Can Axolotls Live With Fish?

Axolotls are unique creatures that make great pets. If you are planning to get an axolotl in the near future, you might be wondering if you can house them in a tank with fish.

Axolotls actively hunt most live fish, so you shouldn’t put them in a tank with fish you value.

However, they can coexist with other types of aquatic creatures such as freshwater snails.

In this guide, we will go over whether Axolotls can live with fish. We will also discuss which fish species are best to keep with your Axolotls.

Why People Get Axolotls as Pets

Many people get Axolotls as pets due to their unique appearance. These creatures are incredibly cute and also have an exotic appearance. 

Axolotls belong to the Salamander family and are relatively easy to look after. For this reason, many parents allow their children to get these aquatic reptiles as pets.

Considerations When Keeping an Axolotl

If you have made the decision to get an Axolotl, you must understand the different ways to care for them. Some considerations to keep in mind when caring for an Axolotl include:

Providing a Large Tank

Axolotls aren’t known to move around a lot. These creatures usually find a comfortable spot in their tanks and rest there for most of the day.

Despite this, it is important to house your Axolotl in a large tank. Most experts recommend getting a 15 or 20 gallon tank for a single Axolotl.

If you don’t have space for a tank of this size in your home, you can choose to get a 10 gallon tank. However, you shouldn’t get a tank any smaller than this for your Axolotl.

You might be wondering why Axolotls require such large tanks if they don’t move around much. The main reason is that these creatures produce a lot of waste.

Keeping an Axolotl in a small tank can be dangerous because the waste they produce can increase the water’s ammonia concentrations to dangerous levels. 

For this reason, your Axolotl may fall ill if they are housed in a tank that is too small.

Choosing the Right Substrate

You can house your axolotl in a tank with a bare bottom. Such tanks are easy to clean as you won’t need to remove any substrate during the cleaning process.

You should note that some axolotls don’t like living in bare bottom glass tanks. This is because they may have trouble gripping the glass, and this can cause them stress.

If you want your axolotl to be more comfortable, you should add sand for the tank’s substrate. These aquatic reptiles love to move around in and dig through sand substrates.

Sand particles are small and aren’t likely to harm your axolotl if they swallow some. You should avoid gravel substrates as their large particles are dangerous when swallowed.

Adding a Tank Filter

As mentioned earlier, axolotls produce lots of waste. Therefore, you will need to get a reliable filter to keep the tank water clean.

You can’t use just any fish tank filter for your axolotl tank because these amphibians have sensitive requirements. 

For example, a strong tank filter may be good at keeping the water clean. However, it may pump water at a speed that creates currents and harms your axolotl.

For this reason, you should get a low-flow filter that includes a spray bar. This spray bar disperses the water flow gently and more evenly.

Appropriate Lighting

You don’t need to set up any artificial lighting in your tank to keep your axolotl happy. However, some tank owners still do so to be able to see their pet more clearly.

Axolotls aren’t sensitive to light, but you should still avoid setting up strong lighting. Instead, you should go for dim LED lighting that illuminates the tank interior and helps plants grow.

The Right Water Conditions

Axolotls live in water permanently. For this reason, you must monitor their water quality regularly and ensure conditions are perfect for them. 

Your axolotl tank water shouldn’t contain any chlorine, cholarimes, nitrite, or ammonia. Nitrate concentrates up to 10 ppm are considered acceptable for axolotls tanks.

Feeding Them Properly

You must feed your axolotl properly to ensure they live a long and healthy life. These amphibians are carnivores, so you should tailor their diet accordingly.

Bloodworms, daphnia, earthworms, brine shrimp, shrimp, and axolotl pellets are all great food choices for your pet.

If your axolotl is very young, you should feed them twice a day. Once they reach maturity, you can feed them once every two or three days.

Can Axolotls Live With Fish?

As mentioned above, Axolotls are carnivores. This means they will attempt to hunt most fish that are kept in the same tank as them.

For this reason, you should avoid housing your axolotl with pet fish. 

What Creatures Can You House Your Axolotl With?

Most aquarium fish don’t stand a chance against an axolotl. Therefore, there’s a good chance that your favorite fish will end up becoming food for your amphibian pet.

With this in mind, you can still house some types of creatures with your axolotl. This includes:

Zebra Danios

Zebra Danios are small freshwater fish that belong to the Cyprinidae family. They originate from specific parts of India and Bangladesh.

These fish grow up to 2 inches in size and have horizontal stripes that are purplish blue in color. 

Pet owners who intend to get Zebra Danios must purchase at least a dozen. This is because these fish live in schools. 

Zebra Danios are also incredibly fast. This means they should be able to escape your axolotl’s clutches in the tank. However, most of them will still get eaten over time. 


Guppies are a popular fish variety from the Poeciliidae family. These fish originate from northeast South America. 

Female Guppies can grow up to 2.5 inches in size. Male Guppies tend to be smaller and max out at 1.5 inches in size.

If you house your Guppies with an axolotl, they will definitely get eaten. In fact, many axolotl owners feed their pet baby Guppies regularly.

You may need to replenish your Guppy supply every week or so. However, you should be careful about where you source your Guppies from.

These fish can carry diseases. So your axolotl may fall ill after eating a diseased Guppy.

White Cloud Minnows

White Cloud Minnows belong to the Cyprinidae family. These fish originate from China and have silver-green scales with a distinct red dorsal fin.

White Cloud Minnows grow to a length of approximately 1.5 inches. Like Zebra Danios, these fish are fast swimmers. This means it will take a while before your axolotl catches and eats them.

You might be able to maintain a school of White Cloud Minnows in your tank for many weeks. Following this, you can replenish their number.

Freshwater Snails

You can also house specific freshwater snail varieties with your axolotl. Unlike fish, freshwater snails have hard shells they can retreat into when they feel threatened.

This means your axolotl won’t be able to eat them. However, you should also ensure the snail doesn’t pose a threat to your other pet.

Apple snails are a popular choice for axolotl tanks. Baby Apple snails may be at risk of being eaten, but adult ones are too big for your axolotl to threaten. 

Tadpole snails are also another great choice because they are big enough to avoid being eaten. They are also small enough not to pose a threat to your axolotl.

Should You House an Axolotl With Fish?

As mentioned earlier, you shouldn’t house your axolotl with fish because they will get eaten. You can opt to house your Axolotl with fish if you want to supply them with some live food.

This is a common practice, but many axolotl owners avoid it. This is due to the hassle associated with purchasing fish multiple times per month.

Your axolotl may also fall ill if they eat a diseased fish. For this reason, it is best to avoid keeping other fish in the tank with your axolotl. However, snails are always a safe bet.

Should You Keep Multiple Axolotl Together?

Axolotls aren’t social creatures, so you won’t have to worry about them getting lonely. However, if you really want to get them a tank mate, you can get another axolotl.

A pair of axolotls aren’t likely to interact much. However, the bigger one may try eating the smaller one. 

For this reason, you should ensure both your axolotls are roughly the same size before housing them together.

Keeping Your Axolotl Happy and Healthy

As you can see, there are many considerations to keep in mind when keeping an axolotl as a pet. These creatures are sensitive, so you must ensure their tank conditions are perfect.

You must also choose their tankmates carefully, because there’s a good chance your axolotl will try eating them. 

So consider reviewing the above guide before getting your axolotl a tankmate. To learn more about axolotls and other types of pets, please visit our blog.

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