How to Make an Above Tank Basking Area for Turtles?

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

Sharing is caring!

Above Tank Basking Area is my favorite type of basking area for turtles. It is a special type of basking dock which sits at the top of the aquarium. These basking platforms do not take any space inside the aquarium, so the turtles get to enjoy the whole aquarium. Also, with above tank basking dock, your turtle can enjoy much more basking space. In this article, I’ll show you how to make an above tank basking area for turtles.

You can either buy an above tank basking area or build one yourself. In this article, I am going to show you two methods for building this basking area. Let’s get started.

Method 1: Plastic Bin Method

Things you’ll need:

  • A plastic bin
  • Sharp anti cutter
  • Wire hanger or coat hanger
  • Zip ties
  • Shelving liner (optional)


How to Make an Above Tank Basking Area for Turtles?
The screenshot is taken from this video
  • First, let’s talk about the plastic bin. The bin size should depend on your turtle. if you have an adult turtle, then you’ll need a relatively plastic bin for the bigger basking area. Also, keep in mind the width of your aquarium. You do not want your plastic bin to be much wider than the aquarium.
  • Now it’s time to cut the bin. ADULT SUPERVISION IS REQUIRED AT THIS STAGE. SO, IF YOU ARE NOT AN ADULT, SEEK SOMEONE’S HELP! You need to cut a doorway like you see in the “1” pic. Use a sharp knife or anti cutter to cut the plastic. Make sure the door has enough width so the turtle can go through it easily.
  • When you are cutting the bin for the doorway, cut some extra plastic along the bottom of the bin. It will help to create the ramp easily. Remove the plastic piece completely from the bin. Look at the “2” pic for idea.
  • Now you need to attach the plastic piece with the main bin like you see in the ‘3’ pic. All you need to do is drill some holes through the plastic piece and the bin where you want to attach the ramp. After drilling the holes, use the zip ties to attach the ramp with the bin.
  • This is the last stage. Drill two holes along the front side of the ramp and another two holes on the rim of the plastic bin. Make sure that the holes in the ramp and the holes on the bin rim are in the same line. Now take a piece of a wire hanger. Stick one end of it through a hole of the ramp and the other end through a hole on the rim. Twist both ends so the hanger doesn’t fall through. Do this for the second set of holes. If the instruction seems unclear, please have a look at the ‘4’ pic. I hope you get the idea. Congratulations, your above tank basking area is ready.
  • Though I’ve already said your above tank basking area is ready, there is still one thing left to do. You need to secure it on the aquarium. Most of us place our aquarium along one or two sides of the wall. If that’s the case for you, you can just place the basking area on one corner of your aquarium, and screw the side that is facing the wall. Just drill a couple of holes on that side and screw the basking area with the wall. It should be totally secured for your turtle. look at pic ‘5’ for idea.

Tips: If the ramp is too slippery for your turtle, you can use some shelving liner for additional grip. It will help your turtle to get on to the basking area.

Method 2: Egg Crate Method

Things you’ll need:

  • egg crate- like this one. A 4ft x 2t piece should be enough
  • pliers
  • zip ties
  • a piece of carpet (optional)


How to Make an Above Tank Basking Area for Turtles?
The screenshot is taken from this video
  • the egg crate that you’ll buy will come in 4×2 ft. sheets. So, you need to cut down pieces and attach them together to resemble a box. You’ll need pliers with sharp edges to cut down the egg crate. See pic ‘1’.
  • First, measure the width of your tank and cut down a piece so that it’ll fit perfectly on the aquarium. If you mess this up, then you need to start from 0 again. This is the most important piece. Depending on how big you want the basking area to be, cut down the piece according to that surface area. Cut a similar piece of egg crate to make the roof.
  • now, cut down 4 pieces of egg crate to build the walls. Use a height that you prefer. Not make it too high or too short. Also, you need to cut a door away on the front piece so that your turtle can enter the basking area easily. Make sure the width is enough for your turtle to go through easily. See pic ‘2’ for details.
  • Now it’s time to join all the pieces with the zip ties. Just use the zip ties to attach the pieces together to form a box-like shape. Make sure to place the piece with a doorway on the front.
  • Now you need to cut another piece of egg crate to use as the ramp. Make sure the width of the ramp is the same as the door. Now, attach the ramp at an inclined degree with the bottom part of the door. Make it so that the turtle can easily get onto the ramp and go inside the basking area. See pic ‘3’ for details.
  • Your above tank basking area is ready to roll. Place it carefully on the aquarium. The other end of the ramp should be submerged inside the water. I like to place a piece of carpet inside the basking area so my turtles are comfortable there.

NB: Many people often fear that the egg crate can melt in the heat of the UVB lamp or heat lamp. I didn’t face this issue. However, you can take a safety precaution. Just cut a small piece of the egg crate from the roof and place the bulb on top of it, so it is not facing any piece of egg crate directly. This should solve any potential problem. See pic ‘4’ for details.

Turtle Basking: Why, When, How? [Infographic]

If you want a printable version of this PDF, click here. Please link back to this source if you use the infographic on any other website!

Why do I love above tank basking area?

  • There are many types of basking areas. However, I think among all of them, above tank basking areas are the best! They are great because they don’t use any space inside the aquarium.
  • As these basking platforms sit on top of the aquarium, your turtle can swim and enjoy the entire aquarium. It is great for their health too.
  • As the basking dock sits on top of the aquarium, there is no restriction to its size. So, you can make it however big you want.
  • I think above tank basking area provides the best way for your turtle to bask. As it is placed on top of the aquarium, it always remains dry, which is crucial for a basking place. it is also easy to control the temperature in an above tank basking platform.
  • They are very easy to make. Even if you want to buy one, they don’t cost a fortune.

My favorite above tank basking area for sale:

I know making something instead of buying is exciting and can be very rewarding. However, many of us don’t want to spend a day making something which can be bought with very little money. I fall into the second category. So, if you are like me and want to get a readymade above tank basking area at a very cheap price, you should check out Penn Plax turtle topper basking platform.

I think Penn Plax turtle topper is one of the greatest basking platforms for turtles till now in the market. it has everything included a good basking area should have. You don’t need to worry about anything else.

Here are some of the key features of this amazing basking platform:

  • Your turtle gets to enjoy a more spacious and healthier basking area. Also, it eliminates all the swimming restrictions from the tank.
  • Made from high-quality durable plastic which makes it long-lasting and easy to clean.
  • The turtle topper is equipped with a hanging platform which functions as a resting platform for your turtles.
  • The docking ramp makes it very easy for your turtle to climb onto the basking area. It has step-like grips for the turtle to climb easily.
  • The plastic top has two ridges on both sides of it for installing the UVB lamp as well as the heat lamp. So, you don’t need to worry about setting up the light.
  • There is a grill on the top of the cover which can be opened easily. It gives easy access to your turtle. The grill also acts as ventilation by passing heat and air.

I have written a detailed review of this turtle topper, if you are interested you can check it here. Also, if you don’t want to waste any more second and want to get this amazing basking platform as soon as possible, then click here.

I hope you have got detailed instructions from this article on how to make an above tank basking area for turtles. Comment below if you are confused on any step. Also, share a pic your above tank basking area in the comment section below!

Happy turtle keeping!

Sharing is caring!

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.