10 Best Canister Filters for Turtles

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Today we’ll talk about a subject that is quite searched for by turtle owners. More exactly, I will introduce you the 10 best canister filters, used for turtle tanks.

Yes, turtles also need a water filter, not just fish. That is why in today’s article I will talk about this matter. First, you’ll learn about these products, after that, I will answer some frequently asked questions about filters for turtles. Let’s start with the first item:

1. Fluval External Filter

This is the first item I personally recommend for water filtration in a turtle tank. What does it do more exactly, and what will you get in the box?

First of all, it comes in 4 different versions:

  • 106
  • 206
  • 306
  • 406

For the best performance, I recommend you buy the last, the 406 version. This can clean your water in a tank that’s even 100 gallons in volume. It comes with a flow rate of 1450 LPH. In US terms, that is 383 GPH. That means, that a 100-gallon tank, can be filtered very efficiently with this flow rate.

The shape is quite unique: it looks like a square, rather than round, like most other canister filters. Because of this design, it can hold a lot more water in it for filtration, even 35 to 50% more water. When it’s on, it is quite silent, thanks to its sound dampening impeller design.

Also, the water that leaves the device will be much cleaner than the ones that enters it. Due to its multi-layer filtration system, it will capture all the floating debris from the tank, and it will give provide a quality chemical and biological filtering too.


2. OASE Indoor Aquatics Biomaster

This device is another modern and quality product, that will do its job as expected. It comes in 3 different variationss:

  • Biomaster 250
  • Biomaster 350
  • Biomaster 600

For an average user, the second version, the Biomaster 350 will do just fine. It will clean the water, like you’d expect from a performant device, and all that in a quiet manner, without disturbing you, or the turtles that live inside the tank.

Something worth noticing about this product, is the 4-stage filtration system. Yes, 4 layers of water filtration. It does biological, chemical and mechanical filtration like most other devices. But besides those, it will pre-filter the water, for a more efficient result.

The filter is compatible with marine salt water and fresh water as well. Also, it will clean the water efficiently and quite quickly, due to its large capacity.


3. Penn Plex Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter

The Penn Plex Cascade Filter is among the most performant canister filters on this list. It has a flow of 350 GPH, and it’s suitable for aquariums that contain up to 200 gallons of water. Usually, a turtle tank isn’t that big, so it will surely perform well if you install it besides your aquarium.

It comes with 5 filter media baskets, that will filter the water in multiple ways, as you’d like to set it up. For instance, you can install 2 layers of mechanical filters, 1 of chemical and another 2 bio-medias. This way, you can clean the water in all 3 standard ways, to ensure a healthy environment for your turtles.

You can set this up in a big number of ways and places, due to its flow valves. The flow valves of top of the device, can be rotated 360 degrees, making the device suitable to fit under the tank as well, or in other places you might think of.

The Penn Plex comes in many different versions, some built for smaller tanks and others for way larger ones. The features I mentioned above, are present at each device, no matter your choice.


4. Eheim Pro 4+ 600 Filter

This canister filter was created for aquariums that contain up to 160 gallons of water. Also, you need a tank that is at least 30 gallons in volume, for this device to work with properly.

Like the first device on the list, this is also a square filter, meaning it can take more water to filter at once. When you buy the device, you’ll get filter media and filter pads in the box, along the installation equipment.

You can easily fit this device under the tank, because the flow valves are built inside the canister itself. This means that they don’t stick out of the device. This gives versatility, when the installation and setup is happening.

It’s worth mentioning that this product is manufactured in Germany, which assures for a greater quality, than many other devices.


5. MarineLand Magniflow Canister Filter

The MarineLand Canister Filter is a very popular device among both fish keepers and turtle owners as well. It comes in 3 different versions:

  • One for 30-gallon tanks
  • One for 55-gallon tanks
  • One for 100-gallons tanks

I will talk about the middle item, the one that works with aquariums containing 55 gallons of water.

This version does all 3 types of water filtration: mechanical, chemical and biological. As a part of the mechanical system, it comes with a water polisher, that will remove the fine debris that floats around in the tank.

Bio filtration consists in balls and ceramic rings that contain bacteria colonies, used to filter the water from harmful spores. The rings and balls act as housing units to the bacteria colonies; they can thrive and reproduce in these items.

Black Diamond Carbon is used to remove strange odors from the tank. Also, any discolorations and water impurities are also taken care of, with the use of this material.


6. Hydor Professional External Canister Filter

The Hydor External Canister Filter is one that comes in 5 different versions, all suited for different tank sizes. The one that works best with turtle tanks, is the 3rd variant.

This one, is designed for aquariums that contain between 60 and 100 gallons of water. This filter is a complete system, that takes care of all the water filtration needed by an aquarium. It’s doing this, using a water flow of 280 GPH, more than enough for 100 gallons of water.

It includes every needed layer of filtration, like the mechanical, chemical and biological ones, in one package. Of course, you get filter media as well, which means you don’t have to buy that separately.

The Hydor also comes with telescopic intake tubes, that allow for a greater customizability, meaning that you can place it almost anywhere, even under the aquarium itself.


7. Aqueon Canister Filter

The Aqueon Canister Filter is among the most notable players in the industry. This company designs and produces all sorts of devices, that are used by aquarium enthusiasts.

This device not only includes the standard water filter, but also a hang on back water polishing unit, that will greatly help in the maintenance work. The cartridge is replaced easily, due to this additional item.

The filter media is also added to the package, you can fit this into 2 media baskets, specially created for this purpose. You can add Carbon, Coarse Foam, Bio Balls, Ceramic Rings or other media into these baskets. The ones I listed here, are all present in the standard package of this product.

The flow rate of this device, is 300 GPH, which is more than good for 50 or even 100 gallons of water. This means that your turtles will have a clean environment to thrive in.


8. Eheim Classic External Canister Filter

This is another Eheim product, but a more traditional looking one. It’s available in 3 different version:

  • 40 gallons
  • 66 gallons
  • 92 gallons

I personally recommend the 3rd version, which is best for turtle aquariums. Like you can see from the title, it comes with included filter media, so you don’t have to buy any of these additionally.

For example, you get a quality mechanical filter media, that will attract all the floating debris from the water. This media is mainly made of special sponge material, that won’t let any debris get away in the tank.

The flow rate is 164 GPH. This is great for a tank that contains about 60- or 70-gallons water. It can however go up to 95 gallons, but it will take a little more time to clean it thoroughly.


9. Polar Aurora External Aquarium Filter

The Polar Aurora is a great choice for those who own a bigger aquarium. All the different versions, come with great water flow rates. For instance, the 4th device has a flow rate of 525 GPH. This makes it good for very large tanks, such as those that contain 200 gallons of water.

It comes with 4 media trays, that are capable of handling personalized filtration, as per your choice. Basically, you can adjust the filtration, to suit your needs. Of course, all 3 major stages are available: mechanical, chemical and biological filtration.

It includes a convenient self-priming pump. Using this, you can eliminate the need for manual siphoning. Also, it enables a way simpler maintenance routine, than if it would use manual pump.

The device also includes a 9 Watt UV sterilizer. This is used to control the growth of certain bacteria in the tank, as well as the algae spores. This way, it results in cleaner water, that doesn’t get filled with algae. Also, this feature supplements the biological filtration system, giving it a longer working period.


10. AquaTop Forza Canister Filters with UV Sterilization

As long as performance goes, this device is on top of the game. It comes in 3 different versions in terms of capacity and flow rate. The 3rd version, comes with a flow rate of 550 GPH, suitable for a tank that contains between 125 and 175 gallons of water.

Like you’d expect, it includes a multi-stage filtration system, more exactly, the 3 standard stages: mechanical, chemical and biological. To help the bio-filter, the device comes with a 13-Watt light bulb, that will get rid of the unnecessary algae that appears in the water. It is quite similar, to the one from the previous item.

It’s worth mentioning the quality mechanical filter media that comes added into the box. The installation is quite simple, and you’ll be able to get rid of all the floating debris from inside the aquarium. The UV light bulb, can also prove to be a good addition for your turtles, because most of them like warm habitats.


Now it’s time to talk about some frequently asked question, that relate to turtles and water filters:

Minimum Tank Size for Turtle

Minimum Tank Size for Turtle

Minimum Tank Size for Turtle

If you own, or plan to buy turtles, know that a 30-gallon tank is the bare minimum for housing one. This scares many people, but actually, keeping a larger tank is in many ways easier than a small one.

For example, the water parameters are much easier to be kept at the required levels in a large tank, than in a small one. And consider that I said 30 gallons is the bare minimum.

If you want to offer your turtles the best conditions, 50 gallons of water per turtle is much better. However, this number depends a lot on the turtle’s size and type. The number I gave you, is more of a general one, that works if you don’t know anything else about your turtle.

But to be sure you offer the best tank size for them, do some research before buying one. This way, you’ll make the right purchase, that will help your turtles thrive in the tank.

Do Turtles Produce More Waste than Fish?

The answer to this question really depends on the number of fish and turtles we’re comparing. Usually, turtles are quite clean, but of course they produce some amount of waste.

And consider that many turtles will grow bigger than other fish. This means, that they could produce more waste. So, the answer really lies in the numbers.

Do You Need a Bigger Filter for Multiple Turtles?

If you own more than 3 or 4 turtles in the same tank, you will need a bigger aquarium for housing them. And since the aquarium is getting bigger, the need for water filtration is also getting bigger.

If you own a tank that’s bigger than 200 gallons, you could need a bigger filter. However, if you choose one that suits that from the beginning, you won’t. After all, I mentioned multiple devices on our list, that can easily handle even large amounts of water. So, make your choice wisely, and no, you won’t need a bigger filter if you do so.

Why Choose a Canister Filter for Turtles?

The short answer is: because it’s better. But let’s elaborate a little on this subject.

It is known among aquarium owners, especially experienced ones, that different types of water filters have different results on the water they’re used on.

For instance, HOB filters are a very popular types of filtration devices. Even so, they are not the best at cleaning larger amounts of water. Also, there are internal water filters, that are placed directly in the tank itself. The problem with these is the same, as with HOB filters.

That is why canister filters are used by the most experienced tank owners. They just simply offer better results, and that is exactly what you want for your turtles.


All in all, canister filters are among the best devices to clean the water in your aquarium. In this article, you learned about the 10 best ones, that you can use for a turtle tank.

All that’s left, is for you to pick a winner. How can you make the right choice in the end?

First of all, think about what you need from your next filter.

For instance, do you want a device that you can easily fit under the tank. Or you want something that won’t make a lot of noise? Of course, the chosen device should incorporate all 3 stages of filtration.

Also, you should really think about the size of your tank. Measure it exactly, if you don’t already know its capacity. This way, you can pick a filter that will work well with your tank’s size.

And don’t forget that many devices I listed in this article, come in multiple different versions. This means that you can pick the one that best suits your needs.

The budget is another factor you have to consider. Some of these items are cheaper, some not so cheap.

Pick the one that best goes with your personal requirements, and you’ll surely be satisfied!

Author Image Fabian
I’m Fabian, aquarium fish breeder and founder of this website. I’ve been keeping fish, since I was a kid. On this blog, I share a lot of information about the aquarium hobby and various fish species that I like. Please leave a comment if you have any question.

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