The use of feeder fish for pet turtles (or other pets such as fish) is somewhat controversial. It is both encouraged and discouraged for several valid, not so valid, and even made-up reasons.
Some of the reasons for using / not using feeder fish include their nutritional value, health risks, hunting stimulation and exercise factors, cost, cruelty, pet store conditions for feeders, thiaminase and goldfish / rosy reds / fathead minnows, large bony pieces, and others.
Where do you stand on this topic?
Do you give your pet turtles feeder fish? If so, what kind?
Do you not feed your turtles feeder fish? Why?
Let us know in the poll below.
Based on 173 votes at the time of this writing, the following are the survey results for the question “Do you use feeder fish for your pet turtles?” This is a review of the answers provided (note: all percentages provided have been rounded up).
Respondents that do use feeder fish (as a percent of all respondents) answered:
- 23% goldfish
- 17% minnows / rosy reds / fatheads
- 14% guppies
- 3% platies
- 6% other kinds of feeder fish
Respondents that do NOT use feeder fish (as a percent of all respondents) said that they do not because:
- 7% it’s cruel
- 4% due to health / nutrition reasons
- 3% some other reason/s
- 20% have never tried feeder fish
I also provided an “other” choice for the question, which received 8% of votes. I’ve no clue what the people who said “other” means, since the question is plainly straightforward “Do you use feeder fish for your pet turtles?” and the answer is either yes or no. If you answered “other”, please let me know what you mean in the comments section here.
It’s disheartening to read that almost half of respondents (40%) use feeder goldfish / minnows / rosy reds / fatheads. There is plenty of information out there (such as this: Thiaminase – what it is, why you care) about why they are not a good choice for a feeder fish in that they contain thiaminase, which is detrimental to a pet turtle’s health – unless of course feeder fish is a rare treat and not a diet staple – then a rare small amount is ok. Also, much has been said online (look up any pet turtle forum) about the spiny fins / bones of goldfish and how they are potentially hazardous as they may do damage to a turtles innards as it swallows them. Of course, I haven’t had any confirmation of this ever happening, but better safe than sorry. Also, feeder goldfish / minnows / rosy reds / fatheads are undoubtedly the most commonly available type of feeder fish available, which positively has a huge impact on why their use is so high.
Survey respondents that do not use feeder fish due to health / nutrition reasons, it being a cruel practice, and other are the minority at 14%. Health reasons are an important factor that should not be overlooked. Be sure to feed healthy, parasite/bacteria free feeder fish. Anything unhealthy that a feeder has will be eaten and digested by a pet turtle, so do please use caution.
So, do you use feeder fish for your pet turtles? Want to put your vote in? Let us know if you do or don’t use feeder fish for pet turtles.