Petting turtles can be rewarding and disturbing simultaneously, especially when your turtle tank stinks. It creates a great nuisance and makes you wonder, “why does my turtle tank smell?”, Well, here’s why.
Your turtle tanks can stink for various reasons, among which the most prominent ones are decomposed food, feces, algae build-up, faulty filtration, and more.
In this guide, we have briefly described all the reasons and solutions to this problem to help you ease your petting journey. Let’s begin.
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Why Does My Turtle Tank Stinks: A Sneak Peek into All the Causes
Several reasons are associated with why your turtle tank smell, and we have described them below. Let’s explore.
01. Remaining Food:
One of the most common reasons why your turtle tank is smelly can be the food leftover. Turtles are inclined to drop a small portion of the remaining food in water that you can barely notice.
Although you don’t see those food particles in water, that doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Yes, they are present in water, and after a couple of times, those food particles start to decay and create a foul odor due to the bacteria build-up.
So, to eliminate the unpleasant smell caused by food leftovers, you can remove those foods using a net. Plus, you may use a sludge remover to eradicate the probability of bacterial infection.
Alongside performing all these chores, you must avoid overfeeding your turtle so that your pets don’t drop uneaten foods in water.
02. Doffed Skin:
All reptiles shed their skin as they age, and turtles aren’t an exception. They also perform this job at a certain period in their life, and when they do it in tank water, their shed skin creates a bad smell.
But turtles’ doffed skin doesn’t create a foul odor in natural water. The water body houses several other creatures that will promptly feed on turtles’ skin, refraining from decomposing.
On the contrary, your tank water scarcely nurtures any other creatures except bacteria, which helps the turtle’s skin decay in your tank, giving off a revolting odor.
03. Abundant Algae:
Another cause for a malodorous turtle tank can be an abundant number of algae. Usually, turtles feast on algae to satisfy their fibrous needs. But unfortunately, these reptiles don’t feed on all algae types.
Consequently, those algae that turtles avoid run riot and instantly coat the turtle tank. They can even sometimes grow on your turtle’s shells, which can be harmful to the pet.
All in all, abundant algae can cause disturbance to you and your turtle, so you need to pay attention to this fact while petting a turtle.
04. Absence of a Biological Filter & Poor Filtration:
Many turtle owners commit the mistake of not adding a biological filter to their tanks. They do it as only a few know the benefits of having a biological filter.
FYI, this filter can more effectively remove inorganic, organic, and microbial contaminants than traditional filtration systems.
Besides, it can convert ammonia to nitrate and curb the toxic build-up while removing unpleasant smells from your turtle tank. So, it’s essential to install one such filter in your tank.
If you already have one and still face the smelly tank issue, you probably don’t clean your filter regularly.
As you know, turtles create more mess than fish; you must clean your filter monthly to prevent a build-up of smell or other bad organic materials.
05. Technical Issues:
If you regularly clean your biological filter and still get a foul smell from the turtle tank, there is a high chance your filter might be broken.
And obviously, a malfunctioned filter can’t filter out contaminants from the water, resulting in polluted water and a horrendous odor you get from the turtle tank.
06. Turtle Waste:
Sometimes, turtle feces can be the reason for creating a bad smell in your turtle tank. So, to solve this problem, you can feed the turtle in a container and leave it there for around 45 to 50 minutes.
This act will ensure that your turtle digests the food and leaves feces in the container. Apart from that, you must clean the turtle tank regularly.
07. Tank Size:
Yes, the size of your turtle tank can be a reason for creating a foul smell. How? Well, if you own a small aquarium, it will be dirty more quickly than a large turtle tank.
Hence, if you want your tank to build up dirt and mess slowly, you should adhere to a large tank. These are the significant reasons why your turtle tank smells. Now, let’s discuss how you can get rid of this problem.
How to Keep Turtle Tank from Smelling: A Definitive Guide
Let’s look at the tried-and-true methods to remove odor from your turtle tanks described below.
Modify the Feeding Style:
Apparently, the best way to eliminate a foul odor from the turtle tank is to change your feeding style. Instead of serving food to your turtle inside the tank, you can feed it in a separate container.
You can fill a container with water and place your turtle there to feed it. If you follow this method, you don’t have to worry that your turtles may drop food inside their tank, which can cause a smell eventually.
Plus, you don’t need to use any net to remove food leftover from the tank water. However, while feeding the turtle in a separate container, you should keep it there for at least half an hour so that your pet can leave feces in the container instead of in the tank.
Remove Food Particles:
If you skip following the method of changing the feeding style and choose to serve food to your pet inside its tank, you should follow this step to eradicate a repulsive odor.
You must use a skimmer net to remove food leftovers from the turtle tank. We recommend performing this job daily after feeding your pet.
Clean Your Turtle’s Shell:
Turtles can yield a revolting smell, too, if you don’t clean them appropriately. Sometimes food leftovers and debris accumulate on turtles’ shells, and after a passage of time, these materials decay, creating a foul odor.
Many algae can also get stuck to turtles’ shells and cause inconvenience. So, cleaning is quintessential, and we recommend washing your pet turtle in dechlorinated water using a small and soft brush.
You can utilize the best water conditioner to dechlorinate the tap water and, later on, keep your turtle in that water for about 15 to 20 minutes. Afterward, scrub the turtle’s shell gently and wash it with water.
Maintain The Accurate Temperature:
Maintaining an accurate temperature can help eliminate odor problems. FYI, turtles thrive on a water temperature of around 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on their species.
That being said, if your tank water is too hot, the tank will grow algae that can eventually create a foul smell. On the contrary, if your tank water is too cold, you may notice a smelly white film on your turtle’s eyes.
So, make sure the water temperature is at an optimal stage. You may read this content to learn how to maintain aquarium water temperature.
Clean The Tank & Filter:
The last but not least step to follow is to clean your tank and filter regularly if you don’t want your tank to smell odd. We recommend cleaning your tank and filter using hot water and a reptile-safe cleaner.
So, these are all methods you can apply to eliminate a foul smell caused by your turtle tank.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why Does My Turtle Tank Smell Like Rotten Eggs?
Food leftovers, doffed skin, algae build-up, faulty filtration, tank size, bacteria build-up, and a chemical imbalance can be the reason why your turtle tank smells like rotten eggs.
2. Why Does My Turtle Tank Smell Like Ammonia?
Turtle feces and food particles can create ammonia when decomposed. Besides, if you have fish in the turtle tank, their poop can also produce an ammonia-like odor.
3. Why Does My Turtle Tank Smell After Water Change?
If you have a small turtle tank and your water filter isn’t powerful enough, your tank can smell even after changing water. In this case, a biological filter can help you out.
4. Why Is My Turtle Tank Cloudy and Smelly?
Waterborne bacteria and turtle feces can contribute to making your turtle tank water cloudy and smelly. You can eliminate this problem by adding a water conditioner and a high-quality water filter to your tank.
5. Can the Smell of a Turtle Tank Make You Sick?
No, only the tank’s smell can’t harm you but will cause a nuisance. However, you may fall sick if you touch a smelly tank and turtle bare hands due to the Salmonella germs these reptiles carry in their droppings.
No turtle owners would like to smell a foul odor from their tanks. And when they sense any, they wonder what causes such an unpleasant smell. Fortunately, now you know all the reasons that create a bad odor in a turtle tank.
Not only that, but you also know how to eradicate this problem. We hope you will utilize the information in your petting journey and share our content in appreciation with your friends and family via Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest. Au revoir!