Why Does My Turtle Keep Swimming Against The Tank?

why does my turtle keep swimming against the tank

Turtles are cute and smart animals to have at home. But, sometimes they can do things that may not even make sense to you. Does your pet keep swimming against the glass? If yes, then you may wonder why. Well, let’s answer your question.

There are many reasons why your turtle may swim against the tank. It can be either because there’s something wrong with your pet or with its environment. Issues like poor diet or poor hygiene also play an important factor in this issue. 

Top 5 Reasons Why Your Turtle Constantly Swims Against The Tank

When it comes to understanding why your pet constantly swims against the tank, there are so many reasons that you can come across. Some of the issues can be concerning while the others are not as bad. Let us take a closer look at some of these reasons. 

  1. It May Be Confused 

Your pet can get confused when you put it in an entirely new environment. Putting your turtle in a glass enclosure can get confusing for them, especially if it’s used to swimming in big areas. They may not be used to such a small area and can often swim against the glass. 

Apart from this, your pet may even get confused with its own reflection. It may often think that there is another turtle in the enclosure and try to swim towards it, and in turn, they swim against the glass. 

Another reason why your pet may get confused is that it does not recognize the glass to be a barrier. So, at times when there is no reflection in the glass, your pet may try to swim across to the other side and continue to swim against the tank not knowing that it’s hitting the glass. 

  1. It May Be Stressed

Just like every other fish there, turtles are also sensitive creatures. Yes, this means that they are sensitive to stress as well. There are various reasons why your pet may be stressed, and because of this, it can keep swimming against the glass in order to reach a safe place according to them. 

The main goal here for the turtle is to swim toward a stress-free environment. So if you see your turtle constantly towards the glass, you need to make sure that the environment they’re in is not too stressful for them.  

You should keep in mind that the stress levels for a turtle are mainly external reasons rather than internal. Below are a few things that can probably stress them out: 

  • Too much of often interactions  
  • Improper handling 
  • Another pet such as a dog or cat trying to enter the enclosure 
  • Speakers that are placed right next to the enclosure

If there are things that can easily stress out a person, chances are that it can stress out a turtle as well. The best way to keep your pet out of a stressful situation is to remove the source of stress. This could even mean shifting the enclosure from one area to another.

  1. It May Be Pregnant 

Turtles that are pregnant tend to act very differently. You will notice that she will stop basking, stop eating, try to dig everywhere, and even swim against the glass. 

Turtles that are pregnant don’t generally do this because of the tank, they mainly behave this way because they want to find a safe space for their eggs. You must keep in mind that turtles do not lay eggs in water, let alone in an enclosure. They usually do it in piles of leaves or dig holes in the mud. 

A female can get pregnant even when there is no male around. The only difference is that the eggs will not be fertilized so no babies can come out of them. 

Regardless, if your pet swims against the glass if it’s pregnant, the best thing you can do is just wait it out till she releases all the eggs and everything will be fine. 

  1. Inadequate Water Condition 

The water condition in an enclosure plays a very important role. A poor water temperature is one of the most common reasons why you see your turtle constantly swimming against the tank. As we know, turtles are cold-blooded animals. Hence, they require the perfect temperature in order for them to perform their basic activities. 

For a turtle to survive in an enclosure, it requires the water temperature to be around 75 degrees to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (or around 24 degrees to 27 degrees Celsius). However, it can survive with temperatures slightly warmer or colder but the higher the difference the more difficult it will be for them to survive. 

So when the water condition in the enclosure is not right, these turtles end up swimming against their tank to get to a better place where the water is at the perfect temperature. To ensure this, you can always buy a temperature modulator for the enclosure. Your pet will definitely appreciate it.  

  1. No Proper Diet

Just like every other animal, food is essential for them to survive. While they are not very picky when it comes to eating food, it is important for you to ensure that they have a nutritious diet. This includes providing them with a balanced diet that includes meat, fruits, fish, dried insects, vegetables, and pellets.

Not only this, but you also need to make sure that you give your pet a sufficient amount of food

When your pet feels like it’s not getting enough food, it will start to swim against its tank to search for more food. So pay close attention as to what food you’re giving them and the amount of food they’re eating.  

What Happens If My Turtle Keeps Swimming Against The Enclosure Glass?

As of now, you have read that there are so many reasons why these reptiles swim against the tank. Now, it is common for you to wonder what will happen if this act continues. 

While it may seem harmless in the beginning, if these reptiles keep swimming against the tank, they can get injured. The shell of a turtle can get weak, crack, and fall off which can cause them to fall sick and capture infections. Due to this, these reptiles can become more prone to capturing various diseases. 

Apart from this, these reptiles can even damage their lungs if they keep swimming against the tank. The pressure that it incurs when it hits the glass can force it to take in more water than usual. This in turn can lead to a respiratory problem. 

Don’t worry, if you take proper steps to ensure that your pet does not swim against the tank, it will be fine.

How Can I Stop My Turtle From Hurting Itself In The Enclosure?

The first thing that you must do to stop your pet from swimming against the tank, is get a bigger enclosure. Turtles need an ample amount of space to swim around and explore. Having a small tank can restrict their movement leading them to keep swimming against the glass.  

You can also build a home inside the enclosure. You can add lots of toys and hiding places to keep it busy. This way there are low chances for it to hurt itself from swimming against the enclosure glass. 

Apart from this, there are basic things that you need to keep in mind: 

  • The water level needs to be perfect for it to survive. You need to make sure it’s not too hot or too cold. 
  • There needs to be enough space for busking
  • You need to have a good water filter.
  • Spend quality time with it.
  • Mask the sides of the enclosure so it does not see its reflection and get scared or excited. 


If your turtle swims against the glass wall of a tank then there are chances that it is either confused, stressed, pregnant, has an improper diet, or is in an inadequate water environment. Whatever the reason may be, you need to make sure that you provide a safe and calm environment for your pet. 

You need to make sure that everything is perfect when it comes to food intake, space for swimming around, and so on. You can also try to mask the tank so it doesn’t look at its reflection and try to swim against the glass. 

If it falls sick or gets injured, then it is highly advisable for you to take it to a vet. A professional check-up with the vet will only help your pet from facing any further damage.

Leave a Comment

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

Scroll to Top