Getting started


First you have to install tortoise like this:

pip install tortoise-orm

You can also install with your db driver:

pip install tortoise-orm[asyncpg]

Or PsycoPG:

pip install tortoise-orm[psycopg]

For MySQL:

pip install tortoise-orm[asyncmy]

For Microsoft SQL Server/Oracle:

pip install tortoise-orm[asyncodbc]

Apart from asyncpg and psycopg there is also support for sqlite through aiosqlite and mysql through asyncmy. You can easily implement more backends if there is appropriate asyncio driver for this db.

Optional Accelerators

The following libraries can be used as accelerators:

  • python-rapidjson: Automatically used if installed for JSON SerDes.

  • uvloop: Shown to improve performance, but needs to be set up. Please look at uvloop documentation for more info. If you use a framework, it may already use it.

  • ciso8601: Automatically used if installed. Not automatically installed on Windows due to often a lack of a C compiler. Default on Linux/CPython.

You can install with all accelerators above:

pip install tortoise-orm[accel]


Primary entity of tortoise is tortoise.models.Model. You can start writing models like this:

from tortoise.models import Model
from tortoise import fields

class Tournament(Model):
    # Defining `id` field is optional, it will be defined automatically
    # if you haven't done it yourself
    id = fields.IntField(pk=True)
    name = fields.CharField(max_length=255)

    # Defining ``__str__`` is also optional, but gives you pretty
    # represent of model in debugger and interpreter
    def __str__(self):

class Event(Model):
    id = fields.IntField(pk=True)
    name = fields.CharField(max_length=255)
    # References to other models are defined in format
    # "{app_name}.{model_name}" - where {app_name} is defined in tortoise config
    tournament = fields.ForeignKeyField('models.Tournament', related_name='events')
    participants = fields.ManyToManyField('models.Team', related_name='events', through='event_team')

    def __str__(self):

class Team(Model):
    id = fields.IntField(pk=True)
    name = fields.CharField(max_length=255)

    def __str__(self):


You can read more on defining models in Models

After you defined all your models, tortoise needs you to init them, in order to create backward relations between models and match your db client with appropriate models.

You can do it like this:

from tortoise import Tortoise

async def init():
    # Here we create a SQLite DB using file "db.sqlite3"
    #  also specify the app name of "models"
    #  which contain models from "app.models"
    await Tortoise.init(
        modules={'models': ['app.models']}
    # Generate the schema
    await Tortoise.generate_schemas()

Here we create a connection to a SQLite DB database with the default aiosqlite client and then we discover & initialise models.

generate_schema generates schema on empty database, you shouldn’t run it on every app init, run it just once, maybe out of your main code.

If you are running this in a simple script, you can do:


run_async is a helper function to run simple async Tortoise scripts. If you are running Tortoise ORM as part of a service, please have a look at The Importance of cleaning up

After that you can start using your models:

# Create instance by save
tournament = Tournament(name='New Tournament')

# Or by .create()
await Event.create(name='Without participants', tournament=tournament)
event = await Event.create(name='Test', tournament=tournament)
participants = []
for i in range(2):
    team = await Team.create(name='Team {}'.format(i + 1))

# M2M Relationship management is quite straightforward
# (look for methods .remove(...) and .clear())
await event.participants.add(*participants)

# You can query related entity just with async for
async for team in event.participants:

# After making related query you can iterate with regular for,
# which can be extremely convenient for using with other packages,
# for example some kind of serializers with nested support
for team in event.participants:

# Or you can make preemptive call to fetch related objects,
# so you can work with related objects immediately
selected_events = await Event.filter(
).prefetch_related('participants', 'tournament')
for event in selected_events:
    print([ for t in event.participants])

# Tortoise ORM supports variable depth of prefetching related entities
# This will fetch all events for team and in those team tournament will be prefetched
await Team.all().prefetch_related('events__tournament')

# You can filter and order by related models too
await Tournament.filter(
    events__name__in=['Test', 'Prod']


You can read more examples (including transactions, several databases and a little more complex querying) in Examples