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5 Best Filters for Turtle Tanks

Most recommended
Internal Filter for Aquactic
  • Size: 40 gallon
  • It works hard
  • Each filter comes
A good choice too
Aquarium Turtle Filter
  • Brand: JackSuper
  • Size: 600L
  • High performance
A good choice too
Aquarium Power Filter
  • Brand: DaToo
  • Color: DTF-01
  • 1 Yr Warranty
Turtle Clean Filter
  • Brand: Zoo Med
  • Size: One Size
  • Filter is fully
Turtle Filter Aquarium
  • Brand: K1-Store
  • Size: Filter 2020
  • Gallon or bigger

Choose the Best Filters for Turtle Tank

Customer’s Choice: the Best Rated Filters for Turtle Tanks

9 users answered this survey. Please help us improve this review!

44.44% of users selected Internal Filter for Aquactic, 11.11% selected Aquarium Turtle Filter, 0.00% selected Aquarium Power Filter, 44.44% selected Turtle Clean Filter and 0.00% selected Turtle Filter Aquarium. Every month we analyze your answers and change our rating.

Turtles are fascinating creatures that have been around for millions of years. They’re fun to have around, they don’t require a lot of space, and they can be pretty low-maintenance overall. However, one thing they do need is the right tank filter! With so many different options on the market, it’s difficult to choose just one filter for your turtle tank.

Benefits of filters for turtle tanks: 

  • Helps keep the water clean and healthy – filters make sure solid waste is caught in a cartridge or sponge before it can break down into ammonia that would harm your pet’s health. The filter creates good bacteria that will help purify the tank by breaking down harmful toxins present in the water naturally;
  • Natural filtration – a natural biological process that takes place when using an efficient filter system with activated carbon where beneficial microorganisms grow on its surface effectively filtering out any impurities from aquarium water including organic pollutants such as ammonium, nitrite, phenols, etc. This keeps your turtles truly happy and healthy; 
  • Reduces the need for water changes – with an efficient filter, your tank will require less frequent cleanings that are both time-consuming and more labor-intensive. All you have to do is change the filters regularly the 24 hours;
  • Provides plenty of oxygen – the best turtle aquarium filters provide large surface areas that create some turbulence in the water creating currents that circulate oxygen into every corner of the tank. This creates healthy conditions for fish and turtles alike preventing diseases brought about by poor oxygen levels in the water;

In this guide, pet experts talk about the different types of filters available for turtle tanks and offer reviews on some popular models. The guide also provides useful tips to help you make an informed decision when shopping for a filter for your turtle tank!

Zilla Aquatic Reptile Internal Filter – the Editor’s choice!

This handy product is perfect for aquatic organisms like snakes and salamanders. The Zilla Aquatic Reptile Internal Filter provides clean, clear water for your animals with the patented power filtration system that filters out dirt and grime. It’s easy to install, great for amphibians and reptiles alike, and can be cleaned in a jiffy! This filtration unit will keep your life a lot cleaner without having to carry a bucket of dirty water around.

Easy to install, this filter is perfect for aquatic reptiles and amphibians. We know you will love the protective grate that keeps your pet from entering the filter. The patented power filtration means a clean habitat enhances happy pets! It’s best used with betta fish tanks, fish tanks, cold water tanks, and vivariums.

  • Includes a medium carbon cartridge;
  • Designed specifically for turtle tanks;
  • Easy to clean;
  • Easy to install;
  • Patented power filtration;

  • Noisy;
  • Bulky;
  • Only for 40-gallon tanks;
  • Water may come between the inside “sleeve” and housing;

This product is perfect to keep your aquatic reptiles healthy. No more manually scooping out the gunk, just use the patented power filtration and go on with your day. It’s also safe and easy for many types of animals like reptiles and amphibians.

JackSuper Store Aquarium Turtle Filter Waterfall – the best for design!

The JackSuper Store Aquarium Turtle Filter Waterfall is perfect for aquatic habitats. The pump can be hung on an aquarium or fixed with a sucker, and the waterfall feature provides a natural ambiance.

It also comes with activated carbon cartridges and bio balls so you can create artificial reefs to maintain the health of your fish tank! This product will keep your turtle tank clean while being safer than an external filter. If you have been looking for a healthy way to add something new to your fish tank waterfalls are just what you need!

This filter system is state-of-the-art and perfect for aquarium filters up to 40 gallons (requires an electrical power supply). With lifetime technique support, it makes waterfalls with a rock inside the fish tank look like real life!

  • Good for any reptile or amphibian tank;
  • Great design with a waterfall feature;
  • Easy to install;
  • Activated carbon cartridges;
  • Water filter pump;

  • Sometimes it makes loud buzzing noises;
  • The suction cup may lose its suction;
  • Only for the tanks less than 40 gallons;

This pump is perfect for aquatic turtles, fish, and small amphibians. It turns your aquarium into a small tank with a waterfall or you can use it to filter water in any aquarium!

DaToo Aquarium Power 3W Filter – the best for a quiet operation!

The DaToo Aquarium Power 3W Filter is a relief for your fish and the environment. Waterfall type water flow provides more oxygen to keep your fish happy, and will also remove impurities like chlorine or other harmful chemicals that come from the tap.

This 3W filter system employs an advanced filter cartridge that has activated carbon that will absorb all those dissolved organic compounds, heavy metals, and even bad odors in its capacity to maintain a healthy ecosystem for aquatic life.

This system can become the best filter you’ll buy. It features a waterfall-type flow, ensuring that your aquarium always maintains a clean and healthy environment. The activated carbon inside removes impurities from water, reliving odors as well as harmful bacteria and other toxins. Thanks to its strong plastics, it can handle rough use-and because of its ultra-quiet performance, the only noise you will hear will be pleasant streams of flowing water.

  • Very quiet;
  • Removes odors;
  • Sturdy;
  • Creates a clean and healthy environment;
  • Uses enhanced filter cartridge;
  • BPA-free plastic;

  • Produces humming sounds when clogged;
  • Replacement filters are hard to find;
  • Flimsy motor;

DaToo Aquarium Power 3W Filter will transform your living space into a beautiful oasis. You can both provide water for your aquarium whilst simultaneously filtering out harmful impurities in the 24-hour period. With an activated carbon filter, this ultra-quiet product ensures that your tropical aquatic friends have a clean and healthy environment wherein to live.

Zoo Med Turtle Clean Filter – the best for easy use!

Make sure to equip your aquatic turtle tank with the Zoo Med Turtle Clean Filter for safe, effective filtration on their tanks up to 30 gallons. The filter doesn’t create any ripples in the water which will scare away your turtle! It’s also simple to set up – all you need are some activated carbon and biological sponge filters to keep your clean current running strong.

Either this filter can be submerged beneath the water, or it can sit on top of a flat surface if you’re using it to filter an amphibian terrarium for frogs, salamanders, newts, or axolotls. Comes with activated charcoal and biological sponges that are simple to replace when they’ve done their duty.

This filter operates well in smaller spaces, is submersible, and has an easy-to-change cartridge.

  • Easy to use;
  • Fully submersible;
  • Easy to install and change;
  • Dual intake ports;
  • Good price point;

  • Only for 30-gallon tanks;
  • Works in low water levels;
  • Loud;
  • Does not fit American outlets;

Cleaning your turtle tank is now easy with the Zoo Med Turtle Clean Filter! This filter features dual intake ports to help prevent clogging from debris. The filter cartridges are easy to change, and it comes with activated carbon and biological sponges. Your turtles will have clean water for up to 30 days after installation!

K1-Store Turtle Filter Aquarium Filter – the best for small tanks!

The K1-Store Turtle Filter Aquarium Filter is a water filter just for your pets, ensuring they get the cleanest and best possible oxygen circulation while filtering out harmful substances such as odors.

This small tank filter will fit up to 20 gallons or bigger, making it perfect for every living creature in the home! The filter contains double-layer biochemical filtration with activated carbon cartridges to make sure that even more bacteria are removed from their environment while the motor sets under the water and runs quietly high-performance motors.

  • Good for small 20-gallon tanks;
  • Double-layer biochemical filtration;
  • Easy to install and clean;
  • Quiet performance;
  • 2 colors;
  • Good price point;

  • Flimsy build;
  • Smells;
  • Noisy when it is clogged;

With 2 colors, easy to install and clean, this small tank filter includes double-layer biochemical filtration with activated carbon cartridges to make oxygen circulation, clean water. The motor is set under the water so it can be used as a hang-on installation/fixed with a sucker based on the desired tank size. The great price point that can’t be beaten!

The Buyer’s Guide

Main Features:

  1. Tank size

If you’re not sure what size of the filter is right for your turtle tank, get one that’s slightly larger than the minimum. For example, if your tank says it needs a filter with at least 20 gallons of water capacity, get something like 25 or 30 gallons and fit it to work perfectly in there! You can then turn down the flow rate on the intake tube so that there isn’t too much current running through the tank which could stress out your turtles. And remember – bigger is better! Don’t skimp when buying filters for turtle tanks because they need good filtration equipment to be healthy and happy. 

  1. Reliability & durability

One of the most important things to check when buying a turtle filter is whether it will be able to last for a long time. A cheap and flimsy product can lead to problems such as malfunctioning, leakage, or even water spillage in your aquarium tank. As turtles are often messy with their droppings and shells, you need something that won’t break down easily even if they decide to move around inside their tanks frequently! You should also look into how easy each part of the filter is to fix or replace since some parts may wear out over time compared with others. Finally, consider what spare parts come included within your purchase (if any) because this could save you money in the future. 

  1. Flow rate

Experts recommend filters that have a flow rate of at least 500 gallons per hour (GPH). This is the minimum standard for most aquariums, as it can clean up to 125-gallons with ease. Remember, bigger tanks need stronger filtration systems, so you’ll want to look for brands offering higher GPH rates if your tank size exceeds 100 gallons. 

  1. Bio media

Concerning efficiency, make sure the filter uses all available space inside of it – this is where bio-media comes into play. Bio media will become an important part of your turtle tank filtration process because it provides a place for beneficial bacteria to grow and colonize. 

This bacterium breaks down waste products like ammonia and nitrite, rendering them harmless before they have time to build up in the water over several months or years! The result – clean water with no fishy odors since these harmful chemicals never reach the tank.

The best filters for turtle tanks should have plenty of room to hold beneficial bacteria colonies since these bacteria break down harmful compounds like ammonia and nitrite before they can build up in your fish tank over time! Bio media is an important part of any quality filtration system, as it provides a place where this type of bacteria can grow and colonize – rendering only clean water with no foul smells or fishy odors. 

This result comes from never having dangerous chemicals like ammonia or nitrites reach the aquarium at all due to their decomposition by good bacteria found within bio-media that allows them to be eliminated long before they accumulate into problematic levels. 

  1. Noise

Noise is a common complaint about filter systems. Turtles are nocturnal, so owners often keep the tank light off while they sleep and run their filters all day long without realizing it might be too much for their turtles to handle. Whether your turtle sleeps during the night or day, remember that you’re still responsible for maintaining clean water conditions in its habitat 24/365. Try running an extra filtration system at night when your turtle is sleeping if excessive noise bothers him (and annoys you). 

That is why keep in mind that the best filters for turtle tanks should be efficient and quiet. Remember to avoid noisy pumps as they can disturb your pet’s sleeping schedule (and even wake you up at night). 

  1. Ease of use

Another aspect to consider is how easy it will be for you to operate the filter. You do not want a product that requires constant adjustments and regular cleaning as they can prove difficult to manage if you are not an experienced hobbyist. The best filters for turtle tanks should offer ease of use so that even beginners can set them up properly from the start. A good example would be a fully submersible model with only one button operation, eliminating any further problems regarding maintenance tasks or noise levels after installation.

  1. Filtration method 

There are 3 popular filters for turtle tanks. The first is the internal filter, which sits inside of the tank and can be hidden away beneath decorations or rocks to provide a more natural look.

The second type is an undergravel filter that runs along the bottom of your aquarium underneath PVC piping or similar substrate. These types allow you to create aquatic ecosystems by including live plants as well as fish such as goldfish in with your turtles. 

The third type is an external canister filter that sits outside of the tank, usually in a sump or adjacent to your aquarium.

There are pros and cons for each method when it comes to turtle tanks so consider carefully what you want from your filtration system when choosing one. Let’s take a closer look. 

Types of Filters for Turtle Tanks:

1) Canister Filters:

Canister filters are powerful, versatile and come in a variety of sizes to fit any tank. Here’s what you need to know about this filter type:

  • They can be used for both freshwater and saltwater tanks!  You only have to buy one filtration system if your fish change habitats over time;
  • Canisters tend to provide the best biological filtration possible on average. This is because they always contain some form of bio media such as bio-balls or ceramic rings that house microbes that convert ammonia into less harmful substances like nitrate (which plants use);
  • Many canisters also include activated carbon slots inside their trays so you’ll get extra help with water clarity removing odors caused by waste;

The downside to a canister filter is that they take up space and are not easily moved around or lifted by yourself. Many people choose smaller tanks because of the hassle of having these large filters in their homes! They also tend to be more expensive than other types of filtration for turtle tanks. 

And if you get one with an impeller, it will make noise – which might bother you or your pets. In addition, each time you need to replace the media inside (which needs to be replaced every few months), there’s extra work involved in cleaning out all those crevices throughout this type of filter system before setting it back up again!  But overall, most hobbyists love canisters as long as they fit into their tank.

2) Internal Filters

These are very good for turtle tanks because they provide a lot of filtration without taking up too much space, which can be especially important if you’re trying to fit everything into a small tank. 

These filters can be mounted inside the tank and they usually include a pump that hangs on the back of the aquarium. There are also internal power filters, which you place directly in your turtle’s favorite basking spot, like under their favorite rock or an overhanging branch.

Internal filtration is very useful for freshwater turtles because it provides great biological and chemical filtration without taking up too much space and it keeps all kinds of uneaten food from getting into the substrate where it will rot and pollute your tank. These types of filters work by using foam pads to trap waste particles before they reach any screens at the bottom of the filter where even smaller microorganisms start breaking down organic debris. 

Internal filters often come with replaceable cartridges, which make it easy to keep the water in your tank clean while not spending a lot of money on new filtration media every few weeks. You’ll want to make sure that you get replacement pads or some other form of biological media when purchasing an internal filter so that you don’t have any downtime waiting for them to ship. 

There are even some brands out there where all 3 types of filtration (mechanical, chemical, and biological) are combined into one cartridge making things nice and simple if you’re looking for something quick and convenient. Internal filters are the most effective type of filtration for turtle tanks because they provide a lot of surface area to trap waste particles, so you don’t have them getting into your substrate and poisoning your tank.

Internal filters can be placed anywhere in your aquarium, but it’s best if they’re closer to where your turtles spend most of their time hanging out since that’s where there will be the highest concentration of uneaten food and other debris being filtered by these types of internal filters. 

Internal filters are probably the most common type of turtle tank filtration available because they’re inexpensive and provide great biological filtration without taking up too much space inside your aquarium. 

The downside with these types of filters is that most don’t have as many features as other fish tank filters – you typically won’t find adjustable flow rates or any additional modes beyond on and off. 

3) Hang-On Filters

A hang-on filter is a small and compact type of filtration system that does not require much space for installation. They are typically designed to fit on top of the aquarium, but there are some models that can be hung inside as well. These filters contain activated carbon that helps with water purification and biological filtration. You don’t need an extra tank or canister pump because they come attached to the backflow tubing within the unit itself, making it easy to set up without any additional equipment needed. 

The downside of this type is that they are not as powerful or efficient as canister filters, but their simplicity makes them more convenient for the average turtle owner. If you don’t have a lot of space to spare on top of your tank, these models will do just fine and provide good filtration in return. They are also less expensive than other types, making them an affordable alternative for small tanks with only one or two turtles inside.

Hang-on filters need regular maintenance because the cartridges tend to get clogged up easily due to larger fish waste particles being caught by them which reduces water flow significantly if left unchecked over time. Because you have limited options at disposal when changing the cartridge compared to canisters where you can easily detach them and replace them with a fresh one, you will have to get into the tank more often to perform this task. 

4) Undergravel Filters (UGFs)

Undergravel filters are the oldest type of aquarium filter. They were invented in 1955. While they have not changed much since then, under gravel filters still offer many benefits for turtle owners who can’t afford large pumps or high-quality filtration systems.

UGFs work by having air bubbles rise up through your tank’s substrate and enter an open plate that sits underneath your tank’s floor. The bubbling action causes water to flow over the top of the plate into a second section before it travels down into yet another layer where hungry bacteria thrive on organic matter found in aquarium waste. 

The best undergravel filters for turtle tanks also come with a built-in heater so you can easily maintain an ideal water temperature, which is crucial if your tank houses pets that need warm waters like red-eared sliders (RES) or ornate wood turtles (OWT).

UGFs do not require as much work as other types of aquarium filters because they lack media such as floss, pads, and carbon cartridges that must be replaced every few months. You should still rinse out any solid debris from time to time; however, many UGFs now include filtration plates whose design allows for quick rinsing without having to remove it from underneath your tank’s floor.

Most turtle owners who use UGFs recommend having at least two, especially if you have a larger tank. The more UGFs your aquarium has, the better its filtration will be because it can handle the increased waste load while still providing plenty of aeration for healthy bacteria colonies to grow and thrive. 

Filter Care and Maintenance

After choosing the right hang-on filter for your turtle tank, remember these tips which will help prolong its lifespan:

  • Make sure there’s enough space between filtration intake holes and water level when installing because if they are too close together there won’t be any room for waste particles being caught by the cartridge thus creating backpressure in return causing a slower water flow rate through tubing/hose connection. If there’s not enough space for waste to be caught, it will not pass through the cartridge and will instead get stuck between the tubing/hose connection then clog up the filter;
  • If you have a hang-on filter that has 2 water tubes leading out from its body (one tube is typically attached to your tank while another one runs back into itself), make sure both of these are evenly tightened. Otherwise, there might be air bubbles trapped inside which can cause reduced flow rate as well as breakage in return;
  • If the water flow rate slows down after a couple of months, the cartridges need to be cleaned or replaced. The cartridge cannot be removed from its body because it’s sealed with epoxy glue which needs heat in order to soften and release the bond before you can get it out without breaking anything;

How to clean a turtle tank filter?

The first step is to clean the filter media. Most filters come with a plastic basket for this purpose, and they should be rinsed out every other week in water from your turtle tank. This will remove debris and uneaten food that collects on any parts of the filter where biological filtration occurs (the part containing carbon or ceramic rings). It’s important not to use soap or detergent when cleaning these materials because they can damage them! If you don’t have a basket for holding all the removed material, make sure to rinse everything thoroughly under running tap water before returning it to its place inside the filter housing unit. 

Filters are often made up of several different components that work together as one mechanism to ensure proper filtration. These parts include the impeller, intake tube and grill (the screen over the intake), and water pump itself. You should make sure to change or clean all of these components at least once every three months to maintain proper filtration for your turtle tank. 

The next step is to check on how much carbon your filter cartridge contains because this depletes over time as it absorbs impurities from the water in your turtle tank. Carbon can be purchased separately if you need more, but, usually, filters that contain activated charcoal will come with a separate compartment inside the unit where new carbon can be added when needed.

Finally, add fresh biological media into any compartments inside your filter’s housing unit that are not filled with substrate already (such as the turtle tank bottom) and make sure it’s completely submerged in water. Biological media can include ceramic rings, biological gravel (large-grained material such as lava rock), or sponges made up of tightly packed strands of synthetic fibers that are designed to mimic natural materials like those found on a coral reef.


What is the best filter for a 20-gallon turtle tank?

When you’re looking for the best filter for a 20-gallon turtle tank, there are two options available. You can either choose an internal or external filter to make sure that your fish and turtles stay happy and healthy in their environment. The key is finding a product with high filtration efficiency, but without too much noise as this could stress out your aquatic buddies.

Hang-on back filters are the most popular option for those who have smaller aquariums with just one or two turtles in them! They attach to any sized tank and expel water back into the same chamber where it is filtered before being returned back into your turtle tank. 

You can customize this type of filter by adding more than one if you want a stronger flow rate, but they don’t take up too much room like other types do (canisters especially!) The best part? It requires very little maintenance over time because only an impeller needs to be replaced every few months depending on how often you use it. This would be our number one choice for people with small tanks.

What is the best filter for a 60-gallon turtle tank?

There are many different filters that can be used for large turtle tanks. Some of the most popular options include: 

  • Canister filters attach to your tank and expel water into a separate chamber where it is then filtered before being returned back into the tank. They are powerful, quiet, and efficient at filtering debris from large volumes of water quickly, but they require regular maintenance in order to keep them running smoothly. This is an excellent choice if you have more than one turtle in your aquarium because these larger models will support multiple turtles without compromising filtration power or efficiency;
  • UFGs have an easy-to-install design that makes this product both quick and simple when setting up new aquariums! The best part? It doesn’t require any additional equipment to run. However, it won’t clean the water as well or make your aquarium look as nice as other options will;
  • Power filters are great for beginners who aren’t sure what type of filtration they need yet. They attach to the side of your tank and expel filtered water back into the same chamber where it is returned back into the tank after being cleaned in a separate compartment. You can also add more than one filter if you want an even stronger flow rate! If you only have one turtle in your 60-gallon fish tank, this could be your number one choice because turtles like lots of space (even with multiple tanks!) and these filters don’t take up as much space as canister filters;

Is a canister filter good for turtles?

Check the detailed description of these filters above. To cut the long story short, yes, canister filters are good for turtle tanks, but not all canisters are created equal. Some models have large openings that turtles could crawl into and get stuck inside the filter, so it’s important to buy one with small enough openings. The filter should also have a pre-filter to catch larger debris and protect your turtle from accidentally getting sucked in. 

Can your turtle survive without a filter?

No, your turtle cannot survive without a filter. It is impossible to keep the water clean enough for turtles in an aquarium with only biological filtration and no other method of filtration. Turtle tanks require powerful filters that can maintain high levels of water quality while filtering out large quantities of waste material at once. The best choice would be either an internal or external power filter that includes some form of chemical filtration as well (such as activated carbon). 

How often should you change the filter in a turtle tank?

The best turtle filters should be changed every 3-6 months. This depends on the size of your turtle tank, how many turtles you have and what kind of filtration system is installed in it. In any case, when changing a filter always check whether or not there are signs of wear and tear before installing a new one.

Can I use a fish filter for turtles?

Yes, you can. In fact, a fish filter is fine for turtles in most cases. If the water flow isn’t too strong and your tank’s filtration system has been properly set up to accommodate it, there should be no issues with using a fish aquarium filter on their turtle tank. It will keep the water clean but may not have enough oomph to truly get at all of that pesky crud that builds up under rocks or around decorations if your turtle likes hanging out down there! Look for one that does ¼-gallon per hour (GPH) at least—and more would be better still! 

Can I turn off the filter in my turtle tank at night?

No, you should never turn off the filter in your turtle tank at night. The water will become stagnant and harmful to your turtles if it is not circulated continuously through filtration equipment

How long can a turtle stay underwater without a filter?

This is a common question for anyone who has recently set up his or her first turtle tank. For the most part, these filters are not necessary when it comes to water quality in normal aquariums since turtles spend much of their time submerged. However, if you have larger species or multiple turtles then filtration can be very important especially in helping to maintain good levels of oxygen within the aquatic environment. In general, the larger and more active your turtle is within its habitat then you will need a filter to maintain good water quality. 

One of the most important points when it comes to filtration in turtle tanks is that they have one large surface area for oxygen exchange so placing an air stone or bubbler near the tank can help provide a constant stream of fresh bubbles. 

For smaller turtles this won’t be necessary since their respiratory system isn’t as sensitive but if you notice your pet coming up from underwater frequently due to struggling with breathing levels then having some extra aeration can make all of the difference between life and death! Additionally, many filters come equipped with such mechanisms already built-in whereas others require you to purchase a separate air pump or bubbler.

Useful Video: Best Turtle Filter? Pet Turtle Water is Cloudy.

Final thoughts 

It’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest in pet technology. If you’re considering a new filter for your turtle tank, be sure to read this guide and reviews of some popular models before making any decisions! Hopefully, this article has been helpful in helping you find the perfect filter for your needs.