(This is part of a series where I review several commercially available pet turtle basking platforms, because my pet turtles need new basking platforms.)

Turtle Cliff Aquatic Terrarium Filter and Rock

The turtle cliff is a promising looking product that combines an internal filter with a basking area. The integrated filter, a Repti Clear Terrarium Filter, is a three stage filter that is expandable, although expanding the filter may not let it fit inside the turtle cliff. A water heater can also be hidden inside the turtle cliff.

The turtle cliff comes in two sizes, medium and large:

  • Medium – 9″ x 7″ x 7.5″ high
  • Large – 12″ x 9″ x 9″ high

According to Exo Terra, the manufacturer:

The Exo Terra Turtle Cliff is a waterfall, basking area and filter in one. Its state-of-the-art filtering system instantly transforms an aquatic terrarium setup into the ideal habitat while providing turtles and other semi-aquatic terrarium animals with the ideal basking or terrestrial area. The hidden filter provides clear, healthy water while the waterfall features creates the necessary water circulation and aeration, and its natural rock texture and colour allows it to integrate easily into any aquatic terrarium setup.

  • Waterfall, basking area and filter in one
  • Integrates easily into any aquatic terrarium setup
  • Optimal hidden water filtration system
  • Provides the necessary water circulation and aeration
  • Ideal basking or terrestrial area for semi-aquatic animals

My thoughts, keep in mind that my pet red ear slider turtles are over 7″ SCL (they are not small anymore):


  • An all in one solution – basking + filter
  • Looks attractive enough
  • Comes in two sizes
  • It can also hide a water heater
  • The large size turtle cliff can accommodate a big fully grown red ear slider turtle


  • Although the large turtle cliff can accommodate a large turtle, it doesn’t offer enough space. The dimensions will only cover the turtle’s shell, but not it’s legs
  • The internal filter will always be underpowered compared to a large external filter like the Rena Filstar XP3 filter
  • The turtle cliff is too short. The large will allow you to have a little less than 9″ of water depth. Not near enough water for grown turtles
  • The product remains submerged in the water and thus reduces both the available swimming space a turtle has but also reduces the total volume of water that a turtle needs

My decision:
The negatives outweigh the positives. I’m looking for a product that will last the lifetime of my pet turtles. Even though it provides enough of a basking surface for when one pet turtle reaches its maximum size, it doesn’t have enough height that permits me to have the proper amount of water that a pet turtle needs. Given the limitations of the product, it will work best for smaller pet turtles only. Needless to say, I have to pass on this product, this isn’t for my pet turtles.

(But it will be adequate for the entire lifespan of some mud and musk turtles!!).

The Turtle Cliff Aquatic Terrarium Filter and Rock is available at Amazon.


  1. Don’t buy one, they suck.. I have 2 musks(my musks don’t bask either), filter has to be cleaned out every 3-4 days to keep it running properly! I even put another filter in to help it out. The colour comes off really easily if u scrub the dirt off too hard, too easily I might add! And like u said the biggest issue is height, I used it for 2 months then threw it away. Don’t waste ur money!

      1. For those having “ISSUES’ w/ noise or poor filtration on this UNIT: The ‘poor filtration’ or ‘noise’ is an issue EASILY FIXED by ensuring the unit is PLUGGED IN TO 110 power outlet ONLY! I originally had mine setup via 6plug adapter and there was a definite noise/weakness to the pump, which honestly might have been easy to miss since the instruction manual has a very brief mention of this requirement. Once I plugged directly into wall outlet (with no go between) the unit goes almost silent/smooth, and power noticeably increase. So just a head up on this 🙂 Also, yes the item is encase in rock feature, so be sure to use with an underwater land medium that has thorough space gaps between rocks (see photo for example). More powerful unis may be able to deal with multi layered false bottoms etc, but this works best with single layer bottom.