DIY Turtle Basking Area : 4 Methods (Steps With Pictures)

DIY Turtle Basking Area

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

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Basking area is a must for keeping aquatic turtles like Red Eared Sliders, Painted Turtle, etc. However, the price of such basking area can get very high, especially if you are choosing a large basking area. But price shouldn’t be an issue if you are a creative turtle owner and planning to make your own DIY turtle basking area.

Creating a DIY turtle basking area is a great way to provide a comfortable and safe space for your pet turtle to dry off and soak up some UV rays.

In this article, I am going to show you 4 types of DIY turtle basking area:

  1. Above the tank basking platform
  2. Hanging basking platform
  3. Basking area for turtle pond
  4. Floating basking area for turtles

You can make whichever one you prefer most!

Also, don’t forget to email me and let me know how the project went! Do take some pictures of your DIY turtle basking area and email them to me for featuring in this post!

DIY Above Tank Basking Area For Turtles (Method #1)

Supplies you will need:

  1. Plastic Bin
  2. Extra piece of plastic
  3. Electric Cable ties

Some optional supplements you may need:

  1. Jute Coaster
  2. Artificial plants or money plants
  3. Pebble stone

Tools you will need:

  1. Pair of scissors
  2. Carpet cutter or Razor Blade
  3. Soldering Iron or Mini hand drill machine
  4. Glue gun
  5. Binding Tape
  6. Marker pen
  7. Scale

Step 1: Cutting Out the bin using the razor blade

Use a marker pen to mark the portion of the plastic bin that needed to cut.

By using the razor blade, cut out a hole where the turtle can go up to bask where the ramp is. This hole should be at least a couple inches wider than your turtle shell, so they have plenty of space to get up there. The hole also needs to be taller than your turtle height. You can make it any size you want. Make sure that the turtle won’t get stuck in the hole.

After cutting out the front part of the opening, at this point your bin should look like this. The edge should be a bit cleaner. Again, the edge could be covered with any decorations or binding tape if you want to.

Step 2: Preparing the ramp area

The size of the ramp has to be corresponded to the size of the hole you cut in the bin so that you can attach it perfectly with the main basking bin. The piece you cut off from the main bin could be used as measurement of the ramp. The additional part needs to be a little bit smaller by side than the removed piece so that it can be fitted as the ramp.

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Also, the additional part is going to be longer so it will extend into the tank water which serves as the ramp. Mark the area on the extra piece of plastic and cut off the ramp according to measurements.

Step 3: Drilling holes onto both pieces

Now using a soldering iron as a mini hand electric drill machine or anything that you can use, drill holes onto both the main bin body and the ramp part so they could be tied together.

Step 4: cable tie the ramp area to the main bin body

Using cable ties, tie both parts together. Cut the excess part of the tie underneath the basing bin.

Step 5: bending the ramp platform

Bend the ramp platform a little lower so that it has a bit of an angle going into the tank water. Also, the joint partition could be heated up so the area bends more permanently. Bind the ramp area with binding tape, in case you want to give it a cleaner look.

Step 6: Stabilizing the ramp area

Now at this point the ramp platform is quite feeble so to stabilize the platform, drill two holes on the upper part in the main bin and two holes in the ramp area so they could be cable tied easily.

Like this picture, make a chain of cable ties. It became a suspension chain of cable ties which prevented the ramp area from bending any far and also balanced the ramp with a bin to hold the weight of the turtle.

Step 7: Attaching the pebble stones with hot glue

To add some grip to the ramp area, take some of the pebble stones and attach it to the basking ramp area using hot glue.

Step 8: The final setup (top view side view pic)

After putting some stones and indoor plants on the main bin, this is the final look of a DIY basking area for turtles, using a plastic bin and a few cable ties. This DIY is very easy and super cheap to create and is perfect for all kinds of basking turtles. You can put any rock or any coaster over there for your turtle to sit on if it wants to.

This above tank basking area is also known as turtle topper. You can maximize the amount of swimming space you have for your turtle by using an above tank basking area.

DIY Hanging Basking Area For Turtles (Method #2)

Supplies you will need:

  1. Big Plastic Bin as aquarium
  2. Medium size plastic bin
  3. Cable ties
  4. Reptile Carpet

Tools you will need:

  1. Pair of scissors
  2. Snap-off blade knife
  3. Soldering iron
  4. Glue gun
  5. Marker pen
  6. Scale

Step 1: cutting out the medium size plastic bin using snap-off blade knife

Use a marker to mark the portion that needed to be cut. Cute the lines carefully. Clean the edge of the box. Make sure the edge of the box is smooth.

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Step 2: creating the ramp platform

 Remove the hard part of the portion of the box that was cut out. It will be use as ramp platform.

Step 3: drilling holes onto both pieces

Align the basking bin and ramp part and mark them so they could be tied symmetrically.

Using soldering iron or puncher, make a hole to the marked part onto both pieces.

Step 4: cable tie the ramp area to the main body

Use a cable tie to connect the two detached pieces. Cut the excess part of the cable. Make sure it is sturdy.

Step 5: Preparing the reptile carpet for the ramp platform

Measure the reptile carpet and make a mark so that it will go to the main aquarium. As the ramp goes into the water and the turtle can come out onto this. Rough Cut on the reptile carpet with the blade knife carefully according the measurement.

Step 6: Attaching the reptile carpet using hot glue

Using a hot glue gun, glue the carpet neatly from the base to the dock.

Step 7: Adjusting the ramp platform to the main aquarium

Adjust the ramp platform bin to the big plastic bin which is considered to be the aquarium. To stabilize the ramp area, you can put a big stone or brick underneath the ramp platform. Make sure that the turtle will be able to support itself on that basking platform. Make it to the right height according to how you want it and it won’t be flimsy so that the turtle won’t sink if it’s too heavy.

Step 8: The final setup

Fill the aquarium with water and you can add some plants or stones inside the tank for your baby turtle if you want to. Don’t fill the aquarium all the way up to the basking area, because your turtle needs a place to come out of the water for basking.

This hanging basking platform is easy to clean. Also, this basking area is easy to insert and remove. The most positive part is, the hanging basking platform doesn’t take up space outside the aquarium.

DIY Turtle Basking Area For Pond (Method #3)

Supplies You’ll need:

  1. Styrofoam
  2. Silicon glue
  3. Sharp knife or razor blades
  4. White sand
  5. Hand gloves
  6. Lighter
  7. Suction cup
  8. Rope

Some optional supplies you may need:

  1. Reptile carpet
  2. Assorted smooth rocks
  3. Money plants or indoor aquarium item

Step 1: cutting out the Styrofoam according to desired size and pieces

Take your sheet of Styrofoam and cut it according to your desired size and pieces using a sharp blade.

Step 2: attaching the Styrofoam pieces using silicone glue

Put the Styrofoam pieces over one another and stick them together with the help of silicon glue.

Step 3: peeling off all labels on the Styrofoam

Now peel off all labels on the Styrofoam. Make sure the sticky coating isn’t left behind. When cutting your Styrofoam, be careful not to bend the blade, or it will cut messily. Face the uncut edge of the sheet out toward where your turtles are. Make sure it is on a slant, so the turtles can climb up.

Step 4: making the platform smoother using a lighter

After peeling, to make the glued areas smoother, slightly heat up the area using a lighter from a distance. There should be a minimum temperature because direct high heat will only melt the Styrofoam. You must be very careful otherwise you can skip this step to avoid any risk.

Step 5: glue white sand all over the Styrofoam platform to cover up the Styrofoam

To restrain your turtles from chewing on or eating the Styrofoam platform, glue the whole platform and put on white sand all over the Styrofoam body. Thus, the basking platform becomes more natural.

Step 6: gluing artificial plants on top of the basking platform for decoration

Using low temperature glue, you can attach a plant, smooth rocks, or whatever you want to put on to cover up the Styrofoam, on top of the platform. Make sure it will be comfortable for your turtles.

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Step 7: cutting out the reptile carpet to place over the Styrofoam platform

Now take your reptile carpet, cut it according to the size and design you want to place over the basking platform.

Step 8: attaching the reptile carpet using glue

Put the reptile carpet and glue it in place. It would further discourage your turtle from biting or chewing on the Styrofoam underneath.

Step 9: preparing anchor using rope

Take a piece of rope compared to your indoor pond size. Then attach one side of the rope underneath the Styrofoam basking platform and it’s ready to be anchored. The anchor is to keep the basking platform from moving around and stay in a safe position on the pond.

Step 10: attaching the anchor to the indoor pond with suction cup

Bind the other part or the rope with a suction cup. Now is the finale you’ve all been waiting for! Carefully lift up your new dock, and place it in your indoor pond where you would like it to sit snugly.

Step 11: the final setup (top view & side view)

After putting some Assorted smooth stones and indoor plants on the main indoor pond, this is the final look of a DIY turtle basking area for the pond, using Styrofoam and glue. Basically, it looks like a miniature deserted island for the turtles. It’s a cute and low maintenance basking platform for indoor ponds.

DIY Floating Turtle Basking Area (Method #4)

Supplies You’ll need:

  1. Bamboo sticks
  2. Suction cups
  3. Binding Rope
  4. Hot Glue gun or Silicon glue
  5. Indoor turtle tank/ Aquarium

Step 1: Preparing the bamboo sticks on perfect size

Take some light weight bamboo sticks that float in water. Cut and adjust the size of the bamboo sticks based on your turtle tank. Make sure the bamboo sticks are smooth and in good shape so the turtle won’t get stuck in any gaps. Clean the bamboo sticks thoroughly before putting on the tank.

Step 2: Binding the bamboo sticks together using small rope

By using small ropes, bind all the bamboo sticks together tightly in a row. The design looks like a bamboo raft.

Step 3: glue the binding area of the bamboo raft

To make the bamboo raft even more sturdy, put some hot glue on the back side of the area where the bamboo sticks are tied together with rope. Let it cool down.

Step 4:  place the bamboo raft on turtle tank

Now you can simply just place the prepared bamboo raft on the tank and let it float in water. The turtle can crawl onto the floating platform when they need to bask. The platform is not very heavy so it will float in the water.

Step 5: Attaching suction cups to the bamboo raft and plugged it to the tank

In case the turtle would have a bit difficulty crawling onto the platform because it will always move, for that reason use a pair of suction cups and attached them to the bamboo raft and plugged it to the right side of the tank. Do not fill the tank full with water so the basking platform is still inside the tank.

You don’t have to worry about your turtle jumping out from the platform. You can make sure that the turtle will be able to support itself on the basking platform staying inside the tank.

Step 6: the final setup (top view & side view)

After putting some stones and indoor plants on the main tank, this is the final look of a DIY floating turtle dock, using some bamboo sticks and ropes. Basically, it is a miniature bamboo raft. It looks more natural than any other indoor basking platform. It’s very easy to make and Turtles can easily crawl up to this basking platform.

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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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