Axolotls are gentle charismatic salamanders that are easy to keep as pets because they have minimal requirements. All they need is clean pristine water and an appropriate diet. Pet axolotls can eat several types of foods.
A good diet promotes the health of your pet axolotl. However, axolotls can be messy eaters depending on what they eat. Which is why you may need to invest in a good water filter.
What food do Axolotls eat in the wild?
Axolotls are carnivorous salamanders that rely entirely on meat based diets. In the wild Axolotls eat a wide variety of animals including.
- Insect larvae
- Small fish
- Other small amphibians
What food can pet Axolotls eat?
You should feed pet axolotl on a diet that is as close as possible to their diet in the wild. Since axolotls are carnivorous, they require meat based diets.
Axolotl food is easily available in pet stores and online market platforms such as Amazon.
Recently hatched Axolotls feed on live prey only as they are stimulated by prey movement to eat. Live food is therefore the best option for owners with newly hatched Axolotls.
New hatch-lings should not be fed until after 24 hours. This is because they will still be feeding on the egg sac.
There are three categories of foods that you can feed to Axolotls.
- Live food
- Commercial Pellets
- Frozen foods
What live food do Axolotls eat?
Several live foods have been used by different Axolotl owners including.
Worms make good food for Axolotls for a number of reasons.
The first reason is that they provide for all the nutritional needs of your Axolotl.
Secondly worms can be fed to both Adult and Juvenile Axolotls therefore you cannot go wrong with them.
Lastly, worms are easily available in pet stores. Additionally, some live worms may also be available online.
The most common worms used by Axolotl owners to feed their axolotls include.
- Earthworms – This is the ultimate staple food for Axolotls. They are easily available in pet stores and can be fed to both adult and juvenile Axolotls.
- Night crawlers – They are very large and may need to be cut up before being fed to Axolotls. They may not be suitable for new hatch-lings due to their large size.
- Red wrigglers – Red wrigglers are water worms and do not die if left in water. They are smaller than night crawlers. These are good for feeding Adult Axolotls. They are easily available in pet stores and can be found on online platforms. They however secrete a bitter substance that may make Axolotls refuse to eat them.
- Blood worms – These are insect larvae of the midge fly. They are small in size and good for feeding juvenile Axolotls. They are nutritious and loved by all Axolotls.
- Black worms – They are small in size hence good for feeding Juvenile Axolotls. They may contain parasites that could affect Axolotls. Wash them before feeding them to your Axolotl.
- White worms – These are commonly used to feed juvenile Axolotls. They tend to be very fatty. They should be fed as treats or temporary food.
Be careful when using water based live worms such as blood worms, black worms and white worms. They may be a source of disease to your Axolotl. Make sure that you use those obtained from fish free waters.
When feeding your Axolotl with live worms make sure to clean the worm beforehand. These contain dirt that could make your Axolotl sick.
Daphnia are small freshwater crustaceans. They are a good source of food for recently hatched Axolotls. Adult Axolotls may not notice them as they are too small.
Home grown daphnia are safe and inexpensive. They stay alive in water therefore will not change water properties if uneaten.
Daphnia caught in the wild may pose health risk for your Axolotl. We therefore do not recommend using wild caught daphnia.
Some Axolotls owners use small feeder fish to feed their Axolotls. Feeder fish are nutritious however their bones can cause blockage in Axolotls. Feeder fish may also be a source of disease for Axolotls. Be careful where you source them.
Wash feeder fish with tap water before feeding them to Axolotls. They may contain bacteria that can affect your Axolotls.
I would recommend you avoid them as you can never be too sure about their safety.
Commercial pellets for Axolotl
Commercial pellets provide a complete diet for axolotls. They are easy to use and axolotls love them. This is why commercial pellets are preferred by many Axolotl owners.
You can find several types of pellets that can be fed to Axolotls in pet stores and online market pet stores such as Amazon.
When choosing commercial pellets for axolotls, consider the following factors.
- The expiry date – confirm the expiry date of the pellets because expired pellets may be toxic to your Axolotl.
- Ingredients – Axolotls require meat based diets. Make sure that you purchase pellets made from meaty sources. Avoid pellets made using meat based flavors.
- The content – The nutritional requirement of Axolotl are protein content of between 40% – 60% and 20% fat content. We recommend any pellet with 40% protein content or above.
We recommend using sinking pellets to feed axolotls. This is because axolotls love spending most of their time underwater. Sinking pellets or pellets for bottom feeders are therefore suitable for axolotls.
Growing or juvenile axolotls have very small mouths. An axolotl will feed on anything that will fit on its mouth. Therefore, if you have juvenile or growing axolotls, choose small pellets that can easily sink.
Types of commercial pellets that pet axolotls eat
There are 3 categories of commercial pellets that can be used to feed pet axolotls.
- Salmon pellets
- Shrimp pellets
- Other pellets
Salmon pellets for axolotls
Salmon pellets are soft, moist and tasty. They are rich in proteins and essential vitamins and therefore provide a complete diet to axolotls. Salmon pellets are easily available in many pet stores. They come if form of cubes that are easy to feed to axolotls.
We recommend using salmon pellets to supplement worm diets. Additionally, salmon pellets are good for use with pet sitters.
There are several salmon pellets that you can use including.
- Hikari tropical sinking carnivore pellets
- Invert aquatic soft pellets for axolotls
- Aquatic foods salmon pellets
Shrimp pellets for axolotls
Shrimp pellets have a high protein content and are rich sources of vitamin A, E and D as well as folic acid. They therefore are ideal for use as axolotl food.
We recommend using soft, moist shrimp pellets designed for bottom feeders such as.
When feeding commercial pellets ensure that you remove any uneaten pellets within 24 hours as they may make the water to become cloudy.
For more detailed review of commercial pellets for axolotls read this separate article on axolotl pellets
What frozen food can Axolotls eat?
Frozen meals are another good alternative you can use to feed Axolotls.
There are a number of frozen foods that axolotls can eat including.
- Brine shrimp – Brine shrimp are very nutritious. Frozen brine shrimp comes in the form of cubes. They are however messy and tend to float. They also leave behind a slimy substance that can clog your aquarium. Remove any waste left over after the meal.
- Blood worms – Freeze dried blood worms are easily available in pet shops and online platform. They are nutritious for your Axolotl although may they leave behind organisms that can clog the aquarium. Clean the water after a meal to remove any leftover waste. Be careful when feeding as the blood worms can get stuck in the Axolotl gills and drown them.
- Earthworms – Frozen earthworm are nutritious for your Axolotl. They however tend to get mushy when thawed.
- Repashy grub pie – Grub pie is bug powder turned into jelly. It is designed for reptiles although some Axolotl owners use it to feed their Axolotl. It is highly nutritious. Cut it into small pieces then lower in front of the Axolotl. Clean any uneaten grub pie as the jelly tends to disintegrate in water after some times.
- Others – There are several other frozen foods that have been used by Axolotl owners to feed Axolotls such as chicken and beef broths. These should be fed as treats occasionally.
Keeping a healthy Axolotl depends on the having a good feeding regiment. Axolotls spend most of their time underwater. They prefer to dig for worms in the sand or hide in plants to wait for potential prey. They are not good hunters and may abandon food that is difficult to catch.
Pet axolotls can be fed on a wide variety of foods. Axolotl food is divided into 3 categories.
- Live food such as live worms, daphnia and feeder fish
- Pellets which can either be small pellets or sinking pellets
- Frozen foods such as brine shrimp, frozen blood worm, frozen earthworms, grub pies and others.
We recommend feeding Axolotls on a diet of live worms such as earthworms and night crawlers as the staple food. For Axolotls 6 inches or above you can easily feed them on sinking pellets.
You can use frozen foods as treats. All pets love an occasional treat.
FAQs on axolotl
How do Axolotls eat?
Axolotls have underdeveloped teeth. They feed primarily by sucking.
Their teeth are designed to grip on food. Therefore, Axolotls feed only on anything that fits in their mouth. They do not chew their food but swallow them whole.
But what motivates them to eat?
The movement of live foods such as worms motivates Axolotls to snap and eat.
Adult Axolotls can eat both live and dead food. Newly hatched Axolotls are only stimulated by movement thus only feed on live food.