Turtle Tank Water Filters (10 Favorites We Love!) Reviews – WaterFiltersAdvisor

 Last updated  - November 26th, 2021

For most, water filters are essential home appliances. While we hold our water to specific standards, we should also extend the same to our pets. This is especially true in the case of aquatic pets such as fish, turtles, and frogs. Read on to learn everything you need to know about the best water filters for turtle tanks.

Contents

Turtle Filter Types

There are two main types of turtle tank water filters: internal and external. Internal filters sit inside and external filters sit outside the tank. The type of filter you should get depends on the size of your tank and maintenance requirements.

1. Internal Tank Filters

Internal tank filters are submersible underwater. Most attach inside the by the glass. These filters are best for smaller tanks, usually between 20-50 gallons. Additionally, many prefer these because of the way they look. They are small, subtle, and easy to hide with decorations. However, since these filters are smaller, they need cleaning more often.

2. Under Gravel Filters

Under gravel filters are a type of biological filter that has a plastic plate that covers the bottom of the tank. This plate has slots for biological filtration that works with the help of a lift tube, which stimulates the process. Undergravel filters are sometimes a hit or miss. Plus, these filters are usually expensive. However, with the right maintenance and knowledge, they still get the job done.

3. External Tank Filters

External filters come in different forms and models. The most common are canister filters.

These filters are great for larger tanks and are a crowd favorite since they do not take up room. Sometimes they sit under the tank or on a cabinet. A canister filter usually has two or more different hoses. The main two hoses are input and output hoses that filter out old water and put new, clean water back in. In addition, canister filters are highly customizable. You can choose different filter media and customize different stages.

Quick Comparisons

Tetra Whisper Internal Filter 10 To 30 Gallons,...
AQUA-TECH Power Aquarium Filter, 30 to 60-Gallon...
Penn Plax Cascade CCF3UL Canister Filter For Large...
Tetra - Beater filter with bio
Aqua-Tech Power aquarium filter
Penn Plax Aquarium Cascade Canister Filter
Best Feature/Benefit
Designed for use in smaller aquariums up to 20 gallons
Traps dirt, removes impurities, and offers maximum water-to-carbon contact
It is one of the best filters for a 100-gallon turtle tank
Advantage
All-in-one air pump and water filtration
Special design to not clog
Highly customizable for personalized operations
Star rating
Prime?
-
-
Tetra Whisper Internal Filter 10 To 30 Gallons,...
Tetra - Beater filter with bio
Best Feature/Benefit
Designed for use in smaller aquariums up to 20 gallons
Advantage
All-in-one air pump and water filtration
Star rating
Prime?
-
AQUA-TECH Power Aquarium Filter, 30 to 60-Gallon...
Aqua-Tech Power aquarium filter
Best Feature/Benefit
Traps dirt, removes impurities, and offers maximum water-to-carbon contact
Advantage
Special design to not clog
Star rating
Prime?
Penn Plax Cascade CCF3UL Canister Filter For Large...
Penn Plax Aquarium Cascade Canister Filter
Best Feature/Benefit
It is one of the best filters for a 100-gallon turtle tank
Advantage
Highly customizable for personalized operations
Star rating
Prime?
-

Turtle Filters – 10 Product Reviews

Now that you know the basics of turtle tank filters, take a look at our buying guide. Below is a comprehensive list of some of the best water filters for turtle tanks on the market. The right one for you depends on your needs.

10. Tetra Whisper In-Tank Filter With BioScrubber

Tetra in-tank water filter
Filter type 3-stage filtration system
Advantages All-in-one air pump and filtration
Catches debris Dual-sided Bag mesh that catches waste and debris
Convenient design Anti-clog design for convenient maintenance
Aerates water air-driven design filters up to 125 PH

The Tetra Whisper In-Tank Filter with BioScrubber is a great filter for a 25-gallon turtle tank. Its price range sits between $10 and $20 and offers quiet operations as one of its most notable features.

Type of Filtration System and Medium

This filter mounts inside your tank. It features a 3-stage system and makes use of both mechanical and chemical filtration.

  • Stage 1 filter options include a string or pleated 5-micron pre-filter to reduce dirt, rust, and sediment.
  • A submicron filter in Stage 2 reduces chlorine, viruses, bacteria, and heavy metal.
  • Stage 3 has carbon filter options including pleated, wrap, or radial flow to reduce chlorine and odor.

To perform mechanical filtration, the Tetra Whisper in-tank filter uses mesh media and a 5-micron pre-filter to capture debris. To perform chemical filtration, it makes use of activated carbon. This regulates chemical contaminants and provides odorless and colorless water.

Motor and Flow Rate

The Tetra Whisper filter features an all-in-one motor. It operates silently and effectively, supporting an even flow that distributes water to allow peak filtration performance. Additionally, it offers great oxygenation while supporting a flow rate of 125 GPH.

Maintenance

Make sure to take out any large pieces of debris to prevent clogging. General maintenance requires regular replacement of the bio bags when needed. You can also replace the entire unit itself when needed.

Pros
Affordable price
Convenient design
All-in-one air pump and water filtration
Easy to install
Removable and replaceable
Keeps the water crystal clear
Can function with just 2 inches of water.
Can make mini-waterfalls in your tank.
Cons
Not reliable in some tanks
Distinct humming noise

9. LONDAFISH Turtle Filter

turtle tank water filter parts
Power Supply 110 Voltage
Maximum dive depth 0.5 meters
Water level Ultra-low water level. The water level can be adjusted according to demand.
Type of water circulation Waterfall
Muted design Creates a quiet environment
Suction cup installment Suitable for low water levels, can be directly sucked on the tank wall

The LONDAFISH Turtle Water Submersible Filter latches inside using suction cups. Its size makes it perfect for turtle tanks, specifically for 25-gallon tanks and smaller ones.

Type of Filtration System and Medium

This filter uses mechanical filtration. It works through its powerful circulation that traps and collects any contaminants that may be present in your turtle tank. This includes food particles, waste, and other types of debris.

It uses a filtration plate and filter sponge, which can be purchased separately. The sponge acts as a porous filter medium to trap contaminants. You can also use this product in combination with chemical media for better results.

Motor and Flow Rate

The LONDAFISH Turtle Water Submersible Filter features a silent motor. It operates on 110V, with a frequency of 50HZ, and 5W wattage. It has a flow rate of 600L/H.

Be careful with the installation. In addition, make sure that temperature is maintained below 35°C, but not below freezing.

Maintenance

This filter is removable and can be maintained by hand. Simply remove the front cover and the impeller cover, then remove the impeller unit. Use a small brush to clean the impeller cylinder or use a blower to remove the dirt. Finally, rinse with running water to remove the internal debris.

Pros
High-performance motor
Easy to install
Mute design
Easy to operate
Versatile
Cons
The power supply cord cannot be replaced
Not ideal for a large tank

8. Jack Super Aquarium Waterfall Filter

low level waterfall filter for pets
Size 8.3 x 3.7 x 2.8 inches
Lowest water level 1.6 inch
Designed for Aquatic turtle tanks, reptiles, amphibians, or fish tanks in any aquarium.
Water circulation Helps water cycling
  Can be hung on or stuck on the aquarium

The JackSuper filter is great for 40-gallon tanks and sits at a price range between $20 and $30.

Type of Filtration System and Medium

This filter sits inside the tank, hooked on via latch or suction cup. The JackSuper Aquarium tank supports chemical filtration, with the help of activated carbon cartridges.

This product also supports mechanical media. You can pre-filter the water with the inlet cover sponge. This removes large particles before the water passes through the cartridges. It also holds extra space for any additional media you wish to add.

Motor and Flow Rate

This JackSuper filter has a very quiet motor. Plus, it creates a waterfall, providing ample water circulation. The motor can work with low water levels and operates on 110V, 5W, and has a flow rate of 600L/H.

Maintenance

While this filter is able to operate on low water levels, you never want to leave it idle. Leaving it to idle in water for long periods of time will damage the motor. Clean often and remove any large contaminants that may cause clogs. Cartridges and other media should be replaced often. This prevents clogging and maintains peak filtration performance.

Pros
High-performance motor
Easy to install and maintain
Low water level capability
Provides quiet operation
Cons
Hanging clip problem

7. JackSuper Aquarium Waterfall 

JackSuper low level water filter review
Size 2.8 x 1.8 x 6.3 inches
Cable length 1.5 m
Lowest water level 2.5 m
Water circulation and cleaning Dense dual-sided mesh
Filled with Ultra-activated carbon absorbs odors and avoids discoloration.
Filter replacement Easy to change filter cartridges

This JackSuper Aquarium filter is very similar to the previous one shown above. However, this filter is smaller, ideal for 12 gallons or less, and sits at a price range between $15 and $20.

The JackSuper Aquarium filter sits inside the tank and supports chemical filtration through its use of activated carbon. It comes with replaceable cartridges and extra space for additional filtration media.

Unlike the larger JackSuper filter, this one does not have room for an inlet sponge. You can opt for an additional sponge in the extra space.

Motor and Flow Rate

The motor is quiet, and the circulation capabilities of this filter allow for fast and effective filtration. In addition, it creates a waterfall for a serene environment for your turtle. Additional specifications include operations of 110V, 3W, and a flow rate of 200L/H.

Maintenance

Similar to its larger variation, you will want to make sure that it does not remain idle so the motor won’t be damaged. Since this filter does not have an inlet sponge, clean and replace it often.

Pros
Easy to install and maintain
Quiet operation
Multi-purpose for the filter, oxygenates, and fountains.
Cons
Only works for small tanks

6. AQUANEAT Low Water Level Filter for Small Turtle Hermit Crab

AQUANEAT low water filter for tank
Filter Type Low water level filter
Depth of water required It only requires about 0.8-inch depth of water
Water flow 90L per hour
Power Supply 110 to 120 Voltage
Chemical Filtration Activated carbon cartridge with cotton mesh for chemical filtration
Functions Creates waterfall ensuring proper oxygenation
  Keep crystal water and a healthy environment for aquatic nano tanks

The AQUANEAT Low Water Level Filter is great for small turtles and small tanks. It works well with low water levels and tanks under 3 gallons. It sits at a price range between $20 and $30.

Type of Filtration System and Medium

The AQUANEAT Low Water Level filter uses chemical filtration to clean your turtle’s tank but can be used in combination with other filters to add more stages to your filtration. You can even use multiple of the same unit for maximum filtration.

This filter uses activated carbon, as well as a cotton mesh to trap larger contaminants. The carbon and the meshwork together to limit odor and discoloration in the water.

Motor and Flow Rate

This is a low-level water filter that can operate with as little as 2 cm of water. The filter operates on 110-120V and has a maximum flow rate of 24 GPH or 90L/H.

Maintenance

Since the filter is very small, clean it often to prevent clogs. This includes cleaning the filter itself, and replacing the cartridges when needed. You can replace the actual filter when you start to see a depletion in its performance.

Pros
Suitable for baby turtles and hermit crabs
Removes odor and discoloration from water
Easy to install and maintain
Affordable
Cons
No replacement filter included

5. Aqua-Tech Power Aquarium Filter w/ 3-Step Filtration

Aqua-Tech Power aquarium filter
Product Dimension 6.2 x 14.3 x 7.18 inches
Filter Type With advanced 3 step filtration
Capacity 30 to 60-gallon
Warranty With 2 year
Functions Traps dirt and removes impurities

The AquaTech Power Aquarium Filter with 3 Step Filtration is one of the best water filters for a 60-gallon turtle tank. This filter has different variations of filtration capacity. Each sits at a different price range, usually between $30 and $40.

Type of Filtration System and Medium

This filter uses both mechanical and chemical filtration and supports 3 stage filtration, which is as follows.

Stage 1

  • The filter cartridge floss screens out dirt and debris, using a molded and ribbed back for maximum water to carbon contact.

Stage 2

  • Activated carbon inside the cartridge removes the odor and discoloration of water.

Stage 3

  • Finally, the filter eliminates toxic ammonia and nitrite with bio fiber.

Maintenance

This turtle tank is removable and easy to clean. To do so, use a small brush with running water. Clean the filter and change the cartridge every month.

Pros
Easy to install and maintain
Special design to not clog
The high-efficiency filtration system
With 2 year warranty
Eliminates bacteria and viruses
Cons
Does not support the quiet operation
Requires more maintenance

4. Zilla Internal Filter for Aquatic Reptiles

water filter for reptiles
Product Dimension 6.5 x 6 x 11.25 inches
Filter Replacement Replaceable carbon cartridge
Capacity Up to 40 gallons for turtle terrariums
Installation Suction cups and hanging clips are included
  Include a protective grate to prevent your turtle from entering the filter

The Zilla Internal Filter for Aquatic Reptiles is a great option for your turtle tank. This filter works best in a 40-gallon turtle tank and sits at a price range between $25 and $35. Other variations of this filter also exist, including a 20-gallon filter.

Type of Filtration System and Medium

The Zilla Internal Filter for Aquatic Reptiles uses chemical filtration with activated carbon. The cartridges are replaceable so you can add more filters or a mesh panel for large particles. In addition, the filter comes with a small gate to prevent your turtle from being sucked in.

Motor and Flow Rate

The Zilla Internal filter is a small filter with a powerful motor and a flow rate of 60 GPH. Its circulation capabilities allow for the best filtration performance possible.

Maintenance

It is important to change the replaceable filter regularly. Since the filter sits inside the tank, it’s a good idea to clean the turtle gate as well. You can clean the outside and inside with a small brush.

Pros
Suitable for aquatic reptiles and amphibians
Quick and easy installation
With protective grate
Keeps the water crystal clear
Patented power filtration
Cons
Noisy Operation
Needs to be replaced every few months

3. Zoo Med Laboratories Turtle

filter cartridge for turtle tank

Main Features and Benefits

  • Removable hose-connecting device
  • Adjustable flow control system
  • Calibrated anti-vibration bushing
  • Easy-to-open filter head
  • Supports multiple media filtration

The Zoo Med Laboratories Turtle Clean 511 Submersible Filter was recently rebranded. It is now known as the Zoo Med Laboratories Turtle Clean 30 External Canister Filter. This filter is a great option for 30-gallon turtle tanks and sits at a price range between $60 and $80.

Type of Filtration System and Medium

The Zoo Med Turtle Clean External Filter supports all three forms of filtration: mechanical, chemical, and biological. Each filtration process is supported by different filtration media.

To support mechanical filtration, this filter uses the Zoo Med Mechanical Pre-Filter Sponge. The coarse, porous material traps larger contaminants before allowing water to pass through. For chemical filtration, the Zoo Med filter uses activated carbon inserts. Finally, biological filtration is done through ceramic media that traps the good bacteria, allowing it to grow.

Maintenance

First, unplug and rotate the hose to the unlock position to easily remove the water from the canister. Next, take the filter head off and remove the carbon and ceramic mediums. For regular cleaning, change the carbon bag once a month. Clean the sponge using running water and rinse the ceramic media using dechlorinated water.

After cleaning, return the parts to their proper position and make sure to place them correctly. Fill the canister with water through the fill cap and replace the cap before using it.

Pros
Provides greater aeration
Saves space in your tank
Quiet operation
Supports biological filtration
Cons
Difficult to install
Requires more maintenance

2. Tetra Decorative ReptoFilter

decorative reptile filter for aquariums
Product Dimension 8.8 x 12.8 x 10.6 inches
Ideal for Shallow water
Function Dual-function lid
Performance Realistic natural stone appearance
  Gives instant waterfall

The Tetra Decorative ReptoFilter offers an appealing and space-saving design. This filter is a great filter for 50-gallon turtle tanks. It sits at a price range between $20 and $30.

Type of Filtration System and Medium

The Tetra decorative ReptoFilter supports 3-stage filtration. The ReptoFilter integrates the Tetra Whisper filtration technology into its operations. Here, you will see that both the ReptoFilter and Tetra Whisper use the same 3-stage filtration technology:

  • Stage 1 filter options include a string or pleated 5-micron pre-filter to reduce dirt, rust, and sediment.
  • A submicron filter in Stage 2 reduces chlorine, viruses, bacteria, and heavy metal.
  • Stage 3 has carbon filter options including pleated, wrap, or radial flow to reduce chlorine and odor.

With this filter, you get the power of a Tetra Whisper, with an appealing design.

Motor and Flow Rate

This filter offers quiet operation and creates a waterfall for visual appeal and better circulation. The filter has a flow rate of 90 GPH.

Maintenance

Since this filter doubles as a platform for your turtles to lounge on, you will need to clean it more often. The filter itself comes with replaceable cartridges that can be repurchased as needed. For the exterior, scrub with a brush often and make sure that the slots remain free from clogs.

Pros
Easy to set up and maintain
Efficient performance
Gives your tank great visual appeal
Quiet operation
Cons
Clogging issues

1. Penn Plax Aquarium Cascade Canister Filter

heavy-duty aquarium filter

Main Features and Benefits

The most notable features and benefits of this filter include:

  • External canister style design
  • Rotating flow valves
  • Push-button primer
  • Complete with spray bar and tubing
  • Swimming pool style close clamps

The Penn Plax Aquarium Cascade Canister Filter is a heavy-duty aquarium filter. It is one of the best filters for a 100-gallon turtle tank. This filter sits at a price range between $70 and $85. It also comes in different size variations at different prices.

Type of Filtration System and Medium

The Penn Plax Cascade Canister Filter offers powerful filtration capabilities and is highly customizable. For basic mechanical filtration, the filter comes with a floss pad. It also comes with a coarse sponge to promote biological filtration. There is plenty of space inside the filter’s three media baskets to allow buyers to customize as they please.

Motor and Flow Rate

This filter sports an extremely powerful motor, with the ability to filter through freshwater and most marine environments. It operates with a flow rate of 265 GPH.

Maintenance

To keep this filter at its peak performance, clean it often. This includes replacing your chosen filter media and cleaning the baskets often, as well as cleaning the input and output tubes. This keeps the incoming water clean and free from algae buildup.

Pros
High-quality tubes and connectors
Spray bar included
Self-priming feature
Highly customizable for personalized operations
Includes a coarse sponge to promote bacteria growth
Airtight seal for enhanced circulation
Cons
Requires a lot of power to operate
Noisy operation
Complicated installation

Why You Need One

If this is the first you are hearing about turtle filters, you may wonder if they are really necessary. The simple answer is yes. Some aquatic pets can manage with regular habitat cleaning. But turtles are different, especially since they produce a lot of waste.

Remember, turtles are different from goldfish. Their diets are different, consisting primarily of pellets, vegetables, and even live food such as worms, crickets, and slugs. Therefore, their waste has more substance. Without a proper filter, it can build up, contaminate the water, and make your turtle sick.

Another reason why turtle filters are so important is because of chlorine and other contaminants in tap water. For humans, showering or cleaning with unfiltered or hard water can result in dry and dull skin. In turn, we can apply this concept to turtle tanks but on a more drastic level.

Turtles spend most of their time in the water. So it is important that the water itself is clean and does not contain harsh contaminants. These elements can make them sick, and hardness can even build upon their shells.

Factors to Consider

Just like any filtration unit, you will want to choose the right one for your turtle’s needs. Choosing a poor quality filter can lead to issues with maintenance or performance, both of which can affect your turtle’s health. Some factors you may want to consider include type, size, medium, and flow rate. Below is a comprehensive buying guide to help you choose the best turtle tank water filter.

Different Filtration Methods

Tank filters come in different types according to their build and features. They can also differ in their filtration methods. The three different filtration methods include: mechanical, chemical, and biological. Choosing the right one will depend on several factors, including your budget, maintenance, and the look you want to achieve. Plus, the different methods can also be used in combination with each other.

1. Mechanical Filtration

Mechanical filtration deals with filtering out physical contaminants. This includes waste, algae build-up, leftover food particles, and any bugs that may have gotten in the tank. These filters often use materials such as mesh or other porous filters to trap the contaminants. Mechanical filters do a great job of improving the look of your tank by making the water appear more clear. However, there aren’t many pure mechanical filters on the market for turtle tanks. For a quick fix, simply use a net to remove physical debris.

2. Chemical Filtration

Chemical filtration works to make water appear more clear. For example, when your turtle urinates or defecates, ammonia and bacteria are released. These cannot be filtered out through strainers like normal physical contaminants. Chemical filtration is how these get filtered out. Common chemical filtration methods include using activated carbon, protein foam, and oxidation. These filters don’t require too much maintenance and should be replaced every 4-6 weeks.

3. Biological Filtration

Unlike mechanical and chemical filtration, biological filtration adds more to the water. This works by stimulating the existing bacteria in the tank to produce good bacteria. There are many different types of biological filters that work in different ways, but the most common are under gravel filters.

Filter Media

Along with the different filtration methods, there are also mediums for mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration. A filter media is put inside the filters in order to aid or boost performance. Using different types of media with different filtration methods is one of the ways to customize your tank to fit your turtle’s needs.

1. Mechanical Media

Mechanical media includes different agents that aid in mechanical filtration. Mesh and nets are common mechanical media but other media that can be put in the filter are micron filter pads. There are a variety of micron sizes to choose from. This allows you to target different sizes of contaminants. Smaller micron pads can even filter out some bacteria. Filter pads are easy to replace and dispose of which leaves maintenance to a minimum.

2. Chemical Media

Chemical media targets the particles in the water content that cannot be seen. Common chemical filtration methods include carbon and oxidation. Chemical media includes carbon and resin beads.

3. Carbon

It is no secret that activated carbon is very effective in the world of filtration. In turtle tanks, carbon does a great job of capturing elements such as copper and chlorine. Plus, their fine pores can even trap antibiotics and other small particles. Make sure to properly dispose of the carbon once finished.

4. Resin Beads

Resin beads work using the process of ion exchange to alter the content of the water. For turtle tanks, there are specific beads that can attract ammonia, nitrate, or other harmful chemicals. These beads change their molecular composition so they are safer for your turtle. You can also use resin beads with carbon to strengthen the carbon.

5. Biological Media

Biological media works by creating a space for healthy bacteria to grow. At the same time, it breaks down toxic bacteria. Biological media does not require replacement often. However, it does need a lot of maintenance. Be sure to monitor temperature and oxygen levels.

Maintaining

A clean tank is a very important part of keeping a happy and healthy turtle. Here are some things you can do to properly maintain your filter.

  • Choose the Right Size

It is important that the filter and tank size are compatible with one another. If a tank is too big for its filter, the filter can break down. Each filter has its own carrying capacity and amount of water it can handle. Pairing a small filter with a large tank can overwork the filter.

  • Regular Tank Cleanings

Even though there are mechanical filters on the market, you can still help your filter. For example, instead of leaving all the debris for the filter to work on, you can use nets, mesh, or a vacuum to clean up the tank yourself. This is easy to do and puts less pressure on your filter. A magnetic tank scrub also comes in handy with algae build-up. Plus, lessening the debris in your tank prolongs your filter life.

  • Monitoring

It is also important to monitor the water itself. Testing for chemical content regularly helps keep your filter in good condition. Additionally, monitor the temperature and circulation in your tank. This regulates algae growth which can clog your filter.

  • Filter Replacement and Cleaning

Make sure to clean your filter regularly to prevent clogs. If there are clogs, dispose of and replace filter pads. Also, be sure to check the life of your filter and buy a replacement when needed.

FAQs

Below, we have compiled answers to some of the most frequently asked questions in order to give you a better understanding of all things related to turtle tank filtration:

Do I Really Need a Filter For My Turtle Tank?

Yes. Turtles produce a lot more waste compared to other aquatic pets. Filters are also important because the circulation oxygenates the tank. You could scoop out waste and large particles manually, but that does not offer the same results.

Is Biological Filtration Necessary?

Most tanks are fine just using chemical and mechanical filtration. Biological filtration is an added bonus to improve quality. It promotes the growth of healthy and beneficial bacteria for a healthier turtle habitat.

How Often Should I Clean My Filter?

This depends on the size of your tank and how much waste your turtle produces, and if you have more than one. Generally, it is better to clean your filter often to prevent clogs and maintain peak performance.

How Do I Choose the Best Filter?

A rule of thumb is to double or triple the filter capacity. Almost all filters will note their filter capacity. From here you will want to take the actual capacity of your tank and double it.

Our Final Thoughts

All in all, there are many different turtle filters on the market to choose from. Choosing the right one for your tank depends on factors such as your tank capacity, space requirements, and the turtle itself.

Being knowledgeable about the different types of filtration and turtle filters brings you one step closer to finding the best turtle tank water filter.