How Many Pellets Should Be Fed to an Axolotl per Meal?

The Mexican Walking Fish hails from and lives exclusively in an area near Mexico City. It is a Salamander similar to no other.

In fact, unlike other salamanders they are strictly aquatic creatures and are neoteny. This signifies that they do not undergo metamorphosis but maintain several larval features throughout their lives.

In their natural habitat, axolotls are considered an endangered species. Those bred in captivity are becoming increasingly popular as pets.

Even so, these amphibians do need some very particular conditions for their aquarium environment for survival and to thrive.

How Many Pellets Should Be Fed to an Axolotl per Meal

How much and how often you feed an axolotl will be determined by their size, age, and even the aquarium water temperature.

Younger axolotls should be fed a very small brine shrimp or worm daily. Adult axolotls will need to eat 2 to 3 times per week. As their digestion is very slow. 

Water temperature does make a difference. In colder temperatures, they eat less, whereas in warmer water temperatures their metabolism speeds up and they may want to eat more.

What Do You Feed Axolotls?

Axolotls are opportunistic feeders and carnivores. A typical axolotl diet might include fish, spiders, insects, mollusks, crustaceans, arthropods, and even smaller amphibians. Axolotls will also eat each other if hungry.

 In captivity, axolotls might be fed various foods including:

      • Blood worms
      • Tubifex worms 
      • Earthworms
      • Brine shrimp
      • Fish flakes 
      • Strips of beef or liver 
      • Frozen fish pieces 

and they can be fed fish pellets. Fish pellets are convenient for both purchasing and price.

What Type of Pellets Should Be Fed to an Axolotl?

What Type of Pellets Should Be Fed to an Axolotl

Axolotls do not possess teeth as we imagine them. The teeth are soft and are only used to grab onto the prey, not to chew.

Prey in the wild is soft, so feeding your axolotl a softer kind of pellet will make it easier for it to grab onto and swallow.

Generally speaking, pellets that are placed on the bottom of the tank will soften naturally, but pellet size is important.

Axolotls swallow their food whole, so pellets should be small to avoid problems. This is vitally important if you are feeding younger axolotls.

How Many Pellets Should Be Fed to an Axolotl?

The quantity of pellets you feed your axolotl will differ depending on the axolotl’s age. This will especially be true in the first 6 to 12 months of age.

Axolotls with maturity can grow to lengths of 10 to 12 inches, some may even reach 16 or 17 inches. As newborns, they measure less than one-half inch.

Is There a Specific Number of Pellets That Should Be Fed?

Indiana State University has done extensive research about axolotls and how to keep them healthy when raised in captivity.

Researchers there maintain an axolotl assurance colony because these species are endangered in the wild.

One research project studied what are the appropriate kinds of pellets to feed axolotls during the various life stages. Their research gave these feeding indications.


1. Newly Hatched Axolotl Embryo Larvae

Newly hatched axolotls leave their eggs with a yolk sac with reserve nutrients still attached to aid them in their transition and help them survive their first days.

When yolk sacs disappear, it’s time to feed your new babies. Feed them only tiny brine shrimp that have just hatched to help them avoid swallowing air.

Food should be left for 24 hours and then the tank’s water should be changed.

2. Young Axolotls that Measure 1.5 inches

Once a young axolotl reaches 1.5 inches, you can alternate the tiny brine shrimp diet and introduce pellets that are 1/8-inch in size.

Pellets should be moistened and softened before they are introduced into the axolotl tank. Gradually increase the pellets and reduce the quantity of brine shrimp.

3. Axolotls Measuring 2 to 3 inches in Length

By the time the axolotls grow to 2 inches, they should only be fed pellets that are 1/8-inch sized.

4. Axolotls Measuring 6 inches in Length or Reaching 6 Months in Age

At six months, most axolotls will have reached sexual maturity even if they are still growing physically. They can now be fed pellets that are 3/16 inches in size. 

5. One-year-old Axolotls

Once your axolotl reaches a year old, you can decrease the pellets you are feeding and the number of weekly feedings as well. Try feeding 5 pellets per meal 3 times per week.

How Can I Ease My Axolotl’s Transition from Food to Pellets?

If you care for your axolotl from its birth, you will probably not face problems as you transition your axolotl from brine shrimp to fish pellets.

Adopting an adult axolotl may be entirely different. An adult raised elsewhere may not eat pellets.

To transition your adult axolotl from insects, fish, or small aquatic animals to pellets follow these tips:

1.) Pellets should be small enough for your axolotl to grab onto and swallow whole.

2.) Avoid the temptation to overfeed your pet.

3.) Drop each pellet in the water near your pet’s mouth. This will attract the attention of your pet and stimulate its snapping or grabbing for food. It’s important that pellets sink and do not float on the water.

4.) Be patient if your pet spits the pellet out, it’s a new food.

5.) If your axolotl appears totally disinterested, leave a pellet or two on your tank’s bottom during the nighttime. Curiosity may get the better of it.

6.) If your axolotl refuses the pellets at feeding time, do not offer other foods immediately. Wait until the next day before offering another kind of food or prey. You can try pellets again on the next feeding day.

Also, try various types of pellets to see if there is one kind that your axolotl prefers, and continue offering treats to give your pet some variety.

The Bottom Line

If you overfeed or underfeed an axolotl, you can cause gastric problems for your pet and even cause the formation of bile on stomach linings. It’s important to serve the proper amount of food for your axolotl’s size and age.

Don’t worry if your adult axolotl initially resists the introduction of pellets into its diet. Be patient. Let your axolotl take all the time necessary to develop a taste for its new food.

Elizabeth Smith
Elizabeth Smith is an American Italian freelance writer living outside a small town on the island of Sicily in southern Italy. She resides on a country hillside with her husband, two cats, and six dogs. Both she and her husband dedicate a portion of their free time to studying their canine family. Elizabeth has completed courses as both a dog handler and dog trainer and in canine first-aid. She is also part of a local volunteer group in support of stray and abandoned dogs.

Related Posts: