Do turtles need a heat lamp at night?

For turtle lovers, keeping turtle happy and healthy is the first priority. It would help if you had a turtle tank to keep the turtle grow up healthy. Besides basking and feeding, lighting is also an important condition to let your turtle grow up healthy. There is one big confusion in the use of a heat lamp, which plays an important role in turtle growing phases. So this article is all about heat lamp types and uses, especially the answer to the most asked question do turtles need a heat lamp at night. So let’s get the answer through this article.

Do turtles need a heat lamp at night?

What is a heat lamp?

The heat lamp is known as a daylight lamp. This lamp is an essential tool for the turtle to grow healthy. This lamp produces heat and light for the turtle. There are kinds of heat lamps like incandescent, halogen, and a reflector heat lamp that helps to keep the temperature of the tank, especially the basking area warm enough for the turtle.

Does turtle need a heat lamp?

The answer to this question is, yes, turtle needs a heat lamp. Because turtle is a cold-blooded animal and to regulate body temperature, heat is required. Usually, pet turtles are not allowed to go outside in the sun, so they have to get the required heat from the heat lamp.

The basking spot has to maintain the temperature between 85/90 Fahrenheit. If you can maintain that temperature without a heat lamp, then it’s ok. But most of the time, it is impossible. Without a heat lamp, your turtle will get sick in cold temperature and die later. 

What do you need in a heat lamp to provide proper heat?

Now we know how the heat lamp works for the turtle. The main point is what type of heat lamp is required for your turtle as different species need different heat lamps. Here are the specifications you will need in a heat lamp for your turtle.

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When you are picking a heat lamp, the first thing you have to choose is wattage. The heat lamp comes in three wattages – 50, 75, and 100 watts. You have to pick the wattage based on the number of turtles, turtle size and the basking area. I give you an example; if you have a small turtle that comes in 5-inch length and the size of the basking area is 17x14x10 inch, you will need a 50-watt heat lamp.


As I said before, different turtle species need a different temperature. But maximum turtle species require 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit temperature in the basking area. Here I am giving the list of turtle species that require different temperature

Turtle temperature
Florida turtle 85-95 degrees Fahrenheit
Eastern turtle 85-90 degrees Fahrenheit
Ornate turtle 85-90 degrees Fahrenheit
Red ear slider turtle 80-90 degrees farenhite
Map turtles 80-90 degrees farenhite  
Musk turtles nedds 80-90 degrees fahrenheit
Painted Turtles 80-90 degrees fahrenheit

Infrared heating

The heat lamp operates like a luminous lamp but produces superior ultraviolet heat. The heat lasts from 9,000 to 15,000 hours.  You will get stable and fast heat from this lamp, don’t worry about the bill as it produces energy-efficient heat.


The heat lamps come in red, white, and black based on ceramic, halogen, and incandescent. The black ceramic bulb produces more heat than the ceramic made white bulb. But the heat production entirely depends on the quality of the lamp.

Power point

As the heat lamps are ceramic made, so you have to use a porcelain socket because it prevents overheating issues that may damage the lamps or bulbs.

What happens if you don’t use a heat lamp for a turtle?

If you don’t use a heat lamp for turtle, it will face a health problem. The common health problem the turtle face is that it catches a cold. Catching a cold is not good for the turtle. From the cold, the turtle gets an infection in the respiratory system, which is fatal if not treated. So using a heat lamp is mandatory.

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Does turtle need a heat lamp at night?

No, the turtle doesn’t need a heat lamp at night. You have to keep it off at night. The turtle needs to be accustomed to a proper light cycle, which means it has to understand the difference between day and night. In the summertime, the cycle remains 12/12, and in the wintertime, the cycle remains 6-9 hours. So you have to teach the turtle to mimic the lighting patterns naturally as they will notice the difference in dark and light time.

You may think that the little animal will get pissed off in darkness so that you can use the night light in the turtle tank. This light comes in purplish-blue or red and allows the night view calm without disturbing the turtles. This night bulb also provides heat that keeps the turtle comfortable, especially the hatching turtles who sleeps in the basking area.

You can use the infrared heat lamp in the night time as it provides heat that is good for the hatching turtles.


  1. Does my turtle need a heat lamp 24/7?

Ans:  no, your turtle doesn’t need a heat lamp 24/7. Turtle requires a heater 24 hours a day to keep the water at the right temperature.

  • Can turtles live without a heat lamp?

Ans:  without any heat source, the turtle will get sick and die. So turtle needs a heat source to live a healthy life.

  • 3.       How long do you leave a heat lamp on for a turtle?

Ans: you can leave the heat lamp on for 10-12 hours for the turtle.


It seems that taking care of a turtle is easy, as they don’t need too much care. But you have to meet the essentials for the turtle to let it grow healthy. What the turtle needs most is proper lighting because the pet turtle is not exposed to the sunlight. So you have to meet the need with a heat lamp. There is a confusion in do turtles need a heat lamp. I hope this article will clear your clutter and let you care about your turtle to grow healthy and happy.

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