Just like any other aquarium pet, turtles make for some of the most adorable pets ever!
Having your first turtle tank can be a little intimidating, mainly due to the tons of choices available. Getting an excellent and reliable tank filter is paramount.
It is crucial because turtles are messy little creatures. They can get quite dirty, and they also produce quite a bit of waste.
So, the tank water will get dirty, very fast. It, if not treated, will affect the health of your beloved pet turtle.
Don’t be that turtle owner who falls behind in this tank care. Turtles require more care than fishes. You should ensure that the water is cleaner, it is continually circulating, and the tank is a lot bigger.
You should have the best turtle filter in place so that his health is not affected.
That is why we have curated this guide with 5 of the best turtle tanks in the market. In this guide, we touch on everything you need to know in picking the best filter for turtle tanks. These are bound to keep your turtles happy, thriving, and healthy!
Winner: JackSuper Aquarium Turtle Filter
It is a low-level waterfall filter, ideal for aquatic turtle tanks, reptiles, amphibians, frogs, or even fish tanks.
- Type: Hang on or suction cup fix mode.
- Dimensions: 8.27 x 3.66 x 2.76 inches
- Weight: 14.29 ounces
- Best for which size of tank: best for tanks up to 40 gallons
This tank from JackSuper is designed for turtle tanks where the water level is a little low to accommodate amphibious turtles. The filter can draw as little as 1.6 inches of water at its base.
This filter can either be hung on the aquarium or fixed with a sucker. Not only is it quieter than an external filter, but it also produces an aesthetically pleasing waterfall with a rock inside the aquarium.
With a height of 8.3 inches and a flow rate of 600 liters per hour, this is primarily intended for small tanks with maybe 2 or 3 turtles.
The cord length that remains after attaching a cord to the back of the filter is a little over 34 inches long. It comes with an inlet cover sponge to connect to the intake to protect small aquatic animals from being sucked into the filter.
Additionally, it also filters waste and stops it from getting into the powerhead and clogging. Importantly, it absorbs foul odors and discoloration. You will have to clean the filter inlet cover sponge every alternate week to keep it in tip-top working condition.
You can set up this turtle tank filter in both freshwater and saltwater.
- Easy to install and maintain.
- Quieter operation than an external filter.
- Low water level capability.
- It can accommodate other aquarium brands. There is space inside to put up other filter media too.
- Not only clean the water but absorbs odors and discoloration.
- The hanging clip may not be that sturdy and tend to snap once the water starts pumping through it.
- It may not be very long-lasting.
It has two types of filtration; one is the filter pad, and the other is reusable bio balls. The activated carbon cartridges and bio balls help maintain clean turtle tank water, absorb undesired odors and discoloration, and provide healthy water for your aquarium pets.
Apart from the four bio balls, filter cartridges, a holder, and an intake, it also features an adjustable hanger clip with two height settings to adjust to multiple aquarium widths.
This filter is excellent for aquatic turtle tanks, fish tanks, reptiles, amphibians, frogs, or newts in an aquarium up to 40 gallons.
This aquarium filter can only be used in both freshwater and saltwater at 30-35 degrees Centigrade water temperature range. You must run the pump for a few hours every day or risk causing damage to the filter motor. Also, ensure that the minimum water depth is over 2 inches.
Runner Up: hygger 150GPH Low Water Level Aquarium Filter
Hygger is one of the best water filters for turtle tanks. It is just as affordable as the first option on this list and loaded with features.
- Type: hang on back filter
- Dimensions: 8.86 x 5.75 x 3.27 inches
- Weight: 1.59 pounds
This turtle tank filter is enabled with a three-level circulating filtration to give your turtles the best possible environment to thrive in. An 8W powerful motor allows constant circulation to pump water through the three filter layers to achieve the filtration level.
It is a multi-functional tank filter that does the following: Filtration, culture, oxygen, create a wave effect, and water change function.
Suitable for both freshwater and seawater, it comes with a maximum flow capacity of 150 GPH. The lowest water level in your tank can be 1.2 inches, although it is recommended to have the water in your turtle tank at 3.2 inches since some of the water will be lost due to evaporation.
It provides a firm installation and securely attaches to the aquarium wall through a strong suction cup on the back.
- Multi-functional water filter for turtle tank.
- Three-layer filtration.
- Economic power consumption.
- Keeps your aquarium clean and healthy.
- It cannot be used if your tank has ultra-fine sand.
You can rotate the rain shower to flush the turtle, provided the water in the tank is super clean. You also have the option of using it for aquarium landscaping! This tank is not just functional but aesthetically appealing as well.
The shell of this tank is made of high-quality ABS plastic, which lends durability to the unit. Also included are a filter sponge and biochemical ball. The filter sponge is highly effective in capturing large particles, dirt, fish waste, and debris.
The biochemical ball is a nitrification system that greatly enhances the water quality so that your turtle can thrive happily as if it were living in its natural habitat. The third layer in the filtration is made of a coarse-hole filter sponge that eliminates odors, turbidity, impurities and filters the water again.
It is a multi-functional tank with water-change functionality. For this, pull up, turning clockwise and anticlockwise, remove the rain shower, and install the water hose at the tube. Not that the water hose does not come included in the pack.
Alternative 1: LONDAFISH Turtle Filter
- Type: Submersible waterfall type
- Dimensions: 0.79 x 3.15 x 8.66 inches
- Weight: 13.62 ounces
- Best for which size of tank: best for tanks of around 10 gallons
This is one of the most affordable options on our list. This allows for ultra low-level water, the level of which you can adjust as required. It features a waterfall type of water circulation. This will give a smooth flow of water and increase the amount of dissolved oxygen in the tank.
This versatile turtle tank filter is suitable for aquatic habitat, a small aquarium with a low-density feeding cylinder, and a low water level swamp design.
- Ultra-low water level functionality.
- Energy-saving capabilities.
- Provides a quiet and safe environment for your turtles.
- 90 days replacement and money back option.
- Does not come with a proper instruction manual.
- It is rather small, and the cord that comes with it is just 2 feet, which may not be enough.
- Some quality issues are faced by few customers as a trade-off to the low price.
It features two kinds of fixing capabilities – Hook fixing and suction cups. You can use hook fixing for high water levels and adjust it according to the tank height.
Suction cups can be directly sucked on the tank wall. It is ideal when the water level is low. It filters water at the rate of 600 liters per hour, which is indeed good.
You can use this tank only in seawater or freshwater. It is not suitable for any other liquid. Moreover, you shouldn’t use this pump if the water level is above 35 degrees celsius or below the freezing point.
The maximum level to which you can submerge is ½ meter. And no matter what, you shouldn’t let the pump sit idle for a long time. Otherwise, it may damage the pump body.
If the intake screen gets dirty or clogs too much, it will affect the pump’s performance. Wash away any dirt or debris in the surrounding to keep it functioning properly. Overall, it is great value for money.
Alternative 2: FREESEA Aquarium Power Filter
It is an internal filter system for turtle tanks that does a great job in creating a healthy and clean environment for your turtle and fish.
- Type: Internal Power Filter
- Dimensions: 11.81 x 4.33 x 3.54 inches
- Weight: 1.87 pounds
- Best for which size of tank: 40 to 120 gallons fish/turtle tank
This filer does a three-stage filtration that is effective and efficient to decompose harmful substances in your turtle tank. The filter is made with a high-quality core shaft that not just performs great but also helps to save energy and provide a serene environment for your pet turtles.
This submersible turtle filtration system maintains proper water circulation and oxygenation. It also generates active bubbles and waves that your turtles will find greatly entertaining.
The 8W Power motor is ideal for 40 to 120 gallon larger aquariums. The water circulates at the rate of 500 liters per hour. But you can adjust the flow based on whether you are using saltwater or freshwater.
The Built-in filter sponges and biochemical materials automatically absorb residue, feces, and debris to provide a high-quality aquarium environment.
- It comes apart easily and is easy to clean and maintain as well.
- The whisper-thin operation allows you to use them even in your bedroom.
- The dual filters create a healthy and safe environment for your turtles.
- The water flow can be adjusted.
- Apart from tank water purification, it also supplies Oxygen.
- The active bubbles provide a fun and entertaining environment for your turtles.
- While it works great on larger particles, the smaller particles are simply circulated back without being filtered.
This turtle filter comes with 2 top-notch filters to remove pet waste, prevent clogging, and enhance the circulation system to maintain, and a sparkling clean and clear water aquarium.
The unit is equipped with 3 strong suction cups. You can mount these horizontally or vertically onto the glass surfaces of your fish tank.
It features an adjustable outlet that allows you to adjust the water angle in 4 directions.
You can disassemble this easy to clean or replace the filter cartridges. The flow speed adjustment valve and oxygen input knob allow you to adjust the water flow and required oxygen levels.
It is suitable for aquariums, fish tanks, ponds, turtle tanks, etc. Note that you should completely immerse the pump in water, or the motor will burn out. You should also submerge the filter in water before connecting the power source. For every water change, you will have to turn off the power.
Alternative 3: Guinio Turtle Fish Tank Filter
This is the most inexpensive option on this list. The Waterfall-type water circulation enables smooth water flow for a comfortable environment by increasing the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water tank.
- Type: Hang on or suction cup fix mode.
- Dimensions: 8.5 x 4 x 3.9 inches
- Weight: 11.99 Ounces
- Best for which size of tank: 40 gallons
This turtle filter cleans and filters the tank water effectively. It keeps the water clean by circulating it well and provides healthy and safe water for your home aquarium. The installation is relatively straightforward – you can hang the water filter on the aquarium or fix it with a suction cup.
The water flow is smooth, and the maximum capacity for which it is suitable is 40 gallons. The water circulates through the filter at the rate of 400 liters per hour, which is marginally less than many other turtle tanks. You can use it for both fresh and seawater.
- Highly effective water filtration.
- Good circulation of water.
- Provides a safe, healthy and comfortable environment for your turtles.
- Easy to install.
- The maximum flow capacity may be slightly less than desired.
- The power cord length is around 1.2m, which may not be sufficient.
It is suitable for most reptiles, amphibians, frogs, small fish, etc. The water level should be a minimum of 4cm. Anything less than that, and the filter will be damaged. The result? A loud noise as opposed to the quiet and serene environment your turtle deserves!
You will need to get a net head for the water inlet to prevent small dishes or sand at the bottom from getting sucked in and causing damage to the filter. Clean the motor shaft frequently for smooth functioning and long-lasting durability.
Turtle Tank Filtration FAQ
Why do you need a filter in a turtle tank?
A water filter is essential for the well-being and good overall health of the turtles in a turtle tank. Turtles are messy creatures. They produce tons of waste! So you need to equip the turtle tanks with filters to handle the enormous waste that turtles produce.
There are 3 options to choose from: Canister filters or external filters, hang on back filter, and internal or submersible filters.
Canister filters are external filters that turn the water over plenty of times. This circulation keeps the turtle tank water clean, clear, and fresh.
Hang on back filters are efficient at keeping the water clean and don’t occupy a lot of space. Plus, they are very affordable. But then, you will have to place them at the water level.
You may find this a little challenging to do as the water level in a turtle tank is much lower than in an aquarium. And these hang on filters are specially designed to hang on the back of aquariums that are filled right up to the fill line.
Choose an external filter that can turn the water over at least five times an hour. But ideally, ten times per hour is better; it will also need space for 3-5 forms of media.
The second option is to use a hang on back filter. They are relatively inexpensive and don’t take up too much space.
They’re efficient, but they need to be placed at the water level. This can be difficult in a turtle tank as the water level is often much lower than in an aquarium. Most hang on back filters are designed to hang on the back of aquariums, which are filled right up to the fill line.
Finally, there is the internal or a submersible filter that is ideal for smaller tanks. Attached to the inside of the tank using suction cups, these filters are great for starter turtle tanks. If you have tanks larger than 50 gallons, these are of no use.
You need to invest in a good-quality filter to prevent the water from getting contaminated. Your turtles may get sick in poorly-maintained water. To get rid of turtle waste, dirt, debris, and other contaminants, you should have a good filter in place.
The filter should also cycle the water a minimum of 5 times in an hour and have space for a lot of media.
It should also have an excellent biological filtration system to break down ammonia (produced from turtle waste) and convert it into Nitrates. Nitrates hardly cause any harm to the turtles and can be kept in check through regular water changes.
Can I use a fish tank filter for a turtle?
Turtles pee and poop more than fishes (sorry if that grossed you out!). It will make the water a lot dirtier and build bacteria. When foul odors start coming from your tank, you know something is off!
If you don’t want to deal with a sick turtle, you must use special filters designed for turtle tanks. But you can use fish tank filters in the place of turtle tanks.
The difference between turtle tanks and fish tanks is that turtle tanks have more filtration media. Filtration media goes into the filter and keeps the water clean. They pass more water through the filter than fish tank filters for a tank of the same size.
As we said, it is okay to use filters for fish tanks for a turtle. It is perfectly alright to do so as long as you use a bigger filter as you would for a tank of the same size if it had fishes rather than turtles.
How to know which size of filter do you need?
If you are using a fish tank filter:
The general rule of thumb for the size of filter you will be needing is this: get one that is two or three times more than the capacity of water in the tank. So, for a 40-gallon tank, get a fish tank filter suited for an 80 to 120 gallons tank capacity. It is more than enough filtration for these messy little critters.
If you are going to use a turtle tank filter:
You will simply have to buy a filter that has enough capacity for the tank size.
Your tank’s flow rate is measured in liters/hour or GPH (Gallons Per Hour). Get a filter that can filter the entire tank volume at least once an hour.
Why shouldn’t you use tap water for the turtle tank?
Tap water contains chlorine and possibly fluorides. It will affect the water chemistry of your turtle tank. At the same time, tap water will not have a devastating effect on your turtle. But it will irritate their eyes and make them feel uncomfortable.
Turtles are fascinating creatures and make for great aquatic pets.
Turtles eat quite a lot and produce a lot of waste in the process. An effective filter is essential to filter the water, keep the circulation level up, and eliminate all the waste and debris.
As a responsible turtle owner, it is up to you to provide a happy, safe and healthy tank environment to those adorable creatures. The first step to achieving this is to install a turtle tank filter!
I’ve been keeping fish for over 30 years and currently have 4 different aquariums – it’s an addiction. I’m here to teach you everything there is to know about fishkeeping.
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