Can Red Eared Sliders Live With Other Turtles?

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

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I can understand your craze to collect different turtle species. But managing separate tanks with a busy schedule seems impossible. So, the idea of building a community habitat sounds fun. For example, raising red eared sliders with other turtles.

Red eared sliders prefer solitude. But introducing the turtles with a tank mate does not always go south as long as the pair is compatible. Fulfilling both species’ care sheet requirements is the key to success here. However, do not force the pets to live together if they find it stressful. 

Will the red eared sliders live with their relatives? What is the road to success for housing multiple turtles in the same pen? Find the answers below! 

Can You House Red Eared Sliders With Other Turtles? 

Honestly speaking, red eared sliders can be quite aggressive when around companions. The main reason behind the hostile behavior is the territorial instinct of the species. 

But yes, raising red eared sliders with other species is possible. For example, map turtles, painted turtles, musk turtles, mud turtles, and cooters are potential tank mates for red eared sliders. 

Putting two different species together comes with several difficulties. You need to match the environmental and lifestyle requirements. Such as temperature range, humidity percentage, food habits, etc. Otherwise, the tank habitats will be at each other’s athroats. 

Baby Red Eared Sliders

Can Red Eared Sliders Live With Each Other? 

If you think your red eared slider feels lonely, it is all in your head. It is because the species prefer solitary and detached life. 

Usually, red eared sliders have a temperament and can not stand any companion. The fear of losing territory makes the turtles fight each other.

But, yes. You can make the red eared sliders live with other sliders if you know the tricks.

Experts believe the quarrel or hostile behavior in the red eared sliders can be eliminated by giving them enough space and food. Also, selecting suitable tank mates can help in resolving the fights. 

Sometimes two red eared sliders just get along without any fight. But remember. The dynamics between the tank companions can change at any time. It takes the turtles a second to snap out of the friend zone and become the enemy. 

See also  How Does Red Eared Slider Mate?

Pros & Cons Of Housing Multiple Red Eared Sliders Together

Raising red eared sliders with other turtles has both its benefits and drawbacks. Allow me to pinpoint both sides. 


  • Less time consuming 
  • Budget saving 


  • Frequent fights 
  • More physical injuries 
  • Risk of interbreeding 
  • Mating aggression in the males
  • Exposure to more illnesses
  • Difficult care sheet management 

Weigh both the pros and cons before moving forward with your decision. 

How To Raise Red Eared Sliders With Other Turtles?

So, keeping the red eared sliders with other turtles is not impossible, but difficult indeed. But with some major consideration, you can actually make the pets get along. For example,

1. Get A Spacious Enclosure

I have already mentioned several times that red eared sliders have territorial issues. So, the pets do not want other turtles to move into their space. But if you manage a bigger pen, there will be less conflicts.

Generally, a red eared slider grows 7 – 12 inches, and sometimes the carapace length reaches 16 inches. No wonder why the species requires a larger habitat.

Ideally, the tank length should be 4 – 5 times the carapace size of the turtle. Likewise, the width should be 2 – 3 times, and the depth needs to be 1.5 – 2 times the length. These are the bare minimum measurements for the species, and you can aim for a bigger enclosure.

Does the math seem complex? Let me simplify it for you.

As per a rule of thumb, 10 gallons for each inch of the turtle will work. It means a 50-gallon tank is perfect for a 5 inches red eared slider.

Now, if you plan to add another turtle to the habitat, the tank size must increase accordingly. The basic calculation will be,

Minimum Tank Size = 10 gallons X red eared slider carapace length in inches + 5 gallons X carapace length of the additional turtle in inch

Assume you have a red eared slider of 10 inches, and you want to add a 10 inch Cooter to the habitat. So, you need an aquarium of a minimum of, (10 gallons X 10 inches) + (5 gallons X 10 inches) = `150 gallons.

Managing space for a 150-gallon tank indoors is a hassle. It is wiser to dig a pond in the yard to raise multiple adult turtles together. 

2. Be Careful About The Gender 

Well, the adult male turtles, including the red eared sliders, are quite aggressive. The males often get involved in fights for territory, social power, and sometimes for nothing. No wonder why the male turtles make the worst tank mates.

So what can you do? Do not house two adult male red eared sliders or one adult male slider with any other male species.

See also  Can A Painted Turtle Live With A Red Eared Slider?

However, you may want to pair the adult male red eared slider with an adult female slider for breeding. Even in that case, you must ensure sufficient space and food for the couple. Also, adding more females for each male is suggested for successful copulation and no mate-induced injuries.

Experts discourage interbreeding red eared sliders with other species. It risks the genetic purity of both breeds, and the babies may be born with physical abnormalities. Besides, the care sheet may look complex to the keepers to pull off.

Compared to the male turtles in general, the female turtles and hatchlings are calmer. Hence, raising a female red eared slider with any other female species or babies will not be a problem. You can even keep hatchings from different species together too.

Hey! Do you know how to determine the gender of a red eared slider?

Generally, the male red sliders are smaller (7 – 9 inches) and have larger front claws. Besides, their plastron is of concave shape, and their tails are thicker. You can identify the gender of almost any turtle species by observing these features.

Unfortunately, gender determination is not possible for baby turtles. You need to wait until the hatchlings grow adult.

3. Mind The Size Of The Slider

Sometimes the big turtles can bully the little ones. It is also true for any adult strong red eared sliders and the weak ones.

Generally, the large turtles take advantage of their size and strength to snatch food from the weaks. Also, they may chase the smaller turtles away from their territory. Turtle bullying behavior also includes kicking, nipping, biting, finning, etc.

Therefore, do not house large red eared sliders with smaller turtles. Again, some species are stronger than the rest, for example, snapping turtles. So they may end up picking on others. 

Matching the size and strength compatibility of the turtles is always encouraged when selecting tankmates.

Find out other ways to put an end to turtle bullying from this article.

How Long Can Red Eared Sliders Be Underwater

4. Compare The Lifestyle

Turtles in the same tank always compete for survival, even when there are adequate resources. That is why experts advise putting turtles with contrasting lifestyles in a single enclosure.

For example, red eared sliders are avid baskers. They will spend at least a few hours under the sunlight or basking light. So if you pair another turtle species with the same keen for basking, it may not go well. Both the turtles will fight over the dock.

See also  Red Eared Slider Shell Problems & How to Treat Them

But the problem goes away if you house a turtle species with the opposite lifestyle, say, mud turtles. These turtles love spending time at the tank bottom and barely come to bask. So, less quarreling over territory. Right?

Well, I am not saying red eared sliders can not live with painted turtles or other avid baskers. But in such cases, you must build large basking docks or several platforms. 

5. A Fool-Proof Care Guide

When you house two species, you must make a customized care sheet that satisfies both turtles.

The ideal water and basking temperature for red eared sliders are 75 – 85F and 85 – 95F, respectively. Again, the preferred air humidity for the species is around 70%.

So, the tank mate of these red eared sliders should be comfortable in this temperature range and humidity. Otherwise, they will fall sick.

Besides ensuring the temperature and humidity, focus on tank hygiene. A powerful water filter is necessary for aquatic species, especially when you house multiple turtles. Because the more pets, the more messy the water will be.

Here are the top canister filters available in the market from here.

6. Look At The Diet Chart!

Red eared sliders are omnivorous. So, they will eat almost anything.

Putting another omnivore in the enclosure has both advantages and disadvantages. For example, if the new turtle follows the same diet, you do not have to change the meal plans. But the same diet means there can be a fight over the food.

To resolve this issue, always provide sufficient food for all the habitants. You can feed the turtles in separate boxes so that the stronger ones do not take away meals by force.

Take a look at the diet plans of all red eared slider’s potential tank mates from the below links,

7. Health Care Facilities

Raising different species in the same pen can cause health hazards. So, you must keep an open eye for any abnormal behavior or symptoms of the turtles.

Consult the vet immediately if you notice anything serious in the pets. Besides, regular checkups and deworming sessions are mandatory for all tank members.

In most cases, the turtles suffer from scratches or fighting-induced injuries. Building visual barriers by adding plants to the enclosure might reduce the problem to an extent. However, separate the turtles immediately if you notice them bullying each other.

Before You Go

Get some bonus tips on turtle community habitat from the article below.

Can You Put Two Turtles In The Same House?

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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.


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