What Do Axolotls Eat? Best Food for Axolotls

If you’re looking to keep axolotls as pets, you want to make sure they get the right nutrients necessary for their growth and healthy living.

The first instinct of a newly born axolotl with food is often to lick or snap at any living that can move. Axolotls are carnivorous and don’t like plant-based foods.

Young axolotls can begin with eating live food while older ones can move on to pellets and frozen foods.

Best Food for Axolotls

Here are the best foods for your axolotl pets, as well as foods to avoid when feeding them. You can find more information on Axolotl Nerd about axolotl feeding.

– Live Food

For axolotls that just hatched, feeding should wait till after 24 hours. The offspring will consume their egg sack during this period.

After the waiting period, most axolotl owners go with live food, especially live worms ranging from Red Wiggler worms to Nightcrawlers.

  • Live Worms

When buying your live worms, the best place to get them is at local pet stores. Before feeding the axolotl, pick a worm using a pair of tweezers, wash off loose dirt to avoid making the pet sick.

Use the tweezers to display the worn in front of the axolotl. Since their teeth are made for grinding, the axolotl may not eat it immediately.

  • Daphnia

These little crustaceans are an awesome treat for axolotl while in their larva phase. Going the home-cultured way with them can be inexpensive.

Daphnia provides axolotl with vitamins, lipids, fatty acids, and every other vital nutrient necessary for their growth.

Fully grown axolotl may turn it down. If not home-cultured, the Daphnia is likely to cause disease. Hence, be cautious when feeding them to your axolotl.

– Frozen Foods

If you don’t have the option to feed your axolotls live food, frozen food are as

  • Bloodworms

Blood worms may either have a cube shape or sheet shape. Whichever one you purchase, ensure they don’t get stuck in the axolotl’s gills while feeding else it will experience breathing difficulty and drown!

Bloodworms are a common choice with several Axolotl owners since they provide proteins and vitamins that help the pet grow healthy.

While Bloodworms may be a common choice, you should note that they often leave a microscopic organism that can grow in the tank if you don’t regularly clean out the water. While the organisms aren’t harmful, that can get caught in your axolotl’s gills.

  • Brine Shrimp

Brine Shrimps are flavorful and contain vitamins, lipids, and fatty acids for your axolotl. It only comes in a cube shape and needs to be mixed with water to slightly thaw it out.

Brine Shrimp can be home-cultured and hatched. Hence, if you prefer feeding them to your pets live, it’s also perfectly acceptable rather than a frozen option.

  • Earthworms

There are conflicting opinions on this food. Some owners believe frozen earthworms are packed with several health benefits that make them the best feed for baby axolotls. There have been several discussions regarding whether or not it’s the best feed for young axolotls.

However, other owners don’t like feeding earthworms to their axolotls because they can become mushy and cold after they unthaw.

If you’re looking to feed your baby axolotl with earthworms, purchase a container with various sizes of earthworms. Your pets will be happier feeding on larger worms as they age.

– Pellets

Pellets may be the easiest food you’ll find in a local pet store. When buying a kind of pellet, ensure to check the ingredients on the label.

Try to select pellets that are low in fat and high in protein. To do this, look for products with 40 percent or higher protein concentration. There are two major kinds of pellets you can feed to axolotls:

  • Sinking Pellets

Sinking pellets are best for larger axolotls. You may have noticed that your pets are happier sitting and hiding at the tank bottom.

So, unlike typical fishes, they don’t like swimming up to the water surface to get food at the top of your tank. That is why slow sinking pellets are perfect for them — they slowly sink to your tank’s very bottom!

  • Smaller Pellets

Smaller pellets are ideal for younger axolotls that may find it difficult to ingest regular sinking pellets since they have smaller mouths.

Just like adult axolotls, young axolotls love to spend most of their time at the bottom of your tank. And this makes it a little more challenging when you’re feeding them with smaller pellets.

These pellets are lightweight and don’t sink easily. So, here’s how to solve the problem:

Use water to wet the small pellets you’re looking to feed to the young axolotls. Then get a Turkey Baster filled up with the pellets. Squeeze the baster to allow the wet pellets to go down to your young axolotl in their tank.

Since the pellets are now wet, they will be able to sink more easily, and your hound axolotls can feed on them happily without having to swim up to the top of the tank.

Foods to Avoid Feeding Axolotls

While axolotls are happy feeding on whatever you offer them, there are some exceptions to this rule.

For instance, axolotls can mistakenly consider the tails and gills of other axolotls to be live worms or other kinds of feed, and they often bite off other axolotl’s limbs.

Here are some foods you should avoid feeding your axolotls:

– Hard Exoskeleton Animals

Most shellfishes and crustaceans, including krills, are not ideal for axolotls. Full digestion is difficult as their hard exteriors are too strong for your axolotl’s teeth.

For instance, while mealworms can be fed to several other exotic pets, you shouldn’t feed them to your axolotls.

They contain chitin, a hard substance that’s hard for your axolotl’s stomach to digest and process. Chitin is the main component of the hard exoskeleton, which makes things hard for your axolotl’s stomach.

– Processed or Preserved Meats

Axolotls shouldn’t be fed with processed or preserved meats for obvious reasons, especially considering their effects on humans in little quantities.

Any type of food that goes through a processing plant is filled with preservatives and chemicals that can result in some serious health issues for your axolotls.

Can Axolotls Eat Feeder Fish?

There are several valid reasons to avoid feeder fish for your axolotls, though some axolotl owners strongly disagree. So if you’re looking to keep your axolotl pets with other fishes, you might want to reconsider.

You also want to reconsider the idea of putting some feeder fish in your axolotl tank because they can transfer parasites and diseases when eaten.

However, if you’re bent on feeding live fish to axolotls, ensure to keep the fishes quarantined for at least four weeks.

If you expose your axolotls to feeder fish for long or include it as a major diet, it can cause a deficiency in vitamin B. If you don’t boost your pet’s vitamin B levels, it can further cause Anemia.

Can Axolotls Eat Meat?

Since axolotls are carnivorous, they will happily eat meat, including beef, chicken, etc. It can be their favorite, but you’ll need to slice the meat into small pieces.

Axolotls can’t easily eat large pieces of meat as it can cause digestive problems.

You can either give them cooked or raw meat. Remove every fat from the meat or beef. However, your axolotls shouldn’t eat processed or preserved meat, as we’ve earlier mentioned.

Can Axolotls Eat Fish Food?

It’s okay to feed your axolotls with fish food, especially if they’re meat-based. These include fish pellets and other kinds of foods. Ensure not to feed them plan-based foods because they are carnivorous.

Also keep in mind that whatever fish food you offer your axolotl shouldn’t be its main food source. When it comes to your pet’s diet, try as much as possible to diversify by combining the fish food with various frozen foods and live foods.

When it comes to the best kinds of fish food, you want to avoid expandable pellets as they can cause impaction in your axolotl pets. Instead, go for more compact options that won’t expand too much when put in water.

To ensure your axolotl gets a varied diet, try to add live foods, including salmon, trout, or earthworms.

While these foods can be a bit expensive, you need to add them at least once in a while. They contain essential minerals and nutrients that you won’t find in regular fish foods.

Can Axolotl Eat Crickets?

You can offer crickets to your axolotls as occasional treats, not regular meals. Also, while crickets are good sources of nutrients, axolotls need other insects as staple foods.


It’s essential to keep a variety of foods in your axolotl’s diet. Doing this ensures their good health for longer periods and improves their lifespan.

While axolotls can eat frozen fish and live fish, you shouldn’t make them their primary or only food source.

Furthermore, many foods and fish species aren’t good for axolotls as they may carry diseases and parasites that can be transferred to your pets, causing illnesses.

Keep in mind that a treat is nothing more than a treat! Feed your axolotls with only foods that contain high-quality nutrients.

avatar Noah
I’m Noah, chief editor at VIVO Pets and the proud owner of a playful, energetic husky (Max). I’ve been a volunteer at Rex Animal Rescue for over 2 years. I love learning and writing about different animals that can be kept as pets. read more...

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