Ideal Humidity?

Discuss substrates, lighting, heating, enclosure building ideas, share enclosure photos, and talk about any other enclosure-related topics.

Ideal Humidity?

Postby DjangoUnchained » Thu Apr 01, 2021 7:40 pm

Long post incoming, just skip to the bolded text for my actual question without all of the preface.

Hello everyone! I adopted a fancy bearded dragon about two weeks ago and named him Django. I think he’s a baby still, he’s pretty small but the pet store person and the vet never told me his age. I’m not exactly sure how long he is either. Anyway, I brought him to the vet just yesterday for a checkup (no concerns, just a normal checkup to make sure nothing’s wrong that I haven’t noticed). The exotic specialist told me everything was fine and gave me a pamphlet with some information.

The pamphlet (by ARAV, which stands for Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians) says the ideal humidity for a bearded dragon is 40-60%. This confused me because on google searches I’ve done the ideal humidity varies between 20-40% or 30-40% and around 55% at night depending on which website I look at. I have 3 thermometers/hydrometers in the tank (two on the warm side and one on the cool side). The Zoo Med hydrometers say that it is currently 25% humidity on the warm side and 32% on the cool side with the basking light and UVB on. The other hydrometer I have on the warm side says that it is 22%, so either way it should be in the 20s on the warm side.

I did buy a humidifier (by Repti Zoo) weeks ago but didn’t actually use it until tonight. I turned it on the lowest setting and it made the warm side of the tank reach in the high 50s. Django seemed to absolutely hate it and started to claw at the side of the tank. I turned it off right after this and now it’s back to the 20s and he decided to sleep. At night without the lights on the humidity is currently is sitting at 37%.

MY MAIN QUESTION is this: what is the true ideal humidity for a bearded dragon? It seemed to bother my dragon in the 50s but I’m not sure if the 20s is too low. Do I even need a humidifier at all?



Some additional stuff: I have a timer for his basking light and UVB bulb which is from 10am to 10:45pm. My tank is 10 gallons. The UVB bulb is 26 watts (placed on top of the middle of the tank in a 8.5” dome lamp so it covers most of the tank) and the basking light is 75 watts in a 5/12 inch “mini deep dome lamp fixture” which I have hanging slightly above the tank on a lamp stand. The temperature on the warm side is usually in the low 90s according to the Zoo Med thermometer. The cool side is usually around 88 degrees. At night I usually keep both lights off since it is has always been 60-75 degrees at night but since it’ll be in the 50s tonight I decided to use use a 60 watt ceramic infrared heat emitter in a 8 1/2 clamp lamp which currently has the warm side at 86 and the cool side at at 82 (unsure why it’s this high right now, if it doesn’t cool down later I may have to get a thinner dome. He’s currently sleeping on the warmer side though so I don’t know if he cares). I also have a 75 watt red light infrared bulb for night time but I haven’t used it yet since apparently this can still disturb my dragon’s sleep. I think everything I’m doing on the heating end is fine with the exception of this night time heating.

One last thing, I told the vet that I feed Django mainly kale for a vegetable (crickets for live food) and she told me that I should stop feeding him kale and feed him spinach and collard greens instead. This confuses me because all research I’ve done and even the pamphlet she gave me says that bearded dragons shouldn’t eat spinach very often due to calcium binding with the spinach. The vet does have her own adult bearded dragon so I would expect her to be giving me advice that she has researched. He’s not eating the spinach anyway so I will probably switch back to kale and get some collard greens later. Should I keep feeding him spinach and maybe that calcium binding thing has been debunked or something (if it has I haven’t seen anyone saying that at all), should I feed him kale again, or should I switch to different vegetables completely?

My main question is just about the humidity but if there is anything I could improve in my tank I would love to know.

Sorry that this is so long, I just want to make sure that Django has a happy and healthy life. Thank you very much!
DjangoUnchained
Newbie Poster
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Apr 01, 2021 6:09 pm
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Re: Ideal Humidity?

Postby yonose12 » Fri Apr 02, 2021 5:19 pm

Hi! Disclaimer up front: I'm not one of the experts here, just passing on what I've learned from this site and my own experience. Hopefully one of the more experienced members will chime in here as well but I thought I would respond since I've dealt with some of the issues you bring up.

Also sorry for the long post but I guess you started it 8)

First off, you mentioned that you have a dome for your UVB light, which means it's likely a coil-type bulb. Those bulbs provide pretty inadequate UVB and can actually hurt your beardies eyes in some cases. They're better than no UVB at all but if you can afford it I would really really highly recommend that you get something like a Reptisun 10.0 T5HO tube bulb and a fixture with a reflector (link below). I think others here can probably weigh in on what size to get since you only have a 10 gal tank but in my opinion it's probably just worth it to invest in a bigger tank now since you'll have to pretty soon anyway. The generally accepted minimum for an adult beardie is 40 gal and lots of folks go bigger with a 4'x2'x2'. I think for a 40 gal you could use the 22" fixture. I use a 34" in my 4x2x2 tank. Getting a larger tank will also help you with your temperature issues. It sounds like you're not able to get a proper temperature gradient because your tank is too small.

Quick UVB endorsement: my dragon lived with a previous owner who used coil bulbs and I switched to a T5 tube bulb about a year ago. The change in her behavior and coloring since then has been amazing - she's just obviously so much more happy, alert, and comfortable and she's started to show really beautiful oranges and yellows that I hadn't even seen before!

As for the humidity question, 50-60% humidity definitely seems high to me. My tank is generally 20-40% and almost never gets over 50% even at night and I live in a fairly humid area. I've never used a humidifier and in fact I was using a dehumidifier before I realized I could get better results with a ceramic heat emitter (they really dry things out). As far as I know the main risk with too low humidity is difficult/stuck shed while the risks with too high humidity are far more serious problems like respiratory infections. You can always give your beardie a bath or a little mist in the morning if you notice they're having trouble with shedding. I also like to spray/rinse my greens to make sure she's getting enough water. I pay close attention to her poop (get used to it :lol: ) to make sure she's staying hydrated, the poop should be moist but not watery with a firm but not chalky urate - chalky or dry seeming urates can be a sign of dehydration.

Lastly, on vegetables, I use collards as a staple green. They are high in calcium, relatively low in phosphorous, and they last longer than dandelion greens in my experience. I also feed kale occasionally and have heard (from other members here) that the warnings about kale have largely been disproven. I don't feed spinach and, while I haven't looked into it as much, I haven't heard any of the "actually spinach is fine" opinions that I've gotten with kale. I'm not enough of an expert to give a definite answer but I personally err on the side of caution and avoid spinach, especially when collards are super easy for me to get.

Hope this helps and sorry for the essay!

I've used this page to help work out a good diet and feeding schedule:
http://www.beautifuldragons.com/Nutrition.html

T5 Bulb: https://www.reptilesupplyco.com/t5-uvb- ... o-med.html

The arcadias are supposed to be good too but I don't have first hand experience with those.

Fixture/reflector: https://www.amazon.com/Carolina-Custom- ... B00K2AY8EW
Last edited by yonose12 on Fri Apr 02, 2021 5:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
yonose12
Newbie Poster
 
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2020 4:23 pm

Re: Ideal Humidity?

Postby yonose12 » Fri Apr 02, 2021 5:32 pm

Couple of things that I forgot/overlooked: your temperatures seem a bit low on the hot side. I believe babies like it pretty hot - up in the 105-110 range. Adults will tend to like it a little cooler. My hot end stays in the 90s (ambient temperature) and then my basking area (surface temp) is generally right around 97-104. You should get a digital thermometer with a probe to check surface temps. Stick ons are pretty inaccurate and tell you air temps not surface. Stick on hygrometers are okay as far as I know (that's what I use). Put the probe from the thermometer right on the basking spot and leave it for at least 15 mins to get an accurate reading.

As I mentioned in the last post, your cool side is also a bit warm because your tank is on the small side. Typically you want to get down to around 75-low 80s on the cool end. At night you can let the temperature drop to low 70s but you don't want to let it get much below 65-68. If you can't get the night time temps right with the CHE, consider getting a dome with a dimmer or adjusting the height.
yonose12
Newbie Poster
 
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2020 4:23 pm

Re: Ideal Humidity?

Postby Claudiusx » Fri Apr 02, 2021 7:17 pm

DjangoUnchained wrote:MY MAIN QUESTION is this: what is the true ideal humidity for a bearded dragon? It seemed to bother my dragon in the 50s but I’m not sure if the 20s is too low. Do I even need a humidifier at all?

Anything under 70% is GOOD!
That includes 20%

Humidity is not a factor you need to concern yourself with unless it is too high. There are no ill effects from low humidity, only high.

There are significant risks though with purposely trying to humidify the enclosure via a fogger, mister, etc. No point in adding all the additional risks of artificially humidifying the enclosure when it provides literally no benefit at all.

-Brandon
Follow along with all my beardies. Check out my thread here!: Claud's Crew
P.S. We have lots of pictures ;)
Click here if you use a Sunblaster fixture - IMPORTANT
User avatar
Claudiusx
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 19697
Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2009 3:44 pm
Location: California

Re: Ideal Humidity?

Postby Claudiusx » Fri Apr 02, 2021 7:24 pm

DjangoUnchained wrote:she told me that I should stop feeding him kale

Kale is Good for Beardies <- Click me
Vets aren't always accurate or up to date with information, but nutrition stuff is tricky typically anyways. Hopefully she still knows her stuff when it comes to other stuff. It's nice to have a competent vet.

-Brandon
Follow along with all my beardies. Check out my thread here!: Claud's Crew
P.S. We have lots of pictures ;)
Click here if you use a Sunblaster fixture - IMPORTANT
User avatar
Claudiusx
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 19697
Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2009 3:44 pm
Location: California
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -


Return to Enclosures

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: kdave