What do axolotls eat?
As pets, the axolotls are generally fed with pellets (salmon pellets) and live or frozen worms (earth and mud worms), pieces of beef hearts when they are recovering and pieces of freshwater fish if they want to please them.
In the wild, the axolotls eat almost everything that passes in front of them and can swallow it; small fish, freshwater insects, small shrimps and even other axolotls.
Let’s see all this in a little more detail because their food will also vary according to their age and their health condition especially when they live in a fish tank.
How many times a day should I feed an Axolotl?
The rule when you feed an Axolotl is to feed it until it regurgitates and can’t take it anymore ! never leave it hungry ! and never leave food in the water once it is no longer hungry, you will also risk polluting the water in the Tank.
The meals of the Axolotls are more and more spaced in time as these animals get older.
- An Axolotls of less than 5 cm will be fed up to 4 times a day.
- An Axolotl of less than 10 to 15 cm must eat 3 to 5 times a week.
- An Axolotl of more than 15 cm can be fed 2 to 3 times a week, even only once for individuals of more than 20 cm.
What do Axolotls eat on the day they hatch?
The Yolk sac :
When they pierce the membrane of their egg, the axolotls have their mouth completely closed and live only from their yolk sac, look below their belly, you will see a bag full of a kind of white nutritive substance.
This pouch will feed them during the first 48 hours of their life. after exhaustion of their yolk sac, and while waiting to be able to attack small larvae, the axolotls can also eat algae, waste and remains of trout and salmon that the current will carry towards them.
What do axolotl larvae eat after they have exhausted their yolk sac and during their first month?
But from the third day of their hatching, the axolotl larvae or baby axolotls will start to hunt if they are in their natural environment or will be fed with fresh water insects that they can swallow, the most commonly used are the Artemia Nauplias.
The axolotl breeders know well that the baby axolotls eat only live insects, only the food in movement interests them because the insects trigger their voracious hunting instinct.
It is therefore necessary to breed Artemia, for example, in order to supply them with live prey at least three to four times a day during their first month of existence.
What do Axolotls eat from their second month on?
This is the time to start feeding your little Axolotls with mud worms, which should now reach a little more than 2 cm, the front legs will start to emerge as well.
You can also start to introduce small pellets to your small axolotls, these pellets are usually rich and complete and its composed of fish, shrimp, natural fibers and vitamin supplements.
You will continue to feed them until they reach 4 to 5 cm and then you will start feeding them small pieces of freshwater fish such as trout and perch (fresh or frozen), be careful to remove the bones.
Make sure you give them bigger and bigger worms each time they grow up so they can attack them and swallow them.
Do the same for the size of the pellets you give to your axolotls :
- Axolotls of less than 7 cm, give pellets of less than 1.5 mm in diameter and if you can’t find any, crumble the biggest ones.
- Axolotls of less than 15 cm: give pellets of size M of 3 mm
- Adult Axolotls over 18 cm: give XL size pellets over 4 mm in diameter
Small live fish to feed the axolotls
The axolotls can also be fed occasionally with small live fish, freshwater of course, you can make a small breeding in another aquarium just to feed your axolotls if not, you can find them in pet stores I think.
Here are some species that you can introduce in the Tank of your axolotls to hunt and feed them :
- The Guppy
- The Endler
- The Zebra Fish
- The Cardinal Fish
- The Tanichthys Albonube
It is a practical solution also if you are going to be away for a while, your Axolotls will hunt these small fishes to eat them in your absence.
Red meat for an axolotl in convalescence:
If your axolotl has just been treated for a disease, or has lost a limb and you want to speed up its regeneration, you can give it small pieces of beef or poultry heart, even muscle meat or river mussels.Avoid fat.
The nutritional value of axolotl food
Here is a table that summarizes the nutritional values of the types of food that are generally given to axolotls.
|Food||Protein(% Dry Weight)||Fat(% Dry Weight)||Calcium(% Dry Weight)||Phosphorus(% Dry Weight)||Ca/P|
|Raw Beef heart||77||20||0.03||0.93||0.03|
As you can see, the beef heart is the richest in proteins and phosphorus, but also in fat !
Don’t get soaked, you should give some to your axolotl only very rarely, if it is wounded for example or it seems a little thin because the beef heart would be long (7 days) to digest by your axolotl and could even cause a digestive problem to young Axies.
The Ca/p Ratio
The Calcium/Phosphorus ratio is very important and must at least be above 1 (>1), in this case, it is well known that the axolotl’s food does not lack phosphorus, and if this ratio is less than 1, it will in fact be necessary to try to add a supplement in order to balance it.Earthworms are the best choice in this table, followed by bloodworms.
If you have access to a freshwater stream that is not polluted, know that you can always bring treats to your axolotl, such as small fish, fry, insect larvae, tadpoles, worms, small shrimp and other small freshwater crustaceans.
If not the food for axolotls is available in pet stores, especially earthworms and pellets, if not I put a link to Amazon at the top if you want to order the pellets I recommended.