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As with any pet, it’s vital that you feed your turtle appropriately to give them the best shot possible at a happy, healthy life. Because turtles are usually omnivores, consuming a mixture of fish, insects, and leafy greens, it can be difficult to strike the perfect feeding balance. If you want to ensure that your pet turtle receives all the nutrients they need, it’s best to feed them a complete diet, and toss in the odd piece of fruit or veg for a supplementary treat.
To help you find the best quality turtle food, we’ve put together this handy buying guide. Below, we run through 10 of the most delicious, nutritious foods on the market right now, before addressing some common questions and concerns about properly feeding your shelled friend.
When it comes to turtle food sticks, Tetra are a well-known name – and for good reason. Their complete ReptoMin diet is a tasty and versatile option, suitable for aquatic turtles, newts, and even frogs. The floating pieces help your turtle to recreate their natural feeding habits, rising to the surface to grab a tasty morsel. Protein-packed and enriched with calcium, these ReptoMin sticks have been scientifically formulated to support the general health of your turtle.
On top of this, the food is very easy for reptiles to digest. This helps maintain a healthy digestive tract, and makes it easy for your pet to extract all the nutritional value from their food. With its high vitamin C content, the blend also supports your pet’s immune system. Every container of ReptoMin sticks contains fish as the number one ingredient, and natural ingredients can be found throughout the recipe. Owners say that this tasty product keeps their turtles happy and healthy.
Balanced food sticks for turtles, newts, and frogs
Float in the water to mimic natural hunting and foraging behavior
Fluker’s have also earned themselves a spot on our list, thanks to this unique and balanced aquatic turtle food blend. The freeze dried diet has been carefully designed to mimic what your turtle would eat in the wild. It consists of nutritious river shrimp and mealworms, combined with tasty fortified pellets. Each tasty morsel floats in the vivarium, for easy and natural feeding.
The blend has been carefully tailored for aquatic turtles specifically, balancing protein with fat for optimal energy and healthy weight maintenance. Enriched with vitamin A, calcium, and B vitamins, this nutritious recipe supports your pet from head to toe, helping them to get on with the business of being a turtle. Owners say their carnivorous turtles loved chasing after the mealworms and shrimp in the formula, while sliders enjoyed the ‘berry’ style pellets.
Complete food, suitable for aquatic turtles
Contains whole freeze dried river shrimp and mealworms
Also contains enriched pellets to round out your pet’s diet
Food pieces float to the surface for easy feeding
Optimal protein and fat content for pet turtles
Fortified with vitamins and minerals, including calcium, B vitamins, and vitamin A
If you like to give your turtle a mixed diet, these sun dried shrimp from Zoo Med are an excellent source of protein. Ideal for large aquatic turtles, aquarium fish, and various invertebrates, the versatile foodstuff is rich in the protein your pet needs for a healthy and energetic life.
Your turtle can enjoy this tasty meal three to four times a week – you can expect to notice a difference in their weight and activity levels after just a handful of feedings. Mixed with insects and leafy greens, these tasty shrimp can form the basis of a healthy, natural diet. If you like to know exactly what your pet is eating, Zoo Med has you covered. Their red shrimp haven’t been tinkered with or added to – just slowly sun dried to maintain their impressively high protein content in a conveniently long-lasting form.
Sun dried red shrimp
Ideal as the basis of a varied diet
Great for carnivorous turtles, and larger animals
Very high protein content
Made with red shrimp, and nothing else
Suitable for feeding 3 – 4 times per week
Helps increase your turtle’s weight and activity level
Rep-Cal have also earned a spot on our list, with their tasty and balanced pet turtle food. Formulated specifically for Box turtles, it’s an easy way to provide your reptilian friend with carefully tailored nutrition. Box turtles are famously indiscriminate eaters – they’re omnivores, who will wolf down practically anything that’s put in front of them. Although this characteristic makes the box turtle easy to feed, it can be tricky to work out whether you’re giving them the right ingredients in the right quantities.
That’s where Rep-Cal come in. Their Box turtle pellets have been carefully formulated using a mixture of fruit, other plants, and meat, to provide your pet with all the vital nutrients they need. Veterinarian recommended, the food is full of tasty and nutritious ingredients that your turtle will love. It’s designed to meet 100% of your pet’s nutritional needs, so you won’t have to worry about complicated feeding plans. Inside, calcium and vitamin D3 support overall health, while protein and fat keep your turtle energised and satisfied.
It might look like little cubes of fudge in the jar, but you can rest assured this tortoise food by Nature Zone is anything but empty calories. Each melon flavored bite has been carefully tailored to whet your tortoise’s appetite, and provide them with the balanced nutrition they need for a healthy, happy life.
Each soft bite features a gel-like texture, which tortoises find easy and satisfying to eat. Each small cube is packed with the amino acids, proteins, and minerals your reptile needs to maintain a healthy body. Made with human grade ingredients, you can rest assured your shelled friend is getting just the same quality nutrition as you. The bites are especially rich in calcium, keeping metabolic bone disease (MBD) firmly at bay, while soluble plant fiber promotes good intestinal health. Nature Zone’s formula also make it easy to give your tortoise the protein they need; it’s enriched with whey and soy proteins, which are very easy for these herbivores to digest.
It’s easy to keep your turtle well-fed even on a budget, thanks to Wardley. Their premium food sticks are impressively affordable, without compromising on quality. Ideal for both reptiles and amphibians, the food sticks constitute a complete diet. Each stick is made using natural ingredients, and fortified with calcium and vitamin C, for healthy bones and immune system. They float to the surface of your tank or vivarium, making it easy for turtles to feed, by emulating the way they would eat in the wild.
Free from artificial colors and dyes, you can rest assured the food won’t cloud your water, or do any damage to your semi-aquatic friend. Owners say this food is the perfect option for picky eaters or pets who have gone off their food: many turtles who have refused to eat other brands, and even turned down leafy vegetables, could stomach the carefully balanced formula.
Food sticks for turtles, frogs, newts, and other amphibians/reptiles
Complete, balanced nutrition
Excellent value for money
Enriched with vitamin C and calcium
Sticks float to the surface, making them easy for turtles to eat
Ideal for picky eaters, or animals who are off their food
Fluker’s have earned themselves a second spot on our list, thanks to this complete pellet diet, ideal for aquatic turtles. The food contains all the nutrients turtles need for a happy, healthy life, including carefully balanced protein, fat, and fiber. These fundamental nutrients are accompanied by calcium, vitamin A, folic acid, and other vitamins and minerals, to help maintain overall health.
Each floating pellet makes it easy for turtles to eat at the surface of the water – just like they would in the wild. The diminutive pellets are ideal for smaller animals, who might find it difficult to consume larger pieces. Owners say that turtles love the taste, and noticed that the compact pellets don’t stain their pets’ tank water.
Complete diet for turtles
Small pellets are ideal for diminutive animals
Balanced protein, fat, and fiber content for good overall health
For turtles in need of a treat, these ‘Gourmet’ food sticks could be the perfect option. Each delicious stick is high in protein, making the food ideal for growing juveniles, and an excellent treat for adult animals. Made from a careful blend of dried shrimp, mealworms, fish meal, kale, and cranberries, the recipe mimics the sort of food your omnivoros friend would consume in the wild.
With over 30 years of research to draw upon, Zoo Med have a keen understanding of turtles’ nutritional needs. High in vitamin C, iron, and calcium, these enriched food sticks help your turtle maintain healthy bones, high energy levels, and a strong immune system. Unsurprisingly, turtles love the taste of this food – because it contains higher levels of fruit and vegetables than other blends, it’s the perfect option for simulating a turtle’s naturally varied diet. Each jar of Zoo Med’s Gourmet Reptisticks is made to a high standard of quality in the USA.
‘Gourmet’ food sticks
Ideal food for juveniles
Occasional treat for adult turtles
Carefully mimics a turtle’s natural diet
Made using natural ingredients: shrimp, mealworms, cranberries, kale, and fish meal
Rich in vitamins and minerals to help maintain overall health
Making their third and final appearance on our list is Fluker’s with these 100% natural freeze dried crickets. Although they’re better known as lizard fodder, crickets make a great addition to aquatic turtle diets. Packed full of protein, and very low in fat, crickets are something of a nutritional powerhouse for a wide range of animals, including lizards, snakes, birds, tropical fish, and even hedgehogs.
They’re also far easier to use and store than live prey, making them a great alternative if you don’t have the facilities to keep live insects about, or your pet just doesn’t like to hunt. Customers say that both reptiles and fish love the tasty criters. Overall, they’re a great protein source, and you won’t need to worry about escaped beasties and that unpleasant cricket smell.
Whole freeze dried crickets
Ideal addition to the diets of turtles, fish, lizards, snakes, birds and even hedgehogs
Easier to store and feed than live crickets
Perfect for animals who enjoy crickets but don’t like to hunt
Last, but not least, comes this fortified turtle food by Zilla. The complete diet has been carefully blended to contain all the proteins, fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals your pet needs to stay happy, healthy, and full of life. Each easily digestible pellet floats in the tank for easy consumption. Designed to be easily digestible, turtles can easily squeeze the nutrition they need from every bite, and enjoy a healthy digestive system.
Fortified with calcium, the food helps maintain healthy bones and shell, promoting the vibrancy and energy levels that mark out a healthy turtle. Owners say that their turtles love the taste of Zilla’s balanced blend, and were impressed with its significant vitamin and mineral content.
Whether you’re looking for sticks or pellets, a complete diet or tasty treat, we’re confident you’ll find the perfect feeding option for your turtle somewhere on our list. To help you make the right feeding decisions for your pet, we’ve put together this brief guide. Below, we run through what to watch out for when selecting a turtle food, how to choose the right type, and what else your aquatic amigo can eat.
What to Look for in the Best Turtle Food
When it’s time to purchase food for your pet turtle, watch out for the following:
Like all omnivores, turtles need to consume protein if they’re to grow, heal, and stay healthy. For this reason, it’s important to look out for a decent protein content – idally, around 40%. You can find a food’s protein content on the label.
Vitamin C and Calcium
Calcium is incredibly important for turtles. Without it, they can suffer from a wide range of health problems – calcium deficiency can result in soft shells, and cause female turtles to become egg-bound. Vitamin C is also important, since it helps maintain a healthy immune system. This allows your turtle to fight off common infections.
In the wild, most turtles consume a fairly broad range of foods: insects, small fish, and plants are all on the menu. A good turtle food will reflect this diet through a combination of natural ingredients. Before you buy turtle food, check out the ingredients. If you’re looking at a good quality food, you should recognise most of the ingredients.
Aquatic turtles usually swim to the surface to consume their meals, so it’s a good idea to select a food that floats. This simple property ensures that the pellets or sticks are easy for your turtle to consume.
Turtle Pellets vs. Turtle Sticks
As you may have noticed from our top 10 list, complete turtle foods come in two different shapes: sticks, and pellets.
Both options contain all the protein, fat, fiber, and other nutrients your turtle needs on a day-to-day basis, so what’s the difference?
In truth, very little – which type of food you select is largely down to the personal preference of you and your turtle. Smaller animals may find pellets easier to eat than sticks, since they’re generally smaller in size. On the other hand, sticks will be easier to see in the tank, helping your pet to work out when it’s feeding time.
If in doubt, try both types of food, and see which your turtle prefers.
Foods That You Should Avoid Feeding Them With
Although many aquatic turtles will eat pretty much anything put in front of them, you should avoid feeding them the following:
Dairy products, such as milk or cheese
Spinach (this vegetable can interfere with calcium absorption)
Onion, garlic, or shallots
Best Turtle Food FAQ:
Q: How Often Should You Feed Pet Turtles?
A: Turtles are small animals, with a relatively slow metabolism. This means that they shouldn’t be fed as much – or as often – as other pets.
Juvenile turtles (aged seven years and younger) should be fed once a day.
Adult turtles (above seven years old) should only be fed every third day.
Whether you’re feeding an adult or juvenile turtle, their portion should be roughly the same size as their head, or however much they can consume in 15 minutes.
Q: What Can Turtles Eat Besides Turtle Food?
A: Because turtles have such varied diets in the wild, they should be fed plenty of different foods when kept as pets.
Pellets provide your turtle with the bulk of protein and fat they need, but it’s a good idea to supplement them with other ingredients. Pellets and other protein sources (shrimp, insects etc.) should make up about 50% of a juvenile’s and 25% of an adult’s diet.
The rest should consist of vegetables and fruits, such as:
Red leaf lettuce
Green leaf lettuce
Green bell peppers
Apple (on occasion)
Our Top Pick
For us, Tetra have managed to formulate the best turtle food on the market right now, with their much-loved ReptoMin recipe. The food consists of floating pellets, which sit at surface level in the tank, helping your pet to replicate their natural hunting and foraging behavior. At the heart of these pellets, fish meal provides all the protein and fat that your shelled friend needs, giving them the energy to swim and play all day long.
Enriched with calcium and vitamin C, Tetra’s formula supports your turtle’s vitality, and help them maintain good health. Even picky pets love the taste of ReptoMin, and this delicious yet nutritious blend makes the perfect basis for any aquatic turtle’s diet.