How to Make a Floating Turtle Dock

Though turtle is an aquatic animal, they require basking for specific hours. As the turtle is a cold-blooded animal, it cannot warm up the body from its own. They need an external temperature source to keep the body temperature appropriate. That is why you need a turtle dock or basking area in the tank where the turtle can completely get off from water.

There are a variety of turtle docks available commercially that you can pick to put in the turtle tank. However, you can make one DIY to save some penny. Producing a turtle dock is very easy, and you can do this without any further experience. Keep reading to comprehend how to make a floating turtle dock.

How to Make a Floating Turtle Dock

Why the Turtle Dock Need a Dock?

We, humans, are not the only species that enjoy sunbathing. The turtles also enjoy sunbathing. They specifically need the sunbathe for a variety of reasons to stay healthy and well-functional. As the turtle is a cold-blooded reptile, the turtle’s body temperature depends on the surrounding environment. To keep the body temperature in control, the turtle requires basking and swimming daily. It also helps them to dry out to prevent fungal infections and parasites.

Basking helps to regulate the body’s metabolism of the turtle to control the daily functionalities. More so, basking also exposes them to the UVB lights that help to produce D3 vitamin. It is crucial for the absorption of calcium. If the turtle doesn’t get adequate vitamin D3, it will encounter different health issues, including metabolic bone disease, improper growth, and others.

When in the wild, the turtles can get the heat and UVB from the sunlight. But when in the captive, the turtle may not get access to direct sunlight. That is why you will need to create a basking dock with appropriate basking light and UVB lights to mimics its wild environment.

How to Make a Floating Turtle Dock

Amongst different types of the dock for the turtle, you can go for the floating turtle dock. Many individuals prefer the floating turtle dock as they are cheap and easy to set up and maintain. Note that the floating turtle platforms may not hold a lot of weight. So, they are not suitable for prominent and adult turtles. But they can be an excellent choice for the smaller turtles. Here is how you can make a floating turtle dock:

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Things You Will Need:

  • A piece of Styrofoam (Preferably big enough)
  • Low-temperature glue gun (Low temperature is essential)
  • Smooth rocks, plants, etc. for decoration
  • A sharp knife



Go for a Styrofoam that will be effortlessly floating in the water and capable of carrying the turtle’s size. However, don’t worry about the weight as the Styrofoam arrives with tremendous load capacity. Now cut it in the right size depending on the area you want to offer the turtle for basking. We will recommend you to provide a bigger space to the turtle for basking. However, make sure that you are not covering the whole aquarium surface.


Peels off the label from the foam if there is any. Also, remove the sticky coating from the foam. Make sure that you are not leaving any sharp edge while cutting the foam. To avoid any issues, face the uncut area of the board towards the turtle. Now put the plants, smooth rocks, and other things on the foam for decoration. It will also cover the surface area to resist the turtle from chewing the foam.


Put the decorative items in order so that the turtle finds the surface comfortable. Try to cover the whole foam surface with the decorative pieces to resist the turtle from chewing it. Now use a low-temperature glue gun to fix the decoration items. As we mentioned earlier, it is essential to select a low-temperature glue gun like the one with high-temperature will burn the Styrofoam. Also, make sure that the glue sticks don’t contain any toxic or harmful ingredients.


Now you will need to create a ramp that the turtle can use for reaching the basking area. You can use a ramp from any old commercial dock by solely cutting it down and gluing it with the Styrofoam. Or, you can also buy one from the related stores within a cheap price. You can even make it sweeter by cutting a lip in the foam before gluing. Make sure to fix the ramp at a proper angle so that the turtle can easily use it.

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You are almost done. Now you can place the floating dock for your beloved pet turtle in the aquarium. You can also attach it with the wall of the aquarium using a plunger. However, the dock seems to be snug enough; you may not need to do this. Ensure that the basking lights are placed away from the Styrofoam dock as they can melt with high temperatures if placed close.

Now you are done. However, one thing you should do before putting it on the aquarium is to let the glues properly. Else, the adhesive may come off and damage the structure of the beautiful dock.

Other Types of Dock That You May Choose

The floating decks are not suitable for all types and ages of the turtle. In such situations, you can go for the other varieties of the basking platforms. Here are some that you may love to utilize:

Slopped Shore

If there are gravel or sand substrate in your turtle’s tank, you may then pile some extra gravel at one corner of the aquarium to create a basking platform. That will offer you a natural-looking beach slope like platform. The platform idea can be pretty costly and hard to clean due to multiple layers of gravel. However, it can be an excellent choice for the beautification of the turtle tank. Such platforms are usually not available commercially.

Stationary Dock

The stationary decks are one of the popular types of docks you may implement on the aquarium for various turtles. They are commonly available to buy in almost all pet shops. The platforms usually include suction cups to hold steady in the aquarium. They are generally made of stack or rocks or wooden pillars to maintain the platform. These are typically cheap and suitable for beginners.

A floating turtle deck can be an excellent addition in your turtle tank for the well-being of the turtle as well as for decoration. We hope you can easily create a floating turtle dock with the above guidance.


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