Can Turtles Live With Fish And Do They Eat Them?

Turtles can live with fish, but there is a risk they may eat them. Combining turtles and fish in an aquarium can enhance visual appeal and create a dynamic habitat if the species chosen are suitable for co-existence. By choosing compatible species and creating a suitable environment, you can mitigate the risk of predation and enjoy a captivating and safe habitat for your aquatic pets.

Suitable Turtle and Fish Combinations

When planning an aquarium where turtles and fish can coexist, it is essential to focus on species compatibility and tank mates that are less likely to be eaten by the turtle. The ideal turtle and fish combination should have matching temperaments, living conditions, and minimal risk of predation. 

Here are some suitable turtle and fish species to consider:

  • Red-Eared Slider: These turtles are known for their relatively calm temperament, making them a popular choice for shared aquariums. They can coexist with fish such as guppies, mollies, and zebrafish, which are fast swimmers and able to avoid potential threats.
  • Painted Turtle: Another less aggressive turtle species is the Painted Turtle, which can also share an aquarium with quick-swimming fish such as tetras, danios, and platies.
  • African Sideneck Turtle: This species works well with larger, semi-aggressive fish such as barbs, cichlids, or large-sized goldfish because it is known to eat small fish.

Ensuring a Safe Environment for Both Turtles and Fish

Creating a safe and comfortable habitat for both turtles and fish is crucial for their coexistence. 

Here are some tips to establish a secure environment:

  • Choose a large tank: A larger tank provides sufficient swimming space for both turtles and fish, allowing them to maintain their territories and avoid stress. The general rule is to allow at least 10 gallons per inch of turtle shell length.
  • Provide a dry area for turtles: Some turtle species have a natural need for a basking area in their habitat. These turtles require a dry spot where they can climb out of the water and expose themselves to heat sources such as heat lamps or natural sunlight. 
  • Provide hiding spots for fish: Adding plants, caves, and other decorations creates hiding spots that offer fish protection and reduce their risk of being eaten by turtles.
  • Maintain appropriate water temperature: Ensure the tank water temperature is suitable for both turtles and fish. While turtles may require warmer water, many fish can tolerate a wide range of temperatures.
  • Use the right filtration system: Adequate filtration is vital for maintaining a clean and healthy environment. Choose a filter that can handle both the turtle and fish bioloads, ensuring proper water quality.
  • Monitor feeding habits: Keeping turtles well-fed reduces the likelihood of them preying on their fish companions. Provide a varied and nutritious diet to satisfy their nutritional needs.

By carefully considering these factors and tailoring the environment to the specific needs of your turtle and fish species, you can create a harmonious and thriving habitat for all tank inhabitants.


Turtles can live with fish in an aquarium, but the risk of predation exists. However, by selecting compatible species and providing a suitable environment, you can mitigate this risk and enjoy a visually appealing and dynamic aquatic ecosystem. With careful planning and consideration, you can create a thriving and enjoyable habitat for both turtles and fish.