Can Turtles and Axolotls Live Together?

The axolotl is a strange looking fish indeed.  In a sense,the Mexican walking fish looks vaguely like an aquatic salamander.

But it’s their curious appearance that makes them so desirable to exotic fish owners.

You aren’t likely to find another fish like it.

Nor are you likely to find another animal that won’t eye it as food. 

While certain fish might leave your axolotl alone, turtles are especially hostile to them.

But there are other reasons why axolotls and turtles make terrible living companions. 

In this blog, we’ll go over the reasons turtles and axolotls make terrible housemates, then we’ll discuss 

Reasons Why Turtles and Axolotls Can’t Live Together

It is not recommended that you keep turtles and axolotls together as they live very different lifestyles and that their tank requirements are totally opposite. Axolotls like their temperatures far cooler than turtles, keeping the tank’s temperature at around 68 degrees fahrenheit. While turtles like it hotter, basking in 90-100 degree temperature.

 So if you set up your tank for a turtle, the axolotls wouldn’t be comfortable or even survive very long. The stress would be too much for the fish to handle. 

A Word About Axolotls

If you couldn’t tell from how picky they are about their environment, axolotls are very fragile creatures. Their skin is permeable, so handling them is even a bit of a risk unless you absolutely need to. 


So if your turtle picks a fight with them, it’s pretty easy for the axolotl to sustain life-threatening or fatal injuries. 

Turtles Can Be Jerks

Turtles can be very aggressive, and it comes without warning. They may just suddenly attack their tank mates without warning. 

Turtles are also notoriously messy creatures, and they may create an unstable environment for your axolotl just by throwing food around and leaving particles and waste floating in the water.

So turtles might not be an ideal companion, but there are other species that people say  do get along with axolotls. 


The problem with phrases like, “people say” is that they imply there’s some kind of general agreement or scientific basis for this.

In fact, the people that claim these creatures can live harmoniously with axolotls are dead wrong.

Other than turtles, axolotls cannot live well with:

  • Fish

Any fish smaller than an axolotl is food to them. And fish larger than them often feast on their gills. Given that their skin is permeable, axolotls are also very susceptible to diseases that many fish carry. 

  • Plecostomus

More commonly known as an algae eater, these fish have bony skeletons with rough plates that can easily hurt your axolotl. 

Also read ->Can Algae Eaters Live With Turtles

  • Salamanders

It would make sense that salamanders, the land cousin to the axolotl in appearance, should make a fine roommate. However, their environments are just too different to reconcile. Salamanders also can emit harmful toxins that could injure your axolotl.

  • Frogs and Toads

Eighty percent of frogs live in tropical climates, so they wouldn’t live well in the temperatures the axolotl would need to thrive. That’s not to mention the numerous diseases and viruses these animals can easily transfer to your axolotl.

Also read ->  Can frogs and Turtles live Together

  • Lizards

Lizards are incapable of maintaining body heat, requiring warm climates and likely heat lamps. This means their environment would be unsuitable for your axolotl. 

Beyond these species, axolotls also would not be able to live with catfishes and goldfishes.

Many axolotl owners believe the only way to keep them is in isolation, away from other fish and pets so they can properly grow and thrive in safety.

What Animals Can Live With Axolotl?

Despite most owners believing isolation is the best way to raise an axolotl, people have kept them with other animals.

It’s not easy, and most owners have been met with moderate, or varying, success. 

Here are some animals that have done well with axolotls.

Small Shrimp

Small shrimp such as the Amano shrimp or ghost shrimp are bottom feeders, and they get along well with axolotls. They also naturally clean your aquarium, scavenging the floor for leftovers. Given how small they are, they also make great snacks for your axolotl. 

It’s recommended that you keep the shrimp and axolotl separate for at least a month, to ensure that diseases don’t spread. 

Also read ->Can Turtles eat Shrimp?

Aquarium Snail 

Small snails that live in water, such as the Ramshorn snail, bladder snails or apple snails, can live with axolotls. However, there are some limitations. Water snails have softer shells than regular snails. 

A lot of owners said they had no issues with the two living together, however there are two warnings you should heed:

  • A broken snail shell can cut the stomach lining of your axolotl. 
  • After the snails have started to populate the tank, it’s not easy to get rid of them. 

Also read -> Do Turtles Eat Snails

Guppies

Guppies are one of the few fish that can amicably and safely live with axolotls. They’re small, they don’t have hard exoskeletons that could hurt your pet, and they can be swallowed without issue. 

But they do present some issues. 

First, when guppies start to reproduce, they do it continuously, and their population can quickly overtake the tank. Second, most guppies are bought in pet stores, and they can carry diseases. 

If you do decide to introduce guppies, be sure you get them from a trusted source.

Also read -> Can Turtles And Guppies Live Together 

Minnows

Minnows are probably the best kind of fish to keep with your axolotl, particularly the white cloud mountain minnow. The conditions they enjoy living in are not that different from their other potential tank mate. 

Better still, they’re peaceful creatures with no hard exoskeleton. So the only real concern with having them is that your axolotl may eat them right way. 

For the most part, it’s hard to keep other fish and animals in the same tank as your axolotl. The environments they enjoy are vastly different from that of a turtle or other reptiles, and fish are mostly a dicey proposition as well. 

But minnows seem to cohabitate safely with them, and are probably your best choice for a roommate. 

Also read

Can Snakes and Turtles Live Together

Can You Keep A Turtle With Arowana?

Can a Goldfish and a Turtle Live Together?

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