Do Turtles Need a Different Filter Than Fish? [2024 Updated]

Can I use a fish filter for a turtle tank in my house? Pet turtles are wonderful, however, their tanks and accessories can be quite expensive. If you own an old filter for your fish tank or are searching online to purchase one, you may need to determine whether you are able to utilize it. This article will explain all you must know about the filter to clean your turtle tank.

Do turtles need a different filter than fish?

While fish filters are able to be utilized, it’s essential to be aware that turtles produce an enormous amount of garbage than fish.

Do turtles need a different filter than fish? Fish filters are highly sought-after by fish but are not suitable for turtles. Since their capacity for filtering is small, they are susceptible to dead zones in water in which waste could build up. They also require that tanks be filled up to the top with water for them to function correctly.

Here are some of the things to consider if you intend to make use of the filter of a fish tank for your turtle.

A Pro-Tip for You: If want to find the top filters for turtles you’ll want to invest a few dollars and go with the Fluval or Penn-Plax. You are guaranteed to be satisfied with either.

Double capacity

The majority of fish tank filters have a rated capacity. This means that they will determine the largest tank size that you can put in the filter.

Since turtles generate greater waste levels than other fish species, it’s recommended to purchase an aquarium filter that is designed to be at least twice the dimensions of your turtle tank.

For example, if filters for your fish are designed for a 100-gallon fish tank I would not recommend using the filter in tanks for turtles of 50 gallons or less.

If you think your filter for your fish tank isn’t powerful enough then you must check out my guide to how to choose the best turtle tank filters.

Rate of flow

Another crucial aspect to be aware of is flow rates. This is the amount of water a water filter can cleanse within an hour. It is typically expressed in the form of gallons per hour (gph).

It is essential that your filter has the capacity to remove the excess capacities of your tank within one hour. If you have 75 gallons of turtle tank, be sure that the filter you use has the capacity to flow at a minimum of 75 gph.

This will make sure that the water in the turtle tank is filtered every day. If your water is always looking like the image below, you might require a more powerful filter.

More maintenance for the filter

Since turtles generate greater waste than other fish species, you’ll have to cleanse your filter more frequently. While it is contingent on what size of the tank and the kind of filter you’ve got it is recommended to clean your filter once everyone and two months.

It usually involves cleaning or changing the filter media you are using. It’s not more than 15 minutes however, it will go quite a way to keep your tank in good condition.

Changes in water

No matter what kind of filter you choose regardless of the filter you choose, you’ll need to conduct more frequent water changes when you have the turtle tank. While fish tanks generally require the water to be changed every 2 to 3 weeks, turtles must be changed every week.

The water change you make is supposed to replace around 25 percent of the water within your tank. This will prevent the water in your turtle’s tank from becoming cloudy.

The Best Filters For Turtle Tanks In 2024

Do turtles need a different filter than fish? If yes, then what are the best filters for turtle tanks?

Here are the best-rated filters we have on turtle tanks, which are selected based on their efficiency and cost:

Last update on 2024-02-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Why do turtles need a stronger filter?

You may be wondering the reason turtles require larger and more powerful filters. In the beginning, because turtles are big animals, they require larger tanks in order to provide them with enough space to swim. The bigger tanks will mean more water that has to be filtered. This means that you require stronger filters.

Second, they require more food in comparison to fish. Fish food typically consists of flakes or tiny pellets, turtles need large pellets, and occasionally insects. All the food that is put into a turtle needs to be released, and they create a lot more waste than fish. So, you require an efficient filter to get rid of the garbage.

Turtles also discharge a lot of urine. This needs to be cleaned out by the filter too.

Water Changes and Filter Cleanings

To ensure your filter is maintained and water quality regular water changes and filter cleanings are necessary. A 25 to 50 percent water change every week can make a huge difference in keeping your turtle tank in good condition.

The need for a full water change and cleaning of the filter is evident when the amount of the accumulation of debris is evident in the aquarium, or when the flow of water through the filter decreases or decreases to a whisper. Even so, periodic cleanings every two to three months are recommended at the minimum for all filters.

Simply shut off your filter, take out the media, wash everything with dechlorinated water, and then replace any media that’s no longer useful. It is essential to use dechlorinated or older aquarium water in order to clean the biological media, in order to keep beneficial bacteria in the tank. Change the water in your tank simultaneously. It is possible to dechlorinate water with an additive to water to tap water for example this API Tap Water Conditioner.

Siphoning off the water using an empty bucket and a siphon is the standard method. However, techniques such as those of the Python No Spill Clean and Fill aquarium maintenance system allow water changes to be nearly completely automated.

When filling up the aquarium, make use of a water conditioner like the Tetrafauna AquaSafe reptile water conditioner. This can help to eliminate any chemicals and chlorine from the tap water.

Once you’ve cleaned the filter then put it back together and make sure to connect it!

Water Checks

The kits for water testing are great for measuring the pH of your tank and the nitrogenous waste that is within your tank. They include nitrates, ammonia, and nitrites.

These kits are comparable to test kits for pools. Dip strips, similar to those found in the Tetra EasyStrips 6-in-1 aquarium test strips can be used quickly and will inform owners of when levels of toxin are to a point where it is time to change the water and do a cleaning of the filter are required. Kits that are complete, like those from the API Freshwater Aquarium master test kit, offer more precise results but require some effort.

Keep in mind that the aquarium is not just your pet’s home, but it’s also the bowl he drinks from. Making sure that the water is clean is the first step to maintaining your pet’s health and avoiding expensive vet costs.


What Filters are Good for Turtles?

The most effective filters for turtle tanks include those that include the Reptofilter, Fluval Canister Filter Penn Plax Filter Sunun HW as well as Fluval Underwater Filter. Fluval Underwater filter.

Can You Use a Fish Filter for Red-Eared Slider?

Avoid using filtering under gravel, internal filters, or filters that are designed for small tanks or fish. Even hang-on-back filters won’t be able to meet the requirements of a red-eared slider who is an adult.

Can You Use a Sponge Filter in a Turtle Tank?

A powerful tool to use in managing the situation can be the Turtle Sponge Filter by JOR. It is perfect for turtle tanks since it is quiet and has a gentle flow.

Can Turtles Live in Filtered Water?

De-chlorinated water needs to be utilized for swimming areas as well as filtered water that your turtle can drink. Adding 1 teaspoon of salt per gallon of water will lower the amount of “bad” bacteria and protect turtles from shell and skin ailments. Turtles may carry Salmonella.

Do Turtles Really Require an Air Filter?

Like the turtle tank, the need for water filters is crucial in turtle tanks to ensure the health and well-being that your turtles enjoy. A good rule of thumb would be that for each inch of carapace length, your turtle has provided 10 gallons of water.

Conclusion: Do turtles need a different filter than fish?

As I’ve mentioned earlier I have stated above, you could certainly utilize the filter of a fish for your turtle tank. It can be a huge cost-saving option, particularly in the event that you already own an existing fish tank filter.

However, there are various points to consider. The filter must be strong enough and have a large flow rate. It is also necessary to clean your filter more often and conduct more water changes than the fish tank.

If the filter in your fish tank is of sufficient strength you can apply it to the turtle tank. Keep an eye on the tank during the first few days to ensure that the filter is operating properly.

If you’ve just bought a turtle tank could be cloudy during the first few days as your tank goes through its nitrogen cycle. But, the water will be clear within about a week. If not it’s possible to purchase an even more efficient filter.

By adhering to these guidelines, your pet is likely to have a pleasant and healthy home where it can flourish. As with everything try out different methods for both you along with your furry friend. Know what works better for your pets.

Dibyajyoti Bordoloi is the creator and author of, a third-generation experienced fish keeper and owner of a successful pet breeding farm. He is also a member of the Center for Wildlife Rehabilitation And Conservation (Assam), the Marine Aquarium Societies of North East India, and the Kaziranga Nature Conservancy of Assam.