Best turtle tank filter

Best turtle tank filter

So you want to have a turtle for a pet? This is probably the best idea if you want to have a lovely pet, but not one that needs plenty of attention, daily walks and a lot of maintenance. However, you must know how to take care of a turtle the right way, if you want it to have a long and happy life. Installing a filter into its tank is essential for its health and well-being, so don’t even think about skipping this step.

Choosing turtle tank filters

Choosing the best turtle filter is not rocket science, but you still have to take into consideration a few factors, such as the capacity of the aquarium, the volume of water that you will add into it and the filtration media. Turtles are cute little reptiles when they are young, but they grow into large pets in time and they tend to make a lot of mess, which is why you will probably observe that their water needs frequent changing. If you want to make your job easier, you should consider the following:

  • Special turtle filter

A filter for a turtle tank is specially designed for the needs of these pets. Turtles leave behind more feces than other reptiles and more than fish. This turns their clean water into extremely dirty and blurry one and the aesthetic factor is not the most bothering of all. It is the bacteria, the smell and the health conditions that the turtle can develop that must be taken into consideration.

  • Enough filtration

Experts recommend using a tank filter that is rated for at least two times more water compared to the quantity of water that you will actually fill the tank with. This will be the best turtle filter, as these pets are messy enough to make your maintenance task difficult when using a regular filter.

  • Filter maintenance

Yes, we know, there is a lot of maintenance going on when having one or more turtle pets. This might sound annoying in the beginning, but it is actually something that you get used to and you do with ease after a few weeks. The thing with filters is that you use them to keep the water clean, but the dirt is still being stored somewhere, right? Exactly, the dirt can be found inside the filter, which has to be cleaned regularly. Therefore, it is important to choose a filter that is easy to clean and maintain.

  • Currents

You probably never thought of this, but turtle tank filters cause water currents that can make turtles feel uncomfortable when swimming. These reptiles like slow-moving waters and might become anxious and even depressive if they feel uncomfortable in their living environment. Choose a tank filter that doesn’t produce a lot of currents.

  • Eliminate substrate

Do you think that the tank’s surface has too much substrate? Then simply eliminate some of it, as it could be one of the reasons why the water is not as clean as it should be. Except for food and feces, the substrate is often found in the water filter, which is not necessarily a good thing. Fear not, a bare-bottomed aquarium will not be uncomfortable for your turtle pet and it might not even feel the need for a substrate. Study and analyze the turtle species that you bought to see what its needs truly are.


Except for these factors, you also have to consider the best turtle filter based on its mechanism or technology. Here are some of the most frequent tank filter types:

  • Internal filter

These filters are also known as submersible filters and they are rather suitable for smaller tanks. Their setup is extremely easy, as they can be attached to the glass inside the tank easily, using suction cups. They are inexpensive, easy to clean and maintain, yet they have small filtering capacity and they create a lot of noise inside the tank.

  • Canister filters

This is the most popular type of turtle filter. It must be mounted under the tank, which means that they don’t take up space inside the aquarium. They are much more expensive that the internal filters, but they have excellent systems that ensure the quality and cleanliness of the water constantly. The maintenance part can be a bit challenging when it comes to canister filters, as they have multiple media.

  • UGFs

This filter type is also known as under-gravel filters and they draw water down through the substrate using aquarium powerheads. There are positive and negative opinions among turtle lovers when it comes to UGFs. While some think that the gravel is a better medium for bacteria to live in, others think it represents a danger for the turtle’s health, as the levels of bad bacteria, nitrites, and ammonia rise with this type of turtle filter.

  • Hang-on-back filters

These filters are also known as HOBs. They are designed in such a way that you can install them in the back of the tank and they require a cutout. In order for these filters to work properly, one must fill the tank with water higher than the filter level. This filter type is rather suitable for fish tanks but if you want to use them in a turtle tank, you must choose one that is rated for at least two times more amount of water.


As a turtle owner, you must decide whether you will be using mechanical, biological or chemical filtration. Here are the differences:

  • Mechanical filtration

This type of filtration can be done using sponges, a filter floss or polyester fiberfill pillow stuffing.

  • Biological filtration

Biological filtration is not much different from the mechanical filtration, except that it includes specialized biological media and have more filtration stages. These prove to be more efficient at times.

  • Chemical filtration

This is the type of filtration that you can use if you are comfortable using charcoal and ammonia.


Want to find the best turtle tank filter on the market?

The market has a rich offer when it comes to turtle tank filters, which is why there is no wonder if you are undecided. It is really not easy to choose when you have so many options, filter types, tank types and turtle species. In this regard, we have reviewed 3 of the best-selling turtle filters on the market, to help you make a decision faster and more efficiently.

  1. SunSun Hw304B 525GPH Pro Canister Filter Kit with 9-watt UV Sterilizer

The Sun Sun Pro Filtration Kit is suitable for your needs if you have a tank with a capacity of up to 150 gallons and a flow rate of approximately 525GPH or 2000l/h.

This tank measures 11″ L X 11″ W X 17″ H, it includes a canister filter with a 9 Watt power and 4 white filter pads. Also, it comes with 1 blue coarse pad and 4 media baskets. The fact that it also includes a 1 IB premium filter carbon, 1 Ib of ceramic rings and 1 set of bio balls will help you do the cleaning and maintenance in your tank easier and more efficiently.

This product has a compact design, it is easy to clean and comes at a reasonable price. It is important to know that in order for it to work properly, you have to fill the tank with water almost completely, so the water level exceeds the level of the filter.

You are not sure whether the UV light that it is equipped with is working or not? You can take it apart and turn it on for a few seconds.


  • It has a compact design
  • It has a good price
  • It is easy to install
  • It seems durable
  • It is easy to maintain
  • It comes with plenty of accessories



  • UV light can be confusing as you don’t really know when it is working and when not


  1. Zoo Med Turtle Clean 318 Submersible Filter

This is a fully submersible filter that comes at a great price and is ideal for beginner users who are at their first turtle tank. It is made of plastic, it is extremely easy to install, it comes with dual intakes that prevent clogging and has an easy change system for cartridges. This turtle tank filter is ideal for aquariums that are small and have a capacity of up to 30 gallons.

It is a great thing that this filter has the two ports that are meant to prevent clogging from all kinds of debris. It promotes biological filtering, as it comes with activated carbon and biological filter sponges.

This turtle filter measures 5.3 x 3.6 x 3.3 inches and it weighs about 8.8 ounces. In order to start it, you must simply plug it in. If you need more carbon filler for this filter, you will find it at any pet store in jugs.


  • It is easy to use
  • It is inexpensive
  • It has an anti-clogging system
  • It is easy to setup
  • It is not difficult to clean


  • It is suitable for smaller aquariums
  • It works as long as it is covered completely in water


  1. Fluval Underwater Filter

Are you looking for a tank filter that is medium priced, made of high-quality materials and one that provides optimal biological filtration? Then this could be what you are looking for. This filter comes in black, it has a simple and compact design and must be plugged in in order to start filtering water. It is silent comparing to other similar products, it is easy to install and clean, as well as to maintain.

This is the ideal product for you if you are looking for a supplemental filter, as well as if you are looking for a standalone one. Also, it is ideal for installations where you cannot add an external filter.

This product comes with a system based on a 3-way flow control, an adjustable output, 2 foam pads, 2 poly/carbon cartridges and 65 grams BioMax.

Buy this tank filter if you have one with a capacity of maximum 40 gallons and minimum 20 gallons.


  • It has a reasonable price
  • It comes in various sizes
  • It is suitable for small tanks
  • It is sturdy
  • It is easy to install
  • It has a UV filter


  • It only works when completely underwater


  1. TetraPond Submersible Flat Box Filter

This is an inexpensive tank filter that is ideal for you if you have a small tank and probably, your first. It is easy to use and install, it has a compact design and a great price. It is also suitable for large tanks and ponds, even thought it might not look like it at first sight. This filter can be used for ponds up to 500 gallons.

When using this tank filter, you are ensuring that the water is always clean for your turtles. Also, it is easy to clean and maintain, thanks to its system that prevents the pump from clogging. In order for it to work properly, you must hold it underwater the entire time and make sure that all the air has been removed.

This turtle filter comes with a coarse and a fine filter foam pad, has a 12 x 1 inches internal diameter, two filter to hose fittings and a tubing fitting for connecting to the pump inlet.


  • It has a good price
  • It is easy to install and use
  • It is great for larger tanks or ponds
  • It has an anti-clog system


  • It has to stay completely underwater in order to filter it properly


  1. Penn Plax 455 Cascade Corner Filter

This filter kit is probably what you are looking for if you want a quiet product that is made of high-quality materials and has a great design. This kit can filter up to 120 gallons of water, yet it is designed to work properly in small tanks, of up to 20 gallons. It comes with a spray bar option that allows the even water distribution, by helping you to aerate the tank.

Unlike other filters, it does not have to be necessarily placed vertically. It can also be placed horizontally and hidden. It comes with a media set that can be replaced easily. also, it includes 2 extra sponges and 2 extra carbon bags.


  • It has a great design
  • It is cheap
  • It works both vertically and horizontally
  • It comes with extra sponges
  • It has a UV filter
  • It is suitable for small tanks


  • It is not suitable for larger tanks and it has to be covered in water in order to work

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