What Is The White Stuff In My Turtle Tank

What Is The White Stuff In My Turtle Tank?

If your tank has recently formed some white stuff and you’re not sure what it could be, this guide is for you. Many turtle owners usually experience white stuff in their turtle tanks. This could be in form of water turning cloudy, white particles floating in the water, or a white film on top of the water.

What is the white stuff in my turtle tank? The white stuff in your turtle tank is most likely calcium carbonate deposits caused by hard water. Turtle tank white stuff is also caused by a bacteria bloom, fungus, mold, white algae, or turtle waste.

The following guide digs deeper into the most common causes for white stuff in your turtle tank, how to get rid of the white appearance, and how to prevent it from showing up in your turtle enclosure again.

What causes white stuff in your turtle tank?


The white stuff in your turtle tank could be many things, including biofilm, bacteria, fungus, white algae, and so on.

What causes white stuff in your turtle tank

Here’s the list of the most likely culprits appearing as white stuff in your turtle tank:


Calcium carbonate accumulation in your turtle tank can form a biofilm that appears as whitish stuff in the water. This is usually a good thing as the biofilm is formed when bacteria as well as other microorganisms attach to the tank surface and start growing in large numbers—a process referred to as colonization.

Biofilm forms a protective barrier for beneficial bacteria and features nutrients for the bacteria to feed on. Unfortunately, the biofilm also tends to accommodate bad bacteria, so you need to keep an eye on unhealthy buildups and get rid of them as soon as possible.


If your turtle tank has what looks like powdery white stuff attached to its bottom or walls, then it could be mold. Mold not only makes your turtle habitat unappealing but it can also cause respiratory issues to your pet, yourself, and other pets in the house, so it’s good to get rid of it immediately.

Keep in mind that mold usually thrives in a cool and damp environment. As such, adjusting the water temperature will make the turtle habitat unaccommodating to mold. Adding UVB light will also help kill molds. above all, keep your tank clean to keep away mold from your turtle tank.

White algae

White algae in a turtle tank also cause your turtle habitat to turn white. algae feed on turtle leftover foods which your turtles usually leave in the tank. While alga is generally harmless to your pet turtle, it can make the aquarium visually unappealing and should be removed on time before it gets out of control.

White algae


Vibrio, a bacteria common in fresh and salty waters, is another potential culprit behind white stuff in your turtle tank. If this bacterium finds its way into your turtle tank and starts multiplying, it releases waste products that make your turtle tank water appear cloudy.


White stuff caused by fungus looks like pieces of cotton that float around the tank. Turtle fungus is common in turtle tanks and is caused by bacteria that usually reside in water. These bacteria cause turtle shell infection which in turn leads to fungus growth.

Turtle Tank Fungus

Fungus can make the enclosure feel uncomfortable for your pet, so you should act on it as soon as possible. Give your tank a thorough cleaning and remove any infected parts of the shell. You can also consult your vet on the right medication to treat the shell infection.

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Turtle waste

If you see white stuff in your turtle tank, it could be turtle waste. Turtle waste usually comprises liquid and solid products.

The solid part of it contains stuff like uneaten foods, shell fragments, dead plants, etc. while the liquid part involves turtle feces and urine. Eggshell particles from when baby turtles were born could also cause white stuff to appear in your turtle tank.

When all these products mix together, they form white stuff in the tank.

Note that accumulation of this tank provides ideal grounds for the growth and multiplication of harmful bacteria which can make your turtle fall ill.

High amounts of waste will also pollute your turtle tank water, making your turtle ill.

Pond scum

Pond scum is usually made up of helpful bacteria that keep your turtle tank clean by breaking down turtle waste and maintaining quality water in the tank.

When too much of the scam builds up, however, it may make your tank turn white.

At this point, you should consider removing the scum with the help of a net to maintain a clean tank look and avoid upsetting your pet’s ecosystem.

How do you get rid of white stuff in your turtle tank?

The best way to get rid of white stuff in your turtle tank is to first determine what caused it. In case the white appearance is due to a buildup of minerals, then you can get rid of it using water plus vinegar solution.

Put this solution into a spray bottle and then apply it to the affected areas of the aquarium.

Leave the vinegar for a few minutes and then wipe it away with the help of a clean cloth You may also want to apply some elbow grease to get off the residue on the tank glass.

How do you get rid of white stuff in your turtle tank

Alternatively, you can use lemon juice and water solution to get rid of the white stuff. for the best results, let the solution sit for a few minutes and then wipe it away with clean piece of cloth.

If the white stuff proves stubborn and won’t come off easily, use a scrapper that’s safe for the tank glass, e.g. a plastic putty knife, so you don’t end up damaging the glass. And be gentle when scraping away the residue.

Once you get rid of all the residue in your turtle tank, make a habit of cleaning the glass regularly to keep the white stuff from coming back.

How do you prevent white stuff from forming in your turtle tank again?

Putting a few measures in place will help keep white stuff from forming in your turtle tank. Firstly, you’ll need to invest in a good filter system for your turtle tank.

This will help get rid of particles that are likely to cause white stuff to form in your turtle tank.

You should also clean your turtle tank regularly as the accumulation of debris can cause white stuff formation.

And when doing the cleanup, use safe products designed for aquarium cleaning. One such product is Turtle Clean, which helps break down particles contributing that cause white stuff.

If you suspect hard water is behind the white stuff, start using a water conditioner or softener to help remove the hardness.

Regular tank cleaning helps prevent the growth of algae in your turtle tank.

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Other tips to keep algae growth under control: Avoid overfeeding your turtle, add live plants to the tank, reduce the amount of light entering the tank, and eliminate stagnant water (by increasing water circulation) in the tank.

What is the white stuff on my turtle?

The white stuff on your turtle’s shell is most likely the mineral residue left behind by hard water after it evaporates. This residue doesn’t harm your turtle in any way and is easy to remove.

If your turtle doesn’t get enough UV lighting or has a poorly set basking area, its shell will also start turning white.

What is the white stuff on my turtle

However, the white stuff could also be caused by fungal infection or shell rot. These conditions are more serious and will require immediate medical attention before they can get worse.

Why is my turtle throwing up white foam?

Turtle throwing up white foam could be a sign of respiratory infection. This type of disease can be caused by bacteria, fungi, or viruses and can become serious if not treated on time.

If your turtle throws white stuff and shows additional symptoms of respiratory infection, then take it to the vet right away.

Shell rot is another reason why your turtle is throwing up white stuff. This is usually caused by poor hygiene, exposure to toxins, and lack of vitamins. Shell rot can also turn fatal if not treated on time.

Related Questions:

1. Why is there white residue on my turtle tank glass?

White residue on your turtle tank is usually due to hard water. When this type of water evaporates, it leaves behind a whitish, lime-like residue (which is essential calcium carbonate. The residue on the turtle tank glass is referred to as limescale.
Salt residue on the turtle tank glass can also leave a “salt creep” which is also whitish in color.

2. Can algae make my turtle tank turn white?

Yes, white algae can make your turtle tank turn white. Turtles encourage the growth of algae in their tanks because they’re messy eaters and algae feed on their leftover foods. While alga isn’t harmful to your turtle, it can become unsightly in your turtle tank.

3. Does dead algae turn white?

Yes, dead algae in a turtle tank can turn white or grey, after which it starts falling progressively and you go ahead and safely get it out of your tank.

Final Verdict

The white stuff in your turtle tank can be anything from hard water residue, mold, algae, fungus, turtle waste, and shell rot. But in most cases, the white stuff is usually hard water mineral deposits. There’s no reason to panic whenever you see white stuff in your tank. It’s a normal occurrence and easy to get rid of with the right procedures.

We’ve already outlined helpful tips in the above guide on how to get rid of white stuff in your turtle tank. We have also discussed various methods you can use to prevent this stuff from showing up in your aquarium in future. We hope that this guide has helped you understand the white stuff in your aquarium and what to do about it.

What Is The White Stuff In My Turtle Tank