5 Food Options for Axolotls

Updated on July 25, 2019
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Jessica is an experienced pet mom with dogs, cats, rats, fish, axolotls, a gecko, chickens, and ducks.

What Do Axolotls Eat?

Axolotls are pets that are growing in popularity. They are amphibians, but they live their lives completely underwater. This has raised some confusion as to what they eat.

Axolotls are carnivores, and their diets should be anywhere from 30-60% protein. You can learn about technical requirements for adult salamander diets [PDF], but there are many food options you can choose that are nutritionally complete on their own. Below are some of the best options for your pet axolotl.

1. Worms

Worms are a great staple food for axolotls. They have everything they need nutritionally, so they are a good choice for every day feeding. There are several popular types of worms.

  • Nightcrawlers: Nightcrawlers are the largest out of these worms and they are easy to find at most stores. These may need to be cut up before your axolotl eats them.
  • Red Wrigglers: Red wrigglers are easy to breed and they are smaller than nightcrawlers. These are usually easy for large axolotls to eat without being cut up. They are easy to find both in stores and on websites like amazon. The biggest downside to using red wrigglers is that they can excrete a bitter substance and some axolotls won't eat them.
  • Black Worms: Black worms are a good choice for young axolotls. They are an aquatic relative to earthworms, and they are significantly smaller. They are very similar nutritionally, but it would take a lot of blackworms to feed an adult axolotl. They could still be a staple food, but they would be messy.
  • Blood Worms: Blood worms can be either the larvae of midge flies or a type of worms found in marine waters. It is common to see these sold either live or as frozen cubes. They are similar in size to black worms, so they are good for feeding juvenile axolotls. They are not as nutritionally dense as other worms, so it is recommended to only feed these as a treat or along with other foods to adult axolotls.

2. Pellets

There are a lot of great pellet choices for axolotls. Sinking salmon pellets are very popular, and so are options like Hikari sinking pellets. These can be a good alternative if you are squeamish about feeding live food. However, some axolotls will not eat pellets, especially if they have already been eating worms.

When choosing a brand of pellets it is important to make sure that the protein content is high enough, and it is usually better to use a type that sinks. Many breeders have recommendations for brands of pellets, and there are several options on Amazon.

Hikari Sinking Carnivore Pellets for Pets, 2.61-Ounce
Hikari Sinking Carnivore Pellets for Pets, 2.61-Ounce

My axolotl loves these pellets. They are great to use while they are still growing.


3. Daphnia

Daphnia are small, clear, freshwater crustaceans, and they are a common food for axolotls that have just hatched. This option would not work well for mature axolotls, but it is perfect for babies.

Many people keep their own daphnia cultures, and it ends up being very inexpensive. These work well because they stay alive in the water if they are uneaten so they won't throw off the water parameters.

4. Repashy Grub Pie

Many axolotls owners are starting to use Repashy Grub Pie. It comes as a powder and you mix it with boiling water and pour it into molds, like jello. You can even find molds that are shaped like worms. Once they are set you can keep them in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

The grub pie formula works well because it is insect-based. Axolotls should never eat meats from mammals, such as beef heart. Axolotls seem to either love or hate this, but if yours likes this it could be an easier alternative to feeding worms.

5. Ghost Shrimp or Small Fish

Ghost shrimp and small fish are both pretty uncommon staple foods. The only small fish that are truly trusted both nutritionally and in terms of not carrying diseases or parasites are guppies. Ghost shrimp also are not very risky in terms of carrying disease, and their shells are soft enough that axolotls can eat them.

Both ghost shrimp and guppies should be quarantined in separate tanks for at least 2 weeks before they are fed to your pet. Although these are not the cheapest or safest options, they can benefit your axolotls by allowing them to use their instincts to hunt. Ghost shrimp can also help keep your tank clean before your axolotls get to them.

What Is Your Favorite Food for Axolotls?

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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