Pros and Cons: 5 Filters for Turtle Tanks

Posted on July 02 2024, By: Aquarium Dimensions

Like fish, pet turtles need healthy water in order to thrive. That means filters. Here are five that, in our opinion, work well. Since nothing is perfect, we've offered some of the cons along with the pros.

And, no, we're not making any money off this list. No affiliate links. No sponsored content. It's just a list of filters we like. Enjoy!

Aqueon Quietflow Internal Power Filter


The Aqueon Quietflow Internal Power Filter offers a four-stage filtration system and features impressive cleaning power. This filter consists of biological, mechanical, and chemical filtration, all of them preceded by a wet/dry diffuser grid which acts as a productive pre-filter to stop clogging. 

Its chemical filtration stage consists of activated carbon that gives the water a crisp and clean look by eliminating dissolved organic substances. As the name suggests, it is virtually silent, which is beneficial if your turtle tank is located in the main area of your home.

Furthermore, the pump doesn’t need any priming and will automatically start up if the power goes out and back on. Its adjustable outflow nozzle is another great feature for keeping up water circulating all over the tank. It is available from 10- to 40-gallon sizes, each having a flow rate of 155 GPH.


Their relatively small sizes mean that you will require two or three of these filters for an average-sized turtle. However, having multiple filters provides you the benefit of having filtration even when you are cleaning out one of the units.

Penn Plax Cascade Filter


The Cascade filter by Penn Plax is one of the most efficient external filtration units out there. It is available in different capacities that range from 30-200 gallons, making it suitable for the high-capacity filtration requirements of large turtle tanks. Additionally, the maximum flow rate of 350 GPH is one of the highest for this size filter.

The large filter trays on this unit will last a long time before you will think about replacing them. Changing the media is easy, as it includes an easy-lift clamp that provides you access for maintenance. It also features a flow rate control valve.

This filter comes with a hard and durable plastic exterior, and all its valves can be rotated 360 degrees.


Its downfall is that it is quite loud.

Tetra Decorative Reptile Filter


The Tetra Decorative Reptile Filter for Aquariums offers a unique combination of aquarium aesthetics and filtration. In other words, performance doesn't come at the cost of looks.

It consists of large intake holes to prevent clogging and any damage to the unit. This filter features an internal waterfall system that can also act as a basking place for your shelled friends, and a decoration that adds an aesthetic touch to your tanks.

It is suitable for 60-gallon capacity aquariums and features whisper filtration that maintains clarity and neatness of water inside the tank.


The only downfall of this filter is that it can be a little hard to clean it.

Fluval FX6 Canister Filter


The Fluval FX6 Canister Filter is designed for 400-gallon aquariums, rated with a flow rate of 563 GPH. It features a protective cover and precise engineering to minimize the noise from the impeller and keep out debris.

Set up is simple. Add water to your turtle tank, plug in the filter and allow the device to do its job. No need to push any button or siphon the water. Its self-priming pump adjusts automatically to maintain a constant flow rate, as well as purge trapped air every 12 hours.

Furthermore, it also has a utility valve at its bottom which enables you to water change with ease. A monthly indicator dial indicates the last water change and maintenance.


This filter is on the large size. That's probably not a dealbreaker if you have a 400-gallon aquarium, though.

Hydor Professional External Canister Filter


The Hydor Professional External Canister Filter offers a flow rate of 240 GPH and works ideally with 20- to 150-gallon tanks. Push its self-priming button 3 times and you are ready to go. It features a 4-clamp lock system, vital to supporting the motor.

It produces no sound, providing a peaceful environment for your pet turtles to thrive. 


The primer is manual. Self-priming filters are more convenient. Whether that's a big deal is up to each hobbyist, though.


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