Best Filter For Turtle Tank (2022) | Buying Guide and Reviews

Larry Mills
Written by
Last update:

Keeping tropical freshwater turtles in your home is a lot of work to maintain and upkeep. One things that people often neglect is maintaining the cleanliness of their turtle tank.

Turtles can get sick and even die from nasty water quality but your initial reaction will be very minimal until you finally learn about the effects of having dirty tank water.

The only way to give your beloved turtles crystal clear water is through proper filter maintenance.

With so many different types of filters on the market today, it’s hard to choose the right model for your turtle tank.

Remember, that not all filters are compatible with all types of tanks. Compatibility is measured by the filter height.

There are many practical factors you need to take into consideration such as your tank size, security features, filter and pump ratings, compatibility issues, filter media, and different filter designs and more.

Furthermore, the effectiveness of the filters depends on the user. You have to be a little bit more thoughtful about how you operate your turtle tank just so that you can keep them healthy and happy.

Having said all that, it is also true that you will not be happy with the results until you have filtered and filtered until you’re tired of it.

Fluval FX4 Canister FilterBest OverallFluval FX4 Canister Filter
Aqueon Quietflow Internal Power FilterBudget PickAqueon Quietflow Internal Power Filter
Eheim AEH2262380 FilterUpgrade PickEheim AEH2262380 Filter

1. Fluval FX4 Canister Filter

Our rating: 9 / 10

Fluval FX4 Canister Filter

Check Price on Amazon


  • Easy to clean
  • Can be submerged
  • Blends in with any décor
  • No problem with overworking the device
  • High water capacity
  • Easy to maintain and operate


  • The filter does need some time to break in
  • When cartridge is low you will need to replenish it
  • Need to reset the filter after cleaning

You will be surprised at why so many pet owners have chosen the Fluval FX4 Canister Filter for their turtles. This filter has been created to work with turtle tanks from 20 to 55 gallon sizes.

The easy-to-maintain canister filter can handle tanks that have both types of accessories, such as heaters, basking lights and pumps. It comes with the Whisper 3 high output hood.

While it is highly recommended to spend about 15 minutes per week of maintenance, this is a notable device as it can be used in a tank six months or older. This filter is also easy to clean and to maintain. It also easy to look after.

2. EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter

Our rating: 8 / 10

EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter

Check Price on Amazon


  • Durable materials
  • Easy maintenance
  • Adjustable flow control
  • Low power consumption
  • Easy to set up
  • Quiet
  • Great for turtle tanks
  • Made in Germany
  • Easy to clean, maintain, and replace parts


  • Heavier than other filters
  • Tank mount is plastic
  • Long filter cord to place filter outside of tank
  • Doesn’t fit BGB75 or BGB95

The Classic External Canister Filter by EHEIM is our pick for best filter for turtle tanks. It is manufactured to provide larger Aquariums up to 250 gallons with efficient and quiet biological filtration.

EHEIM Classic external canister filter includes everything that begins with the preparation of the filter unit such as mounting it, connecting the pump, connecting the hoses and making the electrical connection.

A manual that comes with the filter gives step-by-step instructions on how to assemble this filter. Once the filter is assembled, the fun part begins. Assembling a tank for a turtle can be a tedious task. Once the tank is set up, you are ready to fill it with water. A siphon pump is a handy tool to fill your tank without moving it.

3. Eheim AEH2262380 Filter

Our rating: 8 / 10

Eheim AEH2262380 Filter

Check Price on Amazon


  • Very powerful pump
  • Easy to use integrated flow control
  • The head can be positioned to fit a wide range of aquariums
  • Quiet operation

The Eheim filter system this unit is designed for is one of the best in the industry and this piece is designed to work with it.

It’s small, efficient and very simple to setup. Compared to some other filter setups, it’s also very cheap. The reason this one is so cheap is because it’s not all that much different to some of the other ones you can find on the market.

It’s a very simple device that’s easy to setup and use. It’s also pretty powerful and although it’s not as silent at the best ones on the market, it is relatively quiet and helps create a good environment for your turtle.

4. Penn Plax Aquarium Cascade Canister Filter

Our rating: 8 / 10

Penn Plax Aquarium Cascade Canister Filter

Check Price on Amazon


  • Easy to install
  • Dual filtration
  • Removes odors
  • Relatively quiet

This Penn Plax Cascade filter is an excellent choice when you need a good tank filter. It comes apart into three main parts. It includes the prefilter, the foam insert, and the filter. It’s spaced on all sides with 0.5-micron polyester filter pads, which will not let any dirt past them. You simply need to rinse them clean to continue using them.

If the filter pad becomes dirty, you can simply pop it out and drop in a new one. By being slightly more understated than other filters, the Cascades do not undermine the decor of the tank and will easily blend in.

The gray inserts are also designed to hide the filter and give the tank a more custom appearance.

5. Fluval External Filter

Our rating: 8 / 10

Fluval External Filter

Check Price on Amazon


  • Powerful filter
  • Easy to clean
  • Super quiet
  • Input port for an external water pump
  • Quiet and super efficient

The Fluval External Filter is ideal for turtles that like to swim around a lot in their tank or for those that tend to pollute the tank. Having too much waste in the tank can cause the turtle to get sick or not thrive. This filter will help to keep the tank in control so that the turtle can thrive. It also helps to keep the overall conditions in your tank clean; making it a healthier environment for your turtle.

The filter comes with an easy to read gauge that allows you to monitor how much it is cleaning.

Inside the device you will find a whole host of media, including a convenient bag where you can put the media needed to purify your water. This allows for quick and convenient as you do not have to keep replacing the filter, just replace the media.

6. Aqueon Quietflow Internal Power Filter

Our rating: 7 / 10

Aqueon Quietflow Internal Power Filter

Check Price on Amazon


  • Stable
  • Low maintenance
  • Durable

The Aqueon Quietflow Internal Power Filter is a good choice for most aquariums. You will find two ways to connect this product, allowing you to use it for aquariums that hold both freshwater and saltwater fish.

There is a provision allowing you to connect the filter to both a submersible pump and an air pump. This process will help you to keep your water clean. This power system comes with a quiet flow design that will not cause your fish too much stress in their environment.

This filter will provide a steady flow of water through the filter. The flow rate is adjustable and you will find such an option in the intake tube. You can even use an adjustable splitter to connect the inlet. The filter will work well using an air pump. You will not have to use it with a submersible pump.

7. API Filstar XP

Our rating: 4 / 10

API Filstar XP

Check Price on Amazon


  • Available in various sizes to fit different size aquariums
  • Simple to use
  • Easy to clean
  • Our choice for the best canister filter for turtles
  • Simple backwash makes cleaning a breeze
  • They only require replacement filter packets


  • They are a bit on the pricey side
  • Can be prone to leaks on older models

This filter is a solid choice as the best turtle tank filter for beginners. It comes with a visible, backwashing filter media chamber that is so easy to use that even a turtle could do it.

The media of this filter is replaceable cartridge style, so you only need to replace the media. This can be much more convenient than a tank where you have to clean the entire filter each time. Be sure to replace the cartridge with ones made for a turtle tank filter.

If you are worried about the cost of a regular cleaning schedule for your turtle tank, you should also take a look at the lifetime guarantee that this filter comes with. API stands behind their product and will repair or replace this turtle filter for free if you are having servicing issues.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best filter for a turtle tank?

The best filter for a turtle tank depends entirely on what is living in the tank. If other pets such as fish will be living in the tank, then a canister filter is probably the best choice. When turtles and fish live together it is important to keep the water in the tank free of toxins that may cause harm to either the turtles or the fish.

If you are only housing turtles in the tank, then you should look for a filter that is specific to turtle tanks. A regular aquarium filter will work just fine for most turtle tanks, but they are made specifically for water that small turtles might swallow during feeding time.

Do I need a filter for my turtle tank?

Although turtles are very low maintenance pets, most people benefit from buying a filter for their turtle tank, especially if the turtle is kept indoors. The filter helps eliminate any odors from your turtle and will keep the tank water more clear and pleasing to the eye.

Many filters will also help to maintain the correct water temperature for your turtle. Making sure your turtle has the proper water temperature is important to its health.

While a filter is not an essential part of the tank setup, it is a very convenient one. If you have trouble maintaining the water temperature and consistently cleaning your turtle tank, then a filter might be for you.

What is the best filter for a red eared slider?

Ask this question in a pet store or on any pet forum and you'll get a wide variety of answers.

Most of the answers you'll get will be true, but there won't be a consensus on what's best. On the one hand, it's not that surprising. The best filtration depends on the turtle's size, the age of the turtle, aquarium size and other factors.

One thing that most will agree on, though, is that purchasing a filtration system is far more important than simply purchasing a filter cartridge. There are hundreds, possibly thousands, of filter cartridges on the market. They all do a reasonable job of filtering water for a turtle tank, but some are better than others. It’s not uncommon for people to buy the wrong filter cartridge for their tank and experience frustrating results.

How often do you clean a turtle tank with a filter?

Most people assume that this filter has to be cleaned on a regular basis. However, this is not the case. In fact, the filter will continue to work just fine if it is only cleaned every few weeks.

One thing to be aware of, though, is the fact that the turtle will start looking at the filter as food. If you don’t clean it on a regular basis, then it is very likely that the turtle will begin to consume the filter and cause damage to the motor.


Turtles are a favorite pet for many people because they look so cute and they’re easy to maintain. But that requires that you not only get everything your turtle needs, but also the best equipment to help it survive.

When it comes to buying everything you need, we’re going to take you through the process of choosing the best filter for turtle tank so that you can have a healthy, safe, and easy-to-maintain tank for your turtle.

There are many criteria to consider so we’ve created a buying guide to help you understand what you should look for in the best filter for turtle tank.

Our Recommendation

Fluval FX4 Canister FilterBest OverallFluval FX4 Canister Filter
Aqueon Quietflow Internal Power FilterBudget PickAqueon Quietflow Internal Power Filter
Eheim AEH2262380 FilterUpgrade PickEheim AEH2262380 Filter