The most common in the pet trade and captivity are the smooth softshell (Apalone mutica), the Florida softshells (A. ferox) and the eastern spiny softshell turtles (A. spinifera spp.), whose natural range extends from southern Ontario and Quebec, through the northern U.S. from Montana, Wyoming and Colorado east to New York, Vermont, and south to Georgia and into Florida and Mexico.
Like most aquatic turtles, softshells must be able to haul themselves out of the water onto a warm and dry basking area. Basking temperatures of 85 F (warmer for the Florida softshells) are required during the day. Water temperatures can range from 70-80 degrees. Basking heat should be provided by an overhead incandescent light. Special UVB fluorescent lighting is not necessary.
Due to their aggressive tendencies, especially if overcrowded, they should be kept single or in pairs. Pairs should be monitored closely to assure that one is not attacking the other; bite marks on the fleshy carapace or plastron are one indicator, and severe injuries have been inflected on their sensitive noses, as well, from aggressive conspecifics.