Best Filter for Turtle Tank – Detailed Reviews 2022

Turtles surely are, fascinating creatures to watch.

Many species of turtles come in different markings, attractive colors, and very interesting personalities. They make great interactive pets at home.

Turtles are known to recognize their owners and beg for food, endlessly. It is a part of their charm after all.

However, there are still downsides to caring for a turtle. It involves a lot of work in keeping them. Unlike cats and dogs, they do not like being handled and you need to provide the proper and sanitary enclosure which can be a really large investment than what you initially expected. Why?

Here is my top pick for the best turtle tank filters to help narrow down your options.

Comparisons of Best Filter for Turtle Tank

  1. 511 Turtle Clean Canister Filter by Zoo Med

This turtle clean canister filter from Zoo Med comes with a spray bar that provides greater aeration than most filters. The hose connecting device is removable and has an adjustable flow control system. It is a space-saving device with calibrated anti-vibration bushings and an easy to open filter head. An external canister filter great for turtle tanks, Turtle tubs, box turtle pools and vivariums of up to 60 gallons water capacity
What we like:

  • Runs very smooth and quiet
  • Convenient size, do not take so much space
  • Adjustable flow
  • High-quality materials
  • Comes with extra media
  • Low price

What we do not like:

  • Hard to assemble
  • Short lifespan
  • Fragile hoses and clips
  • Need to change water once every two weeks
  • Motor has the tendency to burn out
  1. Hw304B Pro Canister Filter Kit by Sunsun

Ideal for 150 gallons of water, the Sunsun Pro Canister Filter Kit with a 9 watt UV sterilizer, excellent for saltwater and freshwater aquariums. It has the capability of handling at least 535 of gallons every hour and comes with flexible media trays that let you add more media like Sunsun’s bio balls, ceramic rings, or activated carbons to achieve a great biological chemical and mechanical filtration. Its 9 watt UV sterilizer helps kill bacteria and algae spores and promotes crystal clear water.
This canister filter also comes with a handy self-priming pump that helps eliminates additional work for manual siphoning. Filter media are also included that helps promote odorless, colorless and clear water. The filter media included are not only great for Sunsuns HW canister but also works efficiently on any other filters.

What we like:

  • Reasonable price
  • Very quiet
  • Can hold a lot of media
  • Easy to change media

What we do not like:

  • Too large
  • Takes a lot of space
  • Priming can be tricky
  • Tube installation can be difficult
  1. Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter by Penn Plax

The Cascade Aquarium Filter by Penn Plax is recommended for aquariums with a water capacity of 200 gallons. It has a state of the art flow valves can rotate for 360 degrees for an easy maneuvering even at the tightest aquarium cabinets. It comes with extra large capacity media baskets to allow you to customize the media needs to your heart’s content
It’s easy to push button primer lets you easily and quickly prime the filter with just several presses. The cascade canister aquarium filter also comes with a directional spout, tubing, spray bar for a complete customization and filter medium so you can get it running in no time.

What we like:

  • Tip-proof base
  • Easy to setup
  • Ergonomic design
  • Sturdy Construction
  • For fresh and saltwater
  • Adjustable water flow
  • Efficient 3 stage filtration

What we do not like:

  • Not great for very large tanks
  • Quite loud.
  • Maintenance can be difficult
  1. FX6 Canister Filter by Fluval

The FX6 Canister Filter is an awesome filter that can produce a lot of clean and clear water. It can be used for freshwater and saltwater tanks and can handle huge aquariums with a water capacity of 400 gallons. What’s more is that this filter can process water of up to 900 gallons every hour!

It is also a self-starting filter which is really handy because you only need to do is put water, plug and let it do its work. It also has a smart pump technology, meaning, it can provide you with high efficiency and best filter performance for ultimate clean water.

It is a multi-stage filter, meaning it can clean your tank in various ways. Biological, chemical, and mechanical filtration’s are all done with a huge 5.9-liter capacity for media basket.

What we like:

  • High efficiency
  • Capacity of up to 400 gallons with more processing power
  • Large stackable media basket holder
  • Multi-stage filtration.
  • Self-priming feature that automatically sucks out excess air every 24 hours

What we do not like:

  • Fairly noisy
  • Extremely large.
  1. CF Series Canister Filter by Aquatop

The canister filter from Aquatop has a built-in IV sterilizer that increases the cleaning effectiveness to a whole new level by killing algae spores and harmful bacteria. This filter is a 4 stage filtration system. It has 1 coarse sponge, 3 fine pads and large space for various types of media. It allows you to add your preferred media type, may it be chemical, biological or mechanical filtrations, as long as it can fit the canister.

This canister filter is suitable for both freshwater and saltwater aquariums and is very quiet for its size.

What we like:

  • Comes with UV sterilizer
  • Very quiet
  • Comes with a lot of media
  • For all types of filtration
  • Suitable for 175 gallons tanks
  • Process up to 525 gallons every hour

What we do not like:

  • Not the toughest housing
  • Can leak on different occasions


To give you a little detail, turtles pee and poop much more than any fish do, which makes their water muddy and dirtier that might lead to bad bacteria turning your turtle tank smelly.

Because of this, most turtle owners seems to have mistakenly thought that muddy and dirty water is still feasible for turtles. Given the fact that turtles can live easier in dirty waters than most aquatic animals. Despite this, it is not at all healthy and can make your turtles sick.

And that is why there are various special filters made just for turtle tanks. These turtle tank filters are made specifically with your pet turtles in mind. Turtle tanks filters really work hard to keep your turtle’s water clean. The big difference of turtle tank filters is they come with more filtration media that goes inside the filter to keep the water clean and sanitary. They also pass more water every hour to the filter than fish tank filters do.

Before you go into a shopping frenzy in buying the fanciest and most expensive looking water filter for your turtle tank you will need to be aware of few things before you purchase the best filter for turtle tank.

First, is that you will need the largest tank you can have. Turtles, unlike fishes, can outgrow their enclosures. Turtles won’t stay at 4 inches just because you bought a 30-gallon tank. The larger your tank is the more powerful filter you will need.

Second, there is a wide variety of filters available in the market and a lot of bad ones. So you need proper knowledge on choosing the right one. Here are some tips you might need:

  1. You will NEED a very powerful filter

Here is your number one rule when choosing the best turtle tank filter. Whatever your tank’s water capacity is, make sure to double or even triple it.

Let’s say for example you have a tank with 55 gallons of water capacity, you will need to buy a filter that is used for at least 110 gallons of water.

Moreover, if you only put 20-30 gallons of water into that 55-gallon tank does not mean you can have your way with rated 40 to 60-gallon filter.

Keep in mind that you need to multiply the full capacity two or three times if necessary.

  1. Filter using biological filtration is a PRIORITY

Biological filtration is the most important part of the filtration process.

Turtles, through their waste, are known to excrete tons of ammonia. If not filtered and treated, ammonia will build up very quickly in your tank and can be very toxic and harmful that can threaten your turtle’s life.

Using a biological filtration system, however, can suck the waste and ammonia through the filter and pass through a sponge or other media type that have a colony of good bacteria (which builds up slowly) and breaks ammonia to nitrite.

But it does not end there, unfortunately, nitrite is also harmful and quite toxic to your pet turtles, but the good news is, there are different bacteria types that also grow on the filtration media that breaks nitrite to nitrate, which is less harmful and toxic for your turtles.

However, nitrate in high levels can be harmful, that is why you need to regularly clean your turtle tanks and change its water even though you have a biological filtration system.

  1. Filter using mechanical filtration is NEEDED

Mechanical filtration is what many people quickly think of when someone mentioned tank filters

This type of tank filter is the one responsible for cleaning all particulate matter like:

  • Decayed and excess food
  • Gunk and crud
  • Animal waste

In simpler terms, mechanical filtration makes your turtle tank’s water neat and clean. Mechanical filtration will have it easier if you do not have any substrate like gravel or rocks at the bottom of your tank that can be sucked up and cause a clog in the filter.

  1. Filter using chemical filtration is OPTIONAL

Next, to mechanical and biological filtration, most people see chemical filtration as luxury and not a necessity. This may be true, however, chemical filtration still does have good uses.

What chemical filtration does is it uses a chemical media in order to break down excess material that is sucked up pass it. The most common examples are ammonia removers that help in breaking down ammonia and activated carbon that helps in breaking down organic matter. However, both of them sometimes interfere with the biological cycle.

Chemical filters, however, excel in making your tank water look very clean and clear.

  1. Undergravel Filters are No-No

Undergravel filters are great if you have a pet fish. But for turtles, you are only looking for problems. Most under gravel filters have mechanical and biological filters that suck down particulate matter, passing through the substrate at the bottom which cleans and releases it back on top. The end. Now, turtles, like dogs, are fond of digging, which is not a good thing for under gravel filters because not only it can clog the filter, it also disturbs and kicks all the growing bacteria resting on the filter.

  1. Don’t choose filters made for small tanks and fish

You better steer clear of these type of filters. Frankly enough, this type of filter is supposedly not to be used on fish tanks either. But because of its cheap price, more people are interested to buy them. These types of filters clean up big particulate matters. That’s all. Pretty disappointing, right?

The Best Turtle Tank Filter:

Our best pick for the best filter for turtle tank would be the FX6 Canister Filter by Fluval. Why? Well mostly because it can handle really large aquariums of up to 400 gallons. That should be enough for any aquariums that you might have at home. Also, it has a multi-stage processing and can impressively process 900 gallons of water which is a great advantage for messy turtles, not to mention that it suitable for both freshwater and saltwater tanks.

Finding a solid turtle tank filter is not that hard. But if you want your adorable pet turtles to stay healthy and well, adorable, you need to find the right filter that can accommodate their needs. I hope this article has helped you in your decision making for buying the right and best turtle tank filter. If you have any questions or suggestions, just comment down below. I’d love to hear from you!

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