What Animals Can Live with Turtles? 10 Examples!

Ardent aquarists will tell you that it is essential to carefully select the fishes that you place in your aquarium, but what happens when you choose to put a turtle as well?

I decided to experiment and placed a little turtle in my aquarium and was suddenly faced with the conundrum of the animals and fishes that can live with turtles.

Some of my fishes started hiding behind the flora in my aquarium, so I spoke to an aquarist friend who is also a marine biologist, and she told me that there are quite a few animals that can live harmoniously with turtles. So I decided to list them out here for you.

Animals that can live with turtles:

  • Koi Fish
  • Plecos
  • Hermit Crab
  • Arowana 
  • Bearded Dragon
  • Honey Gourami
  • Rainbow Shark
  • Convict Cichlid
  • Blood Parrot Cichlid
  • Tiger Barb

Table of Contents

List of animals that can live with turtles

1. Koi fish

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When it comes to placing turtles in a koi fish pond, there is a different kind of element that is added to the aquatic life of that area.

Usually, koi fishes and turtles can survive together, especially the smaller ones.

But it would help if you kept in mind that the turtles need to be small in size, and they need to be well-fed.

The feeding habits and the nutritional requirements of koi fishes and turtles do not overlap.

Turtles are hunters, especially the baby snapping turtles and if the turtles are not well-fed, they will attack the koi fishes, and you might find a few injured fishes in your pond.

So if you are planning to add a turtle to your koi fish pond, you need to ensure that your turtle is well-fed.

2. Plecos

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Plecos are often kept in tanks as these fishes keep the aquariums clean. But when you plan to keep turtles and plecos together, you must consider the size of the turtles and the plecos.

You can keep smaller plecos with smaller turtles. But you must be careful and never keep more giant turtles with bigger plecos.

If you have to keep larger plecos with more giant turtles, then the aquarium must be sufficiently large, and both marine species must have separate feeding areas.

This is necessary to prevent any aggression between the plecos and the turtle.

If you have already added the plecos to your aquarium, then first check the size of your aquarium before you add the turtle to it.

3. Hermit crab

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Hermit crabs are one of the few animals that can live with turtles in the same habitat.

But if you are planning to keep a hermit crab and a turtle in an aquarium with other fishes, it is essential to ensure that the habitat of these aquatic species is quite spacious.

The aquarium must meet the feeding requirements of the turtle and the hermit crab and their other requirements like heat, light, and space to move.

Aggressive turtles like snapping turtles cannot survive in the same environment as hermit turtles.

Therefore, if you plan to add turtles to your aquarium that can survive with a hermit crab, you must opt for species like pond sliders or painted turtles.

These turtles will not show any aggression towards the hermit crab. 

4. Arowana

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Arowanas are large fishes, especially silver arowanas. Hence, if you plan to add other animals to the tank along with your arowana you need to ensure that your aquarium is sufficiently big.

Arrowanas can be pretty aggressive and territorial.

You need to ensure that the aquatic animals you add to the tank are bottom feeders or middle dwellers, as the arowanas tend to spend most of the time at the top of the tank.

For example, if you want to add a turtle with your arowana then put bottom feeders to keep your turtle closer to the bottom of your tank and away from the larger arowana.

You should also ensure that the tank is spacious so that the turtle and the fish can survive comfortably in the tank.

5. Bearded dragon

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There have been records of adding reptiles to aquariums, but after careful research, this has to be done.

For example, if you want to add a bearded dragon to the tank where your turtle lives, it must be devoid of fish.

Reptiles usually prefer to live solo and do not do well with other species.

You will have to build a unique tank with a pond for your turtle to live in and a different environment for your bearded dragon to survive.

You cannot drop your bearded dragon into the aquarium where your turtle lives!

A specialized environment must be created where both species can live harmoniously within a single enclosure.

Then you can observe their behavior to see if any changes need to be made.

6. Honey gourami

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Honey gourami is one of the most beautiful fish that you can keep in a tank along with your turtle.

These fishes can move in and out of the Java ferns and Anubias that you add to the tank in the most unpredictable manner.

This beautiful movement of the honey gourami makes the fish the most beautiful addition to any fish tank.

Furthermore, these fishes are not aggressive, and you will find that they do not disturb turtles.

Therefore, your turtle can live harmoniously with the honey gourami school.

If you plan to add honey gourami to your tank, you should add two to three of these fishes as they tend to stay together and avoid other fishes.

7. Rainbow shark

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A Rainbow shark is an oddball when adding a fish to your aquarium.

This fish can be pretty aggressive, and you can be assured that it will survive with your turtle.

If you add a rainbow shark in your aquarium along with your turtle and you find the fish swimming close to the turtle, you will notice the turtle swimming away quite fast.

This is quite an exciting sight as most turtles tend to avoid an aggressive fish like the rainbow shark.

You will always get to see the rainbow shark swimming across the tank.

Unlike other fishes in your aquarium, the rainbow shark does not hide behind the foliage.

Hence, you might even find the fish chasing your turtle across the tank. But you need not worry; this aggression will not harm your turtle.

8. Convict cichlid

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The convict cichlid is quite an aggressive fish. These fishes are often seen in aquariums, but they can be pretty territorial and hostile.

If you are planning to add a convict cichlid to a tank that already hosts a turtle, then the first thing that you need to ensure is that the tank has enough space to host such an aggressive fish.

This is important because convict cichlids are known to chase and bite turtles.

To keep in mind, convict cichlids tend to get more aggressive when they breed.

Other fishes will avoid the convict cichlids during this period, and you should remove the turtle from the tank during this time.

If your turtle gets close to the convict cichlid during this period, the chances are that your turtle can get injured.

Thus, you need to be careful if you want to keep convict cichlids and your turtle together in a single tank.

9. Blood parrot cichlid

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The blood parrotfish is a hybrid, a crossbreed of the Midas and the Gold Severum Cichlid.

Being a hybrid, you will find that the mouth of the blood parrot does not close completely, which gives the fish its unique appearance.

When you add the fish to your tank, you bring color to your aquarium.

Blood parrotfishes can grow quite extensively, and they can grow to a size comparative to your turtle.

However, you do not have to worry about the fish’s aggression.

Since the mouth of the blood parrot fish does not close completely, these fishes cannot bite the turtle.

If your turtle gets inquisitive and nudges the blood parrotfish, the fish can push the turtle back.

10. Tiger barb

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Tiger barbs are one of the best fishes that you can keep with your turtle because they can add a touch of color to your aquarium and because they are the least aggressive fish and tend to avoid the more prominent species of animals.

Tiger barbs are schooling fishes, and they tend to live in groups of six and more.

So if you add tiger barbs in your aquarium, you should add a school of fish.

When you add a turtle, you will find them swimming together in a group, which is a beautiful sight.

The fishes tend to swim in a scattered fashion without a larger animal or a large fish in the aquarium.

But if you want to watch these fish swimming in a school, it is good to add a turtle in the tank.

Then you will find the tiger barbs swimming back and forth in a single school, which is a fantastic sight.

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