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This part deals with the basics on how to set-up an indoor habitat that is found in a fish tank or an aquarium.

Most turtle owners would build outside pens such as ponds for their turtles. This is an excellent option if you have space, money, and the correct climate. However, some turtle owners do not really like to build ponds, especially if they do not own the property.

Many aquatic turtle owners like to keep their reeves turtle indoors and then use tanks specifically designed for fish. Some owners use large storage containers, while some may use small-sized wading pools for kids, some may even have their tanks custom-made to fit specific designs for their homes. Some owners may even have indoor ponds for their pet reeves turtle, they would only do this if they have both money and space.

There are a lot of things that you need to do when you build your pet a habitat. The upcoming parts would look at some important factors.

Tank Size, Shape, and Type

When you are buying your tank, the first thing that you need to keep in mind is the ability of the tank to hold water inside.

This may be an obvious and silly idea. However, some tanks are only designed for terrestrial reptiles and they might break if you fill them with too much water. If the tank breaks, it would make a huge mess. Make sure to purchase the tank that will hold water, such as a fish tank. If you want to use an old tank, make sure it will not leak.

Another important thing that you need to know is the size of the tank. If you have a good budget, you can get a tank that would be big enough for your turtle. It should be ten gallons of water equivalent to an inch of the turtle’s carapace, especially when it reaches the full size. This method will ensure that you will not buy a bigger tank in the near future.

If your purchased tank is too small for your pet Reeves Turtle, it would be very difficult to clean. The water would be dirty much faster, this, then, would become smelly and unhealthy. Aside from that, your pet will not have enough room to swim in a small tank, and if you have more than one pet, they might fight.

You should also consider the shape of the tank that you will select. A 20-gallon tank may be a good idea for your turtle when it is very young, however, it will not give enough vertical swimming room for your turtle if it likes deep water.

Fortunately, your Reeves turtle is a poor swimmer. It needs a shallower tank which is safer and much better.

You also need to consider the deepness of water inside the tank. Make sure that the turtle could flip itself upright when it flips upside down in the water. The ratio should be 1:1. If the turtle is already 5 inches wide, it should have a 5 inches water depth inside the tank. If your pet Reeves Turtle could not flip itself over, it might probably drown and die.

Land Area / Basking Area

A basking area is a dry platform wherein your Reeves Turtle could sun themselves. Or if they are staying indoors, you need to have a basking lamp handy.

This basking area could be a commercially made turtle dock; it could be a rock or even just a log. Whatever you choose it will be, it should be comfortable for your pet to fit on, very easy for your Reeves Turtle to climb on to, and high enough for your pet not to get wet.

You can use a shelf-type, floating basking place as one of the easiest basking area for your pet Reeves Turtle. This basking area looks like a rock but is made of plastic.

This kind of dock is fairly easy to use. It will automatically adjust to the water level that you will put and will not waste much swimming space for your pet Reeves Turtle. This would be a great help for your pet because it is a poor swimmer.

You could also use a log or rock. If you want to use these things that you will get from nature, you need to boil these things first to kill any harmful microorganism, germs, or algae. Aside from that, you should never use anything with sharp edges because your Reeves Turtle could hurt itself.

You can also put an above-tank basking area. It will let you fill your Reeves Turtle aquarium near the top, which would give your pet more space to swim. You can buy a ready – made or you can make one yourself. A Plexiglas, which is made of wood, has an egg – crate light diffuser.

Tank Covers

Most turtle owners like to use heat-proof metal as their tank covers to put on the top of their tanks. These screens are fairly inexpensive as well as very important because this protects your turtle from things such as glass from an exploded lamp bulb. The bulbs that you will use for your Reeves Turtle aquarium might get very hot and might explode if they accidentally splashed with water. These covers will keep your turtles from ever climbing out of the tank, which they might do because they are confused with the outside world.

These tank covers could be placed on the tank to prevent older turtles from climbing out of the aquarium. Some turtles could do this because of the distance between the basking area and rim of the tank is very well in reach of your Reeves Turtle.

A word of caution, do not use Plexiglas or glass as a tank cover for your aquarium. These kinds of glass would filter out helpful UVB rays that your pet turtle needs in order to survive. Other than that, the heat from the lamps inside the tank would cause the glass and plexiglas to either shatter or melt.

Some screen-type tank covers may block the light and heat to enter; you need to adjust the lighting. When the time comes that you need to remove the tank cover, such as feeding your turtle or cleaning the tank,  make sure you replace the bulbs as soon as possible so it would not overheat the terrarium.  If you will just leave it for a few minutes, turn off the lamps and move them farther away from the area to avoid the area being too hot.

You could also use a mesh screen that is very wide, or possibly, you can make yourself. Buy your mesh from a hardware store. The mesh screen would block less light.


Lighting is another important thing that you need to know. Essentially, you are going to need lights that would give warmth, visible or artificial daylight, UVB, and UVA light.

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