Axolotl and Turtle – Can You Keep Them Together?
Also known as the Mexican walking fish, Axolotls aren’t your everyday pet, though they are certifiably unique. They are a kind of salamander that remains aquatic its entire life.
But unlike salamanders, Axolotls don’t undergo metamorphosis from the larval form (with gills) to the adult stage. These species of fish come in a myriad of colors that include grey, golden, albino, black, etc.
It’s not advisable to keep axolotls and turtles together largely because of the nature of these two species.
Firstly, Axolotls and turtles have different tank requirements, especially in terms of temperature.
While Axolotls prefer living in an environment of 68°F and under, turtles require basking areas of 90-100 °F as well as water temperatures ranging from 70 to 85 °F.
In other words, keeping Axolotls in an environment that is ideal for turtles would stress them out and vice versa. Other reasons why you shouldn’t keep Axololts and turtles together include:
Axolotls are Fragile
Considering that they feature permeable skin, Axolotls are quite fragile. In fact, you shouldn’t handle them unless it’s necessary.
As such, it would be quite easy for the turtle to injure your pet Axolotls when they come into contact.
Turtles are Aggressive
As you may know, turtles can change their behavior as well as situational responses at any time, attacking their tank mates without any warning.
What’s more, turtles are quite messy and can affect a tank’s water quality substantially by producing a lot of waste. This would ultimately affect the health of your pet Axolotl.
Other than turtles, many other species often get touted as ideal Axolotl companions, but they aren’t. These include:
- Fish: Axolotls will feed on any fish species with bodies that are smaller than their mouths. On the other hand, larger species of fish tend to eat the gills of Axolotls. Also, fish often carry parasites and diseases that can be transferred to your Axolotls easily.
- Plecostomus: Also known as the algae sucker, algae eater, or pleco, the Plecostomus is a species of fish that has bony rough plates covering its body on top of strong defensive spikes that can injure an Axolotl.
- Salamanders: Many species of salamanders that thrive in environments that don’t match up with the conditions required for Axolotls. What’s more, some salamanders produce harmful toxins that can harm Axolotls.
- Newts: In as much as newts and Axolotls can live together harmoniously in the wild, the situation can be quite different in small artificial habitats. This is mainly because newts tend to mistake the Axolotls’ external fins for food when they are living close to each other. Take note that even the largest aquarium can’t provide the massive territory and large water volume a natural habitat provides.
- Frogs and Toads: It’s important to realize that 80% of toads and frogs thrive in tropical habitats where temperatures are warm to hot, a condition that wouldn’t be ideal for Axolotls. And just like with many species of fish, toads and frogs carry diseases and parasites that can harm your Axolotls.
- Lizards: Since these reptiles can’t maintain their body heat, they require environments with temperatures that are too hot for Axolotls.
On top of the species mentioned above, it’s also best to avoid keeping Axolotls together with Cory catfishes, goldfishes, or Otocinclus catfish.
Take note that many Axolotls enthusiasts believe that an Axolotl should get isolated from other fish species and freshwater creatures when kept in home tanks. They believe that this will go a long way to ensure they live a long, healthy life.
Axolotls Tank Mates
Even so, people have kept them together with the following species of water creatures with varying degrees of success:
Small shrimps like the glass/ ghost shrimp or the Amano shrimp are bottom feeders that can live excellently with Axolotls.
They act as natural aquarium cleaners since they scavenge for leftovers at the tank’s bottom area. And considering their minuscule size, they can be quick snacks for your starving pet Axolotls.
Yes, Axolotls can’t choke on shrimps. If you decide to house your Axolotls together with shrimps, ensure to keep the two species separated for about 30 days to curb the spreading of diseases.
Small water snails like Ramshorn snails, apple snails, or bladder snails can share a tank with Axolotls, albeit with limitations. Essentially, these are species of snails that feature a somewhat softer skeleton.
Many aquarists have reported experiencing no problems after keeping Axolotls and baby snails together.
However, you ought to be careful with snails because of the following reasons:
- Broken snail shells can easily cut your Axolotl’s stomach lining.
- Once they establish themselves in your tank, it will be extremely challenging to get rid of them.
Guppies one of the species of fish that can exist amicably with Axolotls. Since they are quite small and don’t have hard exoskeletons, your Axolotl pet can swallow them without any problem.
However, guppies pose several disadvantages:
- They reproduce continuously, meaning that their numbers increase quite fast. A large group of guppies will undoubtedly stress your Axolotls.
- Guppies can nimble of Axolotls’ fins.
- Guppies coming from most pet shops often carry parasites and diseases.
Bottom line, if you decide to keep guppies in the same tank with your Axolotls, ensure to source them from trustworthy suppliers.
The white cloud mountain minnow is arguably the best species of fish to keep with Axolotls. These small-sized fishes enjoy living in conditions that are similar to what Axolotls prefer.
What’s more, they are generally peaceful and don’t feature any hardy/ sharp exoskeleton or spine. So watch out when putting them in the same tank with Axolotls as they may easily become snacks.
All in all, Axolotls are their own best tank mates. Yes, it’s safest having your pet Axolotl stay with another Axolotl. You can even pair a male with a female to encourage breeding.
It’s important to note that a bigger Axolotl may nibble on the smaller ones in the tank. Call it alpha male syndrome or bullying, but it does happen often and especially to juvenile axolotls.
So if you’re going to pair an Axolotl with another Axolotl, go for adults only, preferably those of the same age.