7 Best Filters for Turtle Tanks That Will Keep Water Clean and Healthy (Summer 2022)

We’ve researched and reviewed best filters for turtle tanks, ranking them based on their pros, cons and extra features.
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Last updatedLast updated: May 19, 2022
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If you’re a turtle owner, then you know that keeping your tank clean is essential to your pet’s health. Some turtle owners do not know that some filters are unsuitable for turtles. This is because turtles are larger and produce more waste than other animals that might be kept in an aquarium. As a result, you need to take more factors into consideration.

We’ve researched and found the best filters for turtle tanks for different needs and different budgets. We’ve also looked at the various features each filter offers. Our top pick is a go-to option for most people since it is easy to set up and maintain while offering a great value. We will also talk about models at different price points and evaluate their pros and cons in terms of features and performance. We’ve also included a buyer’s guide to help you make an informed decision about which filter is right for you.

Top 7 Filters for Turtle Tanks Review 2022

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Editor’s Choice

TetraFauna ReptoFilter

Features
  • Type: hang-on-back filter
  • Tank volume: up to 50 gal.
  • Flow rate: 125 GPH
  • Filtration stages: mechanical, chemical, biological
  • Dimensions: 30 x 17 x 11 in.
  • Warranty: full 2-year warranty

Other features: replaceable cartridges, built specifically for reptiles

This product is an Editor’s Choice for the best turtle filter because it’s quiet and sturdy, has a nice flow, and is rather budget-friendly. The TetraFauna ReptoFilter is a hang-on-back filter designed for use in tanks with up to 50 gallons of water. This filter has a flow rate of 125 GPH and features three stages of filtration: mechanical, chemical, and biological. Additionally, the ReptoFilter comes with replaceable cartridges, making it easy to keep your tank clean and healthy. Plus, its dimensions (30x17x11 inches) make it an unobtrusive addition to your turtle tank. And finally, the ReptoFilter is super quiet, so you won’t have to worry about any noise disturbance.

The TetraFauna Reptofilter has no match within its price range. Its closest competitors are the premium likes of the popular Fluval FX4 high-performance aquarium filter. The Fluval FX4 is a more popular filter but the TetraFauna is a better option if you want good value for money. Plus, unlike the Fluval FX4, it is an attractive natural stone decoration and a basking platform for your aquatic animals.

Why is it special?

  • Easily replaceable cartridges
  • Filter built specifically for reptiles
  • Doesn’t take up too much space
  • Quite simple to set up
  • Great value – works well and is very inexpensive

What are the flaws?

  • Somewhat loud operation in comparison to others
  • The suction cups on the back are small and pull out when you have this filter running over time.
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Features
  • Type: canister filter
  • Tank volume: up to 95 gal.
  • Flow rate: 164 GPH
  • Filtration stages: biological, mechanical, chemical, absorptive
  • Dimensions: 11 x 7.28 x 14.57 in.
  • Warranty: 3-year limited warranty

Other features: includes all accessories, media, and hoses required to start

The EHEIM Classic Canister Filter 2215 is an excellent value for the price. The filter has a flow rate of 164 GPH and can filter up to 95 gallons of water. It is simple to use and easy to maintain, making it a terrific choice for anyone looking for an affordable canister filter. The high water flow rate is perfect for turtles and other aquatic creatures, and the three-year limited warranty offers peace of mind. The included accessories, media, and hoses make it easy to get started, and the cheap replacement pads make it easy to keep this filter running like new. Overall, the EHEIM Classic Canister Filter 2215 is a great value for the money and an excellent choice for anyone in the market for a canister filter.

The EHEIM Classic Canister Filter 2215 is the best filter in the classic canister filter series by the brand. The filters are almost identical in design and functionality. The 2215 is a worthy upgrade from the 2213-37, especially if you have a large tank. The latter can filter a 66 gallon tank while the 2215 can filter up to 95 gallons.

What do we love it for?

  • The combination of price, quality, and ease of maintenance is unbeatable
  • Ease of maintenance
  • Replacement pads are cheap and easy to get
  • Simple yet effective design

What were we disappointed with?

  • Instructions are hard to follow
  • Set of extra features may seem pedestrian compared to others
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3
Best for Large Tanks

Fluval FX6 Aquarium Filter

Features
  • Type: canister filter
  • Tank volume: up to 400 gal.
  • Flow rate: 925 GPH
  • Filtration stages: 6 stages of filtration
  • Dimensions: 15.1 x 15.6 x 20.7 in.
  • Warranty: 3-year limited warranty

Other features: Smart Pump technology, self-starting filter, leak-proof valves, multi-directional customizable water flows

The Fluval FX6 High Performance Aquarium Filter is a canister filter that is designed for tanks up to 400 gallons in size. It has a flow rate of 925 GPH and features six stages of filtration. Additionally, it is equipped with Smart Pump technology, leak-proof valves, and multi-directional customizable water flows. This filter moves a lot of water and keeps the tank sparkling clean. This filter is highly recommended to anyone with a large turtle tank. The dimensions are 15.1 x 15.6 x 20.7 in., and it comes with a three-year limited warranty. It is worth the money and will help keep your tank sparkling clean.

Compared to the original Fluval filter in the FX series, the FX4, the FX6 is a better performing filter for big tanks. It provides more filtration and a faster water flow. Furthermore, it is an excellent option if you plan to use this filter in your fish tank and want to overstock it or keep fish that prefer fast water flow. It is also a better option than the FX4 for tanks that are more than 250 gallons.

Why is it special?

  • Moves a lot of water, keeping the tank sparkling
  • Starts instantly and runs stable
  • Good quality of hosing and connections
  • Suitable for large tanks

What are the flaws?

  • Quite heavy and bulky
  • Priced higher than the competition
  • Additional accessories could be expected at this price point
RELATED: 6 Best Aquarium Filters for Large Tanks – Reviews and a Comprehensive Guide for Fish Owners (Summer 2022)
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Features
  • Type: hang-on-back filter
  • Tank volume: 45 to 70 gal.
  • Flow rate: 340 GPH
  • Filtration stages: 4-stage filtration
  • Dimensions: 6.31 x 12.88 x 9.5 in.
  • Warranty: 3-year warranty

Other features: self-priming, replaceable cartridges, continuous flow

The Tetra Whisper EX 70 is a hang-on-back filter designed for tanks with volumes of 45 to 70 gallons. This filter has a flow rate of 340 GPH and uses 4-stage filtration to clean the water. The dimensions of this filter are 6.31 x 12.88 x 9.5 inches, and it comes with a 3-year warranty. This filter is self-priming, has replaceable cartridges, and offers continuous flow. One of the best features of this filter is that it is very quiet, making it an excellent choice for those who want a peaceful environment in their home.

The Tetra Whisper EX 70 compares well with the TetraFauna Reptofilter, which is also a hang-on-back filter. It is a better option for larger tanks as it can filter up to 70 gallons of water while the TetraFauna can only filter 50 gallons. Moreover, it features a 4-stage filtration system and has easy priming. TetraFauna is a better versatile option as it is decorative and can act as a basking platform for your aquatic animals.

Why did it make our list?

  • Low noise levels compared to other brands
  • Comes with a handy filter cartridge carrier
  • Fair price point

What is not ideal about it?

  • Tubes may become loose over time
  • Gets louder if water levels are too low
RELATED: 8 Quietest Aquarium Filters: Silent yet Effective! (Summer 2022)
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5
Premium Choice

Fluval FX4

Features
  • Type: canister filter
  • Tank volume: up to 250 gal.
  • Flow rate: 700 GPH
  • Filtration stages: 5 stages of filtration
  • Dimensions: 15.6 x 15.6 x 17.7 in.
  • Warranty: 3-year limited warranty

Other features: Smart Pump technology, self-starting filter, leak-proof valves, multi-directional customizable water flows

The Fluval FX4 High Performance Aquarium Filter is the perfect filter for those who are looking for a powerful and efficient canister filter. This filter is designed to provide superior filtration for tanks up to 250 gallons in size, and features a flow rate of 700 GPH. The Smart Pump technology, accompanied by five stages of filtration, continuously monitors and optimizes pump performance to help keep your tank water clean and clear. Additionally, the Fluval FX4 High Performance Aquarium Filter is self-starting, so it’s easy to use and maintain. Finally, the multi-directional customizable water flows allow you to customize the filtration to meet your specific needs. This filter also comes with a 3-year limited warranty, making it an excellent investment for your turtle tank.

The Fluval X4 can only compare with the FX5 and the FX6 as the best filters for big fish tanks. The FX4 offers excellent value for money as it offers nearly similar features and functionality as the two upgrade filters at an affordable price point. You can use the FX4 if you have a tank with a volume of 250 gallons or you want to keep fish that prefer a slow flow.

What are our favorite features?

  • It does an excellent job of keeping the tank clean
  • The Smart Pump advanced microchip technology continuously monitors and optimizes pump performance
  • Convenient utility valve for easy maintenance

What could be better?

  • Priced higher than others
  • Could include more out-of-the-box accessories
RELATED: 10 Best Aquarium Filters – Provide Proper Cleaning for Your Pets (Summer 2022)
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6
Best Affordable Filter

Penn-Plax Cascade 610

Features
  • Type: corner filter
  • Tank volume: up to 50 gal.
  • Flow rate: 160 GPH
  • Filtration stages: physical, biological, chemical
  • Dimensions: 5 x 3 x 12 in.
  • Warranty: unspecified

Other features: adjustable water flow, spray bar

The Penn-Plax Cascade 610 is an affordable but reliable corner filter that can be used in tanks up to 50 gallons. It has a flow rate of 160 GPH and features three stages of filtration: physical, biological, and chemical. The dimensions of the unit are 5x3x12 inches. The Cascade 610 also comes with an adjustable water flow and a spray bar. This filter is easy to set up and effectively clears up stinky water. Overall, it’s a great filter for the price and is recommended to anyone looking for an affordable but reliable filter for a turtle tank.

The Penn-Plax Cascade 610 is identical with the Penn-Plax Cascade 600. The two filters are quiet, efficient, and fully submersible. They also have an adjustable flow knob that allows you to control the water flow rate. The only difference between the filters is the Venturi aeration on Cascade 600, that eliminates the need for an air pump. Also, the Cascade 610 is way cheaper than the Cascade 600.

What makes it special?

  • Small and easy to fit into a turtle tank
  • Easy to set up
  • Works great for the price

What cons did we find?

  • Some users have reported having issues with the cap at the bottom of the filter that limits water flow
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7
Best Filter for Small Tanks

Aqueon Submersible Internal Aquarium Filter

Features
  • Type: hang-on-back filter
  • Tank volume: up to 10 gal.
  • Flow rate: 55 GPH
  • Filtration stages: 3-stage filtration
  • Dimensions: 3.86 x 1.38 x 5.75 in.
  • Warranty: limited lifetime warranty

Other features: directional positioning return pipe with flow control, self-priming

Aqueon Submersible Internal Aquarium Filter is a hang-on-back filter that is perfect for small tanks. It has a flow rate of 55 GPH and comes with a limited lifetime warranty. This self-priming filter has a directional positioning return pipe with flow control. The dimensions of this filter are just 3.86×1.38×5.75 inches. If you’re looking for an easy and effective way to keep your small tank sparkling clean, then this is the perfect filter for you!

The Aqueon Submersible Internal Aquarium Filter is a decent small-tank filter when compared to other hang-on-back filters like the TetraFauna and Tetra Whisper EX 70. It is a better beginner option if you own a tiny fish tank with less than 10 gallons. It is much easier to install because of its self-priming feature, and it offers excellent value for money.

Why did it make our list?

  • Installation is easy, thanks to the self-priming feature
  • Can be placed in both vertical and horizontal positions due to the directional return pipe
  • Great for minimal water levels

What is not ideal about it?

  • Some users have reported durability and noise issues with the product

Things to Consider

Before you buy a filter for your turtle tank, there are a few things you need to consider. The size of your tank is important, as is the number of turtles you have. You also need to decide what type of filter you want and how much maintenance you are willing to do. Once you have all this information, you can start looking at different filters and find the perfect one for your turtle tank.

Type of Filter

Canister filters are a great option for turtle tanks because they are powerful and can handle a large volume of waste. They also have a large filter media capacity, which means they can remove more dirt, debris, and pollutants from the water. This makes them a good choice for larger turtle tanks or turtles that produce a lot of waste.

7 Best Filters for Turtle Tanks That Will Keep Water Clean and Healthy (Summer 2022)

Canister filters are usually more expensive and harder to maintain but their performance is unbeatable

Canister filters remove the water from the fish tank using an intake tube, sieve, or valve, passing it through filter media in a pressurized canister, and then returning the filtered aquarium water to the fish tank via spillway or spray bar. Canister filters can be a bit more expensive than other types of filters, but they are worth the investment if you want to keep your turtle tank clean and healthy. Check out our comprehensive guides for the best canister filter for turtles and best canister filters for 55-gallon tanks.

Hang-on-back filters are a popular choice for turtle tanks because they are affordable and easy to use. They are also a good choice for smaller turtle tanks or turtles that don’t produce a lot of waste. Hang-on-back filters use a lift tube to suck water up into a filter chamber, where it is then filtered through a series of filter media. After passing through the filter media, the water flows out an overflow lip and back into the aquarium.

Hang-on-back filters are easy to set up and maintain, and they are a good option for those who want an affordable and effective way to filter their turtle tank. However, hang-on-back filters can be less powerful than canister filters, so they may not be the best choice for larger turtle tanks.

Undergravel filters are a type of filter that is often used in fish tanks. However, these filters are not suitable for turtle tanks. Undergravel filters work by using a series of plates that are placed under the gravel. Undergravel filters work by sucking water up through a filter plate and then passing it through a series of gravel media. The water is then returned to the tank via an uplift tube. One downside of undergravel filters is that they can be difficult to clean and can quickly become clogged. They also don’t remove as much waste as other types of filters, so they may not be the best option for turtles.

Tank size and GPH

The general rule of thumb is to have a filter that can handle ten times the amount of water in your tank. So if you have a 50-gallon tank, you would need a filter that can handle 500 gallons per hour (GPH).

However, this may not be necessary for all tanks. If your tank is heavily stocked with turtles or if you have a lot of live plants, you may need a more powerful filter. Conversely, if your tank is only partially stocked or doesn’t have many plants, you may be able to get away with a filter that has a lower GPH rating. It is also a good idea to get a filter that has a higher flow rate than you need so that it can handle any waste produced by your turtles more effectively.

Stages of filtration

There are three main stages of filtration that are needed for a turtle tank: mechanical, biological, and chemical.

Mechanical filtration is the process of removing solid waste from the water, such as uneaten food, dirt, and hair. Filtration prevents the debris from building up and becoming a breeding ground for harmful bacteria and algae.

Biological filtration is the process of breaking down ammonia and other harmful toxins into less harmful substances. In order for this process to occur, you need a healthy population of beneficial bacteria. You also need to make sure that your tank has enough oxygen for the bacteria to thrive. This can be done by adding an air stone or by keeping the water level high enough so that the filter can create adequate turbulence.

While chemical filtration is not considered essential for turtle tanks, it is a good idea to have it in addition to mechanical and biological filtration. Chemical filtration helps remove dissolved toxins and impurities from the water, such as heavy metals. This can be done with activated carbon or a chemical adsorbent such as zeolite.

All in all, these three of these stages of filtration are all critical for keeping your turtle tank clean and healthy.

Installation and maintenance

7 Best Filters for Turtle Tanks That Will Keep Water Clean and Healthy (Summer 2022)

Filters like Penn-Plax Cascade 610 are very easy to install

Installing and maintaining a turtle tank filter can be a bit daunting, but it is definitely worth the effort. The most important thing to do is to make sure that you read the instructions that come with your filter carefully. This will help you to avoid any mistakes and will ensure that your filter is installed correctly.

While canister filters may be more powerful, they can also be more challenging to install and maintain. If you are new to keeping turtles, it may be a good idea to start with a hang-on-back filter because they are easier to use. As you become more experienced, you can always upgrade to a canister filter if you feel like you need more filtration power.

Self-priming filters are a type of filter that does not require you to prime them before use. This is because they have a built-in priming pump that does the job for you.

One downside of self-priming filters is that they can be more expensive than traditional ones. They also tend to be larger, so they may not be suitable for smaller tanks. However, self-priming filters are much easier to use and maintain, so it’s an excellent choice for people without much experience.

Once the filter is installed, you will need to maintain it on a regular basis. This includes cleaning the filter media and replacing it when it gets dirty. It’s important to remember that the more media the filter retains – the less often it will need to be cleaned. When cleaning your filter, it is important to avoid using any harsh chemicals or soaps. These can kill the beneficial bacteria that are needed for biological filtration. Instead, it’s recommended to use an aquarium-safe cleaner.

It is also a good idea to do a partial water change (about 25%) every month or so. By following these simple tips, you can ensure that your turtle tank stays clean and healthy for your turtles.

Noise levels

All filters produce some noise, but it is usually not very loud. If you are concerned about noise levels, you can look for filters that are specifically designed to be quiet. However, keep in mind that these filters may be more expensive than others. Some filters even have built-in silencers to help reduce the noise they produce.

Why Do Turtle Tanks Need a Filter?

Turtle tanks need a filter because turtles produce a lot of waste, and without a filter, the water will become polluted and not healthy for the turtles. There are a variety of filters available for turtle tanks, and the best filter for your turtle tank will depend on the size of your tank and the number of turtles you have.

7 Best Filters for Turtle Tanks That Will Keep Water Clean and Healthy (Summer 2022)

Turtles produce more waste than fishes, so having a good filter is a must

If you have a small turtle tank, you can get away with a simple filter that just traps the waste and doesn’t require much maintenance. But if you have a large turtle tank or a lot of turtles, you will need a more powerful filter that can handle the larger volume of waste and keep the water clean and healthy.

Some people use multiple filters on their turtle tanks, but there are a few things to consider before doing so. First of all, you will need to make sure that the filters are compatible with each other and that they can handle the amount of waste that your turtles produce. You will also need to ensure that there is enough space for both filters and that they are not blocking each other’s flow. If you have a large turtle tank, it may be necessary to use more than one filter in order to keep the water clean. But if you have a small tank or just a few turtles, one filter is usually sufficient.

There are many different types and brands of filters available, so do some research to find the best one for your turtle tank.

Filter Media for Turtle Tank

Mechanical filtration

7 Best Filters for Turtle Tanks That Will Keep Water Clean and Healthy (Summer 2022)

Gravel can be used for mechanical filtration, but it needs to be cleaned every now and then

Mechanical filtration is an essential part of keeping your turtle tank clean and healthy. There are a variety of filter media that can be used for mechanical filtration, but the most common are filter pads, sponges, and gravel.

Filter pads are typically made of polyester or cotton, and they are effective at removing large pieces of debris from the water. Filter pads can be rinsed and reused, or they can be replaced when they get too dirty.

Sponges are another type of filter media that can be used for mechanical filtration. Sponges are effective at trapping small pieces of debris, and they are also reusable. However, they will eventually need to be replaced as they will get filled up with debris over time.

Gravel is often used as a substrate in turtle tanks, but it can also be used as a form of mechanical filtration. The gravel will trap larger pieces of debris and waste, which can then be removed during water changes. It is essential to clean the gravel for the turtle tank’s health. The most straightforward approach to cleaning gravel is to use a gravel vacuum.

Biological filtration

7 Best Filters for Turtle Tanks That Will Keep Water Clean and Healthy (Summer 2022)

Bio-balls are an effective media for biological filtration

As we said earlier, biological filtration is essential for your turtle tank filter. There are a variety of filter media that can be used for biological filtration, but the most common are bacteria culture kits and bio-balls.

Bacteria culture kits contain live bacteria that help to break down ammonia and nitrite into less harmful compounds. This media is very effective, but it will need to be replaced every few months.

Bio-balls are small plastic balls that contain a large amount of surface area for beneficial bacteria to grow on. Bio-balls are very effective at biological filtration, and they can last for years without needing to be replaced.

Chemical filtration

7 Best Filters for Turtle Tanks That Will Keep Water Clean and Healthy (Summer 2022)

Activated carbon removes a number of pollutants and is widely used for chemical filtration

There are a variety of filter media that can be used for chemical filtration, but the most common are activated carbon and zeolite.

Activated carbon effectively removes dissolved pollutants from the water, such as heavy metals and toxins. Zeolite is another type of filter media that can be used for chemical filtration. Zeolite is effective at removing ammonia from the water.

Both of these media can be used multiple times, but they eventually become saturated and need to be replaced.

FAQ

The type of turtle you have does play a role in choosing the right filter for your tank. While all turtles need a filter, some turtles are more sensitive than others and require a gentler filtration system. If you have a soft-shell turtle or a turtle that is still growing, you will need to be careful with the type of filter you choose. These turtles are more delicate and can be easily injured by a powerful filtration system. It’s best to choose a filter that has adjustable flow rates so you can control how much water is being filtered and avoid harming your turtle.

On the other hand, if you have a hard-shell turtle, you can choose a more powerful filter since they are less sensitive and can handle a stronger flow of water. These turtles are also less likely to get caught in the filter, so you don’t have to worry about them being injured by it.

No matter what type of turtle you have, it’s always best to do some research and find the best filter for your specific situation. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to filters, and what works for one person may not work for another. But by taking the time to find the right filter for your turtle tank, you can be sure that your turtles will stay healthy and happy for years to come. In order to keep your turtle healthy, you also need a proper heating equipment, check out our guide for the best aquarium heaters.

Replacing the filter media in your turtle tank is an essential part of maintaining a healthy tank. The frequency with which you will need to replace the media depends on the type of filter you are using and the amount of debris it removes from the tank.

Generally, filter pads should be replaced every two to four weeks, sponges should be replaced every four to six weeks, and gravel should be cleaned every two to four weeks. Activated carbon and zeolite should be replaced every four to six weeks.

It’s important to keep an eye on the condition of your filter media and replace it when it starts to look dirty or clogged. By replacing the filter media regularly, you can help ensure that your turtle tank stays clean and healthy.

If your filter is not removing enough debris from your tank, it’s not working properly, and you need to replace it. A good way to tell if your filter is not working properly is to check the flow rate. The flow rate is the amount of water that the filter can move through the system in a certain amount of time. If the flow rate is too low, it means that the filter is not moving enough water and is not doing its job correctly.

Another way to tell if your filter is not working properly is to check the condition of the filter media. Filter media should be replaced on a regular basis, depending on the type of media and the amount of debris it’s removing from the tank. If you see that the media is starting to look dirty or clogged, it’s time to replace it.

If you’re not sure whether or not your filter is working properly, it’s always best to consult with a professional. They can help you troubleshoot the problem and find the best solution for your turtle tank.

Our Verdict

In our opinion, TetraFauna ReptoFilter is the best filter for turtle tanks. It is easy to install and maintain, and it does a great job of keeping the water clean while remaining affordable.

If you have more specific needs, we’ve reviewed more options for you as well. EHEIM Classic Canister Filter 2215 offers incredible performance at a low price point. We’ve also selected Fluval FX6 High Performance Aquarium Filter for those who need sturdy filter for a large turtle tank.

No matter what filter you choose, regular maintenance and replacement of filter media is essential for keeping your turtle tank clean. We hope that this article has helped you understand the different types of filters and how to choose the best filter for a turtle tank. By taking the time to find the right filter, you can be sure that your turtle will stay healthy and happy for years to come.

References

1.
Aquarium Components: Filtration / Aquarium Fish / Recreation and Leisure / Consumer Resources / Home - Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services
Filtration is a very important aspect of an aquarium system. Filtration is comprised of three main components: mechanical, chemical and biological. Sterilization using ultraviolet (UV) or ozone systems can also be added.
2.
Reptiles and Amphibians
Millions of households in the United States own at least one reptile (like a turtle, lizard, or snake) or amphibian (like a frog, salamander, or caecilian). Reptiles have dry and scaly skin, whereas amphibians have smooth, slimy skin.
3.
How to Pick the Right Turtle Tank Filter and Tank | PetMD
Do you have a new pet turtle? Check out this guide to get the perfect turtle tank setup with the right turtle tank filters.
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