Axolotls are exploding in popularity right now and have seen exponential growth in the number of people keeping them as pets over the last six to twelve months with there being so signs of the interest in them fading.
With the sudden spike in the number of people looking to keep an axolotl as a pet, we have also noticed a spike in the number of people reaching out with various questions about keeping an axolotl as a pet too.
One of the more common lines of questioning that we see from the community is about suitable axolotl tank mates so we have decided to publish this dedicated article going over some of the more common potential tank mates that we see people asking about.
Now, please note that not all of the tank mates in our list are actually good tank mates for an axolotl, we just see so many people asking about the featured animals in our list that we wanted to include them to explain why you should probably avoid keeping them as a tank mate with an axolotl.
With there being so many questions about the various tank mates each month, we wanted to cover them all in this single article.
Depending on your tank setup, your pet axolotl may actually be happier if it is kept in your aquarium tank by itself or with another axolotl rather than with other species as tank mates.
Axolotl With Guppies
Guppies tend to be one of the best tank mates for axolotls due to being fast enough to avoid becoming a potential meal for your axolotl while also being small enough to usually just be ignored by adult axolotls.
Although guppies do tend to do better in warmer water than an axolotl, they can be fine in colder water making them a solid choice as an axolotl tank mate.
A number of people keep a number of guppies as a tank mate for their pet axolotl but the issue is, you really have to keep an eye on the population of your guppies as they can breed rapidly and stress your axolotl out.
One work around for this is to try and keep only male guppies in your tank. Most local fish stores will have male only guppie tanks as this is a common way to avoid a rapid increase in the population of the guppies in your tank.
The best part is that there are a ton of unique colored and pattern guppies for sale online allowing you to add a splash of color to your aquarium for cheap too.
Axolotl With Shrimp
Using shrimp as a tank mate for your axolotl can be hit and miss as there tends to be a 50/50 chance of your axolotl hunting down every last shrimp as food or just totally ignoring the shrimp and never giving them a second thought.
Ghost shrimp have a translucent look to them making it more difficult for your axolotl to see the shrimp to try and eat them pushing them to the top of the pile when it comes to shrimp as tank mates for your axolotl.
That said though, amano shrimp also have that look to them but their larger size and more active movements can draw attention to them making it easy for your axolotl to find and eat the amano shrimp.
Axolotl With Betta Fish
Although some people do keep betta fish with their axolotl without issue, we usually recommend against trying it as your axolotl usually needs a water temperature of 60-64°F where as your betta fish usually needs its water temperature to be 75-80°F.
This is usually far too much of a temperature spread to keep an axolotl and a betta fish in the same aquarium as tank mates for a long period of time.
Your betta fish will usually move too slowly and some large axolotls who can strike well may be able eat a betta fish in their tank without issue.
Some betta fish may actually nip and harass your axolotl too but this is more common for male betta fish and even then, they usually have to be hyper aggressive male betta fish but this is still a risk.
Due to this, we would recommend against keeping bettas with your axolotls.
Axolotl With Snails
The majority of popular aquarium snails such as mystery snails or nerite snails are usually too large to have in your axolotl’s tank as once your axolotl gets to a certain age it will usually try to eat the snail with a number of potential issues usually following.
Some people do keep bladder snails and pond snails in their axolotl tank with their small size sometimes preventing the axolotl from trying to eat them so this can be a work around to get your axolotl some snail tank mates.
Still, even a axolotl with poor striking stills will usually be able to eat a snail that it finds in its tank due to how slow moving aquatic snails are.
Axolotl With Pleco
Although some people have tried to keep an axolotl in the same aquarium as a pleco, it is usually a very bad idea and ends up with the axolotl becoming injured.
Plecos try to at least nibble on everything they find meaning they can damage your axolotl’s gills resulting in serious harm.
Plecos usually need a much higher water temperature than an axolotl too as well as a much larger aquarium in most cases making these two unsuitable tank mates but some people have managed to make it work.
Axolotl With Goldfish
An adult goldfish can make a good tank mate for an axolotl due to goldfish usually being fine in cooler water without having any problems.
Keep in mind that baby goldfish will usually end up quickly becoming axolotl food but once they are adults and have had a chance to grow, axolotl will either leave them alone or the goldfish will be smart enough to stay away from the axolotl.
In our opinion, though, guppies are definitely a better tank mate for axolotls than goldfish.
Axolotl With Cichlids
Some people who keep axolotls have tried to use cichlids as tank mates for them but the cichlids usually end up being eaten by the axolotl within the first few days.
We have noticed a number of people reaching out about keeping axolotls with cichlids because of a few YouTube videos about keeping the two together as tank mates.
If you actually check the follow-up videos though, the axolotl’s always ended up eating the majority of the cichlids so we would not recommend that you keep the two together.
Axolotl With Frogs
Most people recommend against keeping a frog as your axolotl tank mate due to small frogs usually ending up as axolotl food and large frogs presenting a risk to your axolotl’s gills.
We know that there are some situations where people have been able to keep frogs in the same tank as their axolotl for long periods of time without issue but in our opinion, it is simply not worth the risk.
Axolotl With Neon Tetra
Due to the water temperature of an axolotl tank being colder than the minimum temperature for a neon tetra, the tetras movement speed will usually drastically slow making them easy pickings for a hungry axolotl.
This is why tetras tend to make poor tank mates for an axolotl as they usually end up as axolotl food and the colder water temperatures tend to make their experiences in the tank unpleasant until the axolotl eats them too.
Axolotl With Koi Fish
Adding axolotls to a Koi pond is becoming increasingly popular as the water is cold enough for the axolotl to live with the koi in most cases and the koi usually ignore the axolotls.
Out of all the reports we could find of having axolotl with koi fish, there were no reports of the koi being aggressive to the axolotl but keep in mind that this does not mean that this will definitely be the same for you.
Axolotl With Live Plants
Although you do have to factor in the colder water temperature and lower levels of light in an axolotl tank, there are a number of suitable live plants that you are able to keep with your axolotl without issue.
Some of the more popular live plants to keep with your axolotl include Java Fern, Amazon Frogbits, Water Lettuce, Water Hyacinth, and Java Moss.
That brings our article going over the more common axolotl tank mates that we see the community asking about and our thoughts on their pairing. As with most things, your own personal experiences may differ from that of the majority so some of the pairings that we advised against may work for you but keep in mind that there is always a risk.