Best Filters For Turtle Tanks Reviews And Buyers Guide

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If you own a turtle, you definitely understand the importance of owning the best turtle filter. Turtles are messy creatures; they produce a lot of waste which can pollute your tank very quickly. So it is essential that you find the right type of filtration for your turtle’s habitat to avoid this problem and keep your pet comfortable.

To help you find the best turtle filter on the market, we’ve created a buyers guide as well as a list of filters that will work best for your aquatic turtles. It is highly recommended that you use both of these resources to help you find the perfect filtration system for your turtle habitat.

Taking care of an aquatic turtle isn’t easy, but it can be a lot easier with the right tools! Read on to learn more about what types of filtration work best and the best turtle filters currently available.

Comparison Table of The 9 Best Filters For Turtle Tanks

IMAGE

Penn Plax Aquarium Cascade Canister Filter isolated in white background

BRAND

Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter

DETAILS

  • Up to 100 gallons
  • Three media baskets
  • Customizable filter media
Marineland Magniflow 360

BRAND

Marineland Magniflow Canister Filter For Turtle Tanks 

DETAILS

  • Three-stage filtration process
  • Comes with micron cartridge for effective water polishing
SunSun HW303B

BRAND

SunSun Hw303B Pro Canister Filter Kit 

DETAILS

  • 370 gallons per hour
  • UV sterilizer
  • Three-stage filtration
MarineLand Penguin 350 BIO-Wheel Power Filter

BRAND

MarineLand Penguin 350 BIO-Wheel Power Filter

DETAILS

  • Rotating Bio-Wheel technology
  • Wet and dry biological filtration
  • Three-stage filtration
Fluval Canister Filter, FX6 Filter (400 Gal)

BRAND

Fluval High-Performance Aquarium Filter

DETAILS

  • 21 inches tall
  • Convenient cleaning
  • One of the costliest options, but very powerful
Aqueon QuietFlow LED PRO Aquarium Power Filter

BRAND

Aqueon Quietflow Internal Power Filter

DETAILS

  • Features floss and diffuser grid
  • Patented bio-holster to enhance the nitrogen cycle
  • Submersible pump
Zoo Med Turtle Clean Canister Turtle Filter

BRAND

Zoo Med Turtle Clean 15 External Canister Filter

DETAILS

  • Small and convenient
  • The most affordable option for beginners
  • Good for tanks up to 15 gallons
TetraFauna ReptoFilter 50 Gallons

BRAND

TetraFauna ReptoFilter 50 Gallons

DETAILS

  • Purpose-built reptile filter
  • Can be used in enclosures up to 50 gallons
  • Three-stage filtration
API Filstar XP isolated in white background

BRAND

Filstar Canister Filter Xp3

DETAILS

  • 350 gallons of water per hour
  • Adjustable flow control
  • Energy-efficient

Buyers Guide: Choosing the Right Turtle Tank Filters

Now that you’ve gotten an overview of how to choose a filter for your turtle tank, you may be wondering how exactly to go about making this choice. As with any type of equipment for your turtles, there are many options on the market and it is important to do research before committing to a purchase. In order to help you out, we’ve created a simple buyers guide that will explain

Understand The Different Filtration Methods

The first thing you should do is understand the different stages of filtration, as this will provide you with a basic understanding of how commercial filters work. This knowledge would serve you well as you look through all the available turtle tank filters and decide which one is the best for your aquatic pet:

  • Mechanical filtration removes solid particles such as uneaten fish food, dirt, and excrement. It stops these particles from entering the water and turning into ammonia, which is a major source of pollution in your tank. Typically, ceramic rings and gravel filters do a pretty good job of mechanical filtration. Mechanical filters are relatively cheap, but they require regular and maintenance.
  • Chemical filtration removes toxic chemicals such as nitrite and ammonia which can be harmful to your turtle. This type of filter is very important if you want your water to be safe for your turtles. Effective filtration media for chemical filtration are carbon or zeolite. Carbon filters remove toxins and impurities, while zeolite absorbs ammonia and nitrites.
  • Biological filtration is the cornerstone of every aquarium filter, as it provides a place where beneficial bacteria can grow and break down hazardous waste products produced by your turtle to make the water safe again. Bio-balls, gravel, and clumps of bogwood are great for this stage, as they provide lots of surface area for beneficial bacteria to live and grow.

Generally speaking, most models utilize a multi-stage filtration method. However, do not be fooled by the name, as some filters might advertise themselves as “three in one” or “all-in-one” filters when they only do a mediocre job of all three filtration stages. The bottom line is, if your water is still cloudy after you put the filter on, then it’s probably time to get a new one!

Size Matters

When it comes to turtle tank filters, size truly does matter. The best filter for your turtles will be the one that can do the job of filtering and circulating your tank adequately in order to keep it clean and healthy – and this depends entirely on the size of your aquarium. A larger tank will require a more powerful filter, while a smaller tank may be okay with something less powerful.

The easiest way to find out which filter is right for you is to multiply the length and width of your tank (in inches) and then multiply that number by 1.5 or 2, depending on whether you want to be safe or not. For example, a 20-gallon tank would need a filter with a flow rate of at least 30 gallons per hour, while a 50-gallon turtle tank might need a flow rate of at least 75 gallons per hour.

Be sure to check the specifications for your filter, in case it does not work according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. A high-quality filter is probably the most important part of your turtle tank, so do not underestimate this aspect of turtle care. After all, keeping your turtle tank water clean is key to keeping your aquatic pet happy and healthy!

Know Which Common Types of Filters Work Best For Your Tank

Depending on your tank setup and how much space you have, you will likely find yourself choosing between internal filters and external filtration methods.

External filters have a long history of being the most popular filtration method for turtle tanks, as they can accommodate larger tanks and provide more filtration capabilities. The inlet pipe on external filters is usually attached to the intake of your tank’s filter pump, while the outlet is attached directly to the back of your aquarium.

Despite their popularity, external filters have a few disadvantages. For one, you will need a place to put all the piping and outlets in your tank, which may be difficult depending on how much space you have next to the aquarium. Another disadvantage is that external filters can be very big and clunky, so they might take up too much space in smaller tanks or overcrowded turtle tanks.

Internal or submersible filters, on the other hand, can easily be hidden behind gravel, potted plants, or aquarium decorations to free up space in your turtle tank. However, you also won’t have much control over where to place it in your tank, so if you need a specific spot for your filter, an external model may be better suited.

Remember To Take Maintenance Into Consideration

Young man changing water in aquarium using siphon.

Nothing will kill the good bacteria in your turtle tank faster than a dirty filter! For this reason, it is absolutely crucial to clean out your filter’s removable parts every so often. Filter pads, filter media baskets, and even your filter sponge should be removed for cleaning at least once a month, if not more often. The frequency of this task will depend on the size of your tank and how many turtles you have living in it.

Secondly, the entire filtration system itself should be cleaned out about once every 6 months to make sure the water is being filtered properly. This may seem like a daunting task, but most filters are prefabricated with removable parts that will need to be replaced after a certain amount of time has passed anyway. For example, you can simply replace your filter tray or sponge on your external filter every few months instead of throwing the whole thing away.

It’s all about taking turtle-safe steps to prevent turtle waste buildup in your tank, so if you do it right, then cleaning out the filter will be just one less big thing to worry about!

9 Best Turtle Aquarium Filters: Reviews and Recommendations

Do you have a better idea of what you should look for in your filter? Ready to make a decision? Here are 9 of the best aquarium filters for turtles and other aquatic pets, complete with helpful information to help you make the right choice for your turtle tank!

1. Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter

Penn Plax Aquarium Cascade Canister Filter isolated in white background
  • Up to 100 gallons
  • Three media baskets
  • Customizable filter media

The Penn Plax Cascade is easily one of the most popular and well-reviewed canister filters for turtle tanks on the market right now. This effective filter can handle aquariums with a tank size of up to 100 gallons and comes with three generously-sized media baskets that allow enthusiasts to customize the filtration process to their liking. For ideas on what type of filter media you should opt for, check out our list of best canister filter media.

Furthermore, the Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter also has highly maneuverable flow valves to accommodate most setups, making this a highly convenient filter if you want to avoid the issues that come with less pliable, low-quality filters.

Even the best-designed cascade filters often come with a few kinks that need to be worked out by the manufacturer, and the Penn Plax Cascade Canister Filter is no exception. Some reviewers have pointed out issues with its construction, ranging from its clear, algae-prone tubing to its slightly sticky flow valves. However, these are relatively minor concerns considering how many people have been satisfied by its performance.

PROS

  • Highly effective at keeping water quality clean and clear
  • Easily customizable media baskets for a personalized filtration process
  • Comes with prongs for hanging on tank walls

CONS

  • Reportedly has issues with stickiness and algae build up in tubing and flow valves

2. Marineland Magniflow Canister Filter For Turtle Tanks  

Marineland Magniflow 360
  • Three-stage filtration process
  • Comes with micron cartridge for effective water polishing

Every enthusiast is well aware that a filter for aquatic turtles needs to be durable to handle the turtle tank’s habit of creating more waste than other setups. Luckily, the Marineland Magniflow Canister Filter is designed with this in mind, and it comes with an impressive array of features that any turtle enthusiast will love to have for their aquatic turtle tanks.

This sturdy canister filter comes with a submerged motor for easy setup, as well as a three-stage filtration process featuring the Rite-Size floss sleeve, activated carbon, as well as a dual-chamber design that facilitates the growth of beneficial bacteria. In addition, the filter’s micron cartridge allows for highly effective water polishing, making this a great filter for those looking to improve the quality of their aquatic turtle tanks.

Despite its strength and durability, there have been a few common complaints surrounding this particular canister filter. Leaking appears to be a common issue among customers who have bought this particular filter, and it has been reported that the Marineland Magniflow Canister Filter needs to be constantly maintained in order to keep up its performance. Learn how to keep your filter clean with our helpful guide.

PROS

  • Highly durable design making it ideal for use as a primary filter
  • Comes with a submerged motor to make setup easy
  • Easy to clean and maintain

CONS

  • Reportedly leaks from the bottom
  • Needs to be constantly maintained for optimal performance

3. SunSun Hw303B Pro Canister Filter Kit 

SunSun HW303B
  • 370 gallons per hour
  • UV sterilizer
  • Three-stage filtration

If you own a massive, 100-gallon aquarium, you know how difficult it can be to find a filter that’s efficient for this size tank. However, the SunSun Hw303B Pro Canister Filter is built with large aquariums in mind and comes with impressive features that will leave your aquatic turtle tanks cleaner than ever before.

This powerful canister filter boasts a flow rate of 370 GPH, as well as a three-stage filtration system complete with poly-foam, bio-ceramic rings, and long fiber sponges. Perhaps one of this filter’s best features is its inbuilt UV sterilizer, which can effectively kill harmful algae, parasites, and bacteria in your aquatic turtle tanks.

Even the pickiest of enthusiasts would agree that this is one of the best canister filters on the market today. However, it isn’t without its issues; some customers have reported having problems with their filters leaking or while others lament the stiffness of the hoses. Be that as it may, these complaints are few and far between.

PROS

  • Performs effectively at cleaning all types of aquatic turtle tanks
  • Powerful flow rate of 370 GPH delivers excellent results
  • Inbuilt UV sterilizer helps rid your tank of harmful parasites, algae, and bacteria.

CONS

  • Reportedly has issues with leaking or stiff hoses
  • Some customers claim that this filter is hard to use due to unclear instructions 

4. MarineLand Penguin 350 BIO-Wheel Power Filter

MarineLand Penguin 350 BIO-Wheel Power Filter
  • Rotating Bio-Wheel technology
  • Wet and dry biological filtration
  • Three-stage filtration

Looking for an efficient and affordable filtration system for your aquatic turtle tank? The MarineLand Penguin 350 BIO-Wheel Power Filter is the perfect filter for you! This impressive canister filter’s rotating bio-wheel technology makes it a true standout, as it is able to undertake both wet and dry biological filtration. Coupled with its robust mechanical and chemical filtration process, this powerhouse does an excellent job of keeping your pet’s habitat clean.

Marineland has long established itself as one of the world’s premier manufacturers in aquarium equipment, and this filter is no exception. Easy to set up with its instruction manual, this canister filter also boasts a durable design that will keep your turtle tank clean for years on end. This turtle filter is an Amazon bestseller for good reason!

Out of the many customers who have bought the MarineLand Penguin 350 BIO-Wheel Power Filter, one of the chief complaints has been about the noise it emits. This filter has a tendency to get louder with age, which makes maintenance an absolute must if you are noise-sensitive. Other than that, this filter from Marineland is a solid option for those looking to upgrade their turtle tanks.

PROS

  • Comes with an instruction manual so it’s easy to set up
  • Long-lasting durability comes at an affordable price
  • Bio-wheel technology helps reduce algae and other contaminants in your tank

CONS

  • Reportedly gets loud with age
  • Noise sensitive customers may have trouble with this filter

5. Fluval High-Performance Aquarium Filter

Fluval Canister Filter, FX6 Filter (400 Gal)
  • 21 inches tall
  • Convenient cleaning
  • One of the costliest options, but very powerful

True to its name, the Fluval High-Performance Aquarium Filter is designed to clean filter your aquatic turtle tank faster than ever before. At 21 inches tall, you can rest assured that this filter will provide unmatched filtration power to keep your water crystal clear for years on end. Simply put, this is a powerhouse of a filter that comes at a high price tag but sets out to make it worth every penny.

Convenience reigns supreme in this filter, which features conveniently positioned valves that allow for easy rotation and installation. Each filter is also designed with a drain hose that allows hobbyists to clean and flush the canister filter easily. Last but not least, Fluval has included rubber feet on this nifty tool to minimize the humming and buzzing that can be caused by vibrations.

While this filter does boast a host of features that make it an attractive option for aquatic turtle tank owners, some customers complain that the price is too steep for their liking. However, most high-quality filtration systems come at a similar price point due to the complexity of their build, so hobbyists should definitely take their budget into account when making this decision.

PROS

  • Positioned valves are convenient to use
  • Rubber feet prevent vibrations from tainting the water in your tank 
  • Easy maintenance thanks to the included drain hose

CONS

  • Some customers feel that this filter is too expensive for what it offers
  • The customer service department tends to offer subpar service

6. Aqueon Quietflow Internal Power Filter

Aqueon QuietFlow LED PRO Aquarium Power Filter
  • Features floss and diffuser grid
  • Patented bio-holster to enhance the nitrogen cycle
  • Submersible pump

Aqueon has done an excellent job in crafting the Quietflow Internal Power Filter, which is designed to outstrip its compadres in terms of longevity and efficiency. It boasts a dense floss and diffuser grid that allows for a more thorough filtration process. Coupled with an industry-grade submersible pump, this filter’s many features allow hobbyists to rest east knowing that the water in their turtle tank will be filtered correctly.

Yet another standout feature of this turtle filter is that it comes with a patented bio-holster, which is a biological grid with an exceptionally large surface area to aid in the growth of beneficial bacteria. The bio-holster is designed to enhance the nitrogen cycle and reduce toxins, which makes for a healthier aquatic environment for you and your pet.

When it comes down to it, customers adore this filter’s durability and efficiency, but some have noted that this product can get a little noisy. Despite Aqueon’s best efforts at noise reduction, there are still customers who find the humming and buzzing of this filter’s pump to be too much. All in all, the Quietflow Internal Power Filter is an excellent value if you can afford its price tag.

PROS

  • Submersible pump ensures constant water flow
  • Dense floss and diffuser grid allows for thorough filtration
  • Patented bio-holster is an efficient tool for the nitrogen cycle

CONS

  • Gets a little noisy over time
  • A bit more expensive than other turtle filters on the market

7. Zoo Med Turtle Clean 15 External Canister Filter

Zoo Med Turtle Clean Canister Turtle Filter
  • Small and convenient
  • The most affordable option for beginners
  • Good for tanks up to 15 gallons

The Zoo Med Turtle Clean 15 External Canister Filter is one of the best aquatic turtle filters on the market if you are looking for a filter that does not involve too much trouble or cost. This filter’s chief selling point is that it is small and convenient – making it perfect for beginners to the hobby who may not want to invest in a pricey, heavy-duty filter right off the bat.

As long as your turtle tank is smaller than 15 gallons, you are good to go with this filter. The clear viewing case lets you keep track of the filter’s inner workings, which means that it is a snap to clean and maintain – something novice hobbyists will appreciate. You will appreciate being able to tell at a glance if the filter is working or if the water needs to be changed.

Because this affordable filter is geared towards complete novices to the turtle tank hobby, there are a few things that will be lacking. Firstly, this filter does not have any valves – which means that you will need to use your hands to push the water through the hoses. This can lead to cross-contamination if you do not wash your hands well after handling other turtles or their supplies.

This filter also does not come with a pad, which means that it may be harder to keep your tank sparkling clear. The absence of this feature is worth noting because the only way you can normally clean your turtle’s water parameters is by using a biological filter media, like Zoo Med’s Bio-Chem Stars. This makes it all the more important for this filter to include a pad, so these omissions are definitely worth noting.

PROS

  • Clear viewing case means that you can tell at a glance when the filter needs servicing
  • Not very expensive; perfect for beginners to the turtle tank hobby

CONS

  • Does not come with any filtering media (such as a pad)
  • No valves, so you have to manually push the water through the filter
  • Lack of a biological media filter may lead to cloudy water and more frequent cleanings

8. TetraFauna ReptoFilter 50 Gallons

TetraFauna ReptoFilter 50 Gallons
  • Purpose-built reptile filter
  • Can be used in enclosures up to 50 gallons
  • Three-stage filtration

If you’re looking for a purpose-built reptile filter that can handle a little more than your average turtle tank filter, consider the TetraFauna ReptoFilter 50 Gallons. This efficient filter is perfect if you want to make sure that your turtle’s tank will be filtered correctly without having to worry about investing in a more costly model.

One of the best features of this filter is 3-Stage Filtration Technology, which does an impressive job at removing odors, debris, and uneaten food particles. Given that turtles have a reputation for being on the messy side, this filter is definitely worth its salt if you are looking for something that will really keep up. You will also appreciate that cleaning and cartridge replacement are easy, thanks to the simple design of this filter.

As far as drawbacks go, it is worth noting that this filter does make more noise than most other canister models out there on the market. While all power filters do make a little bit of noise due to their pump function, this filter does seem to emit more of a humming noise than most. This is not usually an issue, but if your turtle’s tank is in your bedroom or study, you may find that the noise will keep you up at night.

PROS

  • 3-Stage Tetra Filtration Technology effectively filters out debris and odors
  • Super easy to clean; cartridge replacements are a snap

CONS

  • More expensive than other budget models (though not as costly as some aquarium filters)
  • The filter emits a humming noise that disturbs sleep – especially if you’re using it in a bedroom environment.

9. API Filstar Canister Filter Xp3

API Filstar XP isolated in white background
  • 350 gallons of water per hour
  • Adjustable flow control
  • Energy-efficient

For those of you looking to go the professional route with your turtle’s filter, you should know that there is a product out there for you too: The Filstar XP3 Canister Filter. This filter has all of the bells and whistles that any turtle hobbyist could want in a filter: it is quiet, energy-efficient, and compact while still providing clean water for your turtle.

With the ability to move 350 gallons of water per hour, the Filstar XP3 Canister Filter comes with an impressive list of features. This filter is designed to handle tanks up to 175 gallons, making it a great option for those turtle owners who have a larger tank. It features an adjustable flow control feature that you can use to adjust the water flow rate as needed, and it also has a self-priming pump that makes set-up a breeze.

Given that this is a professional-grade filter, you can expect it to be a bit more on the expensive side. On the bright side, however, it comes with all kinds of goodies that make up for its price tag – many reviewers note that it keeps their water crystal clear and their turtles extremely happy. In addition, API’s products are well-constructed and will serve you well for years to come!

PROS

  • Powerful 350 gallons per hour flow rate
  • Self-priming pump for easy setup
  • Adjustable water flow rate means that you can turn the filter down when your turtle is not shedding as much skin or waste

CONS

  • On the pricey side of filters, but well worth it for serious hobbyists who want a product that will last

Conclusion

There is no doubt that when you care for turtles, the right filter for your turtle’s tank can make all of the difference. The best option for you will depend on your personal preferences, what kind of equipment you already have (if any), and how much money you are willing to spend. With so many great options on the market, it is an exciting time to be a turtle owner!

What kind of filter do you use for your turtle? Did I miss any must-have filters? Let me know in the comments below! As usual, we’d also love to hear from you if you have any questions, and would also really appreciate it if you shared this post with any friends or family who have turtles. Thanks for reading!

Wanda is a second-generation aquarist from the sunny tropics of Malaysia. She has been helping her father with his freshwater tanks since she was a toddler, and has fallen in love with the hobby ever since. A perpetual nomad, Wanda does her best to integrate fish-keeping with her lifestyle, and has taken care of fish in three different continents. She loves how it provides a nice break from the hustle and bustle of life.

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