As a turtle owner, one of the things that you must get right is your turtle’s diet. Having the right diet for your pet ensures proper growth and that your turtles are not susceptible to illnesses.
Having a healthy turtle means fewer visits to the vet, thus less spending on your turtle’s health. Knowing what to feed your turtle and at what age is also important since the turtle’s dietary needs keep changing with age.
When they are young, their diet should mainly compose of proteins, and as they get older, you should gradually decrease the portions of protein in their meals.
This way of feeding works well with omnivores. As you reduce the protein proportions, you need to increase the amount of plant matter you are feeding your turtle to maintain the same feeding level.
It is important to ensure that you observe the feeding patterns as this will affect how well your pet turtles develop. Be careful about how you feed them, as this will definitely affect their development. If you overfeed your pet turtles, they may start developing complications like overgrown shells that may start cracking.
Luckily, some manufacturers have worked to ensure that there are foods that you can buy and feed your turtles to achieve these results.
One good thing about the best turtle commercial foods is that they are well prepared to offer a balanced diet depending on the age and the turtle species. All you need is to identify the age and species of your turtles correctly.
Best Commercial Turtle Food
The long-term well-being of your turtle will partly depend on the food you feed it with. Commercial foods make an excellent choice to supplement raw foods, and both are equally good in supporting the nutritional needs of your pet turtle.
Commercial turtle foods come in the form of pellets, sticks, and chunks with special formulations for varying turtle needs.
Different turtle species have different feeding needs; some are omnivorous, others are carnivores, and others are herbivorous.
In addition, the turtle’s age also determines their diet as some species eat more meat when juvenile but turn into eating more plants as they mature. Ultimately, you need to identify the age of your pet turtle before proceeding to buy the food.
Buyer’s Guide – Best Commercial Turtle Foods
The market is full of commercial turtle foods, and choosing the best can be challenging, especially for new turtle owners. Here are essential factors to consider when buying commercial pet turtle foods.
1. Protein Levels
Proteins are one of the most vital nutrients for turtles. You need to include a variety of protein sources in the diet. If you have a juvenile turtle, ensure that the protein content in the commercial foods you buy is high. Baby turtles need to consume plenty of proteins because of their high growth needs.
2. Natural Ingredients
The best commercial turtle foods should contain natural ingredients such as fruits, fish, vegetables, and insects.
These ingredients provide the turtle with high-quality and safe nutrients. In addition, the food should not have additives such as flavoring and color.
3. Calcium Levels
Calcium is vital for the growth of the turtle as well as for the health of its shell. Sufficient Calcium ensures that your pet turtle has a hard, strong shell.
As such, the commercial food you choose for the turtle should have decent calcium levels. You may also choose to get calcium supplements to supplement your pet’s commercial and raw foods.
4. Balanced Diet
The best commercial turtle food should consist of a balanced diet at the bare minimum. Such foods will provide your pet with the variety of nutrients they need to thrive.
Now that we know what to consider in the best commercial turtle foods, let’s look at the best commercial turtle foods you can find today.
5. Pellets vs. Sticks
Commercial turtle foods often come in either pellets or sticks. Both options contain fiber, proteins, fats, and other nutrients your pet turtle needs.
The choice depends on your preference, but pellets are often easier for younger pet turtles in most cases. On the other hand, sticks are easier to spot in the aquarium, making feeding easy for your turtle.
If unsure, try both sticks and pellets and see what your pet turtle prefers. Some sticks and pellets also disintegrate faster, which makes the tank messier; pay attention to this too.
1. Zoo Med Natural Aquatic Turtle Food
Zoo Med is a famous brand in the pet turtle industry; from making some of the best substrates to turtle ramps, this brand makes one of the best commercial turtle foods, Zoo Med natural aquatic turtle food.
It comes in the form of pellets and features fresh, pure, and natural ingredients. It is one of the most nutritious commercial turtle foods for the money. Most pet turtle owners prefer this food because it does not have harmful chemical additives making it safe.
Zoo Med natural aquatic turtle food comes in a 54-ounce pack for mature turtles. However, you can also get it in a 13-ounce package ideal for hatchlings or a 30-ounce one suitable for growing turtles.
It is worth noting that these different sizes have varying nutritional content to meet the various turtle’s growth needs at different stages.
In terms of digestion, the Zoo Med Natural Aquatic turtle food is easy for the turtle to digest.
- Features natural ingredients
- Easily digestible
- It comes in different packaging for different nutritional needs of the turtles
- Floats in water and makes ingestion easy
- It makes the tank messy
2. Tetra ReptoMin Floating Sticks for Aquatic Turtles
If you are shopping for the best aquatic turtle food sticks, then this pack by Tetra is what you need. It is not only suitable for pet turtles but also other reptiles and amphibians.
These sticks float, making it easy for your turtle to eat. In the wild, aquatic turtles at times rise to the water surface to feed, which these commercial turtle food sticks imitate.
They are rich in proteins and Calcium, and their scientific formulation makes them great for your pet turtle. The Tetra ReptoMin floating sticks also contain Vitamin C, boosting the turtles’ immune system.
In addition, it is easy for turtles to digest and helps maintain a healthy digestive tract for your turtle. A pack of these commercial turtle foods contains fish and other natural ingredients. With such quality content, this is undoubtedly one of the best turtle commercial foods to look for.
- Made from natural Ingredients
- Easy to digest
- Boost the turtle’s digestive tract and immune system
- It has a high protein content
- A bit pricey
3. Fluker’s Aquatic Turtle Food
Fluker’s aquatic turtle food is another excellent choice for your turtles. The food is a complete diet for freshwater turtles, including the red-eared slider and map turtles.
Your turtles will benefit from an optimally balanced diet that ensures healthy growth, vibrant color, and lively behavior. Its key ingredients are poultry, fish meal, and corn.
The diet is also rich in Calcium, ensuring that your turtle has a healthy and hard shell. Flukers aquatic turtle diet is ideal for both adult and juvenile turtles.
Feed the juveniles with this food at least once a day and five times a week, while adult turtles should feed at least three times every week.
This diet by Fluker’s is in the form of pellets that float, making it easier for your turtles to eat. After some time, they will sink to the bottom, and your pet turtles will have to swim to the bottom of the pool to eat, which encourages them to remain active.
- It is rich in proteins, vitamins, and minerals
- Encourages proper growth in your turtles
- The pellets do float for easy feeding.
- It blends high-quality ingredients for proper growth.
- The diet is not suitable for terrestrial turtles
4. Rep-Cal Maintenance Box Turtle Formula Food fruit
Box turtles are one of the most kept terrestrial pet turtles, and this formula is designed specifically for them. Box turtle’s diet contains more plant matter than most aquatic turtles. They will also eat a lot of insects as a protein source.
The Rep-Cal diet contains a variety of dried fruits that make it appealing to your box turtle’s taste. It is in the form of pellets, and the main ingredients are fruits, vegetables, and insects.
In terms of analysis, the rep-cal maintenance diet is 52.27% carbs and 31.82% protein which ensures a balanced diet for your box turtles. The wide variety of fruits in this formulation appeals to the turtle’s taste while providing it with the necessary nutritional requirements.
- Has essential nutrients for a balanced diet
- Suitable to box turtles’ diets
- Formulated for growth
- Appeals to the turtle’s taste
- High in fruit content resulting in dense simple sugars
5. TetraFauna ReptoTreat Suprema Turtle Food Sticks
Yet another turtle food by Tetra, this Tetra ReptoTreat is a highly rated commercial turtle food among pet turtle owners. It features a well-balanced amount of vital nutrients for the turtle’s growth and survival needs.
Tetra ReptoFauna Suprema turtle sticks contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are vital in keeping the turtle healthy. It also comes in a natural color enhancer, making the turtle’s colored parts appear more colorful.
It is also rich in krill and river shrimp which are vital for the growth of your turtle. Krill is high in lipids which boost the turtle’s growth. However, these turtle food sticks should be given to the pet in moderation; they can be hard to digest if the turtle ingests them in large amounts.
- Quite versatile
- High in Omega- 3
- Feature a natural color enhancer
- Rich in lipids
- Not easy to digest when consumed in large amounts
6. Wardley Turtle Clear Water Odor Reducing Probiotic Food Sticks
These food sticks contain calcium enrichment which promotes shell growth and healing. In addition, they also have probiotics that enhance the digestive system of your turtle.
Vitamin C is also a great component of these Wardley food sticks and goes a long way in boosting your pet turtles’ immunity. Turtles take long to heal, and thus good immunity is vital in preventing illnesses and infections.
Wardley odor-reducing probiotic food sticks have no artificial colorings thus do not produce an odor and do not stain the tank. Its odor-reducing feature comes in handy as turtle tanks start to stink if leftovers and other waste materials accumulate in the tank.
The ingredients of these sticks are highly digestible, thanks to the fish meal component. It is one of the best turtle foods for red-eared sliders and other turtles. Also, it is ideal for all sizes of turtles.
- Contains Vitamin C, probiotics and Calcium
- Stain-resistant to protect your tank
- Boost the turtle’s immunity
- It is odor reducing
- It can be messy as they quickly disintegrate
7. Fluker’s Buffet Blend Aquatic Turtle Food
Yet another turtle food by Fluker’s, a well-known brand producing turtles and other exotic pet products, we have the Buffet Blend Aquatic formulation turtle food.
It comes in a combination of mealworms and freeze-dried crayfish, which is close to the diet of most turtle species in the wild. Because of the worms, you can also use these pellets as a treat for your turtle. It also has river shrimp as an ingredient. These pellets are rich in vitamins and minerals, giving your turtle a balanced diet.
The buffet blend pellets float in water, making it easy for your turtles to get them. However, they disintegrate within 15 – 20 minutes, upon which they settle at the base of the tank. As such, you should only give your turtle what they can eat within this time; else the tank will get messy.
- Easily digestible
- Ideal vitamins and fat content
- High levels of proteins
- Nutritional value is ideal for juveniles
- Pellet sizes may not be ideal for some turtles
8. Zoo Med Gourmet Reptisticks Floating Turtle Food
Zoo Med is a well-known brand with a long history of providing pet reptiles and amphibians products. It is no wonder that our next best commercial turtle food is their Gourmet reptisticks floating aquatic turtle food.
These turtle foods contain shrimp, kale, and fish as the main ingredients. It also has strawberries which are what the turtles eat in the wild. The food helps stimulate your turtles’ levels of activity. The high protein levels make it ideal for use as a treat. Avoid giving too much food to the turtle as the high protein levels can cause obesity.
You can get this pack in 4.5 ounces or in a bigger pack of 8.5 ounces. It is suitable for turtles whose shell length is between 2 and 6 inches. The lack of artificial colors and flavors makes it a good choice for your pet turtle. Vitamin and minerals are added to improve the nutritional value of the food.
- Features added vitamins and minerals
- It comes with no artificial colors and flavors
- High in proteins
- It is ideal for growing turtles
- It might not be suitable for mature turtles
9. Hikari Saki Turtle Food
These food sticks with high protein content are ideal for most turtle species. Haki Saki turtle food sticks have all the nutrients you need to keep the turtle thriving. It also has Calcium that aids the turtle’s shell and bone development and strengthening.
In addition, the food is odor eliminating, helping it address a challenge that most turtle owners face with their aquariums. The action also helps in clearing water challenges that come with feeding the turtles since aquatic species eat in the water.
Haki Saki turtle sticks have probiotics that support the turtles’ intestines. Further, the probiotics help decompose the turtle’s waste, which helps improve the quality of water in the tank.
- Contains probiotics
- Has Calcium for bone and shell growth
- It is suitable for most aquatic turtles
- Eliminates odor and improves water quality
- At times, it comes in the wrong quantity packaging
10. Zilla Reptile Munchies Fruit Mix
Zilla Reptile Food Munchies Fruit Mix for Pet Iguanas, Skinks, Tegus, Box Turtles, Tortoises & Hermit Crabs, 2.5 Ounce
$12.99 in stock
Zilla Reptile provides a nutritious pack in this munchies mix. It is rich in proteins, fiber, and moisture. Thanks to the mix’s about 11% moisture content; your turtle remains rehydrated.
The package comes in sealable packaging, making it pretty convenient. It features a variety of mixed fruits, which are all freeze-dried. These fruits include apples, bananas, strawberries, mangoes, peaches, pears, and blueberries. All these ingredients are natural.
In addition, Zilla has an omnivore alternative to this fruit mix. You can also get the vegetable packaging to provide your turtle with a wide diet variety.
- Features a reusable packaging
- Provides a wide variety of nutrients
- Suitable for box turtles
- All ingredients are natural
- A bit expensive
Best Aquatic Turtle Food
Aquatic turtles species spend a large part of their lives in the water. Some may also be semi-aquatic, meaning they have adaptations for land and water-dwelling. As with all other reptiles, the diet of aquatic turtles plays a significant role in their growth and overall quality of life.
These turtles are primarily carnivorous, meaning they eat more meat than plants. In the wild, their diet mainly comprises insects, especially when they are babies. It is because young turtles need plenty of proteins, among other nutrients, to grow and effectively develop.
You may feed your turtle with raw or commercial sources of food. Both are okay as long as they meet the nutritional needs of the turtle.
Some of the best commercial foods for aquatic turtles we have covered in the above review include Zoo Med Natural Aquatic turtle pellets, Fluker’s aquatic turtle food, and the Wardley turtle clear water odor-reducing turtle food.
It is also important to give your turtle vegetables and plants. They make a significant part of mature turtles’ diet. The best vegetables and plants to give your aquatic pet turtle are lettuce and anacharis.
Lettuce is rich in fiber, nutritious, and also affordable. It is also an easy to feed meal to the turtle as you only need to drop some in the tank. Romaine and red-leaf lettuce are some of the best for aquatic turtles. However, it would be best to avoid iceberg lettuce as it mainly comprises water and has low nutritional value for the turtle.
On the other hand, anacharis, waterweed, is also an ideal plant to feed the turtle. They can easily grow in the tank, making them a source of food for the turtle and making the tank look more natural.
Buyer’s Guide: Best Aquatic Turtle Food
The best food for aquatic turtles should meet the following criteria.
1. Appropriate Protein Levels
The amount of proteins to feed your aquatic turtle depends on their age. For juveniles, their diet should have three-quarters protein content. As they mature, the protein needs of the turtle reduce, and so should you reduce the amount you feed them.
Little proteins may cause deficiency, while too much may give the turtle abnormal growth, such as making the turtle obese or causing illnesses like shell pyramiding. The best aquatic turtle food adheres to the appropriate protein content for the specific growth phase of the turtle.
2. High Calcium
High Calcium is vital for all aquatic turtles. Since turtles have a shell that forms a significant portion of their body, they need high quantities of Calcium to ensure that it remains healthy and grows and develops normally. In addition, adequate Calcium promotes strong bones in your turtles.
3. Low Phosphorous
Aquatic turtle foods need to be low in phosphorous for juvenile and mature turtles. High phosphorous content cancels out the Calcium the turtles feed on, giving them a weak shell and bones.
Since aquatic turtles feed in the water, it is also important that the food does not get soggy in water, making the tank messy. A messy tank requires more frequent cleaning.
4. Floating Sticks or Pellets
Aquatic turtles feed in the water. They swim to the surface to eat, and thus the best aquatic turtle food should float to make it easy for the turtle to eat.
Foods to Avoid Feeding Aquatic Turtles
Now that we know what is right to feed our aquatic turtles and what to look for in the best aquatic turtle foods, let us look at what to avoid feeding our beloved pets. It is an equally important aspect because some of these foods can undo the benefits of giving the turtle an appropriate diet.
1. Cured and Processed Meats
Aquatic turtles are meat-eaters, but smoked, fried, or deli meat is harmful to the reptile.
Most aquatic turtles do not like fruits. Sugary and citrus fruits are not friendly to the turtles’ digestive tract and may cause your turtle digestive problems or acidity.
3. Wild Animals
Animals such as small fish, insects, earthworms, and crickets make a good source of proteins for the turtle. However, you should not collect them from the wild and feed the turtle. They may injure or kill your beloved pet turtle.
What Do Land Turtles Eat?
Land turtles are known as tortoises. These reptiles are largely herbivorous, but some occasionally feed on meat such as insects and worms. In addition, they are some of the longest living reptiles, which some people attribute to their plant-based diet.
What land turtles eat in the wild depends on where they live. Land turtles eat succulents, cacti, flowers, and dessert grasses in the desert. In the forest, the tortoise’s diet feed based on the season.
They mainly feed on grass, succulents, shrubs, and herbs during wet seasons. On the other hand, they feed on rabbit feces and dry plant materials when the dry season reaches.
If you have a pet tortoise, ensure that 80% of its diet comprises plant material. Examples of dark green matter to include in its diet include collard greens, kohlrabi, turnip greens, dandelion, green beans, and bell peppers. Other things such as flowers, grass, and hay are also an essential part of the turtle’s diet.
Since land turtles have a dry habitat, ensure to provide them with fresh drinking water. It helps ease their digestion and keeps them well hydrated.
Best Turtle Food For Red-Eared Slider
Red-eared sliders are omnivorous; they feed on both plants and meat. Further, they are also voracious eaters. They feed on more animal protein as hatchlings and become omnivorous as they mature. A protein source should make up about two-thirds of a juvenile red-eared slider’s diet and about half for the mature ones.
In captivity, the best foods for red-eared sliders include raw foods such as various vertebrates and invertebrates and commercial foods or fish pellets.
For the carnivorous part of their diet, you can purchase live feeder fish from pet stores to meet the protein need of your red-eared slider. Depending on the size of the red-eared slider, you can feed it with guppies or minnows.
Live fish gives your turtle an exercise challenge and the mental stimulation of hunting for the fish in the aquarium. It is also a great source of Calcium. Goldfish is not ideal as it can be poisonous to the turtle.
Amphibians such as frogs and tadpoles are also excellent foods for a pet turtle. Grasshoppers, wax worms, beetles, moths, crickets, slugs, mealworms, and other insects are also suitable to feed a red-eared turtle.
Avoid getting any of these proteins from the wild because they may contain parasites and worms that may make your turtle sick.
The plant portion of a red-eared slider diet should mainly comprise dark leafy greens such as carrot tops, romaine lettuce, kale, parsley, clover, dandelion greens, Swiss chard, endive, and mustard greens. As with the other aquatic turtles, avoid iceberg lettuce.
Red-eared sliders are also attracted to red colors. Foods such as red bell pepper, rich in vitamin-A, are also suitable. Red-eared sliders get bored eating the same thing; alternate these foods in the turtle’s diet.
As with all aquatic turtles, red-eared sliders eat inside water, and thus, you should provide the reptile with clean water or provide a separate feeding aquarium. Doing so reduces the mess from leftovers.
Frequently Asked Questions on Best Turtle Foods
How Often Should I Feed My Turtle?
Turtles have a slow metabolism and should; therefore, you should not feed them as often as other pets such as cats and dogs. If you have a juvenile pet turtle, feed once a day and for adult turtles, feed them every 2 – 3 days. The amount of food should be the size of its head or what the turtle can eat within 15 minutes.
What Can I Feed My Turtles With Other Than Food?
Pellets give the turtle a significant quantity of the proteins and fats they need. Even so, you can supplement them with vegetables and fruits to ensure that the turtle receives an optimal nutritional content.
How Long Can Turtles Survive Without Food?
A turtle will not die if it goes a couple of days without food. However, a baby turtle should not be left for a day without food, especially if it is below six months old. An adult turtle can survive a few months without food, but this puts the turtle at the risk of contracting illnesses. If you will be away and unable to feed your turtle as per its schedule, find a caretaker for the pet.