If it's your first time owning the exquisite axolotl, you're probably wondering what these walking fishes eat. Do you go for flakes? Or maybe pellets? Axolotls are amphibians that mostly eat worms and small insects in the wild, but they primarily consume food in pellet or frozen forms in captivity.
We've researched the best axolotl food available today that caters to all life stages of your new pet. After thorough research, we picked Invert Aquatics' Soft Pellets for Axolotls as our top favorite for its nutritious and moisture-rich sinking pellets. Read on to see six other great options we've included in our list. You'll also see a handy buying guide that will help you learn more about your axolotl and what kind of food is best for them!
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The main factors to consider when buying food for your axolotl are type and age range suitability. Take a look at the buying guide below to learn more about the important aspects to remember.
An axolotl, commonly referred to as a Mexican salamander or Mexican walking fish, is an amphibian that feasts on worms, insects, and small fish out in the wild. The first factor to keep in mind when purchasing food for your new amphibian is the food type: pellets, frozen, or live.
Pellets are the easiest type of food to feed an axolotl. Pellets are easily accessible and widely sold in many pet stores. If you decide to feed your axolotl pellets, make sure to check the back for the ingredients. Since axolotls are carnivores, always go for high-protein pellets - preferably 40 percent or higher - that are low in fat.
Pellets are mainly sold in two types: small or sinking pellets. Small pellets are best for young and juvenile axolotls because their mouths are still tiny, and they will have a hard time digesting larger pellets.
On the other hand, larger sinking pellets are perfect for larger axolotls who like to sit and hang at the bottom of a tank, a common trait for axolotls of all ages. Unlike fish, an axolotl doesn't swim to the tank’s surface to feed. Sinking pellets are perfect because your axolotl can take their time eating at the bottom of the tank.
However, it can be challenging to find sinking pellets as most are sold as floaters. In cases like these, you will have to slightly dissolve the floating pellets in a dish and use a turkey baster to manually squeeze the pellets into the tank. Regardless of the pellet type, you can keep your tank from getting dirty by removing any uneaten pellets.
If you started feeding your axolotl worms and other live food, it might be challenging to switch to this diet. Pellets are generally not as healthy as living food, but some pet owners decide on pellets because they are easier to use and more accessible.
Other popular axolotl foods are frozen bloodworms and brine shrimp. Frozen food is highly nutritious and a great alternative to living food.
Frozen bloodworms are commonly fed to young and growing axolotls because they are rich in protein, which helps them grow strong and healthy. However, this food might lack nutrients for older axolotls.
This frozen delicacy comes in either sheets or cubes. Bloodworms are easy to store and can last a long time in the freezer. However, be sure to thaw out the cubes before you give them to your salamander.
However, frozen bloodworms aren't as straightforward as pellets and can get a bit messy. You will also have to take extra care in cleaning out your tank's water because bloodworms leave behind tiny microscopic organisms that build up over time on your axolotl's gills, causing some discomfort.
Frozen brine shrimp are tasty, and they are rich in protein, fatty acids, and vitamins. This frozen food only comes in cubes and should also be thawed before being fed. You might also need to use a turkey baster to help get the food down to the bottom of the tank. Frozen brine shrimp can also get messy and require extra cleaning.
Lastly, if you want to mimic an axolotl’s diet in the wild, you can feed them live worms and small crustaceans such as daphnia and brine shrimp. Some popular worms you can give your pet amphibian are nightcrawlers and black or white worms.
Live nightcrawlers sit on the top of an axolotl’s favorite food list. These worms are highly nutritious, can be cultured, and are best fed to adult axolotls. A downside to this diet is the messy preparation; you must thoroughly wash the worms to remove the soil. Some worms can also get quite large and will need to be cut into smaller pieces.
If you are unable to find nightcrawlers, a great alternative is black and white worms. These worms are healthy replacements to nightcrawlers and smaller in size, making them perfect for younger axolotls. However, you’ll also need to clean your tank’s water frequently, and feeding can get quite messy as well.
Daphnia, small planktonic crustaceans, and brine shrimp are also a staple live food for axolotls. Daphnias and brine shrimp are the best food option for baby and juvenile axolotls because of their minuscule size and nutrition.
In terms of nutrition for younger axolotls, daphnias are more nutritious because they do not contain salt like brine shrimp. A large intake of salty food is unhealthy for axolotls and can irritate their gills and sensitive skin.
However, brine shrimp can be fed to young and old axolotls, while daphnias are only best for young axolotls due to their size and nutrition.
The next factor to keep in mind before buying food for your axolotl is their age. Once a baby axolotl hatches from its egg sack, you will have to wait 24 hours before feeding it. During this time, your axolotl is still consuming its egg sack.
After, you should only provide baby axolotls live food once a day. Pellets are not recommended for babies because they can not digest them yet.
Adult axolotls, which are around six to 18 inches long, only need to be fed every two to three days in small portions. Adult axolotls can even survive up to two weeks without any food! Once an axolotl matures, you can switch to pellets or stick to live or frozen food.
A young axolotl has bad eyesight until they mature, so they can't recognize dead or frozen food or pellets. Instead, they can only eat live food, like daphnia, baby brine shrimp, and micro worms. The older your axolotl grows, the larger the prey they can handle.
An axolotl’s teeth are short and primarily used for gripping on their food rather than biting or tearing them apart. During mealtimes, axolotls suck their food in one swoop as a whole. If the food is too large to swallow, axolotls tend to give up and spit out the food or, in worst-case scenarios, choke on the food. You may need to cut up their food.
Long aquarium plant tweezers are must-have tools for axolotl parents. With one, you can quickly grab your axolotl’s food and feed it directly to your pet. Be sure to get tweezers that don’t have sharp edges to avoid injuring your axolotl.
Next, you can use a turkey baster to feed pellets and other food to your axolotl. You can also use this to suck up leftover food in the tank for a stress-free clean-up.
The last convenient tools you can get are plastic cups or mini dishes that you’ll leave inside the fish tank. You can use these to lessen the mess axolotls make when eating by providing them with a designated eating spot.
You should not feed your aquatic salamanders freeze-dried food, fish flakes, and any creatures with hard exoskeletons.
Freeze-dried foods are not that nutritious for axolotls because it loses its nutrition during the freezing process. Some freeze-dried food to steer away from are dried bloodworms. It's best not to even give these as snacks to your axolotls as it could lead to an imbalance in their nutrition and, even worse, make your axolotl sick.
Many new axolotl parents make a common mistake of thinking axolotls are fish and eat fish food, like flakes. Axolotls are not fish even though they spend most of their days underwater; they should not be fed food aimed towards fish.
Instead, it would be best if you only focused on food aimed at amphibians. For example, many fish flakes contain a lot of plant-based ingredients. These types of food will not meet the needs of a carnivorous axolotl.
Lastly, as much as possible, avoid feeding your axolotl any creatures with a hard exoskeleton. Axolotls can not digest exoskeletons and will need medical attention if fed creatures like mealworms or krill.
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Soft Pellets for Axolotls
Nutrient- and Moisture-Rich Sinking Pellets
San Francisco Bay Brand
Brine Shrimp Eggs
Easy-to-Hatch Brine Shrimp Eggs for Baby Axolotls
Sinking Carnivore Pellets
Color-Enhancing Pellets Rich in Protein
Uncle Jim's Worm Farm
Live Nightcrawler Worms for Axolotls of All Ages
Aquatic Foods Inc.
Soft Moist Sinking Pellets for Axolotls
Salmon-Flavored Sinking Pellets Sold in Bulk
Aquatic Blended Foods
Axolotl Soft Bit Mix
Axolotl Pellet Mix With Mini Bloodworm Sticks
200 Live Daphnia
Nutritious Live Daphnia Great for Baby Axolotls
These soft sinking pellets are specially made for small amphibians. They are rich in protein and highly nutritious, and they are suitable for both juvenile and adult axolotls. These salmon-flavored pellets are moist and easy to digest, allowing your axolotl to enjoy mealtimes without any stress.
According to a few reviews, the pellets made their fish tank water dirty. Other than this, most buyers said this food is easy to feed to their pets and sinks to the bottom of the tank quickly. They also said that their picky amphibians loved these pellets as both their primary or supplementary diet.
Feed your axolotl nutritious brine shrimp to help them grow strong and healthy. Simply follow the instructions to hatch the vial of brine shrimp eggs and feed your young and adult axolotl within two hours. Each vial has a hatch rate of 85 percent when done under the proper temperatures and steps.
A couple of reviewers had trouble getting their brine shrimp eggs to hatch. Still, most customers were quite thrilled with the sheer amount of brine shrimp each vial gave. Buyers said baby axolotls devoured this live food.
Hikari's Sinking Carnivore Pellets is a great live food alternative for axolotls. These sinking pellets have a high level of carotenoids that help brighten your axolotl's colors. This pellet food can be fed as your pet's primary diet, and it's also suitable for other carnivore fishes and amphibians.
Some reviewers did not like the pungent odor of these pellets. Meanwhile, many satisfied customers loved the consistency of the pellets, explaining that they retained their shape underwater for easier cleanup. Their axolotls also had no trouble eating the pellets because they do not disintegrate right away.
This bag of live nightcrawlers is commonly used for composting or fish bait, but it can also be used to feed axolotls of all ages. You get around 650 young worms that grow to be three to eight inches long. The worms do not need to be refrigerated and can survive in a bait cup for up to three weeks.
A small group of unlucky reviewers received a bag of worms that did not survive through transit. Past this, happy customers were thrilled to find large numbers of live worms.
If you have many axolotl mouths to feed, you might want to buy your pet food in bulk. These salmon-flavored sinking pellets are sold in various sizes, starting from a one-and-a-half-pound pack to a whopping 20-pound pack. The pellets are rich in moisture and can be fed to juvenile and adult axolotls.
One reviewer commented that this sinking pellet food is a bit messy to feed and makes the tank's water murky. On the bright side, axolotl pet owners liked the larger size and high-quality ingredients of these pellets. Customers appreciated that the pellets immediately sank to the bottom of the tank, making it easier for axolotls to eat.
This soft pellet food mix contains shrimp, squid, and mini bloodworm sticks. The food mix sinks to the bottom of the tank and can be used as a staple diet for your axolotl. It comes in a convenient resealable zip lock bag for easy storage.
A reviewer reported that this pellet mix made the tank's water dirty quite quickly. Meanwhile, most customers said that their axolotls love this food. Buyers also appreciated that this mix can be used as a staple diet and supplementary feed.
Mimic your axolotl's diet in the wild by feeding them these live daphnia. These nutritious water fleas are great for baby axolotls. You can also give this to your older axolotls, but you'll need a lot to fill their stomachs. Each package has over 200 live daphnias that need to be kept and cultivated in a separate aquarium.
A couple of reviewers sadly didn't receive all 200 daphnias alive. Other than this, most reviewers were satisfied with the easy cultivation. Some buyers reported that their culture of daphnia is actually growing! They also appreciated that the manufacturer puts effort into making sure they arrive alive and send replacements if necessary.
Do you own other pets and need to restock on food? We've got you covered! Keep your pets happy and well-fed with the pet food below.
No. 1: Invert Aquatics | Soft Pellets for Axolotls
No. 2: San Francisco Bay Brand | Brine Shrimp Eggs
No. 3: Hikari | Sinking Carnivore Pellets
No. 4: Uncle Jim's Worm Farm | European Nightcrawlers
No. 5: Aquatic Foods Inc. | Soft Moist Sinking Pellets for Axolotls
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