Can Turtles Live In KOI Pond? Do Turtles Eat Koi Fish?

Sep 6, 2021

Can Turtles Live In KOI Pond?

Imagine you have a koi pond in your backyard, and you want to add other pond mates along with your koi. So, you think, how about getting a turtle in a pond. After all, they indeed love living in an outdoor pond rather than being confined in an aquarium.

Hmm, but you are in confusion about whether the turtles could live in a koi pond. You might even fear raising both together without your turtle devouring your koi.

So, here are some things to know if you are thinking of keeping turtles in a koi pond.

Can Turtles Live In Koi Pond?

Turtles thrive much better in a pond than in an aquarium. So yes, they will get along with smaller koi together in a pond.

Include plants and vegetation in your pond and maintain suitable water parameters with correct temperatures. Also, the size of your koi matters as turtles tend to prey on koi fishes that are smaller than them.

Do Turtles Eat Koi Fish?

Yes, your turtles will eat koi if they are smaller than turtles. This is because turtles are omnivores and will prey upon koi. However, adult koi can grow up to 12 inches in length, so they are much safer than younglings.

However, turtles need to catch them first. 

Koi are slow swimmers but agile enough to dodge turtles in the pond. Nevertheless, turtles are four times faster in water than on land, so your koi could still be a victim of a turtle bite. 

Related Readings:

Can Turtles And Tortoises Mate? Explained

Can Turtles And Frogs Live Together? Do Turtles Eat Frogs?

What Animals Eat Turtles? Know These Cunning Predators

Things To Consider Before Keeping Turtles And Koi Together.

Necessities For Turtle

The good thing about keeping turtles in a koi pond is that they require the same water parameter. Koi fishes can survive within 35 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, which is similar to turtles.

The smallest of turtles also require a large area for swimming, and large ponds make the perfect spot.

You need to know the specific breeds of turtles to put in your koi pond. For example, some turtles like deep waters, whereas some may prefer shallow.

You will also require a basking area if you are planning to have turtles in your koi pond. Turtles love basking as much as swimming. 

Turtles bask to fulfill their vitamin D requirements. Vitamin D helps in carapace development and running of vital functions in a turtle’s body.

You need to know how to prepare a basking spot for your turtles in a koi pond.

First, a basking spot needs to be dry and shouldn’t be susceptible to ripples or tides from the pond. So make a basking area in an elevated area near the pond.

But as turtles are clumsy walkers outside the pond, too much elevation will make it hard for them to reach the basking area.

Pour some sands on the banks of your pond and make a slope to reach the basking spot.

Water Temperature

Unlike your koi, turtles aren’t well-adapted to freezing winter. The drop in temperature will freeze your turtles, especially if they are baby turtles.

The adult turtles will be able to hibernate outdoors, but if you are raising young turtles, they might not be able to survive hibernation. Therefore, they need to prepare before hibernation.

I recommend that you bring your turtles inside during winter. Keep them in a heater-installed tank, and only take them outside till you notice a temperature rise.

Have Some Vegetation In The Pond

As I mentioned earlier that the turtles are omnivores, they will devour plants that they find edible. So you need to know which aquatic plants they eat and which they won’t.

Most pond installers might suggest you keep those plants that your turtles dislike. It is because your turtle will avoid consuming those plants and help in the vegetation growth. But as your turtles grow into adulthood, they will have a plant-based diet rather than a carnivore diet.

So eventually, you will want the pond’s ecosystem to become more self-sufficient enough to provide food for your turtles. This is why you need to add edible plants for your turtles.

Adult turtles aren’t voracious eaters like the young ones. So after your turtles feed on plants, they will rest for a couple of days or weeks. In the meantime, your pond’s ecosystem will thrive and prepare edible plants for your turtles.

Edible plants you can have in your koi pond:

  • Duckweed
  • Waterweed
  • Java Ferns
  • Moss (Fairy moss)
  • Water Lettuce
  • Hornwort
  • Amazon Sword
  • Water Hyacinth

Plants that turtles won’t eat in the pond

  • Anubias Barteri
  • Dwarf Hairgrass
  • Red Ludwigia
  • Moss Balls

(Disclaimer: Some of these plants will be eaten by your turtles, but their growth rate is so quick to survive turtles’ grazing.)

Filters And Pond Heaters

Turtles are messy creatures, so if you plan to keep them together with your koi fishes, you will need to add more filters in your pond.

Despite being messy, turtles require clean and fresh water in their habitat.

For this, you will need double the number of filters in your koi ponds.

Both turtles and koi need heaters. However, compared to koi, turtles cannot withstand cold. So it is not recommended to keep turtles, especially young ones, outside during winter.

What you need to know about these pond heaters is that they will only heat certain pond areas. This will unfreeze the site to maintain the exchange of pond gases and outside air.

Here is a link for a pond heater.

What Type Of Turtles Can You Keep In Your Koi Pond?

Freshwater turtles can be kept along with koi in a pond. They require the same water parameters as koi, so freshwater turtles can easily thrive in a pond.

Some of the freshwater turtles you can keep with koi in a pond are:

Red-eared Slider Turtle With Koi

They are one of the hardy turtles as they can adapt to most water parameters. This is why they have been listed in the world’s top 100 worst invasive species.

They are excellent to be kept as both indoor and outdoor pets. They spend an equal amount of time on land and water.

Adult slider turtles can grow up to 12 inches. They like to swim in deeper waters, so it will be perfect if you have a pond with sufficient depth.

You need to remember they are invasive, so you need to enclose your area so they can’t leave.

Painted Turtle With Koi

Painted turtles spend most of their time in water and only come out when they have to bask. This makes them a suitable choice to keep in an outdoor pond.

And yes, they require similar water parameters as koi; thus, they can live along with koi. Adults grow up to 6 inches in length, so your adult koi will be safer with painted turtles.

Fulfill the basics requirements like filter and vegetation to ensure exact mimicry of their habitat in the wild.

Spotted Turtle With Koi

These turtles fall under tiny turtles and can only grow up to 5 inches. So putting them along with koi in a pond will be a perfect combination.

Spotted turtles prey on aquatic insects, larvae, slugs, aquatic vegetation, crustaceans, tadpoles, and small fish.

Unlike other aquatic turtles, spotted turtles like to roam and prey on land insects too. Their level of intelligence has been tested with maze experiments and is on par with a mouse’s intelligence.

Box Turtle With Koi

Though not much of a swimmer, box turtles are found in ponds and rivers. Unlike other turtles, box turtles spend most of their time on land than in water.

Also, box turtles are known to feed on terrestrial insects, so they can and will travel far and wide to hunt these insects in the wild.

And as they are not a good swimmer, your koi younglings will be safe from them. Also, box turtles’ carapaces are heavy and make them slow to catch koi in the water.

Yellow-bellied Turtle With Koi

Hobbyists have had varying success in keeping yellow-bellied turtles with koi. However, we are talking about a pond, so there’s a high chance of successfully keeping them together.

A yellow-bellied turtle can grow up to 11 inches, which will be an underlying threat once they mature. Otherwise, your adult koi will be safe from young turtles in a pond.

Can I Keep A Pregnant Koi Together With A Turtle?

You shouldn’t keep a pregnant koi together with turtles. It will be even worse if you plan to breed koi in a pond with turtles in it. Turtles love eating koi eggs, so do not keep pregnant koi together with turtles.

So if you are planning to breed koi, then separate the pregnant koi from the rest of the group. Breeding koi is a technical job, so you need to know what you are doing.

Conclusion On Can Turtles Live In Koi Pond

It is best to keep pets in their natural habitats. Both these pets are outdoor pets and will be happy to be in their element.

And if you are worrying that your turtle might think of koi as a snack, you are probably right. But the koi fish breeds rapidly and can lay over 100000 eggs at a time that you will be fine even if your turtles are eating them.

Make sure to provide suitable water parameters, and do remember to take your turtles indoors during winter.

Relevant Readings:

Can Turtles Eat Corn? How Safe Is It?

How Much Does A Turtle Weigh? (25 Pet Turtles And Their Sizes)

12 Turtles That Stay Small | Only Up To Six Inches In Their Lifetime!

rohit gurung author at urbanfishkeeping

About Rohit Gurung

My never-ending love and fascination with Aquascaping started when I received a red-eared turtle for my 10th birthday.

Apart from researching and writing, I spend hours gazing at my 3 turtles. And yeah, I bask alongside them too.