A Complete List of Foods Axolotls Can Eat (And What They Shouldn’t)

A Complete List of Foods Axolotls Can Eat (And What They Shouldn’t)

Axolotls are generally known as the Mexican walking fish. Compared to the lots of aquatic animals, Axolotls are unique in their appearance. They have gill stalks that are lined with a filament. These gill stalks appear to push out of the neck exterior of the Axolotl. Contrary to what you conventionally see from amphibians, even after the development of legs, adult Axolotls will stay in water.

Axolotls are carnivorous, with their diet centered on meat. This diet can be further embellished with other small fishes typically found around the Mexican lake waters. An axolotl in the wild will eat insects, worms, and small fishes. An axolotl in an aquarium would have its meals largely based on organic nightcrawlers, bloodworms, and blackworms. These foods are preferred for their nutritional wealth, which is highly beneficial for the Axolotl. Axolotls can thrive on either live food, pellets, or frozen foods.

Axolotls are some of the most intriguing animals to learn about. Do you know that axolotls can eat themselves? Also, which live, pellet, or frozen foods are healthy to feed your Axolotl? Which foods also shouldn’t you feed them? Why would your Axolotl stop eating, and why does it choke? These and many more are some of the fantastic facts we will be learning in the guide. Drooling already? Yes, and let’s go!

Live Food List

The live food list of Axolotls is quite diverse. Axolotls would savor worms, tadpoles, freshwater shrimps, and small insects. Being carnivorous, Axolotls can also feed on raw beef meat – so long you have trimmed all the fat from the beef meat. Your Axolotl can also feed on cat food and lamb heart.


No doubt, Axolotls love live worms. Here is something more interesting: the movement of live worms is highly stimulating for the Axolotl, causing them to snap. If you have baby axolotls that have just been hatched, they will only respond to moving worms.

Fresh earthworms are great delicacies for axolotls – just ensure these earthworms are sourced from organic gardens, not those that elaborately deploy chemicals. If you can spare the effort, you could just raise the worms yourself in a given space.

Worms are rich in nutrients, making them favorites of axolotls. Nightcrawlers are some of the most prevalent live worms fed to axolotls.  

Ghost Shrimps

Ghost shrimps and small fishes are great meals for axolotls, although these ghost shrimps are not readily available as worms. Guppies are particularly compatible with axolotls as they are not only nutritious but also free of parasites that carry dangerous diseases. More than that, the shells are appropriately soft, making it an easy savory meal for your Axolotl.

We recommend that your guppies (or ghost shrimps depending on your choice) are kept separately in a dedicated tank for a minimum of 14 days before you feed them to your Axolotl.

Another advantage of going with ghost shrimps is their hygienic effect. Before your Axolotl eats them, these ghost shrimps would clean up the aquarium.

Admittedly, these guppies and shrimps aren’t that very affordable compared to your options.


Your Axolotls can thrive on small crustaceans provided they are in the larval stage. Daphnias are typically affordable. They are rich in essential vitamins, lipids, and fatty acids.

A baby Axolotl will find this suite of nutrients beneficial for its growth. We always recommend more caution when procuring daphnias that are not home-cultured, given their propensity to get your Axolotl sick.

Frozen Food List

Axolotls also thrive on frozen foods. Famous on this list are bloodworms and brine shrimps. Let us explore them.


Bloodworms are naturally occurring in marine water. Bloodworms are also sourced as midge flies’ larvae. Bloodworms mirror the black worm in size. You can buy your Axolotl’s bloodworms in the form of frozen cubes (if you aren’t buying them live) from your local pet store.

Indeed, bloodworms may not be as nutritious as the worms we have previously covered in this guide, but they are good to use as supplemental treats for your adult axolotl while you are feeding them more staple foods. Nonetheless, you can feed bloodworms to juvenile axolotls.

On Amazon, bloodworms are remarkably affordable for Prime members. Other than cubes, you can get your bloodworms in sheet form.

Make sure that when you feed your Axolotl these bloodworms, the bloodworms don’t stick to the gills of your Axolotl. Such an unfortunate scenario can impede the breathing of your Axolotl, even causing them to drown.

Acknowledging the delicacy of the situation, we recommend you feed your axolotl bloodworms. Put the bloodworm in water to moderately thaw them before you feed them to your Axolotl.

After you have thawed it, transfer the bloodworm in your Axolotl’s aquarium, using tongs or a simple pair of tweezers. One more thing, ensure that you drop the food right in the face of your Axolotl, so it sees it and readily accesses it.

Brine Shrimp

Brine shrimp is another frozen delicacy that your Axolotl enjoys. More than being delectable, bine shrimps are rich in vital nutrients like vitamins, lipids, and vitamins that your Axolotl needs. You can also get them home-cultured or hatched if you are keen on feeding them to your Axolotl in live form as opposed to frozen.

You can get these foods cut in cubes if frozen. This is why we advise that you reasonably thaw these cubed brine shrimps in water before you feed your Axolotl. Brine shrimps are easily available in your local pet store if you don’t want to buy them online.

For effortless accessibility, load your brine shrimps on a Turkey Baster and bring it directly to the face of your Axolotl.

Pellets Food

When it comes to picking pellet foods for your Axolotl, there is indeed a lot of variety. The core factors to guide your choice are how sinkable the food is and its protein content. Of course, wealthy protein content is vital.

Some of the most popular pellet foods for your Axolotl include sinking salmon and Hikari sinking pellets. Take note that an axolotl that has been raised with worms (and they are already used to it), could struggle to take pelleted foods.

Food You Should Not Feed Your Pet Axolotl

Axolotls are diverse eaters. They are not as selective as other pets. Nonetheless, not all food types are healthy for your pet Axolotl. Here are foods that you should steer clear off when choosing meals for your Axolotl.

Don’t Feed Your Axolotl Processed Meats

Just like processed meats are not good for humans (noting their disastrous effects even when ingested in small quantities), axolotls shouldn’t be fed with meats having preservatives.

The reality is that most of these processed foods have a high concentration of dangerous chemicals given they have been passed through processing plants. This could profoundly impact the health of your Axolotl’s negatively.

Don’t Feed Your Axolotl with Animals Having Crustyexoskeletons

We wouldn’t readily choose fishes like Krill and other shellfishes for your Axolotl given their sturdy exoskeleton. Considering the feebleness of your Axolotl’s teeth, these teeth could be damaged with foods having hard exteriors.

To be more particular, Mealworms – which are favorites for most exotic pets – are not safe to be ingested by your Axolotl. Why?

Chitin (contained in Mealworms) has a hard exoskeleton that is not easily digestible by your Axolotl. This can create significant discomfort in the stomach of your beloved Axolotl.

Don’t Feed Your Axolotl Feeder Fish

Axolotl owners commonly feed feeder fish to their pets. However, we recommend you don’t serve your Axolotl feeder fish. There are cogent reasons validating this exclusion.

It is not healthy to put feeder fish in your Axolotl’s aquarium. Feeder fish inclines to spread parasites and diseases to your Axolotl when it eats them. This once again explains why we prefer you quarantine your live fish for a minimum of 4 weeks before you feed them to your Axolotl.

Can an Axolotl Choke on Food?

Yes, axolotls choke on food. This is because these animals tend to swallow their food wholly. You may be curious about why this happens, especially considering that axolotls have teeth.

Well, the reality is that your Axolotl’s teeth are relatively shallow, lacking sharpness. This inhibits their capacity to tear food or bite it down into smaller pieces. This means that the Axolotl’s teeth essentially hold the food, instead of masticating it.

This explains why Axolotls have a keenness for sucking their food, swallowing them wholly. Given this, if the food is too big for your Axolotl, it will swallow it and possibly choke on the food. If the size is exorbitant, it can also cause indigestion in you’re Axolotl.

Nonetheless, why we advocate that you feed your Axolotl smaller food, you should ensure that the piece of the food is not excessively small. In the latter case, the food could get stuck in your Axolotl’s gills. This will make breathing challenging for it.

Why Do Axolotls Eat Each Other?

When Axolotls are kept together in one aquarium, they can eat each other. First, an axolotl can mistake the tails of a neighboring Axolotl (or even its gills) as live worms and eat it. In other cases, an Axolotl can bite the limbs of its fellow Axolotl off if both are kept in close proximity.

Notably, Axolotls have a cannibalistic stage where they feed on each other. They usually outgrow this stage, typically when they develop over a length of 6 inches. Outgrowing this cannibalistic behavior is not assured. A juvenile axolotl raised with other juveniles (and have been eating them while growing up) is likely to retain this cannibalistic behavior all through its life.

Why Do Axolotls Stop Eating?

Environmental changes can cause your Axolotl to stop eating or reduce its food intake. This is typical when winter sets, and the temperature of the tank significantly drops. Indeed, a lowered temperature would trigger a corresponding drop in your Axolotl’s metabolism. This leads to reduced appetite.

Constipation is another reason why your Axolotl isn’t eating. In other cases, if your Axolotl stops eating, it is likely it is ill. If it stops eating for too long, you should seek a vet or other experienced axolotl owners.

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