As with anything that lives in a tank, turtles will make a lot of mess. In order to keep your tank clean, you need to have a filter and it’s best to get one made with turtles in mind. There are many options out there that will filter the water safely and leave your turtle living in a healthy environment.
What makes the best filter for turtle tanks? Well, there is plenty to consider such as the size of the filter, the amount of water in the tank, how to install it and how it filters the water. Other factors such as how it looks are also important.
It can be hard to know which the best turtle tank filter is for you but that’s where we can help. We’ve reviewed the top 10 models out there and will clear up any doubts you have with our FAQs section. Let’s find your perfect filter!
Best Filters for Turtle Tanks
Tetra Whisper In-Tank Filter with BioScrubber
Tetra is an expert in making high-quality filters and you can see that with his fantastic model. The model that we looked at was perfect for tanks up to 4 gallons but along with that were 3, 10, 20 and 40-gallon options, with all of them having a high gallon per minute (GPH) output.
It’s designed to sit flush against the wall to reduce wasted space but it can still be a little bulky for smaller tanks. It’s easy to install and the suction cups that come with it are strong and will keep it firmly in place.
We’ve put the noise it makes as both a pro and a con. It is very quiet which many people love but it’s advertised as being whisper quiet, which it isn’t.
Overall it’s a filter that works perfectly and has a high level of usability. That helped by the filter replacements being cheap and therefore your ongoing costs are going to be low.
Tetra Decorative ReptoFilter
Here’s another brilliant filter from Tetra but one that has a slightly different look. It works as a filter and tank decoration all in one. That’s perfect for those who don’t want an ugly looking filter in the corner of their tank. Aside from its unique look, it also has a high level of performance.
The overall build quality is excellent and it’s a filter that will stand the test of time. You’ll also love how quiet it is and how easy it is to change the filters. Full cleaning can be a little difficult but apart from that, the usability is excellent.
The three-stage filtration is highly effective and you’ll be able to get perfectly clear water in no time at all. On top of that, it will also remove any water odors. It’s a powerful filter that works efficiently and you have the added bonus of it looking great.
Zilla Internal Filter for Aquatic Reptiles
In contrast to the previous model we looked at, this is a fairly standard looking filter. It doesn’t look great but many people won’t care about that when it comes to a turtle tank filter. What you may care about is that it’s fairly loud when compared to other models.
The filter has an impressive capacity as it’ll be able to cope with up to 40 gallons. As with many filters in this list, it can be fixed to your tank via suction cups or clips depending on what’s more suitable for your tank.
The maintenance on this filter is very low with its simple cartridge replacement and also the fact that it’s very easy to clean. On top of this, installation is also stress-free. While it may not be the most attractive filter available on the market, you can have no doubts about the results it’ll give.
K1-Store Internal Filter Low Level Water Clean Pump for Reptiles
If you don’t have vast amounts of money to spend on a filter then this is going to be a great option for you. It offers great value for money as you still get great results. The build quality isn’t quite as high as with some of its rivals but the durability is still decent.
Where this filter impresses is with the level of oxygen circulation as your tank is going to be constantly aerated. It can work very well in low water and is suitable for smaller tanks. There is a lot to like about this little filter.
The active carbon filter inside is highly effective and it’ll clean the tank of even the messiest of turtles. That’s helped by the good water flow it features. Your turtles are going to love this filter which is safe to use and you can firmly fix it into place with the suction cups.
MarineLand Penguin 350 BIO-Wheel Power Filter
For those with a large tank, this could be the perfect filter. It’s suitable for tanks up to 75 gallons in size and is able to process 350 gallons of water per hour. That’s a huge level of production that’ll help to keep even the most demanding of tanks clean.
One of the main features of this filter is the two bio wheels which look great and are able to form a powerful waterfall effect. If you were hoping to have a quiet filter, however, then this is a filter that you should avoid as it’s far from silent.
There are many other great features such as the long intake tube which gives you versatility in filter placement. Maintenance is also low and helped by cheap filter replacements. Assembly is straight forward and the multi-stage filtration will keep your turtles happy and healthy.
EmmaWu Turtle Filter Low Water Level Aquarium Filter
EmmaWu has made this sleek looking filter that will be suitable for a wide range of different tanks. It has a bio-filtration system along with its waterfall effect. The net result is a fantastic looking turtle tank that will keep your tank permanently clear.
It may be a little small for some and the instructions that come with it aren’t the best. Aside from those issues, there is a lot to love about it. The low-bulk design makes it very easy to install and that is helped by the long cord that comes with it.
It can work well with a range of different water levels, including those who have a shallow tank. Most importantly, it does a brilliant job of keeping your tank clean. That’s due to the high level of water circulation along with the triple filtration.
LONDAFISH Turtle Filter Water Submersible Filter
This is the style that you’ll see with most filters for turtle tanks. It works very well and can be easily attached to your tank. You can do this either via the suction cups on the back, with the adjustable hook it comes with or both.
Maintenance here is a little higher than with some other models out there. It can clog fairly quickly and regular cleaning is going to be required. If you don’t mind that then you’re going to appreciate many of its other qualities.
It has a very good level of energy efficiency and that helps it to be one of the quietest filters out there. The sponge picks up plenty of dirt and grime which will keep the water fresh. If you were worried about its durability then you’ll be pleased to know that this filter comes with a strong guarantee.
JackSuper Aquarium Turtle Filter Waterfall Flow Water Clean Pump Bio Filtration
You can’t go wrong with this filter as it’s going to do its job and do it very well. It can filter tanks of up to 40 gallons and does it very efficiently. If you’re not happy with it then you can rely on its 90-day guarantee.
It has an impressive low water level capability while providing your tank with a powerful level of aeration. There’s not a lot to dislike here but we’d prefer if the base was completely flat and the cord a little longer.
Installation is simple and as with many of these options, you have the choice of fixing it with a hook or suction cups. It’s fairly quiet, has a range of good safety features and will keep your tank clear.
Penn Plax Aquarium Cascade Canister Filter
If you’ve been thinking that all of these filters are a little too small for your needs then this may be more suitable. The specific model we looked at is ideal for tanks up to 100 gallons but there are other buying options, including up to 200 gallons.
One of the biggest features are the three filter baskets which allow you to fill them up with your media of choice. Despite its larger capability, maintenance is fairly straight forward and you won’t find it to be too noisy.
Setup is fairly simple which is aided by the push-button primer. It’ll look great in your tank but some parts do feel a little cheap. The instructions also aren’t the best but if you know what you’re doing, this isn’t going to matter.
DaToo Aquarium Power Filter in-Tank Ultra Silent Fish Tank Filter
We thought this was one of the quietest turtle tank filters that we’ve ever tested. It doesn’t have the highest level of power around but it does have a high level of efficiency to cut down on those electric bills.
It doesn’t appear to have the highest level of build quality but there is a long money-back guarantee if you’re not happy with it. The design isn’t too bulky despite having a spacious filter basket which makes maintenance fairly easy.
The dynamic filter works perfectly at a low water level and is easy to fit. The usability here is very high and it’ll easily slot into a wide variety of tank shapes. We were very impressed and it’s another great turtle tank filter option.
Best Filters for Turtle Tanks – FAQs
Does a turtle tank filter always need to be on?
Turtles produce a lot of waste which is why you need a good enough filter to be able to cope. If you turn them off at certain times then the bacteria on the biological filtration will start to die and your filter will have to work even harder when you switch it back on. Turtles can be quite resilient to the likes of ammonia or nitrite but you still don’t want to expose them to spikes. It’s best to keep your filter on at all times.
Does turtle tank need filter?
In a word, yes. Without a filter, the water will quickly fill up with dangerous chemicals such as ammonia and nitrite while gradually losing oxygen. The only alternative to a filter is regular water changes but this is far from ideal, not as healthy and time intensive.
Can I turn my turtle tank filter off at night?
It can be tempting to turn it off, especially if you don’t like the noise but you should keep your filter on at all times.
How to clean turtle tank filter?
This will depend on the type of filter but it should be fairly simple. With biological filters you want to clean and unclog these but it’s best to use water from the tank to do this to not upset the balance and cause a shock to the environment. Chemical filters generally are replaced and not cleaned as they’ll become less effective over time. Your mechanical filter will need to be emptied regularly, depending on how messy your turtles are but this is often around once per week.
What is the best turtle tank filter?
We wouldn’t say there is one ‘best’ filter as everyone is different. All these filters we’ve looked at here are great and you want the one that closely matches your needs.
Why is my turtle tank filter so loud?
The main sources of noise come from the water being fed back into the tank and the motor. If your filter is louder than normal then give it a clean and check that the intake hose isn’t clogged. If that doesn’t solve the issue then it may have a loose or broken part.
Why is my turtle tank filter not working?
Filters can break down and sometimes they need replacing. Before that, you want to make a few checks. Ensure that there’s nothing clogging the system and give it a good clean. Also, check that it’s powerful enough for the size of your tank. If it’s still not working, then it will often be cheaper to replace your filter rather than get it repaired.
Everyone is going to have different needs and the best filter for turtle tank for you may be different for someone else. Before you buy, it’s important to work out how big your tank is and where the filter is going to be placed.
All the models we’ve looked at here are fantastic and will do a great job of cleaning your turtle tank. The end result will be a healthy tank which will mean a healthy turtle. All you need to do no is pick your favorite filter and pop it into place.