Best Food for Red Eared Slider Reviewed

Red-eared sliders have voracious eating habits. In their wild habitat, they can eat almost anything from seaweed to little shrimp. Guess we can’t blame poor Leo for his love of food. But that isn’t the case when it comes to pet red-eared sliders. 

Due to the lack of movement and heat, red-eared sliders have a small and selective appetite. They eat certain things and stop eating when they are brumating. This is why it becomes important to help them get essential nutrients and keep them in good health all the time. 
This nutritional need can be fulfilled by turtle foods that are specifically tailored for red-eared sliders. Hence, we have selected some of the best turtle foods for red-eared sliders to save you from the hassle of going to your local pet store. 

Best Foods for Red-Eared Sliders: 

Our picks consist of foods that are fortified with the essential nutrients and are the best online. They vary in price, quality, and ingredients that make them optimal for feeding all sizes of turtles. 

Wardley Premium Amphibian and Reptile Sticks:

The right turtle food not only feeds your turtle but also provides it with the essential vitamins and minerals that can help it grow well. Therefore, Wardley Premium Amphibian and Reptile Sticks take the top spot on our list as it is packed with nutritional benefits that formulate faster and healthier growth in turtles. 

  • Great for all aquatic reptiles and amphibians
  • Contains calcium and vitamin C
  • No harmful colors
  • Made with the finest ingredients
  • Leaves a lot of residues

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It is enriched with vitamin C and calcium that makes the shell stronger. The floating stick formula makes it ideal for turtles to foster their instincts. It does not contain any artificial ingredients that could take a toll on your turtle’s health. 
Wardley Premium Amphibian and Reptile Sticks are made using premium ingredients such as Fish Meal, Ground Corn, Poultry By-Product Meal, Dehulled Soybean Meal, Corn Gluten Meal, Wheat Middlings, Fish Oil.

If you have other amphibians such as newts or frogs, you can feed them the sticks as a meal or a snack. Due to its high nutritional value, you can feed it to your turtles many times in a day.
Key Features: 

  • Can be fed several times daily
  • Suitable for turtles of all ages
  • Boosts immunity system 

Zoo Med Natural Aquatic Turtle Food:

Zoo Med has a wide range of products that focus on the well being of reptiles. The company’s Natural Aquatic Turtle Food is an optimal nourishment alternative that can help your turtle fulfill its dietary needs.

  • Floating food pellets
  • Packed with vitamins and minerals
  • Great substitute for simple foods
  • Creates a mess in the tank

The Zoo Med Aquatic Turtle Food is designed to suit different turtles of different ages such as Hatchlings, Maintenance, and Growth. They are created using different formulas and help the turtles get the right amount of nutrition in different stages of life. 
Since hatchlings need a lot of proteins in their growing stage, the hatchlings pack is created by mixing ingredients that offer a high protein amount. Whereas, the maintenance and growth packs help satisfy the needs of the adult and mature turtles. 
The color of the pellets makes it easier for the turtles to find them floating on the surface of the water. It contains all-natural ingredients that are easy to digest. You can feed the Zoo Med Natural Aquatic Turtle food to your turtle more frequently in a day. 
Key Features: 

  • Comes with a different formula for all ages
  • Easy to chew and digest pellets 
  • Made from all-natural ingredients

Exo Terra Adult Aquatic Turtle Food:

It is one of the few turtle foods that are known for its unique composition and features. Turtles enjoy feeding on small fishes like shrimps and krills, which is why the Exo Terra Adult Aquatic Turtle Food is an optimal choice as a turtle food. 

  • A balanced diet for your red-eared slider
  • Contains a good amount of vitamins and minerals
  • Floating pellets for easy reach and consumption
  • Some turtle do not like it

It is made using the Gammarus shrimp and is filled with vitamins and minerals that enhance your turtle’s health. There is a lot of calcium in the food that can help improve the shell’s hardness. 
To ensure that your turtle absorbs maximum nutrients from its food, the pellets are fortified with vitamin D3. The pellets are shaped in the sizes that are easier for turtles to grab from the surface and eat easily.
The Exo Terra also takes care of your turtle’s digestive system. It has “Advanced Yeast Extract” that makes the digestion process smoother and does not let the food lose the essential nutrients while being digested. 
Key Features: 

  • Quality and performance-driven product for your pet
  • Tested for safety and health
  • Aids in smooth digestion
  • Calcium makes the bones and shell stronger

Hikari Saki Turtle Food:

Turtle foods are beneficial for your reptilian buddy, but some of them can create an awful mess in the tank. Moreover, some of them can cloud the tank and cause bad odor. However, there is a solution for such an ordeal- Hikari Saki Turtle Food. 

  • Contains lots of essential vitamins and minerals
  • Made with premium ingredients
  • Easy digestion
  • Only comes in medium-sized pellets

Hikari Saki Turtle Food is created with a unique formula that prevents your tank from getting messy with food. It contains ingredients that maintain the cleanliness of the water and keep it odor-free. 
It also contains probiotics that take care of digestion, and its medium-sized pellets are easy to chew. The food contains vitamins like selenium, vitamin A, vitamin E, calcium, copper, folic acid, vitamin D3, zinc, and biotin.
Hikari Saki consists of other turtle-friendly ingredients like dried seaweed, cinnamon bark oil, oregano oil, garlic, etc. For better results, you can also supplement the diet with foods like fruits, veggies, live minnows, and worms. 
Key Features: 

  • Specifically tailored for turtles
  • Keeps the tank clean
  • No odor
  • Suits all kinds of turtles

Good Reptile Food Aquatic Turtle Food:

If you want to save yourself from rushing to the pet store frequently to buy food for your turtle, the Good Reptile Food Aquatic Turtle Food is what you need. It comes in a 6-pound bag and is full of fortified food that is enhanced with incredible features.

  • Made to satisfy the dietary needs of your adult red-eared slider
  • Floats longer on the water make it easier for turtles to eat
  • Great value for money
  • Sticks to the bottom of the tank
  • Expensive

It has the necessary amount of vitamins and minerals that can keep your turtle healthy and is mostly suitable for adult turtles. The food floats on the surface of the water for a long time that is great for turtles and prevents the tank from getting dirty. 
It also comes in the different growth formulas that provide your turtle the right amount of nutrition need during the developing stages of life. The Good Reptile Food is made using natural ingredients that are easy on digestion and cause no harm to your turtle’s well-being. 
The pellets are also designed to fit all kinds of food dispensers making turtle care effortless. 
Key Features: 

  • 1/4 inch pellets are easier for aquatic turtles to eat
  • Keeps the tank water clean 
  • Long term fix for food
  • Made from natural ingredients

Mazuri Aquatic Turtle Diet:

Though age-based foods have their own benefits, it can be hard to keep track of your turtle’s age and changing the food. If you want to choose a smarter option both for you and your turtle, the Mazuri Aquatic Turtle Diet can be a great choice.

  • Ideal for daily use
  • Suitable for all aquatic amphibians and reptiles, including frogs, newts, and turtles
  • All-natural ingredients and includes vitamin C and calcium that promote a healthy immune system, healthy shell growth, and strong bones in turtles
  • Free of any artificial colors or dyes that could cloud water or harm your aquatic pets
  • It does not break down easily

It is composed of premium ingredients that have a balanced amount of vitamins and minerals that keep your red-eared slider healthy and strong. The best part about this diet is, it does not require any supplement to affect your turtle. 
The pellets stay afloat for a long time and do not create a mess in the tank. It becomes easier for turtles to grab the food from the surface of the water. To cater to the needs of carnivorous turtles, the company has included fish and shrimps in the food. 
Mazuri Aquatic Diet is considered as perfect for red-eared sliders due to their eating habits, but it can be used for other turtles as well. 
Key Features:

  • Complete life cycle turtle food diet
  • Nutritionally complete turtle food
  • Floating diet, for natural feeding behavior
  • High level of fish and animal protein 
  • Meets the needs of carnivorous species

Tetra ReptoMin Floating Food Sticks:

ReptoMin has been a popular food among turtle owners, as it is the quality that makes them place their trust in the brand for years. It is designed to make feeding very easy due to its fine-sized sticks. 

  • Contains high-quality proteins and amino acids
  • Affordable
  • Does not contaminate the water
  • Rich in calcium and vitamins
  • Food sticks sink in the water quite fast

The food is rich in calcium and can help the turtles in developing strong shells and bones. It is rich in proteins that can help in the overall growth of the body. The pellets are created with high-quality ingredients that are easy to digest.
You can feed Reptomin to the turtles of different ages and kinds. It is suitable for other reptiles as well. It comes in a resealable bag and can be stored safely after usage. You can also mix it with other food items like vegetables, fruits, and worms. 
Since the pellets don’t dissolve in water quickly, they don’t contaminate the water. Whether you are a turtle hobbyist or purchased a turtle recently, Reptomin can help you provide a balanced diet to your reptilian pal with ease. 
Key Features: 

  • Suitable for all the other reptiles
  • Perfect for daily use
  • Promotes growth 
  • Easy to digest

Fluker’s Buffet Blend Aquatic Turtle Food:

Fluker’s is also one of the trusted brands in the world of reptile care. The company’s long line up of products consists of high-quality food and care items that can help the reptile survive and live a healthy life. One such product from Fluker’s is the Buffet Blend Aquatic Turtle Food. 

  • Quality and protein-rich
  • Delicious buffet blend
  • Easy to feed
  • Support shell development
  • Some turtles don’t like it

The pellets serve as a balanced diet for turtles as it consists of numerous vitamins and minerals, that is necessary for growth. It contains mealworms and shrimps that make it a tasty alternative against other foods. 
Buffet blend is a combination of fortified pellets, freeze-dried river shrimp, and mealworms. It provides a balance of essential protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals. If you have a juvenile turtle, you can feed it once a day and three to five times a week. 
The food also contains vitamin C and calcium that keeps the turtle healthy and makes the bones and shells stronger. 
Key Features: 

  • Includes a combination of freeze-dried river shrimp and freeze-dried mealworms
  • Suitable for all ages
  • Easy to digest 
  • Provides a balanced meal 

Royal Pet Supplies Inc Zoo Med Gourmet Aquatic Turtle Food:

A healthy option that serves both as a meal and a treat, The Zoo Med Gourmet is a perfectly balanced diet for your turtle. It can provide your turtle with the essential vitamins and proteins it needs for growth.

  • Turtles loved the taste of this food, especially with all the flavors mixed in.
  • It helps your pet grow faster
  • Might contain a little bit of sediment

The food is fortified with mealworms and dried shrimp. It contains cranberries that are loved and eaten by many turtles in the wild. The meal is scientifically designed to meet the dietary needs of all kinds of turtles. 
It might not be suitable for hatchlings, but you can feed it to turtles that have shells ranging from 2-7 inches in length. As the food does not contain any artificial color, flavors, or preservatives, it does not pose any threat to the turtles. 
Vitamins and minerals in the food also contribute to keeping the turtles healthy. Turtles love the gourmet, and eat it quickly. You can add a regular turtle food with a little gourmet to give your turtle a tasty and nutritious meal. 
Key Features: 

  • No artificial colors or preservatives
  • Added vitamins and minerals
  • All-natural

Zilla Munchies River Shrimp Reptile Food:

When feeding a turtle, owners often struggle with portion sizes and end up putting more food in the tank. With the Zilla Munchies River Shrimp Reptile Food, feeding turtles in the right amount becomes a lot easier.

  • All-natural ingredients
  • Great for other reptiles and fishes as well
  • Comes in a resealable pouch for easy storage
  • Can be used as treats or as part of their everyday diet
  • Expensive
  • Many turtles don’t like it

The Zilla Reptiles Munchies contain dehydrated ingredients that are quick and convenient. It has natural ingredients too that provide multiple health benefits and do not harm your turtle in any way. 
You can mix the munchies with leafy green vegetables or other turtle foods to add to the nutritional benefit of the food. It can be given to turtles as a treat 2-3 times a week. The food comes in a resealable pack that can help you store the food longer. 
Zilla Munchies River Shrimp is rich in protein that enables the turtle to grow healthily and make their body stronger. These packed river shrimps can be a great alternative for other animals such as Salamanders, Axolotls, and large tropical fish.
Key Features: 

  • Quick and convenient feeding
  • No refrigeration required
  • High protein

What can you feed turtles apart from staple foods? 

Even though the above-mentioned turtle foods can provide a lot of minerals and vitamins, you need to give them a break from this staple diet. These foods may be a substitute for natural foods, but it is essential to feed fruits, veggies, and more periodically. 

Image Source: iStock
But, with a wide array of food items available at your disposal, you might not want to end up feeding your turtle something that they should not eat. Here are some of the best natural foods that you can give to your turtles. 
Prey Item: Earthworms, crickets, waxworms, silkworms, aquatic snails, bloodworms, daphnia, shrimp, krill, and mealworms. For smaller turtles, the worms will have to be cut in smaller pieces. Large or adult-sized turtles can be fed tadpoles or feeder fish and goldfishes. 
Leafy Greens: Collard greens, mustard greens, dandelion greens, kale, and bok choy. Head (iceberg) lettuce contains very little nutrition and should not be fed, but you can feed dark green leaf lettuce (e.g. romaine) sparingly. Make sure these items are fed keeping the calcium and phosphorus levels in mind. 
Aquatic Plants: You can add plants like anacharis such as water hyacinth, water lettuce, duckweed, Azolla (fairy moss), and frog-bit that are enjoyed by turtles. 
Other Vegetables: There are some vegetables like Carrots, squash, and green beans that you can feed your turtle. 
Nutritional supplements: Turtles often need supplements that can boost their health. You can float multivitamins along with calcium and vitamin D3 for a couple of weeks. Cuttlebones can be a great source of protein for turtles. 

Some important things that you need to know about red-eared slider turtles:

As mentioned above, red-eared slider turtles are very different from the other aquatic turtles and need special care. These are some of the points that you need to know when caring for red-eared slider turtles. 

Image Source: 123rf


In the growth cycle of a red-eared slider turtle, diet plays an important role. Hence, you need to feed them a well-balanced diet to ensure healthy growth.

  • A pelleted commercial diet
  • Treats like freeze-dried krill
  • Non-toxic aquatic plants like (anachris, water lettuce), dark leafy vegetables, and sliced vegetables such as squash and carrots.
  • Fishes like comet goldfish, earthworms, and insects can be given as treats 


Not only diet but the amount and frequency feeding can have an impact on their health. These are some of the things that you need to consider. 

  • The water should be fresh, clean, and chlorine-free at all times.  
  • Turtles should be fed every day and in water. 

Feeding Schedule: 

Some people choose to feed their adult turtles once in three days, but others feed them regularly in small amounts. The main goal is to ensure that you don’t overfeed them, especially with foods that contain protein in high quantity. 
To see if you are overfeeding them, you can take a look at their legs. If there are folds of skins around the legs, your turtles are getting fat and need to be fed in small amounts. You can also opt for foods that are low in fat content such as fruits and leafy vegetables.
The amount of food you feed to your turtle depends on your turtle. You can follow the 15-minute rule, which specifies that your turtle can eat in 15-minutes. 

Commonly asked questions: 

The peculiar habits of red-eared turtles can often put you in a fix. Here are some of the commonly asked questions that you need to keep in mind when feeding a red-eared turtle. 

Image Source: iStock

How often do baby red-eared slider turtles need food?

Baby red-eared slider turtles need protein in high amounts to grow and develop healthy bones and shells. Therefore, you need to feed them three times a day with protein-rich foods like Earthworms, crickets, waxworms, collard greens, mustard greens, dandelion greens, kale, and bok choy. 

Why has my red-eared slider turtle not eaten for a week?

A possible reason could be a cold temperature. Turtles are cold-blooded animals, and when their body detects cold temperature, they go into brumation. Brumation is a low-energy, quasi-sleep-like hibernation phase. 
Sometimes turtles that are kept in ideal conditions with heat, food, and water, they will still go into hibernation. You should not worry about such behaviors, but if it persists for too long, you can get veterinary consultation. 

How do you slowly introduce new foods to a red ear slider turtle, and what kind of foods?

Some turtles can be fussy eaters, and it can be a huge problem when introducing them to a new food item. There is a trick, but it requires a lot of patience. You have to add the new food to the old one in small amounts, and gradually increase the amount of new food in the old food. 

If your turtle refuses to eat the new food the first time itself, you can try again after a few days. 


Feeding a turtle involves patience and careful attention. You have to be careful not to feed them too little and watchful that you don’t feed them too little. There are recommended portion sizes for turtles of different ages that you need to keep in mind when feeding them.
I hope the above-mentioned information has helped you learn about feeding the red-eared slider turtles. If you have any queries or suggestions, you can write them in the comments below. 

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