Axolotls and Guppies – Can You Keep Them Together?
Popularly known as the walking fish, an Axolotl is one of the most unique pets to have. Many people consider Axolotls to be fish, but these dragon-looking creatures are in fact salamanders.
And they aren’t a normal kind of salamander as they reach maturity (sexual) without transposing into an air-breathing form.
In other words, Axolotls stay in their “juvenile” stage throughout their lifetime, possessing both a tail and legs, while remaining gilled and aquatic.
Unlike other salamanders, they don’t develop lungs and take to the land.
Now, it’s not advisable to keep Axolotls and guppies together because of the following reasons:
Axolotls thrive in cool temperatures of about 60-65°F (15-18°). On the other hand, being tropical creatures, guppies will do excellently in temperatures of around 74-82°F.
Therefore, keeping Axolotls in temperatures that are ideal for guppies would kill them because the heat would be unbearable.
And while guppies can survive in cold temperatures, putting them in Axolotl-conditioned water would make increasingly susceptible to diseases.
Take note that you shouldn’t keep guppies in water with the temperature lower than 72 °F.
Axolotls are cannibalistic in nature. This is why you ought to feed them on a meat-based diet. In their native habitats, they ate small fauna such as crustaceans and worms, small fish/ Amphibians, as well as small invertebrates like Daphnia.
An adult Axolotls will, thus, gladly feed on any guppies in the tank. If anything, these creatures will eat anything that can fit in their mouths.
They have rudimentary teeth designed for gripping, and not tearing or biting.
As such, they swallow all their food. This poses a great risk as they can choke on bigger guppies in the tank. The guppies too tend to nip on the gills of Axolotls, especially as they grow bigger.
So unless you want to keep the guppies as live food for your baby Axolotls avoid putting these two species in the same tank.
As you may know, guppies reproduce at an extremely fast pace. A female guppy can birth 20-120 guppies in a single month.
This is why it’s common to see even the largest aquariums getting overcrowded with guppies within the first few months after their introduction into the tank.
So even if your Axolotls eat several guppies a day, your tank will eventually get congested. Overcrowding lowers the oxygen levels in the tank, which can be fatal for both the Axolotls and the guppies.
Parasites and Diseases
Did you know that most of the ornamental fish found in American pet shops come from Asian countries? Now consider this: studies show that there’s a high prevalence of parasites attacking Guppies while they’re in transit. Some of these parasites include:
- Monogenea– attacks the gills and the skin
- Protozoa- attacks the gills
- Nematoda- attacks the abdominal cavity
These parasites can get transferred to your pets the moment you introduce guppies to the tank and cause the Axolotls to suffer various diseases.
For instance, protozoan parasites such as Costia and Trichodina can make Axolotls excrete excess skin mucus.
Best Tank Mates for Axolotls and Guppies
Many hobbyist advice that it’s best to keep Axolotls in solitary. They are quite independent and don’t require a lot of attention. But if you must house them together with other creatures, here are some of your best options:
Not all snails will make excellent companions for your Axolotls. The bigger ones tend to have harder shells, which can cut or choke your pets. Its, thus, best to go for small cold water snails like Apple or Ramshorn snails.
Many Axolotl enthusiasts prefer snails as they are bottom feeders. They help in maintaining excellent water conditions by clearing the leftovers at the bottom of the tank.
This goes a long way to keep Ammonia in check.
Minnows are arguably the only species of fish that can live harmoniously with Axolotls. What’s more, these fishes thrive in an environment that’s similar to that of Axolotls.
On top of being small-sized and a peaceful bunch, Minnows don’t have hard exoskeletons or sharp spins.
Remember, Axolotls have extremely permeable skin, which can easily get pierced or injured. So it’s vital to avoid tank mates who have features that can cause injury to your Axolotls.
These are water creatures can also make excellent scavengers of leftovers in your Axolotl tank. What’s more, they can be a quick snack for your pets, but the Axolotls won’t eat them unless they’re extremely hungry.
The best part is that they feature a minuscule size, meaning they can’t choke out an Axolotl.
Yes, the best tank mates for your Axolotl are other Axolotls. However, you shouldn’t mix adult males and females until they are past the cannibalistic stage.
Otherwise, you might end up losing some of the Axolotls.
When it comes to guppies, some of the most common tank mates hobbyists go for include:
- Cardinal Tetras – They are peaceful and good looking
- Corydoras Catfish – Can act as cleaners for your tank
- Clown loaches – They are bottom feeders that live without much trouble
- Glassfish – Are excellent at adding beauty to a tank that’s full of guppies
- Ghost shrimp – They have a translucent body and are quite peaceful
- Halfbeak – A halfbeak is one of the best community fish to keep together with guppies
- Molly – Mollies share similar environmental needs with guppies, which is why the two would make excellent tank mates.
- Pleco – This is a calm fish that’s also a bottom feeder
- Red cherry shrimp – This is one of the few species of shrimp that can be a great companion for both guppies and Axolotls.
- Swordtail – Also known as frisky jumpers, swordtails can be aggressive towards each other, but not to guppies. If you decide to house them with guppies, consider getting a cover to prevent any mishaps.
- Rasboras – Peaceful and colorful, Rasboras can be great friends for your guppies. They aren’t aggressive and do well in schools of six.
Axolotls are delicate water creatures. They can get stressed by even the slightest of changes.
It’s, thus, better to keep them separated from other species to avoid the risk of diseases, injury, bites, and even death.