Top 10 Best Turtle Filter: Reviews & Guide 2022

Last updated:
Best Turtle Filter

Mylifepets is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

While most people fall in love with the cuteness of dogs and the adorable purrs or cats, some people just find the cuteness of aquatic creatures like turtles to be irresistible.

This is the reason why some people have a best turtle tank at home in order to keep one for themselves. The turtles look even better when they have a well-managed and clean turtle tank with all the necessary features.

If you are a turtle owner then you know how important it is to have the best turtle filter which makes sure that the water inside the tank is regularly cleaned and keeps your tank a healthy place to keep your adorable turtles.

Things to Consider when Choosing the Best Turtle Filter

Before getting into a shopping frenzy for turtle tank filter, here are some points you need to consider in order to only get the best turtle filter in the market.

Tank Size

There are certain filters which can be used in various sizes of tanks, however, not all tank filter can be used in different tank sizes. Particular tank sizes are better fitted with filters that are specifically designed for that particular tank size.

If you properly read the product description, you can easily determine the tank size a canister filter filters best. Also, look at the number of gallons indicated— the capacity of the filter and the tanks size should not have a huge difference.

The Motor

Since it is the work of the motor to pump water into the filter, you need to choose a tank filter with a reliable motor. It should be efficient and easy to maintain. There is some motor which can run for months before they require maintenance, while other can be especially needy. Also, it would best to consider a quiet motor if you do not wish to be disturbed during the night.

Filtration Mechanism

There are 3 types of filtration that turtle filter can offer. These are:

  • Mechanical Filtration: It involves straining solid dirt such as food leftovers. It uses a technique that comes with a sponge or filter floss what takes out these stuff by screening them.
  • Chemic Filtation: This type of filtrations system uses the power of absorption in order to excel any chemicals or harmful compounds which are not seen by the eye. Media such as activated carbon are usually utilized in order to cleanse the water.
  • Biological Filtration: It filters optimize nitrogen cycle via various media which boosts oxygen generation. This makes the aquarium much comfortable for your turtles to live in. Biological filtration also promotes the proliferation of healthy bacteria.

Internal or External Filter?

An external filter like canister filters has a much more powerful performance. And thus, they are more expensive. Internal filters, on the other hand, are much more cost-efficient. But if you can’t choose between the two, then you can just use both of them. Just take not on the size of your aquariums.

Top 10 Best Turtle Filter

1. Aquatop CF Series Canister Filter

The CF series is probably one the most popular filter for turtle tanks, particularly because it comes with various unique features which facilitate its amazing performance in water filtration.

This canister filter features a UV sterilizer, which is quite uncommon, that enhances the performance of this filter. The UV sterilizer functions really well in removing microorganisms like algae, bacteria as well as parasites which might be present inside the water.

Even though this filter has a lot of plastic parts, it has a solid construction. Plus, it is quite easy to set up and put steadily in place. This canister filter has a 370 GPH flow rate which is just perfect for larger tanks and does its job efficiently.


  • High flow rate
  • Attractive design
  • UV sterilizer
  • Works on a tank of up to 175 gallons


  • Construction has too many plastic parts

2. Penn Plax Cascade Canister Filter

Penn Plax is a company which has made a name out of high-level innovation in designing and making quality products. And with a heavy-duty canister filter for turtle tanks, this model provides a multi-stage filtration system meaning that all dirt in the tank will not stand a chance against its filtering power.

Every unwanted particle will be filtered and removed from your turtle tank with less effort. This canister filter is designed by Penn Plax to function on both saltwater and freshwater environment. It is suitable for large tanks and does not clog up easily so you will not have too much problem with maintenance.


  • Provides powerful performance
  • Suitable for both fresh and salt water
  • Suitable for tanks with up to 200 gallons capacity
  • Easy to install


  • Changing the media can be a bit difficult

3. Fluval FX6 Canister Filter

In terms of filtration, the Fluval FX6 Canister filter is among the best and will not let your adorable turtles down. This canister filter might look simple, however, its filtration process is amazing.

With a physically large size comes a powerful motor. It is also a self-starting canister which features a seamless starting system like its predecessors. All you need to do is to add water to your tank, plug it in, and let it do its job. You do not need to push a button or siphon the water, making it quite easy to use.

This innovative filter features a smart ump technology that helps in eliminating any trapped air in the system. This filter stop after every 12 hours in order to allow trapped air to escape before it self-start again, making it quite efficient. It has a utility valve at the bottom which helps you complete water change with ease.


  • Automatic trapped-air elimination
  • Self-starting feature
  • Convenient substrate cleaning solution
  • Offers quick water change


  • New users will need a little info around its control system

4. Zoo Med 511 Turtle Clean Filter

Zoo Med is a reputable name in the pet products industry. Therefore, it is no surprise that they also offer one of the best turtle filters in the market today. This particular filter for turtle tanks, the 511, is designed for bigger tanks for its size. It can accommodate a 60 gallons tanks size and an adjustable flow rate system to provide best water filtration.

This turtle filter from Zoo Med boasts a space-saving, compact design which consumes only a little floor space and does not take any space within your turtle tank. Featuring an extra-large carbon chamber, the Zoo Med 511 maximizes the elimination of dirt and ammonia and controls odor inside the turtle tank to provide only the healthiest and most comfortable habitat for your turtle to live in.


  • Comes with spray bar system which controls odor
  • Its filter head is easy to open for cleaning
  • Provide great aeration
  • Features an adjustable flow rate system


  • Noisy

5. SunSun-China External Canister Filter

Due to its simple and minimalistic appearance, one might underestimate this canister filter. However, this is one of the most recommended filters because of its solid and sturdy construction.

This filter offers a huge level of water filtration without having to spend too much in order to keep it running efficiently. Featuring a 3-stage water filtration: chemical, biological and mechanical filtration, you can have a very clean and healthy turtle tank in no time.

Not only that, this filter also has a built-in UV light which kills harmful bacteria in the water like algae and provides an additional health benefit for your adorable turtles. It also allows an easy way in order to load trays into their respective lots. Plus, its quiet motor is ideal for an undisturbed sleep during the night.


  • Powerful filtration system
  • Comes with 4 trays
  • Runs quietly
  • Reasonably priced
  • 3-stage filtration
  • Built-in UV light


  • Trays are not sealed like in previous models

6. Tetra Decorative Filter

One of the best and most attractive water filter system in the market today is the Tetra 25905. This filtration is system is an impressive combination of aquarium aesthetics and filtration.

This filter is not just a filter which becomes an unappealing distraction in your aquarium because of its mundane and extraordinary appearance, rather it blends perfectly in your tank. It has large intake holes in order to prevent clogging and damage the unit.

Featuring an internal waterfall system, it can also act as a basking place for your turtle as well as decorations for overall aesthetic of your tank. Its filtration system is not something you should laugh at since it is quite innovative. Particularly it’s whisper filtration which maintains the neatness and clarity of the water inside your tank.


  • It is not noisy
  • Can act as a basking spot for your turtles
  • Decorative
  • Can accommodate 60-gallon aquariums
  • Whisper filtration
  • Large intake holes to prevent clogging


  • Hard to clean

7. Zoo Med 501 Turtle Filter

Another product from Zoo Med, this turtle canister model provides an efficient and easy way to keep your tank clean and healthy for your adorable turtles. It is small in structure, yet it is highly convenient which can accommodate a 39-gallon tank.

It also uses 3 filtration system— biological, mechanical, and chemical in order to clean all waste and debris from the water. It’s a good reputation for keeping your turtle tank clearer and cleaner without requiring too much maintenance in order to work efficiently.

It also fits perfectly outside the turtle tank and can be used on aquariums, vivarium and box turtle pools of 39-gallon capacity.


  • Uses 3 filtrations types
  • Can be used in different indoor turtle habitat
  • Convenient and small
  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to clean and maintain


  • It clogs a lot quicker

8. Exo Terra Complete Internal Filter

This internal filter from Exo Terra is submersible and can work on both aquariums and terrariums.  It features a 3-stage filtration system— chemical, biological and mechanical— in order to make sure that your tank is always odor-free and clean.

This filter also allows you to adjust the airflow and water flow at the same time. Another great feature of this turtle filter is its user-friendly setup which makes installing very easy and not as pesky and difficult like other filter brands.

Plus, the Exo Terra filter is also quite easy to clean, so you do not have any problems in maintaining the filter.


  • Energy efficient
  • Easy to install and maintain
  • Adjustable water flow and airflow
  • Comprehensive filtration system


  • Not a suitable choice for larger tanks
  • Easy to maintain but needs to be regular

9. Hydor Professional External Filter

This canister filter is worth your money since it durably constructed to last for years. With a 4-clamp locking system, it supports the motor in order to make sure that it keeps on working properly. The system also prevents any leaks since it keeps all points under a very tight seal.

This filter is easy to set up due to its various shape design. Like a puzzle game, you only need to fill it in the right shape part to get the proper position. With a flow rate of 240 gallons every hour which make it easy for most users to have their tank filtered in the least time possible.

The filter can accommodate a 150-gallon and generates only a small amount of noise when compared to other filtration systems.


  • Safety lock system
  • Easy priming system
  • Powerful flow rate
  • Easy to clean
  • Easy setup


  • Lack of replacement parts

10. Aqueon QuietFlow Internal Filter

The Aqueon QuietFlow Internal Filter has a filtration process that is simply better than other mainstream turtle filters. This is one of the reasons why it keeps son getting positive reviews from users.

This particular filter system uses not only 3, but 4 stage filtration system— chemical, mechanical, biological, and a wet/dry diffuser grid— so you can be sure that it shall deliver a clear and clean tank for your turtle.

It also has a high flow rate of 155 gallons every hour and can accommodate at least 40-gallons tanks. It also has an adjustable return flow rate to make adjustments depending on the demand of your turtle tank. Lastly, it has an internal pump which dampens the noise that it makes.


  • Great performance
  • Internal pump dampens the noise
  • High flow rate
  • 4-stage filtration system


  • Cheaply made


A water filter is crucial for turtle tanks and aquariums. Regardless of your preferences, you will need to have one of these filters in order to secure the clarity and cleanliness of the water in your turtle tank.

If you do not get them, then you might have to do a daunting and rigorous task of regular manual cleaning of your turtle tank. Plus, there is a good chance that your adorable turtle can get sick or die.