5 TOP Turtle Tank Filter Reviews: The Best Small And Large Filter Sytems

What is the best turtle filter?

Turtles are amazing pets that can bring a lot of joy to the home.

However, it’s crucial for your turtle’s health that the tank water parameters are optimal. For the tank to be clean, you’ll need the water to be continuously circulating.

The great news is that a good filter for a turtle’s tank will always get that job done.

Best Turtle Tank Filters

Aqueon Quietflow Filter

  • Range of filters for different tank sizes
  • Fully submersible filter for turtle tank
  • 3 stage filtration
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Aqua Clear Tank Filter

  • Quiet, complete filtration
  • Includes foam, carbon & BioMax Filter inserts
  • Well priced
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Marineland Turtle Filter

  • Multistage filtration system for turtles
  • Black Diamond Premium Activated Carbon
  • Cultivates good bacteria
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Tetra ReptoFilter

  • Perfect for small tanks
  • Cheapest turtle tank filter
  • Easy to set up
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Turtle Canister Filter

  • Best turtle tank filter
  • Mechanical, chemical & biological filtration
  • Very quiet
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Similar to when buying a turtle tank heater, the best filter is going to depend on the type of tank you have.

It will depend on whether you have a 10-gallon tank or a 75-gallon tank, and it will depend on the other types of aquarium gear you have set up.

Here are 5 of our top picks for different budgets and different stages of turtle keeping.

1. Aqueon Turtle Filters

best turtle tank filters

Kicking off the list with one of the best all-around options.

The Aqueon Quietflow filter has a high filtration capacity of 40 gallons, which is good for 20 to 30-gallon turtle tanks.

It has 3 different filtration stages. This means that it’ll mechanically remove debris and gunk as well as colors, ammonia, and toxic nitrates in water.

The model is highly adjustable to suit the style of any tank, which is an added bonus to its remarkable ease of use and maintenance.

In addition to being highly affordable, the filter also comes with a limited lifetime warranty for a worry-free purchase.

Top Features:

  • Easy to use and adjust
  • Lifetime warranty
  • 3 stages of filtration for the best water quality

2. AquaClear Turtle Filtration System

canister filter for turtle tank

The Aqua Clear Power Filter is as straightforward as things get.

It’s available in different capacities to suit the size of your turtle tank. The device has a smooth and quiet operation, so you won’t be annoyed by it.

As for the filtration stages, we like that this one has a complete filtration system. It includes foam, Biomax, and carbon filters for multistage filtration.

Despite its simplicity, it’s designed so that the water comes in contact with the filter for longer. This allows for more efficient filtration, which is dearly needed in the case of turtles that eat a lot, or for large turtle breeds.

Top Features:

  • Ultra-quiet
  • Complete filtration system
  • Prolonged contact time

3. Marineland Filter For Turtle Tank


best turtle filtration system

Although this filter is mainly designed for tropical fish aquariums, the higher capacity models are excellent candidates for a turtle tank.

What makes them special is that they provide ultra-smooth operation with low noise and high efficiency, all the while staying inexpensive.

The filter has all three main filtration stages as well as cultivating beneficial bacteria that break down toxins.

Besides being well-priced and available in various sizes, the model is easy to use and maintain. This makes it an excellent bang for your buck.

Top Features:

  • Available in various sizes
  • Multi-stage filtration
  • Easy to set up

4. Tetra Turtle Tank Filter


best filters for turtle tanks

If you’re on a budget, but you’re looking for a quality filter that will do the trick, consider this Tetra ReptoFilter.

It’s designed mainly for reptiles and shallow water tanks, which makes them especially great for small turtle breeds.

The filter has 125 gallons per hour filtration capacity which means that it’s great for 50-gallon turtle tanks.

The product also comes with a 2-year warranty which adds a layer of security to the purchase.

Top Features:

  • Ideal for buyers on a budget and small tanks
  • Comes with a 2-year warranty
  • Specifically made for reptiles

5. Penn Plax Cascade Turtle Filter

best cannister filter

The Penn Plax Cascade is one of the most powerful external filters that you can find out there.

This model has a capacity of 265 gallons per hour for highly efficient filtration. However, It’s also available in various capacities to suit the size of your tank, reaching up to a whopping 350 GPH!

The media trays are remarkably easy to slide out of the canister. However, this also means that you’ll need some time to get accustomed to the filter.

You should also know that the canister rotates 360 degrees and is made of durable plastic, so it’ll last you a lifetime without breaking.

Top Features:

  • Superb filtration capabilities
  • Excellent for a large turtle tank
  • Rotates 360 degrees for easy accommodation on the tank

Turtle Tank Filter Tips

best 40 gallon turtle tank

Shopping for a turtle tank is a bit different from the average fish tank. Unlike fish, turtles require a much larger space to roam freely.

Turtles are generally larger than fish and eat more food. So, they also put more waste into the water, which can pile up pretty quickly in the absence of a strong filter.

And while they can spend a lot of time outside of the water, basking on a platform, for example, they need the water to be clean when they’re in it.

Let’s have a quick look at what you need to consider while buying a filter for your turtle’s tank.

Filtration Capacity

As you have likely noticed, turtles eat more food than fish of the same size.

That’s why it can be ok to have an underpowered filter for fish, but you must have a more powerful one for turtles.

Most tank filters are mainly rated with fish in mind. That’s why you should always scale up a notch when considering a turtle.

Most filtration capacities are typically measured in gallons per hour. So, for instance, if you have a 30-gallon fish tank, a 30-gallon filter would be enough.

However, if you have a 30-gallon turtle tank, the filter should be a minimum of 50 gallons.

This way, the tank will be able to filter the tank once every 30 minutes to accommodate the faster rate of excretion and deterioration that turtles make.

Filtration Stages

As you know, the cleanliness of the water isn’t only about removing waste only.

A good filter will have different stages for mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration of the water.

A mechanical stage is responsible for cleaning the water from physical wastes and gunk. It’s the baseline of any filter and the most essential job.

However, in order for your turtle to live a long life, it needs biological filtration as well. This stage helps in maintaining healthy bacteria in the water.

When the turtle pees in water, the chemical and biological composition changes in a way that needs to be managed.

To maintain these parameters at healthy levels, a turtle tank filter should have various stages of at least mechanical and biological filtration.

Ease Of Use And Maintenance

Turtle tank filters aren’t entirely a ‘set it and leave it’ type of device.

Instead, you’ll need to constantly replace their cartridges or canisters, so they can stay efficient while operating.

If you have a good filter that’s difficult to use, clean, or maintain, this might even discourage you from keeping the tank clean.

That’s why it’s crucial that you make sure it’s easy to use and maintain.

You want to avoid shell problems in turtles, and clean water is one of the best ways to do so.

Turtle Filter FAQs

Do turtles need a filter in their tank?

A filter is essential for cleaning the water in the tank.

It can keep the water clear and free from harmful bacteria and it allows you to see your turtle more clearly.

Alternatively, you can perform water changes every other day, but this isn’t practical. A filter is usually the best way forward.

How do you filter a turtle’s water?

In a turtle tank a turtle’s water is filtered with a fish tank filter.

There are some that are designed specifically for turtles, and others are regular fish tank filters.

Because turtles create more waste than fish, it’s important to get a more powerful filter than you would usually need if you were keeping fish in the same size tank.

How often should you change the filter in a turtle tank?

Vets and turtle experts recommend changing the water in a turtle tank every two to three weeks.

This includes cleaning the filter and the other products in your tank.

It’s also a good time to make sure your heat lamp and thermostat are working correctly.

How long can a turtle go without a water filter?

As long as the water is clean, a turtle should be fine without a filter for a day or two.

Filters break from time to time, and if you’re ordering one online it may take up to a few days to arrive. Monitor your turtle closely and do a water change if necessary.

How do I keep my turtle tank water clear?

A good turtle tank filter is the best way to keep aquarium water clear.

Also, an effective fish tank vacuum will help to clear all the turtle waste from the stones or gravel.

Turtles can kick up the waste when playing in the rocks, so if you make an effort to keep the stones clean there will be less chance the water goes cloudy.

Why does my turtle tank get cloudy so fast?

Your filter may not be powerful enough to filter all the waste your turtle is releasing.

The effect of this will compound and your water will become cloudier each day until you clean it or up the filtration levels.

Can turtles live in tap water?

Chlorine and fluoride are not good for turtles (or humans, some would argue), and so you do not want to use water with these chemicals.

You will need to purchase clean water, use a filtration system for removing these chemicals, or find a source of pure water.

Alternatively, a fish tank water conditioner may be a suitable way of preparing tap water for turtles.

Do turtles need an air pump?

Turtles do not breathe underwater like fish, so do not need an air pump in the tank.

However, the filtration process does aerate the water anyway, so a separate device is certainly not needed.

Will feeding my turtle meat make the water dirty?

Different turtles have different dietary requirements, and some turtles do eat meat.

Generally speaking, this will not cause your water to become dirtier, it more depends on the size of your turtle.

As with dogs, the bigger the animal the bigger the poop!

Turtle Aquarium Filter

Turtles always need to live in a clean tank (and tanks can become dirty for different reasons) that’s relatively large to give them the comfort and freedom they need.

For that reason, it’s always critical for you to pick a good tank filter that has a large filtration capacity while being easy to use and maintain.

Ideally, Aqueon Quietflow Internal Power Filter fits these criteria nicely, which is why we recommend it as our overall best pick.

However, if you’re on a budget or need a filter for a small turtle tank, you can always go for the highly affordable Tetra ReptoFilter.

Get your water parameters right and your turtle will be making sounds of delight (maybe)!



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