Best Food for Red Eared Slider: Reviews & Guide 2022

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Best Food for Red Eared Slider

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A red-eared slider is one of the best-known turtles that is considered as a pet by several hobbyists. This medium-sized turtle is a freshwater terrapin that is native to the Mississippi River Basin of North America. It was named after the red stripe behind its eye, as well as its habit of sliding off rocks or logs into the water when it is disturbed. It has a dark green oval shell. The rest of its head and legs are dark with yellow stripes.

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.

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.

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. Here’s a story that tells about a 78-year old red-eared slider that went missing from a kiddie pool in the yard of 83-year-old Maryland resident.

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.

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

1. Turtle Food by Good Reptile Food

This maintenance food by Good Reptile is specially formulated to meet the dietary requirements of adult aquatic turtles. It floats on water, which makes it easier for your pet to eat and leaves less waste in your pet’s tank. This bulk pack weighs approximately 6 pounds.

2. Zoo Med Natural Turtle Food

This natural aquatic turtle food is available in 3 pellet sizes and protein levels (Hatchling, Growth, as well as Maintenance Formulas). Each has been formulated and mixed to meet the dietary requirements of aquatic turtles at each of their life stages. The Hatchling formula is made to contain higher protein contents to accommodate the rapid growth rates of hatchling and juveniles. The Growth and Maintenance formulas, on the other hand, are formulated to meet the dietary requirements of growing and adult aquatic turtles. These pellets float which makes them easier for aquatic turtles to locate their food and also leave less to no leftover on your turtle’s tank.

3. Mazuri Turtle Diet

This diet is specially formulated to provide the daily nutritional needs of freshwater turtles, including the red-eared slider. It is designed to meet the complete life cycle diet of these animals. If you provide this diet to your pet turtle, there is no need to provide additional vitamins or supplements to your turtle as the diet is formulated to provide everything that your pet will need to sustain its health.

4. Super Clean Wardley Premium Amphibian and Reptile Food Sticks

This nutritionally balanced floating stick diet is ideal for all aquatic reptiles (e.g. turtles, including the red-eared slider) and amphibians (e.g. frogs, newts). It is made with Calcium for healthy bones and Vitamin C for a healthier immune system.

5. Exo Terra Adult Turtle Food

This aquatic turtle food by Exo Terra is a carefully formulated balanced diet and is made with premium ingredients, vitamins, and minerals. Like all other pellet diets included in this list, this pellets float and make it easier for your turtle to eat its meal.

6. Hikari Saki Turtle Food

Hikari is a highly nutritious aquatic turtle food that contains vitamins, including selenium, vitamin d3, biotin, zinc, calcium, copper, folic acid, A, and E. It also contains other premium ingredients such as dried seaweed, oregano oil, cinnamon bark oil, garlic, and more. This is a highly nutritious feed that your turtle will surely love.

7. Zoo Med Sun-Dried Large Red Shrimp

This is an excellent high-quality, protein-rich diet that is ideal for large aquatic turtles, freshwater or marine aquarium fish and invertebrates. You can feed it as a staple food or an occasional treat to your turtle. Either way, this food will provide a nutritional boost to any feeding regimen.

8. Fluker’s Turtle Diet

This floating aquatic reptile food provides a complete diet for freshwater turtles, including the red-eared sliders, map turtles, softshell turtles, musk turtles, as well as mud turtles. It contains proteins, nutrients, and vitamins that will give your pet that vibrant color, lively behavior, and healthy growth. Includes calcium to help support healthy shell growth in turtles. Many pet owners testify their pets love the taste of this food. For sure your turtle will also love this meal.

9. ReptoMin Floating Food Sticks for Turtles

The ReptoMin Floating Food Sticks is a long-standing favorite of both breeders and turtle owners. It is formulated with vitamins, such as calcium and protein that your pet turtle needs for optimum growth. This turtle and other amphibian food comes in a variety of package sizes: 2.5-Liter,
3.7-Ounce, 375 ml, 10.59-Ounce, and 6.83 lbs, 10L.

10. Fluker’s Turtle Buffet Blend Food

This Buffet Blend for Aquatic Turtles is a mixture of vitamin fortified pellets, freeze-dried river shrimp, and freeze-dried mealworms. A serving of this blend ensures that your pet will receive the proper balance of essential protein, fat, vitamins and minerals that it needs for proper physical development and optimum health.

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.


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. Watch out for more.