what fish can live with axolotls

What Fish Can Live With Axolotls? Comprehensive Guide To Axolotl Tank Mates

Embarking on the journey of owning an axolotl means diving into a world where companionship extends beyond land-based pets. Common advice often discourages mixing different species in one tank, but what if I told you that some fish could coexist harmoniously with your beloved axolotls? As an aquatics expert with years of experience curating diverse aquatic habitats, I’ve seen firsthand the thriving ecosystems that arise from well-researched and carefully chosen pairings.

With meticulous attention to water conditions and a deep understanding of interspecies dynamics, it is possible to introduce specific fish types that can share space without adding stress or danger to your axolotl’s environment.

The key lies in identifying non-aggressive, cool-water swimmers that respect the delicate balance necessary for each creature’s well-being. Continue reading as we unveil which finned friends can become part of your axolotl’s underwater neighborhood—information that even veteran aquarium keepers find enlightening.

Dive in for insights sure to enrich your aquatic assembly!

Key Takeaways

  • Axolotls are unique creatures originating from Lake Xochimilco and old Lake Chalco in Mexico, which require cold, clean water with suitable pH levels between 6.5 to 8 for their well-being.
  • When considering fish tank mates for axolotls, it’s essential to choose non – aggressive species that won’t be mistaken as prey or pose a threat to the axolotl’s delicate ecosystem.
  • Friendly guppies, cardinal tetras, otocinclus catfish, and loaches are ideal tank mates for axolotls due to their peaceful nature and compatibility with the axolotl’s environment while fancy goldfish, betta fish and cold water species such as koi should be avoided.

Understanding Axolotls, the Lake Xochimilco’s Jewel

An axolotl swimming among aquatic plants captured in close-up.

Delve into the origins of the enigmatic axolotl, a species that has captured the fascination of scientists and hobbyists alike with its perpetual youthfulness. The Mexican walking fish, also known by its scientific name Ambystoma mexicanum, hails from the unique environments of Lake Xochimilco and old Lake Chalco.

With their remarkable adaptations, including external gills for breathing underwater and regenerative abilities, axolotls are truly captivating creatures to behold in an aquarium setting.

Origins, scientific name and basic facts: The Mexican walking fish

The Mexican walking fish, better known as the axolotl, has a cool scientific name: Ambystoma mexicanum. People love these unique animals for their cute looks and amazing ability to heal themselves.

They come from two lakes near Mexico City: Lake Xochimilco and the old Lake Chalco. These creatures are super special because they stay young forever in water without becoming land adults like most other salamanders.

Axolotls have an interesting life underwater. Their big feathery gills help them breathe, letting them live fully submerged all the time. Most of these animals are about 9 to 12 inches long when they grow up.

You can find axolotls in different colors like wild-type greenish-brown, white with black eyes (also known as leucistic), and even albino with pink or golden skin! They’re a favorite pet because they’re fun to watch and take care of.

Adaptations, features and gills that facilitate their survival

Axolotls have amazing bodies made for living underwater. They breathe through gills that look like feathery branches on the sides of their heads. These gills pull oxygen right from the water.

Axolotls also have skin that can take in oxygen, which helps them live in waters that don’t move much.

Their wide heads and big mouths are perfect for snapping up worms, insects, and small fish. With cold water and a quiet place to hide, axolotls feel at home just like they do in their natural habitats in Mexico’s lakes and canals.

Now let’s dive into setting up the place where these creatures will thrive – an ideal tank for axolotls.

The unique environments of Lake Xochimilco and old Lake Chalco

These cool adaptations help axolotls thrive in their natural home. Lake Xochimilco, a place with shallow water and lots of plants, is perfect for them. People call this lake the “Mexican water monster’s” last wild spot.

But it’s not just any old lake; it’s ancient and very special. Here, axolotls hide under leaves and swim in murky waters that keep them safe from predators.

Old Lake Chalco was once like Lake Xochimilco but doesn’t have water anymore. Both lakes were unique because they had fresh water instead of salt water, like the ocean. They were calm places where axolotls could do well without worrying about big waves or strong currents.

Now, keeping these special creatures means making tanks that feel like these lakes – quiet spots with clean fresh water so axolotls can live happily.

Setting Up an Ideal Axolotl Tank: Water Conditions, Temperature and Quality

A well-kept axolotl tank with ideal water conditions and temperature.

Proper water conditions are vital for axolotls, as they are sensitive to changes in temperature and water quality. Regular water changes and maintaining suitable parameters can help create a safe environment for your axolotl tank mates.

Testing tap water before adding it to the tank is essential to ensure it meets their specific needs.

Why water change is vital: Maintaining water conditions for axolotls

To keep your axolotl healthy, regular water changes are crucial. Axolotls need clean and fresh water to thrive. Changing 25-50% of the aquarium’s water each week or every fortnight helps maintain high water quality, essential for their well-being.

Excellent filtration is also important for pristine water conditions in your axolotl tank; a filter rated at x2 the aquarium volume is recommended. This ensures that your axolotls have a safe environment with optimal water quality to live and grow successfully as aquatic animals.

Suitable water temperature and parameters for axolotl tank

Maintain the axolotl tank’s water temperature between 60°F to 64°F for their comfort. Also, monitor and regulate the pH levels of the water within a range from 6.5 to 8, mimicking their native conditions in Lake Xochimilco.

These parameters are crucial for creating an ideal environment that supports the well-being of your axolotls.

Importance of tap water testing before adding to the axolotl tank

Before adding tap water to your axolotl tank, it’s crucial to test it for chlorine and heavy metals. Poor water quality can cause stress and health issues for your axolotls. Always remove chlorine using a de-chlorinator or let the water stand for 24 hours before adding it to the tank.

Checking the pH levels, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate presence is also vital as they directly impact your axolotls’ well-being. Maintain proper water conditions to keep your aquatic friends healthy.

Understanding these key factors will help you create a safe environment for your axolotls and ensure their well-being in the tank.

Can Axolotls Live with Fish? Factors to consider about Axolotl Tank Mates

Before adding fish to an axolotl tank, consider the predatory threat on juvenile axolotls and their feeding habits. To learn more about suitable tank mates for your Axolotls, keep reading.

Is every fish a suitable axolotl tank mate?

Not every fish is suitable to live with axolotls. When choosing tank mates for your axolotl, consider their size, behavior, and water requirements. Avoid aggressive or territorial fish that may harm or stress out the axolotl.

Also, be cautious of small fish that could end up as a meal for your axolotl.

Before introducing any fish to the tank with your axolotl, research each species’ compatibility thoroughly and monitor their interactions closely once introduced. It’s essential to create a harmonious aquatic environment where all inhabitants can coexist peacefully.

Predatory threat on juvenile axolotls from potential tank mates

While not every fish may be a suitable tank mate for axolotls, it’s crucial to consider the predatory threat they pose to juvenile axolotls. Given their predatory nature, larger and aggressive fish could mistake young axolotls for prey, posing a significant risk to their safety.

As solitary creatures by nature, axolotls prefer solitude over the company of tank mates. Hence, it is essential to carefully select fish species that are fast enough to escape from axolotls’ reach and not pose a threat to their delicate ecosystem.

By safeguarding juvenile axolotls from potential predatory threats posed by other tank mates, you ensure the well-being and safety of these unique amphibians in your aquatic environment.

Understanding feeding habits: Will axolotls eat live fish?

When considering tankmates for your axolotl, it’s crucial to understand their feeding habits. Axolotls are carnivorous and can eat live fish. While this may sound like a convenient solution for feeding, it poses potential risks when deciding on suitable tank companions.

Small fish that can fit into an axolotl’s mouth might be seen as prey rather than tank mates. This behavior has led to caution among aquarists about keeping small fish alongside axolotls in the same tank due to the risk of them becoming a meal instead of a companion.

When choosing tank mates for axolotls, understanding their predatory nature with smaller fish is essential in maintaining a harmonious aquatic environment.

Fish Types Ideal as Axolotl Tank Mates

Colorful guppies, cardinal tetras, and axolotls in a vibrant aquascape tank.

Friendly guppies and cardinal tetras make excellent companions for axolotls due to their small size and peaceful nature, while otocinclus catfish and loaches are ideal bottom dwellers that help maintain the tank’s cleanliness.

Small fish and swimmers: Friendly guppies and cardinal tetras

Guppies are fast swimmers and less likely to be eaten by axolotls. Their small size and agility make them suitable tank mates, adding vibrancy to the tank without posing a threat to the axolotl.

Similarly, cardinal tetras are friendly fish that can coexist peacefully in the same space as axolotls. Their peaceful nature and modest size allow them to live harmoniously with axolotls, creating a visually appealing aquatic environment.

spacious aquarium will provide ample room for both species to thrive together without compromising their well-being or safety. Both guppies and cardinal tetras exhibit behaviors that complement the calm disposition of axolotls, enriching the overall dynamics within the tank while fostering a balanced ecosystem.

Peaceful bottom dwellers and tropical fish: Otocinclus catfish and loaches

When it comes to selecting tank mates for your axolotls, peaceful bottom dwellers and tropical fish like Otocinclus catfish and loaches are ideal choices. These fish cohabit well with axolotls due to their non-competitive feeding habits and gentle nature.

Otocinclus catfish are excellent algae eaters, helping maintain the cleanliness of the tank, while loaches add activity and color to the environment. Their compatibility with axolotls makes them an excellent addition to your aquatic community, promoting a harmonious and thriving underwater ecosystem.

Otocinclus catfish are known for their peaceful demeanor, making them perfect companions for axolotls in the aquarium. Similarly, loaches’ tropical nature allows them to thrive alongside axolotls without causing any disruptions or conflicts within the tank.

Fish to avoid: Avoiding fancy goldfish, betta fish and cold water species

Fancy goldfish and bettas are not suitable tank mates for axolotls. They can become aggressive towards your axolotl or even nip at their gills, causing harm. Cold water species like koi or goldfish also pose a risk due to the difference in temperature needs.

Axolotls require cooler water while these fish thrive in warmer conditions, leading to an incompatible environment.

Instead, consider peaceful and small fish that won’t pose a threat to your axolotl, such as guppies or white cloud mountain minnows. These options are more compatible with the temperament and habitat requirements of axolotls.

It’s imperative to choose tank mates that promote a harmonious cohabitation without compromising the well-being of your beloved aquatic pets.

Can Axolotls and Bettas Be Kept Together in the Same Tank?

Axolotls and bettas have different temperature and water parameter requirements, making them incompatible as tank mates. Axolotls prefer cooler temperatures, while bettas thrive in warmer environments. This difference in climate needs can lead to stress or even fatal consequences for either species. It’s crucial to prioritize tank mate compatibility for betta and conduct thorough research before introducing them to any tank.

Expanding the Axolotl Tank Community: Shrimps, Snails, and Others

A lively underwater tank with axolotls, shrimps, snails, and small fish.

Enhance the water quality and offer variety by adding ghost and amano shrimps as well as snails, such as apple or ramshorn snails. These freshwater creatures not only add aesthetic appeal to your tank but also play a functional role in keeping the tank clean.

Additionally, zebra danios and mosquito fish can be lively little fish for an active axolotl tank community.

Ghost and amano shrimps: Enhancing water quality and offering variety

Amano shrimps and ghost shrimps are excellent additions to your axolotl tank. These shrimps not only help enhance the water quality by cleaning up debris and algae but also provide variety to the tank community, making it more dynamic for your axolotls.

Amano shrimps, in particular, are known for their ability to aid in maintaining a balanced ecosystem within the aquarium.

By adding these shrimp species to your tank, you can create a healthy and diverse environment for your axolotls while ensuring that the water quality remains optimal. Their natural cleaning abilities make them perfect companions for your axolotls without overwhelming them with excessive movement or stress.

Additionally, they contribute to the overall balance of the tank, creating an engaging underwater world for both you and your aquatic pets.

Snails as ideal tank mates: Apple Snails vs feeder snails

If you’re considering adding snails to your axolotl tank, it’s essential to choose the right type. Apple snails can grow quite large and may disrupt the tank environment due to their size.

Additionally, they might compete for food with your axolotls. On the other hand, feeder snails are smaller in size and can help keep the tank clean by consuming leftover food and algae.

They won’t pose a threat to your axolotls or take up too much space in the tank. Feeder snails are a suitable choice as they provide benefits without interfering with the harmony of the tank.

Zebra danios and mosquito fish: Energy-filled little fish for lively axolotl tank

If you’re looking to add some energy and activity to your axolotl tank, consider introducing zebra danios and mosquito fish. These small, energetic fish are ideal tank mates for axolotls.

They can thrive in the same water conditions required by axolotls, making them suitable companions. Zebra danios and mosquito fish bring liveliness to the tank without disrupting the calm demeanor of your axolotl.

These little swimmers can coexist peacefully with axolotls, adding animation to the community without encroaching on their territory. When selecting tank mates for your axolotl, it’s essential to consider factors such as size, behavior, and compatibility with water parameters.


A group of vibrant zebrafish swimming in a well-planted axolotl tank.

In conclusion, you now have a clear understanding of suitable fish that can live with axolotls. By choosing tank mates such as zebrafish and white cloud minnows, you ensure the safety and well-being of your axolotl.

These practical tips are easy to implement and will lead to a harmonious aquarium environment. Have you considered adding ghost shrimp or danios to enhance the diversity in your tank? Remember, the right choice of tank mates is crucial for the overall success of an axolotl habitat.

Explore further resources and expert guidance to expand your knowledge in maintaining a thriving aquatic community. Take proactive steps today towards creating an enriching environment for your unique underwater companions!


1. What kind of fish can live with an axolotl?

Some cool water, peaceful fish like white cloud minnows and pearl danios may be good tank mates for axolotls in a big enough tank.

2. Can guppy fish be friends with an axolotl?

Guppy fish are not the best choice to keep with axolotls because they prefer warmer water and might get eaten by adult axolotls.

3. How big should my tank be to have both axolotls and other fish?

You need at least a 20-gallon tank size or more to give room for both your pet axolotl and its tank buddies without trouble.

4. Is it safe for bottom feeders like cory catfish to share a tank with an axolotl?

Bottom feeders that enjoy the same cool water temperatures as an adult size Axlotle will make good companions; but remember, some fishes carry diseases, so check before adding them!

5. Do I need hiding spots if I add other fish to my axolotl’s home?

Yes, having enough hiding spots helps keep stress low for all members in the aquarium, including dojo loaches or other compatible species of fish.

6. Why shouldn’t I put saltwater or brackish water sea creatures in the same setup as my freshwater pet Axoltles accommodation ?

Axoltals can only live in freshwater tanks because saltwater or brackish conditions do not suit their body needs, making those sea creatures bad company.

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