5 Best Turtle Tank Filters

It’s entirely understandable why someone would want to keep a turtle as a pet. They’re adorable, they can be extremely sociable, and compared with other pets, they’re rather low maintenance and tend to look after themselves after you’ve sorted out their food and kept their habitat clean.

While we’re talking about your turtle’s habitat, one of the best ways to keep in at a hygienic and safe level is to invest in a filter, but you can’t just use your bog-standard fish filter, you’re going to need one that’s designed with keeping turtles in mind.

By getting the right filter for your turtle and tank, you can make sure your turtle is always happy, healthy and clean, and ultimately providing it with the best life possible. Turtles can live for decades if treated right, meaning you can have a loyal best friend for many years to come.

To help you make this all-important decision, today we’re going to explore the five best turtle tank filters available right now, as well as giving you everything you need to know to make the best decision for you.

Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter

Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter

Starting off our list, we’ve chosen the Penn Plax Cascade. Penn Plax is one of the most preferred aquarium tank equipment manufacturers in the world, so there’s no denying that this is a high-quality product that will do everything you need it too.

Since this is a canister filter, you’ll attach it to the outside of your tank, but don’t worry about knocking it around. This filter system is built to last and is renowned for being one of the most durable builds around.

What’s more, setting up this filter has been made as simple as possible. All the instructions and mounting equipment you’ll need is included with your purchase, and you’ll just need to follow the instructions step-by-step, making this an ideal filter for experienced and beginner tank owners alike.

In terms of actual performance, it turns out this small filter is capable of filtering over 312 gallons per hour, which is incredibly impressive when you consider the price and size of this device. With a built-in spray bar to help distribute the water back into your tank, your turtles are going to love this.

  • An integrated spray bar to improve circulation and water distribution
  • Can process and filter over 312-gallons of water per hour
  • Easy to set up with everything you need and instructions
  • One of the most durable units available
  • May get in the way since it’s externally mounted

Tetra Whisper EX Silent Multi-Stage Power Filter for Aquariums

Tetra Whisper EX Silent Multi-Stage Power Filter for Aquariums

Out of the entire Tetra range, this filter is well-known for being one of the favorites among both fish and reptile keepers. Easily the best selling feature of this pump is the fact it can support tanks up to 70-gallons in size, which is a tremendous amount of power for such a small device.

Of course, there are four different sizes and capabilities available, so you can easily find the one that works best for you. Once your chosen filter arrives, everything you’ll need to install it and get it up and running is included in the box, as well as the instructions which make everything easy to get started.

In terms of performance, this filter runs on two large Whisper EX Carbon Filters which are super effective when it comes to filtering out the dirt and grime from the water of your tank. Since this happens twice, that’s double the effectiveness that you can guarantee your turtle the best quality of life.

However, there’s one feature that really does help to set this filter setup far apart from the rest, and that’s the included time strips. These strips are exclusive to the brand and are designed to make it incredibly easy to let you know when the filters in your tank need changing.

Over time, these strips will turn red when they get older. Simply keep your eyes open for when this happens, and you’ll know when it’s time to clean and change them. This ensures your filters are always working to the highest performance level, keeping your aquarium tank is the best possible condition.

Finally, as the title suggests, this filter literally Whispers, and operates practically silently. This means you won’t have to worry about noise pollution in your home or office, only adding to the convenience this filter provides.

  • Practically silent while it’s running
  • Cleans water using two highly-effective EX carbon filters
  • Model sizes available up to 70-gallons
  • Includes time strips to show when filters need replacing or cleaning
  • None!

Hydor Professional External Canister Filter

Hydor Professional External Canister Filter

Hydor is yet another coveted and prestigious brand in the filter and aquarium equipment industry, meaning this professional canister filter is a product you can trust in terms of both quality and performance. If you’ve got a larger tank than your conventional size, this is exactly the filter you’ll need.

While there are multiple versions of this filter available, depending on the size of your tank, there are models available that are capable of effectively filtering tanks up to 150-gallons in size, which is great for larger home tanks, or if you’re running a professional aquarium setup.

Since this is a canister filter, it needs to be installed on the outside of your tank, so you’ll need to make sure you have the space for it, but the setup is effortless thanks to the included instructions. Once set up, it will be capable of processing an impressive 280-gallons per hour.

The only downside to this filtration device is the fact it’s not an automatic prime, and you’ll need to do so manually. However, this is no trouble since the priming process is simple and explained clearly.

What’s more, despite the larger size of this filter, and the capacity of water it can process, you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised with just how quiet this filter is. It’s basically silent apart from the underlying hum which you’re sure to get used to in no time at all, securing this filter’s place as one of our favorites.

  • An outstanding processing rate of 280-gallons per hour
  • Manual priming process is simple
  • Capable of supporting aquarium tanks up to 150-gallons in size effectively
  • Creates practically no noise
  • Needs to be manually primed

Tetra 25905 Decorative Reptile Filter for Aquariums (Up to 55-Gallons)

Tetra 25905 Decorative Reptile Filter for Aquariums (Up to 55-Gallons)

While a lot of filters are designed with aquariums in mind, meaning they cover both fish and reptiles like your turtles, our next entry from Tetra has been designed specifically with turtles in mind. This ensures you have access to dedicated features to give your turtles the best quality of life.

What really stands out about this filter is the fact the aesthetics have been designed to look even better in a turtle habitat and environment. It basically has been designed to look like a rock, which means the introduction of the filter is seamless with the rest of your setup.

What’s more, since this works being set up like a rock in your aquarium, it then filters the water before trickling it out in a water effect. This means not only do you have access to a fantastic three-stage filtration device, but you also get to have a cool waterfall both you and your reptiles will enjoy!

Due to the nature of this tank, it’s better to be used in a dedicated turtle aquarium that contains shallow water areas. Due to the small number of parts needed, installation of this filter is practically effortless, and many people claim it won’t take longer than a few minutes to get up and running.

With numerous features to help preventing clogging of the pipes, and the ability to clear the tank of unwanted odors, this is everything a reptile filter should be and more.

  • Amazingly well-designed reptile-themed filter for your aquarium
  • Creates a beautiful waterfall effect
  • Easy to get set up and running
  • Large intakes to minimize the risk of clogging
  • Can only be used in shallow water aquariums

Aqueon QuietFlow Internal Power Filter

Aqueon QuietFlow Internal Power Filter

The final filter we’ve chosen as one of our favorites for your reptile tank comes from Aqueon. This filter is available in four unique sizes, so you can optimize it for your tank. This variation ranges from 10-gallons, all the way up to 40-gallons, meaning this is ideal for your smaller tanks.

As would expect from a professional tank of this nature, it works using the standard three-stage filtration system that aims to keep your turtle’s water as clean and as pure as possible. However, when it comes to customizable features, this filter takes things to the next level.

Built into the device itself, you’ll be able to change the direction and height of the water in your tank, ensuring you have full control over the overall current. You can even maximize this output since the filter can be fully submerged in the water for the best results without the risk of damage.

This means you can install the filter wherever you want, and there’s no need for it to get in the way of anything else in your home or office. Of course, all the materials needed for the three-stage filter system is included, and there’s even a limited lifetime warranty to give you complete peace of mind and trust in your product.

  • Complete control over the height and direction of your return flow
  • Comes with a limited lifetime warranty
  • Can be installed being fully submerged underwater
  • Suitable for tanks up to 40-gallons in size
  • Not suitable for larger aquarium tanks


When it comes to preparing and looking after your turtles, there’s a lot you need to consider and think about. However, getting any of the five filters above mean you can have complete peace of mind when it comes to the quality of the water in their tank, giving you more time to enjoy your pets, and ensuring they have the best quality of life.