The Newbies Guide on What To Buy!

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The Newbies Guide on What To Buy!

Postby claudiusx » Wed Jan 01, 2014 9:25 pm

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Introduction

Unfortunately, a lot of times a new owner will buy the kits a petstore sells. Usually, these kits are junk, to put it nicely, and are full of useless and sometimes even dangerous items. This often times causes a lot of frustration to the new owner, especially when they come to our site and see the majority of items they have are not suitable for their dragon. This guide is to help change that.

If you haven't got your dragon yet and you are researching first, Kudos to you. Reading this thread first will save you money, headache, trouble, heartache, and time.

This guide will provide a list of items needed, a list of items that might be a good idea to have, and a list of items for us OCD owners who want to be prepared for everything. As with most of my 'articles,' I like to give a bit of an overload of information to anyone willing to read it. For those looking to get the meat and potatoes of this guide, all the important things will be listed at the forefront of each section, with details and extra information lower down if you so choose to read more. I will also provide links to buy said items. I am not affiliated with any company, and stand to make no money off of my recommendations. I do it solely for convenience to you, the newbie. :)

-Brandon
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Re: The Newbies Guide on What To Buy!

Postby claudiusx » Wed Jan 01, 2014 9:25 pm

Quick list

You can click on the item to be directed to a site to buy said item, or you can shop around yourself.
I do, however, recommend you at least glance at each section in this thread before buying anything. Just to ease any confusion you might have on what exactly you should buy.


Cost: Right around $200, higly dictated by the cost of your tank. You might be able to get a tank for $40, or you might spend a couple hundred


Optional but recommended:

Added Cost: ~$70

-Brandon
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Re: The Newbies Guide on What To Buy!

Postby claudiusx » Wed Jan 01, 2014 9:26 pm

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Re: The Newbies Guide on What To Buy!

Postby claudiusx » Wed Jan 01, 2014 9:26 pm

Lighting and Heat

What do you need?
  • A uvb bulb
  • A basking bulb

UVB
UVB Fixture

Basking Bulb
    A Bright White bulb. This can be a normal household bulb, or a branded reptile basking bulb. There are very minimal differences between your normal household incandescent/halogen, and the fancy 10x the price reptile basking bulb.
Basking Fixture
I would recommend a dome fixture with a ceramic socket.

Nighttime
    NO COLORED LIGHTS! No red lights! No 'moonlight' lights!
    IF temperatures in your house drop bellow 65 at night, you will want a CHE
    It MUST be used with a ceramic socket dome. No plastic sockets! CHE's get very hot, and are a big fire hazard if housed in a dome fixture that doesn't have a ceramic socket.
Extra uvb info
In a market supersaturated with different types of bulbs to choose from, why is this list so small? Simple. These three bulbs have stood the test of time. They have been proven not only effective, but safe. The MAJORITY of uvb bulbs on the market have been linked to various adverse health effects on dragons.

CFL's have been found to be the worst offenders. Under no circumstances is it a wise idea to use a CFL uvb bulb. In fact, it would be better to turn the bulb off completely and let the dragon live without UVB for awhile instead of leaving it on.

Why no MVB Recommendations? Well to be quite frank with you all, I have very minimal experience with MVB's, and therefore don't believe I should be offering advice or recommendations on them. What I do know is that they are a bit more, finicky, per se, than the standard uvb tube and heat bulb. And most beginners are already on information overload, so to keep things simple, I left them out. If you want to learn more about MVB's talk with one of our members here that uses them, or use the search feature to find a bunch of threads on the topic. I will say do NOT use a MVB bulb without first doing a lot of research on them on this site.

Extra basking bulb info
The purpose of the basking bulb is to provide your dragon two things. A bright white light, and heat.


Heat is obvious.

The bright white light isn't so much. The reason you want a bright white light, and not something like a soft white, or a light with a colored tint to it, is because the brighter white light helps better protect the dragons eyes from the uvb radiation.

I highly recommend finding a bulb with a Kelvin Rating over 3000.

To get more technical, Soft whites are about 2700-3000 on the Kelvin scale. What you want, is a bulb that produces a higher Kelvin rating than that, such as in the 3200-4500 range. This better simulates the sun at around noontime. I know it is hard now-a-days to find a bulb like this, but it is worth it in my opinion. If you absolutely can not find a bulb around 3500k, at the minimum, get a 2900k. This will serve to ensure proper protection of your dragons eyes, and a more natural like simulation of sunlight.

Nighttime extra info
A Che is your only option. It will produce heat, but no light.

Red bulbs and moonlight bulbs that are marketed for use with bearded dragons, are useless. Contrary to what would seem popular belief, dragons can in fact see this light, and it will disturb their sleep. Think about it, Bearded dragons have an extra cone in their eyes. At the minimum, this means they have better vision than you and can see things that we can not, necessarily. A good rule to go by is, if you can see it, they definitely can see it.

Heatpads - A no go. Dragons do not have a way to sense heat directly on their belly. They can only sense radiant heat. Dragons have been known to lay on heatpads as they malfunction, and get very severe burns. It is a risk with no reward.

Heatrocks - A no go, for the same reasons.

-Brandon
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Re: The Newbies Guide on What To Buy!

Postby claudiusx » Wed Jan 01, 2014 9:27 pm

Substrate

What do you need?

Kitchen tile (textured) or slate tile or slate or linoleum or non-adhesive shelf liner or paper-towels or newspaper.
Check out home improvement stores such as Lowes and Home depot

Extra Info.

You do not want a loose substrate such as sand, crushed walnut, etc. I won't get into it here as there is a good guide by Jess here: http://www.beardeddragon.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=34&t=132151

Tile is my personal favorite. It looks nice, it is easy to clean, it is cheap, and it will outlast your dragon. $20 is more than enough money to buy enough tile for a whole 4x2x2 enclosure. You do not need to grout it in or seal it, although you can if you wish. I personally leave them in their loose. It makes it easy to clean. And you will be glad you didn't permanently affix them to the tank if the time comes to ever move the tank.. :)

All other recommendations stem from the fact that they are a solid substrate, sanitary, and easy to clean.

Paper-towels and newspaper are a good substrate alternative when you are rehabilitating a sick dragon, or treating a dragon with parasites.

This section has less info than the others due to the fact that this thread: http://www.beardeddragon.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=34&t=132151 Covers all the information I could ever imagine to put here.

-Brandon
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Re: The Newbies Guide on What To Buy!

Postby claudiusx » Wed Jan 01, 2014 9:27 pm

Tank/Enclosure

What do you need?
  • A 40g breeder tank, or a custom made 4x2x2

Extra Info.
A 40g breeder tank is a suitable tank for a dragon of any size! Don't house more than 1 dragon per tank!
A 4x2x2 is considered about the best size you can get for your dragon!

Unfortunately, the shipping on any of these sizes will be astronomical. But if you are willing, you can find some very fancy tanks online if you choose.

For a 40g breeder, your best bet is to check out your petshops, craigslist, classifieds, ETC. Petco often has $1 per gallon sales, where you can buy a 40g breeder tank for around $50 said and done. This is how I got all of my 40g Breeder tanks.

You want a 40g breeder tank as apposed to a normal 40g tank because of the dimensions of a 40g breeder.
A 40g breeder has a tank dimension of 36x18x18. A good size and minimum size for an adult. An adult will be happy in this size, so don't mistake the word minimum, for substandard.

Making a 4x2x2 tank could cost you just as much as buying a $50 40g breeder, assuming you have the tools for it.
Here is a good guide on how to build a 4x2x2 sized tank: http://www.freewebs.com/crossfireenclosures/

Why am I recommending only two sizes of tanks? Did I forget about babies? The answer is no. A baby will do perfectly fine in a large tank, I promise you. As long as you are following this guide, and providing proper husbandry, your baby will do fine. Heck, you could house your hatchling in a 1000g tank if you wanted to as long as you provided proper uvb and temperature.
Why buy multiple tanks as the dragon grows, and make the dragon suffer through relocation stress each time. Buy 1 tank, and you don't need to worry about constantly upgrading the size.

-Brandon
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Re: The Newbies Guide on What To Buy!

Postby claudiusx » Wed Jan 01, 2014 9:28 pm

Thermometers

Yes, this deserved its own section!

What do you need?
  • An IR Temp gun and/or a Digital Thermometer with probe end

Extra Info.

Now, if you spend some time around this site you will find I am a complete thermometer whore. But, for good reason.

Proper temperatures are arguably THE MOST IMPORTANT PART of your husbandry. Without proper temperatures, your dragon is not going to do well.

It is for this reason that it is paramount to KNOW the temperatures you have, and the ONLY way to do that, is with either a IR temp gun, or a digital thermometer with probe end. NO dial stick on thermometers!

I will not get into why not to trust dial stick on thermometers in this thread. Just know that they have been PROVEN to be off by nearly 40 degrees under certain circumstances. If you wish to learn more, check out my thermometer thread here, which is also why this section is shorter:
http://www.beardeddragon.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=34&t=167279

-Brandon
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Re: The Newbies Guide on What To Buy!

Postby claudiusx » Wed Jan 01, 2014 9:28 pm

Tank Accessories

You've got your lighting, your tank, and your substrate, but you still have basically an empty box. Here are some things you should put in it.

What do you need?

  • A basking log/rock.

Extra Info.

Yup, that's basically the only necessity. Now you can go ahead and add lots of stuff, like more rocks, more branches, a cave, even a stuffed animal. The list of things you could add could go on forever. So instead, I will give you a list of things I don't recommend you get.

Any type of fogger/waterfall, water-feature. These are desert creatures. Any type of running water will raise the humidity, and possibly lead to URI's.

A water bowl is OPTIONAL! I don't use one, when people ask me I tell them they don't need one. It ultimately is up to you. I don't see the point in them. Your dragon will likely not drink out of it, and your dragon will get all the hydration it needs from it's food, and baths.

Any type of heating rock/pad/etc. should not be used - as covered in the Lighting and Heat section.

Any small items your dragon could potentially choke on.

Any potentially toxic items. Your dragon will most likely lick everything, and try to eat everything it can fit in it's mouth, at least once.

No type of deodorizer, spray, etc..

-Brandon
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Re: The Newbies Guide on What To Buy!

Postby claudiusx » Wed Jan 01, 2014 9:29 pm

Food items and supplements

You should always have on hand fresh salad items. Which include leafy greens, vegies, and the occasional fruit.

Offer Salads every day!
Here is a good list of salad items. Try to stay with items color coded green. This will make more sense after you visit the site.
http://www.beautifuldragons.com/Nutrition.html

Some form of protein
Silkworms, butterworms, Phoenix worms/Calci-worms/Reptiworms, dubia roaches, crickets, hornworms.

Bugs to stay away from: Mealworms and waxworms.
Superworms can be fed to your dragon, if your dragon is over 16 inches in length. Do not break this rule.

Supplements


Extra Info.

Yes, you want the calcium WITH D3, not without. Over the past year or two, the D3 scare has gotten way out of hand. Basically what I am telling you is you do not need to be worried about using a Calcium with D3 at all. It is much more beneficial than one without. The amount of D3 in the calcium supplement is so minimal, that to see any ill effect from hypervitaminosis D3, you'd have to make your dragon OD on calcium 100 times over.

-Brandon
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Re: The Newbies Guide on What To Buy!

Postby claudiusx » Wed Jan 01, 2014 9:30 pm

Optional But Recommended


Extra Info.

The steam cleaner is by far the best way to clean and sanitize a tank and its items. It is much faster, and much less hassle than a liquid such as bleach. It is also much more effective without the harshness. Make sure you get a good one that produces hot steam, and not just warm water vapors. You usually get what you pay for. Steam will kill Coccidia, bleach will NOT!

A 24 hour timer will come in handy for making sure the lights go on and off at the same time each day. Prevents the occasional slip-ups where we forget to turn them on or off, or help out when we have those date nights and don't get home till late :)

Heavy duty Velcro or 3M hooks - For optimal performance, the uvb bulb should be mounted inside the tank, so that there is no screen filtering out some of the rays. How far you mount it from the basking surface is dictated by the type of uvb bulb you went with. If you are not sure, just post here and I or someone else will answer for you.

A surge protector - If not for the sole fact that you are going to most likely need quite a few plugs, it will also hopefully save your bulbs and the ballasts in your fluorescent fixtures should a surge occur.

Containers for your feeders - Pretty self explanatory, and also dictated by the type of insect you are housing. If you are unsure, look through the feeders section for more information on a particular insect.

A Digital scale - A fun item to have to keep track of your dragons growing progress. Also will come in handy if one day you need to explain the size of your dragon for health reasons, or need to know the weight for medicine dosing reasons.

-Brandon
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Re: The Newbies Guide on What To Buy!

Postby claudiusx » Wed Jan 01, 2014 9:30 pm

For Us OCD Owners...
.....The ones that want to be prepared for anything!

And don't lie to me, I know there are a few of you... Us... out there!

What do I need?


Additional First Aid Items

Extra Info.

The baby food is in case your dragon becomes impacted (which shouldn't really be a problem if your husbandry is correct and you are feeding a good diet) or gets ill and is not getting the nutrients it needs. Use one that is as all natural as you can get.

Needless syringes are again mainly for if your dragon becomes ill, or dehydrated. If your dragon does become ill, I encourage you to start a new thread in the health section, or the ER section so you can get personal guidance and step by step instructions on what you should do.

Betadine - a really good antiseptic that will come in handy if your dragon ever gets an open wound or the like.

Acidohpiliz+ - A probiotic. It restores the good gut flora. A must when administering harsh medications such as parasite medications.

Critical care - Again, another item mainly to be used on a sick dragon. A powdered mix of many nutrients and minerals that I have personally seen turn dragons around a complete 180. It is amazing what a few days of CC can do to a dragon who hasn't been ingesting any nutrients.

-Brandon
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Re: The Newbies Guide on What To Buy!

Postby claudiusx » Wed Jan 01, 2014 9:31 pm

If you see any spelling mistakes, a link is broken, or you find a link to a cheaper price, please feel free to post it here for me. The goal is to help everyone, and cheaper prices helps!

-Brandon
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Re: The Newbies Guide on What To Buy!

Postby claudiusx » Wed Jan 01, 2014 9:31 pm

Change log

1/6/14 - Updated information in lighting and heat>Extra basking bulb info.

-Brandon
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Re: The Newbies Guide on What To Buy!

Postby claudiusx » Wed Jan 01, 2014 9:32 pm

Reserved for possible future use.

-Brandon
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Re: The Newbies Guide on What To Buy!

Postby claudiusx » Wed Jan 01, 2014 9:32 pm

Reserved for possible future use.

-Brandon
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