Best Filters for Turtle Tanks 2022 – Buyers Guide & Reviews

1. Penn Plax 2. Fluval 3. Eheim

Turtles are the silent and peace-loving aquatic creatures with a long life and yes, frequent bowel movements. Often people think that keeping a turtle is not tricky as these lazy creatures will quietly swim in the tank, won’t need constant attention or pampering and are low profile (I wish that were the case). Let’s break your bubble and enlighten you on the subject of turtle habitation.

Turtles can be messy and need a clean habitat to haul out and bask. It is one of the reasons why turtle tanks are large and do not have fish in it. Like other organisms and humans, even turtles need space. Ideally, a 30-gallon aquarium with clear glass is perfect for a turtle as they are active swimmers and love to bask around.

However, if you have bought a turtle that can grow more than 8-inches, then you need a tank with 75-125 gallon capacity. Also, there is a threat that they may carry salmonella that can be transmitted to other aquatic animals; that is why you should abstain from stocking the tank.

Feeding a turtle is not easy. They like to have a variety of food, including mice, crickets, snails, worms, fruits and plants. So, you need to feed them according to their nutritional requirements that change as they mature. When it comes to hygiene and maintenance, turtles need fresh and clean water.

It is ideal given the fact that it will be dirty with its discharge as well as the plants and food you put in the tank. Manual cleaning can be tedious and time-consuming, especially when it has to be done every fortnight; this is where an equipment like the best Filters for Turtle Tanks come in the picture. But sadly, most people are not aware of the benefits of filters, let alone the best filter for turtle tank and how they can make your life easy.

Why Do You Need A Filter For Your Turtle Tank?

Be it for good luck and wealth or because you simply adore these peace-loving creatures, if you plan to buy a turtle, then you should learn about their accommodation and hygiene requirements.

Most people are not aware that turtles can make the tank dirty faster than a fish, and you may need to change water frequently. But, the smart way to deal with turtle excrements and debris is using filters. A filter will help in keeping the water clean, which is a basic necessity and the first point in the turtle keeping tutorial.

A sound filtration system will help in keeping the tank clean, and you can delay the water changing process. Rather than manually cleaning the tank and changing the water, a filter will do it for you and make your life easy.

Often as a turtle owner, you will have to spend one hour every day on its cleaning and upkeep including clearing out debris and unclogging the area. With a filter, you can outsource the chores that will clear out everything through a mechanical, chemical and biological process.

Now go on and purchase the best filter for turtle tank that will clean the tank and keep your marine friend healthy. It will also help you save time and energy in cleaning the tank manually every fortnight. If you are confused about which filter to opt for, canister or internal filter, then check-out the below-mentioned factors to make the right decision.

Factors To Look For When Buying the Best Turtle Tank Filter

What should be the flow rate of the filter? Is a 30 gallons capacity enough? Should I opt for an external or internal filter? Is one filter enough or should I use two for a large turtle tank? These are the questions that can confuse a newbie, especially if you are planning to shop online.

Certain essential factors can distinguish an average filter from the best turtle tank filter and will make keeping an aquatic buddy an enjoyable task with minimal responsibility. So read on and get a filter that is turtle and tank friendly:

1. Species Of The Turtle

This is the most overlooked factor, but the most crucial as well. How can you find the best filter for turtle tank, if you don’t know the species of the turtle? Every turtle is different in carapace length, bowel movements, basking time and space requirements. We also know that turtles excrete more than fishes resulting in foul odour, discoloration, and a dirty tank.

Now, if you have a small tank and you place a filter in it, it will take up most of the space, causing discomfort to your aquatic friend. Also, keep in mind how many turtles you want to stock, if you are opting for two turtles then you need a filter with more capacity. So, it is essential to know the species of the turtle and accordingly decide whether you need an exterior or interior filter.

2. Type Of Filtration System

Turtles are going to spend most of their life inside an aquarium swimming in their own discharge. So keeping the tank and water clean is essential to ensure that your turtle gets a hygienic habitat. Also, we need to know how often we should change the water, and it depends on how many aquatic animals we have stocked in the aquarium. More the number of turtles or other animals more waste accumulation. Thus, you need to change water frequently.

We also need to choose between an external canister that allows space for the marine pets and is easy to maintain and powerful internal filters. Another factor to consider is whether the tank needs two-stage filtration, i.e. biological and mechanical, or three-stage filtration, i.e. mechanical, chemical and biological. In my opinion, three-stage filtration system works the best.

3. Size Of The Tank

The size of the tank and capacity of the filter are directly proportional to each other. If you have a large tank and there is a variety of aquatic animals, then you need a filter with a capacity of 95-120 gallons. Similarly, if you have a turtle that can grow up to 6-inches, then you need a tank with 50-gallons capacity as turtles love to swim and bask. But, if you have a single turtle in a medium-sized tank, then anything above 30 gallon capacity will work. Also, you may have to keep two filters if you have a large tank housing both marine flora and fauna.

4. Brand

If you are a brand conscious person, then better purchase from an established brand as they are cautious about their brand reputation. They have the resources to experiment and launch the best filter for turtle tank in the market as their reputation is at stake.

There is a reason canisters are considered a classic, and still, people prefer to opt for an old and established brand than to pick a relatively new brand. Also, they offer warranties, after-sales service, customer care service and other incentives that may not be the case with a non-branded filter.

5. Durability

You don’t want your filter to breakdown due to clogging or rough climatic conditions (which is the case with external filters), resulting in all your investment going down the drain. So, durability is a factor that can’t be ignored. Considering the fact that the filter has to operate regularly to clean water, wear and tear is bound to happen.

However, you don’t need that within a couple of weeks or just a few months after the purchase. Also, you need a filter that works for saline water as well and does not give away due to accumulation of salt. Therefore opt for a filter that is powerful and can work efficiently for saline and freshwater.

6. Maintenance Of The Filter

Chances of breakdown double if the filter is not clean and properly maintained. Maintenance of a filter should not be a herculean task. But if the filter is attached to too many cables and hoses or cannot be reassembled, then it will be an issue. The best filter for turtle tank is the one that is self-sustaining and is easy to maintain.

So, opt for one that can be taken apart, cleaned and reinstalled. If you are looking for an internal filter, then choose the one that does not spill the liquid waste inside the tank the moment you pick it up for cleaning. Whereas, an external filter like a canister is easy to clean and won’t leak the waste in the water. So, again it depends on the type of the filter.

7. Filter Media

Cleaning of the turtle tank is done by the filter media that includes sponges, bio-balls, activated charcoal, polyfill, etc. Now there are few things that can be replaced like activated charcoal or polyfill, but sponges can be used for a long time. Most people use the same filter media for a turtle tank and a fish tank, but it should not be done.

Except for the basic things like sponges or filter bags, try to use filter media, which does not harm the turtles and also keeps the tank clean.

8. Flow Rate

Cleaning of the tank depends on the flow rate of the water. A faster flow of water will clean the tank quickly and won’t give time for the residue to settle down. It will also clean the tank at the edges or inside/behind rocks where a lot of waste is accumulated.

One should opt for a filter that offers an option to manually adjust the flow rate as it will give you the control. You can increase the flow when the tank needs cleaning else keep it neutral so that aquatic animals don’t feel the current.

9. Type Of Motor

What kind of motor does your filter require? You don’t need a motor that is noisy and difficult to maintain. Even the efficiency and longevity of the filter depends on the motor. It is often observed that the best filter for turtle tank will have a strong motor and won’t require regular repair or maintenance. A responsible manufacturer will work on the motor and provide clear instructions on how to keep the motor clean and running.

10. Price

It is a personal factor and depends mostly on your spending capacity. But, one should not compromise on a filter for the turtle tank as you are responsible for a life. The need for clean water and a basking area cannot be stressed enough. Hence, quality should not be compromised.

Investing in a quality turtle tank can be expensive, but it is a one-time investment. An asset is created that will keep your aquatic friend healthy and comfortable. So, opt for a brand that might stretch your budget a little but can serve you for a long time with minimum repair and maintenance issues.

Top 9 Best Turtle Tank Filters In 2022

1. Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter

Penn Plax Best Filters for Turtle TanksTurtles are pets with a long life in comparison to other aquatic animals, but it is also a fact that they excrete more than a fish. Hence there is a need for an apt aquarium filter that eases your chores and makes the turtle tank beautiful and hygienic inside out.

Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter has a capacity of 200 gallons and is considered to be one of the best filters for turtle tanks. The three-stage robust filtration process has flow valves that rotate 360°, making maneuvering easy even in the small cabinets. It has five media baskets and works at a speed of 350 gallons per hour.

With regard to the durability of the product, its exterior is made of hard plastic that lasts long and is easy to clean. The installation process of Penn Plax is relatively easy. Often the setting up of a filter takes forever, and people prefer to seek plumbing services.

But, it won’t be the case with Penn Plax as it offers specific guidelines that need to be followed and within 15 minutes, it’s ready to clean your aquarium. Just don’t forget to tighten the hoses and tubes. Another factor which is essential to consider while choosing a filter is the filtration media so that dirt is correctly filtered out of the aquarium. The three-stage filtration with large trays helps in filtering the turtle faeces and other dirt, thus making it a clean and hygienic habitat for the turtles.


  • Sturdy construction with a translucent casing that gives a sneak peek of what’s happening inside the tank.
  • The functional design and ease in installation. It comes with trays that can be removed for cleaning, which is not an option in other filters.
  • It gives the user two options: Spray bar and spout outlet. As it has five baskets, there is a potential to choose any filtration process chemical, biological or mechanical.
  • It is easy to install and does not make noise. Just like a silent worker, it does not beep while operating and has an effective filtration process.


  • Bypassing of water through the sides of the compartment can be an issue. It can lead to the settling of junk if you are opting for a biological filtration system. But it can be managed.

2. Fluval External Filter

Fluval External FilterThe big or handy pollutants of an aquarium can be removed with hands. But when it comes to keeping the tank spic and span, one needs a proper filter for longevity and health of aquatic animals.

Turtles can be messy and cleaning the mess is essential to create a clean home for them. The perfect ensemble for fresh and saline water tanks, Fluval External Filter, is a power-packed device that can fit into small and large tanks and hold up to 70 gallons of water.

It is amongst the best filters for turtle tank as it conducts three-stage mechanical filtration processes that use twin-foam vertical filters. These filters help in preventing clogging and absorbing more debris during filtration. It has canister filters that help in regulating and increasing the water flow and provides enough space for mechanical filtration.

The filtration process is not as messy as the chemical and biological filtration is done by independent modules. The vertical design of the canister is better than the round ones as it helps in holding more media. The locking nuts and rim connectors prevent any leakage by making it tight and locked. There may be some noise during the priming sequence, but after that, it is a smooth ride. All in all, it is worth the investment considering it is a self-sufficient canister.


  • As the three filtration stages are independent of each other, you can remove biological and chemical process to customize the filtration without hampering the system.
  • Efficient use of space and easy to install.
  • It has Auto AquaStop valves and lift lock clamps that prevent leakage.
  • Increases water flow
  • Ideal for fresh and saline water and different sizes of the aquarium.


  • As it is an external filter and is comparatively big in comparison to the 106 and 206 models, you need to find space for it.
  • Canisters are not known for doing their work quietly. It can be noisy, and if you are purchasing it for your office aquarium, then you need to think twice.
  • Output flow height detector is not installed.
  • It uses more electricity.

As it is made of plastic and porcelain, some parts can be broken easily.


3. Eheim Classic External Canister Filter with Media

Eheim Classic External Canister Filter with MediaAre you looking for the best turtle tank filter? EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter is a household name that will pop up for sure amongst the top filter brands. This model is a worthy investment as it has a solid body with stainless steel clamps that keep the motor in place and reduces the sound.

The flow capacity of the model is 164GPH, not just on paper but in reality as well, and the installation process is relatively straightforward even for a newbie. The filtration system has 3 separate media baskets for chemical, biological and mechanical filtration which is done with Substrat Pro Media and EHEIM Mech.

The mounting, unmounting, and cleaning of the canister will be seamless and won’t damage the equipment. The accessories that come along with the machine include a spray bar, inlet pipe, hose and filter sponges that can be replaced easily.

As it has Permo-elastic silicone sealing that is connected to the pump head, it is safe while cleaning. It is a classic machine known for durability and longevity, so investing in it is like investing in a long-term asset. As there are no media trays, the water flow will not be hampered.


  • Finally, a filter with no noise during priming or filtration. In case, it rattles apply grease.
  • It is easy to maintain and clean; media can be changed frequently.
  • As the raw material used is of premium quality, it consumes less power and is not prone to wear and tear.
  • Affordable and pads are readily available.


  • Filter flow slows down after some time, and the water turns yellowish.
  • Priming is very slow and tedious.
  • Air gets stuck in the filters
  • Gunk clogging happens every few days thus restricting the water flow.
  • Due to lack of instructions, installing and use of white polishing pad was a problem leading to slow filtration.

4. Tetra 25905 Decorative Reptile Filter For Aquariums Up To 55 Gallons

Tetra 25905 Decorative Reptile Filter For Aquariums Up To 55 GallonsCan a turtle tank filter enhance the aesthetics of the aquarium? Often the filters inside the filters steal away the beauty of the tank and can be an obstruction for turtles who love their spaces. What if you find a filter that has an aesthetic appeal and also makes the turtles fall in love with it? Tetra 25905 Decorative Reptile Filter is an ideal filter that creates a waterfall and has a rocky exterior.

It also provides for a basking area for the turtles to sit and relax after a refreshing swim. The 55-gallon filter has integrated whisper filtration system with large intake holes that won’t let anything obstruct the water flow. However, one has to be vigil as the holes are large and if a small frog or any other water animal gets stuck in it, it can be life-threatening.

The natural stone and functional design with a locking cover prevents the animals from entering the filtration area. With multiple stage filtration process, one can expect it to treat the contaminants efficiently without leaving behind any residue or clogging the tubes.

As it is placed inside, there is no question of leakage. It works effectively for 55-gallon tanks, and gives ample space to the animals to swim and laze around. Even the water flow is smooth, that it does not affect the fishes or turtles.


  • Made of high quality raw material, making it sturdy and durable.
  • Waterfall cum filter, perfect for aesthetics of the tank and gives space to turtles to climb and roam around.
  • Minimum and Maximum waterline mark is helpful.
  • Pocket-friendly and the water flow can be controlled manually.
  • Perfect for a 55-gallon aquarium.


  • Big holes for filtration that could be a danger for small marine life in your aquarium, like crabs.
  • It can take a little extra space in the tank.

5. Fluval Underwater Filter

Fluval Underwater FilterSleek, low profile and pocket-friendly, Fluval Underwater Filter is undoubtedly the best filter for turtle tank with its new features and redesigned cartridges. You will observe that your filter is cleaner than usual and removes double the debris with its three-stage filtration feature. The filter can handle aquariums with 65-gallon capacity and is ideal for biological filtration.

If you are fed up of exterior filters that consume most of the space and spoil the aesthetics of the room, then don’t worry. This internal filter is adjustable and won’t utilize much space in the tank. The best thing about Fluval underwater filter is that it has a removable impeller that can be cleaned periodically. Often, impellers breakdown due to clogging or dust, but now that won’t be an issue either.

Whenever you try to clean your filter,you will find that the moment you pick it up, it spills the collected waste, especially the liquid/loose debris back into the tank. But that’s not the case with this new, improved version. The chamber holds the loose waste with the help of filter foam, and as the media container has been improved, it works effectively while cleaning the filter. The motor can also be removed easily, thus making it more efficient and easy to use


  • Accommodating piece as it can mount vertically and horizontally giving space to the turtles.
  • As it is an internal filter, there is no leakage or breaking of hoses.
  • It works below the water level, so the only noise you will hear is of water getting sucked into the filter.
  • It is easy to install and maintain but should be opted for an aquarium with a capacity less than 40-gallon.


  • The bio-max section is small, so you will have to customise the bags.
  • The knob is hard to turn and comes off easily.
  • There are problems with water flow and if there are plants in the aquarium.

6. Tetra Whisper EX Silent Multi-Stage Power Filter for Aquariums

Tetra Whisper EX Silent Multi-Stage Power Filter for AquariumsHobbyists often abstain from putting decoration plants in the aquarium, as it is challenging to handle the algae spread or they get stuck in the filters. But that’s not the case with Tetra Whisper EX Silent Multi-stage power filter.

Whether you want to keep plants, fishes, newts, or turtles, Tetra Whisper is a powerful filter that will silently do the work. Even though it is compact, comes along with two large carbon filters and can clean filters with up to 70-gallon capacity. It is easy to install and ready to use. It won’t take much space and will not harm the marine animals.

The main issue with filters is that we have to remember when to change the filter media or cartridges. However, with Tetra Whisper, you don’t have to worry about it anymore. It has in-built time strips that signals the time to replace the cartridge as it turns red.

Another issue with the filters is the noise it creates while filtration. But the Tetra Whisper is silent and can be kept in any room. All you need to do is to submerge the motor, and the filtration process will initiate. The high-performance filter is effective and pocket-friendly that won’t burn a hole in your pocket and keep your aquatic friends healthy.


  • Updated design and material used makes it durable.
  • It keeps the tank clean with chemical and biological filtration.
  • It does not leak.


  • It can vibrate if touched with rear glass.
  • Water intake tubes are weak and can break easily.
  • Current at the top is strong, but it fails to spread it across, especially at the bottom.

7. Ovation 1000 Submersible Power Jet Filter – 265 GPH

Ovation 1000 Submersible Power Jet Filter - 265 GPHOvation 1000 Submersible Power Jet Filter is a filter that works without stressing or disturbing your aquatic friends. With a capacity of 80 gallons and a flow rate of 265 Gallons per hour, it will smoothly clean the water. It will eradicate discoloration, foul smell, and impurities from the water, especially faeces of the turtles.

Simple in design, it can be kept horizontally or vertically in small or big aquariums and even in terrariums. Apart from filtration, it also provides aeration facility and includes both chemical and biological filtration process. It comes along with a spray bar that helps in adjusting the airflow, and an air regulator that can be changed.

An essential characteristic of this filter is carbon filtration that provides crystal clear water within a few hours. As it assists in aeration, it is ideal for fishes as it can produce air bubbles. The classic filter works silently without disturbing the marine life, and you won’t need noise-cancelling headphones. All in all, it is a great filter that will last long provided it is cleaned on a regular basis. You should also ensure to keep it in a place with average room temperature as it can breakdown if the climate is a little rough.


  • The pump is powerful and has a large number of output nozzles.
  • It offers directional current flow.
  • As it has compartment design, you can customise it by adding more filter media.
  • Differential mounting and fixtures work in your favour.
  • Crystal clear water without any foul smell.


  • You cannot adjust the flow and customisation of the spray bar is difficult.
  • Quality issues as it can break down if the climate is breezy.
  • You need to change the filter media frequently to ensure clean water.
  • Current can be too high for marine life.

8. Aqueon Quiet Flow Internal Power Filter

Aqueon Quiet Flow Internal Power FilterWhat makes a filter the best filter for turtle tank? Most of the filters have a three-stage filtration process, but this one has a four-stage filtration system that includes mechanical, chemical, biological, and dry/wet diffuser grid. The submersible filter with adjustable flow rate has a capacity of 40 gallons and 155 GPH with two large cartridges.

It helps in filtering the dense foam debris and toxins with the help of activated carbon, ammonia and nitrate using Bio grid, a patented technology for the filter. Though it is sleek and compact that makes it ideal for aquariums of various sizes, it needs space. So, it is better to use it for aquariums that are spacious.

It has its own strengths and weaknesses, but the best thing about it is the current flow which helps in cleaning and discolouring the aquarium in no time. Also, as it can be adjusted, the marine life won’t be disturbed or feel in shock due to excessive current.

The filter media can be easily changed, and as it comes with suction cups that really works wonders, it can be easily placed inside the aquarium. If you want to install the suction cups, then the ideal way to place it is vertically and yes, it does not require manual priming!


  • Current flow is powerful that can turn a 20-gallon tank easily so that you can adjust the nozzles accordingly.
  • It is sleek and compact that can be put either horizontally or vertically.
  • Manual maintenance by taking the filter out of the tank.
  • No loud or disturbing noise.
  • It is low profile, and turtles do not feel disturbed by its presence.


  • Filter cartridges are not suitable, so use your media.
  • The current level can be an issue for fishes and small marine animals.
  • Information about a gallon per hour is misleading.

9. MarineLand Magnum Polishing Internal Canister Filter

MarineLand Magnum Polishing Internal Canister FilterAre you a lover of aquatic animals, especially fishes and turtles? Then you need a filter that deals with your large aquarium that would most probably have a pretty active marine life. If you are searching on internet filters for large tanks, then MarineLand Magnum Polishing Internal Canister Filter is the name that will top the charts.

Why is that? The internal filter has a capacity of 97 gallons and a flow rate of 290 GPH. Thus, it can filter three times the water volume in an hour provided your tank is not heavily stocked. Though many claim that is better for water polishing than filtration, it does both the jobs outstandingly with its three-stage filtration system. The debris is removed at mechanical stage; colours, and odours with chemical filtration; and ammonia and nitrites through biological filtration.

Another factor that makes it a strong and versatile machine is its dual filtration chambers. One can customise the quality and quantity of the filter media, especially in the case of biological filtration. It is 8×12 inches in dimension. That means it can take up quite some space in the tank, which is why it is ideal for large tanks.

However, as it comes with suction cups, you can easily plaster it on the wall of the tank vertically, thus making space for the turtles to swim. As mentioned in the name, it can be used for water polishing and can be charged with diatoms that will increase the filtration process.


  • Cleanses the tank fast and can be charged with diatoms.
  • It handles blooming bacteria and algae spread easily.
  • Water polishing feature available.
  • It is a silent worker that can clean the inside and behind the rock as well.


  • After a couple of weeks it starts rattling.
  • It cannot treat itch or Sporozoa that can lead to tetra disease.
  • It can ruin the aesthetics as it can be placed in front only.
  • Better for polishing but not filtering.


Turtle habitation is a responsibility and a matter of life. There have been cases where people get turtles as a pet but are not able to deal with its upbringing and maintenance, so abandon it. Therefore, there are two important decisions to make here: First, are you ready to take this responsibility and stay committed to it? You should keep in mind that turtles live for twenty-five years and more.

If you are ready for a long commitment, now comes the next question, which filters to choose from so many options available in online and offline market?

In the guide, I have explained in detail why automated filtration is better than manual, what are the factors to consider while purchasing a filter and the nine best filters of 2022. The best part is all these filters can be purchased online at a discounted rate.

If you are shopping online, you can be assured of the quality by reading the reviews, specifications and our guide before buying the filter. Once you have made the right choice, it will be a one-time investment that will save your time and energy and help you co-create a beautiful and comfortable habitat for your marine companion.