Are Turtles Bad for Fish Ponds?

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

The relationship between turtles and water is comparable to the relationship between meatballs and pasta. Being that said, it makes us wonder is there any reason to have turtles in the pond other than to enjoy watching them? What’s the purpose of their presence? Does it matter whether turtles live in your pond?

Biologically, turtles in fish ponds are not bad, rather, they help the pond ecosystem. In addition to removing the ill or weak fish, they also consume dead animals and plant materials.

If you want to keep your pond looking good and healthy, you might be perplexed about what to do when you find out that turtles have taken over. It’s a good thing that turtles can have a favorable impact on your pond.

Having these species in your backyard pond ecology has its advantages and disadvantages. In addition to that, we will discuss whether or not you ought to keep them in your pond in this article.

So keep on reading!

What Are The Pros Of Having Turtles In The Pond?

A small number of turtles in your pond, particularly slider turtles, may actually be beneficial to the environment of your pond since they contribute to its cleanliness while having only a marginal impact on the biological life in your pond.

Having turtles in a fish pond has several advantages, which we will explore in further detail below:

Fish Control Measures

There is a widespread misconception among people who own ponds that turtles will eat the fish and destroy the ecosystem of the water.

Turtles are omnivorous organisms, meaning that they consume plant things in addition to fish that are ill or have died. This assists in keeping your pond free of dead fish and prevents them from becoming harmful.

Even though they are believed to be predators, snapping turtles will almost always choose to consume sick or dead fish over living ones.

The primary reason for this is that fish have superior speed and dexterity in the water compared to turtles, which makes it impossible for turtles to compete with fish.

Fish put on a stringer overnight is another food source for turtles. Turtles soon acquire the habit of congregating around the fish feeder whenever it is time for them to be fed.

However, even when there are large numbers of turtles in an area, they don’t eat a particularly high proportion of the food.

Control of Weeds

The insatiable appetite for plants that turtles have may be advantageous when it comes to the management of aquatic weeds.

It’s possible that having a big number of turtles might assist preserve some sorts of undesirable or invading plant development while also reducing the requirement for pesticide applications.

However, this demand for fiber is not simply oriented towards vegetation that is unpleasant while it is immersed in water.

Pickerelweed, Yellow Water Lilies, and Lizard’s Tails are all examples of plants that are valued for their beautiful blossoms that turtles have been seen eating.

If this does become a problem, you may assist limit turtle access to the beneficial plants by simply placing some chicken wire along the perimeter of the area.

Unique addition

Observing turtles in action is both intriguing and entertaining. Both children and adults like watching them and playing with them in equal measure. They may provide your pond with a one-of-a-kind look and feel!

Outdoor turtle pond setup guide infographic

For a printable version of this infographic, click here!

What Are The Cons Of Having Turtle In The Pond?

Turtles can provide certain advantages to the ecosystem, but when there are too many of them in a pond or lake, they may become a concern. For a variety of causes, certain turtles may be dangerous to humans.

The factors behind turtles are not always a smart choice for fish ponds are discussed in greater detail below:

Reproduce rapidly

One of the most significant drawbacks of keeping turtles in your pond is the rate at which they may breed.

They may quickly become an overpopulation problem in a small pond if they are not kept in control, which can result in problems with the water quality, competition with other pond species for resources, and other problems.

Eat on growing plants

Although it is wonderful that they are able to assist in the management of aquatic weeds, as was said before, they do not discern between plants that are a problem and plants that you want to flourish in your pond.

Cause injury

It is not wise to go swimming in a pond that is inhabited by snapping turtles if the pond is used for recreational activities.

The mouth of the snapping turtle is very strong, and it also has sharp claws on its feet. Snapping turtles may get extremely big.

And regrettably, they are capable of becoming aggressive, which may result in significant injuries to people both in and out of the water. Particularly during the months of June and July, when they are laying their eggs.

Risk of disease

Salmonella germs, which may be passed on to people through turtles, are also present in the environment. Because the likelihood of contracting a disease is so great, it may be against the law in the United States to sell particular turtles.

Getting in touch with a turtle should prompt you to seek medical assistance as soon as possible if you have symptoms such as abdominal pain, fever, or diarrhea.

Difficulty relocating

It might be challenging to capture turtles that you wouldn’t want in the pond and then relocate them.

In addition, in order to release certain species of pond turtles into the wild, you would be required to get permission since these turtles are often seen as invasive species and give native turtle species a run for their food.

Are Slider Turtles Bad For Ponds?

Turtles may be found in a wide range of lakes and ponds since these bodies of water provide ideal homes for them.

Therefore, if you have any body of water on your land, the likelihood is high that you have turtles, and you might just be curious about the impact these turtles have on the local ecology.

In order to answer that question, we need to consider the species of turtle that you could run across. Sliders both painted and red-eared and snappers like alligator and common make up the vast majority of the population.

Although red-eared sliders are more prevalent in the pet trade, painted sliders are by far the most abundant kind of natural turtle found in North America.

Their food consists of aquatic vegetation and tiny aquatic insects, which brings up the topic of whether or not they are harmful to the pond. Turtle hatchlings and young fish both consume the same kinds of tiny insects that turtles devour.

An overpopulation of slider turtles has never been shown to have any effect on the number of insects, much less on fish.

Turtle populations have a tendency to be self-regulating, which means that as the availability of food and raw materials increases, the fertility rates expand, conversely, as the availability of resources decreases, population numbers decrease.

This indicates that there is little risk of the community being so large that it has an adverse effect on other types of animals.

The vegetation and decomposing materials in the pond are both foods that are consumed by slider turtles. There is no indication that turtles have a harmful impact on plant populations.

Are Snapping Turtles Bad For Ponds?

When referring to slider turtles, the response is a very clear “No,” but it gets a bit vaguer when discussing snapping turtles. Snapper turtles are omnivores like sliders.

As soon as their victim moves, they spring into action with a quick thrust of the head and a crunch of the jaws.

Snappers are known to consume fish, but it is not unheard of for them to also consume ducklings, birds, mice, and pretty much any other source of flesh that may infiltrate their ecosystem.

Snappers are considered to be opportunistic eaters. One such theory is that since snappers consume live fish, they may have some influence on the rates of other species. However, there is no data to back this up, and in a natural situation.

When considering the leisure activities that may be enjoyed near a lake or pond, these turtles might not be a good factor. Snappers may reach quite a considerable size, ranging from 20 to 40 pounds, and have massive, strong jaws in addition to sharp nails on the bottoms of their feet.

When producing eggs, which peak in June and July, they become hostile and have been known to attack when disturbed on land.

To get rid of snappers, you may use traps, but you should always make sure that the person running the traps is a qualified expert who has the necessary authorization and expertise to do so.

Avoid coming into contact with snapping turtles by any means possible. They may not be doing any damage to your pond, but they might be doing damage to you!

Do Pond Turtles Eat Fish?

In every pond, turtles serve as scavengers and nature’s clean-up service They delight in devouring dead fish and pose little threat to the majority of fish populations.

It is a prevalent misconception that turtles have a detrimental effect on fisheries owing to their ravenous appetites for the aquatic creatures they consume.

Unless the fish are wounded or ill, turtles can’t keep up with fish in case of speed and stamina. This is true even when the fish aren’t feeling well.

If a turtle is able to successfully capture a fish, it almost often indicates that the fish was already in ill health and needs removing from the environment.

Turtles contribute to the cleaning of ponds and minimize the risk of illness pathogens produced by decaying flesh by feeding on diseased and previously dead fish.

Can Turtles Be Kept In A Koi Pond?

To put it briefly, turtles may be raised effectively in koi ponds. It is dependent on a few factors whether or not turtles would consider your koi to be food and will devour them. There are several extremely crucial considerations to take into account.

A few examples of these factors include the size of the turtle in comparison to the koi fish size, the type of turtle, and the level of nutrition that the turtles get.

For obvious reasons, an 18-inch koi fish cannot be eaten or even hurt by a four-inch turtle. However, if you put young koi of one year old in a pond that also contains giant adult turtles, the turtles may mistake the koi for prey and eat them.

The fact that koi are renowned to reach big sizes is a positive aspect. Therefore, it is best to house juvenile turtles that are on the smaller side alongside larger, more adult koi.

This is not a straightforward rule, however, since the kind of turtle has a significant impact on the outcome. Even though they are considerably bigger, young snapping turtles may still mistake much larger koi for food and attempt to eat them.

Despite the significant size disparity, it’s possible that other, lesser hostile species of turtles would never consider koi to be food.

Because of this, it is essential to fill koi or goldfish ponds with turtles from breeds with the lowest potential for aggression.

Before adding turtles to your collection, it is essential to perform research on the many varieties available. There are several types of turtles that are considered invasive species that may be purchased at pet shops.

Some options that are beneficial for keeping in koi ponds are Red-eared Sliders, Musk Turtle, Yellow-bellied Sliders, and Painted Turtles.

How To Keep Turtles Out Of The Pond?

The turtles should be left alone a great portion of the time since it is in everyone’s best interest.

 On the other hand, live replacement is a possibility if you are still of the opinion that turtles pose a true issue in the pond as a result of the high population levels that prevent the pond from being used or managed effectively.

The turtle population may be reduced most effectively by capturing and relocating the animals. To begin, you will be required to have permission. The permit requires you to track the number of turtles that were removed and the site where they were released.

For the purpose of capturing pond turtles, there are a number of various trapping techniques and traps available, including a variety of floating and submerged traps.

A floating turtle trap is going to be the simplest method for you to begin the process of catching the turtle in your pond. Turtles will attempt to bask in the sun by climbing on top of the trap, which will ultimately lead to their demise.

Second, capturing turtles is not nearly as simple as it may seem, and after a few unsuccessful efforts, many give up on the endeavor.

Third, if you do end up capturing any turtles and have plans to release them somewhere else, you should get in touch with the local conservation officer in your area as soon as possible and inform them of your intentions.

Obviously, catching turtles is an undertaking that will never come to an end. The pond will steadily get inhabited by an increasing number of turtles.

The construction of a modest fence around the pond that is between one and two feet high may assist in preventing turtles from entering the water, however, this can be a costly endeavor and diminishes the pond’s overall aesthetic value.

It is preferable to learn to appreciate the turtles as a natural part of the ecosystem of the pond in practically all circumstances.

Never aim a gun at a turtle. This behavior is risky and may violate the law. It is possible for bullets to bounce off of water, which creates a significant risk for anybody or anything.

You also run the risk of shooting a threatened species of turtle, which may result in significant penalties.

Closing Remarks

The majority of a turtle’s basic requirements may be satisfied by ponds located across both freshwater and saltwater habitats. As a result of the abundant food and cover that they provide, turtles find these environments to be ideal places to call home.

Turtles may often be located on rocks or along shorelines, both of which provide easy escape routes in the event that they are in danger. The majority of their food consists of dead marine organisms, bugs, and aquatic plants.

Turtles may be a perfect complement to your pond since they can assist in maintaining its cleanliness, have a negligible effect on the pond’s biological environment, and are a fascinating and one-of-a-kind addition.

However, you must also consider the implications of the drawbacks.

The introduction of a small number of turtles, such as sliders, painted turtles, or red-eared turtles, will bring about a number of positive changes to the environment of your pond, and they will also have very little if any no negative effect on the environment.

If you have any valuable plants, they might devour some of them, but other than that, they won’t do any damage.

Even though there is a wide variety in the forms and sizes of turtles, their overall objectives are consistent. Find something simple to eat, keep itself warm, and remain alive.

So don’t be alarmed the next time you’re wading through the water looking for a trophy Largemouth Bass and see a turtle sunning on the beach anxiously. It’s not there for the fish.

Think of it as an aquatic environment caregiver who is only concerned with preserving the health and beauty of the water.

About Author

Muntaseer Rahman started keeping pet turtles back in 2013. He also owns the largest Turtle & Tortoise Facebook community in Bangladesh. These days he is mostly active on Facebook.


This site is owned and operated by Muntaseer Rahman. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies.