Can bearded dragons eat fish?

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Fishy Facts In A Bearded Dragon’s Diet. Yea Or Nay For Fish 

Can bearded dragons eat fish?  No, do not let your bearded dragon eat fish.

Fish isn’t a bearded dragon’s natural food source, nor have there been any studies on the effects of fish on bearded dragons. If you aren’t sure about the safety of feeding fish to your bearded dragon, it is safer not to feed fish to him at all.

This article will explore some of the dangers of feeding fish to your bearded dragon.

Why Should Your Bearded Dragon Not Eat Fish?

Although it wouldn’t kill your beardie to eat a small amount of fish, it is not recommended and is a bad idea to feed your bearded dragon fish. Fish can carry harmful bacteria, germs, and even parasites that can infect your dragon.  

Fish is classified as a protein-rich food source, and for this reason, some bearded dragon owners will give their pet dragons feeder fish. 

The danger of feeder fish is that they could also contain parasites harmful to your bearded dragon.  

Read on to find out more about feeder fish in your bearded dragon’s diet, the nutritional value of fish, and why it is dangerous if your bearded dragons eat it.

Can Your Bearded Dragons Eat Feeder Fish Or Canned Fish?

Our answer remains, no.  Feeder fish do not provide the same nutritional value as some insects, such as crickets, for example.  Your bearded dragon could become sick, impacted, and lack vitamin B1. 

You should also think about where these feeder fish are sourced—usually from massive fish farms with huge tanks. Chemicals are dumped into the tanks daily, and many fish fecal matter is also in the tank.

Canned fish is also not a good food source for your bearded dragon. Canned fish contains salt, brine, and other additives that can harm your bearded dragon.  

What Is The Nutritional Profile Of Fish?

There are many different species of fish.  But is fish’s nutritional profile good for bearded dragons?

The table below shows the nutritional values of tilapia fish, tuna, and salmon

Nutrients / 100gTilapiaSalmonTuna
Vitamin A0ug35ug655ug
Vitamin K 1.4ug0.4ug0ug
Vitamin D3.1ug10.9ug5.7ug
Ca:P ratio1:171:381:32

The Dangers Of Fish In Your Bearded Dragons Diet?

Some feeder fish are cultivated with many synthetic chemicals that can be toxic to bearded dragons.  Raw fish can contain bacteria, germs, and parasites harmful to your bearded dragon.  

Goldfish and Rosy red minnows contain a dangerous enzyme called thiaminase.  This enzyme prevents thiamine uptake, known as vitamin B, an energy source for your bearded dragon.

It also leads to a deficiency in vitamin B3 (Nicotinamide).  This enzyme can lead to brain damage.

Feeder Fish And Parasites

We mentioned that fish carry parasites that can harm your bearded dragon.  

We’re sure that by now you are asking what kind of parasites?

Let’s look at some of the most common parasites carried by freshwater aquarium fish.

Tapeworms and Flukes

When it comes to minnows, a popular feeder fish, the galaxiids are often the victim of infection by the parasite Ligula.


Leeches may occur and attach themselves to the host and live from their blood.


It is another fish parasite you need to be aware of.  It’s present in fish like trout or redfin, and it is not advisable to feed these fish to your bearded dragon.

The high fatty content, the fact that fish contain high levels of copper sulfate, and that fish contain parasites are all factors that are harmful to your beardie. 

How Much Fish Should You Feed You Bearded Dragon?

Our recommendation is zero.  But if you are curious and decide to try, give just one piece on rare occasions.

Besides, think about the bones in fish.  Beardies are pretty tough lizards, but you can run the risk of choking your pet beardie if the bones you give are too large to digest.  

Bearded dragons can become impacted when fed fish bones, so sticking to a recommended bearded dragon’s diet is best.

Do Bearded Dragons Eat Fish In The Wild?

Wild bearded dragons are known to eat fish but on rare occasions. However, in captivity, where you are in complete control of your bearded dragon’s diet, you should not offer fish at any time.

Adult bearded dragons are not likely to find fish in the Australian desert, and even if they did, they are not likely to eat it often.

Is Fish Food Safe For Bearded Dragons?

Beardies cannot eat fish food at any time. Fish food contains several ingredients, and although some of them might be beneficial to bearded dragons, fish food is not formulated or designed with fish in mind. 

It does not contain the necessary nutrition to keep your beardie healthy. Fish food is only meant for fish whose composition differs from that of a bearded dragon’s diet.

We recommend that bearded dragons should only eat live feeder insects, worms, greens, and vegetables.

Final Thought

All bearded pet owners want the best for their pets, but you have to be careful what you feed them regarding a nutritional diet.  Fish is not good food for bearded dragons because of the presence of thiaminase, parasites, and lots of phosphorus.

Avoid fish food when feeding bearded dragons.  We suggest you feed them grasshoppers, mealworms, and cicadas.

We recommend that you always read about any new foods you want to introduce to your bearded dragon’s diet.  Even the healthiest food can have health risks.

Continue to read our main article “What do Bearded Dragons Eat?” for all the ins and outs on general diet questions, and get a further detailed breakdown of other popular foods in the articles below:

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I am a huge animal lover and have four dogs, a Labrador, Jack Russell, Pug, and Teacup Yorkie. I also have a cat and a Cockatiel. I have had pets since I was a toddler, and there was not a day when there wasn't an animal in my house.