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Best turtle tank filters in 2022 – reviews and buying guide

Written by: Peter Laskay
Reviewed by: Amber LaRock
Last updated on:

My personal favorites are turtles, as one of my first pets was also a turtle. I currently have two such wonderful creatures at home who are almost the same age as me. My goal was to create the best possible living conditions for them. The best turtle tank filter is essential for this

In this article, I will show you which I think are the best filters, whether you have a small, medium, or large turtle tank at home. I will also share some useful tips with you about choosing and shopping

Let’s start!

Product table for the best turtle filters

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Do you need a filter for your turtle tank?

My short answer is Yes. Of course, I will explain in more detail. For some reason, most people only think of having a filter in their aquarium when it comes to fish. They know very well that the water will turn green, it will be full of algae. Not to mention a lot of uneaten food, feces, and urine.

Well, I have to say that this problem also exists for turtles. Beyond a certain level, it will no longer be just an aesthetic issue. Accumulated dirt can also have health consequences

I hope after this it is clear that you definitely need some sort of filter for your turtles’ tank.

How to choose the best turtle tank filter?

If you want to buy a filter for the turtle tank for the first time, the variations may seem like a lot. There are experts who argue that a turtle tank filter should be much stronger than a fish aquarium filter

For this reason, it is suggested that a two to three times stronger filter should be purchased than would be appropriate for the size of the tank. Or two filters at once. This can also be used to prepare if one of these might go wrong.

And now let’s look at how to choose the right filter. And now let’s look at what criteria you should look for when choosing a filter in the turtle tank.


As I mentioned, you need to choose a much more powerful filter than the size of your tank. This is especially true if you have more than one turtle or there are fish in the tank beside the turtle. 

Most canister filters are designed for fish. That’s why you need to buy a product that has two to three times the filter capacity.

There are filters designed for turtles. If you choose this, the above writing will not apply to you.

The flow rate is measured in GPH (gallons per hour). A proper filter can filter all the water in the tank every hour. If you follow my sizing tips, you won’t have a problem with GPH.

Filtering mechanism

The filter material is usually in the product. However, it is worth knowing a little more about these. Each material is for a different purpose, so it’s also worth being a little aware of these.

  • Mechanical: These are mainly sponges and filter floss. Mechanical filtering is the simplest type of filtering method. Filters operating on this principle filter out particulate dunk from the water (eg feces, uneaten food, algae). This method seems to really make the water clear. Yet, it does not filter out urine and ammonia from it, for example. For this reason, it is worth considering other filtering methods.
  • Biological: This filtration provides a medium where beneficial bacteria can multiply. These bacteria convert the ammonia in the water to nitrate. Nitrate is less toxic to your turtles than ammonia. If there are plants in the tank, these plants can take it the nitrate up. However, be careful not to accumulate too much nitrate in the water. In large quantities, this can also be harmful.
  • Chemical: This is not so essential. But it’s good to know that this filtering mechanism increases efficiency. This way, you will also need to change the water less often. Activated carbon, for example, is excellent in decomposing dissolved organic matter.


The high-quality filters in this article do their job. The small particles will be sucked by the sponges and the ammonia will be converted to nitrate. If you change the tank’s water once a week, you don’t even have to worry about high nitrate levels.

However, keep in mind that you need to maintain even the best quality filter. After all, parts can become clogged due to a lot of dirt. Because of this, the water cannot flow through the device sufficiently. This, in turn, leads to a deterioration in water quality, of course.

If you choose a device properly, maintenance should not be a big problem. The best filter systems have a simple cabinet system and this is where the filter media is located. This way you can easily replace the old media and insert a new one.

Parts of mechanical filter systems are washable in many cases and do not need to be replaced. Look for a product where you can do these tasks without completely disassembling the device.

There are products that also have two filters. This way, one can work while you replace or clean the other. Of course, this is not necessary, but it can definitely be a positive aspect when buying a filter device.

What about undergravel filters?

best turtle tank filters turtle in the water

If you have an aquarium full of fish, an undergravel filter may be a good choice. This is not the case for turtles. On the one hand, turtles and gravel don’t mix. This is because they tend to confuse stones with food. 

Turtles are very fond of digging, and because of that the undergravel filters can clog. And gravel can collect dirt, which can lead to even more mess.

I suggest you do not choose this type of filter.

Reviews for the best turtle tank filters

I think you now know more about how you should choose the right filter. Now let’s look at my picks.

Aqueon Quietflow Internal Power Filter

Aqueon Quietflow contains all three filtrations. What is very positive is that mechanical, biological and chemical filtrations are preceded by a wet and dry diffuser grid. This method can greatly reduce clogging.

Chemical filtration consists of activated carbon, which absorbs dissolved impurities very well.

As the name suggests, QuietFlow is not loud, so you can even use it indoors.

What I especially like is that the filter pump works even if the power is turned off for a while. It has also an adjustable return flow rate. This will ensure proper water flow for different sized tanks.

You can buy this filter in sizes between 10 and 40 gallons. The flow rate is 155 gallons per hour. This is a relatively small size. Because of this, you will need more than one such filter for a medium-sized tank.

That’s why you will need to invest more if you choose this product. However, this product is still quite cheap. So if you buy three of them, you’re not going that bad either. On the other hand, having multiple filters can be positive. While you maintain one, the other can do its thing.


  • Four filtration
  • Activated carbon filter
  • Adjustable return flow
  • Quiet
  • Affordable


  • Small sizes

>>Check the latest price on Amazon<<

EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter with Media

Eheim’s high-performance filter is also an excellent choice for large tanks. It is designed for 95 gallons, so you can use it with a 45-gallon turtle tank. It has a flow rate of 165 gallons, which constantly provides fresh water in the tank.

The filtration system consists only of mechanical and biological filtration. But regardless, the product does its job properly. 

The filter must be placed outside the tank. This can make installation difficult for beginners. However, the manufacturer’s description is sufficiently detailed and the steps are traceable.

The product includes a polishing pad. This is very good in that it makes the water perfectly clean. But you have to pay attention to it because it clogs in a few days. If you don’t want to deal with this every few days, you might want to replace this part of the device with a coarser filter.


  • 165-gallon flow rate
  • comes with all necessary things
  • Durable
  • Suitable for larger tanks


  • Polishing pad can be clogged
  • Can be complicated for first time
  • No chemical filtration

>>Check the latest price on Amazon<<

Penn Plax Cascade 1000 Canister Filters

I have to say this is a pretty impressive filter. The capacity is 30-200 gallons, so it is suitable for up to a 100 gallon turtle tank. Or you buy two for a 200 gallon tank. And the maximum flow rate is 265 gallons, which is also amazing in this category.

You can pull media trays out of place and replace them with any media. For this, you obviously need to understand somewhat about biological and mechanical filtration. For more experienced owners, however, this can be an extremely positive feature.

The design of the product is also positive for me. The outer layer is hard and durable plastic. The valves can be rotated 360 degrees. This is good in that the filter fits in a very small space. For example, behind a tank or an aquarium.

Despite the excellent quality and features, the product is unfortunately loud. However, it can be a good choice if you don’t keep your turtles in your bedroom.


  • Large capacity
  • 350-gallon flow rate/h
  • Media trays can be pulled out
  • Rotating valves


  • Loud
  • Requires experience

>>Check the latest price on Amazon<<

Fluval Canister Filter, FX6 Filter (400 Gal)

If you have a really big turtle tank, be sure to consider this product. The Fluval FX6 filter has a 925-gallon flow rate in addition to the 400-gallon capacity. This product will definitely not let you down if you have big turtles and a big tank.

However, this is one of the most expensive filters on my list. But I think it’s worth investing that amount for that quality. 

The filter media can be easily removed, while the entire design can be sealed airtight thanks to the clamps. 

The whole filtration system can be customized. You simply need to pull a tray out of place. This tray holds several other trays that can hold any media. There is a purge valve at the bottom of the canister that you need to open when you change the water.

The filter’s pump is also worth mentioning. That’s because it shuts off every 12 hours. This allows the bubbles inside to leak out. 

This way, the water circulation will be optimal and it can flow without any problems. You don’t have to open the canister unnecessarily.


  • 400-gallon capacity
  • Durable and easy to maintain
  • You can customize the media
  • Easy water change
  • Pump is smart


  • Expensive
  • Requires space
  • Requires experience

>>Check the latest price on Amazon<<

Tetra ReptoFilter for Terrariums

This filter has been developed for aquariums with low water levels. For example, if you have an amphibian turtle. You must place the filter at the bottom of the aquarium. It pumps water upwards so it doesn’t look bad even aesthetically.

This product takes up little space, is quiet, and is cheap. This makes it an ideal choice for aquariums or smaller tanks. It is designed for a capacity of 50 gallons, with 125 gallons of water flow per hour. So for a 50-gallon turtle tank, you should definitely buy two or three of this filter.

The product doesn’t contain biological filtration. That’s why you need to change the water often. The filter also needs some extra attention. You should always make sure the bottom is covered with water during operation. If you do not pay attention to this, the pump can burn out.


  • An excellent choice for an amphibian aquarium or tank
  • Waterfall effect
  • Quiet
  • Cheap
  • Takes up little space


  • Suitable for small tanks
  • There is no biological filtration
  • You need to take care of the water covering

>>Check the latest price on Amazon<<

Fluval Advanced Filtration System

The last filter on my list is also a Fluval product. It’s no coincidence that the Fluval Advanced Aquarium Filtration System has many enticing features. It has an LCD display that allows you to monitor the flow rate.

You can also track other data. For example, the water temperature and the need for maintenance of the machine. With the help of the device you will always be able to follow the right schedule.

Inside the Fluval product, you will find two trays that you can use for both biological and chemical filtration. The inside of the canister is double-walled. Because of that it is very quiet compared to products in a similar price range. 

The mechanical filter part of the product can filter out much smaller particles, than we have been accustomed to from a mechanical filter. Because of this, the product has better filtration ability. But you need to clean it more frequently.

This Fluval filter is available in two sizes. The G3 version has a capacity of 80 gallons and the G6 has a capacity of 160 gallons. The former has a flow rate of 185 and the latter 265 gallons per hour.

This product is also not cheap, but I think it is worth investing in for such performance and features.


  • LCD monitor with several options
  • Two trays which can be customized
  • Quiet
  • Great mechanical filtration


  • Expensive

>>Check the latest price on Amazon<<

Which one should you choose?

Contrary to my habit, I will not offer a specific product now. After all, all the filters presented here are excellent, and all of them have been selected for my list for other reasons. Which product you choose depends on the size of your tank, the amount of money you are willing to invest, or what filtration system you stick to.

Penn Plax Cascade 1000 Canister Filter, Fluval Canister Filter, and Fluval Advanced Filtration System can be designed perfectly if you want a different filtration method. In addition, the latter device offers many high tech solutions to make our lives more comfortable.

Of course, the aforementioned filters fall into the more expensive category. Aqueon QuietFlow is a cheaper solution, but you need to pay attention to the size of your tank.

It doesn’t matter which one you choose. If you follow the instructions above, your turtle can live happily in the tank with clean water.

Photo of author
Hey, my name is Peter, and I am the owner of this site. I have loved animals since I was a kid. I am constantly training myself; I recently obtained an accredited certificate in pet nutrition. But I am constantly learning about training, grooming for dogs and cats. I am currently a happy owner of two dogs, six cats, and two red-eared sliders. My goal is to provide my visitors with the most authentic information possible on any pet-related topic.
Amber LaRock
Reviewed By An Expert:

My name is Amber, and I am a licensed vet tech with 10 years of experience in the field. I spent the majority of my career working in emergency medicine but recently transitioned to creating accurate pet care information online. There is nothing more important to me than helping pet owners understand their furry friend’s health, and giving you the tools you need to offer your pet the best future possible!

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