The Best Filter for Turtle Tank of 2021


What is the best filter for turtle tank? When it comes to the reptilian-pet trend, most people find that turtles are one of the most high-maintenance and patience-testing pets. Though, with a big enough heart and an even bigger patience, enthusiasts find that they can be quite entertaining. Because they are so active and intelligent, turtles require huge tanks.

Typically, the interior is designed to be a terrarium, as turtles like to bask if they’re not swimming. But to keep a turtle healthy, clean water is needed. Thus, to give turtles the best care, one is also going to need the best filter for their turtle tank.

What is the Best Filter for Turtle Tank

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Top 10 Best Filter for Turtle Tank Reviews

1. Penn-Plax Cascade Canister Filters up to 30, 65, 100, 150, 200 Gallons


The Penn-Plax Cascade Canister Filters is great for large turtle tanks. Cascade offers different models in various sizes for their canister filter series. Starting with the Cascade 500 that can support tanks up to 30 gallons and with a flow rate of 115 gallons/hour (gph),

Cascade prides itself mostly in their Cascade 1000 Canister Filter, made for tanks up to 100 gallons and has a flow rate of 265 gph. The largest and greatest one yet is the Cascade 1500 that can filter up to 200 gallons with 350 gph flow rates.

Above all the noise from the filter, one can find that this filter keeps the tank water crystal clear. The Cascade Canister Filter series also offers buyers with 2-5 media baskets, blocking even the toughest compounds from the water.


  • Different models suited for different tanks.
  • Great Quality
  • Easy setup and cleaning
  • Sturdy design – built to last
  • Ergonomic design


  • Can be quite noisy

2. Marineland Magniflow Canister Filter for 30, 55, 100 Gallons Turtle Aquarium


The Marineland Magniflow Canister Filter offers a 3-stage filtration system to ensure the cleanliness of the tank water. It is also very easy to setup and offers three different sizes with varying flow rates. Along with that, each size can support either a tank of 30 gallons, 55 gallons, or a maximum of 100 gallons, respectively.

Under the water-tight sealing lid, the canister holds a polishing filter for large debris, a bio-filter to lessen harmful ammonia and nitrates, and a Black Diamond Carbon filter to remove foul odors from the water.

Even though it can be quite difficult to find the perfect hose clamp, the Magniflow Canister Filter by Marineland can be quite easy to maintain in the long run. Once the filter is preserved throughout a year, it is set to serve more with proper care.


  • Easy to setup
  • Easy to maintain throughout the years
  • Can support tanks up to 100 gallons
  • 3-stage filtering keeps water clean
  • Quiet


  • Incorrect clamp causes air bubbles

3. Polar Aurora Free Media External Aquarium Filter up to 75, 100, 200 gallons


The Polar Aurora Free Media External Filter is a canister filter with three baskets for filter media. Being free media, users can select the filter media that is best suited for their and their turtle’s needs. The filter also comes in many sizes, each with different flow rates (from 265 gph, 370 gph, to 525 gph), suited for tanks up to 75 gallons, 100 gallons, and 200 gallons, respectively.

Not only does the filter boast a free-media feature, but also an adjustable spray bar for adjusting the output flow and a convenient self-priming pump to eliminate the need for self-siphoning.

Despite the trouble looking for the right media, adept and knowledgeable turtle owners can find that this filter allows them to give their turtles the best way they know how. The many features of this tank impresses both beginner and veteran turtle owners alike.


  • Easy to setup and provide routine maintenance
  • Quiet operation
  • Adjustable output from many features
  • Can support tanks up to 200 gallons
  • Easy to clean


  • Difficult for beginners to find the right media

4. Fluval External Filter for Turtle Tank up to 25, 45, 70, 100 gallons


The surprisingly small Fluval External Filter comes in five models, each having different sizes and handling capacities. Starting with the smallest model, the Fluval 1o6, the canister filters are designed to handle tank from 15 gallons up to the biggest model, the Fluval G6, which can handle tanks up to 65 gallons.

Fluval has made many improvements to this series, bragging many features like quiet operations, premium performance, advanced motor technology, and easy maintenance. These features root from increased hydraulic performance, sound dampening impeller design, and re-engineered priming systems.

The design flaw may cause micro bubbles in the filter, but with careful reading of the instruction manual, one may find that it can easily be fixed. Compared to most canister filters, this one won’t take up too much space and still perform amazingly well.


  • Perfect with small tanks
  • Very quiet operations
  • Easy maintenance
  • Great performance
  • Requires little space outside the tank


  • Can be very difficult to set-up

5. hygger Aquarium Double Sponge Filter up to 5, 15, 40, 55 Gallons


The hygger Aquarium Double Sponge Filter is an internal filter suited for smaller tanks. Thanks to its design, the Double Sponge Filter can be placed inside the tank in any orientation. It is also a very manageable internal filter as the attachments come on and off easily, making it easy to clean and replace.

Other than its paired fine sponge bio-filter, the apparatus also holds two media containers, wherein the owner can choose what type of filter to place inside. The biggest disappointment to this filter is that it doesn’t come with a pump and a hose, but considering its innovativeness, it will certainly last longer than one may think.


  • Easy to install and maintain
  • Design provides owner with freedom to decide
  • Great for small tanks
  • Wonderful performance
  • Can be attached to tank in any orientation


  • Does not come with hose and water pump

6. MarineLand Penguin Power Filter for Turtle Aquarium from 50-75 Gallon


The Marineland Penguin 350 Bio-Wheel Power Filter offers a 3-stage filtration for turtle tanks. The power filter attaches to any edge of the of the tank if it is wide enough to hold the filter. It comes in four sizes that can handle different tank capacities, the largest being able to handle 70 gallons. The boast of this model, however, is not in the size but the capability. The biological filter is its very own BIO-Wheel, which easily removes toxic wastes.

The noise issue is not that big for some, especially those who love a waterfall background noise. This isn’t even much of an issue as it can easily be solved by adding more water to tank, which is a good thing.


  • Easy to setup and maintain
  • Top-notch bio-filter
  • Mid-level strainer allows adjustment of water flow
  • Easy access to filter cartridges
  • Two-piece vented cover allows quiet operation


  • Noisy when water is below a certain water level

7. Aqueon Quietflow E Internal Filter up to 3, 10, 20, 40 gallons


The Quietflow E Internal Power Filter by Aqueon is an internal filter with 3 filter media for keeping the tank water crystal clean. The pumps automatically start after a sudden power interruption and requires no priming. The four models come in four different sizes, with the largest one being able to handle a tank capacity of up to 40 gallons with a flow rate of 290 gph.

This product can be quite noisy too, if the user gets finds splashing sounds a nuisance. However, one can find that using the suction cups to fully submerge the filter underwater allows it to run smoothly and quietly. Installation and maintenance of the filter is very easy, and with proper care it can operate for more than just a year.


  • Superbly easy installation
  • Great performance for small tanks
  • Quiet operation
  • Larger models offer 3-stage filtration
  • Provides water current, preventing stagnant water


  • May get turtle stuck if not installed properly

8. Tetra Whisper In-Tank Filter with BioScrubber up to 3, 10, 20, 40 gallons


Tetra’s Whisper In-Tank Filter With BioScrubber is an internal filter fit for small tanks. With four different models and sizes, the internal filter offers a dual-function: an air pump and a water filter. Its dual-sided mesh filters debris and waste while also oxygenating the water. The convenient design also allows the owner to easily change the bio-bag cartridges.

Food can easily get sucked up the filter when feeding the turtle, but don’t be fooled! The filter can be attached with a mesh guard or simply turned off when feeding, to prevent the food from getting sucked up. The mesh guard is also good for keeping the turtle’s limbs from getting sucked inside the filter.


  • Extremely quiet
  • Easy installation
  • Easily removable bio-bag cartridges for maintenance
  • Works well in small tanks up to 40 gallons
  • Aerates the water


  • Can suck up food

9. Tetra Whisper Power Filter for Turtle Tank up to 20, 30, 40, 60 gallons


The Whisper Power Filter manufactured by Tetra offers a 3-stage filtration to keep the tank water clean and healthy for turtles. It operates unusually quietly for a power filter, unlike others which tend to be noisy. The design also offers a long-term reliability for purchasers, as there are little to no moving parts. It also allows owners to adjust the water flow from a dial that sits right on top of the cover.

Without proper reading of the installation manual, the filter can be quite noisy. Setting up and installing the device can also be a bit of a challenge, as much force is needed so that the filter can prove its whisper-quiet operation. With all things in place, the filter is set to perform a great performance overtime.


  • Powerful and offers great performance
  • Quieter the longer its operated
  • Offers a 3-stage filter
  • Modifiable to obtain optimum performance
  • Long-term reliability


  • Set-up and installation can be tricky

10. NO.17 Submersible Aquarium Internal Filter for Turtle Tank from 1-150 gallons


17 Submersible Aquarium Internal Filter is a compact and perfectly safe filter for turtle tanks. Four different sizes suit turtle keepers’ filtration needs for tanks as big as 150 gallons. The design prevents the filter from sucking in food completely and operates quietly. It also gets delivered pre-assembled, but may be disassembled for modification purposes.

The lack of a chemical filtration stage is made up for the surprisingly great filtering capacity the model offers. Chemical filtration is not necessary when the tank water is changed constantly. Turtles may see the machine as something to play with; thus, they tend to move it around in the tank when opportunity strikes. But this only supports their intelligence and activeness, which doesn’t completely make it a downside.


  • Compact and small
  • May be placed in any orientation
  • Aerates the water
  • Adjustable water pump
  • Extremely safe and reliable design


  • Does not come with charcoal/chemical filtration

Turtle Tank Filter Buying Guide

Before buying the turtle tank filter, there are three things that need to be looked into: the perfect match for the tank, filter efficacy, and filter efficiency.

Tank-matching Filter

Looking for the right match for the turtle tank is not too difficult. There are tanks built specifically for certain filters, especially power filters, as they demand a designated space on the tank itself to be placed on.

Internal filters are great for small tanks, but it should always be ensured that they do not consume the space the turtles necessitate. Canister filters are great for larger tanks, but they also call for an allocated area close to the tank, so that setting up extra tubes would not be too much of a hassle.

How Well Does the Filter Work?

Once the perfect match for the tank is found, it is time to investigate how well the filter works. This assists the owner in determining whether maintaining the filter will only become pricey in the long-term.

Some filters can easily clog up and may need constant maintenance, which can be quite time-consuming and expensive. So, it is always better to trade in money for products that withstand the long run, especially since turtles can live if a human lifetime (sometimes even longer).

Filter Efficiency Costs Less Money

Lastly (but certainly not the least), filter efficiency is key to figuring out the cost of keeping a pet turtle. Some filters tend to waste water through evaporation or even electricity. Since some filters require space in/on the tank, it also leaves space for water to escape through as water vapors.

Electricity is an issue as well, because several filters might demand a high energy input for the same performance as filters that require less. It is important to keep in mind that turtles will, too, increase water and electricity bills. So, the filter should not allow them to inflate the bill too much.

What is a Turtle Tank Filter?


Turtle tank filters are machines that purify the water in turtle tanks. They immensely reduce the workload for owners because turtles can be very messy, as they defecate and urinate a lot. Turtle excretions must be tidied up, since they can grow bacteria and other microorganisms in the water, and make turtles sick.

How Do Turtle Tank Filters Work?

To keep aqueous habitats hygienic and safe for turtles, they must be ridded of harmful organic compounds. Through a process called filtration, these compounds are removed from the water, essentially keeping the habitat ideal for a turtle.

There are many kinds of filtration methods found in a single turtle tank filter. The first kind of filtration method found in a single turtle tank filter is mechanical filtration. In mechanical filtration, solid barriers (like sponges, filter paper, etc.) are used to eradicate solid compounds from the water.

The next method is biological filtration, which applies specialized bio-filtration media where “friendly” bacteria grow on. These friendly bacteria cleanse the water by consuming turtle waste and converting it to less harmful compounds.

Lastly, there is chemical filtration, which offers to remove foul stenches from the water, but is not necessary in most filters. Certain chemicals can be extracted by chemical filters, thus keeping the water an even more odorless and harmless atmosphere for a turtle.

Types of Turtle Tank Filters

Power Filters

Power filters can be easily hung on the back of the aquarium and make use of disposable cartridges. They employ water pumps that lift water from the tank up through a tube that connects to the filter chamber. Here, the water is brought through a series of filter media, then delivered back into the tank. However, these filters are considered inefficient, as they tend to lose more water through evaporation than most filters, and discouraged as they may provide room for escape.

Internal Filters

Internal filters are attached inside the tank through suction cups or other media, and are often recommended for beginners with small tanks. They filter the water by providing water movement using motors. However, they can be very loud and do not have the capacity for larger tanks. They also pose a risk of electrocution if the wiring in the water is damaged.

Canister Filters

Canister filters are mounted on designated stands or cabinets outside the tank. They use a canister to hold different filter media, but use the same pump system as power filters. Most experts advise using these, but they can be quite space-consuming and cost quite a bit more than other filters.

Under-gravel Filters (UGF)

UGFs work by having the machine placed under the gravel to use it as a biological filter medium. They also use the same pump system as power filters, but draw water through gravel as a means of biological filtration. However, even the reverse-flow UGFs can clog because of all the compounds that get caught on the gravel instead, causing much more problems in the tank. Some models can also be loud, thus not a lot of turtle owners recommend such filters.

Why Do You Need Filter for Turtle Tank?

Unlike other aquarium-living pets, turtles tend to excrete a lot of wastes, may it be urine or feces. These tend to be very difficult to manage, and when left unmanaged, can be life-threatening for the turtle.

Despite their intelligence, turtles do not have the ability to clean their own water. They also cannot bask under sunlight or heat lamps for too long as that can also be the very cause of their death. They must keep returning to the water as that is where they set up their shelter.

Thus, it would be much easier and nature-friendly for turtle owners to utilize turtle tank filters. Manually filtering or replacing the water in the tank can be quite time-consuming and tiring work. It might also cause unnecessary stress for the turtle as it would require them to be constantly moved out of the tank.

Turtle tank filters are also the nature-friendly way to go about taking care of turtles. They lessen the amount of new water needed as they tend to reuse the water that is already present in the tank. However, replacing the water every now and then should not be overlooked. In general, owners can find that taking care of turtles becomes much easier with the aid of filters.

Frequently Asked Questions


Canister filter vs Internal filter which is the best for Turtle Tank?

Choosing between a canister or internal filter must depend on the size of the tank and the space around it. Canister filters can handle much bigger tanks, but need more space. Internal filters can only handle smaller tanks without taking any external space. Most owners recommend using canister filters as they tend to be easier to maintain and work outstandingly for large tanks. Yet, they also recommend to beginner owners to use internal filters, especially with small tanks.

How to setup a filter in a turtle tank?

Filter setups vary depending on what is available. Power filters require space on the tank, internal filters require space inside, canister filters require designated areas near the tank, and UGFs require space underneath the tank gravel. Every product comes with a corresponding instruction manual on how to install and operate the filter. If any difficulties are encountered, it is always preferred to contact professionals or customer support.

How often should you change a turtle tank filter?

Other than having a set time for filter media cleaning and changing, it would be wise to constantly check the filter flow and debris buildup. Having either a slower-than-normal flow or debris buildup indicates that the filter media may have been used to its extent. Depending on the media, some may simply be cleaned with reused tank water to maintain the friendly bacteria, while some may require being changed entirely.

How often do you clean a turtle tank with a filter?

Filtered water does not necessarily mean healthy water for the turtle. There are some hard-to-filter compounds that cannot be removed by filter media. These compounds are rarely identifiable under the naked eye, so most experts recommend changing 25%-50% of the tank water every once a weak. Otherwise, tanks with filters don’t necessarily need cleaning unless the glass or gravel themselves have been sullied with feces.

Where to buy filter for turtle tank?

Thanks to the internet, most beginners can find high-quality turtle tank filters on certain websites like Amazon and other certified pet supplier websites. Anyone can easily place an order and have it delivered to their doorstep within a certain waiting period.

Another option is to visit local pet shops or aquariums. They are bound to have filters for sale, but if they do not, they can still recommend places that sell desired turtle tank filters.


Just like any other pet, an excellent environment is necessary for turtles to live a long and healthy life. Many turtle species live up to 50 or more years, making them the perfect lifelong companions. Thus, it would only be right to show them some love by giving them the best.

However, the best does not always mean the priciest or the biggest. Some are set to offer an ideal performance for the right tank at just the right price. Remember, only the best turtle tank filter is set to make the owner’s life much easier, and the turtle’s much better. Buy the best filter for turtle tank today!

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