14 reasons why your axolotl won’t eat

M Samy pet blogger and author at famillypet

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Hey! M. Samy here , Welcome to my Blog I'm an animal lover, especially pets and Really concerned about their well being ; I've been around and caring for all my life and Now ; a full-time Pet blogger at your service . My motto here at Famillypet is: "Pets First" ... Read More

14 reasons why your axolotl won’t eat 

my axolotl won't eat , what to do ?

The main reasons why an axolotl will stop feeding are either an inadequate food , a change of tank, a tank water that is too turbulent , hot or too polluted , stress because of an aggressive tank mate , an intestinal obstruction and finally the arrival of winter .


You should always consult a veterinarian if you suspect that your axolotl is sick , I will give some advice here but the last word would be that of your veterinarian.

Let’s continue…

1 – A new habitat ( New Tank Syndrome )

10 reasons why your axolotl won't eat

This is the N° Onereason of the 10 reasons why your axolotl won’t eat . Some axolotls refuse to feed, sometimes throughout the first week when they change location.

If you have just bought your axolotl, give it a little time to get used to its new environment, to its new tank companion perhaps, come back to see the breeder and ask him for advice and ask if he has not noticed that this axolotl has stopped eating long before he sells it to you, in this case, it would be one of the other reasons that will follow.

2 – The arrival of winter

Your axolotl will now just lengthen the time between one meal and another.

If your axolotl is an adult, it could be that during the winter, when temperatures drop and you have not heated the room or exposed your axolotl’s tank, which could be understandable, then the metabolism of your axolotl will slow down and the number of meals per week will also decrease.

3 – Water that is too hot (Overheating)

why my axolotl won't eat

Contrary to the previous reason, if the water temperature of your axolotl rises and remains for several days above 22°C, your axolotl usually acting normally ( normal activity )   will surely stress and may refuse to feed; therefore check the water temperature and make sure it remains between 16°C and 18°C, it should not exceed 23°C especially for a long time !

4 – Tank water too degraded and of poor quality

Your Axie may be refusing to eat because of the quality of his water, which may have deteriorated. Your filter may be too dirty or it may not work without your attention, which could cause water quality to deteriorate, too high a level of nitrite, nitrate and ammonia will make the water unbearable for your axolotl. 

The ideal levels are :

  • Ammonia should be at 0 ppm
  • Nitrite should be maintained below 0.75 ppm
  • Acceptable Nitrates Level : from 20 to 60 ppm are acceptable .

5 – A food not to his taste!

Your axolotl doesn’t want to eat any more because of the bad quality of the food you give it . badly preserved worms or spoiled pellets ,

It could also be the size of the food which could be too large for your axolotl to swallow !

See my other article on how to feed your axolotl for more info on this topic

6 – A too aggressive Tank companion 

You may not have paid attention but your axolotl refuses to eat because it is being attacked by its tank mate, so check if it is not injured, which would be a sign that it is being attacked by his tank mate and he prefers to stay in his shelter instead of exposing himself to danger and get a limb or a piece of gill.

7- An intestinal occlusion 

reasons why an axolotl may refuse its food

Your axolotl may not eat because of constipation, which can occur in young axolotls, when they are not yet used to pellets, and have not yet developed an adequate intestinal flora. A visit to the veterinarian will solve this problem with a treatment based on kerosene oil.

8- A cycle of Nitrogen not complete !

You may have been in too much of a hurry to bring your axolotls back when your aquarium has not yet completed its nitrogen cycle !

The water may be saturated with nitrates and the axolotl can’t eat anymore and it could also be that he vomits his food when he forces himself to swallow some.

Test the water in the tank and make sure it has completed its nitrogen cycle.

9- Your Axolotl has swallowed a gravel (impaction )

He won’t eat If your Axolotl swallowed a gravel that got stuck in her intestine, there is not much to do, some recommend putting it in the refrigerator, he may vomit and reject it! others say it is good to give him (make him drink) a little beaver oil! ! but personally, I just advise you to lower the water temperature to just over 14 °C to slow down the bacterial activity in his intestine and avoid the production of Gas that would make your axolotl float and stress him even more !!

If this has already happened, reduce the water level so that your axolotl can rest on at least one of the decors.

10- A filter that is too powerful 

Your axolotl refuses to eat because the water is too turbulent and causes stress. The tank of your axolotl needs a powerful filter, but you may be using the wrong model, it may create a strong current in the water and it is not ideal for an axolotl that hates swirling and loves calm water.

I advise you to install a sponge filter for the tank of your axolotl, they are powerful without creating too much eddies or currents in the tank.

11- Your Axolotl is not hungry ( Over-feeding)

If your axolotl refuses to eat even though its water is good, its food is what it likes and it doesn’t suffer from any disease, the cause may be because you are giving it much more food than it can eat!

One nightcrawler a day, sometimes even every other day is usually enough for an average sized axolotl.

Avoid throwing too much food into the tank, and monitor your axolotl to understand how often it is feeding so you can adjust the amount of food you give it.

Let him fast for one or two days and give him an earthworm or a nightcrawler and if he still refuses to eat take him to the vet or check his tank to find out why he refuses to eat, beware of the risk of anorexia.

Be aware that a middle-aged axolotl may eat only once every three days, or even more for the older ones.

12- Your axolotl refuses to eat because of harmful bacteria or parasites (intestinal):

An axolotl suffering from Septicemia (because of aeromonas and pseudomonas), will for example lose its appetite. There is also the parasite Opalina , Camallanus Worms

If you feed your axolotl with live food (or unsterilized plants), and if it has contracted internal Hexamita, it will have a hard time keeping a balanced weight and you will see it become skinny and this could make you believe that it is not eating enough.

Only a vet’s test can confirm if your axolotl has parasites that have caused it to lose its appetite, so take a sample of its stools and go see the vet.

13- A stressed axolotl will not feed

Stress is another reason that can cause your axolotl to fast. The reasons for stress can be many, but the symptoms are usually an axolotl that refuses to eat or that eats but will quickly vomit and regurgitate its food.

It will also spend a lot of time hiding in its shelter or in a corner of the tank, or maybe the opposite, it will swim wildly and wander around the tank but in a random and fast way.

The quality of the water can also stress your axolotl or even its tank mate or fish that you have introduced in the tank and that attack its gills…etc

14-Bloated Axolotl won’t eat :

The other reason why your axolotl won’t touch his food even his favorite treats is if he has a swollen belly, which will compress his digestive tract and make it very difficult for him to digest and feed himself and will end up preferring not to eat because of the discomfort!

Water retention can be the cause and it is usually due to a dysfunction of the time of your axolotl. Only a veterinarian can confirm this diagnosis and it is useless to panic.

If on the other hand your axolotl is an adult female, and she has a swollen belly or abdomen, it is probably due to the eggs!

See if you can find a male axolotl to put in the tank, add some plants on which she will deposit her eggs after she is fertilized by the male, this will free her belly and she will quickly start to feed again

The deposit of the eggs can last up to three days.

Finally , I hope I have covered all the possible reasons why your axolotl may refuse food and in some cases regurgitate it.

If you know of other reasons, please share them with other axolotl lovers by leaving a comment. 

Thank you

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