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The dangers of using Goldfish and Rosy Red minnows as feeders

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Kristina

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Many pet shops and websites recommend purchasing "feeder" goldfish or fathead minnows (Rosy Reds) as feeders for aquatic turtles. These are actually the two absolute worst choices for feeders, read on to find out why.

Not only are they very fatty and carry a lot of parasites,and are high in copper sulfate, but they also contain an enzyme called thiaminase that blocks thiamine absorption in the predator (a.k.a, your turtle.) Over time, this creates a thiamine deficiency in the turtle, and can lead to neurological problems and even death.

Fathead minnows, AKA Rosy Reds, are also a danger for this reason. I would not under any circumstances keep goldfish in the same tank with any of my aquatic turtles. They will catch and eat them eventually.

I buy chub minnows from the bait store for $1 a dozen to feed to my turtles. There is the possibility of parasite transfer from farmed or wild caught minnows, but in a healthy turtle it should not create a problem, and if you have regular fecal exams and wormings done, even better. For non-living fish foods, you can offer catfish nuggets, salmon, or mackerel. My aquatic turtles also like scallops.

Offering minnows does have benefits for turtles. It gives them something to chase and think about and provides good mental and physical exercise. Although, if your turtle is anything like my Reeve's, you will end up having to REMOVE minnows because your original 7 has turned into 24 with no sign of them stopping breeding or of the turtle ever eating one ;)
 

Saloli

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I just wanted to point something out thiaminase brakes thiamin it is an enzyme. Oh an salmon also is high in thiaminase. Some good feeders are live bearers (mosuitofish, guppies, platies, mollies), killie fish (mummichugs, and relatives), sunfish, silveresides. Chubs I would also avoid because they are minnows. Cichlids also make good feeders.
 
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