Bubbles In Turtle Tank

Bubbles In Turtle Tank: How To Get Rid of It?

A turtle tank water foaming is one of the things most turtle keepers ask about. This can be frightening if you haven’t encountered it before, and you may want to know if it means anything bad for your pet turtle.

Bubbles in turtle tank usually mean the presence of excess protein-based waste in your turtle tank, which coats small water bubbles and then causes them to stick together to form bubbles. Additional causes for bubbles include disinfectant residue, ammonia, soap, or even movement.

We have discussed more details about bubbling in your turtle tank and various ways to get rid of them and get your tank back to normal.

Why does my turtle tank have bubbles?


There are many reasons why your tank or aquarium has air bubbles. Below, we’ll get into more details about each of these reasons to help you easily decide what could be causing foaming in your tank.

Why does my turtle tank have bubbles

Protein-based waste and bubbling

Proteins are one of the most common culprits behind bubbling in your turtle tank. Bubbles in water caused by proteins are usually sticky. They appear attached as a sticky and smelly foaming layer.

So, where do these proteins come from? The main source is the uneaten foods from pellets or the diet you feed your turtle. The turtle’s waste also acts as a source of proteins in the turtle aquarium.

Disinfectant residue

Tap water usually contains chlorine. And using this type of water in your tank gives the chemicals easy entry into your aquarium.

Here, it becomes a key source of bubble formation in the form of residue that creates bubbles of trapped gasses on the water surface and enclosure walls.

Ammonia gas manifest in the form of bubbles

Ammonia is another likely cause of the bubbles you’re seeing in your turtle’s tank. This compound is formed when ammonia in your turtle’s urine converts into nitrite and nitrate.

This process mostly occurs when you install a new filter in your tank. The new lacks enough good bacteria to break down the ammonia, making it (the ammonia) accumulate and exhibit itself in bubbles form.

The good thing is that these bubbles can easily go away on their own as the turtle tank filters get crowded with the microbe.

Turtle tank water agitation

Sometimes the bubbles you view on the water surface are nothing serious but a result of the water agitation.

For instance, air bubbles will ultimately surface when you vigorously fill your tank with pressure.

These bubbles do not harm your pets and can resolve independently.

Turtle tank water agitation

Presence of detergents and soaps

Soaps and detergents can get into your water from the scrubbing pads and cleaning buckets. These will then lead to the formation of soapy bubbles.

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If you think the bubbles formed are from soap/detergents, we suggest you change the water immediately!

Fill the tank with dechlorinated water. Also, change the filter media and pads to remove any soap residue that may have settled in.

How to get rid of bubbles in a turtle tank?

Implement the following tips to help you get rid of bubbles in your turtle tank.

How to get rid of bubbles in a turtle tank

Do regular tank cleanups

This is important to help prevent bubbling from proteins. Get rid of any dead plants inside your tank during cleanups.

Trap any leftover food items and waste inside your turtle tank to reduce the possibility of protein build-up.

You may also consider using a protein skimmer to remove these food particles from water (though it might not work for freshwater aquariums).

You’d also want to take proper care of your filter by removing debris and replacing old or damaged fitters with new ones.

Practice regular water changes

This helpful tip will help remove excess ammonia from your turtle aquarium, which is the main culprit behind bubble formation.

Moreover, frequent partial water changes help regulate the tank water pH for your turtles‘ good health and well-being.

And be sure to use dechlorinated water in your aquarium.

If water changes don’t help with the bubbles problem, try the next tip below…

Invest in an ideal and efficient filter

Replace the dirty filter with a good filter with the ideal pore size and rating. This will go a long way in keeping your water clean by removing any gasses and chemicals that enter the aquarium. This will help minimize the appearance of bubbles.

Steer away from soaps and detergents

The presence of these cleaning agents in your turtle tank causes bubbling and is unsafe for your pets. We advise you to be extra careful when cleaning your tank.

And keep the cleaning buckets, scrubbing pads, and other aquarium cleaning items from getting into contact with any soap or detergent.

Why are there white bubbles in my turtle tank?

White bubbles in your turtle tank are a sign of protein build-up. The most likely cause for this build-up is the pellets you feed your turtle.

The excess pellets your turtle doesn’t eat tend to float to the bottom of the tank.

Why are there white bubbles in my turtle tank

Build-up of debris and decomposing dead plants can also cause the formation of white bubbles in your turtle tank.

Also read: Algae In Turtle Tank

Are bubbles good for turtles?

Not all bubbles are good for turtles. As we have discussed earlier, bubbles can sometimes signal excess amounts of protein or waste in your tank.

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It can also be a sign of excess ammonia in the turtle tank which can affect the well-being of your turtles. Bubbles can also form due to the presence of soap or detergent, which can make the conditions unsafe for your turtle pet.

Are bubbles good for turtles

Overall, you should try as much as possible to uncover the reason behind the bubble formation in your turtle tank.

Then, solve the underlying issue to ensure your pet continues living in safe conditions for good health and well-being.

Can the wrong filter size cause bubbles in turtle tank?

Absolutely! Installing an undersized tank filter will result in the formation of bubbles on the water surface in your turtle tank.

If you have checked the other causes of bubbles discussed above and none seems to be the culprit, consider checking your filter.

You should also consider filter maintenance on a regular basis to keep it clean and prevent the possibility of bubbles in your aquarium.

Can the wrong filter size cause bubbles in turtle tank

The ultimate best decision would be to upgrade to a more powerful filter (with higher gallon per hour rating than your current model).


1. Why does my turtle tank look soapy and bubbly?

Your turtle tank looks soapy and bubbly at the same time could mean the presence of soap or detergent in the tank. We advise you to change the water immediately. Also, change the filter media and pads that may carry the soap residue as they prove unsafe for your pets.

2. How to get rid of protein foam in aquarium

You can get rid of protein foam in your aquarium by doing regular tank cleanup, getting rid of leftovers after every feeding session, removing any dried aquatic plants inside the tank, and giving your tank filter proper care.

Related: Black Worms In Turtle Tank

Final Word

The presence of air bubbles in your turtle tank could be caused by ammonia gas, build-up of protein waste, disinfectant and soap residue in the water, and agitating the aquarium water.

The bubbles may not always be good for your turtle as they point out underlying problems that might affect the health of your turtles.

Simple but effective ways to deal with these bubbles include taking good care of your filter, making regular water changes, and keeping your turtle tank clean.

Bubbles In Turtle Tank

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