Water Dragon habitat with a difference - Reptile Forums

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Old 05-01-2009, 05:10 PM
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Default Water Dragon habitat with a difference

Hi People,

As this is a large post, I'll summarise for the lazy: Can Water Dragons live with tropical fish?

Read on if you're interested in what I'm hoping to achieve:

I've been keeping reptiles on and off over the years when my lifestyle's allowed me to (time, space, etc).

I am now considering getting some Water Dragons. I've always been very creative in the homes for my little pets, not just for them, but also to make them a bit more interesting to look at.
So, obviously I'd like to make a really cool rainforest environment for this. I recently saw a really good setup in a shop for water dragons that included waterfalls and mist, etc, but it was all in one big aquarium which I didn't like the idea of (bad for their noses, and a nightmare for cleaning)

I'm very good at building things, so I've had a cunning idea... I was considering making an actual glass, shallow aquarium section at the bottom that the vivarium connected to to provide the water dragon's swiming area, and then kitting it out with some shallow swimming tropical fish. Imagine a shallow fish tank with a sliding door, front opening vivarium on top and no lid to the tank section or floor to the vivarium (obviously it'd look more professional than just sticking 2 together lol!)

The 2 sections would integrate nicely, and appear very natural inside the environment.

The tank section would be fully kitted with it's own submersed heater, under-gravel filter, and the filter pump would supply the waterfall. There wouldn't be much in the way of decor in the water, to allow for easy, regular cleaning, and the fish wouldn't be anything extravagant, just some nice easy, and hardy tropical fish.

So all of this is possible to build, and I could make it look very impressive, however, there is one big question that I can't find the answer to...

... can water dragons live with fish? I've read countless times that they eat small feeder fish now and then as part of a varied diet, but I would be talking about a few, slightly bigger fish that can move quickly (I've also read that there's no evidence that they chase or hunt fish in the wild anyway)... but that's not my main concern...

.. it's the health implications. Has anyone ever heard of anyone trying this before? Is there anything the fish could accidentally pass on to the Water Dragon through the water?

Have I gone mad and am not considering some other implications also?

I couldn't decide if this post should go in Habitat or Lizards, but I've put it here as it's more of a specific Water Dragon related question.

Cheers,
Paul.
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 05-01-2009, 05:32 PM
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I've never kept water dragons before but I have read plenty of threads on here about the same topic so I'll give a go at answering your questions.

It is generally not a good idea to keep wds with any type of fish because they will most likely eat them, this doesn't sound too bad but fish in a pet shop often carry parasites and other nasties that could be passed on to the wd.

I don't know if anything could be passed on through the water but I know from keeping fish myself that there are diseases and parasites that can wipeout entire fish tanks fairly quickly so it might affect the wd but I don't have a definite answer for that.

Having said all that, it would look damn impressive if it could be pulled off.
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Old 05-01-2009, 05:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucas View Post
Having said all that, it would look damn impressive if it could be pulled off.
Wouldn't it just! I'm not willing to take a risk just for impressiveness though, a healthy lizard comes first. I might make the whole set up anyway and just not add the fish if it comes to light that it's a bad idea.

The whole eating fish thing is interesting, as I've been reading pages that suggests that they don't do this?! Maybe size would be key, fast, larger but friendly fish might be an option to avoid them becoming food.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lucas View Post
this doesn't sound too bad but fish in a pet shop often carry parasites and other nasties that could be passed on to the wd.
I'd be looking at quite a long period before introducing the wd, I'd want the whole environment to settle in a bit, keep an eye on temperatures and humidity, and make sure the fish are healthy, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lucas View Post
I have read plenty of threads on here about the same topic
Really? I couldn't find any :s
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Old 05-01-2009, 06:05 PM
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I know people that keep WDs with tropical fish.. but they tend to try to eat them

personally i wouldnt i cant see the point... whats the point in making this wonderful visual beautiful habitat for the lizard to do what comes naturally and eat the fish

I have rescued WDs in the past and also keep a lovely female whos habitat iwill be upgrading with a sunken pool and external filter this year but id far prefer her to be able to swim in the pool..

whish she couldnt do if there were fish in it.. the fish would get damaged potentially by her tail or claws ans stressed and she could easily eat the,.. they DO eat fish occasionalyl in the wild if the fish are smallish..

i think the risk of contamination to the fish with WD droppings is quite high too..

Just my tuppenceworth

edited to ad... keeping an eye on the fish wont tell you if theres any parasites or they are safe either.. wathing these things cant microscopically show you..

im not sure id bother risking it for just the visual beauty of it id prefer to keep both species safe
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Last edited by sparkle; 05-01-2009 at 06:10 PM..
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Old 05-01-2009, 06:07 PM
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Ok so I found this thread from a while back:

http://www.reptileforums.co.uk/lizar...gons-fish.html

I read a good point in there that wds will mostly use their water as the toilet which would send nitrate levels pretty high which could kill the fish too, it would also make changing the water daily a right pain.

But yeah, I would still advise against it just to be safe.
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Old 05-01-2009, 06:07 PM
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Give it a go. See how it works for you.

Good luck.
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Old 05-01-2009, 06:18 PM
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Water dragons will always choose fresh water to poo in..

always

this is why its advised that u change their water twice a day..

the minute u put clean water in WHAM thats it ..

so if ure keeping fish in clean water by instinct they will poo in it..

for example in the wild they choose to poo in water so their scent is taken away and it keeps them safer from predators.. they also prefer to poo in water BELOW their resting branches..

all in all it seems that yes it may work.. for a while but the risks are fairly high..

also if a WD eats a fish with something wrong with it... thats going to be tricky.. and possibly it could make it unwell etc
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Old 05-01-2009, 06:21 PM
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Oh yeah, use a pump and a filter too for the CWD's . They do this in very good enclsure at a rep shop I know. Helps keep their water clean
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Old 05-01-2009, 06:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucas View Post
Ok so I found this thread from a while back:

http://www.reptileforums.co.uk/lizar...gons-fish.html
There's someone in that thread that seems to think they had a set up with fish going for a while with no issues.

I'm starting to wonder that if I take as many precautions as possible (over do it on the filtering, etc) and experiment with just a few fish, I should be ok.. I've plenty of established aquariums around to whisk them out into if it all turns south anyway!
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Old 05-01-2009, 06:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heywood_Floyd View Post
There's someone in that thread that seems to think they had a set up with fish going for a while with no issues.

I'm starting to wonder that if I take as many precautions as possible (over do it on the filtering, etc) and experiment with just a few fish, I should be ok.. I've plenty of established aquariums around to whisk them out into if it all turns south anyway!
Exactly. Give it a go. Get some pics. I'd like to see them.
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