When you first bring your pet axolotl home, one of the most important questions is, what to feed my axolotl and how often…
Baby axolotls(less than 3 inches) eat 2 times per day. Juvenile axolotls(3-5 inches) eat once per day. Adult axolotls(6-8inches or more eat every 2-3 days. For adult axolotls, if they don’t eat the food you give them on the second day then wait till the third day.
When axolotls are babies, they are growing fast so they need to eat more times during the day.
As an axolotl grows wider in the hips 🙂 and longer they will begin to eat fewer times per day.
It is very very important to feed young axolotls twice per day because if you don’t they may start trying to eat each other.
Axolotls are known for trying to take a chunk out of their siblings or peers for a snack. It may seem like something out of a horror mover but axolotls are predators underneath their cuteness so be aware.
As your axolotl grows it will gradually reject the food you give them. This is when you know to reduce the number of times you feed them per day.
How Do I Know If My Axolotl Is Hungry?
Axolotls are unique creatures to the point that they don’t even act like each other. Usually, an axolotl is more active when they are hungry.
Some axolotls will tap on the glass or dance around the glass when they see you if they are hungry.
Some will stand with their nose pointed down as if they are looking for food, ready to snap at it.
If you feed your axolotls in a feeding dish that sits inside the aquarium, then they will gather at the feeding dish when they notice you enter the room.
You will get to know your axolotl over time. They will usually do something to let you know they are hungry. You can always try to feed them if they are very active and acting peculiar, then if they eat the food, you will know
What To Feed An Axolotl?
When you feed an axolotl there are two groups of foods: staple foods and treats. Staple foods give the axolotl all of the nutrition they need while treats just add variety to their diet. Let’s start with baby axolotls.
Staple Foods For Baby Axolotls
When axolotls first hatch they won’t eat anything but live foods because it is their natural instinct.
The best staple foods for baby axolotls are brine shrimp, daphnia, blackworms, and white worms.
Brine shrimp should be freshly hatched when they are fed to the baby axolotl.
Daphnia, which are water fleas, should be freshly hatched also when they are fed to axolotls.
Blackworms can be chopped into pieces and should only be fed to babies when they are bridging on becoming a juvenile or are already a juvenile.
Whiteworms are fatty which is great for a young, growing axolotl. Whiteworms can be purchased in a variety of sizes according to the size of your axolotl.
Tubifex Worms are great for axolotl babies but they are hard to find. They are full of nutrition.
Bloodworms are great for juvenile axolotls, full of nutrition but messy.
Pellets can be fed to axolotls as long as they are longer than 2 centimeters. If the axolotl is too small or too young for the pellets then they will ignore them because it is not live food.
There is really not much for treats as far as baby axolotls because they benefit from a wide variety of foods since they are growing whereas a grown axolotl can only eat some of the foods mentioned occasionally because they won’t get the nutrition they need if these foods are their primary foods.
Staple Foods For Adult Axolotls
EarthWorms/Nightcrawlers are considered the best primary superfood for axolotls. You can start feeding earthworms to your axolotl as soon as they are juvenile.
Repashy Grub Pie is a newer food for axolotls. It is an insect-based powder that you boil in water and then pour into molds to set and then you can keep the molds in the fridge for up to seven days.
Treats For Adult Axolotls
White worms are loved by axolotls but are too fatty to be their primary staple food.
How Many Worms Do You Feed An Axolotl A Day?
This can depend on 3 factors…
The Axolotls Age – Axolotls eat every day when they are young so they may eat anywhere from half a worm to two worms a day but when axolotls are grown, they don’t eat as much so they won’t be eating every day.
The Axolotls Appetite – Axolotls are all different so some axolotls won’t eat as much as others. Just don’t feed them more than they will eat.
The Size Of The Worm – Obviously worms come in different sizes so several little worms may only equal one nightcrawler.
How Much Do Axolotls Eat?
Most axolotl keepers live by the 2-minute rule. When you start feeding your axolotl, don’t feed them more than they can eat in two minutes. However, you must start the timer when they start eating, not when you drop the food in the tank.
Do Axolotls Stop Eating When Full?
Most axolotls will stop eating their normal staple diet which is usually worms when they are full. There are some axolotls out there though that you have to cut off because they will try to eat every worm you put in front of them.
Baby and juvenile axolotls usually stop eating when they are full but they eat more because they are growing anyways.
If you get one of the unique adults axolotls that don’t stop then, you will have to figure out how much to feed them. About the equivalent of 2-3 earthworms, every other day should do but if your axolotl regurgitates their food then that is a sure sign they are eating too much.
Can You Overfeed An Axolotl?
It’s hard to overfeed baby or juvenile axolotls but you can certainly overfeed an adult axolotl.
You should just feed them every other day.
Most adult axolotls will stop eating when they are full which is about two earthworms.
If they don’t stop eating when they are full then they will regurgitate their food. If this happens only feed them what they can eat in two minutes.
As we said above, start the timer when they start eating, not when you put the food in the water.
How Long Can Axolotls Go Without Food?
An axolotl that is under 8 months needs to be fed at least every few days to stay above. A juvenile axolotl may survive at max a week without food. An adult axolotl can survive 2 weeks without food. Some say an adult axolotl can survive 3 weeks without food but that is pushing it too much.
If you have to leave your axolotl with no one to take care of it, the best thing to do is get an automatic feeder, especially if your axolotl will eat pellets.
Just buy an automatic feeder ahead of time and test it out.
If you’re stuck and can’t get an automatic feeder then just give your axolotl a lot of food as soon as you leave and as soon as you get back.
You can leave some live worms in your aquarium that your axolotl may be able to eat.
Why Won’t My Axolotl Eat?
Your axolotl usually won’t eat if the water quality is poor.
If you have water in your tank with the proper water parameters, temperature and flow then your axolotl may be under stress from being in a new tank or an aggressive tankmate.
If you know these issues don’t apply, your axolotl may just not like its food. You may just have to try feeding it something else to eat.
If you can rule out all of the above then your axolotl may be ill. It could be ill from an intestinal blockage(usually from swallowing gravel) or it could be ill from something more serious.
If you rule everything out but illness, you may have to take it to a qualified vet.
Now you know how often to feed your axolotl, what to feed it, why, and what to watch out for if it doesn’t eat.
Remember axolotls are unique, some are interactive with people while some prefer to be left alone.
It’s the same with food. It just takes a little experimentation to find out how much to feed your axolotl, what to feed it, how often how much, etc.
Axolotls can live for a long time so enjoy your axolotl or axolotls!