Best Filter for Red Eared Slider (2022) | Buying Guide and Review

by Carl Crane | Updated: January 7, 2022

The red-eared slider is one of the most popular pets because of its beauty and calm nature.

Having one does not require much and unlike other pets, it easily adapts to a new environment.

Since you will keep it in an aquarium, it is very important that you make use of a system that breaks down the waste so that the aquarium will stay clean enough and your pet will remain healthy.

That is why we have this article on the best filters for the eared slider specialty for you.Red-eared sliders, even though easy to look after do have their basic needs.

Getting too comfortable and overlooking this will lead to many health issues for them and short life.

But if you put in little effort in making sure the necessities of your pet are met, it will have a very long life and healthy life.

Good feeding, substrate, lighting, and hygiene are very necessary for the health of your pet slider and best practices mean the best quality of life quality.

Just like other turtles, red-eared sliders can be very messy. They poop a lot and eat a lot, and since everything takes place in the aquarium, it is highly likely to get dirty.

A dirty environment is not good for anyone and so, the tank will need to be cleaned regularly and a filter takes care of this.

We Recommend

After seeing numerous red-eared slider filters, we have a pretty solid idea of what components make the best filter for red eared slider, and the Zoo Med Turtle Clean Filter it’s our top choice.

Complete Guide for Best Filters for Red Eared Slider

Just like any other animals that live in a tank, red-eared sliders need to have their water cleaned because they do all their business in it and it will get messy.

Manually cleaning the water by yourself is a practice you can’t keep up in the long run and so you need a system that will always ensure the water is clean.

A dirty tank is a breeding ground for bacteria and other microorganisms and your pet turtle can easily pass on infections like salmonella to you and your family if it gets infected.

So in ensuring that its water is clean, you are also protecting your health.

In choosing the best filters, you have to bear in mind that red-eared sliders do not like strong currents, so the filter you choose should be one that is powerful enough, but with a low or adjustable current.

The filter you choose should be durable and able to withstand clogging.

Turtles are diggers, and they pick up a good amount of substrate on them into the water.

These substrates will be sucked into the filter and if it is not strong enough, it will get damaged. 

Also, food can dissolve and settle down in the tank. Its particles can also get sucked into the filter and so you need a filter that can tolerate some substances being sucked into it.

Turtles require oxygen, and so your choice of a filter has to be one that provides good water aeration.

Multi-Stage Filtering

Multi-stage filters are used together with multi-rate filters.

These provide different types of cleaning that are necessary to ensure the water in your pet’s tank is healthy at different levels. 

The filter that is required for the proper cleaning of your red-eared slider’s tank is one that provides both biological and mechanical filtration.

Some filters also provide chemical filtration which is not a necessity but helps too.

Biological Filtration

A biological filter contains a sponge or hair curler on which beneficial bacteria can grow and feed on the impurities in the water.

This is a nitrogen cycle, set up in your pet’s tank and will convert the harmful ammonia that builds up in the tank into less dangerous nitrate. 

The bacteria that grow on the sponge are needed to keep the chemical levels of the tank in check, so low that it can be easily managed.

Mechanical Filtration

Biological filtration handles all the tank’s water chemistry, but this is not enough to ensure the tank is clean and fit for your pet.

There is other debris that needs to be taken care of and that is where mechanical filtration comes in. 

Debris like feces, leftover food, decaying food, and other substrate particles that are carried in need to be removed from the water.

Since this type of filter deals with debris, it needs to be checked regularly and cleaned. 

It has to be physically removed from the aquarium and all the dirt cleaned.

Chemical Filtration

The most important filtration needed for your red-eared slider’s tank is the biological and mechanical ones.

Chemical filtration is not necessary but improves the tank’s aesthetics. 

Chemical filters break down organic substances further and suck out more ammonia in the water.

These processes make the water look clearer.

You have to be careful when using this type of filter because it may interfere with the nitrogen cycle that is being set up in the tank by the biological filter. 

Chemical filters make use of activated carbon to help break down organic substances further, and ammonia removers to remove more ammonia.

The Best Filters for Red Eared Slider


1. Zoo Med Turtle Clean Filter

First on our list of best filters for the red-eared slider is this amazing Zoo Med Turtle Clean Filter.

It is an internal filter but due to its size, it takes up little space in the tank, so your aquatic friend still has enough room to swim about.

It is ideal for a tank that holds up to 30 gallons, making it ideal for use in a standard tank. It has dual intake, a feature that is for the purpose of preventing clogging.

With this product, you can be sure of great chemical and biological filtration, keeping your tank clean with clear water.



2. Hydor Professional External Canister Filter

From its feel, as you hold it, you will know that what you have is of good quality. It is durable and is designed to efficiently handle whatever filtration needs you may have.

It has a clamping system that supports the motor, ensuring it works properly. 

You do not need special training to set this filter up as it is very easy to set up and use.

With a flow rate of 240 gallons per hour, you will have your pet’s tank filtered thoroughly in a short time.

This is not one of those filters with a tight restriction in terms of gallons. It is perfect for tanks of 20 to 150 gallons, a good range for most aquariums. 

Unlike other filters, this model operates with low noise, so you get a lot with no discomfort.



3. Penn Plax Aquarium Cascade Canister Filter

When you talk of the best canister filters, Penn Plax Aquarium Cascade Canister Filter will always come up among the top products.

It is made of hard plastic, which tells you that it was made to be durable and serve you for long. 

All you need is good maintenance and you won’t have to purchase another filter in a long while.

Unlike other filters with a complex setup, the manufacturer makes this very easy to set up, and also provides you with a guide.

It has a high flow rate and provides water aeration and circulation in the tank.



4. Tetra 25931 Tetrafauna Viquarium

This Tetra filter takes care of all your filtration efficiently as it is capable of providing biological, mechanical, and chemical filtration.

You will get optimum performance if used in an aquarium that holds 55 gallons of water at most.

Its flow rate is 80galons per hour, so your tank will always stay clean.

It provides proper aeration in the water with its waterfall feature, and you get all these with a noiseless operation.



5. Tetra 25905 Decorative Reptile Filter

This decorative filter allows you to make your turtle habitat look more beautiful while keeping it clean.

It provides you with mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration, making the water healthy enough for your red-eared slider. 

You can make use of this filter for shallow water aquariums of other pets like frogs and newts.

You have a detailed setup guide to enable you to fix up the equipment. It is no trouble setting up and if you follow the instructions, you will have it up and running in no time. 

A special feature is the multiple large intake holes that reduce the possibility of clogging.

So you can make use of this filter without having to worry about regular maintenance.



Things to Look Out For When Choosing the Best Filters for Red-Eared Slider

When you walk into a store or go online to purchase a filter for your red-eared slider, these are the points you should note:

Filter Brand

It is always best to make your pick from the products of a reputable brand.

Brands make their names based on popularity gained by the quality of products.

Even new brands become popular quickly if their products are good.

The products reviewed here are from reputable brands and so whatever your choice is, you will surely be happy with it.

Tank Size and Rate of Flow

Different filters work best with different tank sizes.

Before you make a choice, be sure that the filter you pick is capable of effectively filtering the volume of water in your red-eared slider’s tank.

Manufacturers always make this information available, so you can check to confirm.

The flow rate is another important feature of a filter you should look out for.

A good filter should have a high flow rate. 

This is to allow filtration of a great volume of water as the filter operates. Having a good flow rate will ensure your tank is clean.


It doesn’t just end with the efficiency of the operation of the filter you choose.

The ability of the filter to withstand wear and tear and last long is also very important.

Taking care of your pet should not have to cost you so much so when you buy a filter, it should be durable.

The type of material used in the construction also plays an important role in the durability of the filter.

Most filters are made of plastic and if you find one that is made with hard plastic then it is durable enough.

A filter with metal parts is even a better choice.


The filter motor is important, especially in mechanical filtration.

A filter model with a reliable motor will serve you efficiently and effectively.

It won’t break down often and you won’t have to take it for maintenance all the time. 

Ease of cleaning

The purpose of the filter is to keep the water in the tank clean. This means it will have lots of dirt on it with time.

Choose a filter that you can easily take apart for cleaning and maintenance if not it will end up polluting the water.

Important Notes to Consider

Commonly Asked Question About Red Eared Slider Filters

Q:What Type Of Filter Is Good For A Turtle Tank?

The filter you choose will depend on factors such as the tank size, brand of filter, flow rate, durability, and more.

The space you have is also another determiner of whether you will use an internal or external filter. 

Q: Can You Use A Fish Filter For A Turtle Tank?

Yes, you can. Many aquatic pet products can be used for more than one type of pet and the manufacturer will clearly state it.

Check out the benefactors of the filter before you purchase. 

Q: How Often Should I Clean My Turtle Tank Filter?

The frequency of cleaning depends on the filter in question as different products have different timelines.

It is good that you stick to the cleaning guidelines of the manufacturer so as to keep your filter in good condition for long. 


Now you can relax knowing that it is possible to keep your red-eared slider’s tank clean with no stress on you.

These products that have been reviewed here are durable and efficiently clean the turtle’s tank water, ensuring that your pet stays safe.

If you are still confused about the choice to make, we highly recommend Zoo Med Turtle Clean Filter as it takes up little space and is easy to use. It cleans the tank properly without demanding much from you. 

We also recommend Hydor Professional External Canister Filter as it is easy to use and maintain, and does the job properly.

Carl, the reptile-obsessed creator of this website, got his first turtle years ago and he made a ton of mistakes along the way. His goal now with TheCritterCove is simple: help others to not make the same mistakes that he did!