The Ultimate Guide to Terrapin Care news

The Ultimate Guide to Terrapin Care

Whether you're a new or an experienced terrapin owner, this article serves as your go-to resource for healthy and happy terrapins!

In this quick comprehensive guide, we’ll provide valuable insights into terrapin care. If you’re looking for a one-stop online store to buy high-quality terrapin or turtle food and feed, check this out!


Terrapin Care: Key Considerations

1. Terrapin Nutrition and Feeding Tips

Give A Variety of Food

Terrapins need a diverse diet to do well. On top of high-quality dry pellets, try supplementing their meals with defrosted freshwater fish or shrimps from the market.

You can feed live insects like blood worms and locusts from neighbourhood fish shops, or feed nutrient-rich vegetables such as sweet potato and carrots, to enhance their nutrition.

Include Some Vitamins

You can add some vitamin supplements into their dry food too. Just be sure to follow the manufacturer's recommended quantity.

How Often Should I Feed My Terrapins?

Feed them every two days, offering only what they can consume within 5 minutes. This requires some trial-and-error to decide how much to feed, and remove any leftovers to prevent water contamination.


2. Tank Space and Housing Environment

With HDBs getting smaller and smaller, we know this is not easy. But proper housing actually makes a huge difference to your terrapin's well-being (and makes your life easier too). 

How Big Should My Terrapin’s Tank Be?

Start with a spacious tank that can accommodate adult terrapins even if your terrapins are still small. If you consider their potential size from the beginning, it will save you a lot of trouble down the road. 

Just how much space do terrapins need? Male terrapins can grow up to 25cm, while females can reach up to 30cm in length, with life spans of up to 30 years in captivity. Ideally, you should provide about 14.8 litres of swimming space for every 1 cm of shell length. Typically, red-ear sliders from the pet shop are around 3 - 5 cm length. Not sure how to measure your terrapin? Refer to this.

Can I Keep More Than One Terrapin?

Terrapins can thrive in the company of their own kind, but adequate space is necessary to prevent aggressive behaviour caused by overcrowding. We’d recommend having a maximum of 2 terrapins housed together while they are babies. If you have a larger and older terrapin, it may get territorial and can injure the smaller one. 

How Much Land Vs Water Space?

The water level should be high to allow enough swimming space for your terrapins to be active without touching the sides or bottom as terrapins can produce substantial waste. A depth of at least half of your tank height is a good gauge.

Include dry areas for them to climb out of the water and shed their skin/shell plates. This will help prevent fungal infections. 

How Do I Keep The Water Clean?

Using efficient mechanical and bio-filters help maintain optimal water quality. Weekly water changes (up to 20-30%) and the addition of anti-chlorine agents are vital to encourage good bacteria to grow in the water and create a healthy environment for your terrapins.

How to maintain the optimal water quality? By controlling the ammonia, nitrites and nitrates levels in the water.

"Treat your terrapins like fish, because water quality affects their welfare even though they occupy both wet and dry areas. The Nitrogen Cycle applies to terrapins because dirty water can make them sick." - Dr Arman Chen, Veterinary Surgeon & Practice Manager, Gaia Vets


3. Temperature Matters For Terrapins

Terrapins regulate their body temperature using their environment so you have a huge part to play here.

For Terrapins Living Indoors

Create a dry basking area (around 30-35°C) using a UV lamp holder and infrared heat bulb. This gives easy access to both the basking area and the water. Maintaining the water temperature between 22-25°C is essential.

Make sure you provide a shaded and cooler area within the tank, away from the UV lamp, where your terrapins can retreat to cool down. Remember to maintain a balanced light-dark cycle of 12 hours each day, as terrapins rely on light patterns to regulate their daily routines. 

For Terrapins Living Outdoors

If you are creating outdoor housing, ensure there is a well-shaded area for them. Keep floating plants in the water and secure them with large rocks in the water. This provides shelter and is especially important in the unforgiving heat of Singapore’s weather. 


4. Common Terrapin Diseases to Look Out For

Your vigilance is the key to terrapin care. If you can, try to weigh them regularly to ensure that weight gain is steady and healthy. 

Monitor for symptoms such as swelling around the mouth or eyes and uneven shell growth. If you notice a sudden lack of appetite or notice sores forming, it may be a sign of internal parasites or mouth rot. Bring your terrapins to the vet immediately for treatment.

Some common diet-related issues are:

  1. Vitamin A deficiency can lead to eye problems, so feeding foods rich in beta-carotene e.g. shredded carrots or small pieces of sweet potato is recommended.
  2. Metabolic Bone Disorder resulting from insufficient calcium due to a lack of Vitamin D3. Hence, a varied diet including fresh food or dietary supplements can help tremendously.


Follow these essential terrapin care guidelines so you can provide a healthy and enriching environment for them. Looking to buy terrapin or turtle food and supplies? Shop here with a peace-of-mind, because every product is vetted by professionals and trusted by pet owners. Free delivery for orders above $100!

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