Bugs In Turtle Tank

Bugs In Turtle Tank: Are These Gnats or Mites? Or Something Else?

If you’ve recently noticed tiny bugs inside your turtle tank, you could be curious about what they are and whether they can harm your part.

Bugs in turtle tank are most likely gnats and mites and are totally harmless to your pet turtle. However, getting rid of the bugs before they reproduce and populate your turtle’s tank is highly advisable.

This article will give you more details on the bugs in your turtle tank, whether they’re safe for your beloved turtle or not, and how you can get rid of them.

Bugs in turtle tank: What are they?


The bugs in your turtle tank are nothing to worry you as they’re just harmless creatures. They’re simply gnats and mites and will not harm your turtle.

Adult gnats are non-biting insects that prefer living in damp conditions such as ponds, wetlands, or in places at your home like birdbaths and gutters.

The adult insects usually enter your home and gather around moist areas to breed. This explains why you’ll find them in your aquarium, as it offers ideal breeding conditions.

Bugs in turtle tank

Mites, too, are tiny insects and are mainly copepods or amphipods. The tiny animals can be found in wild environments as well as in indoor enclosures. They’re simply harmless crustaceans and will not hurt your pets.

During adulthood, these mites usually live deep within your tank substrate, and it’s hard to notice them.

But during the larvae stage, the creatures are always free-swimming, and most turtle owners will notice them.

What are the tiny black bugs in turtle tank?

The little black bugs you see in your turtle tank are gnats we have just discussed above. And yes, they’re harmless to your pets.

What are the tiny black bugs in turtle tank

However, we still encourage you to eliminate these bugs as they make your aquarium look unsightly. They’re unwelcome visitors in your pet turtle tank and don’t play any beneficial role.

What are the little white bugs in my turtle tank?

White bugs in your turtle tank are most likely mites or water bugs. They include amphipods, ostracods, daphnia, and Copepods.

Most of these mites aren’t harmful to your turtle or its habitat. In fact, they help maintain a balance within your turtle aquarium, within their crustacean framework.

What are the little white bugs in my turtle tank

However, these bugs can become problematic if they reproduce and populate your turtle tank. They can become a problem to your turtle’s habitat.

See also  Algae In Turtle Tank: Is It Bad For Turtles? Ways To Get Rid Of It

Where do the bugs inside my turtle tank come from?

The adult mites and gnats tend to get attracted to your turtle aquarium due to its glass-sided enclosure with moisture.

This is because it is warm and moist conditions create a healthy environment for the insect eggs and larvae to grow.

Where do the bugs inside my turtle tank come from

The leftover foods, turtle waste, and decaying plant matter or organic material inside your turtle’s tank will provide these eggs with the nutrients they need to grow.

Algae and stagnant water in the tank will also offer the larvae ideal thriving conditions.

Also read: Black Worms In Turtle Tank

How do I get rid of the bugs in my aquarium?

The best way to get rid of those little white bugs in your aquarium is to clean your tank thoroughly. You’ll need to temporarily relocate your turtles to enable you to carry out this cleanup process.

Remove all the substrate and accessories inside your turtle aquarium. Scrub the accessories with water  and scrubbing pads and then leave them to dry. Scrub down the tank as well, and then rinse it out.

You may also want to use bleach to help you achieve even cleaner results. But if you’re worried it might not be safe for your beloved pet, you can get turtle-safe cleaning products at your local pet store.

When the tank and all the accessories have dried out, you can add a new substrate and replace all the accessories. Also, be sure to replace the old filter media.

How do I get rid of the bugs in my aquarium

Now fill the tank and start the water filter system. Get your turtle back to its habitat.

Make sure you regularly change the water and do deep cleans at least once every month. This is a sure way to keep away those undesired bugs in your turtle aquarium.

NOTE: You’ll find some turtle owners on turtle forums recommend using insecticides to remove these bugs from your aquarium. However, we don’t recommend these as they may harm your turtle and even make create a dangerous environment for them.

How to prevent bugs from getting in the turtle tank?

Protective barriers such as screen covers are a good way to keep the mites, gnats, or insects out of your tank. You simply place the cover on your aquarium, forming a protective barrier against those intruders.

See also  What To Do With Infertile Turtle Eggs?

However, don’t just use a solid screen cover. Instead, look for something with tiny holes to promote air circulation in your turtle’s habitat while at the same time leaving out those bugs.

If you use a solid cover, e.g., glass or plastic, it can make the temperature and humidity increase drastically in your aquarium. This makes the environment dangerous for your turtle.

How to prevent bugs from getting in the turtle tank

Other ways to keep the bugs out of your turtle tank include removing and cleaning the substrates as necessary, keeping your filter on day and night, and removing any leftover foods your turtle doesn’t eat.

You should also replace the live plants before they start decomposing.

If possible, introduce a separate feeding tank to help minimize the chances of these bugs breeding in your tank.


1. Do turtles attract bugs?

No, turtles on their own do not attract bugs. However, their enclosures favor adult insects since they contain turret leftover foods and poop, which are a source of nutrients for them. The warmth and moisture in the turtle tank will also attract the bugs as it offers them a favorable breeding ground for the incubation and hatching of these bugs.

2. Can gnats hurt turtles?

No, gnats will not hurt turtles in any way. Nonetheless, they remain pests and may even infest the live plants inside the turtle aquarium. It is also not a pleasant experience to see flies buzzing around, so you should always get rid of them as soon as you see them.

Related: Can You Put Fish In A Turtle Tank?

Final Word

Now that you have read through this guide, you know what those black or white bugs inside your turtle tank are. These bugs are simply gnats and mites and will not harm your turtle. However, we advise you to remove them as soon as possible as they make your tank look unsightly. They also signal poor water quality and an unclean tank. Follow the tips we’ve shared above to eliminate these bugs and keep them from appearing again.

Bugs In Turtle Tank

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *