Skip to Content

Can Axolotls Live With Fish?

A tank filled with a large variety of fish and other creatures is always fascinating to look at. 

You might be unsure whether you can add an axolotl to your fish tank or whether you should even add fish to your existing axolotl aquarium.

Although it can be risky and not advisable in most cases, they can be kept together with very few issues.

If you do it properly, you can create a tank that is far more interesting, while still maintaining a safe and stress-free environment.

Although axolotls naturally coexist with fish in nature, it’s important to remember that this might cause either one to suffer or eventually die.

Additionally, they tend to function better and enjoy situations when they are alone.

Axolotl with fish? A bad idea?

Some fishes might get eaten 

Even if it’s easy to keep a colony of appropriate and suitable fish, some can still end up being devoured. 

Due to their innate inclination, axolotls are renowned for attempting to consume anything that moves. 

It’s critical to realize that your axolotl won’t think twice about converting a tankmate into its next meal. 

After all, most fishes are often not entirely safe from axolotls, and smaller fish are especially more likely to be eaten.

They could pose a threat.

Some fish are known to bother axolotls; occasionally, they might even represent quite a serious hazard. 

An axolotl’s limbs, tail, or gills are often nipped at and frequently mistaken for fish food. 

Despite an axolotl’s capacity for regeneration, it is always crucial to pick the proper fish because some can nibble or fully damage sections of your critter. 

It’s also crucial to avoid purchasing fish that are either too small or too large. 

This is often due to the fact that axolotls are frequently intimidated by huge fish, whereas little fish can possibly choke your axolotl if eaten. 

In general, it’s critical to understand that the wrong kind of fish might cause your axolotl a great deal of discomfort and stress.

Most fish tank mates are not compatible.

It might come as a surprise, but the majority of fish tank companions are not particularly compatible with axolotls. 

The preference for colder temperatures and the overall water needs of an axolotl are also significant factors. 

Fish generally need to have similar water needs to your axolotl in order to coexist with them. 

It is also crucial to pick a fish species that can readily outswim your axolotl in case it unexpectedly becomes prey. 

Additionally, fish with sharp spines or exoskeletons should be completely avoided, as well as fish that are big or known to be aggressive.

What are the best fish tank mates?

What are the best fish tank mates

These are the top 3 recommended fish.

While there’s no guarantee that these fish will work for you and your axolotl, these generally are the best potentially suitable options.

White Cloud Mountain Minnow

This is a good choice because they are safe for consumers and generally don’t pose any hazard.

Interesting READ  Do Axolotls Have Emotions?

These types of fish can also thrive in similar temperatures to the axolotl.


These guys can easily live with axolotls, that is, if the axolotl is not interested in eating them.

They are also great at helping eat any leftover food. Although they’re well known to be occasionally nippy.

They are also known to reproduce quickly, which can easily become a problem as time passes.

This is because large numbers of fish might start to cause stress for your axolotl.

It is also important to note that these guys can easily contain viruses and parasites, making it extremely important to quarantine them first.

Zebra Danio

They are quite a wonderful choice for an axolotl aquarium since they are cool-water fish with a tendency to isolate themselves. 

They can also quickly escape any axolotl due to their amazing agility. 

However, don’t be shocked if a few still end up being eaten over time.

Other possible tank mates you can consider

Adult Apple Snails

These may easily be kept alive with juvenile axolotls since they are generally just too large to be eaten.

However, it is still important to avoid both little and many snails because either one has the potential to be fatal.

This is because the axolotl may start to lose their slime coating if they become covered by them.

If they are sufficiently tiny, they also have the potential to be unintentionally consumed, which might result in an impaction.

Small Shrimp

Shrimp are always a great addition to your axolotl’s aquarium. 

After all, they contribute by keeping the tank tidy and eating any leftover food. 

In this case, Amano, or ghost shrimp, might function well as a potential tank companion. 

Axolotls frequently like munching on them, and they tend to vanish occasionally because they are high in protein and have a great taste. 

It’s also crucial to understand that Amano shrimp will be safer to consume without the risk of impaction, whereas ghost shrimp will find it simpler to hide.

Other Axolotls

The best tank mates are typically other axolotls, yet problems do still arise frequently.

Since they are known to cannibalize one another or just may not get along, they may need to be separated if it is necessary.

Even though adult axolotls frequently get along better together, it’s crucial to just maintain one gender if you don’t want any offspring.

Axolotls of comparable sizes should also be kept together to reduce the risk of cannibalism.

What type of fish should you avoid?

What type of fish should you avoid

These are the top 3 fish that people often keep with their axolotls, despite not being recommended. 

People generally assume they’re safe despite the possibility of being dangerous.


Even though goldfish are a very popular pet that also enjoys cold water, they might easily result in an impaction if they are ingested. 

Axolotls are also reported to be bullied by them, and their high bio-load causes a poisonous environment. 

Once they are bigger, you can attempt to maintain fancy goldfish alongside them since they are the only type of goldfish advised to be maintained with axolotls.

Interesting READ  Do Axolotls Bite Humans?

Cory Catfish

While they might be small, they can still pose a serious threat to your axolotl if swallowed.

This is because of their dorsal and pectoral spines, which could result in illness and death if it were to happen.

They are also bottom feeders, so they would have to be in close proximity to your axolotl.

Otocinclus Catfish

These are comparable to cory catfish in that they are both small and potentially deadly. 

Although they also don’t get along well since axolotls prefer slow-moving water versus their preference for fast-moving water.

Quarantining tank mates before introducing them

Quarantining tank mates before introducing them

Why quarantine?

Why you even need to quarantine your fish may be a mystery to you.

After all, despite its significance to the success of your tank, not many people have even heard of this. 

Although they are known to occur almost anywhere, illnesses and parasites like ich, flukes, and fish tuberculosis are highly prevalent in settings like huge breeding facilities and big-box pet stores.

After all, there is no guarantee that any new fish will be free from illness or parasites.

Even though some illnesses or parasites are merely minor annoyances, not quarantining your fish can easily be fatal.

You are endangering your tank’s health and welfare if you decide not to quarantine.

What to do if you’ve already added them

You might be concerned if you read this after adding your fish to the tank, but if it’s already been a few weeks, you might be better off trying nothing.

While this can result in the introduction of diseases or parasites, it won’t always be the case.

As long as you closely monitor for any sort of illness or parasites in any new or old fish, you should be able to avoid any possible issues from getting out of hand.

When monitoring, try to look for fin clamping, difficulty breathing, rapid breathing, sores, lethargy, white dots on the fins and scales, redness, jagged or torn fins, and inappetence or difficulty eating.

If you notice any of these issues, try using salt, antiparasitic medications, antifungals, or antibacterial treatments to ensure nothing has a chance to begin multiplying.

What will you need

  • Quarantine Tank
  • Tank Cleaning Supplies
  • Aquarium Salt
  • Anti-parasitic
  • Antibacterial/Antifungal/Antibiotic
  • Water Test Kit
  • Water Treatment Products

How to quarantine

Ensure your tank is completely set up and operational before the quarantine.

It is crucial to use a test kit to continuously check the water quality after this is done.

Check it every day and treat the water if it has not cycled.

Check back periodically if it has.

After one or two days have passed, it is time to start treating for external parasites and infectious diseases.

After you’ve completed that, you can now add aquarium salt.

Next, it is time to perform water changes over the following days to remove as much salt as possible.

Although optional, it will be important before continuing treatment for internal parasites and infectious diseases.

After at least two weeks, your fish should be safe to be relocated into your tank of choice.