10 Best Filters for Turtle Tank in 2020

Best Filter For Turtle Tank

Turtles are very cute animals but at the same time, very messy. This is quite extreme to the extent that some turtle owners conclude that these creatures prefer living in dirty waters.

Even if turtles can live in murky waters, this isn’t what’s best for them. Additionally, if the water is murky, you will not be able to see the turtle, other creatures and plants on the inside.

As such, you need to buy the best filter for turtle tanks to clear out the murkiness and this article gives you a close look at the best turtle tank filters in the market to consider buying.

You can also read other products reviews of aquarium filterHOB filtercanister filteraquarium pump

IMAGE

​PRODUCT

​FEATURES

Aquatop CF400UV

1. Aquatop CF400UV (Best Overall Turtle Tank Filter)

  • 3-stage filtration plus a UV sterilizer
  • 370 GPH canister with a quiet pump
  • Self-priming
  • 3 size options
Tetra 25905

2. Tetra 25905 (Decorative Turtle Tank Filter)

  • Internal filter with a decorative rock-like design
  • 90 GPH with 3-stage filtration
  • Creates a waterfall
Penn Plax Cascade 1500 Elite

3. Penn Plax Cascade 1500 Elite (Turtle Tank Filter with 360º Rotating Valves)

  • 360º rotating valve taps
  • 350 GPH 3-stage filtration
  • Easy lift clamps
  • Includes all filtration media
Aqueon 100106973

4. Aqueon 100106973 (Vertically or Horizontally Submersible Turtle Tank Filter)

  • Flexible vertical or horizontal position installation
  • Directional return pipe
  • 4-size options
  • Adjustable flow rate
Tetra 25817

5. Tetra 25817 (Best Budget Turtle Tank Filter)

  • Affordable internal filter
  • Hanger or suction cup installation
  • 4-size options
Tetra 26313

6. Tetra 26313 (Easy-to-Maintain Turtle Tank Filter)

  • Easy-to-maintain HOB filter
  • Mess-free carbon filter replacement
  • Time strip technology
  • Extended intake pipe with a strainer
Eheim 2211370

7. Eheim 2211370 (Easy-to-Monitor Turtle Tank Filter)

  • See-through green translucent body
  • 79 GPH with a silent motor
  • 3-stage filtration
  • Includes all filtration media
Hydor C02301

8. Hydor C02301 (Turtle Tank with a Telescopic Intake)

  • Telescopic intake and a spray bar
  • 3-stage filtration with no bypass
  • Ceramic shaft
  • Safety lock
Zoo Med 976031

9. Zoo Med 976031 (Compact Turtle Tank Filter)

  • Small and compact canister filter
  • 3-stage filtration with a flow rate of 79 GPH
  • Clear view cover
Marineland PCML530

10. Marineland PCML530 (Powerful Turtle Tank Filter)

  • 530 GPH canister filter
  • Ideal for fresh and saltwater tanks
  • 3-stage filtration with no bypass
  • 4 size options

PRODUCT

1. Aquatop CF400UV

(Best Overall Turtle Tank Filter)

Aquatop CF400UV
  • 3-stage filtration plus a UV sterilizer
  • 370 GPH canister with a quiet pump
  • Self-priming
  • 3 size options

2. Tetra 25905

(Decorative Turtle Tank Filter)

Tetra 25905
  • Internal filter with a decorative rock-like design
  • 90 GPH with 3-stage filtration
  • Creates a waterfall

3. Penn Plax Cascade 1500 Elite

(Turtle Tank Filter with 360º Rotating Valves)

Penn Plax Cascade 1500 Elite
  • 360º rotating valve taps
  • 350 GPH 3-stage filtration
  • Easy lift clamps
  • Includes all filtration media

4. Aqueon 100106973

(Vertically or Horizontally Submersible Turtle Tank Filter)

Aqueon 100106973
  • Flexible vertical or horizontal position installation
  • Directional return pipe
  • 4-size options
  • Adjustable flow rate

5. Tetra 25817

(Best Budget Turtle Tank Filter)

Tetra 25816
  • Affordable internal filter
  • Hanger or suction cup installation
  • 4-size options

6. Tetra 26313

(Easy-to-Maintain Turtle Tank Filter)

Tetra 26313
  • Easy-to-maintain HOB filter
  • Mess-free carbon filter replacement
  • Time strip technology
  • Extended intake pipe with a strainer

7. Eheim 2211370

(Easy-to-Monitor Turtle Tank Filter)

Eheim 2213371
  • See-through green translucent body
  • 79 GPH with a silent motor
  • 3-stage filtration
  • Includes all filtration media

8. Hydor C02301

(Turtle Tank with a Telescopic Intake)

Hydor C02301
  • Telescopic intake and a spray bar
  • 3-stage filtration with no bypass
  • Ceramic shaft
  • Safety lock

9. Zoo Med 976031

(Compact Turtle Tank Filter)

Zoo Med 976031
  • Small and compact canister filter
  • 3-stage filtration with a flow rate of 79 GPH
  • Clear view cover

10. Marineland PCML530

(Powerful Turtle Tank Filter)

Marineland PCML530
  • 530 GPH canister filter
  • Ideal for fresh and saltwater tanks
  • 3-stage filtration with no bypass
  • 4 size options

1. Aquatop CF400UV – Best Overall Turtle Tank Filter

Aquatop CF Series Canister Filter
  • Capacity: Up to 125 gallons
  • Filter System: 3 stage
  • Flow Rate: 370 gallons per hour

If you want to have the purest water for your turtles, this is the best canister filter that you can buy.

It has the mechanical, chemical and biological filtration system that gets rid of dirt, debris, odor, discoloration, ammonia, and nitrites, then tops this off with UV sterilization from a 9-watt UV sterilizer.

Even though the unit comes with a filter sponge and pads, premium activated carbon, ceramic rings and bio balls for the 3 stage filtration process, the media trays are designed to be large in size, allowing you add the filtration media of your choice.

On first use, the unit’s pump does not require priming, which makes it very convenient to use. Additionally, this pump operates quietly, which is very good for both the turtles and you as the owner.

In terms of size, this canister filter is available in a smaller 264 GPH 75-gallon option and a bigger 525 GPH 175-gallon option, giving you multiple options for differently-sized tanks.

The only downside to it is that it is constructed using cheap plastic, which is not very durable. However, the unit is reasonably priced for its size, making it worth the money.

Pros:

  • 3 stage filtration system plus UV sterilization
  • Comes with filtration media for the 3 stage process
  • Self-priming pump
  • Available in 3 different sizes

Cons:

  • Cheap plastic construction

2. Tetra 25905 – Decorative Turtle Tank Filter

Tetra 25905 Decorative Reptile Filter for Turtle Tank
  • Capacity: Up to 55 gallons
  • Filter System: 3 stage
  • Flow Rate: 90 gallons per hour

Tetra’s 25905 is a very creative filtration solution that doubles up as a tank decoration and is ideal for frogs, newts and of course, turtles.

The decoration aspect is in the form of a rock-like formation, with a locking cover that provides a basking area for the animals above the water while also keeping them from getting inside the filtration system.

This stone design blends well with other rocks and plants inside the tank while its rugged formation creates a natural looking waterfall, which is very aesthetically pleasing and makes the creatures inside feel like they are in their natural habitat.

On the inside, the unit has a 90 GPH motor that forces the water through a 3-stage Whisper filtration system, comprising of easily replaceable bio bags that do the mechanical, chemical and biological filtration.

This means that the filter gets rid of dirt and debris, bad odor and discoloration, and harmful ammonia in one pass while the easily replaceable bio bags mean that the filter is easy to clean on the inside and easy to assemble as well.

On the downside, the rugged rock exterior can be difficult to clean although its brownish colors hide the dirt really well.

Pros:

  • Decorative stone-like design
  • Creates a waterfall
  • 3-stage filtration system
  • Provides a basking area for the animals

Cons:

  • Difficult to clean on the outside
  • High water levels cover up the waterfall feature

3. Penn Plax Cascade 1500 Elite – Turtle Tank Filter with 360º Rotating Valves

Penn Plax Cascade Canister Filter
  • Capacity: Up to 200 gallons
  • Filter System: 3 stage
  • Flow Rate: 350 gallons per hour

With its 360º rotational valve taps, this canister filter can be easily placed and maneuvered in tight aquarium cabinets with ease. It also has a quick push-button primer for hassle-free starting and easy-lift clamps for quick accessing of the filter media.

On the inside, this 350 GPH unit has large stackable trays that can accommodate a 3-stage filtration system for the best possible water quality.

Additionally, the product comes with bio floss, bio-foam, pro carb, a Magna sweep algae magnet, and ceramic rings as media for this system. This means that you only need to assemble and begin using it without buying anything else.

However, this comes at a cost. There are smaller size options though that are cheaper, and these include the Cascade 500, 700, 700 Elite, 1000, 1200 and 1500.

Pros:

  • ​360º rotating valve taps
  • 3-stage filtration system
  • Comes with all the filtration media as accessories
  • Easy lift clamps for easy transportation

Cons:

  • Requires manual priming
  • Expensive

4. Aqueon 100106973 – Vertically or Horizontally Submersible Turtle Tank Filter

Aqueon Quietflow Internal Power Filter
  • Capacity: 40 gallons
  • Filter System: 3 stage
  • Flow Rate: 155 gallons per hour

Just like the Decorative Tetra 25905, Aqueon’s Quietflow is an internal filter that is fully submersible and can operate in a horizontal or vertical orientation.

This type of mounting is made possible by a directional return pipe, which also makes the height of the water return adjustable, giving you more flexibility.

Apart from the adjustable return direction and height, an adjustable flow rate feature gives you full control over the water flow and filtration system at large. This makes it one of the best internal filters for turtle tanks.

Internally, filtration is carried out by a mechanical dense-foam filter that gets rid of debris and other suspended particles.

A chemical activated-carbon filter gets rid of any discolorations and bad odors while a patented Biogrid system digests the ammonia and nitrites to give a complete 3 stage filtration process.

These filters are in form of Aqueon cartridges, which are easily replaceable once their service life comes to an end. 

In terms of size, this internal filter is available in 3 more options, which are for 10-gallon, 15-gallon and 30-gallon capacity tanks.

Pros:

  • Can operate in a horizontal or vertical position
  • Adjustable flow rate
  • Height and direction adjustable return pipe
  • 3 stage filtration system
  • Available in 4 sizes

Cons:

  • Only suitable for small 40-gallon tanks

5. Tetra 25817 – Best Budget Turtle Tank Filter

Tetra Whisper In-Tank Filter with BioScrubber
  • Capacity: Up to 20 gallons
  • Filter System: 3 stage
  • Flow Rate: 125 gallons per hour

Tetra's 25817 is the most affordable turtle tank filter in this review. It is an internal filter that can be installed using suction cups or a built-in hanger clip, which is quite easy. 

Construction wise, the filter has a long, thin design, with a motor placement at the bottom part for easy siphoning of the water.

The motor’s impeller is actually placed at the bottom end and this enables the filter to function in as little as 2 inches of water.

This makes it ideal for turtles because the shallow waters are good for them and allow you to place basking grounds inside the tank. Additionally, it allows for waterfall creation, in which you only need to place the return pipe high above the water level.

You also get 4 other sizes, which include smaller up to 3, up to 4, up to 10 gallon filters and a larger up to 40-gallon filter. These give you multiple options for differently-sized tanks.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Can operate on 2 inches of water
  • Can be installed by suction cups or hanger clip
  • ​Ideal for creating waterfalls

Cons:

  • Only suitable for small tanks of up to 20 gallons

6. Tetra 26313 – Easy-to-Maintain Turtle Tank Filter

Tetra Whisper EX Silent Multi-Stage Power Filter
  • Capacity: 45 – 70 gallons
  • Filter System: 3 stage
  • Flow Rate: 340 gallons per hour

The hang-on-back design on Tetra's 26313 makes it easy to maintain because the internal parts are easily accessible while hung on the aquarium rim.

Additionally, the product has a new patented design in its carbon filter carriers, making them easy to replace while keeping your hands free from touching the dirty, used up filter sections.

Time strip technology is also used to ease the maintenance process by showing you when the carbon filters need replacement.

They show you this by changing color from white to red, which indicates that the filters are used up and must be replaced. All you need to do is to press a button after installing new filters and the timing will begin.

Additionally, the unit has an easy access door at the top, making it quite easy to replace the filters and clean the inner part. This ease of maintenance makes the product ideal for beginners as well as hobbyists alike.

Other features include an extended intake pipe with a strainer and a submerged motor that operates very quietly.

Pros:

  • Easy to replace carbon filters
  • Time strip technology
  • Easy access top door
  • Quiet, submerged motor

Cons:

  • Requires water to be at least at the strainer level ​

7. Eheim 2211370 – Easy-to-Monitor Turtle Tank Filter

Eheim Classic External Canister Filter with Media
  • Capacity: 40 gallons
  • Filter System: 3 stage
  • Flow Rate: 79 gallons per hour

Eheim’s Classic external unit is a top rated filter for turtle tanks that has a green colored translucent body, which makes it possible to monitor the usage of the filtration media from the outside.

Construction wise, the product is simply a long tube that can accommodate several filter baskets and filter pads. The bottom part is supported by a rigid flat base that provides good support as the motor operates silently at the top of the canister.

It comes complete with Eheim Mech and Substrat Pro filter media plus filter sponges that enable you to set up the filtration process for mechanical, chemical and biological filtration, straight out of the box.  

Apart from this 40-gallon tank compatible filter, there are 66-gallon and 92-gallon options for larger turtle tanks. On the downside, each of these options requires priming before use, but the process is very easy.

Pros:

  • Easy to monitor the filtration media
  • Rigid flat base keeps the unit firmly upright
  • Comes complete with filtration media
  • Quiet motor
  • 3-stage filtration system

Cons:

  • Requires priming before use

8. Hydor C02301 – Turtle Tank with a Telescopic Intake

Hydor Professional External Canister Filter
  • Capacity: 60 – 100 gallons
  • Filter System: 3 stage
  • Flow Rate: 280 gallons per hour

Hydor’s C02301 is equipped with a telescopic intake that makes it ideal to use in tanks with different depths. For the output, the unit comes with a spray bar that enables you to create a waterfall effect for the turtles.

Internally, it has a 3-stage filtration system composed of ceramic rings for biological filtration, activated carbon for chemical filtration and filter pads for mechanical filtration.

The baskets for holding these filters are carefully designed to prevent water bypass and this ensures that all the water passes through the system.

A durable ceramic shaft from the motor runs the water through these media while a safety lock keeps the mechanisms safely tucked inside, preventing any leakages.

On the downside, this unit requires priming before use and is very costly. However, there are cheaper canisters for 20 – 40 and 40 – 75-gallon turtle tank capacities. There are larger ones too for 75 – 125 and 90 – 150-gallon tanks if you have a big aquarium.

Pros:

  • Telescopic intake
  • 3-stage filtration system
  • No water bypass.
  • Durable ceramic shaft
  • Safety lock

Cons:

  • Requires priming
  • Relatively expensive

9. Zoo Med 976031 – Compact Turtle Tank Filter

Zoo Med Turtle Clean External Canister Filter
  • Capacity: Up to 15 gallons
  • Filter System: 3 stage
  • Flow Rate: 79 gallons per hour

What stands out about this canister filter is its small size. The unit is only 7 inches tall and can fit on the palm of your hands.

Though only capable of handling small turtle tanks of up to 15 gallons in capacity, the unit is very easy to clean because of its small internal surface area the as well as easy to access. 

You also get mechanical, chemical and biological filter media that deliver clean water on the other end, and a clear view case that allows you to monitor the filter media usage so that you can know when they need replacement.   

Pros:

  • Small convenient size
  • Easy to clean
  • 3-stage filtration system
  • Clear view case

Cons:

  • Only suitable for small ​turtle tanks

10. Marineland PCML530 – Powerful Turtle Tank Filter

Marineland Multi-Stage Canister Filter
  • Capacity: 100 – 150 gallons
  • Filter System: 3 stage
  • Flow Rate: 530 gallons per hour

Marineland is one of the biggest brands in the fish tank accessories market and thus, this list could not be complete without one of their products.

This model has quite a powerful motor, which gives it a fast 530 GPH flow rate. Even though this makes the filter quite expensive, it is suitable for filtering both fresh and saltwater, which means it is very versatile in terms of use.

However, there are smaller, cheaper sizes, which include an up to 30-gallon 160 GPH option, a 30 – 55-gallon 220 GPH size, and a 55 – 100-gallon 360 GPH capacity canister.

Other features include stackable media baskets that support a 3-stage filtration system. The stack design compacts the filtration media together to prevent any bypass so that all the water passes through the media for complete purification.

On the downside, the pump requires priming, though this is simplified to just pushing a button.

Pros:

  • Very fast flow rate
  • Available in 4 different sizes
  • Suitable for cleaning fresh and saltwater
  • 3-stage filtration system
  • No bypass.

Cons:

  • Relatively expensive
  • Requires priming

How to Buy the Best Turtle Tank Filter

How to Buy the Best Turtle Tank Filter

1. Tank Size

The one thing that you should not forget to consider is the tank size compatibility. Normally, turtle tanks should be bought in big sizes so as to accommodate the turtles as they grow.

An important thing to consider here is that turtle tanks are not usually filled to capacity. Some space is left so that they do not jump out of the tank. This space is also important for placing basking areas within the tank for them.

If you intend to half fill your tank due to this, remember that your water capacity is half the tank size.

For instance, with a 100-gallon tank that is filled halfway, a 50-gallon tank capacity filter like Tetra's 25905 ​will be enough for taking care of this.

2. Types of Filters

There are 4 types of turtle tank filters. These are:

  • Internal filters: Also called submersible filters, these are placed inside the tank and are attached to the internal glass surface via suction cups or hanged using a clip. They are usually small in size so as not to occupy a lot of tank space. Check out Tetra's 25817
  • Canister filters: Often considered as the best type, these can be of any size because they don’t occupy space inside the tank. Therefore, if you have a big tank, you will most likely find the appropriately sized filter as a canister type and Penn Plax's Cascade 1500 Elite​ is a perfect example.
  • Hang-on-back filters: This type of filter is ​hung on the tank frame and can only work if it has a suction pipe that extends down to the water level. Remember that the water level on turtle tanks is usually kept low. ​If you want such a filter, check out Tetra's 26313​.
  • Under gravel filters: Under gravel filters for turtle tanks are not very common. They work by drawing or pumping water through the tank floor, using gravel as a biological filter. However, this presents a clogging problem by sinking in debris and leftovers deep inside the gravel.

3. Kinds of Filtration

A complete filtration system is usually composed of 3 filtration stages. These are:

  • Mechanical filtration: This is done by sponges and pads to get rid of the turtle poop, debris, and dirt. It is usually the first step in the filtration process.
  • Chemical filtration: Activated carbon is usually used in this process and cleans out the odor and discoloration.
  • Biological filtration: This is provided by friendly bacteria, which grow on ceramic or bio rings, and help digest ammonia and nitrites.

A filter with all ​these is the best one to buy and all the products above are equipped with all 3.

However, with Aquatop's CF400UV​, you get an additional UV sterilizer, which makes it the best because it eliminates harmful bacteria and algae.

4. Motor and Flow Rate

As stated earlier, turtles do release a lot of waste. As a result of this, continuous filtration is needed so as to get rid of this waste efficiently.

To do this, a powerful motor is required to run the impeller at fast speeds in order to produce a fast flow rate.

Normally, a rate below 100 GPH will work but above 100 is better and more effective.

Filters with flow rates above 300 GPH such as Marineland's PCML530 are ideal for tanks with multiple turtles.

5. Durability

Turtle tank filters are not cheap to buy. Because of this, durability is a big thing to consider. This is usually checked in terms of the overall build quality of the filter’s body.

Most of these filters are built using plastic housings and thus, it is important to look at the quality of this plastic shell.

Other vital things to check are the internal components such as the shaft and impeller, which must withstand the rotational forces from the motor as it forces water through filtration media.

Conclusion

It is pretty clear that selecting a turtle tank filter is not the same as selecting a fish tank filter. These animals require different types of care in terms of maintaining healthy waters for them.

​With that in mind, Aquatop's CF400UV stands out as the overall best filter for turtle tanks due to its UV sterilizer, which effectively kills algae and bacteria. It also has a fast flow rate of 370 GPH. If you want some uniqueness though, the decorative Tetra's 25905 is your best bet.


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