How to Feed an Axolotl

Axolotls, also known as water dragons, are fascinating creatures, and making sure they have the right food is essential for their health. This article will explain what axolotls eat and how to provide them with the right food. We’ll also explore some of the foods that should be avoided. So, if you’re looking for information on how to feed an axolotl, you’ve come to the right place!

What do Axolotls Eat?

Axolotls are carnivores, which means they are meat-eaters. What kind of meat do they like to eat? Well, they seem to really enjoy eating earthworms and insect larvae. Yum!

In the Wild

Axolotls are ambush predators and will eat whatever fits in their mouths and can be eaten in one go. Thus, in their natural habitat, smaller fish, fry, insects, insect larvae, worms, shrimp, and small crustaceans are part of their normal food source. They are opportunistic feeders and will consume whatever is available to them at any given time. This helps them to survive in their natural environment, where food sources can be unpredictable.

In Captivity

In captivity, axolotls eat a variety of foods, including live earthworms, live fish, live ghost shrimp, commercially available frozen or freeze-dried bloodworms, brine shrimp, and pelleted amphibian foods. A healthy diet for an axolotl in captivity should include a variety of these food items in order to provide the animal with all the nutrients it needs. This can be accomplished by feeding a mix of live and frozen/freeze-dried foods as well as pellets.

Note: Feeding worms and other live prey items will also help to keep your pet Axolotl active and stimulate its hunting instinct.

How Often Does an Axolotl Need Feeding?

Initially, axolotls should be fed individually according to their size, but you will get to know your own little cutie and be able to adjust your feeding schedule to suit. It is important to remember that overfeeding is a common cause of death in amphibians. Adult animals have a lower feed requirement than juveniles and digest more slowly. However, the animals will still gladly accept the food offered which can lead to acute gastrointestinal problems and, in the long term, to fatty liver. The following feeding schedule is recommended:

  • Up to 12cm – Daily
  • 12 to 16cm – Every 2 Days
  • 16cm and over – Every 3 to 4 days

How to Feed an Axolotl

In truth, there is no surefire way to feed an axolotl. You may need to try a few different ways to find out what suits you and your little friend.

Tweezers

Many people swear by using tweezers (amazon link – opens in a new tab) and like any other feeding method, it also has its own pros and cons. We think that tweezers are a good idea particularly if you have more than one water dragon as you will have more control of how much food each one receives. Slowly and carefully guide the food into the axolotl’s mouth, using the tweezers. Avoid letting the food touch any other part of the axolotl’s body, as this can cause them to yank their head away and potentially drop or spit out their food. Make sure that the pieces you feed the axolotl are big enough so that they don’t float around in the aquarium and the axolotl doesn’t always bite into the tweezers.

Note: It is best to get long enough tweezers so that your hands can stay completely outside of the aquarium.

Food Dish

Axolotl food should always sink to the bottom since the axolotl mainly takes its food from the bottom and that is why many people use a food dish. This is to ensure that all of the food can be found in the same place as when your little water dragon has finished feeding, all excess food should be removed to ensure that your water stays clear and healthy.

What to Feed an Axolotl?

Anything that they can swallow in one hap is suitable as live food for axolotls. The most important thing is to vary the food so that your axolotl does not get used to one type of food. The aquarium section of your local pet shop is sure to have plenty for your axolotl to eat. You can also find a lot of different foods on Amazon (opens in a new tab) and the more diverse the diet, the closer you get to the axolotl’s natural eating habits.

Important! Juvenile Axolotls should only eat live food such as freshly hatched baby brine shrimp or microworms!

Live Food

It is good for the hunting instinct to feed your axolotl live food from time to time. I have the feeling that my axolotls really enjoy lurking for prey and striking at the right moment as this way of feeding comes closest to how the axolotl obtains food in the wild. Axolotls are very adept at catching food that swims by such as small fish, beetles, crustaceans, or mosquito larvae. This catching technique is very easy to observe and it’s just a lot of fun to watch the animals doing it. I always have some kind of live food swimming in the aquarium and recommend guppies and ghost shrimp as live foods for your aquarium; they are both easily eaten and nutritionally excellent for your axolotl. One of the most commonly fed types of live food for axolotls is probably earthworms which would usually be fed to your axolotl using tweezers. You can also feed large maggots, aquatic insects such as backswimmers, mosquito larvae and the like.

Note: When buying guppies and ghost shrimp etc. it is advisable to keep them quarantined in a separate tank for at least 2 weeks before adding them to your Axy’s aquarium.

Dry Food

The dry food (also food pellets) has the advantage that the mixture can be tailored exactly to the needs of your axolotl. For this purpose, the composition is broken down precisely on the dry food containers. Depending on what is fed in addition to this food, you can vary which dry food you use. In contrast to live food, dry food also has the advantage that it lasts longer and can be bought in large quantities.

Best Axolotl Pellet Food

Axolotls require animal proteins for nutrition and cannot fully digest plant components. If the ready-made feed is used, the differences in composition are very large. The specialized hatchery axolotl feed (Amazon link – opens in a new tab) was formulated in collaboration with nutrition experts to ensure that the proportion of digestible fish, Gammarus, and shrimp are in an ideal ratio. The high digestibility of this feed leads to a very high yield. In contrast to other types of pellets, which usually only contain 20% max. Axobalance 35% fish meal and fish oil mean the amount of feed can sometimes be reduced by half. An unwanted, too high nutrient input into the aquarium water is thus largely avoided.

What Should I Not Feed My Axolotl?

You should not feed them food that is very remote from their natural food intake. First of all, vegetable food should be mentioned here, because axolotls feed exclusively on meat. Beef, pork, or poultry should also not be fed. No axolotl catches a cow in the pasture. For this reason, the axolotl’s digestive system is not designed for meat from warm-blooded animals. Fish food should not be fed. Slugs should also not be fed, as they often act as hosts for parasites.

How Much to Feed an Axolotl?

The amount of food offered to the axolotl could vary from day to day. Sometimes the axolotl is more and sometimes less hungry. Usually, you should feed as much as the water dragon will eat itself proactively. If you almost have to stuff the food down his throat, it’s too much. If he still swims after the tweezers or is waiting by the food dish, it’s not enough – again, these habits and signals will come with learning about your own little friend.

How Long Can an Axolotl go Without Food?

Fully grown mature axolotls can go a good two weeks without food without being harmed. However, if you keep more than one axolotl in the same tank, you should keep the feeding breaks to less than a week, otherwise, they would not spurn even their long-time companion if they were hungry.

Note: If you have a pair, the time without food should not be extended further than 12 – 14 days, otherwise the animals will probably attack each other, and mutilation could occur.

Conclusion

If you are looking for the best way to feed your axolotl, using live food is the way to go. It will help keep their hunting instinct alive and well and provide them with all the nutrients they need to thrive. Tweezers and a food dish can also be used to great effect, but it’s important that you monitor your axolotl’s eating habits closely so that they get the right amount of nutrition. Have you tried feeding your axolotl live food? Let us know if you have any other tips that you think we may have missed.

Axolotl Fact Profile Infographic

Reptile Wrestler Tips!

“If you have more than one axolotl, do not leave it more than a week between feeds or they may attack each other!”

“Remove any uneaten food from the tank once your axolotl has finished feeding – this will help keep the water clean and healthy!”

“It is important to observe your animal: If the axolotl grows more in width than in length, then more fasting days should be observed!”

“The time you feed your water dragons doesn’t matter. However, if possible, you should move the feeding to the time when the aquarium lighting is switched off since axolotls are more active in the evening hours!”

FAQ’s

Can axolotls eat fish food?

No, they should not eat regular fish food. However, they can eat specially formulated axolotl food pellets. This type of food is specifically designed to meet the nutritional needs of axolotls and will help them grow and thrive.

Can axolotls eat crickets?

Axolotls can eat a variety of live prey items, including small crickets. They tend to prefer small prey that they can swallow whole, so large crickets may not be the ideal food choice for axolotls. However, as long as the cricket is healthy and has been appropriately gut-loaded (meaning it has been fed a nutritious diet), there is no reason why an axolotl couldn’t eat it.

Can axolotls eat mealworms?

Yes, axolotls can eat mealworms after the mealworm has freshly molted and is soft enough with no exoskeleton. Molting occurs when a bug outgrows its current skin; it sheds the old skin and grows a new one. Newly molted mealworms are soft, delicious, and nutritious for axolotls and other predators too! Just be aware that axolotls cannot digest the hard exoskeleton so you need to be careful and feed them immediately after molting.


About Me

Hi, I’m Stuart and I’ve had reptiles for as long as I can remember. When I was younger, I studied for a master’s in Herpetology. Over the years I have worked at several zoos before opening my very own reptile sanctuary. In my spare time, I run this website – which is a resource for people who want to learn more about their little beasties.

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