It’s important to find the best filter for a red eared slider tank to keep your new pet turtle healthy. A good turtle filter will also help reduce any potential turtle tank odor problems.
If you want the best filter system for turtles that we recommend the Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter (Buy Online).
The SUNSUN HW-303B Canister Filter (Buy Online) is also very helpful for a turtle tank with cloudy water since it has a built-in UV sterilizer
Best Filter for a Red Eared Slider Tank
Best Filter System for Turtles
Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter 1000
The Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter (Buy Online) is a heavy-duty canister filter that can handle large turtle tanks. The Penn Plax Cascade 1000 is made for 100-gallon turtle tanks, and it can pump 265 gallons per hour.
The Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter uses a multistage filtration process that ensures your turtle tank always has crystal clear water.
The first stage uses floss pads to remove large pieces of waste and fine particles. The second stage contains activated carbon, which removes odors and toxins from the water. Finally, there is a sponge filter that serves as a biological filter that breaks down toxic ammonia and nitrite into less toxic nitrate.
Overall the Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter is an extremely powerful and reliable filter that can easily handle the bioload of a large red-eared slider. The filter media is also very affordable, which helps keep down the running costs over the lifetime of the filter.
If you plan on keeping multiple red eared sliders, or if you have a very large turtle tank you can get the Penn Plax Cascade 1500, which is rated for 200-gallon aquariums.
Marineland Magniflow Canister 100
The Marineland Magniflow Canister (Buy Online) is a high powered canister filter for turtle tanks and large freshwater aquariums. It has a flow rate of 320 GPH (Gallons Per Hour) and it can be used to filter aquariums that hold up to 100 gallons of water.
The Marineland Magniflow Canister 100 uses a 4 stage filtration process that starts with a sponge filter that removes large debris from the water column. The second stage contains activated carbon that helps remove odors and chemical impurities from the water.
The third stage uses high surface area ceramic rings and bio-balls to house bacteria colonies that break down toxic ammonia. Then the fourth stage uses a fine floss filter to polish the water and remove any small particles from the water before it leaves the filter.
The Marineland Magniflow Canister 100 comes with filter media included in the package. All you’ll need to do when you get it is fill the filter trays up with media. Then simply hook it up to your tank and turn on the filter. The biological media is also reusable, so you won’t have to spend more money replacing the biological stage of the Marineland Magniflow Canister Filter.
Marineland also covers their canister filters with a 3-Year Warranty, and you can be sure they’ll stand by their filters since they’ve been producing aquarium products since the 1970s.
SUNSUN HW-303B Canister Filter with 9-watt UV Sterilizer
The SUNSUN HW-303B Canister Filter (Buy Online) is made for turtle tanks that suffer from cloudy water. It’s rated to handle turtle tanks up to 75-gallons, and it has a maximum flow rate of 525 GPH (Gallons Per Hour).
The best thing about the SUNSUN HW-303B Canister Filter is the built-in 9-watt UV sterilizer. Ultraviolet light kills the bacterial blooms that are responsible for white milky turtle tank water. The UV light also kills free-floating algae, which can help prevent your turtle tank from developing green water.
The SUNSUN HW-303B Canister Filter also has a standard 3 filter tray system that you can use for mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration media. The filter comes with 3 polishing pads, but you’ll need to purchase all the other filter media separately since filter media is not included.
Zoo Med 511 Turtle Clean Canister Filter
The Zoo Med 511 Turtle Clean Canister Filter (Buy Online) is one of the best canister filters for turtle tanks on the market. This filter is made for 60-Gallon turtle tanks or turtletubs that are filled with up to 30 gallons of water.
The Zoo Med 511 Turtle Clean Canister Filter has a pump that is rated at 160 GPH (Gallons Per Hour). This filter uses a multi-stage filtration process, and it comes with a sponge filter and ceramic biological filter media.
The filter is designed to be easily maintained, and you can reuse the sponge filter and ceramic biological media. The reusable filter media also helps keep running costs down since you won’t have to keep buying new media every time you clean your filter.
The Zoo Med 511 Turtle Clean Canister Filter is covered by a 1-Year Manufactures Warranty. Also, you can easily fix the Zoo Med 511 Turtle Clean Canister Filter if you ever run into any problems since Zoo Med sells a wide range of replacement parts for all their filters.
ExoTerra External Turtle Filter
The ExoTerra External Turtle Filter (Buy Online) is a good filter for a baby turtle tank setup. It’s a little smaller than the Zoo Med 511, and it works best on turtle tanks that hold about 20 gallons of water.
The ExoTerra FX-200 uses replaceable sponge filters and carbon filter pads. The sponge filter pads serve as a mechanical filter and a biological filter, and they are fully reusable. The carbon filter pads help remove odors from the water and they need to be replaced monthly.
Overall the ExoTerra FX-200 is a good filter if you have a small starter turtle tank. However, since a red-eared slider will grow to be pretty large it’s a smart idea to get a large turtle tank and filter so you don’t have to spend more to upgrade later.
Finnex PX-360 Compact Canister Aquarium Filter
The Finnex PX-360 Compact Canister Filter (Buy Online) is perfect for small turtle tanks that are filled with up to 25 gallons of water. It has a powerful yet quiet sealed pump that’s rated at 95 GPH (Gallons Per Hour).
The Finnex PX-360 Compact Canister Aquarium Filter comes with a sponge filter and an activated carbon pad along with ceramic biological media.
This filter also includes filter hanger hooks that you can use to hang the filter from the rim of your turtle tank. The hanger hooks allow you to run this canister filter like a hang on back filter, which is nice if the space around your tank is limited.
The Finnex PX-360 Compact Canister Aquarium Filter is a good choice if you’re just getting started keeping baby red eared sliders. It’s also very compact which makes it a great fit for a small turtle tank in a kid’s room where they can enjoy watching baby turtles.
Turtle Tank Kit
The Tetra Aquarium Reptile Glass Kit (Buy Online) is a complete baby turtle tank setup. This turtle tank kit comes with everything you need for a baby red eared slider. The tank holds a total of 20-gallons of water, and it measures 30-inches long. Also, this turtle tank kit comes with a durable metal screen cover.
You also get a decorative waterfall turtle tank filter with 3 replacement filter pads. The turtle tank kit also comes with 2 dome lamps with a UV bulb and a heat lamp for your new baby turtle.
The Tetra Aquarium Reptile Glass Kit also comes with a basking platform, and a boxwood plant mat decoration for your turtle to rest on while underwater. You also get turtle food and a bottle of water conditioner, so all you’ll need to add is gravel (Buy Online).
Do Red Eared Sliders Need a Filter?
The purpose of a filter in your red-eared slider tank is to remove waste materials like uneaten food and turtle excreta from the water before they harm your turtle.
Red-eared sliders produce copious amounts of waste throughout the day, which needs to be removed before it rots and releases toxic chemicals. If the waste isn’t removed it will result in a build-up of ammonia and nitrite which can harm a turtle’s health.
Turtle waste can also lead to odor problems that can make living with an unfiltered turtle tank unbearable. Most turtle filters also use activated carbon which can help control turtle tank odor problems.
A good turtle canister filter will also trap the waste so you can quickly and easily remove it without having to do a water change. This helps ensure that your turtle tank always has crystal clear water, and it will prevent any uneaten food from causing cloudy or green water.
What Kind of Filter Should I Use for My Turtle Tank?
Canister filters are your best option if you’re looking for the best filter for turtles. These types of filters have a high capacity that’s suited for turtle tanks since turtles produce a large bioload. They also are easier to maintain than other types of filters since they can be used with a wide range of mechanical, chemical, and biological filter media.
Why Does My Turtle Water Get Cloudy so Fast?
Cloudy water is a sign of a bacterial bloom in your turtle tank. This happens in new turtle tanks when they haven’t been fully colonized by beneficial bacteria.
Cloudy water can also happen if you overfeed your turtle, or if you don’t have a large enough filtration system to process the water.
A new turtle tank will eventually stop getting cloudy water once the tank matures and develops a healthy colony of nitrifying bacteria.
How Do I make My Turtle’s Water Clear?
You can use API ACCU-CLEAR Freshwater Aquarium Water Clarifier (Buy Online) to quickly treat cloudy water. This will reduce the problem by causing the particulate to precipitate out of the water, but it won’t get to the root of the problem.
If you want to quickly treat cloudy water you can use a stand-alone UV sterilizer to kill the bacteria in the water, or you can use a canister filter with a built-in UV sterilizer.
If you still experience cloudy water in a mature turtle tank after a water change it might be because you’re destabilizing your turtle tanks water parameters. Make sure your turtle tank pH stays between 6-8, and treat your tank with enough water conditioner so you don’t kill off the beneficial bacteria in the filter.
It’s also a good idea to check your nitrate levels with a Water Test Kit (Buy Online) to ensure you’re tank isn’t filled with nutrients that can fuel cloudy water.
Do Turtles Like Dirty Water?
Turtles are more tolerant of dirty water than fish, but they still need to be kept in clean safe water. In the wild turtles can live in muddy turbid water that we would consider very dirty. However, muddy water could be “clean” since it might have low levels of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.
While it might be tempting to let your turtle tank get dirty it’s a good idea to keep up regular maintenance for the health of your turtle. Also, you’ll want to keep your turtle tank clean since a dirty turtle tank can emit noxious odors.