Full Guide On Axolotl Not Eating? 10 Causes and Fixes

Axolotl Not Eating

One of the indicators of a healthy axolotl is healthy and regular eating habits. Whereas, if an axolotl won’t eat, it can be a cause of concern. The most common causes for axolotl not eating are impaction, constipation, and stress. Although, we’ve just mentioned stress as a singular cause, there can be various reasons for your axolotl being stressed.

This article will help you determine the cause of your axolotl not eating and recommend the best course of action to get them back on track.

Axolotl Not Eating?

If your axolotl won’t eat, the possible causes include:

  1. Impaction
  2. Constipation from overfeeding
  3. Wrong food
  4. Aggressive tank mate
  5. Illness

Or stress related causes such as:

  1. New tank
  2. Temperature is too cold, too warm or not constant
  3. Poor water quality
  4. The filter is too powerful
  5. Nitrogen cycle not completed

It’s important to remember that if your axolotl becomes stressed for any reason, it can result in them not eating.

Now, let’s take a look at each cause for your axolotl not eating as that will provide us with information on how to resolve it.

1.     Impaction

axolotl not eating
Impacted Axolotl With Gravel

Axolotl not eating is often a sign of impaction. Axolotls are notorious for putting anything they can in their mouth. This includes gravel, sand, tank decorations, etc.

The issue with that is – their digestive system won’t be able to process it and it results in impaction. Impaction can be very dangerous for axolotls. If they can’t pass whatever is lodged inside of them, it can become fatal very quickly.


If you suspect that your axolotl might be impacted, keep an eye on the following symptoms:

  • Lack of appetite
  • No poop
  • Floating/can’t stay on the bottom
  • Visibly bloated belly


The treatment for an axolotl not eating as a result of impaction is fridging and then tea baths. The cold temperature will boost your axolotl’s immune system improve and assist with passing the mass, either throwing it up or pooping it out.

If that doesn’t help, surgery will be required.

To read the guide on axolotl tea bath, head over here Step By Step – Axolotl Tea Bath, Salt Bath, Antibiotics


If your axolotl recovers from the impaction, you should review your axolotl’s tank set up. If your axolotl have swollen gravel, sand, or tank decoration, it means your tank set up is not safe.

Head over here to read about the perfect axolotl tank set up The Perfect Axolotl Tank Set Up – Step By Step Guide [2022]

2.     Constipation

Axolotl not eating is often a sign that they are constipated. Many owners make the mistake of overfeeding their axolotls. Adult axolotls don’t need to be fed daily but only 2-3 times a week.

Axolotls can easily become constipated because of overfeeding or feeding them foods that they can’t digest such as insects with hard exo-skeletons.

Even if you’re not feeding them daily, you might be feeding them too much.


If you suspect that your axolotl might be constipated, check for the following symptoms:


The treatment for constipated axolotl is the same as the treatment for impaction. First fridging and then tea baths. It’s also important to not feed your axolotl during the fridging process. Don’t worry about not feeding your axolotl for a few days. They will be just fine without food for up to 2 weeks.

If the axolotl doesn’t poop, it means whatever is stuck inside of them is too big to pass and they might require surgery.

If you want to learn more about constipation in axolotls, head over here Constipated Axolotl? What Causes It and How To Treat


If your axolotl recovers, it’s essential to get to the root of the problem. If they become constipated because of not being fed right. You need to review their feeding schedule – how often you feed them, how much and what foods.

Head over here for the full guide on the perfect axolotl feeding schedule What Do Axolotl Eat? – The Perfect Axolotl Feeding Schedule [2022]

3.     Wrong Food

Axolotls are fragile creatures, and you can’t just feed them whatever. Feeding your pet the correct food is essential part of keeping them healthy.

If your axolotl is not eating, it might be because the food you’re offering is too big in size, too hard to digest or just the not nutritious enough.

How To Fix It?

The perfect food for your axolotl depends on their age. For instance, baby and juvenile axolotls should be fed only live food such as blood worms. Whereas adult axolotls should be fed nightcrawlers, blackworms, daphnia, brine shrimp, or pellets.

It’s important to avoid feeding your axolotl foods that are larger than the distance between their eyes or foods that are hard to digest such as superworms.

4.      Aggressive Tank Mate/Injury

Axolotls Fighting Over A Worm

If your axolotl lives with tank mates, they might not be getting along. An axolotl won’t eat if they are being bullied by their tank mates or have sustained an injury.

Other signs of aggressive tank mate behavior include your axolotl staying in their hiding spot and visible damage to their body.

If that’s the case, you should immediately separate the bullied axolotl and provide them with a separate tank. If they have sustained any injuries, prepare the new tank water at slightly lower temperature than normal to help the healing process.

5.     Illness

Your axolotl not eating might be a sign that they are suffering from an illness such as Septicemia, gut infection, or parasites. These illnesses present with the symptom – lack of appetite.


Septicemia, or sepsis, is the clinical name for blood poisoning by bacteria. If your axolotl is suffering with septicemia, keep an eye out on the following symptoms:

  • Scale shedding
  • Abdominal shedding
  • Hemorrhages in the anal and gill region
  • Lack of appetite

Normally, axolotls would develop septicemia as a secondary infection. This means that your axolotl would have been sick before getting to this point.

It’s essential to know what’s normal behavior for your axolotl and what behavior is out of the ordinary. Knowing this will help you notice when your axolotl is sick, and that way you can act quickly before it reaches the point of septicemia.


Your axolotl won’t eat if they are suffering from internal parasites such as hexamita. Not only will your axolotl not eat but also, they will rapidly lose weight because of the parasite infection.


Symptoms of parasites in axolotls include:

  • Lack of appetite
  • Red patches on body. Red patches can be a symptom of other illnesses. To read all about the possible causes, head over here Why Is My Axolotl Turning Red? Is Red Axolotl Skin A Concern?
  • Fin and/or tail rot
  • Ulcers and sores
  • Shedding their skin
  • Bleeding in the anal and gill area
  • White axolotl poop
Diagnosis and Treatment

To properly diagnose parasites in axolotl, you need to contact a vet who will test a sample of their poop.

To treat parasites in axolotl, you’ll need antibiotics such as metronidazole. This is administered at 5 mg/g for 3–4 days. 

Axolotl Not Eating? Stress Related Causes

As already mentioned, if your axolotl won’t eat, it can be because of stress. However, stress can be caused by many factors such as:

  1. New Tank
  2. Temperature too cold
  3. Temperature too warm
  4. Poor water quality
  5. Tank cycle not completed

Let’s take a look at each stress-related cause for an axolotl not eating in more detail.

1.     New Tank

One reason for axolotl not eating is because they are getting used to a new environment. If your axolotl has been placed in a new tank or introduced to new tank mates, they will become stressed and will likely refuse food for a few days until they get used to the change.

2.     Temperature Is Too Cold, Too Warm or Constantly Varying

Maintaining the right water temperature in your axolotl tank is essential. The wrong temperature can result in stress, serious health problems and can even be fatal.

Temperature Is Too Cold

One reason why your axolotl won’t eat is if the water temperature is too cold. Normally,if the water temperature is below what’s recommended, your axolotl’s metabolism will slow down which will result in them needing less food until the temperature increases to what’s recommended.

Temperature Is Too Warm

On the other hand, a stressful and even dangerous situation is the water temperature being too warm. If the tank water is more than the recommended will result in your axolotl becoming stressed and not eating.

Temperature Is Not Constant

Lastly, your axolotl not eating might be a sign that they are stressed as a result of the tank water temperature not being constant.

Axolotls don’t like change, and this includes change in the temperature of the tank water.

Therefore, it’s important that you have thermometer in the tank that you check daily. This is to ensure the same temperature is maintained in the tank. The recommended temperature for your axolotl tank water is 59-65°F.

3.     Poor Water Quality

One of the most important parts of axolotl care is the water quality. If your axolotl is not eating, it might be due to stress as a result of poor water quality. Poor water quality can mean the filter being too dirty or not working properly, incorrect levels of nitrite, ammonia and/or pH.

How To Fix It?Maintaining your axolotl water tank at a high standard is one of the most important parts of caring for your pet. If the water parameters are not right and your axolotl is now stressed and not eating, the first thing to do is to test the water using an API water test kit, so you know what you need to fix.

The ideal water parameters for your axolotl are the following:

  • Nitrate and ammonia levels are 0
  • Water pH levels should be 7.4 to 7.6 pH range
  • Water hardness. Axolotls prefer water that is slightly hard. This means that they need a good concentration of dissolved salts in their water. Hard water ensures healthy gills and healthy slime coat production

Head over here for the guide on how to achieve the perfect axolotl water parameters and how to tackle any possible issues

4.     The Filter Is Too Powerful

Your axolotl won’t eat if the tank water is too lively as it can cause them stress. Although, you do need a strong filter for your axolotl’s tank, you might be using a filter that creates a current in the water which is not ideal.

How To Fix It?

To ensure that the axolotl tank water doesn’t become too lively, it’s recommended to use a sponge filter. Although, the sponge filter is powerful, it doesn’t create as much current as other filters.

5.     Nitrogen Cycle Not Completed

If you haven’t properly done the nitrogen cycle of the axolotl tank, it can result in your axolotl not eating and even vomiting the food they try to consume.

How To Fix It?

To fix this issue, first test the water in the tank to make sure it has completed its nitrogen cycle. If the nitrate and ammonia levels are not 0, you need to cycle the tank again.

Why Is My Baby Axolotl Not Eating?

Possible reason for a baby axolotl not eating include:

  • Feeding them the wrong type of foods. Baby axolotls should only be fed live food by placing it right in their face.
  • The size of the food is too big, so they would vomit it or completely refuse it
  • Overfeeding. Although, baby axolotls need to be fed daily, you should be careful to not overfeed them. If they are constipated because of being overfed, the baby axolotl won’t at until it passes the stool
  • The water conditions are not right. Test the water and ensure that the Nitrate and ammonia levels are 0 and water pH levels are 7.4 to 7.6 pH range

Juvenile Axolotl Not Eating

The possible causes for juvenile axolotl not eating are the same as baby axolotl not eating:

  • Food is too big
  • Wrong type of food being fed
  • Overfeeding
  • The water conditions are not right
  • Being bullied by other tank mates

Final Thoughts

A common problem that owners deal with is their axolotl not eating.

The most common causes for axolotl not eating include impaction, constipation, injury, illness or stress related causes such as water temperature not correct and poor water quality. And in some cases, it’s as simple as you’re feeding them the wrong foods.

As long as you act quickly and get to the root of the problem, in most cases axolotls can get back on track quickly without any serious damage to their health.

Frequently Asked Questions FAQ

Why Is My Axolotl Spitting Out Food?

Axolotl spitting out food or throwing up food can be because of any of the following reasons:

  • They dislike the food you’re giving them
  • They are full
  • The food is too big or too hard to digest
  • The axolotl is impacted
  • The water temperature is too cold

Why Is My Axolotl Spitting Out Food?

Axolotls can easily get sick if not cared for properly. It’s important to know what to look for in a sick axolotl, so you can quickly help them get back to optimal health.

The signs of a sick axolotl to look out for include:

  • Not eating. This includes refusing food and/or throwing it up
  • Deterioration of the axolotl gills
  • Jaundice
  • Skin sores and lesions
  • Back and spinal deformities
  • Thrashing around or floating on top
  • Injuries to the axolotl’s limbs, gills, or tail




My name is Iliyana and I'm a passionate animal lover and pet owner. As there is significantly less information online about unusual and exotic pets, I decided to found this website and recruit expert writers to help pet owners.

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