What Do Axolotls Eat? (Best Foods For Axolotls)

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axolotl what do they eat

Axolotls are absolutely adorable; they are a type of salamander also known as the ‘Mexican walking fish. They are amphibians that are 100% aquatic and nothing like real salamanders because they don’t go through a transformation where they start breathing from their lungs instead of their gills. Axolotls always stay cute, tiny, little aquatic creatures who fill our hearts with love.

They are easier to care for than other aquatic creatures and quite entertaining to keep as pets. They are happy-to-go creatures that stay happy and content almost all the time and keep you happy. However, their happiness depends on questions like what do axolotls eat and on your answer to it.

This is the reason we decided to write this brief guide so that if you want to bring home an axolotl, you can do so without worrying about their diet because we got that covered.

So, let’s get this guide started.


What Do Axolotls Eat As Pets: Axolotl Diet


These adorable little creatures are carnivores, so they only eat other creatures. So naturally, the axolotls feed on tiny worms, snails, small fish, other amphibians, crustaceans, larvae, etc. They can basically feed on any creature smaller than them. 

But, what do you feed axolotls when you bring them home? In captivity, you can give them a diet that is similar to their diet in the wild.

Bloodworm, nightcrawlers, frozen brine shrimps, red wrigglers, shrimp pieces, raw lean beef heart, food pellets, frozen food for fish, larvae, etc., are good options, to begin with.  

person feeding black Axolotl

However, you should not give them anything directly that you caught from the wild because it can carry germs and parasites that might make your axolotl sick.

However, when it comes to shrimp or lean heart, you shouldn’t regularly feed these things because they are not an axolotl staple food. But, they can be used as treats every now and then.

A good thing you can do for your pet is to consult a vet about what can you feed axolotls and if there are other food options you can choose from.

An interesting thing about axolotls’ diet and eating schedule is that they don’t overeat. So it doesn’t matter if you give them too much food because once they are full, they will stop eating. 

But, you shouldn’t give them extra food because it will simply go to waste. It will take you a few days, in the beginning, to learn how much they eat, and then you can give the exact amount.


How To Feed Pet Axolotls?


According to experts, if you want to keep axolotls as pets, then a way to keep them happy is to mimic their natural diet as much as possible.

For example, you can give them brine shrimp with earthworm, bloodworm, or daphnia, or if you want to treat your little fellow, then you can give them lean pieces of chicken or beef. 

But, giving them a lot of live food is not a good idea as it can cause diseases and parasites in their bodies. So instead, you can give them frozen and dried foods or pellets. 

Juvenile and growing axolotl require around 4-5 small worms every day. But, if you have an adult, 2-3 night crawlers or two pinches of bloodworm are enough for them for 2-3 days. As they grow, their appetite diminishes.

Another thing to remember is that the substrate has very small gravel or pebbles because axolotls can eat them, and if the stones are large, then they can choke and die.


What Do Axolotls Eat In The Wild?


In the wild, the axolotls usually eat carnivorous food. They open their mouth to suck the prey inside. Now, they can only suck in smaller creatures than them, which is why they only eat small creatures like insect eggs, mollusks, small fish, shrimps, zooplankton, crustaceans, worms, etc.

image of a Axolotl eating something

They love eating bloodworms, which is why baby axolotls heavily eat them (around 4-5 worms every day). Another thing that they enjoy eating is daphnia. 

Their diet changes as the axolotls grow up from a baby to an adult. When little, they eat more food than other fish, but as they grow up, their diet reduces. 


How Often Should You Feed Your Axolotl? 


Young axolotls need more food with more frequency because they are growing. But, if you have a fully grown axolotl out of its growing phase, feeding them too much food can make them sick. 

A fact about baby axolotls is that if they are not fed twice a day with enough food to fill their stomach, they can get hungry and eat other baby axolotls to fill their appetite.

So these little munchkins shouldn’t be fed more than twice a day, but they should be fed with ample food to last until the next feeding time.

image of a Axolotl larvae

Once they reach their juvenile state, they should still be fed twice daily to keep them healthy. But since they are a little older, they won’t eat their siblings. They can also bear hunger for a bit longer than baby axolotls.

But, what can axolotls eat, and how often once they are around 8 inches long and all grown up? Of course, they can eat the usual things like larvae, worms, pellets, lean meat, etc., and they need to be given food just once a day now that their growing process is over, and they only need food to stay alive in this adult stage.


What Do Axolotls Eat On The Day They Hatch?


On the day your axolotls hatch or the very next day, they would be smaller than an inch and would want food.

So you can put daphnia in the tank before your babies hatch so that they might have plenty of food to eat when they are ready. And because daphnia will breed, you don’t have to worry about feeding them.

image of three white Axolotls

Or, you can give them live food. Anything that is small and can swim past them is ideal at this point. It would be best if you kept your hatchlings in a smaller tank so that they see the food and catch the food easily for eating.

If you are giving them something wildly caught, then to avoid introducing parasites, you should wash them before giving them to hatchlings because they are weak at that point.


What Do Axolotl Babies Eat?


Now towards the question, what food do axolotls eat when they are babies? Well, baby axolotls need around 60% to 70% protein in their diet, and because they are in a growing phase, we can’t take feeding for granted. 

Since they are super small, baby axolotls can’t eat things that their adult version can eat. That is why you should give them small-sized servings of live food.

Also, they have good eyesight but a poor sense of smell; that is why they can see live food moving around but can’t smell their foods (this is why you should keep them in a small tank so that they see their food clearly).

But, what can you feed your axolotl? You can give them live daphnia (which will breed if you put it in the tank a day before), brine shrimps (baby), blackworms, white worms, and micro worms.


Final Verdict:

Axolotls, the salamander that doesn’t grow. If you are looking for one of a kind and unique aquatic pet, then axolotls are the best option.

They are adorable, safe to touch (sometimes), easy to care for, and have that adorable smile that melts our hearts. 

If you truly want to enjoy axolotls, then you should get baby ones so that you may watch them grow and bond with them.

Hopefully, our guide helped you understand these unique creatures and what they eat. If you ever wonder or are confused about what axolotls eat in the wild or what axolotls eat as pets, then you know where you can find this info.

One thing you should know about these amphibians is that they don’t require any special equipment or have any out-of-this-world requirements to stay happy. 

All you have to do is put them in a nice tank with low lighting (they like cold waters) and a lot of space to roam around.

A good aquarium pump is enough for them, but you will have to clean their water and maintain a good environment to keep them happy; besides, they are always smiling anyways. 


Frequently Asked Questions

#1 – What is an axolotls favorite food?

If you are wondering what is the favorite fish or worm for axolotls is, then you should know they love to munch on small fish(can be fry of any specie), larvae, night crawlers, mollusks, raw meat, pellets, worms (black worm, blood worm, white worm, etc.), brine shrimps and any kind of meat that can fit in their mouths.

#2 – Can you feed axolotls crickets?

Yes, you can feed them small cut pieces of crickets but don’t give them crickets every day as it is not their staple food. Instead, alternate between different food items to keep the axolotls healthy and happy.

#3 – What do axolotls drink?

Axolotls are one of the only aquatic creatures that drink water. Since they are a specie of newts and salamanders, they need minerals to grow and stay healthy.

So it is ideal to give them bottled or mineral water containing potassium, sodium, and chloride. Alternatively, you can also give them a mixture of fresh and saltwater which will be like brackish water, to fulfill their mineral needs.

#4 – How long can axolotls go without food?

A healthy axolotl can go around 8-10 days without food. But that is strictly for a healthy one; if your axolotl is weak or in its growing phase, you shouldn’t keep them starving for more than a day.

Their body should be in a reasonable and good condition if you want to leave them without food or they might die.

#5 – Can axolotls eat cat food?

Yes, they can eat cat food because cat food is full of proteins and is made of chicken meat. But why do you want to feed them cat food when so many options are available?

You can give them any meat of fish, shrimps, larvae, or crickets. So, unless it is an absolute necessity, you shouldn’t give them cat food.

#6 – What do axolotls eat naturally?

The wild places like lakes where axolotls live are rich in all kinds of insects, frogs, small fish, small crustaceans, crickets, snails, mosquito larvae, worms, etc. there is a wide variety of buffet that they can choose from and eat from.

So their food options are limitless, and they can eat anything or everything they like. Axolotls eat anything that can fit into their mouths, and they can find their prey by smelling.