Can Reptile Tanks Hold Water? (Pros And Cons)

Can Reptile Tanks Hold Water

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably spent countless hours diving deep into the fascinating world of reptiles. From their unique behaviors to their diverse habitats, there’s always something new to learn.

One question that’s been on my mind lately, and perhaps yours too, is: “Can reptile tanks hold water?” It sounds simple, right? But there’s more to it than meets the eye.

Quite a few misconceptions are floating around about this topic. Some say “Absolutely, go for it!” while others caution against it. In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of whether reptile tanks can truly hold water and what factors you should consider.

Can Reptile Tanks Hold Water?

Yes, some reptile tanks can hold water. However, it’s important to ensure that the tank is designed for both terrestrial and aquatic environments, as not all reptile enclosures are built to contain water. Tanks specifically designed as aquariums or terrariums with waterproof sealing are suitable for holding water. Before adding water to a reptile tank, check the manufacturer’s specifications to confirm its suitability for aquatic use.

Factors That Affect a Tank’s Ability to Hold Water

Factors That Affect a Tank's Ability to Hold Water
Image: Connor Long // Wikimedia Commons

So you’ve picked out the perfect tank—or so you think. Before you fill it up with water, some crucial factors must be considered. Let’s break them down:

1. Material

  1. Glass: Generally water-resistant, but can be heavy.
  2. Plastic: This may require additional sealing to prevent leaks.
  3. Wood: Must be sealed to be water-resistant; otherwise, it’s a no-go.

2. Sealing

  1. Pre-sealed: Some tanks come pre-sealed, making them ready for water features.
  2. DIY Sealing: If your tank isn’t sealed, you’ll need to do it yourself. We’ll cover how to do this later.

3. Size and Dimensions

  1. Smaller Tanks: Easier to manage, but may have limited space for water features.
  2. Larger Tanks: More room for water features, but can be challenging to seal effectively.

4. Manufacturer Guidelines

Always check the manufacturer’s guidelines for water compatibility. Ignoring these can lead to damage and void any warranties.

Understanding these factors will help you make an informed decision about adding water to your reptile tank. But before you take the plunge, let’s weigh the pros and cons of having water in your enclosure.

Pros and Cons of Water in Reptile Tanks

Adding water to your reptile tank can be a game-changer, but it’s not without its risks. Let’s weigh the benefits against the drawbacks.

Pros of Water in Reptile Tanks

  1. Humidity: Water features like misters or small ponds can help maintain optimal humidity levels, especially crucial for tropical species.
  2. Enrichment: Water features can stimulate your reptiles mentally and physically, mimicking their natural habitat.

The Risks and Drawbacks

  1. Water Damage: If not properly sealed, water can damage the tank and even its stand. This is particularly a concern for wooden enclosures.
  2. Bacterial Growth: Stagnant water can become a breeding ground for bacteria, posing health risks to your reptile.

As you can see, adding water to your reptile tank is a double-edged sword. It can offer benefits like humidity control and enrichment but also comes with risks like water damage and bacterial growth.

How to Safely Add Water to Your Reptile Tank

So you’ve weighed the pros and cons and decided you want to add some water features to your reptile’s home. Great choice! But before you start pouring, there are some precautions to take and steps to follow.


  • Test for leaks: Before adding any water features, make sure to test your tank for leaks.
  • Monitor humidity: Keep an eye on humidity levels to ensure they stay within the recommended range for your specific reptile.

Steps to take:

  • Clean the Tank: Make sure the tank is clean and dry.
  • Choose the Right Sealant: Opt for a reptile-safe, water-resistant sealant.
  • Apply the Sealant: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
  • Let it Cure: Allow the sealant to fully cure before adding water or your reptile.

So, before you add that waterfall or misting system to your reptile’s home, make sure you’ve done your homework.

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