Skip to Content

Can Fish Eat Turtle Food? (Explained)

There are many similarities in food habits between turtles and fishes. But they are not the same. So, can fish food be replaced by turtle food? Keep reading to find out.

Can fish eat turtle food?

Yes, fish can eat turtle food without any problem but not for long. Although they have similar food habits, both species have different nutritional requirements. So, feeding fish with turtle food or vice versa can cause a nutritional imbalance in them.

If you run out of fish food, you can feed your fish with turtle food for a few days without any problem. But people mostly ask this question for a different reason. 

Those who keep fish with turtles, the fish eat most of the turtle food before the turtle can reach. This is a sticky situation. 

To solve this, you can feed the fish first and then feed the turtle. Even if fish eat a small amount of turtle food every day, it will not cause any harm.

But if you feed turtle food as the main food source for your fish, it can create some problems.

Fish food contains 25-35% protein while turtle food has 40-50% protein. Feeding food with high protein will not hurt your fish but it’s not so healthy for them.

There are many nutritional differences between a turtle and fish food. Feeding fish with high protein will not cause any problem for a few days but it’s not good for the long run.

Turtle food has much more protein because baby turtles need a high-protein diet for their growth. As they grow up, they need less protein and eat more vegetables.

Similarly, baby fish need more protein food. But all fish need a balanced amount of protein at every stage of their life.

Even, every fish species needs a bit different type and amount of nutrients than others. So it’s better to buy specific fish food for every fish for their optimum growth.

For example, if you have a guppy, you should buy guppy food from the aquatic pet shop. However, it is not a must-do thing.

Fish can live a few weeks without food depending on the species. So if your fish food runs out, you can skip feeding one or two days without feeding them.

But, it’s not recommended if you have other choices. If you have turtle food, you can feed them a few times before buying fish food. 

But remember, if you have fish fries, don’t skip any feeding. They need to eat frequently as their metabolism runs faster.

There are lots of alternative homemade food options you can feed your fish. We will discuss it in the letter part of this article.

Betta fish: 

Betta fish can eat turtle food for a bit longer than other fish. But quality turtle pallets should be provided to them. Turtle fish food has high protein content. And betta needs higher protein foods for their growth. This is related to their natural food habit. 

Betta fish are carnivores, which means they eat live insects, larvae, and worms. 

So, turtle fish can be a temporary replacement for a betta. But we will recommend not to feed them for more than a week.

Koi fish:

Koi fish can eat turtle food but it can’t be replaced with their permanent food. Koi needs about 30-40% protein diet in their regular food. 

Turtle food contains a similar protein value but there is still some difference in types and amount of micro and macronutrients. So, don’t feed your koi turtle pellets regularly.

Koi fish will eat anything, they are not completely dependent on protein-based food. 

They eat insects, plants, fruits, algae, seeds, and almost everything that fits into their mouth.


Goldfish can eat turtle food but it’s not wise to feed them turtle food regularly. Different species need different nutrients for their best growth.

Many quality goldfish food brands can fulfill the nutritional requirements for goldfish. Feed one of those as the regular food for them.

Goldfish need vitamin A, D, and other micronutrients to grow faster and stay healthy.

Guppy fish:

Guppies can eat turtle food for a week or so without any problem. But feeding them for a longer time may make them fat. Fat female guppies can expire while giving birth. So, make sure to feed them wisely. 

Though guppies are hardy fish, they have separate nutritional requirements like most other fishes. So, turtle pallets for a long time can have an indirect effect on their health.


Cichlids can not eat turtle food as they are herbivores. Protein-rich foods can cause digestive problems in cichlids. 

Moreover, cichlids are more sensitive than other popular fish, so it’s better not to change their comfortable food habits and setups.

Oscar fish:

Oscar fish can eat turtle food but don’t make it regular. Oscar fish are carnivorous. They may get good protein from turtle pallets, but their overall nutrition is not balanced.

Oscars are another sensitive fish species. Only experienced fish keepers should keep it as a small change in water quality, temperature, and nutrition can have a bad effect on them.

Baby fish:

Some baby fish may do well with turtle food, but it’s safe to avoid feeding them turtle food or any other experimental food without proper knowledge.

Baby fish need high protein food, and they are sensitive to bad water and food. It is easy to get their eating capabilities wrong while trying different food.

Feeder fish:

You can feed your feeder fish with turtle food as they will grow faster and become food for your monster fish.

Tropical fish:

Yes, tropical fish can eat turtle foods, but turtle pallets can’t be a permanent replacement for their primary food.

What happens if a fish eats turtle food?

Most of the time it will not harm initially. But there are some problems with feeding fish with turtle food. The nutrients are not balanced.

Turtle food contains high amounts of calcium, but fish food needs a little amount of calcium. Turtles need vitamin A and D most, but fish require vitamin A, C, D, E, and K. 

Turtle food has 10-20% more protein than fish food. Some fish may have complications because of that.

So, you can see, there are big differences in fish and turtle foods, so they can not be interchangeable for long if you want to be on the safe side.

Is turtle food good for fish?

Turtle foods are not good for fish in the long term. Here’s why,


Some turtle food may contain some parasites that turtles can deal with easily but fish may not be able to survive that.

High protein:

Turtle food has high protein that can be harmful to some fishes. They have more protein than most fish require.

Nutritional lackings:

Turtle food and fish food have different nutritions in them. Food that is made for one species can not be a perfect fit for another.

What is turtle food made of?

Turtle food is made of high-quality protein that contains low fat. Many food companies use shrimp as a protein source. The food also contains vegetables, fiber sources, carbohydrate sources, etc. 

Various types of nutrients, micronutrients, and essential amino acids are also added to turtle food. Different companies prepare with different ingredients.

Always buy quality food from a reliable shop and don’t forget to check the ingredients list.

What can fish eat instead of fish food?

Fish food can be replaced by many things that you can find easily. But don’t rely on those foods for too long. Here is the list,

Boiled egg yolk:

Boiled egg yolk can be good food for your fish, especially baby fish. But it can reduce the water quality quickly.

Live foods:

Live worms such as mosquito worms, sea monkeys, daphnia, and tubifex are better than pallet food. But, don’t feed them regularly as they can cause internal parasites.


Vegetables are a good replacement for fish food once a week. It enhances the digestive power of fish. Provide boiled pea, cucumber, papaya, etc. 

Beef liver:

Boiled beef liver is a good source of essential protein and amino acids for fish. But it also can reduce the water quality so don’t overfeed.

Homemade fish food:

You can feed your fish with homemade fish food for a longer time. Here is the process.

First boil different vegetables, shrimp, white fish meat, etc. Mix some water and blend the ingredients. After blending, pour it into ice cube trays and freeze. Use them when needed.

Final thoughts

For most fish, feeding turtle food for a day or two will not cause any problem. But turtle pallets can’t be a permanent food for them as fish need different nutrients from turtles. But don’t worry if some of your fish munch some food while feeding your turtle.