The Best Food for Red Eared Sliders

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best foods for red eared slider

Red-eared sliders are aquatic turtles that have been popular for a long time as long as the pet trade is concerned.

There are some of the most easily cared for pets as they are resilient and have a tolerance to a lot of conditions.

In the wild, they eat tiny fish, decaying animals like frogs and fish, and aquatic vegetation.

They are mainly carnivores and change into omnivores as they get older. If you want your pet to feel at home in its aquarium, then feeding it with the best food for the red-eared slider is a giant step towards this end.

Keeping these animals as a pet is one of the easiest things you will have to do, especially when it comes to feeding.

They eat almost anything but it doesn’t mean that everything they can eat is good for their health.

So having brought your red-eared slider home, you need to know what to feed it that will provide it with the nutrients it needs for healthy growth.

There are a lot of food options in stores that you can feed it with but are all of them good enough?

One way to truly know which food options are good enough is by trying them out, but it is going to be expensive going through all products.

Besides, the life of your pet will be put at risk if you feed it with something that is more harmful than beneficial. 

That is why we have this article for you, to provide you with only the best choices, and educate you on what you need to know concerning the nutritional requirements of your pet.

We Recommend

Getting to test various red-eared slider foods, we decided that the Wardley Premium Amphibian and Reptile Sticks it’s our first choice.

  • Great for all aquatic reptiles and amphibians
  • Free from harmful colors
  • Made with the finest ingredients

Complete Guide for Feeding Your Red-Eared Slider

As mentioned earlier, red-eared sliders eat a lot of items while in their natural habitat.

While it is not possible to completely mimic the foods they eat in the wild while you keep them at home, you can provide them with similar options.

While feeding your red-eared slider, be careful not to give it too much pellet food.

Always feed your turtle in the water and limit the pellet quantity to 25% of the total diet.

The remaining proportion of diet can be made up using the following options:

  • Prey food: these items include crickets, earthworms, aquatic snails, silkworms, wax worms, shrimp, daphnia, krill, bloodworms, and mealworms. You have to cut up the prey food into smaller pieces if you are feeding a small red-eared slider. The bigger ones can be fed with tadpoles or feeder fish. Be careful about the type of feeder fish you feed your turtle because some experts warn that they carry parasites. Also fish like goldfish are too fatty and not good to be given as food regularly.
  • Leafy greens: good options in this category are collard greens, dandelion greens, mustard greens, bok choy, and kale. Avoid feeding with head lettuce as it contains very little nutritional benefit. When feeding with greens, be sure to feed with items that have good calcium and phosphorus levels.
  • Aquatic plants: turtles love to snack on aquatic plants, and so whether your red-eared slider is in the pond or in an aquarium, these items are a good treat. Plants in this category include anacharis, water hyacinth, duckweed, water lettuce, Azolla, and frogbit.
  • Other vegetables: plants in this category include carrots, green beans, and squash.

Feeding Schedule for a Red Eared Slider

Different pet owners have different methods of taking care of the nutritional needs of their pet turtle. While some feed them once every three days, others prefer to feed them with smaller portions of food every day.

The idea is not to overfeed your pet turtle especially with foods that contain high amounts of protein and fat.

It may be difficult to limit the food you give your pet because of their behavior. They always want to eat and will even swim as if to fly out of the water for food.

Observe the body condition of your pet to check for changes. A marker to overfeeding are folds of skin that will appear around the legs.

This is going to be more evident when your turtle pulls their legs into the shell. If you see this, you need to cut down on the portion of food you give your red-eared slider or feed it with food that is low in fat.

Adult red-eared turtles are herbivores, so instead of giving it too much commercial food, try feeding it with more plants, prey food or leafy greens.

The amount of food you serve depends on you and your turtle. But for healthy feeding, it is advisable to give your turtle as much as it can finish in 15 minutes.

It will take some time to find out how fast your turtle eats but when you eventually do, it will ensure a healthy pet.

The Best Food for Red Eared Slider

The Best Food for Red Eared Slider

1. Wardley Premium Amphibian and Reptile Sticks

First on our list of best foods for red-eared turtle is this amazing Wardley Premium Amphibian and Reptile Sticks.

If you want your pet to have its basic nutritional requirements, and feel at home, no one does it better.

It is a floating stick formulation and is ideal not only for your turtle but also for other reptiles and amphibians.

It is packed with calcium to ensure strong bones and vitamins for a healthy immune system.


  • Great for all aquatic reptiles and amphibians
  • Contains calcium and vitamin C
  • Free from harmful colors
  • Made with the finest ingredients


  • Leaves a ton of residue behind

2. Zoo Med Natural Aquatic Turtle Food

Zoo med has got you covered at all stages of your turtle’s life as it concerns feeding.

It is available in 3 sizes of pellets and protein content for hatchling, growth, and maintenance formulas.

Each type is made with the nutritional requirements of your pet at that stage of its life.

The hatchlings need a lot of protein for their rapid growth and so the hatchling pack is loaded with enough protein.

The growth and maintenance are made to satisfy the growing and mature turtles. They float, making it easy for your red-eared slider to locate them and eat up.


  • Floating food pellets
  • Packed with vitamins and minerals
  • Contains the right amount of nutrients for turtles of all growth stage


  • Tends to mess the tank a lot

3. Exo Terra Adult Aquatic Turtle Food

Made with shrimp and good vitamins and minerals content, Exo Terra Aquatic Turtle food is nutritious and a choice your pet will love.

It contains calcium, which is essential for your turtles to maintain a hard and healthy shell.

It contains vitamin D3 to ensure proper calcium absorption.

Made in the form of pellets, it floats so that your pet can easily pick up and eat, preventing any mess in the tank.


  • A balanced diet for your red-eared slider
  • Contains a good amount of vitamins and minerals
  • Floating pellets for easy reach and consumption


  • Some turtles do not like it

4. Hikari Saki Turtle Food

Hikari Saki Turtle Food is meant to take care of the mess associated with feeding your aquatic pets.

They are often fed in water and most times the food makes a mess. This Hikari Saki Turtle Food has ingredients that prevent odor and maintains clean water.

It is not just food that nourishes your pet, it also maintains the cleanliness of the aquarium.

It is medium-sized and a floating food with probiotics to support flora in the intestine.

The vitamins packed here include selenium, vitamin A, vitamin E, calcium, copper, folic acid, vitamin D3, zinc, and biotin.

Other ingredients that make up this wonderful product are dried seaweed, cinnamon bark oil, oregano oil, garlic amongst others.


  • Contains lots of essential vitamins and minerals
  • Made with premium ingredients
  • Contains odor stop ingredients


  • Only comes in medium-sized pellets which are too small for adult turtles

5. Good Reptile Food Aquatic Turtle Food

We will call it a wrap with the Good Reptile Food. It is in the maintenance category and is meant for adult turtles. With the required amount of vitamins and minerals, it is sure to keep your adult red-eared slider healthy and strong.

It stays afloat, so your turtle can easily pick it up and eat. This is also important as it makes less mess of the aquarium.


  • Made to satisfy the dietary needs of your adult red-eared slider
  • Made with natural ingredients
  • It makes less mess in the tank
  • Great value for your money


  • A bit pricey or some

RELATED READ: How to Set Up a Turtle Tank

Providing Good Nutrients for Your Red-Eared Slider

Animal Protein

As protein is a part of your pet’s dietary needs, you will include this in its meal but make sure you do not feed it with more than 25% protein in the total meal.

Do not feed frozen fish to your red-eared slider as this type of fish lacks thiamine. Constant consumption will lead to thiamine deficiency. Instead, feed your turtle with live feeder fish, and earthworms as a source of protein.

Be careful with the kind of worms you feed your red eared slider. Worms in your backyard could be harmful as they most likely carry parasites and bacteria.

Purchase all worms from reputable shops to be on the safe side. Raw meat may also contain harmful microorganisms, so always boil the meat before you feed it to your pet turtle.


There are a variety of plants you can feed your turtle and they should make up 50% of the total diet. Dark leafy greens like collard may be fed to your pet.

Finely cut carrots, carrot tops, squash and green beans are also good options.

Frozen mixed vegetables may also be provided but not at all times because some frozen vegetables develop thiaminase, an enzyme that breaks down vitamin B in plants.

If you cannot conveniently feed you pet with any of these from your kitchen, you can purchase them from stores.

Vitamin Supplements

Doing everything right will involve also adding vitamins to your pet’s diet. You need to make sure your pet gets vitamin supplements at least twice a week.

Doing everything right for your pet doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be observant. Always check your pet for any signs of illness or symptoms you do not understand.

Check the eyes, cheeks, breathing, nose, and mouth. Also, observe your pet’s appetite or shedding of skin.

If you notice anything abnormal, a vet should be consulted immediately.

Commonly Asked Question About Red Eared Slider Foods

Q: How Often Should I Feed My Red-Eared Slider?

It all depends on what you want. You can feed your turtles once every three days, or every day.

If you choose to feed your red-eared slider every day, then the portion of food you give should be little to avoid overfeeding.

Q: What Should You Not Feed Your Turtle?

You should keep all dairy products from your pet slider because they cannot digest it. Letting them consume such products will only lead to illness.

Q: Can Red Eared Sliders Eat Bread?

Yes, red-eared sliders can eat bread. This is because they eat almost anything you offer them, but it doesn’t mean it is good for them.

They cannot digest bread, and it lacks the nutrients they need to grow so it will only lead to health problems.


Now you have enough to make your red-eared slider feel more at home by giving pleasure to its taste buds.

The secret to healthy growth is in the diet and with these best food for red eared sliders, you will provide your pet with all it needs to stay healthy.

Wardley Premium Reptile and Reptile Sticks is a product that is packed with nutrients and free from harmful chemicals. It is the perfect product for your aquatic turtle. 

Zoo Med Natural Aquatic Turtle Food has foods for all growth stages of your pet turtle. So you are covered and can ensure the healthy growth of your pet from hatchlings until adulthood. 

These two products just like the rest are perfect for your turtle and with their use, you will be rewarded with a healthy and happy pet.