Turtles are undoubtedly one of the cutest aquatic creatures. These little munchkins swimming across the tank is an absolute treat to the eyes. However, turtles are quite messy and you need to constantly clean up after them. Turtles produce a lot of waste so filtration is one of the most important factors when it comes about keeping a pet turtle.
It’s extremely vital that you get your hands on a good filter that will effectively keep the tank clean in order to ensure a healthy habitat for the turtle. A clean environment will keep the turtle healthy and away from all the deadly diseases.
There are tons of filters available out there but the turtles deserve nothing less than the best. The performance ratio varies widely among the filters. In this article, we’ll be reviewing the best turtle tank filters along with their features to help you make the right decision.
Our Top Picks For Best Turtle Tank Filters
10 Best Filters For Turtle Tanks Reviewed
1. Fluval FX6 – Best Canister Filter For Turtle Tank
If you’re looking for a high-quality canister filter for your turtle tank with tons of amazing features then take a look at Fluval FX6. As turtle tanks require extensive cleaning, it’s extremely important that the filter is powerful enough to reach the expected performance.
The Fluval FX6 is an absolute powerhouse that can process and recirculate about 563 gallons of water per hour. Despite the huge power supply, it’s not suitable enough for ultra-large tanks. In case of turtles you should go for sump filters if the tank size is more than 200 gallons.
This filter is equipped with twin output nozzle that can be adjusted to provide specific waterflow so that it effectively reaches all the corners of the tank. The streams of water create a current that helps the water to break down waste and draw them towards the filter by the intake strainer.
It comes with a round shaped strainer that helps to move the water quickly. The strained is absolutely clog-resistant and it ensures that there is no solid build up on the strainer.
It incorporates an electronic circuit board continuously monitors the impeller speed and pump power to make sure the energy is being used efficiently in the optimum amount. There’s also a monthly reminder indicator that will help you remind the last time you did maintenance work and changed the water.
- Easy to clean clog-proof strainer
- Can recirculate 536-gallons of water per hour
- Made with multiple filtration baskets
- Comes with 3-years warranty
- You will need to buy filter media more frequently
- Expensive compared to other options
2. Hydor Professional External Canister Filter
Hydor is known for making top-notch canister filters and their Hydor Professional External Canister Filter is no different. It incorporates a large rectangular size that enables it to hold a huge volume of filtration media to perform the job effectively.
This filter is made with high-quality durable plastic with nice build quality. It has four locking clamp system that enables the motor to perform properly and it also helps to prevent any water leakage as all the points are sealed tightly.
It has a super easy installation process which wouldn’t take more than 30 minutes. There are no complex methods involved and you can easily hook it up to the aquarium. However, if you still incur any problem with the mounting process then simply take help from the manual to get more insights on the process.
If you’re constantly bothered by the whizzing sound of the aquarium filters then you’re in for a treat. This bad boy has an absolute noise-free operation which is one of the most common issues with other filters.
It comes with three media layers which can enough to perform the heavy filtration process that a turtle tank requires. However, the filtration layer can be increased as long there’s enough room available in the canister chamber.
- Very easy setup procedures
- Noise-free operation
- 3-step filtration process
- Powerful flow rate
- Replacement parts aren’t widely available
3. Penn Plax Cascade Canister Filter
The Penn Plax Cascade Canister Filter that is a fantastic choice if you want to keep the tank clean from turtle waste and other impurities. Despite the plastic made body, it’s extremely durable and lasts a long time with regular maintenance.
Setting this up requires only 10 to 15 minutes. It doesn’t involve any hard step and you don’t need any professional help to perform the task. Make sure that there are no loose hoses. Tighten up the rubber tubing properly to the aquarium tank to make sure the filter performs perfectly.
The Penn Plax Cascade 1000 Black Elite canister filter can handle up to 100-gallons of water per hour. It has a spray bar that helps to circulate the water much easier around the tank. This feature ensures that all the water in the tank gets properly filtered in the shortest possible time.
Filtration media is one of the most important features for every tank. The Penn Plax comes with 3 large filter trays which are more than sufficient for the heavy cleaning you require for turtle tanks. It makes sure all the impurities and toxins are out of the water to provide the turtles with a clean healthy environment.
- Easy to install
- Large filtration trays that remove all the impurities
- Can filter up to 100-gallons water per hour
- Durable build quality
- High power consumption
4. Marineland Magniflow Canister – Best Filter For Red-Eared Sliders
A turtle tank needs to go through the extensive cleaning process and that’s only possible with a good filter. It has super easy setup process which makes it mess-free and consumer friendly.
Tank filters often tend to quite messy when it comes about taking the lid off. To avoid any mishap the Magniflow incorporates a water-tight seal to avoid any sort of spills. All you need to do is to press the lid to make sure it’s tightly secured in its place.
Having proper filter media is very essential for every turtle tank. Marineland Magniflow has done a phenomenal job in this criteria as it incorporates mechanical filter pad which effectively removes all the turtle waste, debris, leftover food, etc.
There’s also bio-filter balls and ceramic rings to offer further thorough cleaning to ensure the water environment is safe for the turtles. The black diamond carbon removes any sort of water impurities, discoloration as well as odor.
Turtles require a moderately large size tank and a large tank requires thorough cleaning. This tank is an absolute powerhouse. It can filter 360-gallon per hour and it’s perfectly suitable for tanks up to the size of 100 gallons.
- Performs effective cleaning
- Suitable for large sized tanks
- Can filter 360-gallons of water per hour
- 3 stage cleaning process
- Mess-free and consumer-friendly installation process
- Large size
5. Polar Aurora 4-Stage External Canister – Best Filter For Turtle Tank with UV Sterilizer
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly filter for your turtle tank then think no more and get your hands of the Polar Aurora 4-Stage External Canister Filter. Despite the affordable price tag, Polar Aurora made no compromise with the quality of the filter.
This filter is able to handle up to 525-gallons of water per hour and it’s suitable for tanks up to a whopping 200-gallons. One of the best features of this filter is that it comes with a built-in 9W UV sterilizer which eliminates all the deadly viruses and harmful parasites.
The Polar Aurora comes with 4 stage cleaning filter which will ensure that the turtles are living in a clean and healthy environment. It can effectively perform biological, chemical, and mechanical filtration. The filter also comes with activated carbon, ceramic rings, bio-balls to ensure that the water is cleaned to its maximum level.
It comes with a self-priming pump that helps the filter to siphon the water to the tubing. All you need to do is to press a button to start the priming process. It also features an O-ring that makes sure that the filter will not leak. However, some users complained about the O-ring to be not very effective and eventually leading to leakage.
- 4-stage cleaning process with builtin UV sterilizer
- Large capacity
- Suitable for tanks up to the size of 200-gallons
- Easy to install and maintain
- Leaking issues
6. Fluval 406 External Filter
The Fluval 406 External Filter is a perfect choice for you if you’re for a uniquely designed filter with top notch performance. It comes with a very powerful motor that will thoroughly clean the tank to make it favorable for the turtles.
The installation procedure is pretty simple with the Fluval 406 and you’ll be done with the entire setup in very little time. If you’re a novice aquarist, you might face some hardship, however, it comes with an instruction manual that will help you with the setup procedures.
This filter has a square shape which enables it to hold more water than the regular round shaped canister filters. This unique design also helps to maximize the contact of the filtration media to the water in the tank.
The Fluval 406 is designed to follow the bottom-top filtration process. The aquarium water will go through the inlet, pass through the filtration media and then come through the other side of the filter.
It features a hydraulic motor that increases the rate of filtration. It can handle up to 383-gallons of water per hour which is very suitable for large turtle tanks sized up to 100-gallons. The hydraulic motor also reduces the amount of maintenance required which makes a perfect fit for turtle tanks.
- Sturdy build quality
- Operates quietly
- Suitable for large tanks up to 100-gallon in size
- Can handle up to 383-gallons per hour
- Powerful hydraulic motor
- Some users faced leakage issues
Good news! The next generation of 406 is out in the market now. Checkout our review on Fluval 407!
7. Eheim Pro 4+ 600 Filter
The Eheim Pro 4+ 600 Filter has a super sleek design with powerful performance. Despite the powerful motor, it has whisper-quiet operation that’s a desirable attribute when it comes about aquarium filters.
Eheim is known for making phenomenal aquarium filters. The pro 4 is an updated version of their Pro 3 with some cool new updates. One of the most unique features of this filter is that from the canister to the installation set, everything is made in black.
Installing the Eheim Pro 4 is very hassle-free. It has a dimension of 14 x 10 x 10 inches and the compact size helps to fit the filter very easily to the aquarium. It also requires very little maintenance so that can absolutely worry-free once you set this bad boy up.
Eheim has included range xtender function with the Pro 4. This feature bypasses the fine filtration and keeps the water circulating through a coarse filtration pad. This comes quite handy in situations when you don’t have enough time to perform the basic maintenance regimes so all you need to do is to hit the range xtender and you’re good to go for a couple of days without maintenance.
This bad boy also includes some high-quality filter media that does an exceptional job in keeping the tank clean from all the turtle waste and toxic substances.
- Unique all-black design
- Strong build quality
- High-quality media to filter turtle tanks
- Range xtender function
- Slightly expensive
8. API FILSTAR XP Aquarium Canister Filter
The API FILSTAR XP Aquarium Canister Filter has a top-notch filtration system that is perfect for heavy filtration required for turtle tanks. If you have sensitive ears then it’s a perfect fit for you as it has a very quiet operating system that doesn’t make any annoying noise.
This filter takes water from the bottom of the tank and outputs it at the top of the tank. This upflow design helps to sort out large impure particles and helps them settle at the bottom of the filter, thus making the cleaning and maintenance process much easier.
The Filstar XP comes in several size variants. For turtle tanks, we have chosen the L size that can handle up to 350-gallons per hour and it’s suitable for tanks sized up to 175-gallons. It comes with a self-priming and quick disconnect features that allow you to easily stop the filtration process when maintenance is required.
It features an anti-airlock system that prevents unexpected filtration stops and anti-noise feature which prevents vibration of the filter against floor or cabinet. It includes three high-performance media tray that effectively eliminates all the harmful substances, wastes and toxic and creates a hygienic habitat for the turtles.
- Can filter large tanks effectively
- Quiet operation process
- 2-years warranty
- Anti-airlock and anti-noise system
- High-quality filter media
- There’s no spray bar
- Leakage issue
9. AquaTop CF UV Series Canister Filter
Aqua top CF series is one of the best canister filter out there that can make the turtle tank squeaky clean in no time. What makes it different and unique from other filters out there is the UV sterilizer. You’re probably another gimmick by the company to sell their products but we can assure you that’s not the case with this bad boy.
Setting up the AquaTop CF UV is super easy. It comes with all the necessary plumbing for installation and you’ll be done with the entire process within half an hour at max. It has a compact size with the dimension of only 18 x12 x 11 inches.
When it comes about filtration, AquaTop does no compromise. It features a 9-watt UV sterilizer for effective filtration process. The UV sterilizer helps to eliminate all the harmful bacteria and toxins from the water.
There are 3 filter pads and a coarse filter sponge to perform an intensive mechanical filtration. There are large filter media compartments where you can put media of your choice AquaTop has also provided activated carbon, bio balls and ceramic rings for further filtration.
This filter comes with a 6-months warranty so you can always ask for refund or replacement if you receive a faulty product. However, you’ll not be eligible for the warranty if the product is bought from an unauthorized seller.
- UV filtration provides an added layer of protection
- Large filtration media compartments
- Multiple filtration media
- Compact size
- Durable build quality
- The setup procedure can be tricky for beginners
10. Cobalt Aquatics 26000 Ext Canister Filter
Once you equip the aquarium tank with the Cobalt Aquatics 26000 Ext Canister Filter, you’ll no longer require to worry about the hygiene and water condition of the tank. This filter is an excellent choice for turtle tanks as it thoroughly cleans the water to keep the water condition safe for the turtles.
The Cobalt Aquatic 26000 Ext weighs around 6lbs with a dimension of 8 x 8 x 12.8 inches. The installation process for this filter is fairly easy and it can be done within 15-20 minutes. This canister doesn’t come with a pump so it needs to place around the filter instead of sticking it to the filter itself.
It has a 5/8 inch valve that effectively keeps the water circulated around the tank. It has a filtration rate of 210-gallon per hour. It involves four stages of filtration to ensure the water is squeaky clean. It performs mechanical, biological, chemical and polishing filter on the water.
Having a turtle tank in the room will definitely light up your day but the constant noise from the filter is quite a nuisance. This filter has a very quiet operation process. This feature is extremely helpful if you’re constantly bothered by the whizzing sound filters make.
- 4-stage filtration process
- Large media trays
- Comes with a 3-year warranty
- Easy installation process and maintenance
- The pump is prone to leakage
Things to Consider Before Buying the Best Turtle Filter
There are more to make the ultimate decision as there are so many factors that play a vital part in the overall performance of the product. Turtle filters need to be able to go through a lot more extensive filtration process than the regular filters. Let’s look at the factors that you should consider before making the purchase.
The budget plays a vital role in every purchase decision. You don’t need to spend a fortune on the filter. However, you’ll also not be getting an excellent result out of a cheaply made filter. We have reviewed several budget-friendly filters that will give you top of the line service.
However, don’t expect something magical out of a moderately priced filter. The price range varies among the type of the filters and canister filters generally cost more than the other variants. Make sure you do proper research before purchasing the filter to get the best value out of your investment.
Durability Of the Turtle Tank Filter
There’s absolutely no point getting a filter to only have it broken within a month or two. The durability of the filter is extremely important to check for the durability of the product before making the purchase.
Well, it’s not exactly possible to determine the durability of a product before you even used it. You can research on the internet about the product you’re opting for or you can take advice from the expert aquarists as well. Look for the rating of the product and the feedback from the users to get an idea on the durability of the product.
Motor Used In The Turtle Filter
A filter is no good without a motor. Also, not all filter contains a motor with the same power and performance. The motor is what drives the filter and helps it clean the water. Always choose a motor which is efficient, reliable, and powerful. Go for a motor that requires low maintenance and offers high performance.
Power Of The Filter
A filter with a sloppy motor will result in a sloppy performance. It’s essential that the filter has a powerful motor so that it can deliver an efficient performance. A powerful motor minimizes the time required to clean the filter and it also helps to clean it more thoroughly.
If you own a large tank then make sure you get a filter with sufficient power that can clean it properly and helps to get rid of all the waste and toxins.
Turtle Tank Size
The power of the tank depends a lot on the tank size. A filter suitable for 50-gallon tank will not be any good for a tank of 100-gallons. The filtration process will not be as effective and it will require a lot more time to filter the tank properly. Turtle tanks come in various sizes so make sure the one you buy is suitable and capable enough to clean the tank.
The breed type of turtles is very important as some of the breeds don’t respond well to chemical filtration. Turtle needs proper filtration and a clean environment so that they can stay thrive. The number of turtles also play an important role.
Noise Of The Filter
Turtles are definitely fun to look at and their presence will definitely make your room more worthwhile. However, the constant noise made by the tank can be quite a nuisance and sometimes it actually gets on our nerves.
Well, not filter makes the annoying whizzing sound. Most of the filters we reviewed have whisper quiet operation and you’ll not even notice their presence.
Ease of Maintenance
All sorts of filters require proper and regular maintenance to make sure they deliver proper service. However, if you get your hands on a good turtle tank filter, you’ll require a lot less time to maintain it.
The trick to this is, the more media the filter holds, the less maintenance it requires. So, make sure the filter you opt for can hold plenty of filter media so that have to clean it less frequently.
Types of Filters Commonly Used in A Turtle Tank
Canister filters are undoubtedly the king of filters and they do their job perfectly. These kinds of filters incorporate a powerful water pump that sucks the water and passes it through several filtration media within the canister.
Canister filters are one of the top choices of aquarists for a turtle tank as they clean the tank in the safest way possible to keep the turtles healthy. Although, they cost a little more than the ordinary filters, however, your turtles deserve nothing but the best and a canister filter will provide them with the safest habitat that they deserve.
In-tank filters are not wise for turtle tanks as they are unable to perform the extensive cleaning that a turtle tank requires. Also, the filters tend to jam during the water rotation process which will beat the overall purpose of getting a filter in the first place. In-tank filters feature a pump that sucks the water and filters the water as it falls back to the tank. These filters are quite inexpensive but inefficient as well.
There’s quite a controversy among the aquarists with this kind of filter. Some love it and some hate it. These tanks use gravel and sand at the bottom of the tank as the filtration media.
The filter sucks up the waste from the gravel and lets the water cycle for two or three times before releasing it again. However, these filters are also quite ineffective as they’re unable to perform the intense cleaning required for turtle tanks.
Types of Filtration Processes
Turtles and fishes are both aquatic animals but when it comes about maintaining them, the process is different for them. Turtles require more attention as they are super messy and excrete a lot in the tank.
A regular filter suitable for fishes will not work the same for turtle tanks as they require much extensive filtration. There are three basic types of filtration that are required to maintain a clean healthy habitat for the turtles.
Mechanical filtration is the most common type of aquarium filtration process. It is nothing but a very basic filtration process. It’s the first stage of filtration and it should be placed in a way so that the water hits this media first. It strains out all the solid impurities, leftover food, fish waste, etc. This process is usually performed by a filtration sponge.
However, there are also other filtration media such as fine sponge, filter sponge, etc. To perform a more intense and thorough filtration process you can get Polyester Fiberfill Pillow as that will deliver a more effective result.
With time mechanical filter will trap more impurities and it’ll eventually pass less water. One of the common mistakes we tend to make is not cleaning the filter regularly. It’s extremely important to clean the mechanical filter on a regular basis. Otherwise, it will get clogged and stop passing water and release harmful toxins to the water.
Biological filtration can be performed in a number of stages and most filter nowadays uses two stages of biological filtration. The process of biofiltration is taken out by the colony of beneficial bacteria inside the tank.
These bacteria eat up all the harmful substances such as turtle waste, nitrate, ammonia, etc. They grow on the same media as the mechanical filtration and it’s important that you use a superior filtration media so that these beneficial bacteria can thrive.
Mechanical filtration and biological filtration are the basic filtration processes. Chemical filtration is not always present in all aquariums and it’s not as needed as the other two processes. There are several chemical substances that are used to perform this filtration procedure.
Charcoal is the most common type of filtrate used for chemical filtration. Activated charcoals can fight against a wide variety of pollutants and they are readily available as well as inexpensive.
Activated charcoals have hundreds and thousands of tiny pores around them which are invisible to the naked eye. Charcoal can effectively remove impurities such as chlorine and chloramine, dissolved proteins, water discoloration, and even bad odors.
Zeolite is another chemical filtrate used in many tanks. Zeolite is a natural volcanic rock that is made of silica and aluminum. However, artificial or man-made zeolites are generally used for chemical filtration as they deliver the same result.
Zeolite works by exchanging their ions instead of sucking up the impurity. Zeolite takes harmful ammonia from the tank and passes away sodium from it.
Filter Media for Turtle Tank Filter
The filter media are the thing that actually does the filtration process. The usually vary depending on the type of filtration the filter is going to perform.
Mechanical Filtration Media
The main job of a mechanical filter is to strain out impurities from the water. Mechanical filtration includes sponges, fiberfill pillow, etc. These media capture the impurities such as turtle waste, uneaten foods from the tank and filters them out of the tank.
The media for mechanical filtration can be washed and reused for multiple times. However, make sure you don’t wash the sponge or any other media with tap water as that will kill the colony of beneficial bacteria in them. Use turtle tank water instead of tap water to clean the media.
Biological Filtration Media
Biological media eat away the harmful substances that aren’t removed through mechanical filtration. Ceramic rings, bio balls are the most common type of biological filtration media. These have a porous surface which helps to grow the colony of beneficial bacteria. The bio balls and ceramic rings can be washed and reused until they wear away.
Chemical Filtration Media
Activated charcoal, zeolite, and peat moss are the most common types of chemical filtration media. Chemical media are not as widely used as other two filter media. However, these are extremely efficient in removing harmful toxins as well as bad odors from the tank.
Tips on cleaning the Turtle Tank Filter
- Unplug the filter first before you start to clean the filter otherwise it may lead to fatal accidents.
- While you take the plug off, make sure your hands are dry and you’re standing on a dry place to eliminate any risk of being electrocuted.
- There are special vacuum cleaners available to clean the aquarium filter. However, if you don’t have one handy then use a brush to scrape off the dirt and debris.
- Wear hand gloves while cleaning the interior of the filter and filter media and do not clean the filter if you have an open wound on your hand as the filter contains countless germs that may infect the wound.
- Do not use tap water to clean the filter as that will kill the beneficial bacteria in the filter. Use the turtle tank water to clean it.
- Wash your hands thoroughly after cleaning the filter soap or detergent to make sure you have removed all the germs from your hands.
Frequently Asked Questions
What type of filters are a good fit for a turtle tank?
A turtle tank should be spacious and have proper filtration methods. Turtle tanks require powerful filters that can purify the water to maintain a healthy habitat for them. In most cases a good canister filter is sufficient. If you have a large tank with more than 200 gallons, you should go for sump filter. The ratings for regular fish tanks filters won’t work for turtles as they are messier than most fishes.
What is the best turtle tank filter?
Turtles need large aquarium and if you don’t install a sump filter then go for the Fluval FX6 canister filter. But there are other perfectly fine filters. To know more about them read the above article.
are canister filters Any Good For Turtles?
Canister filters are the kind of filter that draw up water through a lift tube and out of the aquarium into an external filter chamber where the water is passed through a series of filter media to clean the aquarium water. These filters are highly suitable for turtle tanks as they need extensive cleaning due to frequent waste production and to clean other impurities from water.
What sort of maintenance do Turtle Tank filters require?
The maintenance procedure varies depending on the type of media used for the filter and the bio-load of your tank. Check the instruction manual that comes with the filter to get an insight on the cleaning and maintenance procedure.
How frequently should I clean the Turtle tank filter?
There’s no exact number for this. Different filter requires different duration, also, it widely depends on the amount of waste produced or the number of impurities present in the water. If you have many turtles in the tank then they’ll produce more waste as a result more frequent cleaning.
Can I use a fish tank filter for a turtle tank?
Yes, as long as the filter can effectively perform the filtration process. Make sure it can go through the extensive procedure required to clean a turtle tank as turtles produce a lot more waste compared to fishes.
Having a turtle tank in the room will surely brighten up your day. But, these little ones need constant care and a healthy environment condition where they can thrive. Turtles tend to produce a lot more waste than fishes and they require proper cleaning so that they can live a healthy life.
Turtle tanks also contain a lot of impurities and toxins other than the waste. A filter will effectively get rid of these harmful substances and create a favorable habitat for the turtle.
There are countless filters out there but not all of them have the same level of performance. In this article, we have reviewed the best filters for turtle tanks that will make the tank water squeaky clean. We have included the factors that will help you make the ultimate decision.
Table of Contents
- Our Top Picks For Best Turtle Tank Filters
- 10 Best Filters For Turtle Tanks Reviewed
- 1. Fluval FX6 – Best Canister Filter For Turtle Tank
- 2. Hydor Professional External Canister Filter
- 3. Penn Plax Cascade Canister Filter
- 4. Marineland Magniflow Canister – Best Filter For Red-Eared Sliders
- 5. Polar Aurora 4-Stage External Canister – Best Filter For Turtle Tank with UV Sterilizer
- 6. Fluval 406 External Filter
- 7. Eheim Pro 4+ 600 Filter
- 8. API FILSTAR XP Aquarium Canister Filter
- 9. AquaTop CF UV Series Canister Filter
- 10. Cobalt Aquatics 26000 Ext Canister Filter
- Things to Consider Before Buying the Best Turtle Filter
- Types of Filters Commonly Used in A Turtle Tank
- Types of Filtration Processes
- Filter Media for Turtle Tank Filter
- Tips on cleaning the Turtle Tank Filter
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Wrapping Up