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Considering its otherworldly looks, the Axolotl is one of the most fascinating aquarium creatures to keep. It’s a neotenic salamander that’s native to Lake Chalco and Xochimilco in Mexico. Being neotenic, Axolotls become sexually mature while remaining in the larval form. That’s to say that the Axolotl never grows to the terrestrial life stage.

Then again, goldfish are a species of fish scientifically known as Carassius auratus.  They are a temperate fish native to ponds, lakes, and cool streams throughout Asia as well as parts of Eastern Europe. So, can Axolotls and Goldfish live together?

Can Axolotls and Goldfish Live Together?

Can Axolotls and Goldfish Live Together?

Check out the pointers below:

Special Considerations for Goldfish and Axolotls

Technically, it’s possible to keep Axolotls and Goldfish together. Both of these species are quite peaceful and prefer cool waters. Even so, it’s not such an excellent idea to do so because of the following reasons:

Temperature Preference

In as much as both of these species thrive in cold waters, their ideal temperature range is different. Axolotls do well in water temperatures ranging from 60 °F to 64 °F, while goldfish can’t flourish in water that’s below 65 °F. In too cold waters, goldfish tend to stop eating before hibernating or dying. They can also become lethargic.

Tank Setup

Axolotls can grow to a size of about 9 inches. Therefore, these are large creatures that would require a lot of space when kept with goldfish. Bear in mind that a single goldfish should have at least 6 gallons of water for its own space.

Consequently, keeping Axolotls and goldfish together requires a large tank size. If you keep Axolotls in a crowded tank, they are likely to die or lose their limbs. Another aspect that might prove confusing when keeping these two species together is the lighting.

Goldfish require adequate lighting to display more vibrant colors and create essential vitamins. If anything, you ought to install full-spectrum lighting in a goldfish tank that’s not getting enough natural lighting. On the contrary, Axolotls don’t prefer bright lighting as they are nocturnal.

As such, too much bright lighting might stress them out. When it comes to issues with tank setup, it’s best to get an extremely large, sheltered, and well-lit tank when keeping both Axolotls and goldfish. However, this means spending a lot more than what it would cost you to keep these two species separately.

Diet Differences

Since they are highly carnivorous, Axolotls survive on a meat-based diet. They can feast on any fish that fits their mouths. Now, while an adult goldfish can’t fit in an Axolotl mouth, the smaller-sized ones won’t be so lucky.

Take note that Axolotls are likely to attack at night when both you and the other fish are sleeping. Likewise, goldfish, no matter the size, tend to nip on Axolotls’ gills when they stay together in a tank.

Water Filtration

Filtration is a vital component in any goldfish tank. As you may know, goldfish produce a lot of waste, which results in ammonia which requires a specialized filter to clean up. Sponge filters, which are the safest to use with Axolotls, can’t clean up that much ammonia.

Undoubtedly, keeping Axolotls together with goldfish is a tricky affair. Nonetheless, some hobbyists have reported varying degrees of success when keeping Axolotls with some species of fancy goldfish. Since these goldfish are quite slow swimmers, they will refrain from attacking Axolotls when well fed.

Axolotl Tank Mates

All the same, you can never be sure if Axolotls will live harmoniously with fancy goldfish. The safest option is to house your Axolotls in a species-only tank. Even so, be careful as Axolotls can pose dangers to each other too.

Larger Axolotls can easily make a snack out of the young ones. It’s, thus, best to keep same-sized in one tank. Remember not to keep too many of them to avoid overcrowding. And if you must house your Axolotls together with other species, here are some of the more ideal options:

Aquarium Snails

Go for small snails that don’t feature hard shells. The best species of mini snails to keep together with Axolotls are Apple and Ramshorn snails. Bigger snails tend to choke or injure Axolotls since they have harder shells.

The best thing about keeping snails in an Axolotl tank is that they act as cleaners. Because they are bottom feeders, they clear off leftovers falling to the tank’s bottom. This goes a long way to keep the tank’s water quality in check.


Minnows are possibly the only species of fish that can exist harmoniously with Axolotls. They are peaceful and thrive in an environment similar to what Axolotls prefer. What’s more, they don’t have sharp spines or hard exoskeletons.

This means that they can injure Axolotls if they get accidentally swallowed.

Small Shrimp

Small shrimps are other bottom feeders that can make excellent tank mates for Axolotls. They will scavenge for any leftovers in the tank, helping to maintain the water in great condition. What’s more, small shrimps can be a quick snack for starving Axolotls.

Goldfish Tank Mates

When looking for goldfish tank mates, one of the most important things to consider is temperature. Goldfish are eurythermal, meaning that they can survive in a wide range of temperatures. They will do well in both tropical and room temperatures. With that said, here are some of the best tank mates for goldfish:


Platy are excellent tank mates for goldfish because they stay small, aren’t nippy, and love cooler water. Furthermore, they are herbivorous omnivores, a trait they share with goldfish. Platy are also bulky and large enough not to get eaten by goldfish.

Bristlenose Pleco

While many other plecos tend to chew on goldfish, this species displays quite a peaceful trait. They are big and will help keep algae in your tank under control.

Dojo Loach

Popularly known as weather loaches, dojo loaches are some of the most common goldish tank mates. They thrive in cool waters, meaning that the water conditions for goldfish won’t affect them. Even so, some aquarists have complained of noticing aggressive behaviours once in a while with these two species. So be careful if you choose to keep dojo loaches as tanks mates for your goldfish.

Bottom line

Keeping Axolotls and goldfish together will result in issues with one or both of these species. For that reason, try to keep same-sized Axolotls in a species-only tank.

You can house goldfish with the tank mates mentioned above.

Written by Fabian

Hey, I'm Fabian, chief editor at Aquarium Nexus. I really enjoy the aquarium hobby and love sharing my experience with others. If you have any questions feel free to contact me or leave a comment below.

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