Red Eared Sliders are relatively cheap to buy, and the young do look particularly delightful, but it is surprising that many people buy them with no knowledge of what they have bought, and not even providing the bare essentials. Many places sell them at an illegal size (under 4 inches) in a little fish bowl like this one.
Aquatic turtles like sliders need fairly elaborate and expensive housing. They need regular exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light, so pricey bulbs designed for reptiles that produce UVA and UVB light are needed for turtle tanks. Without this light, they can develop metabolic bone disease. Turtles are very messy, and even with a good filtration system you will still have to clean in regularly. Remember turtles have to drink the water they are living in. Their tank should be deep enough and wide enough to allow swimming and a place to get out of the water to bask. Here is a list of equipment you will need if you have or are thinking about getting ANY aquatic turtle:
A suitable sized tank
Heater and thermostat
Filters and air pump
Suitable depth of swimming water
Though aquariums are good for young turtles, make sure you get the largest one you can afford to help prevent the need to keep buying larger and larger ones. At their full grown size the will need a tank that holds about 100 gallons. One of the owners I've talked to used a pre-formed plastic pond (like you get at home depot) to build an indoor pond for his turtle. You might also consider putting him outside part of the year if you have pond in your yard that has a good fence to keep predators out.
Now I'm not tell you all this to keep you from buying a Slider, I love Rex and think he is fascinating to watch. I love when I come into the kitchen first thing in the morning he is happy to see me. Yeah I know he knows I'm there to feed him but it's still fun to watch him climbing around trying to get my attention. Opps started getting off track LOL, I'm telling you this for the turtles sake. Many people take them home and when they get to big dump them. Once these turtles have lived with people they CAN NOT be returned to the wild and expect to live very long.
Don't feel down and blue if you have discovered after reading this that Red Eared Sliders are to much for you to deal with. I have some alternative you might want to consider. They will still need the whole aquatic turtle set up but do to their smaller sizes you can buy a smaller tank. The First is the African Side Neck Turtle:
Thise cute little guys only get 3 to 4 inches. So in the first tank I had Rex in I could probably happily house 4 or 5 of these little guys.
I think anyone who is thinking of getting any kind of pet should visit their local library first. Read everything available for the pet your considering. That will help keep surprises to a minimum and insure that you have a healthy long lived pet.