Depending on what variety of aquatic turtle you have, you will need to provide them with the right type or diet that fits the needs of that breed. The list of foods that aquatic turtles eat in the wild include a variety of live fish, bugs and worms as well as a number of aquatic plants, mosses and other greens. Most turtles both aquatic and box are omnivores; meaning they eat both plants and animals; there are some exceptions though and the degree to how much protein vs greens they need varies as well.
Omnivore, Herbivore or Carnivore
Diet for Aquatic Turtles
Many hatchling turtles are often only the size of a nickel when they come out of their shells and that means they won’t be able to eat the same types of food a fully grown turtle will eat. You can purchase baby turtle food at pet stores that come in pellets, flakes or sticks. There’s also fish food available for betta fish like blood worms, brine shrimp or krill that a small enough for a hatchling to eat. As your hatchlings grow, you can slowly start feeding them larger and larger food items.
How to Feed Aquatic Turtles
Note: feed your aquatic turtles separately to avoid fights and injury. Some turtles have lost limbs during what is called a feeding frenzy. Do your best to not let that happen by following this rule.
If it’s feeding time for your turtles, consider setting up a temporary tank just for that. Aquatic turtles eat their meals in the water and if you decide to feed them in their main tank, it will make the water dirty fast. Even with filters and a large tank, the uneaten food will sink to the bottom and begin to rot. Rotting organic matter leads to an abundance of nitrates which can fuel algae growth. An accumulation of rotting vegetation will also lower the pH of the tank which can lead to health problems of any fish or plants living in the tank. If you don’t setup a feeding tank, make sure you remove any uneaten foods that doesn’t get eaten after 15 min or so.
15 min is a basic rule of thumb for how much food to give a turtle based on how much they can consume in that given time period. Another guideline is to give them a portion size of no bigger than the size of their head and neck. These rules should help keep you from overfeeding them. In this time period, your turtles should have enough time to consume a mix of items. If you notice that they only eat one type of food, try changing up the ingredients next time. This will help make sure they get enough of all the vitamins and minerals they need for a balanced diet.
Feed Juveniles every day and adults every other day or every third day.
Not only is overfeeding unhealthy, so is underfeeding. Well underfeeding in the sense that your turtles are not receiving all the vitamins and minerals they need to stay healthy. Calcium is often something that turtles living indoors tend to not get enough of. With land turtles, calcium powder can be sprinkled onto their meals but this is not a practical solution for pond turtles that eat while in the water.
You can provide calcium supplements by adding floating calcium blocks into their tank. You can even make these blocks yourself by adding calcium powder a plaster of Paris mix that doesn’t contain anti fungal ingredients. When the plaster dries, place it in the tank to let your turtles pick at it. A piece of cuttlebone is a good alternative to theses blocks. You can buy them from your local pet store in the bird section.