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Homemade Aquatic Turtle Food Recipe

I have aquatic turtles, and I prefer to feed them non-commercial food as little as possible. Here's what I like to feed them!

Homemade DIY turtle food recipe

Homemade DIY turtle food recipe

Make Turtle Food at Home: Easy DIY Turtle Food Recipe

I prefer to feed my turtles non-commercial food, or at the least, do so as little as possible. A healthy turtle is an active and happy turtle. Using a blender, fresh foods, and a reptile-based gelatin powder, you can create your own concoction. This recipe is more of a guide, as the possibilities and combinations of foods are endless.

Ready? It is really easy; be prepared to be blown away.


  • Reptile gelatin, available at most pet stores.
  • Fruits of your choice; you can use apples, raspberries and strawberries; many melons are liked and bananas as well. You can also feed them the occasional handful of grapes, though this should be done sparingly since they are high in sugar and not too nutritious.
  • Vegetables of your choice; you can use any dark leafy greens such as bok choy, leaf lettuce, endive and kale, zucchini, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, and sometimes squash or pumpkin.
  • Cooked chicken, beef, or turkey. You can also try fresh worms. Use cooked meats only occasionally—it's better for your turtles to eat live prey in their tank more often than not.


  1. Using a blender or knife, pulse or chop your chosen fruits and vegetables into very small pieces. It's a good idea to use a lot more greens than fruit. Grapes, cherry tomatoes, and strawberries can also be enjoyed whole by turtles, so you might want to save these items as special treats. You can also put water plants like duckweed in.
  2. Prepare the gelatin mix as instructed on the package. If you need stronger gelatin, use less liquid. Reptile gelatin has vitamins and nutrients in it, you do not need to add more.
  3. Mix the chopped vegetables, fruits, and choice of meat with the gelatin.
  4. Place mixture into ice cube trays, I use the mini-sized ones and not the large ones you commonly see. When I first started, I used fish-shaped ice cube trays, to add that extra little enticement.
  5. Freeze overnight in the freezer.
  6. Thaw and serve.

When I am introducing new foods, I will entice turtles with a bit of tuna water (a treat that should be used occasionally), but otherwise, my 'food cubes' are mainly dark leafy greens with broccoli, zucchini, and carrot added. I keep live food in their tank, so for me, I do not have to include protein or meat.

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Read More From Pethelpful

Do turtles need special foods?

The biggest pro of being able to customize your food for your pet aquatic turtle is that you can introduce foods they may not otherwise try, control the portion sizes, and increase nutrient values. The main goal for many people making their own food for their turtles is to maximize and utilize a variety of foods. My turtles will not eat zucchini, but they do eat zucchini in tuna-flavoured cubes. Sshhh . . . don't tell.

Because I feed my pet turtles a lot of live foods, I do not overly worry about meat in my concoction, but as you will see, you can easily add protein to your mix or encourage the younger turtles with a little tuna water or worms.

Should you feed turtles meat?

Many recipes you find say to use beef heart. I am not a fan of that, although I do try to feed what I call natural foods. I like knowing my turtles are hunting their food and getting the added bonus of exercise. Some recipes will also call for separating the meat and vegetables, but I toss it all together. I never feed my turtles beef, chicken, or turkey because I keep live food in their tank. In this case, I do not have to include meat.

What not to feed turtles:

I have seen a few YouTube videos calling for red dye . . . don't do this!


This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

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