Do Red-Eared Sliders Need Water: What to Know When Providing Your Turtles With Water

Yes, red-eared slider turtles do need water. They need water to breathe and digest as well. However, they don’t need to be in the water. They can stay out of water for long periods without suffering any adverse effects. Ideally, they need clean water that’s cool to the touch. They also need access to basking spots (where turtles can warm up their bodies) and areas where they can hide.

Red-Eared Slider Turtles Need Water

As mentioned, sliders need water, but only a little. Keeping them in water can be an excellent way to keep them healthy and happy. Make sure to release them into the water for a few seconds and then hold them back with your hand. If you’re unsure if they need to be in the water, place them on top of a wet paper towel and leave for 5 to 10 minutes to see if they move.

How Much Water a Red-Eared Slider Needs

It can be challenging to determine the water needs of red-eared sliders, as they are water-loving reptiles. However, it’s essential to check their water level every day and add enough if it’s low or more if the turtle is wet basking in the sun. 

It is ideal for keeping your water levels to about twice the length of your turtle. As long as you’re providing the right amount of water, sliders should be just fine!

Water Temperature Requirement

Try to provide them with around 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit water. Red-eared slider turtles can survive for quite some time without water if it’s not too hot or cold. 

Turtles are ectothermic animals, which means they need sunlight to regulate their body temperature correctly. So when the weather gets too hot or cold for them inside the tank, they will prefer to come out and drink from a fresh source of water outside the tank!

The Kind of Water

Turtles can be very fussy about their water, so you must always provide them with the right type of water. If you can’t see your turtles with a freshwater source or your turtle doesn’t drink from a standing source of water, then you will have to supply them with bottled/frozen water instead.

Tap water is not ideal for turtles as it contains chlorine and other chemicals which can harm their health. Therefore, if you want to provide your turtle with clean drinking water, bottled or rainwater would be better alternatives than tap water. 

Setting Up Everything That a Slider Turtle Needs

Before You Begin

Before you begin keeping red-eared sliders, you must understand that they need water to survive. They will drink from any surface they land on. Make sure to mist the plants and terrariums daily and water the sliders when ready to house them. If you live in an arid or semi-arid climate, consider providing your sliders with a humidifier to raise the humidity levels in their enclosure. 

Preventing Problems During Tank Setup

When setting up a new tank, it’s essential to prevent water-related problems. One of the most common issues is that water needs to be appropriately added. This can lead to the tank needing to be filled to the correct level and misting not being effective. 

Check for any possible leaks or air bubbles before continuing with the setup. Finally, provide red-eared slider turtles with the optimal water temperature and humidity. This will help them to thrive and avoid any potential health issues.

Fill the Tank With Water

It’s essential to keep an eye on the water level in your red-eared slider tank, as they need to be filled regularly. If the water level drops below the ideal level, they may become thirsty and stressed out.

If the slider is visibly dry, it needs more water than usual; if the slider is wet, less water is needed. 

Create a Basking Area

It would be best if you created a basking area. This area should be shady and cool during the warmer months and have rocks or logs for them to rest on. Ensure water dishes are filled often, and provide a nesting box if your slider lays eggs. 


Keeping your water clean and healthy is essential for the health of your red-eared slider. Make sure you’re changing the filter at the correct time of year, and monitor the water quality with the help of a water test kit. If the water becomes cloudy, it’s time for a new filter!

Lighting Arrangement

It is essential to provide your sliders with the right lighting arrangement. Place the lamp near or on top of the water dish so they can see it easily while eating. Sliders also prefer lamps that provide a wide range of wavelengths to absorb. 

Use fluorescent or LED bulbs, which emit natural light with the correct color spectrum for reptiles. Indirect light is also necessary for sliders to digest food and produce eggs.

One of the best ways to keep your sliders healthy is by installing an ultraviolet light. This will help provide them with the necessary calcium and prevent reproduction and health issues. 

Add Tank Decorations

Adding tank decorations to your aquarium can be fun and rewarding, but it’s essential to be careful not to damage your sliders. Be gentle when moving or transferring them, and use a tank stand or other container to protect them. 

Finally, when adding decorations, be sure to add enough of the slider substrate so that it’s submerged but not pinned down (this will help avoid drowning).

Maintain Tank Temperature

The water temperature should be between 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Too much heat can kill them, so keep an eye on the tank temperature and adjust as needed. If the slider’s water is too cold, give them a soak in lukewarm water for a few minutes once a week to keep them healthy and comfortable.

Cleaning the Tank

Cleaning the tank is of the utmost importance for red-eared slider owners. Not only will clean water help your slider thrive, but it will also help avoid health problems. Change the water every two weeks and make sure it’s always clean.

Additionally, keep an eye on your slider and make necessary adjustments. Make sure to clean the tank regularly and all the water spouts to keep your slider healthy and happy.