6 Best Turtle Basking Platform & Docks

Turtles naturally bask in the wild, so it is vital that you provide them with a turtle basking platform or turtle dock to keep them healthy and happy.
Wild Turtle Basking – Lake Kourna, Crete, Greece (Taken By Me! πŸ’πŸ“Έ)

Being cold-blooded, turtles can’t regulate their body temperature so they have to use the environment around them to do this. They swim to cool themselves down and bask in sunlight to warm themselves up.

Basking not only raises a turtle’s body temperature, but it also allows them to absorb enough vitamin D3 to keep their shell and bones healthy while allowing them to dry off fully which prevents fungal infections and algae build-up.

I’ll be reviewing the 3 types of turtle basking platforms available, so you can pick the one that suits your turtle tank setup the best.

Top 3 Aquatic Turtle Basking Platforms

Here are the 3 best-quality basking platforms for turtles. 🐒

Best Tank Topper Platform
Best Fixed Basking Platform
Best XL Floating Basking Platform
Best Tank Topper Platform
Best Fixed Basking Platform
Best XL Floating Basking Platform
05/24/2024 07:11 pm GMT

What is The Best Type of Basking Platform?

There are 3 main types of aquatic turtle basking platforms, it will depend on your turtle tank setup as to which type will suit your turtle the best.

Type 1 – Tank Topper – My Recommendation

Also known as an above-tank basking area, these sit above your turtle’s tank and have a ramp into the water that your turtle can climb up and down.

A tank topper is my recommendation as the best turtle basking platform choice if your turtle lives in a tank, as it allows you to fill your tank right to the top and has 3 benefits:

  1. Doesn’t take up space in the tank, giving your turtle more space to swim.
  2. A larger volume of water is easier to keep clean.
  3. It’s easier to set up your basking/heat and UVB lights above a tank topper, as it’s fixed in place and won’t float around.

Type 2 – Fixed

A fixed turtle basking platform attaches to your turtles’ home usually with suction cups stuck onto the tank sides, by hooking over the top of the tank, or by sitting/attaching to the tank bottom.

A benefit of it being attached to the tank is that it stays in one place, so it is always going to be directly below your turtles’ basking lights.

A drawback is that the suction cups on a lot of these platforms aren’t able to handle the weight of larger turtles and won’t hold in place while your turtle basks, to avoid this get a fixed platform that hooks over the rim.

Type 3 – Floating

If your turtle lives in a pond or large stock tank, a floating basking platform is your best option. As the name suggests, they float in your pond or stock tank.

Your turtle can then bask in the middle of your pond giving you peace of mind that they’re out of the reach of cats, raccoons, or anything else that may try and make a meal out of your turtle!

Choosing The Right Size Platform

When choosing a basking platform, you need to take into account the size of your turtle and how much more it will grow in the future.

Your turtle needs to have enough space on the platform to be comfortable when basking and space to maneuver without falling back in the water.

6 Best Turtle Basking Platforms Guide

Now we’ve covered what you need to look for, here are my 6 best basking platform choices, whether you want a tank topper, fixed or floating platform, there’s something for everyone.

1. Penn-Plax Reptology Turtle Topper

Best Tank Topper Basking Platform
PENN-PLAX REPTOLOGY ABOVE TANK TURTLE BASKING PLATFORM
4.5
$55.49

The Penn-Plax Reptology is a tank topper style basking platform suitable for tanks up to 55 gallons and up to 13 inches wide, if your tank is wider than this you can buy extender clips so it will fit tanks up to 19.5 inches wide.

Dimensions in Inches (L x W x H): 17 x 14 x 10
Pros:
  • Sturdy & high quality
  • Easy to assemble
  • Super easy to clean
  • Supported by the tank instead of suction cups
  • Allows you to fill your tank up to maximize swimming space
  • Allows your turtle to dry out completely
  • Gives your turtle greater temperature regulation options
  • Extender clips available, so you can fit to larger tanks
Cons:
  • May take a couple of weeks for your turtle to get used to it
  • Plastic may melt slightly if your heat lamp is too close
  • May be too small for fully grown large turtles like red eared sliders
Buy On Amazon
As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This is at no additional cost to yourself. If you buy through my link - Thank you 😊
05/24/2024 07:11 pm GMT

The Penn-Plax Reptology Turtle Topper is my no.1 recommendation, it’s a great choice and is suitable for most turtles.

It sits on top of the tank rather than being attached to the sides with suction cups, so it’s nice and sturdy and your turtle won’t become too heavy and have it sink in the water making it useless.

It allows you to fill your tank completely to maximize your turtles’ swimming area while still giving your turtle somewhere to get out to and bask.

The textured ramp gives your turtle extra grip making it easier for them to climb in and out of their basking area. The ramp is 5.75″ wide at its narrowest point and is 8″ in length. It has a clear marking of where to fill your tank water up to.

The clear lid top allows you to enjoy watching your turtle basking and has 2 ridges to mount your clamp-style basking lights.

The lid has a 7.25″ x 8″ grille door that lets the heat and UVB light through while providing ventilation to allow moisture to evaporate from inside so your turtle can dry out fully and keep its shell healthy.

The internal dimensions are 16″ x 12.25″ which allows your turtle to regulate their temperature better. They can bask directly below the heat bulb to get warm, but if they get too warm they can move to another area to cool down without having to get back in the water.

There’s an additional 11.25″ x 4″ ledge beneath the tank topper for your turtle to rest on, but this can be removed if it’s not required.

Fits 55-gallon tanks up to 13″ wide, but if your tank is wider, there’s a set of extender clips available so that it will fit tanks up to 19.5″ wide.

There are also videos on YouTube showing you how to make this fit other sized tanks with a bit of simple DIY.




2. LaBrinx Aquatic Reptile Basking Platform

Best Fixed Basking Platform
LABRINX EXTRA WIDE FIXED TURTLE BASKING PLATFORM
4.4
$74.99

The LaBrinx height adjustable acrylic turtle basking platform is available in 3 sizes, so you can get the perfect size for your turtle.

One thing to note, if you have a lid that fits flush, this platform hooks over the rim, so would stop the lid from fitting properly.


Pros:
  • Available in 3 sizes
  • Easy to install
  • Stable & sturdy
  • Height adjustable
  • Supported by the tank instead of suction cups
  • Fitted with friction grip tape
  • Allows good temperature regulation
Cons:
  • Grip tape may need re-attaching in the future
  • Included screws could be more durable
Buy On Amazon
As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This is at no additional cost to yourself. If you buy through my link - Thank you 😊
05/24/2024 08:46 am GMT

If you don’t want a tank topper basking platform but still want something that is supported by your tank instead of suction cups, making it much more stable, the LaBrinx Reptile Basking Platform is a great choice.

It hooks over the top of your tank so will not sink into the water as your turtle grows and the height that the platform sits at is fully adjustable so you can increase or decrease your water level as you choose.

The friction grip tape fitted to the ramp and basking area allows your turtle to climb up and down easier and prevents them from slipping off as they adjust position.

This large size acrylic basking platform allows your turtle to regulate its temperature better, as it can move from directly beneath the heat lamp to cool off without having to go back into the water.




3. Penn-Plax Reptology Floating Turtle Pier

Floating Platform
PENN-PLAX REPTOLOGY LARGE FLOATING TURTLE BASKING PLATFORM
4.2
$26.06

The Penn-Plax Reptology height adjustable (3"-16") floating platform offers your turtle plenty of basking space due to its large size, make sure it will fit your tank before buying!

  • Basking Area - 16” L x 11” W x 1.25’ H
  • Ramp - 6.5" L x 5.5" W
Pros:
  • Cheap
  • Easy to assemble
  • Large area for turtles to bask on
Cons:
  • Turtles over 6" may be too heavy (DIY solution below)
  • Suction cups can come unstuck easily
  • Not as stable & sturdy as fixed and topper style platforms
  • Fixings that join the legs together can break if you’re not careful
Buy On Amazon
As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This is at no additional cost to yourself. If you buy through my link - Thank you 😊
05/21/2024 03:34 pm GMT

Not recommended for smaller tanks due to its large size, check if it will fit your tank before buying.

The Penn-Plax Floating Turtle Pier is a great choice if you don’t want a tank topper and your water isn’t deeper than 16″.

It’s a nice design and looks like it’s made of wood but is heavy-duty plastic.

4 suction cups stick the legs to the bottom of your tank while the platform floats on top of the water due to the molded air pockets underneath.

If your turtle is boisterous and bangs into the legs the suction cups may become unstuck, so you may want to fix them in place with aquarium-safe glue or silicone.

Tip: If your turtle gets too heavy for the platform to float, you can fit some PVC pipe cut to size over the legs to stop the platform from sinking or fit some plastic zip ties on the leg supports just below the floating dock at the height you want.




4. Zoo Med Turtle Dock

Fixed Platform
ZOO MED FIXED TURTLE BASKING PLATFORM
4.4
$38.76 $35.37

The Zoo Med fixed basking platform is made from plastic but looks very realistic.

Available in 3 sizes, so you can choose the ideal size for your turtle, but the more basking space you can give the better.

  • Small: 9.5" L x 5" W
  • Medium: 15" L x 7" W
  • Large: 19" L x 8" W
Pros:
  • Available in 3 sizes
  • Designed to move up and down with the water level
  • Looks realistic
  • Slopes into the water to make it easier for your turtle to climb on and off
  • Made in USA
Cons:
  • Suction cups could be better
  • Algae can be difficult to clean off
  • Durability, turtle may bite and damage dock
Buy On Amazon
As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This is at no additional cost to yourself. If you buy through my link - Thank you 😊
05/24/2024 07:33 pm GMT

Available in a variety of sizes for different-sized tanks and turtles, the Zoo Med Turtle Dock is a popular choice.

The frame used to attach it to your tank fits through the platform allowing it to automatically adjust to your tank’s water level and the submerged ramp makes it easier for your turtle to climb on and off.

Not recommended if you have a hatchling turtle as they can get stuck between the frame and the side of the tank.

If you have a larger turtle such as a red eared slider, the Zoo Med Turtle Pond Dock (see below) may be a better choice.




5. Zoo Med Turtle Pond Dock

Best XL Floating Basking Platform
ZOO MED EXTRA LARGE FLOATING TURTLE BASKING PLATFORM
4.4
$72.99

The Zoo Med floating basking platform is huge and a great choice for large tanks, stock tanks, or ponds.

  • Size - 24" L x 12" W

It is secured in place with a nylon cable and weighted bag.

Pros:
  • Large size
  • Looks natural
  • No flimsy suction cups
  • Works well in large aquariums as well as ponds and stock tanks
  • Keeps outdoor turtles safe from predators
  • Great for larger turtles such as red eared sliders and painted turtles
Cons:
  • Not the cheapest option
  • Durability could be better
Buy On Amazon
As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This is at no additional cost to yourself. If you buy through my link - Thank you 😊
05/21/2024 03:56 pm GMT

This extra large turtle basking platform offers plenty of space for larger species of turtles such as red eared sliders and painted turtles.

Instead of fixing with suction cups, the Zoo Med Turtle Pond Dock is held in place with a nylon cable attached to a weighted bag that sits on the bottom of your pond/tank.

The nylon cable supplied is 75″ in length and can be shortened to suit the depth of your tank or pond.

Great for large aquariums, I’ve seen one of these used in my buddy’s 150-gallon stock tank and there was plenty of room for his red eared slider to climb in and out of the water at either end.

Because of its large size, you could have your basking lights positioned at one end of the dock and still give your turtle somewhere to go to cool off without having to back into the water.

If you have a pond you can fix this large floating turtle dock in the center so that your turtle can bask in the sunlight safely out of reach of cats, raccoons, and other predators.




6. Kathson Turtle Basking Platform

For Small Turtles
KATHSON FIXED TURTLE BASKING PLATFORM
4.2
$15.99

The Kathson fixed turtle ramp is small, so not suitable for large turtles.

Available in 3 sizes:

  • Small: 6” L x 2.7” W x 2.7” H
  • Medium: 8.2” L x 3.3” W x 3.1” H
  • Large: 7.1" L x 6.3" W x 2.7" H
Pros:
  • Cheap
  • Looks natural
  • Easy to clean
Cons:
  • For small turtles only
  • Suction cups may need upgrading
  • Hatchling turtles may become trapped in the hollow bottom
Buy On Amazon
As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This is at no additional cost to yourself. If you buy through my link - Thank you 😊
05/21/2024 05:37 pm GMT

The kathson turtle basking platform is a great choice for owners of smaller turtles, such as mud, Texan map, and common musk turtles.

With a natural rock appearance, it will blend in nicely with your other decor. The gently sloped ramp is stepped which makes it easier for your turtles to climb.

If your turtle is struggling to get onto its basking area, this platform can also be used as an access ramp to assist them on to larger platforms.




Turtle Basking FAQ

Some frequently asked questions about turtle basking are:

What Do Turtles Like To Bask On?

In the wild turtles bask on logs, stones, or anything else that they can rest on. Some turtles such as mud turtles don’t come out of the water to bask, they get all of their UVB by floating at the water’s surface.

Your choice of turtle basking area should replicate their natural environment as closely as possible.

How Long Should My Turtle Bask?

A turtle will generally bask anywhere from 2-8 hours per day.

How Often Should My Turtle Bask?

Your turtle should be basking and fully drying out daily. How often they do this each day depends on your turtle and its mood.

How Hot Should A Turtle Basking Platform Be?

A turtle’s basking area should be between 80Β°-95Β°F, depending on the age and species of your turtle.

How Do You Build A Basking Area For A Turtle?

When it comes to myself, DIY means; Don’t Involve Yourself! But, if you’re a budding Darren Keefe, there are a ton of turtle basking platform DIY videos on YouTube if you want to learn how to build a basking area for turtles.

Final Thoughts On The Best Basking Platforms For Turtles…

There you have it, my top picks for the best basking platform for turtles. Hopefully, this has helped you choose the best option for your setup, so your little buddy can bask away…..dreaming that they are in St Tropez, cocktail in hand…..and soak up some essential vitamin D3 to keep their shell and bones in tip-top shape.

If you’re still undecided, here’s a quick recap of my top picks:

Check out the turtle section for more in-depth reviews and care guides.

Picture of Paul

Paul

Hey, fellow fish enthusiast πŸ‘‹! I'm Paul and I've been an aquarium addict since I won my first goldfish at the fair many years ago. Let me share with you the knowledge that I've gained along the way (and avoid the mistakes I've made!), so you too can create an underwater paradise for your aquatic friends.