21 DIY Turtle Tank Ideas For Happy Turtles [Budget-Friendly]

21 DIY Turtle Tank Ideas For Happy Turtles

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

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You can start your DIY adventure as we reveal the best DIY Turtle Tank Ideas for Healthy Turtles [On a Budget]. You’re going to enter a world of reasonably priced innovation if you’re keen to give your pet turtles a happy home without emptying your pocketbook.

Making a turtle aquarium on a tight budget requires planning. The general guideline is to use a big container and a base of sand and gravel to start. PVC pipes may be used to build comfortable and climbing-friendly basking platforms. To build a balanced environment without breaking the bank, add aquatic plants, a filter, and a heat light.

This article is your go-to resource for designing a captivating turtle tank that guarantees the comfort of your budget while also ensuring the happiness of your turtles. Learn creative setup techniques for the substrate, basking spots, hiding places, and enriching decorations.

Discover how to create a successful turtle enclosure that is affordable while still fostering the well-being of your adorable aquatic friends.

21 DIY Turtle Tank Ideas

1. Foam Box Turtle Tank

MaterialsStyrofoam, glue, cutter, plants, stone, UV light, etc.
Difficulty levelModerate
Cost$20 to $50

This turtle tank idea is one of the most budget-friendly tanks that you can create with readily available home supplies. Cut styrofoam according to the size of the side wall of the tank and cute smaller pieces of pebble size.

Glue them together and paint them gray to give a pebble stone background. Cute and glue smaller pieces of foam into stacks and add a flat piece to make a resting spot. Lastly, add some plants and a lamp for basking.

2. Aquatic Oasis Terrarium

MaterialsLarge plastic box, water filter, terrarium ground (coral pieces, shells), water, bright green aquatic plants, floating island (with magnets), mini waterfall setup (plant, container with holes, plastic tube).
Difficulty levelModerate
Cost$50 – $70

Take a large plastic box and use it as the foundation for the terrarium. To preserve the quality of the water, start by placing a water filter. As a substrate, layer the bottom with eye-catching coral fragments and shells.

Water, a necessary ingredient for turtles, should be included. Include lush, green vegetation and provide climbing areas, such as a floating island kept in place by magnets.

3. Economical Turtle Habitat: DIY Tank Setup Guide

MaterialsWater filter, floating dock, flat platform, plant, container, glass tank.
Difficulty levelmoderate
Cost $50 – $100

Start by installing a simple water filter to guarantee that the water in the tank is clean if you want to recreate the low-cost turtle tank setup that is seen in the video. Use black fish sand as the ground of the terrarium for both an attractive and functional addition to the environment.

The water in the tank is essential for the turtles’ survival. Aquatic plants that are both visually appealing and beneficial to turtles should be included. Use suction cups and a floating flat surface to build a movable island suitable for lounging and basking. Integrate a water filter and tubing made of polypropylene.

4. Turtle Tub For Starters

MaterialsTerrapin tank, built-in platform, ramp, non-slip strip, docking ramp area, basking platform, feeding trough, breeding hibernation area, swimming area, access ramp, pebbles, lamp, etc.
Difficulty levelEasy
Cost$40 to $70

This huge plastic container is a great way to get started in the turtle-keeping hobby. The prefabricated tub has 5 distinct zones, so your turtle has plenty of room to swim, bask in the light, eat, and even hibernate. That would work well as a quarantine tank for turtles. the DIY part for this tank would be the decorations and your own introduced functionality of the tub.

5. Aquascape Oasis

MaterialsRocks, floating plants, aquarium accessories, lamps, etc.
Difficulty levelModerate
Cost $25 – $45

Through the use of plants and aquascaping, you may create a habitat for aquatic turtles that is both attractive and useful. Floating plants provide cover in the water, while rocks provide a pleasant location for sunbathing. This arrangement is meant to seem like a pond that is outside, complete with growing plants.

6. Ahoy, Turtle Haven

MaterialsAquarium tank, floating basking dock, heat lamp, themed decorations, goldfish
Difficulty levelEasy
Cost$150 – $200

Consider coming up with imaginative themes for your turtle tank, like this Pirate Turtle Aquarium, for example. Take note of the floating basking dock and the heat light that is located on one side.

This provides your turtle with more area to swim underneath. The possibility that the goldfish decorations are food for the turtles rather than pets adds a fascinating dimension to the whole arrangement.

7. Natural Turtle Retreat

MaterialsLarge 40-gallon turtle tank, divider, basking ramps, docks, external canister filter
Difficulty leveleasy
Cost$100 to $150

Take into consideration a roomy turtle tank arrangement of 40 gallons, which may be split in half to provide secure housing for two turtles. This guarantees that each swimmer has their own place for swimming, separate ramps and docks for lounging in the sun, and protection from unintentional injury.

The purity of the water may be efficiently preserved by using an external canister filter. It is important to note that the lack of substrate helps to keep the water clear.

8. Multi-Turtle Oasis

MaterialsPebbles, tank, plants, basking dock, lamp, dual filter, etc.
Difficulty levelEasy
Cost$70 to $120

A huge tank, such as the large turtle aquarium made for two or more turtles, is an ideal environment for the coexistence of several turtles.

The water quality is improved by the dual filtration system, which has intakes on both sides of the tank. The centrally located basking dock makes it simple to get in and out of the water.

9. Colorful Turtle Tank

MaterialsColorful stones, yellow sand, plastic plants, PVC hiding place, Basking spot
Difficulty levelEasy
Cost$30 to $50

Lay down colorful stones on half of the tank ground and fill in the other half with yellow sand. Place some PVC hiding spots and decorative plastic plants to add more color. Add the basking dock with suction cups followed by the addition of a filter for pure water. Dont forget to add water and the lamp and you’re done.

10. Baby Turtle Tank

MaterialsA glass tank, coconut coir, organic soil, sand, aquatic plants, rocks, driftwood, UVB lighting, heating, filtration system, water heater, and decor.
Difficulty levelModerate
Cost$150 to $200

The video is an unfolding how-to guide for providing the best possible conditions for hatchling turtles. Substrate, often a mixture of coconut coir or organic soil and sand, is placed in a large glass tank first.

Water plants provide aesthetic value and provide hiding spots, while a basking area made of rocks or driftwood stimulates exercise via climbing and sunbathing.

A powerful filtration system and water heater complement the included UVB lighting and warmth. The welfare of the turtles is ensured by the decor and routine upkeep.

11. Optimized Space Large Turtle Tank

MaterialsTank, sand, hollow log, plants, filters, basking dock, etc.
Difficulty levelModerate
Cost$100 to $150

This is one easy simple tank to put up for your favorite turtle buddy. First, install a 75-gallon tank and fill the base with sand and the tank half with water. Add a sturdy filtration system and a hidden light for your turtles.

For making it more homely add a hollow log for hiding, plants, small fish, branch, etc. install an above-tank basking dock for basking and resting. Dont forget to set up the most important UV lamp and you’re good to go!

12. Glassy Turtle Tank

MaterialsA glass tank, ramp, plastic grass, stones, lamp, etc.
Difficulty leveleasy

This video demonstrated how to make your customized turtle tank from a store. But the step-by-step procedure will help you to put up a turtle tank by yourself. To begin with, you will require gathering the glass walls and a platform for basking and gluing them together.

Next, you can add the substrate of your choice, in this instance, plastic grass and stone stones were used. Add a ramp for your turtle to climb followed by an addition of water and a lamp over the tank and you are done!

13. Recycle Fridge Turtle Tank 

MaterialsBroken fridge, tiles, filter, substrate, sand, etc.
Difficulty levelModerate
Cost$20 to $40

If you by chance have a broken fridge lying around and also looking for a cheap alternative to upgrade your turtle tank then this is the perfect opportunity for you. This video shows an amazing way to transform your broken fridge into a turtle tank.

First, the basking spot is separated by a tile and the base was covered with organic soil. Some ferns and local plants were planted in the soil and secured with stones of different sizes and hues. A large stone was placed to clime to the basking area. You can add a filter for keeping the water clean and clear.

14. Plastic Bin Turtle Tank

MaterialsPlastic bin, brick, tiles, empty pot, large stone, sticks, heat lamp, etc.
Difficulty levelEasy
Cost$20 to $30

This is one of the easiest, cheapest, and simple, DIY turtle tanks you can recreate. Most of the items used here are easily available in your surroundings like sticks, stones, tiles bricks, etc. you will require to buy a plastic bin or you can also use one if you have one lying around unused. Set up the bricks, tiles, empty pot, and heat lamp, and fill up the bin with water. This could also be a fun DIY project to do with your children!

15. Aquaturtle Paradise

MaterialsA glass tank, black paint, pool sand, filter, plants, floating dock, heat lamp, etc
Difficulty levelModerate
Cost$50 to $70

To recreate this tank for your baby turtles, first, you’ll need to paint one side of your tank black to give that classy black look.

Next, you can add pool sand commercially available for giving a contrasting visual of the white sand with the background. lastly, add some plants and a floating basking dock for your baby turtles to hide and rest.

16. Australian Fresh Water Turtle Tank

MaterialsA glass tank, sand, logs, filter, plants, etc.
Difficulty levelEasy
Cost$100 to $150

Start with washing the sand substrate for clean, pristine water in your tank.  Add medium-sized pebbles around the ground of the tank and set up a large branch for your turtle to go under and above for hiding and resting.

You must install a filter to keep the water clean. Add some crushed limestone with the substrate to maintain the pH of the water and the health of your turtles. Place the UV lamp in the direction of your branch where your turtle can bask.

17. Synthetic Serenity

MaterialsWater pump, glass tank, plastic bridge, plant, hooks,  etc.
Difficulty levelEasy
Cost$20 to $30

To create this tank first you’ll need to secure the pump in position and the plastic bridge at the height of your water surface. Gently place other plastic decorations and add water.

This idea is pretty simple and cheap as the name of the video suggests but keep in mind that you will require a spotlight and UV light to ensure the health of your turtles.

18. Stinkppot Turtle Tank

MaterialsRiverwood, pool filter sand, filter, dry leaves, plants, coconut pot, lighting source, snails, etc.
Difficulty levelModerate
Cost$150 – $200

This is a beautiful 30-gallon tank for your stinkpot turtle that you can put up by following just a simple step-by-step guideline! This video starts with gluing a large river wood to the surface of the tank so that it doesn’t fall.

Add pool filter sand as a substrate. Place large rocks around the tank and install a filter. You can add soaked dry leaves and add into the substrate.

The unique feature of this tank is that it adds coconut plant pots and inserts them into the holes of the Riverwood where different edible plants were planted. Some snails were also added for nutrition.

19. Recycled Turtle Haven

MaterialsRocks, paver stone, tile, filter, flower decoration, UV lamp.
Difficulty levelEasy
Cost$10 to $50

Here’s another DIY turtle tank idea for your baby turtles you can make within budget whether newly bought or recycled! You can use a plastic tub and cover the bottom with rocks and add a paver stone on one side.

Place a tile inclined to the stone as a ramp for climbing. Add a pink flower decoration followed by a filter for clean water. Remember to add a UV lamp and you’re done!

20. Plastic Aqua Turtlescape

MaterialsPlastic bin, sand, paver stones, duckweeds, lamp, etc
Difficulty levelEasy
Cost$25 to $30

This is another video using a plastic bin instead of a glass tank which significantly reduces your cost and makes it super budget-friendly! Start by adding pool filter sand to your plastic bin and use paver stones to make the basking dock, over which you will install your UV lamp.

Make sure you stack them enough high to make a hideaway under. Add some more paver stones in the bin and install a filter. You can add some duckweed and money plant for a natural look.

21. Budget Aqua Sanctuary

MaterialsShallow plastic bin, air pumps, pond rocks, paver stone, driftwood
Difficulty levelModerate
Cost$30 to $80

Start by washing the pond rocks and laying them on the plastic bin surface, and place a paver stone on one side. Place a small driftwood and plastic plant and secure them in the rocks. Add the pump, filter, and UV lamp carefully and you’re done!

Before You Go…

You’ve taken the first steps toward making a beautiful and inexpensive home for your turtles by deciding to build one yourself. These clever methods demonstrate that a luxurious environment may be provided without breaking the bank.

As you enjoy seeing your turtles flourish in their new habitat, you may be interested in reading our article, “18 DIY Ideas For An Outdoor Turtle Habitat [Turtle Paradise]” It’s a goldmine of information that will make your turtle-keeping experience that much better.

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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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