5 Things You Should Know About Turtle Food

If you have recently decided to bring a pet turtle in your life, congratulations! 

Turtles serve as great pets considering they are low maintenance in terms of upkeep compared to other animals and enjoy being handled by humans. In addition to being great for stress relief, having a turtle as a pet means having a life-long friend!

Before having any pet, we at PetWave highly recommend doing a solid bit of research as this will only help improve your experience with this beautiful amphibious pet. 

Some important factors to consider would be a proper tank or pond, pet turtle food, the temperature of the water, and vivarium lights. In this article, we will be focusing on the importance of turtle food sources and how you can make sure your pet receives the best nutrition. 

When it comes to turtle food for your pet, there are different levels of nutrition we recommend for your hard-shelled buddy. 

What do I feed my turtle? 

Turtle food is generally broken down into three important subgroups. Depending on whether they are freshwater or saltwater, they require slightly different nutritional sources for the subgroups. All these sources are equally important and help enrich the health of their internal organs and exoskeleton (this includes their shell).

Based on a study conducted in 2017, turtles in captivity require protein, fat, calcium, potassium, methionine, and cysteine. Since turtles are known to not have teeth, it is important to pick sources that are easily swallowed and digested by turtles.

The three subgroups are -

Turtle Pet Food: 

This makes up most of the turtle's food. Turtle pet food includes frozen bloodworms or pellets that your pet turtle can easily swallow. You want to ensure that this food has a high percentage of animal or fish-based protein as this provides about 50% of the metabolic energy required for an omnivorous turtle. This subgroup plays a vital role in their microbial gut health and significantly supports the digestion of plant-based material (Bouchard and Bjorndal, 2005).

By having a rich protein diet, you can not only facilitate internal growth but also help them develop their strength and size. 


Plant matter is an excellent source of carbohydrates in their diet. A great source of these nutrients are turnips greens, red leaf lettuce and dandelion greens. These are readily available in gardens in and around Australia or at your local supermarket.

Additionally, you can sparingly feed spinach, kale, papaya offcuts and carrot greens. 

An important note that is worth mentioning is to avoid iceberg lettuce as they have no nutritional value for your pet turtles.


This section is a great place to add variety to your turtle's food intake. While they are important, please make sure to use them sparingly. They will require smaller insects or seafood with exoskeletons such as prawns, crickets and small crabs to help with their calcium intake. Depending on the species and size of your turtle, other options you can feed them are snails, feeder fish and meal worms.
At Petwave, we offer a variety of sizes of insects that will help support their supply of calcium and added protein. 

How many times a day do I feed my turtle? 

You are meant to feed young turtles that are less than a year old about one to two times every day. Make sure to include some vegetation during their feeding. Once they get older (more than a year), you will need to feed them about one to two times every other day.  

How much do turtles eat?  

A great rule of thumb is that whatever they can eat in roughly five minutes is generally all they should eat. Turtles are prone to obesity so as cute as they are - make sure you are not overfeeding your pet turtle. Overfeeding can lead to long-term health issues such as fatty liver and shorter life spans. For an extensive guide, we suggest picking up this turtles manual to get a better understanding of feeding schedules and more.

What are the ingredients in turtle food? 

High-quality turtle food is predominantly fish meal, worms, insects, vegetables or a combination of them all if you are using pre-packaged items. A diverse diet is essential to support their longevity and stress resistance if you want them to grow well. 

Are there turtle treats?   

Yes! There are so many ways to give your pet turtle a special treat so as to naturalise your home aquarium. Putting a live prawn in your aquarium can help them stay active by “hunting” them around the pond/tank and give them the essential minerals they need to support shell maintenance. At PetWave, we offer treats like live crickets for your pet turtle. 
PetWave is your one-stop shop for all things turtle. We provide a range of high-quality food products like turtle pet food cubes, larvae, worms and crickets whether they are babies or full-grown. Additionally, we also have gear such as vivarium lights and heaters that you can add to your tank to help improve your turtle's quality of life. If you have any questions about our products and wish to find out more about the types of frozen turtle food we stock, feel free to contact us.


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