Can A Turtle Eat Fish Food?


There are circumstances when Turtle food isn’t available, or fish food is what’s already in the tank and your Turtle ate it. It’s important to know if this will harm your pet or not. Let’s find out together in today’s discussion.

Can You Feed Turtles Fish Food?

Yes, it’s safe for Turtles to eat fish food once in a while as long as it is not often and doesn’t mess with their diet. Fish food doesn’t have all the nutrients Turtles need so don’t them get full with it often. Occasional bites of fish food won’t harm them.

One of the things that make it easier to take care of Turtles is their diverse diet. This is an advantage because you won’t have to worry if you have a Turtle tank with fish in it. It can take a bite or two and it won’t get sick.

But we all know that fish food is not what Turtles really eat. Although fish food is not toxic to Turtles, they still have to stick to their own diet to stay healthy.

Fish and Turtles are two different species. Fish food is formulated for a fish’s specific needs, and Turtle food has the nutrients a reptile needs. Fish food can be filling for a Turtle, but it doesn’t satisfy its nutritional needs.

How Long Can A Turtle Go Without Food?

Turtles don’t eat every day in the wild. They’re used to not eating for some time until they can find sustenance.

An adult Turtle can go without food for 4 months while it hibernates. If not in hibernation, a Turtle can last weeks without eating. On the other hand, a baby Turtle 6 months old or younger is growing quickly and therefore needs a lot of nutrition (especially protein) in its diet. So it needs to eat at least once a day (the normal frequency is twice a day).

How long can a Turtle go without food?
Can a Turtle Eat Fish Food?

Even pet Turtles aren’t advised to eat daily so they won’t suffer from overfeeding. Overfeeding is a problem because it may lead to conditions like obesity or fatty liver which can trigger illnesses. The right feeding frequency is a maximum of 5 days a week for mature Turtles.

It’s completely different when it comes to water. Turtles cannot go without contact with water for 8 to 12 hours or they won’t be able to regulate their temperatures. Most species also won’t be able to eat, drink, or pass waste as they all do these in water.

What Is The Healthiest Food For Turtles?

As a pet owner, your primary aim should be to keep your Turtle in tiptop shape. You won’t achieve this by giving them food that’s not designed for them.

Ideally, Turtles should be fed a balanced diet of commercial Turtle food, protein-rich food, and vegetables. Omnivorous Turtles should have more vegetables while carnivorous Turtles should have more protein. You can also add a reptile vitamin and mineral supplement containing calcium and Vitamin A.

Turtles need calcium not just for their bones but for their shells. Along with this, the UVB light that you provide for its basking generates Vitamin D3 in its body. This vitamin allows them to absorb this calcium.

Vitamin A also helps with a Turtle’s bone formation and growth. In addition, it helps with their skin, ducts, energy, and vision.

So your meal plan should consist of Turtle pellets as a staple food. Then you can alternate once a week with live food and vegetables. Adult Turtles should be fed every 2 to 3 days.

What Foods Are Bad For Turtles?

Wait a minute! Don’t just give your Turtle anything. Some foods are toxic to them.

Never give your Turtle food meant for humans, particularly processed ones like sausages, hotdogs, or canned meat. Don’t give them raw meat, bread, pasta, chocolate, candies, cheese, or milk. They’re also allergic to plants high in oxalates like avocados, begonias, calla lilies, asparagus fern, daffodils, or carnations.

Some flowers are okay, like roses, hibiscus, geraniums, and petunias. Turtles are attracted to colorful food.

Note also that tomatoes are great for Turtles, but not when they’re green or unripe. Any part of the tomato tree is also off-limits to Turtles or they might get an allergic reaction to it.

When you settle on a specific Turtle species, do extensive research on its specific diet. Even if they’re all Turtles, there are slight differences in habits and food preferences.

What Can You Feed Turtles If You Run Out Of Food?

You won’t have to starve your Turtles if you don’t have their special food. There is easily accessible food you can give them that you can find at the local pet store or at home.

Alternatives to commercial Turtle food include:

  • protein-rich food like bloodworms, mealworms, shrimp, and crickets (especially for carnivorous Turtles)
  • a bit of “human” food like cooked chicken or turkey
  • vegetables like carrots, cucumbers, bell pepper, zucchini, lettuce, squash, and collard greens (especially for omnivorous species)
  • some fruits like bananas, carrots, watermelon, peaches, or apples
What is the healthiest food for Turtles?
What is the healthiest food for Turtles?

Commercial Turtle food packs the nutrition found in these types of food into their pellets, that’s why those are healthy. Therefore, you can substitute these natural foods if you run out of specialty Turtle food. You might even find this a way to save on costs as you may already have some of these at home.

As we mentioned, fish food can be given to Turtles but not as a complete substitute. You don’t want your Turtle to miss out on its required nutrients so we advise that you stick with the right diet for it.

Can Turtles Eat Betta Fish Food?

One of the specific fish food easily available in pet stores is Betta food. This is because a lot of people  have Bettas in their aquariums nowadays.

Betta fish food has a high protein content because this particular fish is carnivorous. Although a Turtle may take a bite if you offer it, it’s not a good substitute for Turtle-specific food.

Similar to any other fish food, Betta fish won’t make a Turtle sick unless you make it its staple diet. Most Turtles are omnivorous and can’t keep up with this kind of food or they will develop deficiencies in necessary nutrition.

My Turtle Is Hungry

Healthy Turtles have a healthy appetite. They most likely won’t refuse fish food if they’re offered it. It may satisfy their hunger, but remember that it’s not what they need.

If your Turtle is hungry, it’s your obligation as the pet owner to provide it with the right kind of reptile food. Fish food might sound tempting as it’s a lot cheaper, but bringing your Turtle to the vet because it’s sick will cost tons more!

If you’re researching because you’re in the early stages of deciding whether you want a Turtle or not, you have to understand all of its needs and be ready to provide them. It’s a real responsibility that will cut into your time and resources much more than fish do because Turtles are considered exotic pets. But if keeping a Turtle makes your heart full (just like it does ours), it’s well worth your investment.

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