How Deep Should A Turtle Pond Be?

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

The addition of a turtle pond to a backyard may transform it from a boring, ordinary space into a fun, unique oasis. A turtle pond that has been thoughtfully designed and precisely constructed may give years of entertainment for you and your turtle pets, while also adding a lovely natural aspect.

If you want to keep one 5-inch turtle in your pond, you’ll need a space that’s at least 2 feet deep, 6.5 feet long, and 4 feet wide. These dimensions must be modified as necessary for the specific turtles involved in the pond.

The majority of turtles will eventually outgrow a tiny pond and want a more sizable environment. When initially getting a turtle, this is important information to have. The true turtle fan knows this, and he or she works to meet the turtle’s long-term requirements.

The average size of a turtle pond, as well as instructions for building a basic pond, are included in this article. Come on, then, and let’s get right to it.

What Should Be The Depth Of a Turtle Pond?

The turtle pond’s depth is determined by a number of different criteria. For example, the pond’s length and breadth, the number of turtles that will be maintained there, and the species of turtles that will be kept there.

Before beginning construction on the pond, it is necessary to first determine its size. According to a general rule of thumb, there should be 10 liters of water for every square inch of the turtle’s shell.

Follow this straightforward method to figure out how much of a pit you need to dig: length multiplied by breadth multiplied by depth, all measured in feet, equals volume measured in gallons.

Therefore, the dimensions of a pond should be roughly 6.5 feet in length, 4 feet in width, and 2 feet in depth in order to contain up to 50 gallons of water, which is sufficient for housing one turtle measuring 5 inches in length.

However, the pond should not have a consistent depth across its whole circumference, rather, it should have a variety of depths.

For example, the land immediately next to it should have a gentle slope so that it is easy to enter and exit the structure whenever necessary.

Because the turtle will become bigger over time, the pond has to be at least three to four feet deep at its maximum depth.

This is necessary in order to accommodate the animal’s future size. Although this is dependent entirely on the particular kind of turtle.

Because it is exposed to the light for a shorter amount of time than the deeper end of the body of water, the shallower half of the body of water will have a temperature that is distinct from that of the deeper end.

There have to be locations that are just a few inches deep for the aim of everyday resting and thawing.

The turtles will be able to rest while still being able to breathe normally thanks to this mechanism, which will enable them to keep their bodies submerged while exposing their heads.

Keep in mind that a bromating turtle requires at least a foot of water that isn’t frozen at the bottom of the pond.

So if you live in a colder climate and want to keep your turtles outside all year, you’ll need to supply them with a place that’s at least 3 feet deep and 18 inches beneath the frost line.

For your ease, I have prepared a table below with the measurements of the pond for one turtle depending on the species size.

Species of TurtlesMaximum Size of the Adult TurtleDepth of the Pond (feet)Length of the Pond (feet)Width of the Pond (feet)
Painted Turtles7 inches274
Box Turtles  8 inches2.37.54.6
Common Map Turtles10 inches2.585
Red-eared Slider12 inches2.68.65.2
Yellow-bellied Slider13 inches2.78.85.4
Common Snapping Turtle14-19 inches3106

As you can see, the depth of the pond is affected by differences of just a few inches in size. If you want to maintain smaller turtle species, such as painter, box, or red-eared sliders, then a depth of two to two and a half feet will be sufficient.

It is recommended to dig a pond that is between three and four feet deep since the depth will not be uniform throughout the whole structure and because sand, mud, a brumation area, and aquatic plants will all occupy certain space beneath the water’s surface.

However, the number of turtles you keep in the pond is a big factor to consider to determine  the length, width, and volume of water in the pond.

Outdoor turtle pond setup guide infographic

For a printable version of this infographic, click here!

How To Build A Simple Turtle Pond?

The creation of an outdoor pond for pet turtles is the stuff of dreams for those who are passionate about turtles, new turtle owners should give this idea some serious thought. To build a turtle pond you will need

  1. String
  2. pond liner made of plastic
  3. shovel
  4. Sand
  5. Fieldstones
  6. A covering of netting
  7. Logs
  8. Hose
  9. Vegetation
  10. Turtles

Once the proportions have been determined, building a turtle pond is a very quick and simple project that can be completed in just ten straightforward stages. For example,

1. Pick a Preferable Spot

Choose a spot in your backyard after giving it great consideration. The ideal location for constructing a turtle pond is one that receives a majority of its sunlight indirectly but also has a portion that is bathed in direct sunshine.

Check to see that the location of the pond will not be one where it will be susceptible to having leaves or another material blown into it.

2. Determine the optimal dimensions

Determine the dimensions that you want your pond to have. When calculating the size, the rule of thumb, as well as the formula, should be employed, as was just discussed above.

The water content of one square inch of turtle shell should be equal to ten gallons.

3. Use string to make marks on your measurements.

A thread that is the length of the pond’s perimeter should be used to measure out an area of the yard.

4. Dig a Hole for the Pond

You should dig the pond to a depth of between three and four feet in the location that you have chosen.

According to Own the Yard, it is preferable to have a gradual slope from shallow to deep on one side of the pond, with the shallower side facing the sun.

5. Place a plastic liner inside

Place the plastic liner over the hole to cover it. Be careful to cut the liner so that there is at least a foot of additional space around the perimeter of the pond.

This will guarantee that any water that overflows from the pond will not soak into the ground. Make use of the leftover soil to secure the liner all around the perimeter of the edge.

6. Put in some Sand

Pouring sand at the bottom of the liner will shield it from damage and provide the turtle with a cushioned surface it may stand on or dig into. Additionally, this will help to anchor the plants.

7. Arrange the Stones in the Field

Place the field stones all the way around the pond’s edge, being sure to preserve a height of at least 18 inches.

The presence of this barrier will guarantee that the turtle does not leave the pond.

8. Include Stones, Plants, and Logs

Put in a few potted plants, some logs, and some stones in the pond. this will provide the turtle with a place to both hide and bask, two habits that are essential to the maintenance of turtle health.

Verify that any plant life present is of the aquatic kind and does not belong to an invasive plant.

9. Add Water to the Pond

Water should be poured from the hose into the pond. It is not necessary to fill the pond with water all the way to the very top.

To check if the filtration system is functioning well, you should turn it on.

10. Install a Netting Surrounding the Pond

The turtles will be safer within the pond with the netting cover, but you’ll still be able to get to the water easily.


Maintaining turtles will take more labor and attention than keeping fish such as goldfish and koi.

Turtles are constantly searching for something better and have a tendency to roam and leave the beautiful pond you just built if it is not suitable for them.

Because of this, it is essential to build a pond with precise measurements of the depth, and spaces for basking, hiding, bromating, roaming, and other activities.

If you want to protect turtles from being eaten by other animals, the easiest method to do it is to put them in an elevated structure and construct a turtle pond made of bricks or surround it with a net or walls with protruding rocks that prohibit them from fleeing.

It is essential that turtle ponds provide a sufficient number of sunny spots for the animals to relax.

And, perhaps most crucially, certain aquatic plants may act as both a source of food and a filter for the water while also providing a place to hide.

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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