Best Food For Red Eared Slider

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Red-Eared Slider Care: Diet, Habitat, & Characteristics | PetCoach

The red-eared slider also known as Trachemys scripta elegans has a long history in the pet trade, and it has been kept for many years by a wide variety of hobbyists, both beginners and veterans.

For years they were sold in dime stores, and unfortunately many died due to a lack of knowledge of the children who begged their parents to buy them for them.

Luckily, now that reptile enthusiasts are better educated, the red-eared slider has a better chance of survival in captivity, but it is a large turtle and should be kept only by people who are prepared to provide the proper care for it.

Red-eared sliders are strong swimmers and will spend a majority of their time in the water. They bask a lot, too, and during warm, sunny days, wild red-ears love to stack on top of each other while doing so.

The slightest movement or sound will send them sliding off their rocks or logs and back into the water—this, coupled with the red ear mark on both sides of their heads, gives them their common name. Pet red-eared sliders can be very personable and will often swim up to you, begging for food.

The native habitat of the red-eared slider is from New Mexico north to Ohio, Illinois, Indiana and West Virginia, then south through Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia, all the way to northern Mexico. They are often found in slow-moving streams, creeks, lakes, ponds and marshes with a fresh and warm water supply.

Food and Nutrition for Red-Eared Sliders

To ensure that you are providing proper nutrition that supports strong growth and a healthy long-lived turtle, you will need to feed a variety of diets to both adults and juvenile sliders.

Remember, however, that adults eat less animal protein and more vegetable matter. Juveniles must be fed daily, while adults can be offered food once every two to three days.

Make sure to give your pet just enough food as any excess food will go to waste and cloud the water. To ensure proper nutrition for your pet, feed it a combination of the following foods:

Commercial diets. There are several brands offering highly nutritious blends that you can offer your pet. Experts recommend that you this should not be more than 25% of your pet’s total diet, however. For some of the best commercial foods that you can offer your pet turtle, you may consider one from the list below

Top 10 Best Food for Red Eared Slider: Reviews & Guide 2019

1) Tetra Reptomin Floating Food Sticks for Aquatic Turtles, Newts and Frogs

The easy-to-digest formula is formulated with the latest nutritional and manufacturing technologies with precise amounts of nutrients, Calcium and Vitamin C to support vitality and good health.

It Contains high-quality proteins and essential amino acids to promote healthy growth and it is Scientifically formulated; proven to be readily accepted by dozens of species. This product is one of the Best Food For Red Eared Slider

Use Tetra ReptoMin Floating Food Sticks to feed one to two times per day and only as much as your pet can consumer within several minutes. For a variety, we recommend trying one of the Tetra ReptoTreat foods.

2) Zoo Med Natural Aquatic Turtle Food

The #1 Aquatic turtle food has gone “natural” and is now available in 3 pellet sizes and protein levels: Hatchling, Growth and Maintenance Formulas. It is one of the Best Aquarium Turtle Food

Each has been scientifically formulated to meet the dietary requirements of aquatic turtles at each of their life stages. The Hatchling formula is higher in protein to accommodate the rapid growth rates of hatchling and juvenile aquatic turtles.

The Growth and Maintenance formulas meet the dietary requirements of growing and adult aquatic turtles. Our pellets float making it easier for aquatic turtles, who prefer eating at the water surface, to locate their food. This product is one of the Best Food For Red Eared Slider

3) Omega One Floating Adult Turtle Sticks, 11 mm Sticks

These Adult Turtle Sticks are developed to maintain your turtles health and vitality at the highest levels. Made with whole, fresh ingredients and fortified with the proper levels of vitamins and minerals

The turtle sticks are rich in critical Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids, as well as elevated calcium and vitamin D3 to promote proper shell development and overall health. They are never made with meal

Also, the Turtle Sticks are naturally insoluble, which reduces water pollution, and they have significantly less starch, which reduces turtle waste. This product is one of the Best Food For Red Eared Slider

INSTRUCTIONS: Feed 1-3 times daily, using only as much food as turtle can consume in two minutes

4) Fluker Labs Turtle Medley Treat

Fluker’s is one of the most well-loved brands when it comes to the needs of reptiles, amphibians, and others. A lot of pet owners trust this product and has reported that they are made of high-quality foods.

The jar contains a combination of freeze-dried river shrimps, crickets, and mealworms which are packed with a lot of proteins.

This is a great food option for juvenile and baby turtles. Adult turtles don’t need a lot of protein, so I do not recommend this for adult turtles. This product is one of the Best Food For Red Eared Slider

The only downside of this product is that it only consists of protein foods, you can easily overfeed your pet with this. To avoid overfeeding, you should at least feed your pet 2 to 3 times a week.

It is an Essentially balanced pellets for your shelled friends with all the vitamins and minerals they need, and with freeze dried mealworms and shrimp too.

Fluker’s Buffet Blend is a combination of vitamin fortified pellets, freeze dried river shrimp, and freeze dried mealworms. This unique blend ensures your pet will receive the proper balance of essential protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals.

FEEDING DIRECTIONS: Feed to juvenile or adult turtles one time per day, three to five times per week. For best results, feed only the amount of Buffet Blend that the turtles will consume in one day.

Buffet Blend should be scattered on the water, where it will float. The turtles will eat this for 15 to 20 minutes and then bask for a period of time. The remaining food will break up and sink to the bottom. The turtles will return later to continue feeding.

5) Tetra Reptomin Floating Food Sticks for Aquatic Turtles, Newts and Frogs

ReptoMin is a name you can trust in the reptile care industry.  A long standing favorite among both breeders and pet turtle enthusiasts, ReptoMin is a floating food stick for all water turtles, amphibians, and other aquatic reptiles.

ReptoMin offers an extremely nutritious diet that is manufactured to strict quality control standards for all aquatic turtles, newts, frogs and similar pets that has been a proven favorite dozens of species. This product is one of the Best Food For Red Eared Slider

ReptoMin’s formula offers a Vitamin and Calcium enriched meal that is full of protein packed, scientifically formulated food. The unique ReptoMin formula is easy for your turtles, amphibians and other aquatic reptiles to digest and enjoy.

The ReptoMin Floating Food Sticks come in a convenient resealable bag that helps keep your top quality ReptoMin food fresh!

6) Zilla Reptile Munchies Mix Treat

Zilla reptile munchies fruit mix is a quick and convenient way to provide reptiles a variety of desirable fruits they prefer. Select freeze dried ingredients are specifically chosen for fruit eating reptiles.

It is Nutritious and high in beneficial vitamins, Zilla reptile munchies are ideal for feeding alone, in addition to leafy greens, pellet diets, or as a treat. This product is one of the Best Food For Red Eared Slider

  • Nutritious, dehydrated ingredients that are quick and convenient – no refrigeration required!
  • Easy to prepare by simply rehydrating in water
  • Convenient, resealable package
  • Provides nutrition from a variety of natural ingredients
  • Ideal for iguanas, blue tongued skinks, tegus, box turtles, red and yellow foot tortoises and hermit crabs

7)  Zoo Med Gourmet Reptisticks

Here is another most-well loved brand when it comes to the need for reptiles and amphibians. Zoo Med products have a long history when it comes to providing the reptiles need, so this is certainly a plus when it comes to selecting turtle foods.

This well-trusted brand uses high-quality ingredients for your reptile and amphibian pets. This product is one of the Best Food For Red Eared Slider

This turtle food pellet main ingredients are fish, kale, and shrimp. Your pet turtle would surely love this formulated product. This product can also help stimulate your pet’s activity level, turtles can easily get lazy, this Gourmet can help increase your pet’s activity.

8)  Med Sun-Dried Large Red Shrimp


This is an ideal protein food for large aquatic turtles, this can also be fed to other fish pets and invertebrates. Like some other turtle food products, you can use this as their staple food or as their treat. Shrimp is a favorite food of most aquatic animals, your turtle would surely love this one.

This has an excellent quality when it comes to protein, so rest assured that your turtle is getting enough nutrients and vitamins. Since this product is packed with a big container, your pet’s food stock would surely last for a long time.

Zoo Meds Large Sun-Dried Red Shrimp are an excellent high-quality, protein rich food ideal for large aquatic turtles and large size freshwater or marine aquarium fish and invertebrates. This product is one of the Best Food For Red Eared Slider

Fish and turtles typically show an increase in weight and vigor within only a few days of feeding. Whether used as a staple food or an occasional treat, Zoo Meds Sun-Dried Red Shrimp provide a nutritional boost to any feeding regimen.

9. HARTZ Wardley Reptile Sticks

This is another floating food product, a perfect feeding product for your aquatic turtle. Each floating stick is packed with nutritionally balanced natural ingredients, it also contains vitamins that are needed for shell growth. It is one of the Best Aquarium Turtle Food

However, this product is only good as a treat and not as a staple dietary meal. So if you are looking for a good treat for your pet turtle, then you should consider buying this product.

The good thing about this product is that your pet won’t get addicted to it, meaning you would still prefer eating its usual dietary meal. This product is one of the Best Food For Red Eared Slider

Wardley Turtle Delite is a nutritious whole dried shrimp supplement for turtles. Wardley takes care of the science so you can enjoy your turtle! Feed in combination with Wardley Reptile Premium Sticks, a specially formulated complete daily diet for aquatic reptiles.

10 T-Rex Box Turtle Dry Formula

If you own an omnivore turtle then this is surely your best option in supporting its diet. The T-Rex Dry Formula is calcium-fortified, formulated, and highly-palatable for your pet’s complete balanced nutrition.

This is both convenient and cost-effective for most turtle owners. When it comes to dry, pelleted food products, T-rex is the leading industry.

This product is high in protein and fat, perfect for the needs of your baby or juvenile turtle. Adult turtles require little to no protein at all, if you are planning to treat your adult turtle with this, make sure that you’ll only feed it occasionally.

T-Rex Box Turtle Dry Formula with added vitamins and minerals is a complete and balanced diet for your box turtle. The formula was formulated by a professional nutritionist to provide the best nutrition for your pet.


Suggestions for Nutritional Supplements for Red-eared Slider

Animal Protein

You may also provide your pet turtle animal protein, but this should also not be more than 25% of the turtle’s total diet. Offer live feeder fish.

Do not feed defrosted frozen fish to your pet as they are lack thiamine and consuming more of these frozen fish will cause a thiamin deficiency in your pet. Earthworms can also be provided to your pet as a protein source.

Buy from reputable pet stores. Don’t offer worms that you find from your yard as they may contain bacteria and parasites. They may have also brushed up plants that have been sprayed with pesticides.

You may also offer finely chopped raw lean beef, beef heart, as well as cooked chicken, but should not be provided as a main meal for your turtle. You need to take note as well that raw meat may be filled with Salmonella, E. coli, and other food-borne organisms.

Plant Matter

This should consist 50% or more of your pet’s total diet. Leaves of dark leafy greens like collard, mustard, and other greens may be provided for your pet.

You may also offer shredded or finely chopped carrots and carrot tops, squash, and green beans. Thawed frozen mixed vegetables may also be provided, but should be done occasionally as some frozen green vegetables develop thiaminase which removes the all-important B vitamin from the plant matter.

However, you may offer raw fruits to your pet turtle. Just make sure that you shred hard fruits and chop soft fruits before offering to your pet. Edible aquarium plants sold at pet stores may also be provided as a meal to your slider.

Vitamin Supplements

Your turtle will grow healthier with additional vitamin supplements that you need to provide your pet twice a week.

Even if you are providing the right food for your pet, you still would need to watch your turtle for any signs of illness. Always check the condition of its eyes, cheeks, breathing, nose and the mouth.

Any unusual change should be consulted to a veterinarian or treated right away. If your pet is listless or has lost its appetite, or, perhaps shedding excessively or any other showing any other body changes, you should bring your pet to a veterinarian who can give an appropriate assessment of your pet’s condition and provide adequate treatment immediately.

If you have kids at home, you also need to have them checked out by a pediatrician once they begin to show signs of any disease.

Red-Eared Slider Availability

The red-eared slider is one of the most common turtles found for sale in pet stores across the U.S. and overseas. In addition to finding them at local pet stores, you can purchase them at reptile shows or online. It is illegal for hatchlings with a carapace length of less than 4 inches to be sold for anything other than educational purposes.

The red-eared slider is a large turtle that should be kept only by hobbyists who will be able to provide a large enclosure or pond.

Red-Eared Slider Size

Full grown adults can reach 12 inches in length, with females usually being the largest in size. There are rare instances of adult red-eared sliders growing larger than 12 inches.

Red-Eared Slider Life Span

Red-eared sliders can live a long life in captivity. When cared for correctly, they can easily live longer than 20 years.

Red-Eared Slider Diet

Red-eared sliders are omnivores. In the wild, they feed on aquatic vegetation, small fish and decaying material such as dead fish and frogs, etc. Pet red-eared sliders will feed on just about anything you give them, but I recommend feeding them a commercial turtle food or pellet to benefit proper growth and health. On occasion, you can offer them leafy greens, freeze-dried shrimp or krill, crickets, superworms, rosy red minnows and even pinky mice.


Red-Eared Slider Housing

Hatchling red-eared sliders are very cute, but don’t let their small size fool you. Remember, adults can grow to 12 inches. The general rule of thumb for housing red-eared sliders is for every inch of shell length, you should provide 10 gallons of water. For example, a red-eared slider with a 5-inch shell length should be provided an enclosure containing 50 gallons of water to allow for adequate swimming space.
They can be kept in aquariums, turtle tubs, etc.

Primary accessories to properly house a red-eared slider are a water filtration system, a water heater, a basking dock and a basking lamp. Because red-eared sliders are messy feeders and produce a lot of waste, I recommend purchasing a water filter that is rated at least double the amount of water in your turtle’s enclosure. This reduces the frequency of water changes that will be necessary (though don’t neglect water changes; you should still perform them regularly) and maintains the cleanliness and health of your turtles.


The Red-Eared Slider is one of a Hobbyist’s Favorite Pets

Older turtles are usually covered with a thick coat of algae. Some red-eared sliders can live up to more than 30 years. And they can grow up to 20 cm or 8 inches long.

These exotic cold-blooded animals are highly adaptable. They also eat almost anything including water plants, mollusks, insects and small fishes. These are the major reasons why many hobbyists have considered keeping and breeding these animals.

Even though the red-eared slider is quite easy to manage and handle, as a responsible pet owner, you still need to understand what will best suit these gentle amphibians so that they will remain satisfied while under your care.

This also ensures that they won’t get sick or will not transmit bacterial diseases like salmonella.

Are you buying a red-eared slider from a pet store? Consider this:

At pet stores, these turtles usually experience stress and may be likely to be suffering from a bacterial infection that may be easily transmitted to humans, especially children, older people, as well as those who have special conditions.

These turtles won’t eat when they are subjected to stressful environmental conditions and may also be dehydrated when the conditions within its temporary shelter are not set appropriately according to its need.

So, if you decide to buy one or more to keep to as a pet/pets, you will need to take a fecal sample of the turtle to a veterinarian and have it tested for signs of nutritional deficiencies, topical bacterial or fungal infections, physical deformities or overgrowth, as well as respiratory and eye infection.

If your turtle is provided with the right environmental conditions that ensure they can live stress-free and are provided with the right variety of food that they need to stay healthy and strong, it may even outlive you.

Interesting Features of a Red-Eared Slider

These cold-blooded sliders bask in the sun for hours on rocks and logs to warm themselves up so that they can properly digest the food that they eat.

You will even see them on top of each other if there is not enough space for them to lay their bodies onto. You will also find them buried under the ground when the surrounding temperature is too cold.

The red-eared slider’shell is made up of its ribs joined together and covered with a thin layer of skin. Each of these ribs is made of jigsaw-like sections known as scutes that grow at the edges.

This is the part of this turtle that allows it to grow in size without outgrowing its shell. Mature males are known to have long toenails on their front feet that they use when courting females.

Wild females usually reach maturity later than their male counterparts, between 5-7 years. By then, they will be more than 5 inches (12.7 cm) in length. Male reaches maturity at about 2-4 years of age. While in captivity, females may reach maturity at about 3 1/2 years.

This distinguishes the males from the female slider: males are smaller than females in overall body size but have longer tails.

If your vet finds anything unusual in your pet, make sure that the slider is given proper medication prescribed by the specialist. If you find it difficult to administer, you will have to bring the turtle back to the vet, so that your pet will be properly treated by the vet.



Your pet red-eared slider will stay longer and live happier and healthier if you can provide the right elements that it needs to grow healthy and strong.

Note that food and nutrition is just part of your pet’s total well-being. If you are providing all the right elements that encourage optimum health, your turtle will live longer with you.

Continuous learning and communication with other hobbyists will also provide you with additional information on the proper care and handling of your pet. There’s more to discover, but you should give yourself a pat on the back for taking a few steps to better understand your pet.


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