An integral part of any red eared slider habitat is its source of temperature. Heat is what keeps your turtle going. Without heat, your slider’s internal temperature falls because reptiles, as ectotherms, cannot self-regulate their body temperature; they rely on the heat source of the sun. Because you obviously cannot bring the sun into your house, you have to do the very best you can with the heating products available to you on the market.
You have to have a water heater if you are keeping red eared sliders, plain and simple. Sliders need a water temperature of about 75-86 degrees Fahrenheit. If the turtle plunges into ice cold water it could be fatal, so this is imperative. Make sure you get a good reliable heater with a thermostat that will keep the temperature in this range consistently. These turtle pets obviously spend a good deal of time in the water (it’s the only place where they eat), so there is no shirking your duty in this regard. Make sure the heater has a heavy duty guard so your turtle won’t break it. Visitherm© and Eheim© make some of the best water heaters out there.
The temperature of the air in your red eared slider tank also needs to fall within a certain temperature. One of important of keeping pet slider is having a good setting for the tank temperature gradient. They need an air temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit consistently to maintain their health. Their basking area needs to be slightly warmer, at 88-95 degrees. You can either use a UV light and a heat lamp or buy a mercury vapor light that does both. There is a running discussion among the reptile community about the merits of mercury vapor bulbs, but the majority of reptile keepers agree that they do a fine job. There are many different kinds of heat lamps you can get, but one with a thermostat, of course, is best. Artificial heat rocks are not recommended.
If you are having problems with your pet turtle slider, such as temperature sickness, you can quickly raise the temperature within the tank with a heat blanket. Though not recommended for long-term use, a heat blanket can help maintain a solid temperature in a pinch. Just make sure that you don’t cover the entire tank with the blanket so your slider can get away from the heat if he wants to.
All in all, your red eared slider habitat simply needs to replicate a slider’s natural habitat as much as possible, and temperature is a huge part of this equation. Even if you have thermostats on your heaters, make sure that you check the temperature consistently with a thermometer (the kind that hangs outside the tank) to make sure that everything is in order.