Axolotls are carnivores which means they eat nothing but meat. When you keep them in an aquarium, you try to mimic their natural environment which includes their natural diet in the wild.
Axolotls eat live foods in the wild, which some people don’t like to mess with when keeping them in an aquarium. I completely understand this with the busy lives of most people so I have some good news for you!
Axolotls can begin to eat pellets when they are old enough, which is usually when they are at least two inches in length. Baby axolotls need to be fed live foods until they are old enough to switch over to pellets. You can tell axolotls are ready for pellets simply because they will eat them.
If your axolotl is a baby, it will have to keep eating live foods until it is usually around two inches long. At this point, you should be able to slowly start to introduce fish pellets into their diet.
What Size Pellets Can My Axolotl Eat?
When your axolotl is young, the pellets can’t be bigger than 3 mm this is mainly because of the size of their mouth.
When your axolotl is older, you can upgrade to a bigger pellet size of 5 mm but never bigger than this regardless of their age. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to stay at the smaller size as long as they are eating them.
What Pellets Are Best for Axolotl?
Axolotls are known as the Mexican walking fish because they walk along the bottom of lakes in the wild or the bottom of your aquarium. This is why they eat worms that are found in the ground when they are in the wild.
Naturally, when you switch your axolotl to pellets, you want to feed them sinking pellets since their instinct is to forage for food along the bottom of wherever they are living rather than be in an aquarium or not.
I recommend that you feed a pellet that is over 40 percent protein and no higher than 20 percent fat. You should be able to find this on the nutritional values printed on the labeling just like on human food.
You can shop around at pet stores for your own or order some of our recommendations listed below:
Can Baby Axolotls Eat Pellets?
As stated above, baby axolotls won’t eat pellets. Their instinct is to eat live foods like worms. When they are first hatched you will have to feed them micro worms, baby brine shrimp, and daphnia. You gradually feed them bigger foods as they get older.
A good measuring stick to use is the size of their mouths. If they can fit meat into their mouths then an axolotl will probably eat it.
How Do I Get My Axolotl to Eat Pellets?
Always buy the sinking pellets. You can try dropping them in the tank close to your axolotl’s face. If the pellets touch their face they will probably snap at it. Once the pellet is in their mouth, they should realize that it is food.
If they spit it out you can keep repeating and alternate worms with pellets to try to get them to eat the pellets.
You can wait until you know they are hungry and try feeding them the pellets first.
Try feeding them the way you usually feed them whether it’s dropping the food into the water, feeding it to them with tweezers, or feeding them by hand.
An extreme would be to wait a day if they keep rejecting the pellets. After they are completely starving, they may have no choice but to eat the pellets.
Can Axolotls Survive on Just Pellets?
Axolotls can survive on just pellets as long as you get the right kind as mentioned above. Around 40 percent protein and 20 percent fat. If you buy pellets specifically formulated for axolotls, the pellets should be fine as their staple diet.
If you feel more comfortable you can rotate something like earthworms into their diet if you don’t have a problem with live foods.
Can Axolotls Have Treats?
In addition to staple foods, you can also give your axolotl some treats.
Here is a list of some treats you can give your axolotl:
- Frozen Brine Shrimp
- Newt and Turtle Food
- Ghost Shrimp
- Shelled Prawn Meat
- Tubifex Worms
- Cherry Shrimp
- Beef Heart – make sure it’s small enough to fit in their mouths.
If you want your axolotl to get the right mixture of nutrients then pellets can be a great food source if you choose the right ones. Just make sure they have the proper protein-to-fat ratio as described above and make sure you purchase them from a reputable dealer or pet store.
If you don’t have a problem with live foods, then your axolotl will be better off with earthworms, blackworms, or bloodworms. If you feed your axolotl worms, then make sure you get them from a worm farm or a pet store.
Never feed your axolotl wild worms as they may have parasites that can infect your axolotl and make them sick.
You can also rotate worms with pellets to make sure they have variety in their diet.