Axolotl and Goldfish – Can you Keep Them Together?

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?

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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 water. Even so, it’s not such an excellent idea to keep them together 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 20 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 Marisa cornuarietis 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:

Zebra Danio

Zebrafish 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. Zebrafish are also fast and large enough not to get eaten by goldfish.

Bristlenose Pleco

While many other plecos tend to chew on goldfish, bristlenose pleco displays quite a peaceful trait. They are big and will help keep algae in your tank under control. Bristlenose plecos can tolerate a range of water temperature from 60 to 80 °F (15-27 °C)

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.

Questions and Answers

MyRanchu_IsCuterThenYours April 28, 2020 Reply

Goldfish need way more then 6 gallons a piece. A common goldfish can reach about 12 inches and live about 10 years. Fancy goldfish grow at least 6-8 (depending on breed) and live just as long. Sticking a baby goldfish in a 6 gallon (the only goldfish that would even fit in a 6 gallon would be a baby) is cruel and inhumane. That fish would be stunted in less then a couple months and probably die of ammonia poisoning long before then.

Minimum tank size for fancy goldfish is widely known as 20 gallons for one and 10 for each additional, but I strongly recommend at least 30 gallons a piece and 10 more for each additional.

Common, comment and shubunkin goldfish should really only be kept in a 75 gallon or larger and are best as pond fish.

Another serious problem in this article; platies are tropical, they need a heater. Platies do NOT thrive in cold water. Most plecos are tropical also.

Also, while we are on the subject of temperature; goldfish are NOT strictly cold water. Warmer water actually increases growth and desire to breed. The fish also eat a good deal more when it’s warm then when it’s cold. There is also a lower dissolved oxygen levels in warmer water and ammonia is more toxic, so waterchanges must be done more frequently in warmer water. I personally keep my goldfish between 75 and 78, but I do waterchanges at least once a week and I provide 40 gallons per pair of goldfish.

For axalotl tank mates, apple snails are NOT compatible. Apple snails can be kept as low as 70°, but axalotls require it to be at least as cold as 66°, and that is to cold for a mystery snail or apple snail.

For filtration, goldfish do need a lot filtration, but type of filter has very little to do with how much ammonia it removes. What removes ammonia is the nitrifying bacteria in the filter, which requires oxygen and lots of surface area. Sponge filters are actually a wonderful environment for growing nitrifying bacteria.The only problem with a sponge filter is that they don’t pick up debris very well, giving the aquarium a kind of dirty appearance if you rely solely on sponge filters for filtration. However, if you have a couple large, cycled sponge filters and you do waterchanges regularly, it shouldn’t be a problem, it’s only a problem for people who neglect their tanks.

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