Best Tank Mates For Red-Eared Slider Turtles – How To Choose Correctly

Having turtles as pets is no longer considered an abnormality among enthusiastic aquarists. Given their peaceful temperament and unique appearances, it is no surprise why red-eared slider turtles are among the most favorite inside a home tank.

But do you know that turtles also need companions to remain healthy and happy? In case you have no idea which species to mix with these animals, below are some recommendations on the best tank mates for red-eared slider turtles.

Best Tank Mates For Red-Eared Slider Turtles

Mystery snails

Mystery snails stand out with their vibrant colors and quiet manners. They are also playful yet careful around others, making them ideal for community tanks. However, you should note that juvenile snails may end up being eaten by mature turtles due to their small size. If you cannot separate them from one another, use fully mature snails to minimize the chances of collision.

Pictus catfish

While pictus catfish are small enough to be devoured by turtles, they do not share the same territory as these slow-moving creatures. Since catfish spend most of their time hunting and collecting food at the bottom, they sure will not get in the way of turtles.

That is not to mention their radiant manners and lively swimming patterns. You only need to be worried about keeping the water abundant, as catfish become stressed when the water gets too crowded and shallow.


If you are looking for an easy-to-care species with a fast reproducing rate, nothing can beat the good old guppies. If controlled reasonably, guppies can become both a source of live food and a company for turtles.

They enjoy swimming around and look lovely when traveling in school, so rest assured that your tank will be visually pleasing.


Best known for their bright skins and aggressive manners, cichlids can bring fresh air to your aquariums. They do not require much effort to be cared for properly and do not get picky when it comes to eating.

Still, there are only some strands of cichlids suitable for sharing a tank with turtles, such as the electric blue crayfish, the blue acara, and the Convict cichlid. This is because they are milder in manners and refrain from attacking others outright.

Rosy red minnows

Rosy red minnows are cheap and highly accessible. While they are mostly used as feeder fish, minnows still make good tank mates for quiet animals like turtles.

During spawning season, if you think the male minnows get a bit too aggressive, consider placing mesh and dividers to prevent them from attacking others. Otherwise, minnows are 100% docile and can live in harmony with red-eared slider turtles.


Given how giant goldfish can grow, there is no need to worry about them being eaten by turtles. As goldfish are dirt cheap and easy to buy, aquarists like mixing them with almost all types of animals.

That said, you are advised to stay away from fancy-looking goldfish and stick to the most common ones only. This is because slim-bodied goldfish can swim much faster and are less prone to turtle attacks.


Tetras are another fast-swimming and lively fish that make good company for turtles. They are small, easy to reproduce, and tend to travel in groups, thus lowering their chances of being overpowered by bigger animals.


1. Can red-eared sliders live with other turtles?

Yes. Red-eared sliders are comfortable sharing the same space with several species within their race, as long as they are all cooperative and friendly.

You can consider putting cooters and painted turtles alongside sliders if the tank allows. Pay attention to the pH level, hardness fluctuations, and water temperature so that they are all properly cared for.

2. Do red-eared slider turtles need a friend?

Not necessarily. Red-eared sliders are known to be relatively distant from others. Most of the time, they spend their time wandering on their own, and they do not go much further away from their territory.

However, when mating season strikes, red-eared slider turtles will surely need to socialize. They will have to search for a mating partner, as well as suitable nesting sites. It is better to keep turtles with several others during mating season to increase their reproduction rate.

3. What fish can be kept with red-eared slider turtles?

Red-eared slider turtles can feed on smaller species, especially if they are within their attacking range. Therefore, ideal tank mates of red-eared slider turtles should follow these guidelines.

Firstly, they must be slightly bigger than turtles, or at least equal in size. This prevents them from getting nipped on or downright swallowed by turtles.

Secondly, if you intend to nurture tiny fish, opt for anything fast-swimming and lively. If they are slow and slob around, their chances of being eaten by turtles are heightened significantly.

4. Can frog and red-eared slider turtles live together?

No. Frog and red-eared slider turtles call for different approaches in care, diet, and other external factors such as temperature and environment. They are also hostile towards each other and sometimes, turtles can eat your frogs!

5. What fish do red-eared slider turtles not eat?

Red-eared slider turtles are not picky when it comes to eating. As long as the fish fits into their mouth, slider turtles will devour them all. Hence, the only types of fish not designed as food for turtles are anything too big for them to swallow.


Now that you have learned the best tank mates for red-eared slider turtles, let’s get down to business and purchase some! Try to optimize the living conditions and monitor their activities carefully. This way, both your turtles and their cohabitants can survive and thrive together!