Can Turtles Eat Fish Food

Can Turtles Eat Fish Food? – Is Fish Food Safe For Pet Turtles?

Have you ever struggled to find turtle food in pet stores and thought about buying fish food instead? After all, fish food is packed with protein and other nutrients that could be helpful for pet turtles.

The question is, can turtles eat fish food? Well, your pet turtles can eat a wide range of fish food, including live, frozen, and freeze-dried varieties. Of course, this can only happen once in a while. However, if the food has artificial additives or colors, your turtles should not eat it. 

But do turtles like fish food in the first place? Read on to find out this and much more.

Can You Feed Fish Food To Your Pet Turtles?


Yes. Most fish food is generally safe for pet turtles to take, provided it does not contain bones. You can feed your turtles different types of fish food, such as fish pellets and freeze-dried fish food. Other types of fish foods your turtles can eat include:

Can You Feed Fish Food To Your Pet Turtles
  • Frozen fish foods like bloodworms and krill
  • Fish flakes and sticks
  • Live foods like earthworms and sludge worms
  • Fish wafers
  • Freeze-dried cubes and shrimp
  • Fish chips

That said, while turtles can eat fish food, some foods are not safe for your reptiles. We are talking about fish foods containing additives designed to enhance the color of the food. Also, any fish food with cartilage, such as whole shrimp, is not safe for your turtles as it may cause choking.

But guess what? You cannot feed fish food to your reptile companions as part of their regular diet. This is because fish food is formulated to meet the nutritional needs of pet fish specifically. In other words, it only contains macronutrients and vitamins necessary to keep pet fish in good health. Most fish foods contain nutrients such as:

  • Protein
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamins B1, B2, B6, and B12
  • Manganese and selenium
  • Zinc and copper
Turtles Eat Fish Food

Unfortunately, you can only find most of these fish food nutrients in negligible amounts. So, giving your pet turtle fish food may not fulfill all their utmost dietary needs. Because of this, you should only feed fish food to your reptiles as an occasional treat.

Do Turtles Like Fish Food?

Yes. Most turtles will not have a problem eating fish food. This is especially common among aquatic pet turtles when feeding your pet fish. Some aquatic pet turtles may actually prefer fish food over their own.

Turtles Like Fish Food

Health Benefits For Turtles Eating Fish Food

Fish food is usually loaded with nutritional goodness to keep fish healthy and happy. Below are some of the benefits of pet turtles eating fish food.

Health Benefits For Turtles Eating Fish Food

Enhances muscle mass and strength

Fish food is rich in protein. Therefore, feeding this kind of food to your baby turtles can help boost their muscle mass and tissue growth. 

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Maintaining a functional immune system

The nutrients in fish food can also aid in disease resistance. This is by boosting the immune system of your turtles.

Source of energy

Fish food can help boost your turtles’ energy levels. This is because the food contains dietary fats, which are a source of energy once broken down into fatty acids.

Turtles Eat Fish Food

Supports a healthy nervous system

Interestingly, fish food is also a good source of many vitamins like B1, B2, B6, and B12. These vitamins help support your turtles’ healthy nervous system and typical blood production.

Regulates blood pressure

Most fish foods contain minerals like phosphorus that aid in reducing high blood pressure. The minerals also help in maintaining your turtles’ kidney and heart health.

How Much Fish Food Should Turtles Eat?

As we have already mentioned, turtles should not eat much fish food. Some experts recommend giving your turtles fish food not more than 1/8 of their diet. Meanwhile, some turtle owners advise feeding your pet turtles fish food about half of what would fill their bellies. 

How Much Fish Food Should Turtles Eat

How Do You Prepare Fish Food For Turtles?

First, look for any bones and cartilages on the fish food and remove them. Then, throw the fish food inside your turtle’s aquarium. The food should be the size of their head.

However, if your turtles are not aquatic, you simply put the fish food in their feeding bowl. You could also mix the dry fish meal with other wet foods to encourage the turtles to eat it.

Can You Feed Fish Food To Baby Turtles? If So, How?

Yes. Fish food can be an excellent snack for your baby turtles. However, you can only feed the food to the young turtles on an occasional basis. Also, if feeding your baby turtles fish chips, wafers, flakes, or sticks, you could break the food into tiny pieces.

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Still not sure whether or not to feed fish food to your turtles? Check out this video of a turtle eating floating fish pellets in its pond.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can Box Turtles Eat Fish Food?

Yes. Fish food is safe for box turtles to eat. You see, the diet of box turtles should comprise about 50% protein. As it turns out, most fish food is rich in protein, making it a great addition to box turtles’ diet. However, box turtles should not eat the food regularly.

Box Turtles Eat Fish Food
2. Can Red-Eared Slider Turtles Eat Fish Food?

Red-eared slider turtles are opportunistic eaters and will eat fish food whether hungry or not. So, if you keep pet fish and red-eared slider turtles in the same aquarium, the turtles will eat the fish food. Unfortunately, while fish food is not harmful, you should not allow your turtles to eat it every often.

3. Can Painted Turtles Eat Fish Food?

Yes, they can, but the food should not be part of their main diet. Generally, painted turtles cannot eat all types of fish food because some contain cartilages that could hurt them. That said, freeze-dried, frozen fish foods, fish flakes, and fish sticks are safe for your painted turtles.  

Painted Turtles Eat Fish Food


Pet turtles can eat a lot of things. However, some items like fish food don’t meet turtles’ dietary needs despite being packed with several macro-nutrients. Because of this, you can only feed fish food to your turtles once or twice a week as a snack. The important thing is you ensure the food is free of artificial colors or additives.

Do you want to know if turtles eat peaches or raspberries? Read our articles about it to learn more.

Can Turtles Eat Fish Food

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