To Do Or Not To Do, Tis The Question.

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To Do Or Not To Do, Tis The Question.

Postby BigD16 » Sat Feb 08, 2020 8:28 pm

I made a post a few weeks back asking about peoples opinions on good bearded dragon breeders. Who to trust, Who not to trust, Who had a good reputation, Who cared about what they did/produced and who didn't. I have sat down and gone over the initial costs of buying everything I need and I figure it would take me about $235 to get back into the hobby, and that includes everything I need.. Terrarium, Proper Lighting, Proper UVB, Proper vitamins and minerals, etc. I'm in a struggle with myself. I am ready and have the time and energy to love a new little one.. But i'll admit it's a little scary after being out of the hobby for so long.
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Re: To Do Or Not To Do, Tis The Question.

Postby MrSpectrum » Sat Feb 08, 2020 10:52 pm

I'm sorry, but I think you're too low, especially if you're thinking about a "starter kit"--they're a waste of money, and much of what they include will have to be replaced--including the enclosure. I still have my own research, and the least expensive 4'x2'x2' enclosure (the recommended size for an adult BD) I found was $220 for an unfinished kit, not including glass (figure $75-$100) or shipping.
A Zen enclosure (one of the most economical) runs about $330 +shipping +any modifications (like tile floor).

Did you figure in anything for veterinary care? I emailed the herp vets in my area, and asked what to reasonably budget annually. All 3 were in the same ballpark--$125 to $175 which included checkup/wellness and annual fecal exam. Did not include anything more serious or prescriptions.
Rates/prices may be different where you live.

How much are you budgeting for food & feeders? Feeder insects are running me about $100/month, vegetables about $15/month. As he matures, I expect feeders may/will decrease, but that first year...

Since you mentioned UVB, I'm assuming your figure includes fixtures & bulbs, and depending on type, bulbs have to be replaced every 6-12 months. Getting temps right can take some trial & error, which could mean buying extra basking bulbs in case you have to go up or down in wattage. Are you planning on using digital thermometers & hygrometer or temperature gun?

I think it would also be prudent to add a reasonable figure for contingencies; we all make mistakes/miscalculations.
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Re: To Do Or Not To Do, Tis The Question.

Postby BigD16 » Sat Feb 08, 2020 11:28 pm

I was more or less talking about the initial investment in the enclosure and basic husbandry needs. I'm well aware that vet costs and food are going to increase my price as well as feeders.
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Re: To Do Or Not To Do, Tis The Question.

Postby MrSpectrum » Sun Feb 09, 2020 6:09 am

BigD16 wrote:I was more or less talking about the initial investment in the enclosure and basic husbandry needs.

No offense was intended. Delete those items, and based on the cost of a reasonable enclosure alone, your figure is still low. I just did a quick search on bearded dragon upfront costs, and got the following (summarized) results, which--except as noted--included only the items you listed. Some included less.

$280 (enclosure only)
$400-$600
$500-$700
$550+
$360 (enclosure only)

Some of the articles were several years old, so costs may have increased somewhat. Others caution the old adages, "You get what you pay for," and "Act in haste--repent in leisure."

From my own experiences, and reading hundreds of threads on various forums, I would aim high. Trying to do this "on the cheap" usually results in detriment to the animal, re-homing, etc. Reptile forums in general are--regrettably--rife with such stories.

I'm not trying to talk you out of it; I'm being pragmatic. This is a hobby for most folks, and hobbies tend to be money pits. :wink:
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Re: To Do Or Not To Do, Tis The Question.

Postby claudiusx » Sun Feb 09, 2020 9:36 am

No, I think you're numbers are spot on. You can very easily get setup for the numbers you are proposing.

You need a tank, a basking bulb, a basking light fixture, and uvb bulb, a uvb bulb fixture, some decor, some form of substrate, and a decent thermometer. Those are the bare necessities.

It's like I wrote in the article on this site:

Newbies Guide: What to Buy

A lot of the links are outdated, but prices are still generally the same. Still, worth checking out.

You can get the necessities for around 200 bucks, and even some additional items that are nice to have for still under 280.

I wrote that article based of of actual costs incurred when setting up for dragons. I don't know how you'd be looking at much more than that unless you decided to get a larger or custom built enclosure.


I'm not sure where Mr. Spectrum got his lists from, but I have 5 dragons and I haven't paid that much for all of their setups combined. I do have custom tanks I built, but before the custom builts they were in glass tanks I bought.

I too was out of the hobby for awhile, so I know how the reservations feel. But after a few weeks you'll feel like a natural again :)

-Brandon
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Re: To Do Or Not To Do, Tis The Question.

Postby DragonPete » Sun Feb 09, 2020 10:08 am

Excellent info Brandon. That was helpful for me too.
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Re: To Do Or Not To Do, Tis The Question.

Postby MrSpectrum » Sun Feb 09, 2020 12:29 pm

claudiusx wrote:You can get the necessities for around 200 bucks,

Really? Where can you get a 4x2x2 for 200 minus all the accoutrements? Please, if you know of one, it should be posted about and added to The Great Big List of Adult Enclosures! (I have a few other suggested additions as well, to bring the list up to date.)

I'm not sure where Mr. Spectrum got his lists from,

As I wrote:
MrSpectrum wrote:I just did a quick search on bearded dragon upfront costs, and got the following (summarized) results

It's there for anyone to look up for themselves.

Brandon, Your premise and article are based on housing (ostensibly) an adult in a 40 gal breeder, which is considered the bare minimum. Every veterinarian I've discussed that with considers that size totally inadequate.

You're fond of citing the latest up-to-date information on lighting, recommending quality lighting, digital thermometers, meters, etc., and that's good. So it seems a little disingenuous for you to recommend the bare minimum for an enclosure, especially when your own enclosures match up closer to what I suggest.

You KNOW I don't believe in either bare minimums or doing things on the cheap. IME it's a recipe for problems/disaster. I've learned from my own mistakes, and I try to pass that wisdom along to others. Hence, you get what you pay for.

Your article acknowledges costs of $200, including only $50 for an enclosure (I didn't see a lid mentioned). Subtracting that $50 enclosure leaves $150 for everything else. Leaving the kit out of it because not everyone can do that, the least expensive Zen Habitat enclosure I mentioned is $329. Add that to your $150, and you're up to $479, well within the range of figures I reported.

Q.E.D.
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Re: To Do Or Not To Do, Tis The Question.

Postby claudiusx » Sun Feb 09, 2020 12:53 pm

MrSpectrum wrote:So it seems a little disingenuous for you to recommend the bare minimum for an enclosure, especially when your own enclosures match up closer to what I suggest.

There is nothing disingenuous of my suggestion that you can setup a dragon in a 40g breeder.

I have actually raised adults in 40g breeders for nearing 20 years now. That is why I feel confident in recommending them. I have first hand experience with it... Tons of people on this site have their dragons in 40g breeders.

You can pay what you like for your setup. Doesn't take away from the fact that you can setup for cheaper. As has been concluded by the OP already, and as is evident in my list.

OP, do whatever you feel is best :)

-Brandon
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Re: To Do Or Not To Do, Tis The Question.

Postby MrSpectrum » Mon Feb 10, 2020 9:02 am

claudiusx wrote:I have actually raised adults in 40g breeders for nearing 20 years now. That is why I feel confident in recommending them. I have first hand experience with it...

Then why didn't you build 40g enclosures instead of 4x2x2s? Nevermind. Let's not go there. I'm not even going to cite examples. The "disingenuous" may have been harsh; I apologize. It was in response to your "I'm not sure where Mr. Spectrum got his lists from" comment, when I clearly stated where & how I got those numbers. I thought it would have been clear by now that I don't pull numbers out of my anatomy--I cite sources (or searches where those sources--along with differing data/opinions) can be found. My opinions--like yours--are based on years of personal experience & research. Conclusions can still vary/disagree.

Tons of people on this site have their dragons in 40g breeders.

Tons of people on this site with 40gBs have also posted about graduating to larger enclosures because--for whatever reasons--they felt the 40 was too small.

Doing the research/homework/seeking opinions beforehand is smart. That said, before someone has made the decision/purchase is (IMO/E) a far better time to suggest considering a change in plans than saying something after the fact, when the decision has been made and the money spent. Hence so many articles & videos about "Things to know BEFORE [doing something]" and "Things I wish I'd known BEFORE [doing something]".

The OP acknowledged asking for opinions on breeders, and I inferred s/he was asking for opinions again; I gave mine. My hope/intent was that s/he benefit from it rather than finding/deciding later that a larger enclosure might have been worth saving/waiting for.

It's obvious we're both very passionate about this issue. I hope we can agree to disagree without acrimony or enmity.
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