Cloudy Turtle Tank

My turtle's water is very cloudy (to the point of not being able to see him though the water) and stinks very badly! I am changing the water every single say and have a very good (and expensive) filter. What is causing the cloudiness and what do I do to stop it?

By Bryan from Vancouver, BC

August 20, 20100 found this helpful

Are there rocks, pebbles, etc on the floor of the tank? Turtle tanks do tend to get much smellier than regular fish tanks. We used to keep alligator snapping turtles that the kids would find, until they got too big for me to clean the tanks out safely, then we would return them to the creek behind our house.

Check out the site below:

This is what I consulted while we had the turtles, and it was a lot of help.

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September 27, 20101 found this helpful

I have two Red Eared slider turtles, and I had to learn the hard way too, but now my tank stays clear. Here's what works for me: I bought a very large tank (55 gallon) and I use two filters; I use "Prime" (purchased from Pet Smart for about $6) to remove the chlorine and keep water clear. It is safe for fresh and salt water, and it only takes about 1/2 a cap full every time I change the water (about once every other week); Don't overfeed, this creates unnecessary waste; to keep the white buildup off the inside glass, I use a 50/50 mixture of water/white vinegar in a spray bottle every few days. The vinegar smell goes away as soon as it dries; You will have to remove the rocks about once every couple of weeks as well and clean them with bleach and water. Make sure you rinse the bleach off really well before returning to tank. If you can commit to spending about an hour every two weeks to thoroughly clean the tank, you will be amazed at the difference. Good luck!

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November 19, 20101 found this helpful

I have had my Red Ear Slider for about 9 years. I have 125 gallon tank for him. I also worked at a pet store for a few years. Cloudiness is usually caused by a build up of ammonia in the water. You might have spent a lot of money on a filter but it could be a crap filter if it doesn't have the right media in it. For turtles you need a carbon zeolite mix (it is black and white).

Keeping rocks in your tank can help but makes sure you don't buy aquarium gravel that your turtle can swallow. Also there is a product called Zoo Med ReptiSafe Conditioner it is blue; I would use this as a water conditioner.

Let me know if you have any other questions about your turtle or filter

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Anonymous Flag
December 16, 20150 found this helpful

I have two small red ear sliders ,,I had same problem with cloudy tank ,until I started feeding them in seperate container leaving them in that water for awhile than they go to the bathroom in that container and the ammonia from them going to bathroom doesn't cloud their tank

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Anonymous Flag
December 16, 20150 found this helpful

I have two small red ear sliders ,,I had same problem with cloudy tank ,until I started feeding them in seperate container leaving them in that water for awhile than they go to the bathroom in that container and the ammonia from them going to bathroom doesn't cloud their tank

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June 10, 2013 Flag
1 found this helpful

I persistently have a problem with the water in my turtle tank being cloudy. It's about 150 gallons and I have four 2inch wide red ear sliders. I put zoo med Reptisafe in the water daily as well as exo biotine. I have two filters as well. I clean up any uneaten food and my water is still foggy! What should I do?

By Bell

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June 10, 20130 found this helpful

I found this video, although I am not an expert on turtles at all, he says not to feed the turtles in the tank they stay in but to feed them in a seperate tank and he mentions two products: Aquatic Turtle Banquet Block and also Flukers and it said something I could not make out. It is a cleaner I suppose?

Here is the video.

He also said that rocks on the bottom cause cloudy water also.

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February 12, 20150 found this helpful

Try a UV sterilizer.

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February 12, 20150 found this helpful

Try a UV sterilizer

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October 8, 20160 found this helpful

Hi i have a female red eared slider who is about 5 inches and in a 55 gallon tank. I have a filter and clean out any excess food and waste. I also do half water changes weekly. Why is my water still look so cloudy

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October 26, 20160 found this helpful

Problem with constently cloudy water .1 turtle in 40 gallon tank

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Anonymous Flag
October 27, 20160 found this helpful ... opic/143851-cloudy-water/&page=2

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November 21, 20160 found this helpful

I have a very small turtle tank,I've clean it two days ago and now it's really cloudy.

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August 19, 2010 Flag
0 found this helpful

We were given a fresh water turtle a few weeks ago. The day after I set up his tank it began getting cloudy. Then it turned nasty and green. I cleaned out the tank, bought new rock, a stronger filter and it has started to get cloudy again.

I have gone to the pet shop and asked them what I can do and have gone to the library to read up on how to care for these turtles, but have had no luck in keeping the the tank clean. I am spending more money then I want on this pet. Please, any suggesting would be great.



Cloudy Turtle Tank

My experience is only with fish tanks, but this might be helpful.

In fish tanks it is easy to get a bacteria bloom. Good bacteria develops to eat the ammonia and decaying food. Sometimes in a new tank the good bacteria explodes. The "food" source for them is limited so over time there is a die back. So it gets better by itself. You just have to be sure your turtle can survive the die back.

Sometimes new rocks or gravel can cause cloudy water if they haven't been rinsed thoroughly. If this is the case, it will take care of itself.

Don't use any detergent in the tank or on the rocks because you can't get it rinsed off well enough. It is very toxic to fish, but I don't know about turtles.

I assume you'd need to dechlorinate the water (can buy bottle of dechlorinator in fish store).

You can change part of the water every day (e.g., 25%) and that might take care of it in time. Doing partial changes allows the good bacteria to develop where as if you did a total water change the bacteria almost has to start from scratch.

You could put the turtle in a bucket that never had detergent or soap in it while you figure out the tank for a day or two (include filter, rocks, heater, etc. in the bucket).

These are a few ideas. I hope it helps some.

By coolchinchilla

Cloudy Turtle Tank

Years ago, when my siblings and I had a turtle. We kept it in a goldfish bowl. It too, would get stinky and darker colored water. We found we had to clean and refill it with fresh water about every other day. (08/11/2005)

By badwater

Cloudy Turtle Tank

I've read that this cloudiness is natural as the good bacteria sets up shop. Our turtle tank had it for the first few days, as well; however, it never turned nasty. If it is turning nasty, I'd drain and start over. (05/17/2007)

By Sara

Cloudy Turtle Tank

If you drop some pennies (yes, copper pennies) in there they will help reduce algae. They will not hurt the turtles. (02/04/2008)

Cloudy Turtle Tank

You do not mention how big your tank or turtle is? We have a yellow bellied slider who's shell is about 9"x6" and we keep him in a 55-gallon tank. We change the water completely about once a month and it always starts clouding after about 2 days and stays cloudy for 2 or 3 days and then begins clearing up. This is obviously due to the bacteria forming. We've noticed that after about two weeks the water begins clouding again and by the fourth week is looking pretty disgusting. This is due mostly, in our tank, to the filter not really being large enough to keep the turtles feces to a minimum and, as a result, the darkened, cloudy water, at close inspection, is nothing more than partially dissolved turtle waste.

You may want to look into getting a bigger and better filter! Remember that turtles breathe air like us humans and don't need all the special water maintenance that fish do. Also, you really don't have to chlorination the water for the same reasons we don't have to when we go swimming or take a bath. A marine biology friend told me to simply change the water every 3 to 4 weeks so the turtle wouldn't be living in his own waste, give him a fresh lettuce leaf every now and then, and he also suggested to get rid of the gravel as it is tough to clean and turtles will actually try to eat the small rocks and this could block up their digestive systems.

Lastly, make sure the turtle has something to crawl out of the water onto and sun himself under a light. Anyway, good luck. (09/02/2008)

By Bill

Cloudy Turtle Tank

I have two turtles. I put a few drops of hydrogen peroxide in the tank every couple of days. It is a 10 liter tank and it will not hurt the turtles. (11/28/2008)

By Kyle

Cloudy Turtle Tank

I had the same problem and found that if your turtle does not eat all of his food after 1/2 hour then scoop out what's left with a net. This really solved the problem. (07/13/2009)

By babscake

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