Want to learn how to train your bearded dragon not to eat your pet fish?
Perhaps “training” isn’t the right word, since it’s more about what you do to prevent it than what you teach your bearded pal.
Still, keeping your pet goldfish safe from your beardie isn’t all that challenging, either.
Just read on to learn how to do it!
Table of Contents
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Fish?
As we’ve learned in past articles, bearded dragons cannot eat goldfish…or really any other fish for that matter.
Let’s quickly recap some of the reasons it’s just not a good idea to give it to them.
It’ll help you better understand why you’d want to bother training your bearded to leave your pet fish alone.
1. Encourages your bearded to prey on your pet fish
The bearded dragon might form a habit of attacking and eating the pet fish you might have in the vivarium. You do not want any of your pets preying on the other pet, do you?
2. Raw fish is full of parasites
Raw fish has been found to have parasites full of pathogens that would make your dragon sick.
3. High thiaminase content
Fish has a lot of thiaminase that would deplete the vitamin B3 or niacin in your bearded dragon.
4. Sharp bones could harm your bearded
Fish have tiny sharp bones that humans have to carefully remove when eating so that the bones do not prick them.
Bearded dragons, obviously, don’t think, “hey, before I eat Goldie here, I should take out her bones!” So, they can actually get injured by them.
5. Your Beardie Could Choke
The size of a fish is larger than a bearded dragon’s torso.
A seasoned reptile keeper will tell you that anything larger than a bearded dragon torso will end up hurting it as it struggles to swallow the food.
Therefore pet fish will end up choking a bearded reptile as it works to eat it. It could also exert lots of pressure on the backbone.
Eating fish can also make your reptile friend get fecal impaction and constipation.
6. Dangerous chemicals in your fish tank
In the wild, bearded reptiles are eating fish living in clean natural water from springs (IF they even eat them at all).
At home, though, you are highly likely to be using chlorinated water, which is far from healthy or safe for a bearded reptile.
So, now that we know WHY it’s a bad idea to let your bearded eat your pet fish (aside from the obvious reason), let’s talk about the HOW.
How to Train Your Bearded Dragon Not To Eat Your Pet Fish
How then do you get your beardie pet not to eat your pet fish? There are a few strategies that you can try out.
1. Keep ’em separated
To quote the great punk bank, The Offspring, “you gotta keep ’em separated!”
Seriously, separate the enclosure where you keep your bearded pet from the aquarium, and the problem is practically solved on its own.
If you have the space in your home, you could set up a different enclosure where your beardie friend does not even come anywhere near your pet fish.
2. Invest in a quality aquarium
Don’t have multiple rooms for your pets? That’s fine! Just get a good tank for your fish.
Choose something with solid glass (versus plastic, and yes- fish tanks come in plastic).
The aquarium’s glass is a security barrier since your bearded dragon cannot eat your pet fish.
3. Never, ever, ever feed your bearded fish
I know we just discussed this above, but it bears repeating. Never feed your bearded pets with fish.
This way, they are not going to get tempted to prey on the fish. And when we talk of not providing your scaly friend with fish, we mean all types of fish, including cooked, canned, or frozen.
Some bearded dragon owners might have told you that their pet eats tuna, feeder fish, tilapia, goldfish, minnows, and salmon. We, however, advise you not to do it.
4. Keep your bearded well-fed with the right foods
A well-fed bearded isn’t going to go off in search of his own food. So, supply your pet reptile with a sufficient amount of insects plus vegetables when they are young.
As they grow older, reduce the number of insects you give the animal while increasing the veggies. This way, your pet is not tempted to prey on your pet fish.
5. Don’t let your bearded drink from the fish tank
This probably goes without saying, given all of the above. The aquarium water should not be your bearded dragon’s drinking water.
What to feed your bearded dragon to prevent Him from eating your pet fish
Baby beardeds are mostly insectivorous. They can consume insects as much as 80% of its diet.
They still need greens, so you need to fill up the remaining 20% of their feed needs with vegetables and fruits.
Diet in adulthood is the converse; adult bearded dragons need only 20% insects and 80% vegetables.
Feeding your dragons should be done once a day where you throw in an adequate supply of foods that will last the whole day.
Other than the food, dragons need water to help in their metabolic processes, so keep a fresh supply in his enclosure.
Supplements are also essential. All live insects such as crickets and worms fed to your dragon need to be first gut-loaded with nutrients.
All vegetables should be dusted with calcium powder or any other nutrient that your bearded friend needs.
Bearded dragons can eat nightcrawlers and the following insects comfortably without the risk of their getting sick from pathogens or having digestive issues: crickets, dubia roaches, superworms, and mealworms.
Vegetables that they can eat comfortably include peas, green beans, lettuce, celery, apricots, turnips, radish greens, and carrots.
Check out the video below for more details:
We have looked at ways that you can control your bearded dragon from eating your pet fish.
As you can see, it’s more about what YOU do than what you train your bearded to NOT do, if that makes sense.
Keep your pet fish and your bearded separated and don’t encourage your beardy to develop a taste for fish.
Do those two things- along with feeding your reptile pal a healthy diet- and both of your pets should be just fine.
Do you have any thoughts on how to train your bearded dragon not to eat your pet fish? Share below!
Barry Stingmore is a British content writer living in Fuerteventura, Spain. An animal lover at heart, he shares his home with a dog and four rescue cats and has a passion for writing about animals big and small.
Barry loves finding answers to your animal-related questions, the more research involved the better! You can rely on him to find the facts.