Walter, the Bioactive beardie

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Walter, the Bioactive beardie

Postby BrightStar » Sat Sep 14, 2019 11:46 am

Last month, I lost my bearded dragon, Rygel, to a devastating illness. He may have had it for about a year, though showed no major signs of problems until just weeks before his death. I took him to the vet, and he went downhill very fast after that and had to be put to sleep. Losing Rygel broke my heart. (I have a topic about that elsewhere on this board, plus I posted a memorial for him in the memorial forum.

One thing that helped me deal with the loss of Rygel was preparing for a new beardie. I found that re-reading over all the care sheets reminded and reassured me that my care of Rygel was good, and he didn’t get sick because of anything I did. Plus, having a “project” (preparing the setup for a baby dragon) helped give me something to think about rather than just grief and the worry of waiting for necropsy results.

Yesterday, we welcomed a new baby to our family. He is from 7thgalaxydragons, (https://www.7thgalaxydragons.com/) measures 9” long and will be ten weeks on Sunday. Ryan, the breeder, has been wonderful to deal with.

Here are some pictures of my baby-

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And here are his parents.

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Dad is 750g, and mom is 500g , so I think my little one will be a big boy when he grows up.

We have named our new baby Walter. He is a Male Hypo Citrus Dunner, 100% Het Trans, 66% Het Zero, 50% Het

We have decided to keep him in a bioactive setup. I know there’s a lot of split opinion on whether this is a good idea, so please be assured I’ve done my research and am aware of the benefits and risks of using this type of setup. After reading over both sides of the argument, I decided it is something I want to do.

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Walter arrived by FedEx at 11:55am yesterday. He was lively and alert when I took him out of the shipping box, and I was astonished to see that he had absolutely no stress marks and a lovely white beard. I had no idea how he would react to his bioactive setup, so I set him on his basking log and left him to settle. I checked on him fifteen minutes later, and he was already cautiously exploring his new home and gaining confidence by the second! Within minutes, he was munching at his plants (all beardie safe) and chasing down a beetle (one of his cleaner crew). I didn’t expect him to want to eat, and certainly not so soon after arriving, but since he was already terrorizing the cleaner crew population, I offered him a bowl of Dubia and Phoenix worms. He devoured the roaches and ate twelve smalls straight away. He ate a few of the worms, but I think he prefers roaches.

He spent the day exploring, hunting, climbing and basking. In the evening, I took him out for cuddles before bed, and he settled against my chest and fell asleep. The slightest sound disturbed him, and he kept cracking open an eyelid to check, then went back to sleep.

I settled him into his cage for bed around midnight , left a nightlight on in the room for half an hour just in case he wanted to get up and find himself somewhere else to sleep. But he stayed right where I put him.

This morning he was already up and basking when I got up. I offered him a bowl full of roaches and worms, and he ran across the cage as soon as he saw his food dish. He’s smart! He learned what his dinner bowl looks like already! He is also already taking worms right out of my hand.

Today he has been climbing and basking and surveying his kingdom from the heights of his basking log. He seems very happy, healthy and curious.

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Re: Walter, the Bioactive beardie

Postby claudiusx » Sat Sep 14, 2019 11:57 am

Awesome!

Hi Walter! :wave:

I'm so happy for you. Walter looks great. I've been following 7thgalaxy for awhile, they seem like good breeders.
And plus, you sold me at dunner. I love dunners. Absolutely my favorite morph. 3 of my crew are dunners if you didn't know! :mrgreen:

The tank setup looks cool! I will admit, I'm largely unaware when it comes to bioactive setups. I don't know much about them one way or another. But I have seen some people using them and they do seem to be at least enriching for the dragon. It will be fun for me to follow along and learn about your bioactive setup as you do.

Walter looks like a happy boy. Keep the pics coming! :mrgreen:

-Brandon
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Re: Walter, the Bioactive beardie

Postby BrightStar » Sat Sep 14, 2019 12:08 pm

My hope with this topic was not only to introduce Walter to everyone here, but to also share my experience of a bioactive setup and allow members to follow Walter’s progress. Bioactive is still a pretty new thing for beardie owners, but it is growing in popularity. I brought substrate from thebiodude, and I highly recommmend then. It was expensive, especially for a cage the size I have (72” x 24” x 24”) and I could have done it cheaper if I had mixed my own bioactive substrate , but I went with something that was already tried and tested, and ready to use right out of the bag so I could be confident the substrate was “right”.

I’m really excited to watch Walter’s colors come out as he grows. No idea at the moment what to expect! This will be my first experience with a dunner, so that’s also going to be quite exciting to see as he grows.
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Re: Walter, the Bioactive beardie

Postby MrSpectrum » Sat Sep 14, 2019 12:23 pm

Impressive dragon and impressive enclosure! :)

If you don't mind, I have a couple of questions:

    1. I'm not going bio-active (yet--mental jury is still out) but I am including some BD-safe succulents. I see that Walter has sampled a few of his. Would you please keep us updated on whether he just samples, devours, or demolishes them in some rebellious act of Beardyism?

    2. What is that octopus-like thing in front of Walter in Pic #12? :?
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Re: Walter, the Bioactive beardie

Postby BrightStar » Sat Sep 14, 2019 12:52 pm

I’ll be happy to provide updates on how he does with the plants. So far, he’s taken a few big bites out of the succulent yesterday, but I’ve not seen him bothering so much with them today. It’s only in the past few hours that he’s gotten quite active though, so we’ll see how much he tries to demolish them during the rest of the day. To be honest, I’m fully expecting him to either eat, or flatten them, and deliberately planted them in a location that will be easy for me to change them out if they get too destroyed.

For the octopus like thing - do you mean this?

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It’s called a rams head seed pod. I got it from thebiodude

https://www.thebiodude.com/collections/ ... d-seed-pod

I think it looks totally awesome - and yes, it’s safe for him.
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Re: Walter, the Bioactive beardie

Postby MrSpectrum » Sat Sep 14, 2019 1:07 pm

Yeah, that. :) Thanks.
I'm expecting the worst with the plants too, which is why we got lots of extras/replacements. I'm also putting them in planters (see above link)--hoping that may help--but still prepared for the worst. I've also got some air plants, and I'll be getting some hens & chicks--both to attach to/plant in a slate backsplash (when the enclosure gets that far). :)

I like the idea of a bio-active for a beardie--just not convinced that with that substrate (and moisture required for the cleanup crew) that the enclosure humidity will remain low--even with the leaf cover. I guess time will tell! :mrgreen:

Good Luck!
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Re: Walter, the Bioactive beardie

Postby BrightStar » Sat Sep 14, 2019 1:12 pm

So far, humidity has not been a problem. It was crazy for the first week, but that’s why we got everything set up and waited for it all to settle before we got Walter. Right now, it’s about 20% humidity on the cool side, and 39% on the hot side. We’ve been misting every other day, and there is a spike right after, but it goes back down fairly steadily. The ground covering and top inch of substrate is astonishingly dry, with the moister layer below still being nice and wet for the cleaner crew.
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Re: Walter, the Bioactive beardie

Postby claudiusx » Sat Sep 14, 2019 1:32 pm

BrightStar wrote:My hope with this topic was not only to introduce Walter to everyone here, but to also share my experience of a bioactive setup and allow members to follow Walter’s progress. Bioactive is still a pretty new thing for beardie owners, but it is growing in popularity.

Yup, And I will eagerly be following along.

I didn't realize your tank was so large! Now that I look back at the pictures, Walter has a palace!

-Brandon
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Re: Walter, the Bioactive beardie

Postby AHBD » Sat Sep 14, 2019 2:52 pm

Wow, so happy to hear that everything has gone smooth as could be and Walter is boss dragon already ! I know you are just thrilled with the new little guy and the excitement of the new tank , especially seeing how he's so at home already. :)
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Re: Walter, the Bioactive beardie

Postby JumpinJellyfish » Sat Sep 14, 2019 8:34 pm

He's gorgeous! I'm glad the heartbreak you went through with Rygel didn't put you off having another beardie. Sounds like Walter is off to a great start!
Never knew I could get so happy about poop, or so comfortable with bugs. :-D
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Re: Walter, the Bioactive beardie

Postby BrightStar » Sun Sep 15, 2019 8:45 am

Walter didn’t want bedtime cuddles last night. He refused to let me pick him up. One downside of a Bioactive environment is there are so many places for him to hide and squeeze himself in to - many of them would require me to take out half the cage contents to get to him. So last night he didn’t want to be picked up. I tried a little but he was clearly getting stressed, which was so sad to see that I’m the only thing so far that’s stressed him out. He gaped at me, and I managed to gently rub his chin, but decided that was as best as I was going to get and left him alone. Checked on him later and he’d dug himself a rather lazy burrow under some leaves behind a log.

This morning he was up and awake and perched next to his plants when I checked on him - I think he might have been having a bite for breakfast. I offered him his bugs, but he’s not in the slightest bit interested. He doesn’t look stressed today, so hopefully I have not set things back with him. I opened the cage and just talked to him, tried to get my hand near but not touching him. He tolerated that, though I know he’ll run if I get too close.

I think he’s about three weeks younger than Rygel was when I got him, so I’m assuming that the age difference can affect how easy they are to tame? Should I take a step back on handling and just focus on getting him used to accepting my hand near him first?

Later today, I’m planning on taking pictures of the plants in his cage, so you all can see how they’re doing. I’ll try to keep updating then with more pictures to show how they’re holding up.
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Re: Walter, the Bioactive beardie

Postby claudiusx » Sun Sep 15, 2019 8:50 am

From what I've seen they usually are a bit more timid the first few days, and will be easier to handle. But as they settle in they tend to fight back more instead.
You can keep trying but If you dont catch him on the first try id probably leave him alone for a bit. The chasing around is what stresses them IMO.

Looking forward to the pics :)

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Re: Walter, the Bioactive beardie

Postby BrightStar » Sun Sep 15, 2019 8:53 am

I’m trying to remember he only arrived Friday, and has had a massive amount of change to deal with. I don’t want to stress him out. I want a relationship with him of trust, and whilst I could chase him round and eventually catch him, I don’t want to do things that way. I guess I’m just worrying that if I don’t push him, he’ll always just run and I’ll never be able to handle him.

Here’s a picture taken just now.

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Re: Walter, the Bioactive beardie

Postby claudiusx » Sun Sep 15, 2019 8:58 am

I love when they sit up like that. They look so proud lol.

Personally I keep handling to a minimum for the first week or so but it's just personal preference and kind of tradition at this point lol. Lots of people handle from day 1.

They are all different, some tame up quickly, some make you work for it. He'll come around eventually :)

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Re: Walter, the Bioactive beardie

Postby BrightStar » Sun Sep 15, 2019 9:12 am

Yeah, he really looks like he’s so proud of himself. King of his domain!

I think he may have filled up on cleaner crew and plants already. His belly looks quite full!

He’s been tasting his poop after he goes to bathroom, so I’m thinking vitamin or calcium deficiency?

I managed to get my hand close enough to gently pet his side. Baby steps - I did it for a few seconds and then backed off. He didn’t freak, so small victory there.

He has a very broad gradient of basking options, but he typically prefers areas of about 95 - 100 for most of the day. Occasionally he seeks out 110 areas and basks there, but mostly he’s in the 95-100 spots. His breeder told me that’s what he’s used to. He’s pooping okay, (twice yesterday) but his preference for slightly lower heat is making me nervous.
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