Can Axolotls Live With Fish

Can Axolotls Live With Fish? A Comprehensive Guide On Axolotl Tank Mates

This article is written by Anne Thynne from Expert Aquarist

Axolotls are solitary animals that do well on their own and do not require the company of other axolotls or other aquatic species.

Your pet axolotl doesn’t need any tank mates, and in fact, they do better when kept alone, so you don’t have to worry about that.

But can axolotls live with fish?

In contrast to other fish and other aquatic animals, Axolotls flourish in a solitary environment. This is because they have unique care needs that can only be satisfied when there are no other fish in the tank.

Then why aren’t they sad? It would be helpful for them to work with a corporation. But, no, that’s a surprise. On the other hand, having tank mates may have more negative effects on your axolotls than positive ones.

Any advantages your axolotls would gain from some company are so minor that they aren’t worth the work.

Can Axolotls Live With Fish?

The quick answer is yes, although I would suggest not doing so.

There is no doubt that axolotls can co-exist with fish and other freshwater animals. But this is not ideal practice, and one or the other will eventually suffer or die. 

You should keep your pet axolotl separate from other aquatic critters or fish. If you want axolotls to live a long and healthy life, you shouldn’t bring them any company because they thrive in solitude.

Know More About Axolotls:

Why Axolotls Are Preferred To Keep Alone?

There are many reasons why axolotls don’t like tank mates. However, some of the most common reasons why axolotls and tank mates don’t work are outlined below:

Why Axolotls Are Preferred To Keep Alone

Axolotls Will Eat Small Tankmates

Carnivores and axolotls will try to consume any fish or crustacean they can get their teeth into. For the sake of your axolotls, you may as well give up hope of coexistence with little fish. Feeder fish and other aquatic invertebrates are popular prey for axolotls. One by one, they’ll all be eaten by your axolotl.

Axolotls do not play nice, and they will not overlook the tasty feast that these little fish or crustaceans represent. 

Problems arise when fish or other tankmates are too large to fit in the axolotl’s mouth, and the axolotl still attempts to swallow them but only manages to eat them partway through.

Even if they are unable to swallow them whole, they may attempt to do so, resulting in choking or impaction.

Food too large to move down the GI tract can lead to impaction, which can be fatal for your axolotls if it isn’t cleared.

Big Fish Will Create Trouble For Axolotls

Feeder fish, such as goldfish or catfish, might nip at the gills of your axolotls as they grow in size. However, for the larger fish, the hazard is considerably more significant. 

These enormous fish may eat your axolotl. In addition, your axolotl gills or fins could be eaten away by predators.

This means that it’s best not to put your axolotl in a tank with anything more giant than them to keep your axolotl safe.

Note: Axolotls’ gills can be bitten off, so don’t freak out if this happens. Eventually, their gills will re-grow, but they won’t be the same as before.

Possibilities Of Injuries & Infections

If fish with long, sharp teeth attack axolotls with their teeth, they can damage their gills and cause them to die. 

Fin-nipping fish will nip axolotls’ gills, which may not be an issue in and of itself because axolotls can and can regenerate their gills and other body parts. But secondary infections from these injuries can be deadly, especially if they are exposed to parasitic bacteria.

Axolotls’ greatest danger may not even stem from nips and injuries. Axolotls’ nutrition and eating habits are also a source of contention.

Which Fish Can Live With Axolotls?

Some owners say they haven’t had any troubles keeping together axolotls and the fish species listed below, while others say it’s just a matter of time before their axolotls get a taste of their tankmates.

There is no certainty that they will not be consumed!

There are some really awful possibilities and some not-so-bad options for tank mates for your axolotl. So I’m not saying none of the options below will work out, but the hopes are usually slim.

White Cloud Mountain Minnow

White Cloud Mountain Minnow Are Preferred To Keep With Axolotl

They’re the only fish species I’d consider suitable for axolotl aquariums. Fish that can thrive in cold water, like axolotls, are White Cloud Mountain Minnows.

Even though minnows do not pose a hazard to axolotls, axolotls pose a threat to minnows. There’s no guarantee that your axolotls won’t turn these gorgeous fish into a good snack.

Even if your axolotls eat Minnows, they may not constitute a health hazard due to their lack of sharp spines or exoskeleton.


Guppy Are Preferred To Keep With Axolotl

Since guppies lack hard exoskeletons, they can cohabit with axolotls if the latter isn’t interested in eating them. And keeping a few in your axolotl tank will assist in finishing up any leftover food your axolotls leave behind.

While guppies can breed quickly and in significant numbers, which may sound like a fantastic food supply for axolotls, their large numbers would stress axolotls. Thus I don’t really recommend keeping them in the same tank.

Axolotls’ gills can be nicked by larger guppies, and guppies can also contain viruses and parasites that can infect the axolotl (if not quarantined before introduction).

Zebra Danio

Zebra Danio Are Preferred To Keep With Axolotl

Zebra Danios, a tranquil cool-water fish, can also be a good option. They will stay near their own shoals and stay away from your axolotl most of the time.  

Again, you may see that some of your fish have vanished. It’s good to know that Zebra danios are agile, so they may be able to survive in an axolotl tank.

But just because they can swim fast doesn’t mean that your axolotls won’t sometimes surprise these danios.

Potentially Suitable Axolotl Tank Mates

Axolotls can’t live with fish. Even if they can’t eat them, your axolotls may show aggression toward their tank mates. The axolotl’s mouth is small; thus, choosing animals that won’t fit in the axolotl’s mouth is crucial. This leads to the following point: the creatures you maintain must be able to flee quickly.

Adult Apple Snails

Apple Snail Are Preferred To Keep With Axolotl

Adult apple snails can be housed alongside juvenile axolotls in the same tank. Your wandering fish can’t eat them since they’re too big. 

Avoid tiny snails and stick to mature apple snails if you wish to have snails in axolotl tanks. But if you keep more than one, you run the risk of the snails climbing on top of the axolotl and sucking off the slime coat.

Snails with delicate shells, such as juvenile bladder or ramshorn snails, are likewise harmless. But adult ramshorn and bladder snails pose a danger to axolotls because they’re small enough to swallow but not soft enough to digest completely.

Small Shrimp

Shrimp Are Preferred To Keep With Axolotl

Any freshwater aquarium would benefit from the inclusion of Amano shrimp or ghost/glass shrimp. They achieve this by scouring the substrate for food and doing a great job of cleaning up any food that is left behind. Keeping your axolotl tank clean is made easier as a result.

But shrimp is a favorite food of axolotls because they are high in protein and flavor, which shrimp provide.

Because ghost shrimp have a nearly transparent body, they may hide well in the tank, mainly when plants are present. However, since axolotls have a keen sense of smell, they can hunt them down if they so desire.

The Amano shrimp are small enough to be swallowed without the risk of impaction, so even if your axolotls end up eating these shrimps, they’re safe. 

Other Axolotls

Axolotl Tankmates

Another axolotl is the ideal choice if you’re determined to give your pet a tank friend. Some caveats must be taken into consideration, though.

Cannibalism in young axolotls has been documented (eating each other’s gills, limbs, and other body parts). However, adult axolotls may not have this problem, as this inclination is less prevalent in adulthood. The only exception to this rule is if one axolotl is significantly larger than the other; in this case, the larger axolotls will bully the smaller. 

Even if injuries aren’t the primary issue, secondary infections are more likely to develop. In addition, the smaller axolotls will be agitated, and their immune systems will be impaired. As a result, axolotls that aren’t getting along may need to be separated.

Axolotls can effectively reproduce in captivity, and a female axolotl can lay up to 1000 eggs at a time. You can maintain axolotls of the same gender or build up a tank with both sexes. Keep only axolotls of the same gender if you’re not up for the challenge of baby reproduction.

Tank Mates That You Should Avoid

Many axolotl tank owners I’ve come across insist on keeping a second fish in their tank. The majority of them will accept little fish. It’s not safe just because it is small. Some people even put them in the same tank as larger fish, which is dangerous. 

So, these are the top three most frequent fish you might assume are safe but are actually dangerous.

First And Foremost, Goldfish

Goldfish may be a fantastic choice for a tank mate of the axolotl because they also prefer chilly water. But, wrong! 

The axolotls will try to eat them while your goldfish are still little, leading to choking or impaction. But eventually, goldfish can grow up to 12 inches long, the same length as an adult axolotl.

Goldfish have a poor reputation for nipping at fins. However, they also grow in size, making it simpler to torment your favorite salamander.

To add insult to injury, axolotls are known for their high bio-load, and goldfish create a lot of waste, which, when combined with the high bio-load of axolotls, can lead to a toxic environment in an aquarium.

Fancy goldfish are the only goldfish kinds that may be kept in an Axolotl tank – these fish are just as slow as your axolotl, allowing it to nip back. However, the goldfish will quickly figure out how to stay away from the axolotl. But when they’re small, they’re still a choking threat.

Then Comes Cory Catfish 

Because of their diminutive size, some axolotl keepers may incorrectly feel that they make good tankmates. But Cory catfish pose a serious threat to axolotls.

It is their dorsal and pectoral spines that make cory catfish dangerous. Prick wounds could result in illness or even death for the poor little guy as he tries to swallow a cory catfish.

In addition, they’re also bottom feeders, putting them in close conflict with axolotls who live on the bottom.

Finally, The Otocinclus Catfish 

Catfish, such as Otocinclus, sometimes may be considered a good choice because of their small size. But as with cory catfish, Otocinclus catfish pose a risk to axolotls because of the same reasons. 

They can also damage axolotls with their spines.

Because it enjoys swimming in fast-moving water, the Otocinclus can be found zipping all over the aquarium at breakneck speeds. This is another reason it’s not a good tank mate for an Axolotl.

Wrapping Up

Axolotls should not be kept in the same aquarium with pets other than themselves. The dangers outweigh the benefits. These submerged salamanders actually prefer to be isolated.

Your axolotls will thrive even if you don’t have any tankmates to share them with. You won’t have to worry about them ingesting fish and other crustaceans and maybe dying due to a blockage because of this. 

The best way to raise an axolotl is to focus on their needs and avoid keeping them with other freshwater organisms that cannot survive around axolotl.

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