What do axolotls eat ? [Full Guide 2021]

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What do axolotls eat?

how to feed an axolotl ?

Axolotls eat all they find in the water and can swallow it ; small ones eat Microworms, Baby brine shrimp, Daphnia, Mosquito larvae and Some underwater bugs , while grown axolotls are fed with Californian Blackworms, bloodworms , earthworms , pellets, Crustaceans , insects, prawns , raw meat and small freshwater fish like Guppies , white cloud minnows and Endlers.

First , What do axolotls eat in the wild ?

In the wild, axolotls eat almost everything that passes in front of them and can swallow it; small fish, freshwater insects, flies , frog eggs , water bugs and those that fall in the water , Ghost shrimp 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.

Can I change my axolotl’s diet?

First of all, know that you can train and accustom your axolotl to eat anything you want. All you have to do is to shake the food in front of his nose with tweezers, if not drop it right in front of his nose, you can let him get hungrier so that he accepts a new diet.

That’s why I recommend you to always favour and start with natural axolotl’s food like Nightcrawler worms or earth worms, red wigglers, pieces of meat of freshwater fish or even small fish and freshwater bug (after quarantine!) ….

Then move on to or add Hikari pellets to its diet if you want to vary it, you will find everything in detail on this guide how to feed an axolotl from its birth until it becomes an adult, more than 10 years for some axolotls …. Let’s dive in…

Note :

what do axolotls love to eat ? axolotl food

For those who landed on this article because they were looking for: what do axolotls eat in Minecraft? know that like real axolotls who love to eat small freshwater fish, axolotls in Minecraft eat tropical fish, multicolored fish, that you will collect with a bucket full of water, look for them in the warm ocean biomes.

let’s get back to real life now and continue talking about real axolotls and what they love to eat but also what they should never eat too….

How many times a day should I feed my 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 :

2020 09 20 20 29 46 2012 125.jpg 800×531 1

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 0.5 inches 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 1 inch 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 (  newly hatched brine shrimp ) , Nauplias , Small Daphnia ( don’t take them from nature , they could carry diseases ) , microworms as supplement (only live food ) .

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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 axolotl babies eat?

After about 3 weeks, the axolotls’ eggs will hatch and dozens of baby axolotls will be hungry after they have quickly emptied their food supply in their yolk-bag.

They are then exclusively fed once or twice a day with live food until they are about one inch old.

Among the things that the baby axolotls eat are :

  • Microworms
  • (BBS) Baby brine shrimp or Artemia.
  • Small Daphnia ( the best choice )

You can then from the second week of their life make a collection in water areas of :

  • Some underwater bugs ( freshwater tadpoles )
  • Mosquito larvae
  • White worms
  • California blackworms (Lumbriculus varigatus)

You can then after their front legs start to grow, give them frozen bloodworms from time to time and only move on to pellets and live whole bloodworms once your axolotls are big enough to swallow them (at least 3 inches).

What do Axolotls eat from their second month on?

what do a young axolotl eat ?

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, ghost shrimp, natural fibers and vitamin supplements.

Salmon Pellet for axolotls
Salmon pellet for axolotls

Hikari pellet For axolotls

I recommend ” Hikari pellets ” ( > 47% protein and <10% fat / )

These Hikari pellets do not hurt the axolotl because they are soft ( no risk of abcess )and they do not stain the water, give the formula “Carnivore”, for Axolotls of any size and “Massivore”, for Axolotls over 10 inches

These pellets are easy to divide into smaller pieces so that your axolotl can easily swallow them.

Other pellet for axolotls :

You can also use Aqueon Shrimp Pellets Fish Food, try to crumble them into small balls that will not exceed 1 mm so that the small axolotls can swallow them easily.

You can try Dried brine shrimp as well to feed your axolotl.

Try Salmon Pellet as well , here’s the ones I recommend :

Soft Moist Sinking Pellets for Axolotls, made with :Shrimp, Snails & Tropical Fish .

axolotl eating pellets

How to train your axolotl to eat pellets ?

If you plan to feed your axolotl with Hikari Sinking carnivore pellet or Rangen salmon pellets for example, be aware that at the beginning, it will not know that it is food!

Axolotls do not automatically eat what will fall to the bottom of the tank, so you must shake in front of their mouth with Aquarium tweezers for example, any dead food you want to give him. Hand-feeding them first !!

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When you shake the pellet in front of your axolotl’s mouth, it will release an odor into the water and this will encourage it to swallow it.

Slowly , your axolotl will get used to these Hikari pellets and you will only drop them down in front of him so that he will suck them up and eat them.

You will follow the same method for any other dead food, like fish flesh…etc

Axolotls are very fast and your fish will probably end up catching the pellets before they reach the tank bottom when you release them one by one right in front of his nose.

Precautions to take when giving pellets to your axolotl:

Start by choosing the right size of pellets (Hikari Massivore are for big axolotls ) , those that your axolotl will be able to swallow easily, otherwise, crush the ones you have if they are too large than his mouth!

Clear the substrate of all the small stones that your axolotl can suck by mistake while trying to swallow its pellets.

How many pellets should I feed my Axie ?

Adult axolotls can be fed once every two days, give him pellets until he doesn’t want them anymore!

Some adult axolotls can swallow a dozen pellets, so count how many your axolotl has eaten and next time, remove two pellets from the count.

Collect all the pellets that your axolotl has not swallowed within two hours of their introduction into the tank to avoid polluting the tank water.

Keep feeding your small axies …

Earth worms for axolotls
Earth worms for axolotls

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

Nightcrawler worms to feed my axolotl ?

do axolotls eat nightcrawler worms and red wigglers alternative

Yes, absolutely, you can give your axolotls nightcrawlers instead of red wigglers (Eisenia Fotida).

I advise you even if you have a small garden in your backyard, to turn the soil, enrich it with a little compost and release these nightcrawlers in order to create your own culture and worm farm and not buy any more.

If you want to buy these worms, originally intended for fishing but which can be given as food for axolotls, here are bags of 650 nightcrawlers on Amazon.

If you see some digestive issues in your axolotl, switch to Hikari or  Rangen soft-moist salmon pellets.

Do axolotls eat Repashy Grub Pie ?

Repashy gel food for adult axolotls

Axolotls can eat Repashy gel food, this one is provided in powder form, it is made from dried and ground insects, the axolotls must of course prefer insects to bigger animal meat because insects are part of their natural diet.

Repashy Grub Pie ” meat pie – carnivore gel “ ( this link if you want to buy it on Amazon ) is a good alternative to frozen axolotl food, because once prepared, by mixing this powder with boiling water, you will then pour the mixture into molds, pellets or even molds in the form of worms.

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Once cooled, this food can be kept for more than two weeks in the refrigerator and your axolotl can be fed as a main diet or as a supplement to replace worms when you can’t find earthworms or nightcrawlers in the stores.

How to prepare Repashy Grub Pie Gel food for Axolotls?

do axolotls love Repashy meat pie

You will boil some water and mix one part of this Repashy powder with 2 measures of water, just add a few drops if you think it’s too dry! ( you will find in the box a measuring cup or use a tablespoon )  Mix well and let this mixture solidify (or gel up) to become a jelly .

You will either pour it before molds in the form of pellets that your axolotl can swallow or molds in the form of worms, otherwise, you will just cut it into small pieces when it becomes gelatinous, a jelly usually after half a hour .

How to make Repashy Gel food for axolotls?

Once it becomes gel, you will cut it into small pieces, which your axolotl can swallow and you will drop them right in front of your axolotl’s nose.

This food smells like meat and your axolotl will soon understand that it is his meal and he will swallow them.

make Repashy jelly worms for axolotls

To make Repashy gel food in the form of worms, fill a large syringe, remove the needle and pour the mixture by moving your hand to create a kind of Spaghetti that you will cut as worms once solidified.

Just shake with tweezers in front of your axolotl’s nose so that it attacks it and eats it as it would a real earthworm.

You can of course create all kinds of freshwater gelatin insects using Repashy and silicone worms & insect molds so that your axolotl doesn’t get bored with the same food form.

Can I replace earthworms with Repashy pie to feed my axolotl?

Repashy Gel food can replace pellets, beef heart meat, eggs and any other protein except earthworms or nightcrawlers which have a great benefit for axolotls especially if your axolotl is still eating them alive!

But when you have no choice, Repashy Grub pie can serve as essential food for your axolotl, you can also mix it with Hikari pellets.

Small live fish to feed the axolotls

axolotl fed with small fishes

Do Axolotls Eat Fish ?

Yes, axolotls eat fish, raw fish meat, boneless fish meat and cut into small pieces that they can swallow, such as salmon and carp, but axolotls also eat small live freshwater fish such as guppies, zebrafish and Endlers … that they can swallow and even attack their eggs when they are small.

You will find below a list of fish that you can give your axolotl as live food.

This is the most natural diet and is ideal when you give your axolotl natural prey, whether it is small fish or any other insect or freshwater larva, let’s talk about these small fish:

Just introduce small freshwater fish (very important) in the aquarium, and the Axolotls will sooner or later eat.

This may sound cruel, but it is a kind of return to nature, where Axolotls hunt for food when they are hungry.

Note in passing that it is an excellent solution of food in your absence, at the time of the departures on vacations for example.

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However, you must make sure that they have a constant supply of food.

To do this, you will certainly have to start a small breeding of these small freshwater fish in another aquarium.

Another solution is to buy them from fish breeders : they are generally healthy and cheap.

Finally, and only if you have no other solution, you can of course buy them in pet shops, this is the most expensive solution.

In any case, make them observe a quarantine, that is to say, isolate the fish living in another tank before putting them in contact with your Axolotls to avoid diseases spreading .

It is necessary to select fishes adapted to the parameters of an aquarium with Axolotls, fishes which can pass through the mouth of your axolotl and which do not have many bones and spines.

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 (white cloud mountain fish)

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 liver, lamb heart , raw beef meat ( without fat ) or poultry heart, even muscle meat or river mussels. Avoid fat.

Slice pieces of meat in the shape of worms (0.3 cm thick) to facilitate their ingestion by your axolotl.

You should also know that axolotl babies love mosquito larvae and when they grow up, axolotls will never miss to nibble a fly that would fall in their tank.

Giving freshwater mussels to axolotls

In addition to the frozen or fresh meat of freshwater fish such as trout (salmon), pike and perch, axolotls also love to eat the freshwater mussel meat, fresh or defrosted, it will only be necessary to remove the outer layer of the mussel meat, it is hard to digest.

Give freshwater fish meat to your axolotl

trout meat for axolotls

Buy freshwater fish fillets, cut them into small pieces, making sure to remove any bones, and freeze them. You can then simply take them from the freezer and defrost them to give them to your Axolotls, just as if they were pellets.

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.

FoodProtein(% Dry Weight)Fat(% Dry Weight)Calcium(% Dry Weight)Phosphorus(% Dry Weight)Ca/P
Black Worms47200.110.850.12
Earthworms 6217.71.720.91.91
Mosquito larvae4210.81.070.73
Tubifex worms4615010.740.25
Daphnia 556.
Raw Beef heart77200.030.930.03

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.

Do Axolotls need vitamin or mineral supplements?

Axolotls that are usually fed nightcrawler worms or earthworms will never have a vitamin or mineral deficiency because these worms are very rich in these nutrients. Nevertheless, axolotl food containing supplements of vitamins and minerals can be useful for an old axolotl, an axolotl in convalescence or to save it from anorexia.

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So an axolotl that eats one nightcrawler worm per week does not need any vitamin or mineral supplement, however, if you feed your axolotl poorly, with poor quality pellets or your axolotl seems limp and lacks activity especially at night and if it is still young, you should either:

  • Change his pellets by Hikari carnivore
  • Teach him to eat live worms (preferably nightcrawlers)
  • Give him vitamin and mineral supplements

The ideal is to vary the food of your axolotl by giving him nightcrawlers or large earthworms, frozen bloodworm cubes and sinking pellets of first choice as Hikari carnivore (I put you a link to Amazon a little above)

And occasional treats like small pieces of freshwater fish like trout and why not some live food that he will hunt in his tank like small fish or even water bugs or ghost shrimp.

What vitamin supplements for my axolotl ?

vitamines for axolotls ?

In case of extreme necessity, like for old axolotls or when you want to save an anorexic axolotl or your axolotl is sick or in convalescence and can’t eat nightcrawlers even when you cut them in small pieces, you can in this case consider giving a vitamin and mineral supplement to your axolotl, here is how.

You can give in this case JBL Complete Food for Axolotl Beads, NovoLotl, this product made by Germans has a high vitamin and protein content and is only recommended for axolotls that have between 10 and 18 cm, while JBL NovoLotl XL is for animals with a body length of 18cm and over, for old axolotls that can’t catch and eat nightcrawlers anymore…

Sorry, I think this food is only available in Europe.

What is the alternative for axolotl supplements?

If your axolotl needs to regain strength or weight quickly, you can feed it with pieces of nightcrawler worms and small pieces of beef heart and it will regain its strength quickly.

Prohibited foods for axolotls

There are foods that can endanger the life of your axolotl if he eats them, here are the foods to avoid giving him at all costs:

1-Everything that has a hard Shell :

Most crustaceans or mollusks, like Krill, are not recommended foods for your Axolotl.

With such a hard outer shell and carapace meeting your Axolotl’s teeth, chances are that something will end up coming out whole, rather than being fully digested, which can injure your Axolotl’s intestines.

Mealworms Can be dangerous to the axolotl:

axolotls should not be given mealworms

For example, mealworms are often seen being fed to other exotic animals, but they should not be fed to your Axolotl.

Mealworms contain chitin, which is actually very difficult for an Axolotl’s stomach to process and digest.

This chitin is actually what makes up that hard exoskeleton, making things difficult for your Axolotl’s stomach.

2- Preserved or Processed Meats:

I think this one should speak for itself. Especially considering the effects that these foods have on humans even in small amounts.

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Any food that has gone through a processing is loaded with chemicals, additives and preservatives that can lead to some pretty serious health implications for your Axolotl, the risk of poisoning is very high with these foods and processed meats, so avoid giving them to your axolotl (avoid all cooked foods especially cooked meats).

3- Precautions to take when feeding your axolotl with fresh water fish:

First of all, you have to vary your axolotl diet and not just throw small fish in the tank and say that it is OK!

I know there are some Axolotl owners who disagree with the inclusion of this one, but there are many valid reasons why you should stay away from feeder fish when you’re lazy !! .

So if you are considering keeping your Axolotl with other animals such as fish, think again.

If the fish you place in the Axolotl’s aquarium are intended to be feeder fish, you should be aware that they can transfer diseases and parasites before and when eaten.

If you really want to feed live fish to your Axolotl, make sure you have quarantined the fish for at least 30 days.

Also be aware that prolonged exposure and inclusion of these foods in your Axolotl’s diet can also lead to the development of a vitamin B deficiency.

If you do not increase your Axolotl’s vitamin B level, it can lead to other problems such as anemia.

4- Never give fruits or veggies to your axolotl

If your axolotl is hungry, it will eat anything that falls into its tank.

Avoid dropping crumbs from what you eat in its tank and don’t even think about giving him pieces of , pizza , fruit or vegetables, because you will cause him digestive problems if he eats them and may also create bloating which will stress him if he is forced to float and this will trigger other more serious diseases.

So stick to his usual food, axolotls are strict carnivores and insectivorous , don’t forget that.

5- Don’t give Pinky mice to your axolotl

Axolotls should never eat small mammals, they do not eat them in their natural habitat and their organism is not adapted to this kind of food.

First , it’s a fatty food , and it will surely cause intestinal blockage because it will not be able to digest bones easily, without the other risks like parasites and possible diseases in this newborn mice, and this food has almost no benefit for your axolotl, feed him nightcrawlers or the other options I mentioned before, if you want to give proteins to your axolotl

How long does it take an axolotl to digest its food?

Axolotls digest their food slowly, 2 to 3 days, depending on the quality of the food and the temperature of the water, the warmer the water in the tank, the faster the digestion, but if the temperature drops below 10°C / 50°F, the axolotl will regurgitate its food because its digestive system will not work.

Your axolotl will be fed 3 times a week when it’s hot and only twice a week in winter, I’m talking about an adult axolotl in good health of course.


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.

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