5 Best Canister Filter For Turtle Tank [Reviews & Buyer’s Guide]

Best Canister Filter For Turtle Tank

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The filthy and unhygienic tank water is the main reason why pet turtles fall sick more often. The best way to provide clean and hygienic water is to install a filter in the turtle aquarium.

In my ten years of turtle-keeping journey, I have faced most of the troubles in choosing the perfect filter for my turtle tank. Each brand promises its product to be the best in the market but provides an average service.

All these years, I have tried different brand aquarium filters. Personally, I prefer the Canister filters for my turtle tanks due to the lower maintenance and better filtration system.

Given the plethora of choices available in the market, selecting the best aquarium filter can be challenging and confusing. That is why I bring you the best Canister filter for your turtle tank. I have tried each model on the list for years and noted my unbiased opinions.

I will review 5 Canister aquarium filters that are compatible with turtle tanks. But first, allow me to introduce you to the best Canister tank filter model in case you do not want to go through all the product reviews.

Among the 5 Canister filters, the Fluval FX6 will be the undoubted winner. It is a multi-staged powerful filter, suitable for both saltwater and freshwater turtle tanks. Its mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration combination can eliminate any possible waste from the aquarium.

Read on to the article to find out the top canister filters for turtle tanks.

Best Canister Filter For Turtle Tank: Comparison Table

Canister Aquarium Filter ModelDimensionWeightPump Output/ Flow Rate (US Gallon) Capacity (US Gallon)Price
Fluval FX615.1 x 15.6 x 20.7 inches19.9 Pounds925 GPHUp to 400 gallonCheck Price
Fluval 4079.5 x 7 x 19.3 inches10.8 Pounds383 GPH50 to 100 GallonCheck Price
Penn Plax Cascade 1500 (CCF5UL)11.5 x 20.5 x 12 inches15 Pounds350 GPHUp to 200 gallonCheck Price
Marineland Magniflow 36014 x 11.02 x 18 inches19.62 Pounds360 GPHUp to 100 gallonCheck Price
SunSun HW 303B Pro 12 x 12 x 20 inches16 Pounds370 GPHUp to 100 gallonCheck Price

5 Best Canister Filter For Turtle Tank Reviews

1. Fluval FX6 High Performance Canister Filter [400 US Gal (1500 L)]

The Fluval FX6 Canister Filter from Hagen tops our list because of its outstanding performance in both medium and large sized aquariums. The powerful motor with the Smart pumping technology is designed to optimize the filtration capacity. A built-in electronic circuit board of this external filter ensures energy efficiency and controls its self-starting features.

Technical Specs Of Fluval FX6:

Aquarium Capacity400 Gallons (1500 Liters)
Dimension15.1 x 15.6 x 20.7 inches
Weight19.9 Pounds
Head Height (Max)10.8 feet (3.3 meters)
Filter Circulation563 GPH (2130 LPH)
Pump output925 GHP (3500 LPH)
Wattage43 watt
Media Basket3
Mechanical Area (Foam)325.5 in2 (2,100 cm2)
Biological Volume1.5 gallons (5.9 liters)
Filtration Volume5.28 gallons (20 liters)
Warranty3 years


  • Multi-stages Filtration: The device eliminates every single strain of wastes from your turtle tank with its 3 stage filtration features. The mechanical portion removes the organic debris and all particulate matter. The chemical stage dissolves the pollutant, and the biological area kills bacteria with the Nitrogen Cycle.
  • Removable Stacks Of Media Baskets: Media baskets are considered as the heart of Canister Fluval FX6 filters. Each basket is lined with foam, which optimizes the filtration. A simple T-handle release lets you separate the baskets instantly. It makes the cleaning and maintenance simple and fast. You have full access to customize the type of filtration and the order of baskets.
  • High Capacity Workhorse: The powerful motor of Fluval FX6 has been designed for larger tanks (up to 400 Gallon). It pumps 925 gallons of water per hour.
  • AquaStop Valves With Click-Fit: To regulate the water flow from intake and outflow tubing, offering the AquaStop valves is appreciable. The valves can be turned up to 90 degrees allowing you to connect and disconnect the tubes easily. Besides, you can adjust the water flow by angling the valves. The leak-proof click-fit connectors help you achieve an efficient air-sealed and watertight circulation.
  • Smart Pumping Technology: Following the footprint of Fluval FX5, the FX6 model has also incorporated an electronic controller. The advanced technology monitors the pump, impeller speed, and force to guarantee a powerful output and energy efficiency. The filter is programmed to pause once a 12 hour, detect the trapped air, and vacuum the space.
  • Easy Flashing: At the base of the filter, a purge valve is attached. The valve allows you to drain water from the system. It makes the maintenance of the FX6 easy.
  •  Anti-clog Intake Strainer: The telescopic intake strainer removes clogs and ensures continuous water flow. A fine, beveled mesh screen covers the whole strainer, which prevents the building up of solids on it.
  • Utility Valve: The valve at the bottom of the filter makes the water-changing process simple and less troubling. You can use the valve in both draining or feeding water into the system.
  • Breaking Down Of Suspended Waste: The output nozzles of Fluval FX6 is adjustable and multi-directional. These agitate the water, break down any suspension of waste, and prevent the removals from building up at the bottom of the aquarium.
  • Smart Start System: The FX6 model is designed to start instantly on its own to reduce your manual siphoning. Simply plug in the filter, and the device will start pumping and evacuating air from the system.
  • Easy Installation: The brand has provided a set of locking clamps with the filter, which ensure a tight connection of tubes under pressure.
  • Quieter Filtration: Instead of having a massive and powerful pump, the Fluval FX6 offers you a quiet operation. You may hear a low-tone humming noise, which is nothing compared to other filters.
  • Less Power Consumption: The improved motor of this device offers an excellent filtration though it consumes 10% less electric power than the previous models.
  • Compact Size: Along with all the features, the engineers have taken care of the size of this device too. The Fluval FX6 is not more than 21 inches tall, and it fits in any tank cabinet. The company also offers an adjustable intake stem so that you can install the filter with any possible tank. 
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  • Huge filtration capacity up to 400 gallon
  • Powerful motor with a circulation rate of 925GPH
  • 3 customizable media basket includes all filtration stages
  • Easy installation, low maintenance, and cleaning is less time consuming
  • Quieter during filtration
  • Smart pump technology ensures powerful output and energy efficiency
  • Self-starter feature
  • 10% less electricity consumption
  • Suitable for both saltwater and freshwater aquariums
  • Perfect for crowded aquarium
  • 3 years warranty


  • Expensive
  • Heavy and requires an enormous amount of space
  • Too powerful and may suck small fishes
  • The inside foam of filters requires frequent replacement

Find out more features and the latest discounts on Fluval FX6 here.

2. Fluval 407 Performance Canister Filter with Media (Up to 100 Gallon Aquarium)

The Fluval 407, the newest addition in the Fluval 07 series, is one of the top-selling Canister filters. The upgraded features make the model more efficient, reliable, easy maintenance, and quieter than the previous generations. The edge-cutting unique design and top-notch manufacturing of Fluval 407 successfully deliver a powerful water circulation with minimum energy usage.

Technical Specs Of Fluval 407:

Aquarium Capacity50 to 100 Gallons (150 to 500 Liters)
Dimension9.5 x 7 x 19.3 inches
Weight10.8 Pounds
Head Height (Max)7.4 Feet (2.25 meters)
Filter Circulation245 US GPH (930 LPH)
Pump Output383 GPH (1450 LPH)
Vertical Pre-filter166.5 in2 (1074cm2)
Basket Volume1.1 Gallon (4.2 Liters)
Total Chamber Volume1.6 Gallon (6 Liters)
Canister Volume2.5 Gallon (9.2 Liters)
Wattage20 Watt
Warranty3 Years


  • Efficient Design: The engineers have implemented cutting-edge design, sustained and robust materials for Fluval 407 production. The eTEC construction boosts the performance of this filtration system. Not only that, the user-friendly design has made the maintenance of the device easier. New added enlarged rubber feet protect the filter by stabilizing the vibration damping ability.
  • Powerful Motor: Fluval 407 motor is more powerful than the other models of the 07 series. It circulates 383 Gallons of water per hour with constant pumping.
  • Energy Efficient: The power consumption of the Fluval 407 is 20 watts. It is as little as the energy drawn by a single household LED lightbulb.
  • Less Noisy: Upgraded pumps are engineered with an impeller shaft, fan blade, and magnetic rotor. These features reduce tolerance, void space and make the blade rotation frictionless. Hence, the pump operates with 25% less unwanted noise.
  • AquaStop Valves: The filter comes with AquaStop valves, which smoothly regulates the water flow. These valves offer improved performance with minimal effort by bringing a few changes in the design and supply. Such as extended locking pads that are easier to grip and thicker plastic with ribbed material in manufacturing.
  • Dual Lift-lock Clamps: Most competitor brands install four clamps in their device, whereas the Fluval 407 is upgraded with single-action dual lift-lock motorhead clamps. The two big clamps are fiber reinforced with a thick plastic mounting. So, the locking-unlocking and maintenance have become effortless.
  • Vertical Pre Filtering Media Baskets: The foaming pads of the pre-filtration are stacked vertically to reduce void in the system. The rippled pattern unique design provides 30% more surface area for filtration.
  • One Finger Removal: Lifting and removal of the media baskets are easier than ever. It is unbelievable, but you can lift the stack with only ONE FINGER. So, the maintenance is less time and energy consuming.
  • Space Capacity: The Fluval 407 series can handle 50 to 100 gallons of water. New and upgraded designs have utilized every inch available of the system.


  • Effective filtration of up to 100 gallons of water
  • Suitable for marine and heavily planted aquarium
  • Power-efficient
  • Quick start
  • Easy maintenance
  • Approximately 25% quieter (Not dead silent)
  • One finger removal of the media stack
  • Includes all filtration media
  • 3 years warranty


  • Complicated structure
  • Complex set up process
  • Frequent replacement of the foams
  • Expensive comparing the size and capabilities
  • Impossible to get an inflow heater without a proper modification

Discover the opinion of other users on this top-selling Canister Filter by clicking here.

3. Penn-Plax Cascade (1500) CCF5UL Canister Filter [Up to 200 Gallons]

Penn-Plax Cascade 1500, the beast of the series, is popular due to its ease of use and unique features. The powerful motor, along with multi-stage filtration, offers crystal clear water in the tank. Sturdy construction and ergonomic design make the maintenance of the filter less complicated.

Technical Specs Of Penn-Plax Cascade 1500:

Aquarium CapacityUp to 200 Gallon
Dimension11.5 x 20.5 x 12 inches
Weight15 Pounds
Pump Output350 GPH
Number Of Media Basket5
Warranty3 Years


  • Simple Set-Up: Users, especially, beginners are most afraid of the setting up process. While most brand filter setup systems are tricky and time-consuming, this is not the case with Penn-Plax Cascade 1500. The device comes with a handy instruction manual, which is written in the easiest way possible. Even if you are a beginner, the whole setup process will not take more than half an hour.
  • Multi-stage Filtration: 5 large media baskets deliver clean and crystal water to the tank. The best part is, you can customize your aquarium filtration media with bio-floss, bio-sponge, and activated carbon according to need.
  • High Durability: The Penn-Plax Cascade 1500, the external filter, offers durability even in extreme use. To get the best result and extended life, do regular check-up and maintenance of the filter.
  • Customized Media: The company provides a spray bar and spout outlet that makes your filter media customization easier. The directional returns collect all the wastes from the water and accumulate them in the media. In return, you get a clean and hygienic water environment. 
  • Efficient Design: The Cascade 1500 comes in a handy size with soothing cobalt blue color. The walls of this filter are made of thick and sturdy plastic, which will not be damaged even if you drop it accidentally. Mounted tip-proof rubber bottom provides the filter stability.
  • Self Priming Button: Forget the stressful manual siphoning of water. The filter model provides you with a self-priming button, which will kick-start the water flow from the intake tube.
  • Excellent Flow Rate: With a Cascade 1500, you can filter around 200 gallons of water. The device filters your aquarium water with a 350GPH flow rate. 360 degrees rotate flow valves allow you to adjust the water flow and easy maneuver.
  • Hose clamps: Swimming pool-style hose clamps have made the assemble and reassemble of the filter simple and quick.
  • Easy Maintenance: The lift clamps offer quick vacuuming and cleaning of the filter. Changing the media filters is not a hard task due to these clamps.
  • Quietness: While most filters create a loud vibrating sound, the Cascade 1500 is quieter than the other models. The air-tight seal ensures smooth water flow with less noise.


  • Easy and simple set up
  • Affordable price
  • Quiet operation
  • Effective filtration with large trays
  • Adjustable water flow valves
  • Self-primer button
  • Durable and sturdy design
  • Perfect for saltwater and freshwater


  • Consume more power
  • The trays do not fit always
  • Water bypasses the media
  • The sealed pump and motor can not be cleaned
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Get the comparison table of Penn-Plax Cascade 1500 with other models from here.

4. Marineland Magniflow 360 Canister Filter

The MarineLand Magniflow 360 Canister filter is a perfect addition for turtle tanks. It removes any wastes from both salty and freshwater like a breeze with the multi-stage filtration system. The magnificent and sturdy design, along with the upgraded features, have made this Canister filter a favorite for turtle hobbyists.

Technical Specs Of Marineland Magniflow 360:

Aquarium CapacityUp to 100 gallons (500 Liter)
Dimension14 x 11.02 x 18 inches
Weight19.62 Pounds
Pump Output360 GPH
Number Of Trays4
Warranty3 Years


  • Sturdy Construction: You can not ignore the solid, heavy-duty, and sturdy construction of the MarineLand Magniflow 360 filter. The bulky body with a smooth surface ensures quality service and no water bypass. The body of this gray color canister and hoses are built with thick plastic, which provides durability and long-term service. Parts of the device are closely packed, which ensures sturdiness.
  • Thoughtful Design: The engineers have particularly focused on the cover this time. MarineLand Magniflow 360 comes with a water-tight, leak-proof lid. It seals off completely, and so there is no chance of wastage falling off on your floor anymore.
  • Set-Up Instruction: Written instructions are not much constructive for the newbies. The company has included a setup instruction DVD, which will facilitate the work for everyone.
  • Quick Prime Button: Engineers have eliminated the trouble of manual siphoning by providing a priming button. All you need is to push the button, and the canister will self-prime itself.
  • Excellent Filtration: 3 stage filtration process of the MarineLand Magniflow 360 will provide you the best quality water for your turtles. Filter foam pads of the mechanical stage capture debris and wastes. The black diamond carbon of chemical filtration eliminates impurities and foul odor. The biological media with a ceramic ring and bio-balls works on the growth of beneficial bacteria.
  • Four Chambers: The MarineLand Magniflow 360 has four chambers, each for different purposes. Such as mechanical filtration, chemical filtration, biological filtration, and water polishing area.
  • Quick Release Valve: Proficient valves with a quick release feature allow you to shut the water flow and separate it from the motor housing. It eliminates the risk of water spilling and makes maintenance easier.
  • Easy Cleaning: The filter model gives you access to the media basket by simply lifting the lid. Pulling this filter apart or putting it together is a piece of cake. Hence, the cleaning has never been this easy before.
  • Capacity And Flow Rate: MarineLand Magniflow 360 filter is fit for up to 100 gallons of water. The water circulation rate is 360 gallons per hour which is enough to clean a 100 gallon turtle tank.
  • Quiet Filtration: Compared to other filter models, MarineLand Magniflow 360 offers a silent pumping system.


  • Perfect for tanks up to 100 gallons
  • Powerful pump output
  • Efficient and fast filtration
  • Less noisy
  • High durability
  • Quick start
  • Auto shut down feature
  • Easy installation
  • Heavy-duty construction
  • 3 years warranty
  • Compatible with both saltwater and freshwater


  • Bulky size
  • Require space
  • Leakage issue
  • Rubber gaskets are vulnerable

Are you still doubtful of the MarineLand Magniflow 360 Canister Filter? Click here to explore more features of this model.

5. SunSun HW303B 370GPH Pro Canister Filter Kit with 9-watt UV Sterilizer

The SunSun HW303B Canister filter comes with unique and more attractive features at a reasonable price. Besides effective filtration, the additional UV sterilizer eliminates algae, spores, and bacteria. The powerful motor, filtration system, and wise design have made this Canister filter the first choice of many turtle keepers.

Technical Specs of SunSun Hw303B 370GPH Canister Filter:

Aquarium CapacityUp to 100 Gallon (500 Liter)
Dimension12 x 12 x 20 inches
Weight16 Pounds
Pump Output370 GPH (1400 LPH)
Pump Power35 Watt
UV Lamp9 Watt
Number Of Media Basket3
Stages Of Filtration4


  • Sturdy And Durable: SunSun HW303B Pro filter is made of thick plastic. So, this filter is an excellent match for the heavy works a filter goes through a day.
  • Great Capacity: The Canister filter can handle up to large turtle aquariums (100 Gallons). Engineers have made the product suitable for both freshwater and marine environments.
  • Excellent Flow Rate: Better pump output means better water circulation in the tank. The SunSun HW303B Pro offers you a flow rate of 370 GPH. It removes all possible wastages from the aquarium.
  • Self-primer: The brand has equipped this filter model with a self-priming pump. So, starting the device has become effortless.
  • Multiple Filtration: 3 large media baskets are available in this particular model. These trays allow you to customize the media for better filtration. Porous ceramic rings and bio-balls also come with this device. Both these media work to remove waste from the water.
  • Powered Pump: The pump of this canister filter is capable enough to produce high pressure. It forces water through the thick media baskets. Drawing water from under the gravels is also a piece of cake for this device. Hence, you get crystal clean tank water.
  • UV Lamp Kit: The additional UV lamp combats bacteria, algae, spores, and other infestations in the tank. In other words, the light eliminates the possible turtle threats from the water.
  • Adjustable Spray Bar: Spray bar allows you to control the output water flow coming from the tank.


  • High flow rate
  • Easy to use
  • Self-priming button
  • Perfect for tanks up to 100 gallons
  • Sturdy and durable
  • Excellent filtration system
  • Customizable media basket
  • Quiet operation
  • Prevent the bacterial and algae growth
  • Not expensive
  • Work in both freshwater and saltwater


  • The manual is complicated to understand
  • Heavy
  • Fragile outtake areas

Click here to find out what other users are thinking about this filter.

How To Choose The Best Canister Filter For Turtle Tank?

Why should you believe my words for the best Canister filter? I say you judge the quality of the filter on your own. Several elements should be considered while measuring a Canister filter for your turtle tank. Here I have enlisted the primary factors you should keep in mind when choosing the best Canister filter for your pet aquarium.


Budget plays the sole role in selecting a turtle tank filter. It is because having a small account will narrow down your options. No doubt that investing more money in a tank filter means more upgraded features.

No matter how small your budget is, make the best use of it. Do not buy a low quality filter as it will put your turtles’ health in danger.

Tank Size

Turtle tanks require powerful filters because of the extra waste turtles produce. You should consider your tank size while shopping for the filter. According to the rule of thumb, the filter should be at least twice the volume of your turtle tank.

Experts suggest that the filters, which can handle three times the volume of your tank are better. It means for a 100 gallon turtle tank, you should choose the filter of 200 to 300 gallon volume.

Pump Output (GPH)

GPH or gallon per hour refers to the flow rate of water in your turtle tank in one hour. Turtles generate a lot of waste, and so you should get a tank filter that matches or exceeds the tank volume. Otherwise, your tank will stay messy and filthy. With the right choice, you will get a clean and hygienic tank environment.

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Filtration Type

For pure tank water, three stages of filtration are a must, such as mechanical, chemical, and biological. Each stage serves different purposes.

The mechanical filter removes all the debris, particles, and physical matters from the water. It prevents the mixing of waste and water together. Thus, the water stays clean. However, mechanical filtration will not change your water chemistry.

In the chemical stage, the media concentrates on the harmful chemicals of water. For example, the popular chemical filtration media is activated carbon. It targets the toxic buildups and removes them. Besides, it reduces the copper and ammonia level in the water.

Biological filtration is the stage where the bacteria and other harmful living things get eliminated. In this stage, the oxygen cycle and nitrogen cycle work together. The biological filter media creates an environment where good bacteria can grow.

To get the best result, choose a Canister filter that includes all these media.


Installing a filter in your tank makes your life easier, but cleaning it definitely not. No matter how effective a turtle tank filter is, you have to remove the filths from inside regularly for a satisfactory result.

If the filter is easy to maintain, then you should not worry too much. If not, you will have to invest hours disassembling, cleaning, and reassembling the filter.

Some filters have dedicated chambers that collect the wastes. So, cleaning those filters is not hard. Few Canister filters offer features that let your device pump backward that help you in the maintenance process. Most filter models come with easy access to the filtration baskets so that you can change or replace the media anytime.

What Is A Good Turtle Filter?

An aquarium filter is considered good for your turtle tank if it fulfills 3 criteria. Such as,

  1. The volume of the filter should be at least twice or thrice the size of your turtle tank.
  2. The flow rate of the filter or GPH must match or exceed the tank volume.
  3. Three stages of filtration, such as mechanical, chemical, and biological, should be present in the filter system.

Turtles generate more wastes than fishes. So, if you measure a turtle tank filter based on a fish aquarium, you will not get better output. Experts suggest that the more powerful the filter, the better it will keep the water clean, hygienic, and healthy for your pet turtles.

However, besides ticking off all these requirements, consider the maintenance process of the filter. The most efficient filters also need proper manual cleaning from time to time.

If the device is not easy to maintain, as a user, you may have to go through a lot of trouble to remove the collected wastes from the chambers. Without proper cleaning, no filter will provide a good filtration.

Do Turtles Need A Filter In Their Tank?

Turtles do need a filter in their tank. You know these creatures spend almost 70% to 80% of their life in water. So, no doubt how much the water quality affects their health.

Filthy and unhygienic water welcomes the growth and spread of harmful bacteria. As a result, your pet turtle falls sick to diseases like respiratory illness, shell rot, mouth rot, ear infection, parasite infestation, etc. Any severe physical condition is enough to shorten your turtle’s expected lifespan.

To avoid these illnesses and keep your turtle happy, install a high quality filter in your pet’s tank. Turtle tank filters are designed to draw wastes from the water and provide clean water. Besides, these devices kill any harmful bacteria, spores, or parasites growing in the water.

As the water quality is assured, your turtle will stay fit and stress-free.

How Long Do Turtle Tank Filters Last?

A turtle tank filter can last up to 3 to 4 years or more. Basically, the lifespan of a turtle tank filter varies depending on several factors. For instances,

  • Bio loads that your filter is taking
  • Water condition
  • How often you clean the filter
  • Heavy usage or usual usage
  • Quality of the filter itself, etc.

The longest I have used one filter is more than 5 years, of course with regular maintenance. You can extend your turtle tank filter’s lifespan with proper motor check-up and maintenance. If your filter is troubling you, try fixing it up instead of buying a new model. Sometimes, all your device needs are new parts, which are cheaper than a whole new filter.

Can Turtles Live Without A Filter?

Turtles can’t live without a filter. They need clean water and a hygienic environment for healthy growth. In captivity, you can only keep the tank water fresh & clean with a proper filter.

In the wild, turtles live in muddy lakes or ponds, and they are totally fine. Then why not in captivity?

You need to understand that mother nature has its own way of changing and cleaning the pond or river water. You obviously can not replicate everything in your turtle habitat. Without proper filtration, the tank will turn into a mess of bacteria, foodscapes, and turtle poops. With time, your pet turtle will fall sick due to the low quality water.

Even if a turtle may survive without a filter, it is not advisable. Remember, surviving does not mean living healthy. The filthy water will eventually steal years from your turtle’s time expectancy.

What Is The Best Filter For A Red Eared Slider?

Any powerful filter that removes every single strain of waste from the water will suit the red eared slider’s tank. Since this species poops a lot and prefers large tanks, you may require a high quality and high volume canister filter for their enclosures.

The Fluval FX6 will definitely match the requirements of a red eared slider’s tank. Besides, the Penn-Plax Cascade 1500 or the SunSun HW303B Pro Canister filter will be an excellent choice for this species.

Both the models offer multi-stage filtration, self-priming buttons, and easy maintenance. So, cleaning the filths will not be an issue anymore. The SunSun HW303B Pro comes with an additional UV bulb that prevents the growth of algae and harmful bacteria. It is appreciable in this price range.

How Often Should I Clean My Turtle Filter?

The ideal cleaning process for turtle tank filters is once a month. Depending on the bio-load and how much filtration is done, every other month maintenance will also work.

Turtle filters can get very dirty because turtles are messy creatures. Every once in a while, you have to clean the filter. Otherwise, the wastages will clog up and hinder the smooth filtration process. Hence, you will not get crystal clear water anymore.

What Are the Best Filter Media for Turtle tanks?

The best filter media for turtle tank is Fine filter pads for mechanical filtration and Bio balls for biological filtration. You can also use activated carbon if the tank starts to smell bad.

The media is the arrangement inside the filter that eliminates any physical particles or toxic elements from the water. Basically, 3 types of filtration media are available. Such as,

1. Mechanical Filtration Media

Mechanical filter media shields the large particles, poops, debris, foodscapes from entering the upcoming stages. In a nutshell, this media mechanically removes the physical particles from the water and works as a strainer.

Here are some popular mechanical filter media for turtle tanks:

  • Filter pads
  • Fine water polishing pads
  • Aquarium filter sponges
  • Ceramic made porous pre-filter rings

2. Chemical Filtration Media

Removing the physical matters from the water does not mean it is safe and healthy. Organic matters may discolor the water and spread foul odor. The chemical filtration stage absorbs pollution, discolors the water, and eliminates any odor present.

Some efficient chemical filter media are:

  • Activated carbon
  • Ammonia absorbing resin
  • Peat
  • Rock or chips
  • Natural mineral, like Zeolite, etc.

3. Biological Filtration Media

Biological filter media helps the growth of beneficial bacteria and creates a natural environment inside the turtle tank. It also prevents the spread of harmful bacteria. The biological media does all this stuff with oxygen and nitrogen cycles.

The cultured beneficial bacteria in this stage lowers the ammonia level and provides nutrients to the plants. Hence, a clean, healthy, and hygienic environment for the turtles is assured.

Popular biological filtration media are:

  • Glass balls
  • Bio balls
  • Sponges
  • Gravel
  • Bio stars
  • Disk
  • Splinter
  • Sand
  • Hollow plastic balls
  • Ring
  • Thick coarse sponge
  • Ceramic rings
  • Porous materials, like small rocks, cylinder, etc.


Selecting the best canister filter for your turtle tank requires a considerable amount of research, attention, and comparison. If you ask my opinion, the five canister filters, I have mentioned above will fulfill your every need. You can choose any one of them according to your choice and criteria.

For a tank of 200 gallons with multiple turtles, the Fluval FX6 is a great choice. Also, if price is not an issue, I strongly suggest you consider this model for your big tank. Penn-Plax Cascade 1500 is a perfect match for large tanks with heavily planted and crowded aquariums.

In a mid budget range, Fluval 407, MarineLand Magniflow 360 will do just fine. If your budget is low and you still want a dynamic filter, SunSun HW303B Pro should be your prime option.

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About Author

Muntaseer Rahman started keeping pet turtles back in 2013. He also owns the largest Turtle & Tortoise Facebook community in Bangladesh. These days he is mostly active on Facebook.


This site is owned and operated by Muntaseer Rahman. TheTurtleHub.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies.