Best Filter For Turtle Tank

Best Filter For Turtle Tank

Installing a water filter in your turtle tank is important for keeping the tank clean and hygienic. In comparison to fish, turtles poop a lot, so they require a much more powerful filter to make tank water clean.

There are hundreds of water filters available in the market, but not all of them are good for your turtle tank. You should choose a filter as per your tank capacity and requirement. 

This article will give you a list of the best filters available in the market and their specifications. We will also cover things you need to check while getting a water filter for the turtle tank. So let’s get started. 

Related Article: Do Turtles Need Filters?

How do I choose the best filter for a turtle tank?

Selecting a suitable water filter for your turtle tank could be difficult. Most of the turtle owners don’t understand what kind of filter is suitable for their turtle tank. 

Every water filter comes with a certain capacity to filter water. While selecting a filter, it is important to choose a filter with twice the capacity of the tank. Interestingly, water filters are designed for fish and not for turtles. The idea behind using a double capacity water filter for turtle tanks is that turtles create more poop than fish. So with a more powerful filter, it could be a lot easier to maintain the hygiene of the tank.  

Let’s understand all of the points which you need to know before selecting a filter:

  1. Capacity
  2. Type of filter (mechanical, biological, chemical filtration)
  3.  Ease of maintenance and reliability
  4. Size 


The first and most important thing to consider while selecting a filter is its capacity. Suppose you have a 50-gallon tank, then you should select a filter with double the capacity of the tank, i.e., 100 gallons. The filter’s capacity is measured in GPH (gallons per hour). It is the amount of water a filter can process in one hour. It is also referred to as flow rate.

Most filters are designed to work with fish tanks. Turtles, in comparison to fishes, produce more waste. This means a low-capacity filter would not be able to clean water properly, and eventually, you will end up using two or maybe three filters to clean water.

It is always advisable to select a filter based on your tank capacity to solve this problem. If you have more than two turtles in a tank, it is more likely to create more mess, and so you would need an even more powerful filter.

Type of filtration (mechanical, biological, chemical)

There are three types of filtration: mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration. A filter with all three stages could be considered the best filter for cleaning your tank water.

If not all three, then at least it should have mechanical and biological stages to provide good quality filtration. Let’s now understand the mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration stages.

Mechanical: Mechanical filtration means filtering out visible waste from the water. It is the most basic form of filter mechanism. Mechanical type filters would help remove waste from the water, but they would not help maintain the chemistry of the tank water.

Turtle excrete produces ammonia which is harmful to their health. When this ammonia is left untreated, it could harm your turtle and even cause them to die. To solve this problem, filters should have biological and chemical stages.

Biological: This type of filter helps filter out ammonia and other harmful chemicals released from turtle waste. These filters contain substrates with a school of good bacteria on them. When ammonia-rich water comes in contact with these substrates, good bacteria break it down to nitrite and then to nitrate, which is less harmful to turtles.

Chemical: Chemical filters help remove chlorine and other dissolved chemicals from the water. This provides an extra layer for filtering chemicals missed during biological filtration. 

Ease of maintenance and reliability

A good quality filter should have a system to clean it easily. Everything needs maintenance and so do the water filters too. A good quality filter should have a cabinet or something that you can easily clean without disturbing the whole filter setup. If it has biological and mechanical filtration, it should have arrangements to change the media easily.

Reliability is another crucial thing to consider while choosing a filter. The filter is the lifeline of turtles, and it is something that turtles require round the clock. A good quality filter works effectively and efficiently without a miss. 


The size of the filter is also very important, especially if you have a small tank. The larger the space, the better it would be for your turtle. If your filter is bulky or takes too much space within the tank, it is probably not pleasing for your turtle. 

There are different kinds of filters available for different tank sizes. If you plan to buy a submersible type filter, then choose a filter that takes the least space inside the tank. Another solution is to use a canister filter. It is a special type of filter that can be installed outside the tank to save a lot of space. 

Best filters for turtle tank review

Image Product Price Purchase Link
Fluval Fluval High-Performance Aquarium Canister Filter (400 gallons) $349.99 Buy on Amazon
Cascade Penn-Plax Cascade Canister Filter (30/65/100/150/200/273 Gallons) $139.07 Buy on Amazon
EHEIM EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter with Media (40/66/92 Gallons) $129.85 Buy on Amazon
Cascade-600-Submersible Penn-Plax Cascade 600 Submersible Filter (50 Gallons) $42.41 Buy on Amazon
Marineland Marineland Penguin Bio-Wheel Power Filter (10-75 Gallons) $40.99 Buy on Amazon
XpertMatic XpertMatic Submersible Filter (180 Gallons) $29.99 Buy on Amazon
TetraFauna TetraFauna Decorative ReptoFilter (55 Gallons) $21.74 Buy on Amazon
Zilla Zilla Aquatic Reptile Internal Filter (20/40 Gallons) $20.42 Buy on Amazon

Fluval High-Performance Aquarium Canister Filter

This filter is the most effective I have ever used. You can count it among the best canister filters for larger tanks. This filter comes with two variants, FX4 and FX6, and you can use any of them as both are good. Fluval canister filter comes with three-stage filtration, i.e., mechanical, biological, and chemical stages.

The Fluval canister filter is suitable for tank sizes up to 400 gallons. It is a powerful filter and has very long durability. With its multi-stage filtration, it can pump out 3500 L of water every hour. It is easy to install and can be placed outside the tank.


  • 400-gallon capacity
  • It is a canister filter, so it needs to be installed outside the tank
  • Smart Pump with advanced microchip technology ensures high performance
  • Three-stage filtration
  • Removable, stackable media baskets
  • Additional media options available for better filtration
  • Very durable


  • Bulky and heavy
  • Need effort for assembling the units and media
  • It takes too much space
  • Expensive

Penn-Plax Cascade Canister Filter

This heavy-duty canister filter is well suited for turtle tanks up to 200 gallons of capacity. It has five media baskets that you can customize as per your need. It comes with 5 Poly Fiber Floss Pads, 1 Coarse Bio-Sponge, and 1 Bag of Activated Carbon, ensuring three-stage filtration. You can purchase filter media separately for more advanced filtration needs. 

The Penn-Plax canister filter comes in different variants. The top variant cascade 1500 can cycle 350 liters of water every hour. It is more than enough to clean water for a medium-sized tank with 2-3 turtles. This canister filter is available in 30/65/100/150/200/273 gallons capacity so that you can select one as per your need. 


  • 200 gallons of capacity
  • Three-stage filtration (mechanical, biological, chemical)
  • It comes with five media baskets which you can customize as per your requirement
  • Flow rate control cut-off valves
  • 360-degree rotating valve for easy installation


  • Need effort for assembling the units and media
  • A little bit noisy

EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter with Media

EHEIM canister filter is a great option if you don’t want to spend a lot on filters. This filter comes with bio media, Eheim Mech, one sponge, a carbon filter floss, and a polishing pad. It provides an amazing water cleaning with its mechanical and biological stage filtration. 

EHEIM canister filter comes in three different capacity options, i.e., 40 gallons/66 gallons/92 gallons. This filter is straightforward with super easy installation. You need to know nothing, yet your filter is ready to use. It is very durable and would easily last for several years if you do proper cleaning once in a while. 


  • Suitable for a tank with a capacity of up to 90 gallons
  • Budget-friendly
  • Small in size yet powerful
  • Easy to install
  • Durable
  • No noise
  • Replacement pads are cheap and easy to get


  • No chemical filtration stage
  • Need regular cleaning as the filter pads get clogged frequently

Penn-Plax Cascade 600 Submersible Filter

It stands among the best submersible filters for small tanks of up to 50-gallon capacity. The Penn-Plax submersible filter can cycle 175 gallons of water per hour. It provides three-stage filtration, so you can expect clean water in your turtle tank. If you have a small tank, anything between 20-50 gallons, you can try this, and you won’t get disappointed.

Penn-Plax filter comes with an activated carbon cartridge, which helps remove harmful chemicals, toxins, odors, discoloration, and other contaminants for your tank. If you don’t have the budget for a canister filter, this is the best choice out there with great durability.


  • 3 stage filtration
  • Durable
  • Affordable
  • Easy to install
  • Cleans up to 50-gallon tank
  • No noise


  • It creates noise if the water level is low
  • It has a powerful suction that can suck small fish and cause them to death
  • Hard to disassemble and clean

Marineland Penguin Bio-Wheel Power Filter

This filter comes from a very reputed brand Marineland. With its unique design, it is an absolute water cleaner. Their patented Bio-Wheel technology provides excellent biological filtration. The Marineland Penguin filter has three-stage filtration, i.e., mechanical, biological, and chemical.

This filter is easy to assemble and use. With its unique design, it works like a canister filter. You have to hang the filter on the back of the tank and rest it will do the job.


  • It comes with three-stage filtration
  • Easy to use
  • Suitable for up to 75-gallon tank
  • Better than canister filters due to ease of maintenance
  • It can be mounted on top of the tank
  • Affordable
  • Durable


  • Need to maintain the water level in the tank
  • Could give “bubbling noise” when your water level drops below a certain point
  • It does not have an adjustable flow

XpertMatic Submersible Filter

This filter comes with a three-stage filtration and is suitable for up to a 180-gallon tank. I must say that it does its job quite well. The filter is fully submersible with suction cups and is easily placed inside your turtle tank. The transparent filter box is visible to know when to clean or replace the filter cartridge.


  • Suitable for up to 180-gallon tank
  • Easy to use and install
  • Noiseless
  • Easy to clean
  • Affordable


  • Difficult to disassemble
  • Filter sponges get dirty very fast

TetraFauna Decorative ReptoFilter

If you are searching for a filter that works decent and has a decorative look, then ReptoFilter is what you need. This filter comes with three-stage filtration. It is a combination of a filter and a waterfall. With its beautiful look, it will enhance the beauty of your turtle tank.

TetraFauna ReptoFilter is suitable for up to 55-Gallons of the tank. It works great in filtering water and acts as a basking spot for turtles.


  • Suitable for up to 55 gallons tank
  • Three-stage filtration
  • Natural rock look enhances the beauty of the tank
  • It can be used as a basking spot for turtles
  • Waterfall feature
  • Easy to install and clean
  • Affordable
  • Durable


  • It takes a lot of space
  • Need regular cleaning as the filter pads get clogged frequently

Zilla Aquatic Reptile Internal Filter

Zilla internal filter is suitable for turtle tanks with a capacity of up to 40 gallons. It does not provide biological or chemical filtration. It is just a basic mechanical filter with a carbon cartridge that removes water’s odor, waste, and debris. This filter comes with a suction cup and hanging clips that make installation easy. It also has a protective grate to prevent baby turtles from entering the filter.


  • Suitable for up to 40-gallon tank
  • Easy installation
  • Effective in cleaning water
  • Affordable and easy to maintain


  • It does not have biological filtration stage
  • Very basic filter for cleaning debris or cloudy water
  • The motor causes vibration and is a bit noisy


Choosing the best filter is based on your requirement and tank size. It is always a good idea to buy a filter that has double the capacity of your tank. In general, a more powerful filter will clean your tank better. If you have a bigger tank and many turtles, choosing a canister filter would be the best. These filters can be installed outside the tank and provide excellent cleaning. Depending on the size of your tank, you can select any above-suggested filter for your turtle tank.