Best Filter For Turtle Tank – Reviewed & Compared By Experts

Are you a turtle lover and you’re considering adopting one as a pet? Being a turtle owner is fun but it also comes with responsibilities.

You have to ensure that your turtle is well fed and lives in a clean, safe and healthy environment that replicates its natural habitat. The best filter for turtle tank is a must-have if you want to avoid cloudy and smelly water in the turtle tank.

To make a good choice for a turtle tank filter, you first need to consider the size of your tank. A big tank will need a powerful filter. The following are some great options for filters you can consider for your turtle tank.

 Best Filter for Turtle Tank [Comparison]

Fluval Canister Filter, FX6 Filter (400 Gal)
Tank Size (Up to)
400 gallons
Flow Rate (GPH)
Check Price
Top Pick
Cascade CCF5UL Canister Filter For Large Aquariums and Fish Tanks - Up To 200 Gallons, Filters 350...
Tank Size (Up to)
200 gallons
Flow Rate (GPH)
Check Price
Sunsun HW-304B 525 GPH 5-Stage External Canister Filter with 9-watt UV Sterilizer
Tank Size (Up to)
150 gallons
Flow Rate (GPH)
Check Price
Hydor Professional External Canister Filter - Aquarium External Filter - Telescopic Intake Tubes,...
Tank Size (Up to)
600 gallons
Flow Rate (GPH)
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Best Value
Tetra Decorative ReptoFilter, Terrarium Filtration, Keeps Water Clear
Tank Size (Up to)
55 gallons
Flow Rate (GPH)
Check Price

Best Filter for Turtle Tank – 2019 Reviews

The models discussed below have been selected after thorough research, extensive testing, as well as determining key features and aspects like cost, value for money, etc. Read on to discover which particular unit will meet your turtles’ needs and suits your budget.

Fluval Canister Filter, FX6 Filter

Fluval Canister FX6 one of the best filter and is a must-have for anyone or organization looking to keep turtle aquariums. With a capacity of filtering up to 400 gallons of water in an aquarium, the filter is suitable both for small-scale aquariums, and large-scale aquariums.

Being one of the ideal filters, it has a multi-stage filter that allows you to choose the environment you want for the turtles including:

  • Healthy aquarium
  • Freshwater aquariums
  • For turtles gotten from a freshwater environment
  • Marine aquariums
  • For turtles gotten from a saltwater environment

In keeping up with the trending technology, the best canister filter for turtle tank comes with a Smart Pump technology feature.

This feature allows for optimal filter performance, efficiency, and management. Its efficiency, however, does not negate its simplicity of use. The Fluval canister filter has simplified operations.

It is a self-starting filter meaning all you have to do is fill the water in, and plug it in then you’re good to go. Even with calendars, it is easy to forget important dates.

To help curb this, the Fluval Canister filter will send you monthly reminders of the maintenance dates so that you don’t fall behind on scheduled maintenances.

This is the powerhouse of filtration. It is highly automated with a self-starting feature. All the user needs to do is to add water and plug it in.

It is very efficient and to ensure continued efficiency; it stops every twelve hours to ensure that the trapped air is expelled. Trapped air causes a reduction in flow rate and capacity and hence makes filters ineffective.

With the smart pump technology, The Fluval FX6 filter can eliminate all the air trapped in the system. It contains a utility valve at the bottom of the filter that aids in completing water change.

It has a powerful and integrated motor that enables maximum performance while ensuring energy efficiency.


  • Self-starting capability
  • Has a flow rate of 563 GPH
  • It can be used on tanks of up to 400 gallons in size Energy efficient
  • Has a robust and integrated motor
  • Elimination of trapped air
  • Prevents leakages
  • Quick water changes Substrate cleaning feature


  • Large and bulky
  • Costly for small-scale users

Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter

The Penn Plax Cascade Aquarium filter is another filter that makes the going easier for all turtle keepers. The Penn Plax filter has a capacity of handling up to 200 gallons of water in a turtle tank.

At the height of 125 inches, the filter is capable of being the best at external water filters. With the anticipation of its support for large aquariums, it comes with a wide, and sturdy base.

This allows for greater stability during use by keeping it from tipping over while ensuring that the tank is kept at optimal performance.

The Penn Plax filter also comes in a range of sizes that allows you to choose the right filter for use based on the size of the turtle tank or aquarium.

In addition to the diversity in the sizes of the filter, the filter has independent rotating valve caps. A complete enjoyment of the underwater life may be made nigh impossible if the water is not clear enough.

To help solve this, the caps have a capacity of rotating up to 3600 each allowing for the most optimal filtering experience every time you press start on the filter.

The filter employs all purification methods at its disposal as long as they are not harmful to the turtles including:

  • Mechanical filtration
  • Chemical filtration
  • Biological filtration

It is a very innovative product with a multi-stage filtration process. This means that the turtle tank is left without any dirt because multi-stage filtration creates a sequence of dirt elimination in several levels designed to purify the water extremely.

Alongside the multi-stage filtration process, is a floss pad intended to eliminate toxins and impurities in the water. A unique feature that makes the Penn Plax 700 stand out is the course sponge that provides a surface area for bacteria growth.

It operates under the ideology that ammonia can diffuse in water and thus make it hard to extract. However, bacteria can digest the nitrates ammonia in water forms a nitrate compound, excess food, and impurities.

If you wondering if the bacteria are harmful to turtles, the answer is no.

Both are mutually dependent on each other. It is considered a heavy duty filter due to its ability to filter both fresh and salt water. Its design also attracts the heavy duty perception. It has four locking clamps and a motor head that ensure that the filter is secure and watertight.


  • Easy to use with a push button to start the filter
  • Can filter both salty and fresh water
  • It can be used on tanks of up to 65 gallons in size
  • Has a flow rate of 185 GPH Ensures aeration by use of a floss pad
  • Greater filtration with the use of multi-stage filtration Includes filter media
  • The flow rate is adjustable


  • Changing media is hectic
  • The flow rate and capacity limits it to small and medium scale use
  • It is bulky

Zoo Med 511 Turtle Clean Canister Filter

The Zoo Med filter is yet another option to explore when thinking about filtration for marine life. Despite having a lower capacity than the other two, the Zoo Med filter holds its own by having a capacity of filtering tanks with up to 60 gallons of water so as to leave the turtle tank looking clean and providing a better living environment for the turtles.

With its stable black color, the filter blends into the environment without necessarily standing out yet effectively cleaning the water externally by use of the mechanical, chemical filtration methods clearing away any dirt in the tank, and preserving the health safety of the turtles.

The filter has a control system that allows it to adjust the control of flow. This means that the currents that are produced by the filter are easily adjustable so as not to overpower the turtles.

The filter also has a clear side that allows you to observe the filtering mechanisms, and easily know when to replace them if the accumulated dirt increases.

To help facilitate the process of changing the filtering system, the filter has an easy-to-open head.

In addition to that, the filter comes with a detachable hose to allow for easier cleaning, and movement of the filter. In the filter pack also is a spray bar which allows for more aeration for the turtles.

It is a very innovative product with many features to ensure the comfort of the turtles such as aeration. Another innovative feature is the presence of the carbon chamber which eliminates odors as well as ammonia.

If excess ammonia mixes with water, an acidic compound is formed which can lead to the death of a turtle, therefore, having such a feature is very important.

In addition to that, it comes with a spray bar to improve air circulation. The strength of water flow in the filter can also be regulated.

The Zoo Med 511 uses a three-stage filtration system which ensures that the water stays clean and crystal at all times.


  • It can be used on tanks of up to 60 gallons in size
  • Ensures aeration in the turtle tank
  • Ease of usage
  • Unlike other filters, the filter head can be opened easily
  • It is light and portable
  • It has a space saving design hence saves floor space
  • It has a removable hose connecting the gadget
  • Has a flow rate of 160 GPH
  • The flow rate system can be adjusted


  • It can only be used on tanks of up to 60 gallons hence not suitable for large-scale users
  • It is noisy
  • The flow rate caps it to small and medium scale users

Hydor Professional Filter

Hydor has been manufacturing top-quality aquarium-related components for multiple decades now. Recently, they decided to attempt the filter market by releasing the Hydor Professional Filter. While it might be a relatively new model, it has created a remarkable buzz, thanks to the multiple, exceptional features it packs.

Once you feel the Hydor Professional Filter in your hands for the first time, you’ll agree that it’s a fantastic unit. It’s nicely constructed and can withstand all the user’s needs when it comes down to filtration.

The filters come integrated with a convenient 4-locking clamp system which provides more motor support. In turn, that ensures the entire unit works well to your expectations, in addition to preventing water leaks as all the points are sealed tightly.

The various parts are shaped suitably to ensure you’ll end up with the right setup. You’d not want some parts in the wrong sections, right?

  • Well-constructed
  • Simple to Set Up
  • Filtration Media Layers

You need not have installed a similar system to install the Hydor Professional turtle tank filter. In fact, all Hydor models are conveniently simple to assemble and set up. You’ll be through with the entire process in less than 30 minutes.

This model comes with straightforward instructions, unlike with most other models present on the market today. Hooking up the hoses with your aquarium is a breeze, as well.

The mounting process is made even easier. The swiveling connectors ensure you’ll have no difficulties connecting hoses from the various angles.

A particular model will offer different filters from those of another, In this case, the Hydor Professional provides three media trays. These will be enough to meet your turtle aquarium’s filtration needs. You can always adjust the filter media’s arrangement as you’d like, thanks to the ample room provided by the canister chamber.

  • This unit is conveniently simple to assemble and set up, even for amateurs
  • It comes integrated with a handy safety lock system
  • It features a simple priming system
  • It provides for an ideally high flow rate
  • It’s quite simple to use, clean, and maintain the Hydor Professional

High capacity is something you’d surely enjoy, right? Exactly that’s what this model offers. Aside from that, you’ll have an easy time determining the water level as the Hydor Professional canister has been designed to be translucent.

You’re assured of a smooth filtration process without any lags, thanks to the integrated large media trays. You’ll surely want to consider the Hydor Professional Filter if you’re seeking a practical option for your turtle aquarium.

Tetra 25905 Reptile Filter

Unlike with other pet filters, the Tetra 25905 isn’t just designed for water filtration. It also helps remove any odors which may have accumulated over time and make the water crystal-clear.

Its unique design makes it ideal for use in shallow water, which is commonly preferred by turtles, newts, and frogs. Your turtles are definite to love the Tetra 25905, credit to its multiple, advanced features.

The Tetra 25905 has now made it possible to make turtle habitats look even better It’s much more than just a filter. It’ll end up enhancing your turtle aquarium’s aesthetic features.

You’ll love the natural stone blends which look even better when combined with rocks and vegetation in the environment. Also, you’re definite to adore the Instant Waterfall feature when this model is installed in position.

The Tetra 25905 employs a comprehensive 3-stage filtration process. That assures you that you’ll be able to enjoy service from this unit for quite some time. Besides, the different stages ensure that all dirt and contaminants are eliminated, hence leaving your aquarium with only clean water.

The setup process is undoubtedly easy and straightforward. Since it comes with a few components, you won’t have any problem putting it together.

Besides, the manufacturer provides a well-detailed manual which you can refer to when assembling the different components and getting the system in the correct position. Once the unit is set up, it barely looks like a filter as it features a realistic natural stone appearance.

Key Features 

  • More Effective Cleaning
  • Incredibly Simple Setup
  • The Tetra 25905 is unbelievably simple to setup

You’re assured of crystal-clear water, thanks to the comprehensive 3-stage filtration process. It’s capable of removing odor, in addition to dirt and other contaminants. It offers a realistic natural stone look which you’ll surely find attractive. The filter is conveniently affordable, unlike with most other similar units.

The Tetra 25905 boasts large intake holes which prevent clogging issues from arising over time As such, you can be confident that you’ll get fantastic service from this unit for years to come. Additionally, this model is amazingly easy to maintain. The integrated locking cover will help keep your turtles from reaching the filtration area.

SunSun-China HW-304B Filter, 525 GPH

The SunSun lineup is always worth checking out if you’re seeking a reliable, solid turtle tank filter without breaking the bank. The HW-304B is among the top-rated, mid-range canister filters currently available on the market.

Among the most outstanding benefits of the HW-304B Canister Filter is that it’s incredibly simple to load trays into the slots correctly. This unit guarantees to help maintain clean water in your turtle aquarium without tedious effort.

Most people will quickly assume that its build quality is inferior just because it’s made in China. But, that’s not the case with SunSun canister filters. SunSun is a well-established brand, with its central headquarters in Zhejiang Province, the most developed region in China.

The HW-304B, in particular, is significantly large, and with four large trays. It’s designed in such a way that makes it unbelievably simple to set up and install. You’ll even have an easier time if you’re familiar with external canister installations.

It’s actually the main point why you’ll want to consider this filter. Its water filtration is definite to meet or exceed your expectations. The 3-stage filtration process increases the chances of getting spotlessly clean water.

Credit to the included 9-watt UV sterilizer, the HW-304B kills all the harmful bacteria and alga. It’s a feature you’ll come across in infinitely few canister filters.

The HW-304B has been specially designed to filter up to 150-gallon turtle tanks. It performs quite an exceptional job, which explains its remarkable popularity.

This filter, capable of handling 525GPH, features among the fastest filtration processes you’d come across. It’s an option worth considering if you’re seeking quick filtration.


  • Better Water Filtration
  • Excellent Build Quality
  • Impressive Capacity


  • This model is relatively cheaper than similar rival models
  • It runs conveniently quietly

Users particularly praise its quiet operation, simple installation, and remarkable build. If you’re seeking a reliable filter for your tank (150-gallon or below), this model ought to be among your first considerations.

Zoo Med 501 Canister Filter

This external filter is small and convenient and can clean turtle tanks up to 15 gallons in size. The external design is perfect for optimum utilization of terrarium space.

It uses a combination of biological mechanical and chemical filtration to keep the high levels of ammonia produced by turtles in check. The viewing case is clear to allow you to see when the spray bar system, filter sponges, and filter media need replacement.

If you do not like disturbing noises, this filter is the best because it is quite and can be placed anywhere, be it in the bedroom, living room or the office. The Zoo Med Canister filter comes with priming instructions which have to be followed carefully to avoid getting air into the system that may reduce the pump’s performance.

Given the fact that turtles are very tough and can tear away anything in their path, this canister filter keeps the important parts away and provides them with more space to move around freely.

Cleaning is recommended when a decrease in flow is noted. All electrical equipment should be disconnected from the power Lime-scale can be removed by leaving the components soaked in vinegar or lemon juice for a few hours.

The Zoo Med 501 Canister Filter has to be on the same level as the turtle aquarium to ensure proper operation. It should be placed in an upright position to ensure the best performance. This filter is quite affordable and will give you great value for your money.


  • Easy to prime
  • Very quiet
  • Keeps odors at bay
  • Easy to setup
  • Keeps water clear


  • Cleaning is hectic for some people

Tetra 25931 TetraFauna Viquarium

This decorative filter is a must-have if you want to transform your tank into a real aquatic environment for your turtle. The river rock structure is intricately designed to give your turtle pet the illusion of being under a real water body.

It has a riverbed extension to allow easy movement of your pet within the tank. It also comes with a pump chamber, a filtration unit, a waterfall, two rubber spacers, two ReptoFilter cartridges and a submersible pump.

The waterfall is quite attractive and provides some form of current in the water thus preventing it from building proteins on the surface. It also functions as a divider as it holds back rocks and any other thing you put on the land area from sliding into the water.

It has an instruction manual that will enable you to assemble quickly and easily without causing damage to the media. To keeps the water clear, it is enhanced with a 3-stage whisper filtration system.

The TetraFauna Viquarium can hold up to 40 gallons of water. It is very good at keeping water clean. The pump is quiet and does not cause any disturbances.

Your turtle may take one or two days to get adjusted to the TetraFauna Viquarium but once it gets the hang of it, you will see it swimming happily and basking in the land area You may need to customize it if your turtle does not like to make it a more suitable living environment.


  • Great for reptiles, amphibians, and fish
  • Easy to set up
  • Fits perfectly in most tanks
  • Looks great


  • Requires heavy maintenance

SunSun HW-302 3-Stage Canister Filter, 264 GPH

One of the great features of the SunSun canister filter is its silence. You can use it at its maximum capacity and still not hear any noises. Though it is made of plastic, the parts are well fixed together and the only evidence you need to ensure that it is working is the vibrations.

The built is very tough and leakage proof as it has already been tested and proven by the manufacturers. It can hold up to 75 gallons of water with a flow rate of264GPH and thus can ht in small aquariums. It is portable and can be moved from one place to the other.

It has three flexible media trays that can be manipulated in multiple ways to prevent chemical imbalance in the water. The media trays will also allow you add more filtration media such as ceramic rings and activated carbons which are geared towards ultimate biological, mechanical and chemical filtration.

This canister filter does not require manual siphoning because it comes with a self-priming pump. It’s a shut-off valve that closes the intake and outtake tube to prevent leakage. It also has a surface skimmer that helps remove foreign objects floating on top of the tank. It comes compact and already preassembled hence set up is easy.

The SunSun canister filter’s parts are individually available so in case of any problem, you do not have to dismantle the whole machine. Generally, this filter is affordable and can serve you for a long time if you maintain it in good condition.


  • Easy to clean
  • Very quiet
  • No need for manual siphoning


  • Does not have a flow control
  • Poor setup instructions

How to Choose the Best Filter For Turtle Tank

There are many people who invest in aquariums and for varied reasons. They could be for aesthetic purposes, commercial purposes or simply environmentalist goals. As often stated that the heart of an aquarium is a filter.

The purpose of the filter is to maintain the water in an aquarium, whether salty or freshwater, in a clean, and therefore conducive, state. It does this by removing impurities such as oily organic films, scum from the surface.

Best Filter For Turtle Tank

An example of a good filter in aquariums is a canister filter. Looking forward, there are certain factors to consider before choosing an appropriate canister filter for an aquarium.

However, to select the right filter for turtle tanks you must consider these factors:


Cost is an essential factor in determining the best turtle filter for you. What is your budget? Look for a filter that matches your budget and still provides the service you require.

Paramount to any investment, the monetary concept is a huge factor. There is a cost in setting up and maintaining canister filters. This cost has to therefore be analyzed together with the financial capability of the investor to determine the affordability as every filter has a different price range. The type of aquarium also affects cost.

Saltwater aquarium filter canisters are considerably more costly than freshwater aquarium filters.

Tank Size

Are you a small/medium scale or large scale user? If you are a small scale user, opt for small tank sizes so as to avoid wastage.

With size, a comparison is made between the size of the aquarium and the filter. One needs to determine the physical compatibility of a filter to an aquarium.

In the recent past, the case was that saltwater tanks had to be considerably bigger, that is; not less than 50 gallons. Therefore a saltwater tank would always have a bigger filter than a freshwater aquarium. With changing times, the circumstances have also evolved. Size is therefore no longer a factor in differentiating aquariums.


No one ever goes into a shop and asks for the most ineffective item to purchase. Durability begs the question of how long the filter would last in use.

Durability is not only dependent on the make of the filter but also the type of aquarium. For saltwater aquariums, a more durable canister filter is required due to the salt factor which encourages more particle accumulation.

This means that a filter is easily worn out in a saltwater aquarium. A freshwater filter is pretty much simple to sustain.

Functioning Power

The operating system of the filter has to be one that is efficient. Efficiency in the results, efficiency in speed and efficiency in time. A filter system with good functioning power is one where the resultant effect is a clarity of the water.

The time taken to clear the water is as minimal as possible. The filter can work for long periods of time without getting worn out easily.

Picking a filter for a saltwater tank requires it be of higher functioning power in comparison to a freshwater. Saltwater tanks require a lot of work in maintenance that is including filtration.


The purchase is not the end of the road. To guarantee durability the maintenance of the equipment needs not be unachievable. A canister filter needs not be complicated and too high maintenance. The choice is one that makes the subsequent work easier.

A freshwater aquarium is a pretty much low maintenance making it easier in making such a choice. Ina saltwater aquarium there are factors such water changes, salinity which add towards the difficulty in maintenance.

Therefore, a filter that eases the load is best. The choice of purchasing a canister filter boils down to these factors among others. The one consideration to always be made involves the type of aquarium in question.


Choose a filter with a stable motor to ensure that it is reliable and efficient. It is worth noting that some motors require maintenance more often than others do, it is therefore crucial to know what sort of a motor is in the filter you are buying.


A filter is not an everyday purchase, thus, make sure you choose a good brand with a positive brand image and reputation.

How I Clean My Turtle’s Tank Guide

Bottom Line

Finding the best filter for turtle tank is not an easy task but with the options given above, you will be able to make a better choice.

If you want a filter that will last longer and keep your turtle healthy, take your time and save up enough money to buy the perfect filter. Make the best choice and your pet turtle will live long.

However, the differences between the above filters are inarguably minor. In the end, it’s all a matter of individual preferences. Read through the reviews again and settle on a model which will help your turtles grow and stay healthy.

Good luck!

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