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Can Turtles Eat Fish Food? What You Need to Know

western painted turtle

Turtles eat a diverse quantity of food. They have similar dietary requirements to other aquatic species which can make feeding them in captivity easy. Many turtle owners keep their turtles with other fish, and it is quite common for them to eat the fish’s food. Since turtles are not common pets, it may be hard to find a portion of good commercial food that is available to you. Fish food is relatively cheap and available in nearly every pet store which can lead to turtle owners using this as food for their turtles.

Fish food is safe for turtles to eat, but it should not be part of their main diet. Fish food is not toxic to turtles and you do not have to fear if your turtle does end up eating a few bites worth.


Is Fish Food Safe for Turtles?

Yes! Fish foods in general are safe for turtles. However, even if it is not harmful to them to eat, it is not good for them. This is because turtles have different dietary requirements to fish. Most brands of fish food are completely safe for turtles and there are very few ingredients that could cause harm. Some foods can become toxic over time if they are fed frequently, so this should be avoided.

Fish food does not fulfill a turtle’s nutritional requirements and you should stick to feeding them an exclusive turtle diet depending on the species you keep. It is not sustainable as a sole diet because it does not provide your turtle with the right nutrients and that will cause multiple health issues for them.

eastern box turtle in the wild
Image Credit: JamesDeMers, Pixabay

How Often Can You Feed Fish Food to Turtles?

If you do plan to feed your turtle fish food as a treat, or if you are worried that your turtle is eating too much of the food that you have fed to your fish then it is best to keep it at a minimum. You do not want to feed your turtle too much fish food as it can mess with their natural diet.

It is okay if your turtle eats a few morsels of fish food every week, but it should be avoided if possible.

If you want to feed certain fish foods as a treat for your turtle, they should get a few pellets or flakes once a week. If you want to keep it safe, then you can feed them fish food every second week. Make sure that it does not mess with their diet as feeding them too much fish food can cause them to not want to eat much of their diet.


Types of Fish Foods Safe for Turtles

Ensuring that the fish food you want to feed your turtle is safe for them is important. There are very few fish foods recommended for turtles, but here is a list of foods that are not harmful to turtles:

terrapin turtle having sun bath
Image Credit: scuba design, Shutterstock


Turtle Nutrition Info

Turtles are omnivores and thrive on a diet of both meat-based and plant matter. Animal-based foods can include commercial turtle pellets, sardines, shrimp, and worms. They should also eat human foods in captivity to ensure that they are receiving all their necessary vitamins and minerals.

These foods can be cooked chicken or turkey. They also enjoy eating live prey like krill, crickets, moths, and feeder fish like goldfish. They should eat one cup of food every second which should increase or decrease depending on how much food your turtle leaves over. A typical pet turtles’ diet should be a mixture of turtle pellets, live foods, and freeze-dried foods.

Turtles are easy to feed, and their diet should be varied and balanced with the help of an aquatic veterinarian.

Some good commercial turtle foods are:

Why Does Your Turtle Eat Your Fish’s Food?

Turtles look as if they are always hungry, which causes them to search for any morsel of food available in the aquarium. They are opportunistic eaters and if they are hungry, they will seek out the fish’s food.

Your turtle may not know the difference between their foods, and food that is specifically given to the fish in the same tank. Turtles will eat anything that they deem as a tasty source of food, even if it is not meant for them.

close up photo of a turtle eating a banana
Image Credit: Marina Scalon, Shutterstock



Now you know that fish food can be safe for turtles! Although, not as an only diet. Your turtle can remain healthy eating small portions of fish food infrequently along with a healthy diet formulated for turtles, then your turtle will remain healthy and happy.

We hope that this article has given you the answers you need on the topic!

Looking for more advice on what turtles can eat? Check out:

Featured Image Credit: Stephen Bonk, Shutterstock

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