Varied diets for picky eaters?

Kochebi

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Hi there! I have three axolotls, all over three years old now, (and all over 11 inches long) who have started to become very picky eaters. Well, except one. My female axolotl will eat anything; rosy reds, raw chicken, raw cod, raw salmon, raw shrimp, worms, pellets.... basically anything I put in her tank. However, my two males have developed the habit of rejecting anything that isn't fish. They'll eat cod, salmon, and live rosy reds, but neither of them will touch pellets or even earth worms.

I'm wondering if anyone has tried feeding live freshwater shrimp to their axolotls, as I want to keep their diet as varied as possible to make sure they're getting the nutrients they need. I have an unused 10gal tank and I was thinking of trying to make my first planted tank (I can't have plants in my axo tanks as both Kenway and Ogo love to uproot any plant... And Ogo has a strange habit of tearing up marimo). I would keep a breeding colony of Amano, Cherry Red, or Ghost shrimp in it, and maybe a betta since I just really want a betta as well.

Anyway, yeah. If anyone has heard of freshwater shrimp as an additive to axolotl diets or has experience with it and could let me know how it went that would be cool. I'm assuming I would probably have to remove any claws/sharp bits on the shrimp, unless they're so small it doesn't matter.

Also, if you have any other advice on what to feed large adult axolotls that have developed very picky habits that would be awesome too!
 

Hayleyy

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What kind of earthworms have you tried? Some emit an icky taste that axie's don't like.
The problem I would imagine with shrimp is that they have an exoskeleton, right? Which, like crickets, can be harder to digest.
 

Kochebi

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I've tried regular earth worms, night crawlers. I avoided red wrigglers for the stink factor. Both of the boys used to eat worms happily, but as they became unavailable to me in the winter time they had more fish and now reject the worms. They just won't eat them. I could try again, but if they don't eat them it's just not really cost effective for me.

And I figured shrimp would be harder to digest, but I know that the cod and salmon are low in calcium, which I'm assuming shrimp would have. I guess I would sort of use them like a vitamin... a treat every so often that helps add a decent source of calcium. I mean, I feel like the same could be said for rosy reds since they're so bony, but so far I haven't encountered any problems with those. I feed two or three every 6 or so weeks.
 

Hayleyy

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Have you tried waiting a few days before feeding them? They will then be hungry so may eat the worms. Just watch they don't nip at each other before hand (maybe put a divider in the tank).
 

strawberrie

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Too many rosy reds (and goldfish) can cause a thiamine deficiency, try not to use those too often. Guppies would work better if you can breed those yourself. Occasional shrimp are fine as a treat I believe, just make sure to quarantine them first. I don't believe that fish is a complete diet, so trying to cut back on that and just feeding them worms until they eat it seems like the best idea imo.
 

Kochebi

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Have you tried waiting a few days before feeding them? They will then be hungry so may eat the worms. Just watch they don't nip at each other before hand (maybe put a divider in the tank).
My one axolotl Nugget hadn't eaten in almost two weeks and was still refusing worms... I ended up giving him two rosy reds just so he would eat something. I guess I could wait again and see if he takes worms but...

I guess I just freak out because they still refuse worms even after days of not eating. I've also been thinking of trying Hikari pellets, and seeing if they have any interest in those.
 

Kochebi

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Too many rosy reds (and goldfish) can cause a thiamine deficiency, try not to use those too often. Guppies would work better if you can breed those yourself. Occasional shrimp are fine as a treat I believe, just make sure to quarantine them first. I don't believe that fish is a complete diet, so trying to cut back on that and just feeding them worms until they eat it seems like the best idea imo.
Thanks. Rosies were my last resort for thiamine and how bony they are, plus they're generally just... so sickly. I might look in to guppies. I do have an empty 10gal I could set up.

Like I said in the post above I just get worried when they don't eat for almost two weeks and still refuse worms.
 

Hayleyy

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Maybe it's a movement thing? Were the worms you were feeding super wriggly, or limp?
 
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