5 Reason The Turtle Tank Smells Like Rotten Eggs – How To Fix It?

Turtle tank smells like rotten eggs

Owning an underwater ecosystem will be a pleasant and interesting journey that will allow you to see another environment. The turtle tank smells like rotten eggs if you don’t clean it regularly. In this post, Aquatic 247 will find out the causes and how to keep a turtle tank from smelling.

Why does my turtle tank stink?

To help you diagnose problems, we’ve put together a helpful roundup of the most common reasons why tanks smell strange.

Improper cleaning

When you undertake regular maintenance and cleaning duties on your fish tank, you can be confident that it will be odor-free. Remember that small nooks can accumulate garbage and bacteria, so keep them clean.

Turtle tank smells like rotten eggs
Turtle tank smells like rotten eggs

Improper filtration 

Inadequate filter maintenance or adding unnecessary chemicals are two main reasons for a smelly turtle tank. Be sure to perform routine tank maintenance, including checking the filter system and cartridges, cleaning as necessary, and adjusting chemical additives to prevent unnecessary or unwanted odors by changing approximately 10–15 percent of tank water weekly.

Remember to avoid conditioners with high sulfur content, which makes turtle tank smell like rotten eggs.

Decaying critter 

Why does my turtle tank smell? A decomposing organism such as fish, snails, etc. They get stuck in filters, plants, or decorations. At the same time, you should check to see if the plant parts are rotting underwater. Dead organisms and plants can create a terrible odor.

Food waste

When turtles are fed more than they can eat at once, food accumulates in the tank for an extended period. The leftover food will decay and emit an unpleasant odor. It is advisable to feed only what the turtle will take in 5–10 minutes.


Turtles are omnivores and generate a large amount of excrement. Their excrement, pee, and uneaten food rapidly build up, especially if the filtration tank is insufficient. Overcrowding is one of the most common causes of smelly turtle tanks.

Why does my turtle tank smell even after cleaning?

If your turtle tank smells like rotten eggs even after cleaning, it could be due to several reasons.

One probable explanation is that the filter is not functioning properly or is insufficiently powerful to handle the tank’s size and turtle waste.

Another possible explanation is that the tank is overcrowded, resulting in an accumulation of trash and uneaten food.

Furthermore, if the tank is not adequately cleaned, there may be an accumulation of organic debris generating the odor.

To address this issue, make sure the filter is working properly, that the tank is not overloaded, and that it is cleaned carefully and often.

Turtle tank smells like rotten eggs
Turtle tank smells like rotten eggs

How to keep a turtle tank from smelling? 

Regular maintenance not only keeps your tank odor-free, but it also keeps your turtles healthy.

Clean the tank

Once a week, perform a quarter-water change and replace it with non-chlorinated water at the same temperature. At the same time, visit your veterinarian about using nitrifying bacteria to help digest turtle excrement and reduce odors.

Remove uneaten food

Green veggies might block your filter, preventing proper circulation. They spoil quickly, stink, and can be harmful to the turtle if eaten. So, at the end of the day, use a scoop net to remove any remaining food that has floated to the surface of your turtle tank.

Maintain adequate temperature

Proper temperature is essential not just for odor management, but also for the turtle’s health. A tank that is too hot will quickly grow algae, which can cause foul odors, while a tank that is too warm will contribute to shell rot. Most semi-aquatic organisms survive in water temperatures ranging from 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Turtle tank smells like rotten eggs
Turtle tank smells like rotten eggs

Consider upgrading the tank size 

Your turtle tank’s stink could be caused by a lack of space. The tank should have 10 gallons of water for every inch of your turtle’s shell. If you have more than one turtle in the tank, add 5 gallons for each extra inch of turtle.

What does a healthy aquarium smell like?

There are various explanations for how a healthy fish tank should smell. An aquarium with a slight earthy aroma is said to be nice. It has a very faint odor, similar to newly plowed earth. To determine how this smell feels on your nose, get close to the water and sniff. It shouldn’t smell fishy or even somewhat unpleasant.

Many aquarists believe that the mild aroma is caused by nitrifying bacteria used in the nitrogen cycle in an aquarium.

In conclusion

While turtles generally don’t smell, poorly maintained tanks make turtle tank smells like rotten eggs. Remember, don’t use chemical cleaners or air fresheners in the same room as your turtle tank. If you must use a cleanser, opt for a reptile-safe pick and make sure you’ve rinsed the area thoroughly after.