What Decorations Should I Put in My Turtle Tank

What Decorations Should I Put in My Turtle Tank?

There are many things you can add to your turtle’s tank, from simple basking platforms to colorful plants to plecos. This article will go over the essentials for our shelled friends and the things we can add for decoration alone.


Owning a pet can get expensive, and a turtle is no exception. Before you set up your turtle’s enclosure, consider your budget. If you are willing to spend a fair amount of money, then going above and beyond is fine.

But if you are trying to keep things on the less expensive side, you will want to focus on the essentials. And you can always make decorations on your own too, and your turtle mostly likely won’t know the difference!


Before getting carried away with fancy decorations, it is crucial to have a suitable substrate for your turtle. Substrate for land turtles should be soft enough for her feet, so she can move about the enclosure safely. If you have an aquatic turtle, you can use pebbles or sand. The goal is to have the enclosure be as natural-looking as possible.


Once you have a good substrate in place, adding different plants to your turtle’s enclosure can really transform things. Plants, while not needed, are one of those decorations that can give your turtle’s home a natural look and feel.

They are also reasonably affordable if you are on a strict budget. You can easily choose between artificial plants or natural plants, both of which should be available at your local reptile store. I prefer artificial plants as they don’t require care and are usually resistant to any type of damage.

If you decide to use real plants, the most important thing is to ensure they are not harmful to your pet. And you will also have to maintain them as you would any other plant. For aquatic turtles, plants that sit low to the ground, along with floaters such as water lilies, work well.

Putting plants along the enclosure’s back wall can also hide unsightly wires. While it’s fun to add plants that will be colorful and add cheerfulness to the enclosure, you don’t want to overdo it. Do not put so many that your turtle is unable to move around.

Basking Platforms

Basking platforms are essential in any enclosure, as they allow your turtle to escape the water and do what they love to do; bask under their heat lamp. So while decorations are fun, be sure to choose wisely.

Your turtle’s basking platform needs to be large enough for her, and it also has to be easily assessable, so she can climb up to sun herself.

Your turtle’s basking platform can be placed directly on the substrate or on a type of barrier. If you have an aquatic tank, the platform should be placed just above the waterline. Most floating platforms will have suction cups, so you can attach them to the side of the enclosure.


Most reptiles will benefit from a place to make themselves less visible. It makes them feel secure and reduces their stress. Hides do a great job of this. Aside from being essential, they are also fun to use for decorations.

Most turtle hides come in several shapes and sizes. Because many turtles will grow in adulthood, be sure that you purchase a hide that is big enough for her to use throughout her life.

Turtle hides are usually made to represent logs and rocks. If you already have a rock garden in your enclosure, a rock hide will fit nicely. If your turtle’s enclosure is aquatic, log hides work well, and they look great against an arrangement of colorful plants or other decorations.


A background in any reptile enclosure is a highly affordable way to spruce things up. Most backgrounds simply stick to the back part of the tank, and some can be wrapped around all three sides of the enclosure. Any scene printed on them works, but go with something that looks natural for your turtle’s sake.

You can also choose a background inside the enclosure, which gets inserted into the back wall. These backgrounds are several inches thick and usually have artificial rocks or plants built into them. Some will have specific parts carved in them for your turtle to go or for you to place plants.

An internal background can be a bit cumbersome to install, as you will need to be sure it fits with any substrate or other structures in the tank. Because it will have direct contact with your turtle, you will want to be sure it stays clean at all times.

Can I Put Wood in a Turtle Tank?

Generally speaking, wood is safe to put in your turtle’s enclosure. You just want to make sure you are using the right kind. Plywood tends to warp over time, but pine would work well if it doesn’t have a lot of sap stuck to it. Steer clear of any pressure-treated wood or any wood with oils or lacquers, as this can be harmful to your pet. Driftwood also works well and can be ascetically pleasing.

Can I Put Marbles in a Turtle Tank?

Marbles are entirely safe to use in your turtle’s enclosure. You will want to make sure there are no rough edges or broken glass, and be sure to get a size large enough so that your turtle does not attempt to eat them, as they could become lodged in her throat.

Can I Put a Pleco in a Turtle Tank?

Plecos and turtles can live together as long as you accommodate the needs of both. You will need to have enough space for them to live together without feeling stressed, and they will need to have a separate area to feed and hide. Doing so will cut down on any chances of aggression between the two.

Be wary that turtles are omnivores, and they will typically eat anything, including plecos. Plecos eat algae and plants, but will also need to be given a weekly supplement. Clean water and a proper diet are essential for both critters to live harmoniously. Having both will often determine how successfully they can co-exist.