AllieKat1997

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Hello! I’m new to the turtle world (though not the tortoise world. I’ve had a tortoise for a year and a half just about and she’s fantastic) - so I decided to get a water turtle (next I’d love to get a box turtle but that’s later) anyway after my turtle came in (a common stinkpot musk turtle) well he was shy (no surprise for his species) and so I thought maybe a couple fish would make his environment more enriching (I know they’re solitary creatures and I know he doesn’t need a “friend” this was strictly for his comfort and I knew fully he could end up eating them), so I went to go buy some guppies, thinking if he ate them, well he’s a turtle but as a stinkpot he’s so freaking small I completely underestimated him thinking he surely would be unable... The pet store had no guppies so I got three (feeder) minnows for like 20 cents a piece. It was all great and fine until a couple days ago one vanished. Today we took the tank apart completely, checked every crevice, and the filter as well. No minnow. So now I’m wondering - are the minnows safe for him to eat? Are guppies (which I still plan to get unless otherwise advised against) not a good idea? There is so much misinformation and/or contradictory information out there I’m SO confused. One site said to not feed guppies, another said feed guppies, one said not to feed fish at all... any advice or information would be gladly appreciated. Should I get him a couple guppies? Shrimp? Snails? Should I just feed the pellets and forget live animals? I know I have to be careful not to over crowd his tank as well. As of now I have one slightly bigger than quarter-sized stinkpot turtle and two (feeder) minnows which are just an inch or so bigger than the guppies would’ve been. Thanks for any advice you might have. I just want to give my little guy (or girl; who knows haha!) the best life possible.
 

turtlesailor

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One time thing won’t hurt. If you want fish, I would buy a refuge tank and breed guppies or platys. That why your giving some fish but don’t have to worry spending more money on buying fish for the turtle tank. 😆
 

AllieKat1997

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One time thing won’t hurt. If you want fish, I would buy a refuge tank and breed guppies or platys. That why your giving some fish but don’t have to worry spending more money on buying fish for the turtle tank. 😆

Thanks so much! I looked onto it and I’ll be starting a guppy tank for my turtle. Appreciate the advice!
 

ZEROPILOT

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I don't feed "feeder" fish to other, larger fishes because the feeders, being raised as food are often full of parasites and diseases that can and do get passed on to the larger fish.
I can not say for a fact that they are safe for a water turtle....For the same reason.
Certainly. If you raise your own guppies in a clean aquarium with quality food, you can be much safer.
Water bugs, minnows, shrimp and snails are certainly more natural.
 

AllieKat1997

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I don't feed "feeder" fish to other, larger fishes because the feeders, being raised as food are often full of parasites and diseases that can and do get passed on to the larger fish.
I can not say for a fact that they are safe for a water turtle....For the same reason.
Certainly. If you raise your own guppies in a clean aquarium with quality food, you can be much safer.
Water bugs, minnows, shrimp and snails are certainly more natural.

Well they’re called minnows at petco. Like 20 cents each, technically feeder fish for reptiles. The worker said they don’t usually live too long. One has been eaten, one was snapped at today while I was watching my turtle and the fish twitched oddly after. Not sure if it was hurt or scared; I couldn’t see any marks on it. I’m going to get some guppies to bred for him and maybe a snail or shrimp occasionally as a “treat” for him. I definitely won’t buy feeder minnows/goldfish anymore. Thank you for the warning!
 
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This is the guide I usually follow, but I do agree about feeding fish and that they might contain parasites which is why I'm going to start breeding guppies soon!
 

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ZEROPILOT

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Well they’re called minnows at petco. Like 20 cents each, technically feeder fish for reptiles. The worker said they don’t usually live too long. One has been eaten, one was snapped at today while I was watching my turtle and the fish twitched oddly after. Not sure if it was hurt or scared; I couldn’t see any marks on it. I’m going to get some guppies to bred for him and maybe a snail or shrimp occasionally as a “treat” for him. I definitely won’t buy feeder minnows/goldfish anymore. Thank you for the warning!
The tip-off was the Pet shop person saying that they normally don't live long.
They arrive sickly.
I've got several generations of guppies (mosquito fish) in different water filled pots and tubs in my yard that I used to feed to my other fishes.
They couldn't be easier to keep and they reproduce like crazy.
 

Pastel Tortie

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When my three-striped mud turtles (Bold and Pinstripe) were little, they were really interested in live food, and for a long time, one of them (Pinstripe, I think) wouldn't eat anything that wasn't wriggling or formerly wriggling. Now that the girls are two years old and (gradually?) approaching 4 inches SCL, they have settled down and are quite content with the Hikari Sinking Carnivore Pellets. So just keep in mind that food preferences may change over time.

It's a good idea to try to get your turtle to eat at least a little bit of an appropriate commercial turtle diet to make sure it's getting the nutrients and trace elements it needs. Make sure it includes D3. Zoo Med Natural Aquatic Turtle Hatchling pellets and ReptoMin (ideally the ReptoMin Pro Juvenile Turtle formula if you can find it) are good options to start with. Also, when you start reading ingredient labels, you will notice that many fish foods and turtle foods contain the same ingredients. All of my turtles (muds, spotteds, and GCBT) find the Omega One cichlid pellets palatable.
 

Relic

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The tip-off was the Pet shop person saying that they normally don't live long.
They arrive sickly.
I've got several generations of guppies (mosquito fish) in different water filled pots and tubs in my yard that I used to feed to my other fishes.
They couldn't be easier to keep and they reproduce like crazy.
For some unknown reason, I developed the notion that I needed mosquito fish (Gambusia sp.) in my koi pond to eat mosquito larvae. So I went to a local creek, caught a dozen or so and dumped them in. They bred like water rabbits, and soon the pond was becoming overwhelmed with them. So I eventually removed them all - took weeks using special traps. But...I also had a large plastic barrel full of water, out in full sun, with water lilies growing in it, and it was becoming infested with mosquitoes. So I dumped a bunch of the gambusia into that barrel to handle the problem, and they cleaned it up mui pronto. The whole point to this rambling story...and I do have one...is the incredible toughness of this variety of fish. That water in the plastic barrel would routinely exceed 100 degrees in July and August (at the surface) and those darn fish just swam around in it like it was perfect. Never a death or any indication of discomfort. They are truly the Navy Seals of fishes...unappreciated until you need them, and then willing to go into hostile environments and do the job nobody else wants.
 

Pastel Tortie

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I think it was @Moozillion who brought the thiaminase (thiamine/B1 deficiency) issue to my attention. At the time, I had been feeding a good amount of dried red river shrimp to my mud turtles (since Pinstripe would eagerly eat it!). So... I got into the habit of looking for thiamine/B1 on the ingredient labels. Not all of them include it, but many do.
 

AllieKat1997

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When my three-striped mud turtles (Bold and Pinstripe) were little, they were really interested in live food, and for a long time, one of them (Pinstripe, I think) wouldn't eat anything that wasn't wriggling or formerly wriggling. Now that the girls are two years old and (gradually?) approaching 4 inches SCL, they have settled down and are quite content with the Hikari Sinking Carnivore Pellets. So just keep in mind that food preferences may change over time.

It's a good idea to try to get your turtle to eat at least a little bit of an appropriate commercial turtle diet to make sure it's getting the nutrients and trace elements it needs. Make sure it includes D3. Zoo Med Natural Aquatic Turtle Hatchling pellets and ReptoMin (ideally the ReptoMin Pro Juvenile Turtle formula if you can find it) are good options to start with. Also, when you start reading ingredient labels, you will notice that many fish foods and turtle foods contain the same ingredients. All of my turtles (muds, spotteds, and GCBT) find the Omega One cichlid pellets palatable.

oh yes I bought him food pellets before I ever bought him fish! I just thought he was extremely shy (natural for stinkpots) and that fish may make him more confident and if he eats them, well it’s natural, just the way of life. But no I feed him pellets morning and night. Though last night he had a midnight snack..... I’m pretty sure I’m done to one minnow....
 

AllieKat1997

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I think it was @Moozillion who brought the thiaminase (thiamine/B1 deficiency) issue to my attention. At the time, I had been feeding a good amount of dried red river shrimp to my mud turtles (since Pinstripe would eagerly eat it!). So... I got into the habit of looking for thiamine/B1 on the ingredient labels. Not all of them include it, but many do.

Yes I had no idea either, which is why when I decided (and realized) that, yes, he will eat fish that I should make sure he's eating the right fish! This forum was so so so helpful when I got my tortoise. I'm so glad there's a good community for water turtles as well!
 

Markw84

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The "minnows" you buy at pet stores for feeder fish are actually fathead minnows. They are a fish native to most all North America and are used extensively for stocking ponds with a good food baitfish to help the desired bass or bluegill thrive by giving a source of good food. The comment of they don't last long by the store employee, is that they are more in need of good water quality and aeration, so they often will die rather quickly in a tank that does not have great water quality. They are a great food for you turtle. I have them as part of the balance of my outdoor pond. When I first got them, I bought 40 from the pet store. (Some are orange colored and called "rosy minnows" to sell). We within 5 months I seriously had over 10,000 minnows in my pond. I would scoop a 12" net under one of my pond lights at night and could net 200 small minnows in one scoop! I promptly went down to a local fish farm and bought 20 young bluegill. Within another several months the minnow population was down to probably a few hundred and it has stayed that way for a few years now. Young minnows feed the bluegill and the turtles and the pond is in "balance"

I do also have gambusia - Mosquito fish in the pond. As stated above, they are also a great baitfish and good turtle food. However, the ones you buy from a pet store will normally not be true wild strains of Gambusia affinis as they have been rebred constantly for the pet trade. They are much less tolerant of water conditions and will often die out in the winter. I had the local Mosquito Abatement District come out and deliver FREE true wild mosquito fish to seed my pond. These are the hardy, wild strain that are extremely tolerant of amazingly poor water conditions and temperatures. These are what you want to get if you can, especially if to be used outdoors.

Both are good turtle food and a natural source of D3. I do use a good pellet as the primary diet and let my turtles eat if they can catch the fish. The fish will be easier for your turtle to catch in a tank. A sick or stressed new fish will be caught fairly easily. Once established and comfortable in the tank and fish will be much harder for your turtle to catch. I keep mosquito fish in all my turtle rearing tanks. I also put one or two plecostomas in there as well as they are great algae eaters to keep the glass way cleaner of algae! I can't use plecos in my pond as they would die in the winter cold water.

Fatheads are fast swimmers and tight schoolers constantly moving about the bottom portion of the pond. Mosquito fish are also schooling, but not tight and much more random in just wanting to stay together. They stay at the top of the water and around the edges of the pond. They are much more easily picked off if they venture too far into open water!
 

ZEROPILOT

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The "minnows" you buy at pet stores for feeder fish are actually fathead minnows. They are a fish native to most all North America and are used extensively for stocking ponds with a good food baitfish to help the desired bass or bluegill thrive by giving a source of good food. The comment of they don't last long by the store employee, is that they are more in need of good water quality and aeration, so they often will die rather quickly in a tank that does not have great water quality. They are a great food for you turtle. I have them as part of the balance of my outdoor pond. When I first got them, I bought 40 from the pet store. (Some are orange colored and called "rosy minnows" to sell). We within 5 months I seriously had over 10,000 minnows in my pond. I would scoop a 12" net under one of my pond lights at night and could net 200 small minnows in one scoop! I promptly went down to a local fish farm and bought 20 young bluegill. Within another several months the minnow population was down to probably a few hundred and it has stayed that way for a few years now. Young minnows feed the bluegill and the turtles and the pond is in "balance"

I do also have gambusia - Mosquito fish in the pond. As stated above, they are also a great baitfish and good turtle food. However, the ones you buy from a pet store will normally not be true wild strains of Gambusia affinis as they have been rebred constantly for the pet trade. They are much less tolerant of water conditions and will often die out in the winter. I had the local Mosquito Abatement District come out and deliver FREE true wild mosquito fish to seed my pond. These are the hardy, wild strain that are extremely tolerant of amazingly poor water conditions and temperatures. These are what you want to get if you can, especially if to be used outdoors.

Both are good turtle food and a natural source of D3. I do use a good pellet as the primary diet and let my turtles eat if they can catch the fish. The fish will be easier for your turtle to catch in a tank. A sick or stressed new fish will be caught fairly easily. Once established and comfortable in the tank and fish will be much harder for your turtle to catch. I keep mosquito fish in all my turtle rearing tanks. I also put one or two plecostomas in there as well as they are great algae eaters to keep the glass way cleaner of algae! I can't use plecos in my pond as they would die in the winter cold water.

Fatheads are fast swimmers and tight schoolers constantly moving about the bottom portion of the pond. Mosquito fish are also schooling, but not tight and much more random in just wanting to stay together. They stay at the top of the water and around the edges of the pond. They are much more easily picked off if they venture too far into open water!
Are the pink "Fatheads" referred to as "Rosey Reds"?
Those are the pet shop minnows that I've had issues with being very ill in the past.
 

turtlesailor

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I had rosy minnow bought from PetSmart years ago. They spawn more than my goldfish ever would. I went from 12 to maybe 500 population. If only I can keep guppies year long like that! But I don’t live in tropical climate.
 

AllieKat1997

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I had rosy minnow bought from PetSmart years ago. They spawn more than my goldfish ever would. I went from 12 to maybe 500 population. If only I can keep guppies year long like that! But I don’t live in tropical climate.

I’ll have mine inside the house with a heater. I don’t have a pond nor do I need one. I’ve read a lot about them and they should be fairly easy to raise hopefully. I told my mother and she said we actually had guppies when I was young and they ended up breeding LOL.
 

Markw84

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Are the pink "Fatheads" referred to as "Rosey Reds"?
Those are the pet shop minnows that I've had issues with being very ill in the past.
Yes those are the Rosey Reds sold in pet shops. Often by the time they are sold, they are so stressed and oxygen deprived, they just don't do well. I bought when they called to tell me they just got some fresh ones in.
 
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