I discovered this pet turtle product while surfing around in Youtube.

My thoughts on the Turtle Topper

It’s a commercial (not DIY) above tank basking platform made specifically for pet turtles. Cool. Overall, it looks like a great product, with a few shortcomings. The most obvious shortcoming is that it is made for only up to 55 gallon aquariums, which is too small a tank for most aquatic turtles. Secondly, it’s made of plastic, which may not be good given the possible melting due to the prolonged heat that a basking area will be subjected to. The product manager of the product posted on a thread discussing the product at TurtleForum.com , saying that the plastic is safe and will not melt. Thirdly, it doesn’t look so nice, but that’s really a matter of personal taste and the way it looks may not matter to some pet turtle owners.

With those three things in mind, the Turtle Topper product is great if you have a smaller pet turtle, like a map turtle, or if you understand that your pet turtle will use it temporarily until your turtle gets too big for it.

Turtle Topper quick info

  • fits: tanks up to 55 gallons that are 12″ wide
  • main platform size: 17″ x 14″ x 5″ high
  • lid size (the see through part): 15-5/8″ x 12.25″ x 5″ high
  • metal grate top access door: 7.75″ x 7.75″
  • underwater resting platform: 11.25″ x 4″
  • access ramp: 9″ long x 6.75″

The Turtle Topper video

The original video is no longer available, but it does get several things right about the proper care for pet turtles: the more water the better, the need for UVB lighting, and the need for an aquatic turtle to be able to completely dry themselves while basking. The rule of thumb for determining water volume was totally missed though by saying that water height should equal shell length… that isn’t entirely true. Yes, you want water height to be at least the shell length to provide swimming room, but the correct rule of thumb is that you want to have about 10 gallons of water for every inch of straight turtle shell length or SCL – straight carapace length. That means that if you have a red eared slider, the most common pet turtle, you need at least an 80 gallon tank for a male which will get to 8 inches in length or a 120 gallon tank for a female which will get to 11 – 12 inches SCL. The rule changes a bit when you add additional turtles – 10 gallons per inch of SCL for the first turtle, then 5 gallons for each inch of each additional pet turtle.

Here’s another video of the Turtle Topper. It can be found in stores including Amazon.com.

Here’s a video review of the turtle topper:


  1. id say your fairly on the money for this but i would make one minor correction

    they TT is a great product but as shown even in the video i would say its geared for young turtles specificly which is why it isnt made for larger tanks esspecialy given teh hieght of the sides makes it fairly clear its only good for juviniles

  2. Yeah if they made one that would fit a larger tank and be larger in general for mooe adult turtles it would be great

  3. just got the turtle topper a few days ago… can’t get them to go into it. i have put them in it and they run out, just as fast as they can… tried food and that hasn’t done it… how long should it take for them to go in? i have taken their other basking platform out. i’m afraid for them not to bask this long. can someone help me please?

    thank you Shelley

    1. Give your pet turtles a few weeks – they need to get comfortable with even just having it around – which they will do at their own pace. Once they are comfortable, they’ll start basking on it. Don’t rush them – your pet turtles will start using it soon enough.

    2. My turtles would not use it at all. I waited about 2 months. They were just too big for it when they even tried and they were still in the water. So, we took sheet metal and used aquarium safe glue and glued rocks to it, then we put class around the edges and it sat on top of the tank with a rock ramp that went all the way down, they loved it. Turtles are supposed to be completly dry when they bask. So it worked great.

  4. hello! I raised 3 turtles from eggs and if you had any advice at all i would be dearly thankful for it. And i have some questions.
    ~ What kind of turtle basking area should i get?
    ~ I have a 10-15 gallon tank, should i get a bigger one?
    ~ Once the turtles are older, can i set them free if i wanted to?

    1. Wow, that’s awesome – you must have some really nice photos of them hatching!

      What kind of turtles are they? Not all turtle species need a basking area like the Turtle Topper.

      Regarding turtle tank size – you will definitely need a much larger aquarium. Your small one will be enough for when your pet turtles are small but they will grow. When that time comes, get the biggest tank you can get.

      It isn’t advisable to set pet turtles free – it would be better to give them to a shelter or a zoo. Releasing pet turtles will have environmental impacts

      1. It is NEVER ok to release your pet into the wild, regardless if it is native or not. Releasing a pet is illegal in most/all areas. A pet also doesn’t have the proper immune system to be in the wild & will most likely die a terrible death. Also they are use to a top diet which the wild doesn’t provide so many starve to death. Also due to feeding the pet turtle non-native foods it might have non-native parasites & bacteria on/in it that can harm or kill wild turtles.

        This is one of the reasons why there are so many eco. issues caused by pet owners.

      2. forlogos, thank you for changing your post. The turtles & eco system Thanks You!

        Kelly, I’m not an expert on hatching eggs (I’m sure they are dead if they are in the water) but think about this. Our tiny Turtle Rescue in the city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada took in about 400+ turtles in less then 2years. 98% of them are Red Eared Sliders. About 90% of them were neglected & about 50% of them were extreamly ill.

        Common Turtles are worse off then th eover population of dogs & cats. Do them a favour. Don’t hatch the eggs, just let the eggs die in the water, or better yet, stop allowing your turtles to breed.

        People are against puppy mills, & back yard breeders for the over population of mainly dogs. Don’t become a back yard breeder of turtles.

        If you got your turtles at the same store, they are most likely brother & sister. Imbreading is wrong!!

  5. Question? Our red ear slider just layed eggs. How do you care for the eggs because our male ate a couple of them?

    Thank you,

    1. the best answer is that it really isn’t such a good idea to care for them… I defer to Jess’ response, which you can read above.

      Or, in this link: turtle eggs

  6. I have an 8 year old Eastern River Cooter that I have had since birth. I am going to get him a bigger tank and was wondering if y’all can custom make a turtle topper. I cannot find any type of basking platform that fits his size as well as hold his weight and natural platforms just take up the whole tank; no room for him to swim.

  7. I garuntee unless yoru turtles ill he IS basking jsut not when your around .

    its quite normal for them to be very shy esspecialy with any new changes

    it took my turtle 6 months before i strted seeing her basking and it wasnt till 8 months that she didnt immideately race into teh water when she heard me coming and around a year before she decided to keep basking when i walked into the room

    1. thanks for the answer David… You are right, my pet turtles were the same way, but one turtle took a lot longer to get comfortable basking with us around than the other

  8. Hey turtle lovers,
    I’m seriously considering this product, our set up right now is a similar idea but homemade and pretty awful looking but allows her to have the whole tank to swim in. She is a year and a half old and is growing quickly so how big of a turtle will the topper hold?? I don’t want to pay 50 bucks and her only fit for a year? If anyone could help me I would appreciate it!

    1. you should get some good use from the turtle topper. I’ve read of an 8″ red ear slider turtle using it with no problem.

      Your pet turtle will enjoy it!

  9. even if an 8 inch slider could use it an 8inch slider shouldnt be in a tank small enuff to fit a turtle topper since it only goes up to a 55 long and thats WAY to narrow for an 8 inch turtle

    1. very true – and it’s not just a narrow turtle tank for an 8 incher, water quality degrades much quicker in a tank with less than optimal water volume

  10. David you are 100% correct. An 8″ turtle should be in a min of an 80gallon tank. Every inch of turtle shell length, needs a bear min of 10gallons.

    These turtle toppers appear to be better for the smaller species of turtles, like muds.

  11. even if you are going to have a turtle in a smaller than optimal tank its better to have a wider breeder style tank thank a long narrow tank like a 55

    i would take a 40 breeger or a 58 gallon showtank over a 55 or 60 long any day as it provides more area to swim in

  12. Will the turtle topper fit on my 10 gallon tank? It’s a little more than 10 inches wide. Also, I have a red ear slider that is about three inches wide so far. Is my tank too small? What size do I need?

    1. yes, it will fit in your tank.

      For the best, you would need at least 30 gallons of water for your red ear slider turtle, for the size he currently is in. Red ear sliders top out at 8-12″ so you will eventually need 80-120 gallons

  13. i would say go out and get yourself a 40 breeder or a 56 gallon show tank ( same size jsut taller) it will last you a while

  14. Ok thanks! Btw my turtle topper came in the mail today. He didn’t go in it yet but he’s been acting A LOT calmer. I think it’s because the TT is covering a lot of the tank and he can hide now lol. I really want to see him go in it.

  15. My turtle will not bask in the turtle topper. He only goes up there to look for food and then slides right back down. He uses the slide as a sliding board and that seems to be fun for him but he will not bask. I think it’s because he can’t see anything once he gets up there. HELLLPPPP!

    1. the number one reason why pet turtles don’t bask is because the basking area isn’t set right. Make sure that the basking area is hot (about 90 degrees F) and of course, have a uvb light directly on the basking area.

      If the turtle topper is new, give him more time to get used to it. If that’s alright, then there’s a good chance that your pet turtle is basking, just not when he knows you’re around. Spy on him carefully

  16. turtles can take weeks before they start basking in a new basking area and even longer before tehy do it in front of everyone

  17. i have 3 red eared sliders and they have gotten out before and i am worried that they will escape again with this. also will this fit my 20 gallon tank? im looking for a bigger one but havent found one yet.

    1. yes, your red ear slider turtles will get out again…you need your turtle tank to be escape-proof!

      3 pet turtles will quickly outgrow a 20 gallon tank, you definitely need a bigger tank, the biggest you can afford. The turtle topper will fit tanks up to 12? wide, so measure your tank.

  18. Ok first step get yourself a 55 gallon ( you can find them cheap all over craigslist

    the turtle topper will work just fine for this till they get older then you will need to work on something larger