Best turtle tank filter

Price and more details
The SunSun HW-304B
The SunSun HW-304B
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Fluval Underwater Turtle Tank Filter
Fluval Underwater Turtle Tank Filter
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Zoo Med Turtle Submersible Filter
Zoo Med Turtle Submersible Filter
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for more details
TetraPond Submersible Filter
TetraPond Submersible Filter
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Penn Plax Cascade Corner Filter
Penn Plax Cascade Corner Filter
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for more details

So, you’ve got a turtle tank, decoration items, appropriate lighting, and heating, but what about a turtle filter? This is one of the most important things a turtle tank needs to have, in order to ensure a healthy environment for your favorite pet. With the best turtle filter, your turtle will be much healthier and happier, because the water won’t be filthy.

This article is all about turtle tank filters, so you are bound to find the perfect turtle tank filter for your tank.

What is a turtle tank filter?

In case you didn’t know, turtles are very messy. Meaning, they produce much more waste than fish, which results in the dirty water, full of bacteria. Naturally, a turtle tank should not be filthy and muddy, because a turtle will eventually get very sick. That is why there are turtle tank filters – to help keep everything under control.

Clearly, these filters are designed with turtles in mind. Compared to fish filters, these ones have more filtration media and are capable of cleaning more water at once. However, you can also use a fish filter, just make sure to buy a huge and powerful one. But, we still suggest you go with terrarium pump filters or a turtle tank filter, so as to get the cleanest results.

Filtration Types

When it comes to the filtration, there are three types – biological, mechanical, and chemical filtration.

  • Biological

Biological filter cleans the water with the help of good bacteria. Meaning, good bacteria live on the filter thus will keep the water clean by eating the ammonia and waste. These filters perform great, as they create stable bacteria who will clean the water meticulously.

  • Mechanical

This filter will pull in solid things such as uneaten food and dirt. It usually comes with a sponge or other kind of media to keep the water clean. However, cleaning the sponge from the waste and mess is surely not an attractive job. These filters aren’t very expensive.

  • Chemical

Chemical filtration contains active charcoal or ammonia filtering media in order to remove the odors from the tank. However, this type of filtration is not necessary, since you won’t need active charcoal in order to keep the water pristine clear, once good bacteria grow. But, this type of filtration is good for increasing the quality of the water, since you can add an aquarium peat to increase the PH’s level of the water.

Types of filters

As for the types of filters, there are internal, canister, HOB and UGF’s filters. We will now briefly describe the first two, and for the last two types, we will give you a detailed description in the last part of the article.

  • Internal filters (submersible)

As the name itself suggests, these filters are submerged in the water, and that is how they work. This type of a filter is perfect for beginners who have a small turtle tank because these filters aren’t very powerful and not designed to filter much water. But, they are very affordable, making them a good choice for those on a budget.

  • Canister filters

Without a doubt, these filters are best turtle tank filters. They can be placed under the tank, freeing up space in the tank. Not only they are space savers, but also they are very powerful. Thanks to their special design, they do a great job when it comes to keeping the water clean. However, these are pretty pricey. But, if you do want to buy this type, go with the one that comes with multiple stages so as to clean the water in a perfect way.

Tips for choosing a good turtle tank filter:

  • The best turtle filter should be powerful and should feature multi-stage filtration process
  • Always choose a filter that is designed for triple times bigger tank, so as to ensure it will do the job perfectly
  • If you want to buy an electric (submersible) filter, make sure to keep the wires on safe so that your pet turtle cannot damage it (which will obviously be very dangerous for your pet)

Best Turtle Tank Filters Reviews

Knowing which tank filter would be the best one for your turtle tank is not an easy task since there are so many of these out there. However, you don’t have to worry about that. Actually, we’ve got you covered! So, we bring you five best turtle tank filter on the market right now, so as to steer you in the right direction. Let’s see what make these filters better than the rest.


1. The SunSun HW-304BThe SunSun HW-304B


The SunSun HW-304B is one of the best turtle filters that money can buy. It’s perfect for bigger turtle tanks, as it powerful enough to keep the water healthy, clean, without any unpleasant odor. Let’s see what makes this filter worth mentioning.

First, this filter will clean 525 gallons of water per hour, which is quite impressive. With its convenient size, the filter won’t take up too much space, yet it will do what is supposed to.

As for the media trays, this filter feature four of them and they are flexible. In addition, you can add active charcoal, ceramic rings, order to get the most out of this filter.

With a built in UV sterilizer, you won’t have to worry whether the bad bacteria will grow. Of course, this 9-watt sterilizer contributes to the overall health of the water, making it perfect for your pet turtle.

The HW-304B is a canister filter that comes with a useful self-priming pump. This means you won’t have to bother with manual siphoning. How does that sound to you?

As for the downfall, this filter doesn’t look very stylish, compared to other models on the market. However, its functionality that counts anyway.

Overall, this filter is a good choice for those who are ready to pay a bit more for a high-quality and trustworthy turtle tank filter.



-UV sanitizer will kill bacteria

-you can add chemicals to the filter and make the water even cleaner


-an ordinary look of the unit


2. Fluval Underwater Turtle Tank Filter

Fluval Underwater Turtle Tank Filter


Our third products come from FLuval. Here we’re talking about a great underwater filter that will make easy work of keeping the water pristine clean, thanks to its biological filtration. In addition, the filter is reasonably priced, so it is a sound investment.

Thanks to its design, this filter is easy to install, so no worries about that. That being said, this filter is a good choice for a tank where external filtration cannot be installed. It can work in a team with another filter, or on its own. Either way, it will clean the water fast and properly.

This filter has a capacity to filter the water for 20-40 gallon tanks, so don’t try to use it for something bigger than that, because the water won’t be clean.

Like the previous model, this one is also very quiet, which is a huge bonus.

Thanks to a 3-way flow control and adjustable output, you can choose best for your turtle. In addition, there are 2 poly/carbon cartridges, 2 foam pads, and 65 grams BioMax that you get with the unit.

All in all, this filter is one of the best when it comes to biological filtration. With all its amazing features you should not miss out on the opportunity to buy this tank.


-can filter debris

-gives perfect biological filtration


-highly efficient

-Perfect for 20-40 gallons tank


-tends to collect the dirt so you will have to clean it more often than you think


3. Zoo Med Turtle Submersible Filter

Zoo Med Turtle Submersible Filter


The Zoo Med Submersible Filter is a good choice for small turtle tanks. It comes at a great price, is fully submersible and easy to clean.

Since the tank is fully submersible, you don’t have to be afraid of the water damaging it. In fact, you can submerge the filter knowing that it will be fine. This filter works well, but it will work even better when you add one more of these in a tank, for the best results. Of course, this will also depend on the number of turtles there are in an aquarium and the size of a tank itself.

The filter provides all levels of filtration – mechanical, biological, and chemical, so no doubt that the water will be safe and clean for your favorite pet turtles.

As for the cleaning, the filter is not complicated to clean. However, you should clean it every week. Also, you will change the cartridge with ease.

But, what we love the most about this filter is that it is so quiet! It is one of the best noiseless filters on the market.

All in all, this filter works well and will definitely keep the water clean. It is powerful enough to suck in the dirt and waste, yet will not make the water circle too fast.


-comes at a great price

-easy to clean

-cartridges are easy to change

-fully submersible

-provides biological, mechanical and chemical filtration



-You have to clean it every week in order to keep it working perfectly


4. TetraPond Submersible Filter

TetraPond Submersible Filter


Here we have one of the best submersible turtle tank filters out there, and here is why. The TetraPond Flax Box Filter is affordable, highly efficient, and will help the pump to perform without jamming. It is the perfect choice for making your pet turtle happy, as he will surely appreciate the pristine clear environment, and lack of bad bacteria and mold.

This filter is also a good choice for those on a budget who are looking for a reliable filter that won’t let them down. Not only that, but this filter comes with all you will need, so you will not have to buy separate items and that way spend extra money.

What we love about this filter is its versatility. Namely, it can fit an array of pumps, from 200 to 2000gph. There are fittings and tubing included, so as to easily find the perfect ones for your pump.

Furthermore, you won’t have any trouble with removing the filter from the pump In order to clean it.

Made of quality parts, this filter is sure to last. Plus, it comes with a 1-year warranty that only proves its quality.

As for the downside, this filter is too lightweight. Meaning, it will float around the tank if you do not weigh it down.

Overall, this filter is the perfect choice for those looking to buy a quality filter without having to spend a fortune on it. With its effectiveness and versatility, this filter is hard to beat.


-great choice for those on a budget




-1-year warranty

-easy to clean

-easy to detach from the pump


-you will have to weigh the filter down otherwise it won’t stay in a place

5. Penn Plax Cascade Corner Filter

Penn Plax Cascade Corner Filter


And we came all the way down to our last product – Penn Plax 455 Corner filter. This filter is one of the most affordable ones, and as such provides good value for the money. It is ideal for cleaning the tanks up to 20 gallons capacity. This is a media set, so you will also get 2 additional sponges and 2 extra carbon bags.

With a 120-gallons per hour capacity, this filter will easily and promptly clean your turtle’s habitat, making it healthy and pure. What also contributes to creating the perfect turtle habitat is a spray bar option. Thanks to it, the water will circulate evenly so there won’t stagnate spots in the tank.

In addition, the filter is easy to install and you can place it both vertically and horizontally, depending on what you want. With its cool-looking design, the filter is not very attention-grabbing, so you can easily hide it. But, if you don’t want to hide it, don’t worry, because the filter will add a nice touch to the tank.

Not only the filter is fully submersible, but it is also very silent.

As for the downside, this filter could have been more powerful when it comes to filtering fine particles.

All in all, this fully submersible filter is easy to love because it works just that great.


-fully submersible and quite

-works great

-easy to install

-can be placed horizontally

-ensures great water circulation


-won’t filter too many fine particles


Is a turtle tank filter really necessary?

So far, you have probably come to the conclusion that the turtle tank filter is a must have. However, if you still don’t understand why then read this part carefully. Your turtle will make the water in a tank dirty and toxic, due to its waste. Now, what do you think it will happen to your sweet pet if there is not a water filter to clean all the mess? That’s right, nothing good! So, in order to keep your pet healthy, you must keep the water in a tank healthy and the way to do that is with a water filter.

So, to answer the question: Yes, a turtle tank filter IS necessary.

What is an under gravel filter anyway?

Now, an under gravel filter is a taboo in the world of turtle tank filters. Some turtle owners use them, while others would not do that even in a dream. Even though this filter was modified (it is now called reverse-flow under-gravel filter), and now works much better than before, it still is not a favorite.

It should work by way of pumping the water through the gravel, not allowing the waste to get stuck in the gravel and create bad bacteria. However, this is not always the case. In fact, the problem with this filter is that after a couple of month of use, it won’t be so powerful to pump all the things it should, leaving some bad bacteria to grow.

However, if you are willing to clean the filter every now and then, you can buy it. But, there are some better options such as canister filters, etc., as mentioned in the first part of the article.

What about a HOB filter?

A HOB (hang-on-the-back of the tank filter) is not very common for a turtle tank, due to its design and requirements. You can use it though, but only if you have a tank that comes with a filter cut out, or if the tank has a basking area (so that you can fill the tank all the way up in order for the filter to pump in the water).

This is because this filter won’t function if the water level is not all the way up to the top. If you do want to use this filter, keep in mind that you need a powerful one since these are made for fish tanks. Meaning, you need to buy triple times more powerful filter than the size of a tank.

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