What Is The Best Canister Filter For Turtle Tank? Reviews & Top Picks!

best canister filter for turtle tank

Cleaning the turtle tank can be a difficult and boring task. I know. I have one! So providing a proper filtration from the start is a must. But, what’s the best canister filter for turtle tank? We’ve done the research and here is the result.

Aquatic turtles, in particular, are prone to overfeeding by their owners, so if you are not careful , you can see yourself cleaning up a bunch of turtle mess. And believe me, it is not a good experience. So what can you do to make your life easier?

For a start, you’ll need a good filter for your tank. It may seem like a huge investment in the beginning but eventually will save you a lot of your time. We are here to help. We will give you the facts, which makes finding the best canister filter for your turtle tank a no-brainer.



  • Fluval 406 external filter
  • Fluval Fx6 Aquarium Canister Filter
  • Eheim Classic External Canister Filter
  • Penn Plax Cascade 1000 canister filter


If you don’t have time to read the reviews , this four picks can give you a quick overview of what are the best filters for a turtle tank. For those that want to know more keep reading.

In my experience, you don’t need some fancy expensive filter for your turtles. I am not telling you that you shouldn’t buy , or that expensive canister filters are a bad choice. Far away from that. They are excellent , and you should consider buy it if you have the right budget. But for smaller tanks, it is not necessary.

Most of the people who have turtles as pets don’t seem to pay much attention to their habitats. It is so sad to see how they are kept in small plastic containers with not enough space for swimming. And that is one of the reasons why they die at such young age.

Learn more about red eared sliders here : How long do red eared sliders live?

What you should need to do

First, provide a tank big enough for your turtles. Bigger is always better. Aquatic turtles tend to grow big and you don’t want to see yourself changing the tank every year.  Now, when you are done with that you can think of providing a good filtration system for your turtles. Based on the turtle tank size chose the adequate filter.

Important note: Turtles produce a lot more waste than fish, and if you can, always pick a more powerful filter than you current needs are.

best filter for turtle tank

Before we jump right on the reviews, let me just make a brief explanation of what canister filter is, how it works, and what benefits you can expect when you buy your first external canister filter. You can skip this part if you are already familiar with this information.


It is an external aquarium filter that usually sits in the cabinet under your fish tank. Basically, it is just a vessel for the filter media trays. It has a power motor head, which job is to provide the water keep move and filtering through the media.

There are an intake valve and an outtake valve attached on the top of the canister.The water comes from the aquarium, goes to the bottom, and then the clean water is backed in the tank filtered out through the filter media. As you can see, it is a simple process.

Depends on the brand, you have several options of water flow direction:

  • bottom to top
  • top to bottom
  • center out
  • back to front
  • inside out

However, most of the canister filters provide complete 3-stage filtration

There are three basic types of filtration.

Mechanical-larger particles, food residues, excess debris are removed through the mechanical strainers.

Chemical-water characteristics are changed by creating chemical reactions.

Biological– promoting bacterial growth to eliminate organic toxins, nitrite, and ammonia.

Before deciding which is the best external filter to buy, it is always a good idea to look for different types to narrow down your decision before purchasing.


  • I like the fact it sits out of site under your tank in the aquarium stand, so that way it doesn’t take so much space.
  • it can be very convenient for larger tanks; aquariums that are populated with a lot of fish need better filtration because more fish produce more waste.
  • they are easy to maintain, with replaceable parts
  • smooth and silent running
  • easy to prime
  • not they only provide clean water, but they also maintain the oxygen at a safe level.


If this is your first purchase of canister filter, it can be very confusing and overwhelming when you see all that different kinds of filters. I know for me it was.

So, how can you tell what is the best choice for you?

Firstly, you need to figure out what is the size of your aquarium?

Why is this so important?

I am glad you asked.

One of the key segments of the canister filter is the motor head. The motor head has one job; to push the water through the filter media and makes sure that all the water from the tank gets filtered at least 4 times of the tank size per hour.

For example:

If you have a 100-gallon aquarium you should go with a filter which motor head produce a flow rate of 400 gallons per hour.

However, the external canister filter doesn’t actually do any filtering.
It is a basically a form of water movement and a vessel for holders of filter media.

In fact, the filter media is the most important part of the canister filter. It’s what makes the tank clean and healthy environment for your fishes.

To summarize:

The two most important key parts you should consider it before buying your first canister filter are the flow rate per hour that canister can provide and the filter media that comes with it.

While most of the models come with all required media, feel free to purchase some additional media if you need it.

Our choice: Fluval External Power Filter Pre-Filter Media

What are some of the drawbacks of using a canister filter to be aware of?

The first thing that came to my mind when I started to research about these products is the price. Canister filters are not cheap. Their price varies from brand to brand, and the cheapest one is almost double the price of Hob filter.

If those numbers scare you (to be honest at the beginning I was scared, too) you can see it in this way.
You are buying a long term investment for the health of your fish. Your fish tank will look cleaner, healthier and all you’ll need to do, it’s to relax and enjoy the view.

Now, on to the four canister filters, I think are the best.

Best canister for large turtle tank

Fluval 406 external filter review

The Fluval series have been one of the most trusted and well-established brands on the market when it comes to an external canister fish tank filters.

As a part of the Hagen group of fish keeping products, they have done a fantastic job of offering a different range of external filters.

Based on the success of the others 5 series that were designed to achieve better filtration quicker, and maintenance quieter operation, the 06 series takes it just a little further with a couple of updates.

The 406 model provides complete, multi-stage filtration for aquariums up to 100 U.S gallons. One of the great new things about this model is they tried to make it more user-friendly.

It is much easier to set up, customize and maintain.

Another interesting fact about this model is it holds 35-50% more volume than other canisters of similar size.Practically you get a more powered filter which takes the same space as other filters.

The Fluval 406 has plenty of proven attributes that make it a leader in the industry.
Can be used both in freshwater and saltwater aquariums.

It is a quiet filter. This is one of the most important features on canister filters people are looking for. So, what are the other benefits this model can provide?

Sometimes it’s not very easy to disconnect the valves if you want to stop the water flow. In these situations, aquastopes valves come in handy. In this way, you can decrease the chances of creating a mess, or leaks, and just because of this feature.

Buying a Fluval 406 can add an excellent value to your fish tank.
The aquastope valve,the removable filter media, and the multi-stage filtration are a wise choice for consumers who are replacing their old canister filter.


  • smooth and silent running
  • provides excellent filtration for your aquarium(all three types of filtration)
  • high-quality filter media
  • solid built
  • aquastop valves for better flow rate


  • output nozzle is unstable; can be shaken and move around as a cause of strong water flow
  • some users expressed concerns about leaking after several years of using this filter

What did customers not like about Fluval 406?

Well, there were customers who said that they had problems with the output nozzle;the water movement causes the nozzle to shake around.

Also, some expressed concern with the easy installation with the Fluval 406; the instructions were not so clear.

After a few months, however, they agreed that those problems are not an issue you should be overly concerned.

Overall impression

The Fluval 406 is a quality and dependable product. Multistage filtration, high motor technology, quite running, add to that aquastope valves and instant priming, and you get everything you wish for it.
If this is your first tank, and you want everything to be right the first time, then   this might be the best filter for you.

Your filter is the most important equipment in your aquarium, so why not choose an already approved brand on the market. You don’t want to go cheap on your filter if you want to maintain a clean and a happy environment for your fish.

Fluval 406 is an excellent filter for beginners, but also great for the more experienced fish hobbyist. You can’t go wrong if you choose this filter.

But after all, the final decision is yours.

Fluval Fx6 Aquarium Canister Filter

It’s extremely difficult to find canister filter that is powerful enough for large turtle tanks. Well, Fluval Fx6 is one of a kind. Why? Because is the most powerful canister filter on the market. Here me out and then tell me what you think of this filter.

This canister filter is most suitable for large turtle tanks. To be honest with you, I would say Fluval Fx6 is the best canister filter for large turtle tanks out there. But that’s my opinion (not necessarily correct). However, it comes with a higher price tag and it might be expensive for some people.

The Fluval fx6 with all its power and reliability can surely offer you a lot of new advanced features.

Let us see what are the most important benefits this model can provide.

This model comes as an upgrade to his predecessor the Fluval fx5.
There are not many improvements on the newer model, but they are all essential. Its phenomenal design and plenty of advanced features make this aquarium hobby so much easier and more enjoyable.

Great news for the new buyers. Fluval fx6 comes with all the essential filtering media you need. It is not necessary to purchase additional media. However if you want more media, you can check here.

If you are even half like me, you will appreciate the quiet running this filter have. Maybe not as quiet as some filters I mentioned before, but you will get used to it. My opinion is if your tank is not in your bedroom ( everyone needs a good night sleep, am I right) then you have nothing to worry about.

This is a monster filter, and when I say monster, I truly mean it. It can process and re-circulates a fully 563 US gallons of water per hour, which is excellent for producing cleaner and healthier results.

You know those situations when you have difficulties to disconnect the valves without creating a mess. Well, with the aquastopes valves those problems a long forgotten. You can separate the hose from the filter in just one step. Not to mention that you can regulate the water flow whenever you want.

Another very beneficial feature is the Click-fit Connector.
You might be wondering what is Click-fit Connector?
Well, those are connectors that are designed for quick set-up and leak-proof maintenance.

However, even tough these features are great, I think that what separates this model from rest of the other canister filters is the Smart Pump Technology.

Fluval Fx6 Smart Pump technology continually monitor the pump. In this way, the filter ensures maximum energy efficiency.

Also, the smart pump technology evacuates the air that may build up in the system. Every 12 hours the filter stops and the trapped air is released.
In this way, the filter ensures maximum filtration efficiency.

If you don’t have time to read the whole review here are the pros and cons.


  • powerful motor that provides excellent filtration
  • smart pump technology- maximum energy and filtration efficiency
  • self-priming instant-start system
  • multi-directional output nozzle
  • clog-proof intake strainer


  • the price is too expensive for a beginner

Overall impression

Well, what can I say?

This filter is perfect for larger fish tanks. It has a lot of advanced features, and it is way ahead of his competitors.

But the price is not for everyone. If you are a beginner, and you are setting up your first tank, this model might not be the right chose for you.

But if you have the budget, and you are willing to spend some more bucks on equipment, then I can say one thing.

Go for it.


Eheim Classic External Canister Filter

Cleaning a turtle tank can sometimes not be the most pleasant experience in the world. Buying a canister filter is one of the many solutions to make your life easier. However, it’s not easy to make an immediate decision. After all, owning a canister filter might be expensive for some people. That’s why I included Eheim Classic External Canister Filter which in my opinion is the best value for the money.

One of the most used canister filters among fish enthusiast can surely call itself a legend of the external filters. It has been for over 3 decades on the market, proving its outstanding quality, consistent and reliable performance.

Many turtle keepers recommend Eheim classic over any other filter. It is a popular product and there is a reason for that.

This filter is excellent value for the money. Anyone who has used it can confirm that Eheim classic models are worth every penny. A difference between a good filter and a bad filter is above all how it performs over time. My personal opinion is, the Eheim Classic belongs in the “good filters” basket.

A lot of the replacement parts are available either online or in the local pet shops, which is a big plus for this model. You won’t need to worry if something broke up, or it isn’t working the right way.

You are probably in overthinking mode, and may have doubts if it is worth to invest in canister filter over HOB filter. Maybe it is out of your budget, but don’t let the cost turn you away. I am sure that you won’t regret and be happier with Eheim over any HOB filter on the market.

When we are looking for a good external canister filter, one of the many considerations we take is the loudness of that filter. Nobody wants a sound of a chainsaw in his room. This is not the case with Eheim Classic.

Actually, this model is so quiet, you’ll not even notice that there is filter working under your aquarium.

Unlike some other filters on the market, this model doesn’t include a priming button. You have to manually prime the Eheim Classic.

This model is built from the best materials out there, with a purpose to last very long time without compromising the filter functionality. According to the many customers who have been used this model, this is the main feature that makes this canister last so long.

The Eheim Classic provides all three types of filtration, mechanical, chemical and biological. Unlike some other filters on the market, this canister doesn’t have the usual filter media trays.

The media that is included in Eheim Classic is the Eheim Substrat pro which provides biological filtration, and the Eheim Mech which provides a mechanical filtration.

What did customers not like about this filter?

Well, there were people who had doubts that it may be not so easy to clean it. But, I think that is not a big issue. If you properly read the manual and understand the instructions, then you can find an easy way to do it.

Also, some expressed concern with the easy installation with this model. However, reality is the that this model is very easy to set up. You will have some difficulties if you rely only on the English instructions.You’ll be fine if you are familiar with German.If not, don’t worry. Do it by yourself, you’ll see that it’s not such big deal.

After several months, however, most of them agreed that Eheim Classic is a reliable product, and can serve you well in years to come.

If you didn’t read the whole review here are summarized the pros and cons of this model.


  • proven quality,used by millions of people who are into this hobby
  • has been on the market for over 3 decades
  • solid, robust built
  • easy to clean, to maintain
  • smooth and silent running
  • the package provides a lot of accessories
  • Excellent value for the money,
  • reduce the energy consumption


  • does not have a basket to put the media.
  • the English instructions are not easy to follow.

Overall impression

Famous for his quality, decent price and high performance the Eheim Classic External filter can surely meet your expectations.

Approved by the fishing community, recommended by a lot of fish keepers, add to that excellent value for the money, and you get a perfect product suit your needs.

There are a big number of people who have been using this canister for years, without having any serious problems.

Penn Plax Cascade 1000 canister filter review

The Pen Plax Cascade is one of the most highly rated canister filters among fish hobbyist. However, good as it is, it has some drawbacks.

Truth to be told, you don’t need to worry, because the benefits you will have are far beyond than the problems you can encounter. Based on the experience of other fishkeepers, this model provides excellent value for the money.

There are several types of this model.

Depends on of the size of your tank, you can choose which is adequate for you. And what is the difference between these models?

I am glad you asked!

The higher the model goes, the filtration per hour rises.
If you want more specific data here are some of the advertised models.

Cascade 500: ideal for tanks up to 30 gallons and has flow rate 115 gph
Cascade 700: ideal for tanks up to 65 gallons and has flow rate 185 gph
Cascade 1200: ideal for tanks up to 150 gallons and has flow rate 315 gph
Cascade 1500: ideal for tanks up to 200 gallons and has flow rate 350 gph

It is a heavy duty external aquarium canister filter.
The Pen Plax Cascade is a filter with high capacity.

It is used for fish tanks up to 100 US Gallons and has a flow rate 265 gallons per hour. This model offers a complete three-stage filtration, providing a clean and healthy natural environment for your aquatic pals.

The fine particulate matter is removed by the floss pad, while toxins and impurities in the water are removed by the activated carbon media.

While this is fine, the biological filtration is what makes the aquarium perfect little-balanced nature.To achieve that, in this model is included coarse sponge that makes an abundant surface area which promotes a bacterial growth.

The Pen Plax Cascade is easy to set up filter.

Maybe you will need more time if this is your first time setting up a canister, however, it will not take more than 20 minutes.

There a lot of positive feedback from the customers, when it comes to noises of this model. One of the positive features of this model is the self-push priming button.

What did customers not like about the Pen Plax Cascade?

Well, there were users who had some complaints about the difficulty of priming this filter. It can be quite difficult if this is your first use, however, some users claim that is lot easier if you first fill the canister with water.

Also, some expressed concerns that you can’t clean every individual part separately.


  • high technology motor which provides excellent filtration
  • quiet running
  • can be used both on freshwater and saltwater tanks
  • self-push priming button
  • a lot of room to keep extra media


  • the hoses must be cut sometimes ( don’t worry, they give you a ton of hose)

Overall impression

If we look at the big picture, then this model can add an extra quality to your tank. It’s reliable, compact, provides excellent filtration, and it is not very expensive compared with other filters from its range.

Best filter system for turtles

Fluval C4 Power Filter

Fluval is my favorite brand when it comes to external filters. They make a variety of filters suitable for every tank size. And their quality is on a top level. This particular filter is made for aquariums between 40 to 70 gallons. It has 5 stage filtration system (two mechanical, one chemical, and two biological) that makes the water in your turtle tank crystal clear.

Additionally, Fluval C4 is capable of filtrating 264 gallons per hour and has excellent water flow too. This model also includes more filter media than any other Hob on the market. It has great design and it’s really easy to clean. One of my favorite features is the cleaning indicator-it’s very convenient, and you’ll know when to clean the filter pads.
If you have a 40 to 70-gallon turtle tank, then this model need to be at top of your list.

AquaClear Power Filter

If you’re looking for a power filter, that has gotten positive reviews from other turtle owners, then you’ll definitely be interested in looking at this one. It’s recommended for smaller tanks, although there are several models with a variety of sizes going up to 110 gallons.

AquaClear Power Filter is a quiet filter and easy to maintain. It’s very affordable for all turtle keepers and quality is on a top level. The amount of water this model moves is unbelievable. It’s uncomparable with filters with similar price. If you’re tired of crappy filters and want something that’s going to make a difference, then you should certainly consider giving this model a try.


Eheim Classic External Canister Filter Canister Up to 92 gallons
Fluval Fx6 Aquarium Canister Filter Canister Up to 400 gallons
Fluval C4 Power Filter HOB Up to 70 gallons
AquaClear Power Filter HOB Up to 70 gallons

Final decision and my recommendation

While my goal here isn’t to convince you that canister filter ownership is mandatory, it can be a useful thing, and might be helpful for you.

If you are ready to invest in a long-term acquisition, I can assure that you won’t regret. Your aquatic pals will be happier, the aquarium cleaner, and the homeostasis in the fish tank better.

There are a lot of brands on the market today and each one has it owns pros and cons, however, most of them will provide excellent filtration for your tank. Whatever canister filter you decided it to purchase, you’ll not make a mistake.

And finally, do you want to hear my recommendation of what is the best canister filter for turtle tank?

Here it goes.

I went for FLUVAL 406 model. But that’s not mean that you should buy the same model. Choose whatever is adequate for your needs, what feels right, and you’ll be ok.

I hope you find this article helpful. And I am sure you’ll make the perfect choice for your turtles.