Can Turtles Eat Fish Food?

Turtles are not a particularly common pet. This means that it can prove more difficult to find turtle food as opposed to other pet food like fish food or dog food. Naturally, this begs the question, can turtles eat fish food?

Yes, turtles can eat fish food. However, fish food does not meet the complex nutritional needs of a turtle, so you should not exclusively feed your turtles fish food.

Fortunately, turtles have a fairly broad diet and can eat a lot of things you can find at your local grocery store. This article will cover why you can’t simply feed a turtle fish food forever. We will also cover the ideal turtle diet.

Why You Can’t Feed a Turtle Fish Food?

As we mentioned, you can feed a turtle fish food on occasion. But you should not rely on feeding a turtle fish food for too long.

The reasons are actually quite simple.

For one, turtles have vastly different nutritional needs than a fish. Fish food tends to have more protein and meat based filler in it than turtle food. And this is bad because turtles are omnivores that prefer eating vegetables.

The other reason is more practical – turtles eat more food than most fish other than goldfish. A turtle can quickly go through a pack of fish pellets. Additionally, the fish food won’t really fill up your turtle, so it will end up eating a lot of fish food.

It would get quite annoying (and expensive) if you had to go out and buy more fish food for your turtle every week. This is why you should work to feed your turtle an ideal diet, which we will cover in the next section.

Staples Of A Turtle Diet

Turtles just have a hungry look on their face. Something about them makes people want to feed them.

The turtles are happy to eat most food that you put in front of their face. This is because turtles are omnivores – they must eat meat and vegetables to maintain a healthy diet. Here are some of the stapes of a healthy turtle diet.


Remember, turtles are omnivores, which means they need protein from animal sources. Turtles typically get their protein from worms, shrimp, crickets, locusts, snails, and other smaller insects.

You can also feed aquatic turtles small baitfish like minnows or greenbacks. Some turtle owners even put feeder goldfish or feeder guppies to give the turtles something to chase around the tank.

It is also possible possible to feed a turtle chicken meat or beef, but it’s not really recommended because it can become a mess in the terrarium if the turtle does not finish it all.

All the protein sources for your turtle can be found at your local pet store, your yard, or reptile stores.

As for how much protein to feed a turtle, try to have about 50% of your turtle’s diet as protein. Up the amount of protein you feed growing turtles to 75% of their diet. Don’t feed your turtle too much protein or else it can get sick.

Note: Try to avoid feeding your turtle oily fish or fish with high fat content because turtles do not need that much fat in their diet.

Fruits and Vegetables

Vegetables should make up a decent amount of your turtle’s diet. Turtles can eat a lot of vegetables.

Our recommendation is to feed your turtles darker leafy greens like spinach, kale, collard greens, bok choy, cabbage, carrots, okra, squash, and other vegetables like that.

Your turtle will like those vegetables. The added benefit is you can leave the vegetables in the tank for a few days for the turtle to graze.

Fruit is another popular food people like to feed their turtle. It’s not really recommended in large amounts, though. Fruits simply have too much sugar for a turtle to eat regularly.

That said, you can still feed your turtle some fruit like apples and bananas on occasion. Just make sure to cut into bite sized pieces so the turtle can easily eat it.

Store Bought Turtle Food

We mentioned store bought turtle food in the intro. Yes, it does exist. It typically comes in the form of turtle pellets and can be found on Amazon, reptile stores, and most pet stores.

You probably won’t find it the average retailer like Wal-Mart.

With that said, it’s not particularly difficult to feed a turtle a natural diet of insects and some vegetables you get from the grocery store. A natural diet is also much better for a turtle, which is why we recommend it.

4 Foods To Not Feed Your Turtle

Here are four foods that you should not feed your turtle under any circumstances. This food isn’t toxic to turtles.

It will simply give your turtle digestive problems and make them unhappy.


All reptiles are lactose intolerant. Turtles are a reptile.

Therefore, turtles cannot eat any dairy. This means no milk or cheese for your turtle.

If your turtle does eat dairy, then it will usually be ok. Just expect an upset stomach and maybe a little bit of a mess in your tank when the turtle defecates. Still, just avoid feeding your turtle dairy.

Processed Meat

Processed meat is another no-no for turtles. The protein is good for the turtles. The problem with processed meat is that it contains a lot of other junk in it that can have a negative effect on your turtle’s digestive system.

Processed meat includes cold cuts, hamburgers, and sausages.

Avoid it unless absolutely necessary, and it shouldn’t ever be necessary because turtles can go a few days without protein.

Processed Sugar

Both humans and turtles should avoid processed sugar. It won’t make your turtle fat, but it will give your turtle an upset stomach and other digestive problems.

Fruit, as mentioned earlier, is perfectly fine for a turtle in moderation. Processed sugar, however, is not ok for a turtle.

That means no candy, cake, caramel apples, or other junk food for your turtle.

Closing Thoughts

Turtles are not a difficult animal to feed. They eat most natural food and generally do a good job regulating their own diet. We know it can be difficult to find turtle pellets, which is why we included a list of food that you can feed your turtle.

As for feeding your turtle fish food, you can do it, but don’t make a habit out of feeding your turtle goldfish pellets. It has too much protein and not enough vegetable matter in it for a turtle!

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