Do Axolotls Eat Fish? Should They?

4 min read


Axolotls are becoming popular aquarium pets because of their unique appearance and a freakish ability to regenerate limbs. There is not a lot of information about them published yet and one of the questions that popped up recently was, do axolotls eat fish?

Axolotls may be cute, but they are still tiny predators and carnivores. This means they will try to eat anything and everything that is small enough to fit into their mouths and they only eat meat, this includes your fingers! So, yes, axolotls do eat fish if it is small enough to fit into their mouth.

The real question here is should axolotl’s eat fish and should you include it in your pet axolotl’s diet?

Should I Feed My Axolotl Fish?

Okay, let’s cut to the chase. I recommend that you don’t feed your axolotl fish. The reason is, they can carry parasites that can infect your axolotl and make them sick.

It is just not worth the risk.

Even if you do feed your axolotl fish, you should quarantine the fish in a separate tank for 30 days just to make sure it’s safe for your axolotl to eat.

Who has an extra tank lying around that is already primed with beneficial bacteria just to make sure you can give your axolotl a safe treat to eat?

Oh yeah! Did I forget to mention that even if you do feed your axolotl fish, which have to be small enough to fit into their mouth, you are only supposed to give them the fish as an occasional treat?

Fish can’t be the primary food source for your axolotl. I know it sounds weird since they are carnivores, but an axolotl will not get the proper nutrition they need from eating fish.

What Are Axolotls Favorite Food?

Axolotls are somewhat slow-moving creatures. They originated from two lakes in Mexico and were discovered to live on the bottom of the lakes. They are known as the Mexican walking fish because they like to walk along the bottom of the lake.

Naturally, if they spend a lot of time along the bottom and they are slow then worms are easily accessible for them to eat, especially earthworms.

As a matter of fact, if you are going to keep an axolotl its main diet is going to be worms. Most people feed them earthworms, blackworms, or bloodworms as their staple food. You can even rotate the type of worms you feed them.

White worms are a good treat but shouldn’t be used as a staple food because they are high in fat. However, they are great for young axolotls that are growing because they need a lot of fat in their diet.

No matter what kind of live food you feed to your axolotl, make sure you buy it from a pet store or that it is farm raised.

You don’t want to be feeding your axolotl wild worms for the same reason you don’t want to feed them fish. Wild food usually has parasites that can infect your axolotl and make them sick.

Will An Axolotl Eat My Fish?

If you are wanting to have a tank with axolotl and other fish, you need to be very careful which fish you put in the tank.

Again, axolotls are carnivores. For a fish to survive with them it really needs to be bigger than the axolotl’s mouth however, the axolotl will still try to eat it! Usually, the axolotl will realize that the fish is too big to fit into its mouth, and stop trying to eat it.

The only way a smaller fish will survive is if it is too fast for the axolotl to catch! But who wants to put a fish through that kind of torment?

Fish Tank Mates

The following fish are sure to be successful tankmates:

Zebra danio

Golden Skiffia

White cloud mountain minnow

Orange-finned danio (extra aeration & aquarium cover required)

Can My Axolotl Eat Feeder Fish?

As discussed above, I don’t recommend feeding feeder fish to your axolotl although some people do. If you must, make sure the feeder fish are homegrown. Never feed wild fish to your axolotl because of the danger of parasites that could infect your axolotl.

If the feeder fish aren’t homegrown then make sure they are fish farm raised or purchased from a pet store. Even then you should still quarantine them in a separate tank to make sure they don’t have any parasites.

As a said before, who has time for this?

Will My Axolotl Eat My Goldfish?

Axolotls will certainly try to eat your goldfish. I can not repeat enough that axolotls are carnivores. They will try to eat anything that moves, including your wonderful goldfish.

Vice versa, goldfish will antagonize your axolotl by nipping at the gills of your axolotl. What kind of mischievous fish could resist nipping at that flowing main of gills?

The only type of goldfish that can be kept with an axolotl is a ‘fancy goldfish’ that is too big for your axolotl to eat.

The fancy goldfish has to also be well-fed to keep from nipping off chunks of your axolotls’ gills.


I think we’ve identified that it is not a good idea to feed your axolotl fish. There is just too much risk involved.

You have your axolotl for viewing pleasure so don’t risk losing it. Especially if you become attached to it. Axolotls do learn to recognize their owners so you may actually enjoy being around each other.

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Pet Aquariums

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