I’m positive any turtle owner will tell you that turtles are fun, interesting little creatures to have a pet. They’re curious, unique, and a nice bit of diversity from the standard aquarium resident: fish. Turtles are not difficult creatures to take care of, fortunately, and a clean tank and quality food will work to keep your turtle happy and healthy.
Providing your turtle with a constant supply of high-quality food is one of the best ways to ensure that they live a long and healthy life. Because of the fact that your turtle’s diet is so important, we’ve created a list of the 5 best turtle food options available, in addition to a comprehensive buyer’s guide so that you can better understand what your turtle needs.
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OUR #1 RATED
TetraReptoMin Floating Food Sticks
Nutrient and vitamin-rich food sticks that hold their shape in water, are easy to eat and metabolize, and taste fantastic.
Fluker’sBuffet Blend Aquatic Turtle Formula
Freeze-dried shrimps, mealworms, and pellets make up this protein-rich and irresistible turtle food blend.
Zoo MedSun Dried Large Red Shrimp
These red shrimp are the favorite food of many different turtles while offering lots of protein at an excellent value.
Zoo MedNatural Aquatic Turtle Food
Taking a natural approach with the ingredients, this food comes in 3 different compositions to fit the needs of all turtles.
TetraReptoTreat Suprema Sticks
Food sticks that act as great dietary supplements and are a great source of vitamins and Omega 3s.
What Do Turtles Eat In The Wild?
In order to better understand what defines the best food for your turtle, it’s important to learn about what turtles eat in the wild. One of the secrets to keeping your turtle healthy is ensuring that their diet closely mimics what they normally eat in the wild due to thousands of years of find-tuning their digestive systems.
There are over 300 species of turtles, with quite a few differences between each species. The most common turtle species by far is the red-eared slider, which is an omnivore, meaning that it eats both plants and other animals. So, their digestive systems are optimized to run on a mixture of both plants and animals.
In the wild, these turtles feed on many things, ranging from aquatic vegetation to small fish to dead and decaying sea life. Adult turtles eat primarily aquatic vegetation, which younger turtles have animal protein make up about 50% of their diet due to their need for more protein in their growing stages.
How To Properly Feed A Turtle
Feeding a turtle is a bit more complicated than simply throwing food into their tank and hoping that they eat it. The quantity and frequency of feeding is quite important in maintaining the health of both your turtle and the environment that they’re living in.
Juvenile turtles feed differently from adult turtles. In terms of feeding frequency, juvenile turtles generally need to feed more, as they need food that’s rich in different vitamins and calcium at least three times a week. On top of this nutrient-rich food, they should be fed small amounts of other foods during the rest of the week.
Adult turtles, on the other hand, don’t need nearly as much food. These turtles can be fed daily or as little as every other day. Since they don’t eat a lot of food, you’ll need to eye the tank of these turtles and remove any uneaten food. This is done to prevent food from decaying and contaminating the water.
In terms of the amount of food that needs to be provided, there isn’t a solid guide to follow. Each species of turtle is different, so they’ll prefer certain foods over other foods and eat different amounts. However, there is a basic guide that you should follow.
You should only provide your turtle with an amount of food that can be eaten in about 15 minutes. This period of time is how long a turtle can generally concentrate on eating. Feeding a turtle too much at once can actually be harmful, and not to mention a waste of money due to the need to clean out any uneaten food.
What Can Turtles Eat Besides Turtle Food?
There are quite a few different natural foods that can be fed to turtles in addition to their special turtle pellets or sticks. However, each turtle is slightly different. Below we’ve listed out some of the common safe and unsafe food for the 3 most popular turtle species.
- Carrots, sweet potatoes, lettuce, apples, pears, melon, silkworms, shrimps, beans, pumpkin, kale, berries, figs, and mealworms
- Chocolate, iceberg lettuce, fireflies, onions, and processed meats
- Mustard green, kale, daphnia, cooked beef, cooked chicken, berry, romanian lettuce, bloodworms, feeder fish, and banana
- Rhubarb leaves, iceberg lettuce, avocado peel, and tomato leaves
- Collard greens, squash, endives, waxworms, nectarines, bok choy, green beans, water lilies, aquatic snails, and plums
- Potato plants, iceberg lettuce, avocado seeds, and tobacco plants
Turtle Feeding FAQ
- Should I feed my turtle in water or in a dry place?
- Aquatic turtles must be fed in the water. This is due to the fact that all aquatic turtles eat and swallow their food with their head under water, and will not eat if this is not a possibility.
- Does my turtle need vitamin supplements?
- A turtle that lives in a high-quality environment with plenty of heat and lighting and a quality diet shouldn’t need vitamin supplements. Most turtle food available has all of the vitamins and minerals that turtles need to be happy and healthy. However, if a turtle is lacking in one area, it’s most likely in calcium. Turtles, especially young ones, require lots of calcium to build and maintain their shells and overall skeletal systems.
- How do I keep my turtle’s tank clean after feeding?
- There are two ways that you can ensure a tank’s cleanliness. The first way is to feed your turtle in a separate tank from where they live. This tank can be smaller but should still be appropriate for turtles by having water. However, if you don’t want to own a separate tank just for feeding, you can still feed your turtle in their main tank. To ensure cleanliness, all that you have to do is remove any uneaten food after your turtle’s feeding time. Uneaten food will decompose and contaminate the water, which can make your turtle very sick.
What Defines The Best Turtle Food?
Not all turtle food is created equal. In fact, some turtle food is downright bad to use a staple of your turtle’s diet. So, in order to ensure that your turtle’s dietary needs are met, their food should meet all of the criteria listed below. This is the criteria that we used to pick out the best turtle foods.
- Protein – Protein is a very important nutrient to consider in your turtle’s food. Young turtles need protein a lot more than adult turtles due to the fact that they need it to grow large and healthy. Adult turtles only need minimal protein, sticking to more leafy greens. Young turtles should have a diet that’s made up of about 70%-80% protein while adults only need about 30% protein.
- Vitamins and minerals – Young turtles don’t need too many vitamins and minerals. In the growth stages of turtles, protein and some fat are the most important aspects of their food. Adults, however, vitamins and minerals are necessary in maintaining their health, with calcium being one of the most important minerals.
- Taste – Turtles actually have taste buds, meaning that they can determine whether or not they enjoy eating a certain food or not. Therefore, it’s important that your turtle’s food is to their liking. While it’s easy to figure out whether your turtle enjoys eating the food or not when you have it in your possession, it can be hard to know if they’ll like it before you buy it. So, look to reviews by other turtle owners to see if their turtles tend to like it.
- Brand – While brand isn’t everything in a turtle food, it certainly is a contributor. Cheaper foods by unknown brands are usually cheaper because of the fact that they have lower-quality ingredients. More established brands have spent years perfecting their products, and they also have a lot more to lose if their product is poorly received.
What Is The Best Turtle Food?
We’ve taken a look at many different turtle foods, taking into account things such as the quality of ingredients, the price per ounce, and the physical health and enthusiasm of the turtles that eat each food. Through this, we’ve found the 5 best turtle foods for you to feed your turtle.Remember, every turtle is different. Make sure that the food you’re about to purchase is made for your turtle. Some food is suitable for all turtles, while others may only be okay for box turtles or aquatic turtles.
our #1 rated
OUR TOP PICK
ReptoMin Floating Food Sticks
This ReptoMin Floating Food Sticks food by Tetra is one of the most popular turtle foods used by both novice and experienced turtle owners. These sticks, which are excellent for a wide variety of aquatic reptiles, are absolutely packed with essential nutrients that help keep turtles healthy and happy. Specifically, this food is vitamin and calcium-rich with a healthy amount of protein so that turtles get the sustenance that they need without many fillers or sources of weight-gain. It’s also a food that’s very easy to eat and digest, making meal time as simple as possible.
Turtle owners ranging from novices to experts all trust and love this food. One big compliment that this food gets is that it stays solid in water and doesn’t dissolve easily, making it easier to eat and clean out of a tank. As a key component of a diet, this food is noted to be a great source of energy and gives turtles most of the nutrition that they need. It’s also noticeably tasty for turtles.
There is a lack of complaints about this food, which is always nice to see. The occasional turtle simply doesn’t enjoy eating this food that much, but most turtles eat it up quickly. Also, some owners note that it can leave a tank’s water cloudy, but that may be due to the fact that they don’t properly clean out uneated food from the tank.
- Nutrient and vitamin-rich
- Easy to eat and metabolize
- Holds shape and form in water
- Can cloud water if excess isn’t removed from tank
our #2 rated
Buffet Blend Aquatic Turtle Formula
This food by Fluker’s is described as a buffet blend, and looking at it through the eyes of a turtle it’s pretty clear why that is. This food is made up of a freeze-dried blend of shrimp, mealworms, and pellets. The combination of different protein sources makes for a balanced nutritional content with healthy amounts of vitamins and minerals. The easy to eat and digest pellets float easily on the top of the water, and then sink to the bottom after some time. While the food is great nutritionally and functionally, it also tastes great and is a great dietary staple for many kinds of turtles.
This food is less popular than the ReptoMin food that’s discussed above, but that doesn’t mean that it’s less effective. Turtle owners state that their turtles go crazy for this food and have no problem eating a healthy amount of it. The vitamins and minerals that it comes with are a big hit among owners, resulting in less supplementation needed to complete a turtle’s diet.
There is also a nice lack of complaints about this food by turtle owners. One issue that could exist is that this food is primarily made from protein. When turtles eat this as their primary food, they may have a lack of greens that are supposed to make up the majority of their diet. Fortunately, this problem is easy to avoid with proper portion control and feeding schedules.
- Good fat and protein content
- Healthy vitamins and minerals
- Diverse blend of ingredients
- May add too much protein to a turtle’s diet
our #3 rated
Sun Dried Large Red Shrimp
Zoo Med is an excellent manufacturer that creates a lot of high quality pet foods and accessories. This Sun Dried Large Red Shrimp turtle food is the staple food in the diets of many different turtles. The shrimps themselves are a high-quality, protein-rich food that are especially nice for larger aquatic turtles. In fact, the protein composition of this food is about 70%, making it a great food for turtles that need a good protein source. Out of all of the turtle food available, this food has one of the highest protein compositions. Zoo Med themselves claim that turtles typically show an increase in weight and vigor after only a few days of eating this food.
Reviews of this food are very positive, with many owners happily using this as their turtle’s staple food. In addition to the great protein composition that owners love, the taste is apparently fantastic as turtles have no problem eating this food daily. In terms of value, it’s generally available at an excellent price, especially considering how nutritious it is.
The main issue with this food is that it smells terrible. Owners state that they need to keep the food in an airtight bag if they don’t want the smell overwhelming a room. Additionally, it can be a bit messy, so post-feeding cleaning of a turtle’s tank may be a bit more involved.
- Very high protein composition
- Delicious for turtles
- Excellent value
- Pretty smelly and a bit messy
our #4 rated
Natural Aquatic Turtle Food
While Zoo Med created the previous food that was reviewed, they also created this one — a food that’s equally as great for turtles. In fact, it’s great for 3 different kinds of turtles! There are 3 different pellet sizes and protein levels, which are ‘hatchling’, ‘growth’, and ‘maintenance formulas’. The hatchling formula is excellent for younger turtles with its higher composition of protein, while the growth and maintenance formulas help adult turtles maintain their health. The ingredients of the pellets are also very high-quality, and Zoo Med has taken an approach that favors much more natural ingredients than those that are used in other foods.
Turtle owners are pleased with basically every aspect of this food. The nutritional content of this food is commonly commended, as both juvenile and adult turtles get most of the daily nutrients that they need. Turtles also love eating this food, as most seem to be very enthusiastic about eating every pellet that they’re given.
There are two problems with these pellets that some owners have pointed out. First of all, a couple owners say that it breaks apart in the water and dirties up the water. This issue is most likely a mixture of mediocre composition of the pellets and bad cleaning by the owners. Additionally, the pellets are quite large, which can be tough for smaller turtles to eat.
- Natural ingredient approach
- Comes in different protein compositions
- Quite a good value
- Large pellets can be hard to eat
- Can break apart in water
our #5 rated
ReptoTreat Suprema Sticks
Yet another food by Tetra, these ReptoTreat Suprema Sticks are also of very high quality. However, the key difference between this food and the others listed in this post is that these sticks should be treated more as a part of a diet, not a staple food. This doesn’t mean that it’s low-quality, though. In fact, many owners opt to use this to make up a large portion of their turtle’s diet while giving them some other food, greens, and maybe a calcium supplement. According to turtles, these sticks taste phenomenal, and their makeup of shrimp and krill helps to contribute to a healthy protein content.
Owners state that their turtles prefer these sticks to all other foods that are presented to them. Most turtle diets have these sticks acting as a treat or supplement, not as the staple food. Despite this, it provides turtles with excellent nutrients without any harmful or annoying filler ingredients.
There are very few problems with this food, and the only reason why it’s #5 on this list is because it’s used more as a treat than a staple of a normal diet. A couple of turtle owners note that their turtles don’t like the taste of this food, but most of them absolutely go crazy for it.
- Makes for an excellent dietary supplement and treat
- Contains omega-3 fatty acids
- High in river shrimp and krill
- Doesn’t perform the best as a staple food for a diet
All of the foods that we have reviewed are more than suitable for turtles and contain all of the essential nutrients that they need to live a happy and healthy life. When these foods are fed in addition to fresh greens and occasional treats, they ensure that your turtle is given the sustenance that they need.After analyzing all of the turtle food available on the market, we’ve determined that the best turtle food is Tetra ReptoMin Floating Food Sticks.Tetra has been an excellent manufacturer of turtle food for many years, and this particular food has found its way into the diets of thousands of turtles. The benefits that this food brings turtles, along with its lack of apparent flaws and big focus on fulfilling the specific requirements of a turtle’s diet, makes it a very safe choice as a food for your turtle.