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Tankmates for Axolotls

We're often asked if axolotls can be kept with fish or other aquatic creatures.

The short answer is "probably not."

The issue is safety, both for the axolotl and the other animal. Small fish might survive for awhile, but eventually they're going to become a snack. In the meantime, there's a good chance they'll be unable to resist nipping at the delicate, delicious-looking gill fronds of the axolotl.

Larger fish might not become snacks, but they're even more likely to bite at the gills and perhaps even the toes or tails of any resident axolotls.

And then there's the issue of water parameters. Axolotls are not tropical. The temperature range they thrive in is too cool for most of our familiar aquarium fish.

Turtles have shown they find axolotls irresistable and can kill one in short order.

The best tankmate for an axolotl? Another axolotl. And then only if you can keep them well fed enough that they don't bite each other. To keep them that well fed requires a reasonable amount of space and excellent water quality.

We're often asked about the "cannibalistic" phase of axolotls and when do they outgrow it. Our experience with thousands of these animals is that they will bite each other, sometimes severely, at any age or size if they are hungry enough. Our experience, again with raising thousands of baby axolotls, is that if you keep them well fed enough, they co-exist in large colonies without biting each other at all.

Adults will bite feet and gills completely off of each other if they're hungry, especially if they're hungry AND crowded.

Axolotls will swallow another axolotl whole if it's small enough to fit in their mouth. That kind of cannibalism is always a risk when keeping axolotls of widely different sizes together. The chances of this decrease a lot when the animals are stuffed with food, but it's always a risk.

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