An axolotl's diet will depend on its age and size. A good breeder will not release an axolotl for sale until it is around three inches in length. At this size/age, the axolotl should not need solely live food anymore.
As hatchlings, axolotls will need very small live fresh food. Examples include live baby brine shrimp, daphnia, and micro worms. At Lizzy's, we have had the best luck with freshly hatched brine shrimp. We feel like this is the best source of protein for growing babies.
As the hatchlings get older, we move towards feeding them small chopped up live black worms. As they continue to grow, black worms can then be the main source of diet and do not need to be chopped up anymore.
At the three inch mark, we can then move towards small salmon pellets and whole black worms. Red wiggler worms can also be fed at this age. However, some axolotls don't like them as much. Evenly, as your baby gets bigger you can start offering chopped up earthworms along with the salmon pellets. We feel that earth worms are by far the best diet and can help grow big beautiful and fluffy gills. All live food should come from a pet store or bait shop. You may consider making your own worm farms and cultures. However, we advise not catching worms from the wild due to the potential of harmful pesticides and fertilizers.
Any uneaten salmon pellets can spoil the tank water quickly. Great care should be taken to remove any uneaten food. We like to use smooth metal feeding tongs for both pellets and worms. Tongs can be bought at your local pet shop. If your axolotl is like many of ours, they may prefer being fed via tongs. This ensures each one is getting fed and they can actually see their food. As a reminder, axolotls don't see the best so you really need to make it easy for them. Excess pellets and worms can be suctioned up with a turkey baster if needed.
A younger axolotl will need to eat more frequently to ensure normal growth. We offer our juveniles as much food as they can eat until they refuse two times a day. As your axolotl becomes full grown it will not need to eat as much. We still like to offer food at least once a day once they are mature. However, you may find they will only eat once every 2 or 3 days once they reach adulthood.
f you decide to house multiple axolotls in your tank(s) it is a good idea to always make sure they are well fed to avoid nipping. Axolotls feeding response is instinctive and it is not uncommon for them to accidentally nip at a tank mates gill or tail mistaking it for food.
Keep in mind every specimen is different in terms of likes and dislikes. It is not uncommon for axolotls to refuse food especially in a new environment. This is normal. It is also normal for them to eat and then spit out their food. This is common when they may already be full, need to defecate, or if the worm is too large. If you see this occurring, try smaller worm pieces. We recommend washing the worms before feeding to reduce dirt in the tank.
Frozen bloodworms should only be offered as a treat. We do not recommend feeding insects or meal worms as the hard exoskeletons can harm them during digestion. Feeder fish such as guppies or even shrimp can be offered as an occasional treat as well. However, some axolotls will not touch them and they can live cohesively. If you house or feel your axolotl fish you need to keep in mind that fish can nip their gills which can lead to a host of other health issues. The staff at Lizzy's has decided to not feed our axolotls fish because of this. However, it is a personal preference.