles.

However, it is important to take note that even if tap water is treated already, there are few turtles that are still not suited to use it. Some exotic turtles cannot tolerate chemicals and changes in the water.

Can Box Turtles Drink Tap Water?

No. It is not recommended for box turtles to drink tap water due to its harmful composition. Purified water is the best option as drinking water for your turtles.

Tap water may contain toxic chemicals and substances that can harm your box turtles’ health and wellness.

After the treatment process, tap water can be used as swimming water for your box turtles.

However, it is best to use distilled or even fresh spring water for your turtles’ drinking water to ensure it is not contaminated in any form, be it by chemicals, bacterias, or heavy metals.

Can Red-Eared Slider Turtles Live In Tap Water?

Yes. Red-eared slider turtles can live in tap water as long as the chlorine is eliminated already.

Clean water is very essential to a red-eared slider as they are semi-aquatic. Its typical day is mostly spent in the water.

There is no need for you to look for other types of water as this turtle is not requiring expensive ones.

Hard-shelled turtles like read-eared slider turtles are not very sensitive when it comes to pH levels. It can live in water with a 6.2 to 8.5 pH level.

Just like other types of turtles that are being raised in captivity, this turtle has accustomed to living in treated tap water.

As long as the tap water is dechlorinated already, it is good to go for your red-eared slider turtle!

Adding a few drops of water conditioner to your tank’s water will help in removing toxic chemicals like chlorine. As per standard, you only need one drop of water conditioner in every gallon of water.

It is a must for you to preserve the water sanitation in your red-eared slider turtles’ tank because if not, issues like parasites might be confronted.

How To Dechlorinate Tap Water For Turtles?

You can dechlorinate tap water for turtles by using a water conditioner specifically for reptiles. Likewise, you can just leave it out for 24 hours before using as the chlorine will evaporate on its own.

The quality of tap water differs in every area based on water sources.

You need to do a little research to know whether the tap water on where you reside is suitable for your turtles’ needs or not.

Once you find out the quality of the tap water and how it is treated, you will know the right thing to do to make it safe for your turtles.

When you dechlorinate, you are eliminating chlorine and chloramine. These are usually added chemicals in your area’s water supply to kill the bacterias in it. Unfortunately, these chemicals can be toxic to your turtles. 

The easiest, quickest, and most reliable method to dechlorinate is by using a water conditioner.

This can be used to offset chlorine, chloramines, and other harmful substances in the tap water’s composition instantly. This can also help to prevent the building of ammonia.

You can choose from a wide variety of water conditioners that you can easily find in pet stores. Most of them are very effective and low-priced typically costing around $3.

Remember to purchase a water conditioner specifically for reptiles. Do not be mistaken with the ones having a slime coat on the label as these are for amphibians and fish.

You should use the water conditioner whenever you clean your turtles’ tank and change its water.

After cleaning and changing water, the recommended dosage of the conditioner per gallon is one drop. Do not put your turtles right after you change the tank’s water. Remember to add some drops of the water conditioner first!

If you don’t prefer using a water conditioner, you can simply put the tap water first in a large container and leave it out for 24 hours.

This may not be a prompt solution, but this is more natural! The chlorine will diffuse into the air with the help of sunlight.

Is Purified Water Good For Turtles?

Yes. Purified water is good for your turtles as it is already treated with a pH level of neutral 7. During the purification process, toxic chemicals, sediments, heavy metals, and even bacterias are removed and destroyed already.

Purified water is the purest kind of water that you can find in the market. 99% of the impurities are removed from this water making it one of the top choices when it comes to clean drinking water.

If it is safe for human consumption, it can be totally fine with turtles.

Some of the steps in the water purification process are ion exchange, granular activated carbon, sediment filter, ultraviolet disinfection, and reverse osmosis.

In these stages, water is ensured to be free from any form of heavy metals like mercury, chemicals like chlorine, particles like sand, microbiological contaminants like bacterias, and any other impurities.

In fact, purified water is recommended as drinking water for your turtles than tap water even if it is treated already.

Can Turtles Live In Purified Water?

Yes. Turtles can certainly live in purified water, especially those exotic ones that are highly sensitive to water changes.

Purified water is one of the purest forms of drinking water where almost all of its impurities are expelled.

Without a doubt, purified water is way more expensive than using tap water for your turtles’ tank.

If you can afford it and you think that purified water is the best for your turtles, you should use it as your tank water. This is usually a safer choice for turtles that are highly sensitive to water.

It may not be easily available at your home just like tap water, but you can find it at any supermarket, grocery stores, and even convenience stores.

Is Purified Water Good For Baby Turtles?

Yes. Purified water is good for baby turtles as it has undergone a strict purification process to come up with pure water.

Baby turtles are just so tiny, adorable, delicate, and look very vulnerable.

Just like how you treat human babies, you would love to give your baby turtles the best possible care too!

As they are not yet fully grown, still not capable, and have a highly sensitive body, you would want to give them clean and safe water just like purified water.

Purified water has undergone a strict process to ensure it is of high quality and safe to consume.

Since your baby turtles are still little, getting them a small tank with purified swimming water would not cost you greatly.

Still, some turtle owners are putting water conditioners to purified water as other purification processes still use chlorine to clean water.

To ensure the purified water brand that you want to use for your turtle is highly pure and safe, you should do some research about its purification procedure.

References:

Libal, A. (2021). What kind of water does an aquatic turtle need? Pets on Mom.com. https://animals.mom.com/kind-water-aquatic-turtle-need-8766.html

McLeod, L. (2021, March 9). A guide to caring for common box turtles as pets. The Spruce Pets. https://www.thesprucepets.com/box-turtles-as-pets-1237255

McQuerrey, L. (2021). How to get rid of turtle tank Odors. Pets on Mom.com. https://animals.mom.com/rid-turtle-tank-odors-8289.html

Millburn, N. (2021). Do bearded dragons need water bowls? Pets on Mom.com. https://animals.mom.com/bearded-dragons-need-water-bowls-9495.html