Breeding European Nightcrawlers as Nutrient-Rich Axolotl Food: A Comprehensive Guide

Posted by Tina Heckman on Feb 14th 2024

Breeding European Nightcrawlers as Nutrient-Rich Axolotl Food:  A Comprehensive Guide

   Axolotls, fascinating aquatic creatures, require a varied and nutritious diet to thrive in captivity. One excellent and readily available food source for axolotls is the European nightcrawler (Eisenia hortensis). Breeding European nightcrawlers can be a rewarding endeavor, providing a sustainable and nutrient-rich option for axolotl enthusiasts. In this guide, we'll delve into the process of breeding European nightcrawlers for axolotl consumption, ensuring your aquatic companions receive the best possible nutrition.

1. Understanding European Nightcrawlers:

   European nightcrawlers are earthworms that belong to the Lumbricidae family. They are larger than traditional red wigglers and are known for their voracious appetite and ability to thrive in a controlled environment. Rich in protein and essential nutrients, these worms make an ideal food source for axolotls.

2. Creating the Ideal Breeding Environment:

   To successfully breed European nightcrawlers, you need to establish a suitable environment. Begin by preparing a bedding mixture of organic matter such as peat moss, shredded newspaper, and coconut coir. This bedding should be moist but not waterlogged.

You can find the easiest, most portable, ready-to-grow worm farms to grow your axolotl’s food here:


- "European Nightcrawlers" by Red Worm Composting ( )

3. Maintaining Optimal Conditions:

   European nightcrawlers thrive in a temperature range of 55-77°F (13-25°C). Keep the breeding container in a cool and dark place, away from direct sunlight. Regularly check the moisture levels in the bedding, ensuring it remains damp but not overly wet.


- "European Nightcrawler Care Sheet" by Josh's Frogs ( )

4. Feeding and Nurturing Nightcrawlers:

   To promote healthy growth, provide a balanced diet for the European nightcrawlers. Kitchen scraps, vegetable peelings, and crushed eggshells are excellent choices. Avoid acidic foods, citrus fruits, and excessive amounts of oily or salty items.

   Or you can make your life easier by getting our specially formulated Worm Feed that provides them with all the nutrients they require here:


- "How to Breed Nightcrawlers" by Gone Outdoors ( )

5. Harvesting and Storing Nightcrawlers:

   When the nightcrawlers have reached maturity, they can be harvested for feeding axolotls. Gently separate them from the bedding, and rinse them with water to remove any remaining debris.

   The maturation time of European nightcrawlers (Eisenia hortensis) from hatchlings to maturity can vary based on environmental conditions such as temperature, humidity, and food availability. On average, it takes about 3 to 6 months for European nightcrawlers to reach maturity under optimal conditions. 

   During this period, they go through various developmental stages, including hatchling, juvenile, and finally reaching maturity as adult worms. Factors such as temperature and food quality can significantly influence their growth rate. Warmer temperatures generally accelerate their development, while cooler temperatures may slow it down. 

   It's important to provide suitable bedding material, maintain proper moisture levels, and offer a balanced diet to ensure the healthy growth and development of European nightcrawlers. Regular monitoring of the worm bin and environmental conditions will help optimize their maturation process.


- "How to Harvest Worm Castings and Worms" by Garden Culture Magazine ( )

6. Introducing Nightcrawlers to Axolotls:

   Before introducing nightcrawlers to axolotls, ensure they are appropriately sized for your axolotl's mouth. Start with small quantities and observe how your axolotls respond. Gradually increase the amount as needed. Monitor your axolotls' health and adjust the feeding regimen accordingly.


- "Feeding Your Axolotl" by ( )

7. Health Benefits of Nightcrawlers for Axolotls:

   The nutrient profile of European nightcrawlers makes them an excellent source of protein, essential amino acids, and minerals for axolotls. Regular consumption can contribute to the overall well-being, growth, and vitality of your aquatic companions.


- "Nutritional Composition of Earthworms" by ResearchGate ( )


   Breeding European nightcrawlers for axolotls is a sustainable and enriching practice for both hobbyists and the well-being of their aquatic pets. By following these guidelines and incorporating information from reputable sources, you can ensure a reliable and nutritious food source for your axolotls while contributing to their overall health and longevity.

   Our exclusive Worm Farms come with everything you need to start growing your own nightcrawlers right now. They are highly portable and easy to use. They come with your choice of either 100 or 250 European nightcrawler worms are included to get you started fast.

   Check them out here: