October 30, 2019

Turtle Tank Filter Reviews

Turtle Tank Filters

Turtles are one of the gentlest creatures on the planet. People wanted to take care of them because they are classified as low maintenance pets. Turtles can live on fruits and vegetable diet, and they only require a tank filled with fresh water.

Some owners are also investing in turtle tank filters, and they are buying it to clean the tank that has been littered with excess food and turtle excrement. The number of turtle owners in the United States is increasing, and there is a rising demand for equipment that is used for taking care of these reptiles. This article focuses on the five best turtle tank filters that you can buy on Amazon.

Top 5: Turtle Tank Filters Review

Penn Plax Cascade CCF3UL Canister Filter For Large Aquariums and Fish Tanks - Up To 100 Gallons, Filters 265 GPH

This (Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter) product is known as one of the best heavy-duty tank filters in the market. The filter can pump water up to 265 gallons per hour, and it is highly recommended to be installed on larger tanks that can hold up to 100 gallons of water.

It can deliver an effective filtration action that would remove any mechanical, chemical, or biological debris that can contaminate the water. Toxins and impurities are also eliminated thanks to an effective filtration system offered by this device. This would result in a healthier environment where your pet can thrive.


  • This product is highly recommended for tanks that have a maximum volume of up to 100 gallons, and it has three media baskets.
  • This filter is equipped with state of the art features which makes it easier to clean the tank and to maintain the freshness of the water.
  • It is equipped with valves that are used to control the flow rate, two rotating valve taps, hose clamps, a self-primer button, a cleaning sponge, and a sturdy base.


  • You can set up the filter easily, and there is an instruction manual that is saturated with information.
  • The hose connections are strong and highly secured.
  • The trays included in each product can hold a lot of debris floating in the water.
  • It has a great filtration system, and the flow rate can be easily adjusted.
  • Everything in the system is well-labeled, and all of the features advertised really works.
  • The product has an impressive competence, enabling it to pump a lot of water.
  • It has a compact and beautiful design.


  • The trays do not perfectly fit. There is a gap in between that is around 1/16 of an inch.
  • The motor on the filter hums, and it is not perfectly quiet.
  • The plastic tube’s imperfections can be seen in the water.
Marineland Penguin Power Filter, 50 to 70-Gallon, 350 GPH

The company behind the creation of this (MarineLand Penguin 350 BIO-Wheel Power Filter) product has been in the industry for more than four decades. They are committed to creating the best devices used for filtering the water on any turtle tank.

The company is also applying advanced scientific and engineering methods that would enable them to create the best system that can be used by turtle lovers, and they continue to become a leader in the industry.

The reliable and technologically advanced aquarium filters created by the company have a lot of features, and it can remove all of the waste products in the tank. This product is revolutionary, and contents like nitrite and ammonia can be removed effectively.


  • This product has a flow rate of 350 gallons per hour, and it is the perfect filter for tanks that have a maximum volume of up to 70 gallons.
  • It uses filter cartridges that have a Rite-Size C model.
  • It can filter mechanical, chemical, and biological debris, making the water safer for your pets.


  • This product is maintained easily, and it runs effectively.
  • It can be purchased for a low price.
  • It is effective in clearing out biological load inside the tank, and the amount of ammonia and nitrite are always kept at zero. Nitrates, on the other hand, stay at 10 ppm.
  • The filter has a lot of room to contain more biological debris.
  • It creates a good surface agitation.


  • The product can get extremely loud, and it can produce a grinding sound.
  • It is huge and bulky.
  • Occasionally, the bio wheels would stop turning because of the accumulation of contents within the filter. Maneuvering the contents manually can resolve the issue.
  • The propeller is not installed properly in some models, and there are times when it would fall.
Hygger Internal Filter, Aquarium Filter 110GPH 7W Adjustable Water Flow Fish Turtle in-Tank Filter for 2-10 Gallon with 2 Spray Bar Filter Sponge Activated Carbon

This (Hygger Turtle Tank Filter) product is classified as a semi-submersible filter. After installing it in your tank, you will see changes in the water quality after one to two days. Each purchase of the product includes a single internal filter, four suction cups, and two water spray rods.


  • This product contains two drainage methods, generating a natural flowing effect for the water. This would increase the oxygen in the water, making it a safer environment for your turtle.
  • It has two filter materials – one is used to absorb debris, and the other is used to remove impurities and odor. It works perfectly on tanks that use freshwater or seawater.
  • The water flow is adjustable.
  • It can be installed even if the water level is low.
  • This product is powerful – it can pump a lot of water in a short amount of time, while only producing minimal noise.


  • This filter is thinner compared to other filters in the market.
  • It has a direct outlet nozzle.
  • It has an affordable price.


  • It can’t handle a smaller aquarium.
Whisper In-Tank Filter 40i with BioScrubber for 20 - 40 gallon aquariums (25818)

This (Whisper In-Tank Filter) product is one of the best filters in the market that does not produce any sound. It is designed to be mounted inside the aquarium, enabling it to filter the water more effectively. It will function even if the water level is only two inches deep, making it a suitable addition to turtle tanks.


  • This product is designed for tanks that can hold up to 40 gallons of water.
  • It requires a filter cartridge that uses a large bio-bag.
  • To properly clean the device, the bottom part should be removed.
  • It can be used on aquariums and terrariums.


  • The product is equipped with a powerful filtration system that enables it to clean water filled with so much debris.
  • The device operates quietly, and you would not hear any sound as it filters the water.
  • It can be installed easily, and there is an instruction manual included in every purchase. Follow the procedures stated in the manual to use the system with ease.
  • It is durable and it can last for a long time.


  • The hooks on the filter are not compatible with the tank lids.
  • The suction cups are weak.
  • The product is heavy and bulky.
Tetra 25905 Decorative Reptile Filter for Aquariums up to 55 Gallons

This (Tetra 25905 Decorative Reptile Filter) product is made for reptile and amphibian enthusiasts who wanted to create a mini-ecosystem for their critters. It features a small waterfall and a powerful filtration system that will keep the water clean and fresh.


  • This product is highly advanced, and it features an innovative combination of decoration and filtration.
  • It is suitable for any reptiles and amphibians.
  • This product can let you create a waterfall where your pets can bask.
  • It is compatible with aquariums and tanks that can hold up to 55 gallons of water.
  • The product comes with a three-stage whisper filtration.
  • The bio bags can be replaced easily, resulting in odor-free and clear water.
  • The intake holes are large, preventing the clogging of the filters.


  • The decoration looks great.
  • It does not produce any noise.
  • It keeps tanks up to 55 gallons clean.


  • The waterfall might be too steep for some animals.
  • The water level required is very low.
  • The cartridges are expensive.
  • The product needs to be cleaned frequently.

Best Turtle Tank Filter

Our top pick for the best turtle tank filter is the Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter. It has plenty of features, and it looks great on any tanks. There are also a lot of accessories added to the system that will enable an effective cleaning mechanism for the tank.

Penn Plax Cascade CCF3UL Canister Filter For Large Aquariums and Fish Tanks - Up To 100 Gallons, Filters 265 GPH

People who will purchase this item would never run out of information, as the instruction manual is saturated with it, and every procedure can be understood clearly. 

Best Value

The MarineLand Penguin 350 BIO-Wheel Power Filter deserves the distinction as the turtle tank filter with the best value. This product has a lot of features, and many buyers are satisfied with how it cleans the tank. 

The manufacturers have been operating in the industry for more than four decades, and one would expect the best quality from the products that they create. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Does My Turtle Tank Need a Filter?

The requirement of using a tank filter depends on the species of turtle that you keep as a pet. If your turtle belongs to the soft-shelled species, a filter might not be required as these reptiles prefer soft sand bottom, which can be produced from uneaten food and waste. Other turtle species, on the other hand, can be poisoned from dirty water, and they are the ones who need to swim in a tank installed with a filter. The filter will remove all of the debris in the tank which will transform the water to become more suitable for your pets. Without the tank, they can suffocate from the accumulation of waste in the water.

How Often Should I Change the Filter in My Turtle Tank?

Experts require pet owners to change the water in their turtle tank at least once a week. They should use clean water, and it should come from a freshwater source. The main reason for this would be the rising amount of nitrite and ammonia in the water. Sometimes, it might look clear, but you would not notice that these poisonous compounds are already building up in numbers. Replacing the water with a new one would resolve this issue. Aside from changing the water in the tank, you should also clean the whole tank every two to three weeks. During this time, you should also refresh the filter to make the water clean.

Is Tap Water Safe for Turtles?

Tap water is not a safe choice for your pets. Tap water contains chlorine and fluoride, and these two elements can upset the acidity on the water. When the pH balance is disturbed, it can result in negative consequences. If you have access to a freshwater source, this would be the best choice for your tank. However, if you only have tap water, you can de-chlorinate it to make it turtle-friendly. For the water that the turtle needs to drink, make sure that it will be filtered. Make sure that the water you will use for your pet’s tank is warm, clean, and fresh. Make sure that the tank is also filled with more water as your turtle starts to grow.

Turtle Care For Beginners

Turtles are one of the most exciting pets to watch due to the beautiful markings, gentle habits, and fascinating colors. Once you take good care of them, they easily recognize you and become very engaging. Each species needs different requirements, but it's manageable for most pet lovers.

For a beginner, you must learn to handle them the right way to avoid any complications. If treated properly, they can outlive most creatures; thus, it calls for a long term commitment. Turtles may seem like a simpler alternative to other pets, but there are many aspects you need to consider before buying one.

To learn more about how best to take care of reptiles as a starter, please read through this entire guide.

Setting up your Turtle's home

For a turtle to be a great pet, you need to provide the right habitat. You can build an aquarium since reptiles are either aquatic or semi-aquatic reptiles. Also, keep in mind the size and breed that you intend to purchase to avoid outgrowing the tank.

Here are some Guidelines to Consider when Building the Aquarium;

Look for a large, sturdy tank that fits your pet's size. If a baby turtle needs about 10 gallons, a full adult will require at least double the same volume. Keep in mind that the water should be about an inch deeper than the shell width.

You should provide adequate water that is deep enough for the reptile to swim. Remember, aquatic turtles need more water volumes than semi-aquatic ones. Make sure the water is clean, fresh, and non-toxic since they also consume it.

Depending on your breed, provide some land area that is easy to climb and has enough space to dry. You can use foam, wood, or bricks on the basking part.

Consider the provision of lighting with a UVA or UVB bulb and a heat lamp for the basking point.
Get a water heater and a thermometer to maintain some significant heat levels in the tank. If you live in a warm area, then you might not consider it immediately.

You also need a proper filtration system to keep the water clean, considering the messy turtle behavior. I would recommend using an external canister filter to maintain high water quality over a given period.

You can have some substrate at the bottom, but make sure it suits your breed since some may eat it. Alternatively, you can opt for soft soil or sand with some large stones, preferably river rocks.

Lastly, if you need some decoration, it would be best to use some artificial plants since the pet won't consume them.

Best Practices for a Beginner to take care of a Turtle

If you have always wanted to keep a turtle pet, it's essential to know the best practices to implement to keep them happy. Here are some tips to consider.

Make sure you Maintain a Clean Environment

As the quote goes, 'Cleanliness is second to godliness,' and in this case, it will keep your pet in the best condition.

Due to their messy character, they quickly make water dirty; thus, you should clean the aquarium every two to three days. You can use a net or cloth to remove the food bits and waste from the tank. However, if you have a water filter, you can do it once a week, depending on the dirt level.
After each water change, try to add some natural supplements and de-chlorinator to help control the waste.

Clean the Aquarium every Month

Use a scrub brush to eliminate algae and other materials from the tank while keeping the reptile in a temperature-controlled area. Don't forget to clean down the glass since calcification is popular in turtle tanks and may prove difficult to remove. Also, thoroughly wash all docks to avoid slime build-up.

Brush your pet every Month

Come up with a brushing schedule for your turtle every month since they enjoy the sensation, and it helps detect any injuries. Their skin is also sensitive to ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate build up.

Take out your pet to play

It would be wise to develop a routine to take out your turtle for some exercises. However, note that it's a cold-blooded reptile; thus, it takes time to adjust body temperature. Also, the sudden temperature change can easily harm their immune system.

To avoid any stress when it's out of the aquarium, maintain room temperature in the surrounding environment. While it's wandering around the floor, watch out so that nobody will accidentally step on it. Also, remove any rocking chairs and don't let the turtle get behind any blocks that would crush it.

Wash your Hands Before and After Handling your pet

Ensure that you clean your hands before handling your pet to avoid the transfer of dirt from whatever you were holding. It's also possible to pick up germs after touching your turtle, especially salmonella, affecting toddlers, pregnant women, and the elderly. Also, be cautious of bites, especially when children are around the reptile since it may harm them.

Turtles Enjoy a lot of free time

You may be tempted to spend a lot of time with your pet as you try to engage it. However, it's not advisable since it may cause stress that would lead to health issues. It would be wise to keep it in the tank and watch as it eats and swims.

Avoid some Extra Large Breeds

Some of the species like the snapping turtle are cute while hatching but grow to very big sizes. It may be difficult to provide a sufficient and healthy habitat later to some of the large breeds. In most cases, females increase to a larger size as compared to their male counterparts.

You can opt for the male-red eared sliders, male painted turtles, musk turtles, or the US mud as a beginner.

Keeping your Turtle Healthy

You need to take a keen interest in the following areas to make sure your pet stays healthy.

Provide your Turtle with Essential Nutrients

Like other animals, you should give your pet a balanced diet, including worms and plant materials. Depending on the species and age, it should be fed daily, twice, or thrice a week, but you can also ask about the best feeding pattern while buying your turtle. You should also ensure that your pet has access to water and can easily climb out to avoid drowning.

Feeding your pet

Most juvenile turtles are carnivores, while the adult ones are omnivores. Try developing a schedule that supplements them with at least six to seven different kinds of food. Additionally, purchase some turtle pellets to form the base of the diet.

For the aquatic turtles, make sure you feed them while in the water to help swallow food with ease. It would be wise to add some fun and exercise; thus, supply them with live goldfish once a week since they love to chase after their prey. Additionally, give them some small pieces of meat, vegetables, and fruits on their regular diet.

If you have box turtles, they can feed on various foods from tomatoes, apples, vegetables, worms, slugs, and crickets.

Other turtle feeds include some Vallisneria, crickets, fish, shrimps, mosquito larvae, leafy vegetables, strawberries, pondweeds, swatted flies, and some low-salt cat kiddle. Try adding some dandelion leaves since they are a great source of calcium and vitamin A.

Spray free flowers are also okay such as hibiscus, geraniums, roses, petunias, carnations, lilies, nasturtium, and pansies. If you want to feed them with lettuces, look for the dark variety such as radicchio, romaine, endive, and water lettuce. However, avoid iceberg lettuce since it contains very little nutrition levels.

Try finding some food sticks in pet stores since they are specially designed to provide minerals, proteins, and vitamins. They are a vital dietary supplement for both aquatic and semi-aquatic turtles, and some quality brands include Purina Trout Chow and Tetra Repton. In case of other commercial foods, read through the care sheets before feeding your pet.

For the young reptiles, you can feed them twice a day for better and healthier growth. The adult ones can eat every day or three times a week, preferably in the morning hours. They have endless love for food; thus, upon seeing you, they swim near the water surface and open their mouths.

It's important to set a feeding area other than the aquarium, such as a glass dish or a small plastic bowl. It helps keep the tank clean since turtles tend to defecate within a short while after feeding.

You can also try and maintain an optimum amount of food since overfeeding them will result in lots of waste. If your pet is overweight, the skin usually folds around the limbs, while sunken eyes and thin arms show its underweight.

Essential Lighting

One of the most important aspects to consider when keeping a pet turtle is adequate lighting. It helps in giving proper nourishment, growth, and health to your pet. A good habitat must have direct access to the full spectrum of sun rays. If you decide to keep it indoors, make sure you provide two light sources as discussed below;

Fluorescent Light

You can provide this kind of light via UVA or UVB lighting to help maintain shell hardness and high calcium production. Position it directly above the tank since UV light gets filtered via glass and partially through the mesh. Keep it on for about 10 to 12 hours every day to create a consistent night to day cycle.

Remember to read the user guidelines to know the replacement time, but most of them will require changing six to twelve months. Note that incorrect UV lighting results in shell rot or metabolic bone disease in your pet.

Basking Light

The basking light acts like sunlight; thus, it provides heat to help dry the shell when the pet is out of water. You should position it below the basking area and make sure the turtle cannot touch it; neither can it fall into the water. Keep a distance of about 20 – 30 cm to avoid burns on the shell, although it can vary with the heat level.

It also helps to keep the water at optimum temperatures; the basking part can be a little higher at 85 to 90 F while the wet areas should be around 75 to 85 F. During the night, turn off the light to get to about 65F.

Regularly Inspect your pet Turtle

As a reptile keeper, I learned that I had to develop a keen sense of observation. It helps to detect any problem in the early stages before it becomes fatal. In most cases, your turtle will hide their symptoms until the ailment gets to an advanced stage.

In case you identify any negative signs, check on the habitat, or other areas from the lamp, tank, and food. If you can't pick out any area you may have neglected, consider contacting the vet immediately.

While checking for any bad signs, I could also recognize significant growth in my pet, which meant I was doing everything the right way.

A healthy Turtle should have the following signs;

•It should feed well.
•Healthy skin with no has lesions.
•A clear nose and vent.
•A good body condition.
•It should always be alert and active.
•The shell should be hard, with no white edgings or lesions.
•Bright and clear eyes.

If it's unhealthy, you should identify signs such as;

•The turtle may have sunken or swollen eyes.
•The shell is weak or softened.
•Frantic swimming.
•Some abnormal feces.
•Some discolored shell patches.
•It may be sneezing or coughing.

Some Common Diseases

It's devastating to notice some diseases in your pet, but you shouldn't panic since some are common in reptiles. Learning some preventive and treatment measures would go a long way as you start your reptile keeping journey.

Turtle Shell Lesions

You may detect Shell Lesions from the foul smell, some soft spots, superficial redness to some irritations. It can be due to insufficient heat, rough substrates, burns, stress, or low water quality.


Do a thorough check on its habitat to ensure that there is enough light, heat, a good basking area, and good water.


The pet may be subjected to antibiotics; the infected bone may be cultured or surgical debridement can be done depending on the damage level.

Respiratory Disease

You need to be careful to detect respiratory ailments. The turtle may open the mouth while breathing or have a nasal discharge, resulting in fluid build-up and affecting the lungs. You may also notice some buoyancy problems on the reptile while swimming.


Various factors can cause respiratory problems; thus, consider proper handling of the pet's enclosure.


I would recommend getting a qualified veterinarian to conduct tests and give the right treatment for this problem.

Vitamin A Deficiency

In case your pet gets inadequate vitamin A, it will have swollen eyelids, which you might assume to be eye infections.


A good diet will keep the disease at bay.


Most of the cases will respond to Vitamin A treatment within a short time.

Turtle Trauma

In my initial stages, my worst experience was seeing my pet gets crushed by a rock. I've heard other cases that could result from accidental fallouts, being stepped on, among others.


You need to design an environmentally friendly area to avert such issues like rough surfaces for better traction and a sturdy tank.


It depends on the extent of the trauma, as some may need antibiotics, amputation, or surgery.

Turtle Impaction

It's common for turtles to ingest foreign particles as long as they fit in their mouth such as gravel, plastic, or rubber, which clogs their gastrointestinal system.


Make sure you eliminate any foreign material that your pet might swallow within its enclosure.


If the reptile has consumed excessive amounts, it might need surgical intervention.

Reducing Algae on your Turtle

Algae is common in turtle shells; however, it would be wise to inspect it once a week as it may be hiding an infection. It may also grow partially, which could cause water accumulation, resulting in shell rot.

To remove the algae, brush it off using a soft brush and ensure you are gentle enough. If the shell looks slippery, it may be bacteria; thus, brush it weekly until you resolve it. However, if it looks rotten, damaged, soft, discolored, deformed, or has exposed bones, call the vet.

If you want to avoid algae occurrences, use an aerator or filter to keep the water moving. You can also try adding some salt, regularly change the water, and brush off any algae while cleaning the aquarium.


The above guide gives you all the important aspects you need to consider to take care of your turtle as a beginner. As you start your reptile keeping journey, you will know what entails a healthy and joyous turtle.

Note that wonderful pets call for your total commitment, resulting in a happy and engaging turtle. Also, remember to do your research on the best species to provide the best environment so that it can flourish.

Final Verdict

Do you have an idea which turtle tank filter you will buy? If you already decided which one to buy, head to Amazon and select the best turtle tank filter that you wanted to purchase and see how it can help clean your pet’s tank.

If you are still undecided based on the information that you found in this article, you can read what other people are saying in the customer review section of Amazon. You can click each product link and it will take you to the page where the product is described. Scroll down to see the reviews given by those who have purchased the item.

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