How many turtles in a 20 gallon tank?

As you may know that a 20 gallon tank dimensions are 24″ x 12″ x 16″ (L x W x H), but it is not easy to decide that how many turtles can we keep in it. The answer depends upon the age and breed of the turtle and in this article we will discuss these deciding factors in detail.

Red eared slider turtle

A red eared turtle size varies from 5 to 13 inches. So if your turtle size is more than 10 inches you cannot keep two red eared turtles in a 20 gallon tank. However if you have planned to buy baby red eyed turtles than you can even keep 3 to 4 red eared turtles in a single 20 gallon tank as the baby turtles are as small as 1 inch only.

Western painted turtles

Western painted turtles are smaller in size as compared to red eared turtles and they can reach up to 6 inches in length. So if you are planning to buy western painted turtles, you can easily keep up to 3 turtles in a 20 gallon tank. However if you are planning to buy baby western painted turtles, then you can confidently place up to 6 turtles in a single 20 gallon tank.

Eastern box turtles

Eastern box turtles are also usually smaller in size (4 to 8 inches), so you can confidently place up to 2 turtles in a single 20 gallon tank. However if you are planning to buy baby eastern box turtles, you can buy up to 5 to 6 turtles and keep them together in tank. However as they grow in size you have to separate them.

Wood turtles

This species of turtles can grow as large as 9 inches, so we advice that you should not keep more than two wood turtles in a single 20 gallon tank. However again the babies are an exception as they are quite small in size.

Musk turtles

Musk turtles is included in one of the shortest species of turtles so you can easily keep up to 3 musk turtles in a 20 gallon tank.


There is no one answer that fits all tanks or styles of turtles. It depends on many factors, some including tank size, turtle size, number of turtles in the tank, age of the turtles in the tank.

It depends on the type of turtle that you are talking about. For example, small turtles can be kept in relatively small tanks since they need to live in water and don’t require much mobility. Large turtles do not enjoy having their movements limited, so it is recommended to set aside a larger space for them–for extra exercise.
You will need 17 square meters per large turtle (e.g., an African side neck or Asian river turtle). The estimate includes extra space that will allow each animal 8 square meters for both living quarters and exercise areas when necessary.

We recommend purchasing smaller turtles if given the chance as they usually need less maintenance than larger turtles since they do not take up much water and food resources–making them generally cost effective creations for any home.

Adding flowering plants to the space around the pond would greatly help oxygen levels increase throughout this large tank that houses these gorgeous turtles. Weekly water changes are necessary for this type of set up, but fortunately they’re small enough that adults can handle them at home without any worries! Turtles like clean surroundings like their owners do whenever they spruce up their abodes – so weekly water changes are important. You can also add turtle water conditioner in the tank to remove all the harmful chemicals and bacteria.

Marry Nikolson
Hi, I am Marry and i am a proud mother of 3 cats, 3 dogs, few ducks, a turtle and many fishes. Other than that I have pigs and goats in my backyard and all my day is spent with my pets in full enjoyment. I love to write about pet related products and try to suggest best products to my blog readers.