I’ve been using two Rena XP3 filters for over two years now in my turtle tank, which houses two red eared sliders. I love them, the turtles and the filters! The XP3 filters are, in my opinion, the preferred turtle filter, based on online turtle forums and discussion boards.

What I like:

I love the big size of the canister and the three big baskets for placing filter media inside. There’s enough room to be able to place and arrange your filter media any which way you want. It’s very easy to arrange and plan your filter media layout to be the best turtle filter you can get. The tubes that come with the filter are quality good! They’re thick, strong, and don’t kink. I like that the XP3 is very low maintenance and quiet.

What I dislike:

There’s not much that I don’t like about using the XP3 as a turtle filter. I don’t cleaning it as it’s large and there’s so much more to clean than with the 501 Zoo Med turtle filter – but I don’t really like “cleaning” in general… Anyway, here’s a few things I don’t like with the filter, but they are minor and (after addressing them) I don’t even remember them:

The inlet and outlet pipes. I have a ClassCages aquarium tank, which have an inch or so longer lip than most other aquariums. For most other tanks this wouldn’t be an issue as it would fit perfectly – but I’m able to work around it by simply putting them in an angle and raising it a little bit. Problem solved.

The input extension tubes. This sucks for a turtle tank that isn’t 100% full of water as the tubes are plastic pieces that connect to each other and aren’t air/watertight, which can be problematic to keeping your filter running. This can be fixed by replacing the XP3 input extensions tubes with a regular plastic tube: attach one end to the inlet pipe and the strainer to the other end. Problem solved.

My XP3 filter inlet pipe, installed at an angle and raised a little. Notice the use of plastic tubes instead of the blue input extension pipes. Note: It looks wet in the photo as I took the picture after a water change and the water is from priming the filter to start.

Now, how is using the XP3 filter?

Cleaning and maintenance.

I’ve cleaned the entire XP3 filters and filter media just a number of few times. While the filter is on, you can see through the canister and everything looks clean, but that’s only cause the filter is still on and there’s a current inside the filter. Once the filter is switched off and you open it up – it’s actually a real mess inside with all the dirty water and accumulated waste caught inside the filter – it truly looks like a dirty muck. But that’s how you know the filter has done it’s job…

The pipes of the XP3 filter have gotten clogged up a few times, clogged up enough the the filter would not remain running after priming. Cleaning the tubes with a tube cleaner, such as a5′ Drain Cleaner Brush is very easy and always gets the turtle filter running again.


The filter is very quiet. With the cabinet doors open or not, I don’t hear the filters running.

Filter media

Comes with everything you need to get it running except for the biological filter media (usually ceramic rings). It comes with a great selection of sponges for mechanical filtration – 3 types of filter sponges actually, to catch different sizes of dirt – and arranging them properly helps to prevent filter clogging.


The XP3 is a great turtle filter. It has a few shortcomings that are easy to…overcome. A highly recommended product.