What’s The Best Filter For Turtle Tank: Know It Here

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Turtles are wonderful additions to any house and a tank can really change the atmosphere of a household. Aside from all the decorations and the aesthetic improvements the turtle tank provides, it’s also a big responsibility to maintain your tank at the same time. The turtles are prone to producing a lot of waste and using up all the gallons of water. This can lead to hygienic problems that may damage the health of your turtles. The solution to that problem? A turtle tank filter, of course.

Filters for turtle tanks have come a long way in recent years and have turned into true technological works of wonder. More filtration media, more power, and more stability are all advantages that a turtle tank owner has at his disposal.

The market for filters has grown immensely and there are a lot of brands to choose from. That’s why we’ve decided to aid you in providing the best possible experience for your turtles. After our quick guide and the top 5 list, choosing a quality filter for your turtle tank will be a piece of cake. Enjoy!

What Are The Benefits Of Filters For Turtle Tanks?

First and foremost, filters are used for improving the hygienic state of the water in order to improve the health of the turtles and their quality of life. Since turtle tanks are small bodies of water, the aquatic mass doesn’t move around a lot and it can easily get stale.

That means fungus, mold and other detrimental health hazards can appear. Stale and uncirculated water also lead to a lack of friendly bacteria, which are crucial to every ecosystem.

Since turtles usually live in big bodies of water, the water mass moves and there is no need for a filter, as every bit of waste is taken far away from the turtle colony. Filters for turtle tanks provide excellent alternatives to big pools and they can do the filtering in a few different, but equally important ways.

Mechanical Filtration

It is the most basic way of filtering your turtle tank. It’s the first line of defense against health hazards. This works by separating solid waste from water, usually by employing a sponge, aquarium filter floss or polyester pillow stuffing.

Mechanical way of filtration is the least expensive way of filtering water and you should take care of it. As most of the obvious stuff that’s floating around, regular cleaning is required. Knowing that the discarding process is easy, you should throw the stuffing or the floss along with the waste that has accumulated there.

Biological Filtration

It is the second way of dealing with the problem of stale unclean water in your turtle tank. Your filter can use a sponge or floss, just like the mechanical one, but the main weapon of biological filters is the friendly bacteria that grow and flourish on the filter media. The so-called bio-media can be ceramic rings, cycling accelerators, and the Seachem Matrix formula.

The filter for your turtle tank engages the bacteria to devour turtle feces, ammonia, fungi or anything else that might stand in the way of a normal ecosystem. These kinds of turtle tank filters last years and are very reliable.

Chemical Filtration

It is also crucial to keep your turtle tank clean via a filter. Chemical filters usually employ ammonia systems or activated charcoal. Keep in mind that these filters should only aid you when the turtle tank is brand new and the friendly bacteria are not set yet. Active charcoal can also be used on its own to purge the smell from your turtle tank.

Things To Look Out For When Buying A Filter For Your Turtle Tank

Picking the good filter for your turtle tank might not be the daunting task it once was, but there are still a few things to keep in mind and a few factors that may improve the life of your beloved turtles. First and foremost, you should be aware of the different filter types as well as their flaws and advantages.

In-Tank Filters

These are not so good for the turtle tank because they are prone to jamming during the water rotation process. It functions using a pump that sucks in the water and filters it while letting it fall into the tank afterward. They are inexpensive, but also inefficient.

Decorative Filters

These are basically the same as the in-tank ones, but they don’t have the appearance of a usual filter for turtle tanks. They’re masked to look like rocks so that the turtle tank looks more natural.

Undergravel Filters

As far as turtle tanks are concerned, these are somewhat of a controversy amongst the turtle tank community. They use the gravel and the sand at the bottom of the tank as filtering media.

This filter pulls the waste down to the gravel and removes it from the water. The water is the cycled two to three times and released yet again. Despite the initial hype, we don’t recommend you to buy them because of the inefficiency and proneness to breakage.

Canister Filters

These are called the champions of the filter market by some and with full right. They employ a powerful water pump to suck in the water and expose it to numerous filtering media within the canister. Many experts say that this type of filter can help you the most, as it is the safest way to make sure your water is clean and that the turtles are healthy.

Although the filter type may determine the type of life your turtles will lead, there are a few more simple factors that may influence your choice of an ideal turtle tank filter.

What Breed Are Your Turtles?

This may be crucial as some breeds don’t respond well to chemical filtration and overly thorough measures. Also, if you have a lot of smaller turtles in your tank, a big in-tank filter may be the solution if you are on a limited budget. Both the turtles and your wallet will be happy!

How Many Turtles Are There?

The number of turtles directly influences the power of your pump. The more turtles there are, the more money you will need for purchasing a pump powerful enough to filter all that waste.

How Big Is The Tank?

The water surface is an important factor in purchasing the right filter for your turtle tank. As the water quantity increases, you will need even two filters or only one with an extremely powerful water pump.

How Much Are You Willing To Spend?

People always say the ideal product is the one which has a combination of an economic price and supreme quality. By calculating your budget, you may be able to see how much you have at your disposal and at which brand you should aim for.

That should conclude the list of info you should be aware of when buying a filter for your turtle tank. The type should determine the efficiency and the size of your tank and the turtle population should determine the power. Now that that is settled, it’s time for the final showdown, in order to see the absolute best filters for turtle tanks out there.

The Reviews Of The Top 5 Filters For Turtle Tanks

Now that you have all the necessary knowledge about the criteria for choosing the right filter, it’s come down to the top five. After months of extensive testing, collecting reviews and impression from both amateurs and experts – here it is!

This is the verdict of the best five filters for turtle tanks currently on the market and we have to say – it was a battle, but only one came out victorious.

SunSun Hw304B525GPH Pro Canister Filter Kit

SunSun Hw304B525GPH Pro Canister Filter Kit

SunSun may be a relatively unknown company, but they absolutely mean business with this excellent turtle tank filter. It’s also versatile and can be implemented in other types of tanks for aquatic animals.


  • An improved size limit, this model can handle up to 75 gals. turtle tanks.
  • Extra blue and white filter pads are included in the package so you can get the hang of switching them.
  • The triple threat of Ceramic rings, Bio balls, and filter carbon makes up for an excellent filter formula.
  • Any of the three filter media can be removed at any given time.


  • Very reasonable price.
  • Versatile method that is interchangeable.
  • Handles small turtle tanks excellently.


  • Can sometimes struggle with bigger tanks and perform slowly.
  • Questionable customer service.

Exo Terra Turtle Cliff Aquatic Terrarium Filter/Rock, Medium By Exo Terra

Exo Terra Turtle Cliff Aquatic Terrarium Filter/Rock, Medium By Exo Terra

Some experts may say that in-tank filter for turtle tanks are out of fashion, they can’t be more wrong. This Exo Terra decorative piece is one of the finest on the market and we had a blast testing it.


  • A powerful pump is cleverly hidden so that it doesn’t disrupt the aesthetics of your turtle tank.
  • It comes in five different colors and styles so you can choose to plan your decorations around it.
  • The filter chamber is filled with activated charcoal and friendly bacteria.
  • The emphasis is on the speed of the filtration process.


  • Faster filtration when compared to some older models.
  • Great, unnoticeable looks.
  • Easy refill and cleaning.


  • Somewhat faulty membrane.
  • Doesn’t work well with bigger tanks.

Fluval Canister Filter

Fluval Canister Filter

Fluval is one of the staple companies of the turtle tank filter business and they maintain such a reputation by putting out a model like this. The new FX4 Canister really amazed us and is bound for a big break this year.


  • Smart Pump technology completely removes the need for manual control.
  • Even though the canister is big, you don’t have to change water because a hose connection is available.
  • Filter media baskets are also removable – you can combine your own filtration plans.
  • It can filter and pump out 700 gals. of water per hour.


  • Efficient in big scale turtle tanks with multiple gigantic specimens.
  • Able to work multiple days without even the slightest hickup.
  • Reliable and contains a lot of media.


  • The pray may be a little too much.
  • Unsuitable for smaller environments.

Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter

Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter

When it comes to choosing the ideal filter for your turtle tank, the Penn Plax is certainly deserving a high place on everyone’s top list, as the superior quality meets an economic price that isn’t worth missing out on.


  • It’s available in a multitude of sizes, for every possible turtle tank size.
  • The filtration is a multi-stage one and you can select which stages do you want to be skipped.
  • Rotating taps ration the bacteria in the water so that the turtles may get the ultimate care and hygiene.
  • Shut of valves make for a sterile and easy-to-clean environment.


  • Easy to use and can be mastered in a matter of hours.
  • Maybe the best performance-to-price turtle tank filter out there.
  • Excellent customer service.


  • The valves can get buggy after two weeks of non-stop service.
  • Doesn’t work well with lots of small turtles.

Fluval 405 External Canister Filter - 110V, 340 Gallons Per Hour

Fluval 405 External Canister Filter - 110V, 340 Gallons Per Hour

Our champion is truly a heavyweight in the game and it still cements the Fluval’s position on the turtle tank filter market. They consistently put out respectable products with superior results. This is absolutely no exception.


  • The new and improved filtration system has many options, from quick filtering to long-term programs that can be implemented over a course of a few days.
  • An output of 340 gallons per hour puts this filter on the very top in the pumping category.
  • The valves are specially designed to be air tight and to deflect any unwanted debris while removing the hosing.
  • Resistance to temperatures of all sorts is a very welcome addition.


  • Very powerful and durable, can be used in all sorts of turtle tank projects.
  • Excellent customer service, plus a 3-year warranty.
  • The motor can work for hours and is energy efficient.


  • Somewhat expensive for beginners.
  • Slow delivery time.

The Final Verdict

When it comes to the ever competitive market of filters for your turtle tank, this battle could have gone either way and some experts and users may disagree with our choice. Be how it may be, the differences between these filters are small and it’s all just a matter of preference in the end. If you were to ask us about our verdict, we would say that the Fluval 405 External Canister Filter is the ultimate choice if you want immediate results and excellence. The budget may be a problem in a way, so a good alternative would be the Penn Plax one, as it employs a good performance-to-price ratio. The whole point of gaining turtle tank care experience is experimenting. The only way to accomplish that is to try different products and see for yourself how do they function. Good luck! May your turtles grow big and healthy!

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