New Beardie not Eating

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New Beardie not Eating

Postby nikochanr3 » Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:24 am

I just got a bearded dragon. I was told he's between 2/3 months probably (they aren't allowed to sell less than 2 months). He doesn't seem to eat. Occasionally 1 or 2 crickets, or a worm dissapear so he must be eating, but I haven't seen him eat. I've never seen him hunt. He spends the majority of his time basking in the warmer side of the tank on his hammock. The other side he barely goes to. There's a little cave (we were told to get him a hiding place) that i am planning to get rid of possibly since he never goes there but the crickets do.

He doesn't seem sick thin but he's not fat at all. I am worried. He's been here since Friday. He has a 20 gallon tank, but it's longer (a tiny bit) than normal. When he walks, it's not slow or anything but he doesn't move all so much.

I keep a bowl with worms (4/5) and let 6/7 crickets wander around. I've never put greens in. I've put food in front of his face but he doesn't react.

Please advise. This is my first lizard and i want him to be healthy.
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Re: New Beardie not Eating

Postby EllenD » Thu Jan 18, 2018 3:11 pm

Welcome to the forum, and congrats on your first Beardie!

Can you please post a photo of him, and then of his entire tank and lights?

It's good to get any temperature and/or lighting issues fixed now while he's young, before he develops any nutritional deficiencies. There is a "relocation stress" period that they can suffer from, but he should be eating and not lethargic after a week...Usually this is due to an inadequate UVB light, or improper temperatures, or both. One thing I will tell you right off the bat is that if you're feeding him mealworms, please stop. The crickets are great live "staple" feeder insects, as long as they are always smaller than the space between his eyes. However, feeding mealworms to a baby/juvenile Bearded Dragon is #1) Not adequate nutrition for him and will result in health issues, as they contain very little protein, vitamins, minerals, etc. and are nothing but tons of fat and hard chitlin shell, and #2) They almost always cause constant bowel impactions and obstructions, as they cannot properly digest their shells. They just are not adequate feeders for Dragons. Crickets, roaches, Silkworms, and Phoenix Worms/BSFL/Nutrigrubs/Calciworms/Reptiworms (all the same thing) are the adequate, healthy staple feeders for bearded dragons, and you're much better off to order your live insects online in bulk, from a place like www.dubiaroaches.com 9they have all the feeders, not just roaches, and are one of the cheapest places), as he should be eating between 40-60 live insects every single day until he reaches about a year or so old. So buying that many from a pet shop isn't economical at all.

Also, where did you buy him? I only ask because of the comment you made that "They are't allowed to sell them before they are 2 months old", and I'm not familiar with that rule, as Petco and PetSmart both sell them as soon as they are shipped to them by their vendor, and their vendors ship them when they hit 4" long, and they are almost always just around 1 month old at both of those stores when they are put out for sale...I'm just hoping you didn't get an employee that doesn't know anything about dragons and sold you a bunch of wrong lighting, food, etc. as this happens every single day on here, specifically with selling the wrong lighting. Bearded Dragons are desert reptiles, and as such they have very strong and specific lighting and temperature needs that if are not exactly right will make them seriously sick, stunt their growth, and eventually kill them. And Petco and Petsmart employees generally don't do their customers any favors. There are exceptions I'm sure, but not many.

Let us know what UVB light you have, and what his Basking Spot Surface Temp, Hot Side Ambient (air) Temp, and Cool Side Ambient (air) Temp are, and what type of thermometer you're using to measure them with. And post some photos for us, so we can help you out and get you on the right track.
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Re: New Beardie not Eating

Postby nikochanr3 » Thu Jan 18, 2018 6:47 pm

Ok. I will post pictures when I'm done. I was mistaken, they said they don't receive them till they are four weeks old. He is probably a little over that. He is about 3 inches long. He's small. The tank is about 20 inches. We have the sunlight lamp (the long one), the heat lamp during the day (100 watt) and the night bulb for it at night (70 watt). I got rid of the mealworms and got some smaller crickets. There are about 6 in the tank. I think he may have eaten.

His basking side temperature is 95-100 and the other side is about 75. He literally never goes to the other side. He likes the basking lamp side. He doesn't move much but when he does it's fast. He's not lethargic. But when he stops he closes his eyes a lot. I ran the lamps a few days before he came to make sure the temperature doesn't change. IT's very consistent.

He poops about once a day. It's soft. I've seen the white pee spot maybe twice.

It is possible he's "hybernating?" per se. I forgot the term related to him. he sleeps a lot. He's now. He often has his eyes closed.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/142470642 ... res/Q5AZc8
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Re: New Beardie not Eating

Postby nikochanr3 » Thu Jan 18, 2018 7:01 pm

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Re: New Beardie not Eating

Postby nikochanr3 » Thu Jan 18, 2018 7:02 pm

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Re: New Beardie not Eating

Postby CooperDragon » Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:10 pm

I think I can help you make a few improvements that might make a difference. I would stop using the night lamp. If the tank stays above about 65 overnight you don't need any additional heat. If it does get colder than that in the house, I would instead use a ceramic heat emitter that doesn't produce visible light. Just need enough to bump to the high 60s/low 70s.

The UVB light is OK if you're using the desert version. Just be sure to remove the clear plastic shield from in front of the bulb as that will intercept all of the UVB. These T8 bulbs are relatively low output so they should be mounted inside the tank under the top, next to the basking light. They need to be about 6-8'' above the basking zone to be effective.

Your basking light should be fine but it comes down to the temperature readings. You want accurate surface temperatures so I suggest using an IR temp gun like this https://www.amazon.com/Nubee-Temperature-Non-contact-Infrared-Thermometer/dp/B00CVHIJDK or a couple of digital thermometers with probes like this https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0017N8W90/ (one for the basking surface and one for the cool side surface.

You want the basking zone (that rock would make a good basking spot) to be between about 100-110 and the cool side of the tank should stay around 75-80 or so. You can adjust the temps by changing bulb wattages, changing the height of the basking bulb using an adjustable lamp stand, or by using a lamp dimmer (or a combination).

Once the temps and UVB exposure are correct then I think it should make a big difference in appetite and overall health.
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Re: New Beardie not Eating

Postby nikochanr3 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 8:13 am

Ok, temps are ok. I moved the rock to the other side and removed the plastic from the uv light. I let him keep his light last night because i couldn't check the temperature but I'll keep the house warm enough tonight (it shouldn't be hard, my home is normally warm, like tshirt warm even on the coldest winter days at night. We have good insulation.

Hopefully he starts chomping soon.
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Re: New Beardie not Eating

Postby nikochanr3 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 8:34 am

Is it better to have tile for him or the carpet?
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Re: New Beardie not Eating

Postby nikochanr3 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 8:36 am

if tile what kind?
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Re: New Beardie not Eating

Postby CooperDragon » Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:31 am

I prefer tile or shelf liner because they are solid and easy to clean & sanitize. The reptile carpet is fine but catches gunk easily and needs to be washed frequently which causes it to wear out quickly.
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Re: New Beardie not Eating

Postby nikochanr3 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:46 am

Slate tile i was told. Is that right?

He's still not really eating although he's very active today walking around. The crickets like to go under the cave. I have never seen him go inside. Is the cave possibly an issue?
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Re: New Beardie not Eating

Postby diamc » Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:57 am

You have been given some great info. I wanted to add that the round gauge (dial) thermometers can be off 20 degrees or more so the reading of 100 that you're getting now, is incorrect. He suggested a temperature gun or a digital probe thermometer which will give you accurate readings and those are highly recommended.

Good you moved the basking rock. What is the distance of the UVB to the basking spot in inches now? What are the dimensions of the tank or how many gallons is it? It seems like a 150 watt basking bulb should be able to get the temp higher than 100 degrees.
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Re: New Beardie not Eating

Postby CooperDragon » Fri Jan 19, 2018 12:42 pm

Slate is fine. I use ceramic tile. Anything that is smooth (easily cleaned) but has a bit of friction when you move your hand across it so it provides some traction. Avoid glossy tile for that reason. If he is active and alert I wouldn't worry too much about the lack of eating yet. Just try to get the setup fine tuned a bit and go from there. If the crickets are hiding I suggest feeding in small batches of a few at a time so they are easy to track. If he doesn't show interest, remove them. If he does go for them, just keep offering small batches until he's done. You don't want a bunch of crickets hiding out and then biting him overnight. It's good to have a hide available even if he isn't using it at the moment. The one you have is useful as a basking spot as well. I like the rock/cave combos.
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Re: New Beardie not Eating

Postby EllenD » Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:07 pm

Did you get that Zilla Desert 50 T8 UVB tube strapped to the UNDERSIDE of the mesh lid? It's good you unscrewed the screws and removed that clear, plastic cover, it blocks all of the UVB light, but that UVB tube is a T8 strength tube, which is pretty weak, and the mesh lid is blocking about 40% of the UVB light if the tube is sitting on top of it, and he will remain lethargic and have little appetite until you get it strapped to the underside of the mesh lid. You can do this by poking 4 holes in the mesh lid with a Utility Knife or Shears, and then use either those long, plastic Zip Ties, Wire, Twine, shoelaces, etc. to strap the entire tube fixture, now without the cover on it, to the underside of the mesh lid. Be sure that you strap it to the bottom of the mesh lid over the Hot Side of the tank, leaving room for the bright white Basking Bulb to sit right alongside the UVB tube, so that both lights are sharing the top of the Hot Side of the tank. Then just move his basking spot/platform (the rock) directly underneath both lights, so that he gets both while basking.

And yes, please leave that the night bulb off, it's unnecessary and it's actually a pretty high wattage bulb at 70 watts, which will make him very uncomfortable at night. The desert where they're from is very cool at night, and as long as his tank is at 65 degrees he's fine, he wants it both pitch-black and very cool at night. If your house is at 60-65 degrees at night, which I'm sure it is, he's fine.

I'm wondering how large your tank is, you said it's only 24" long? Do you know how many gallons it is? The reason I'm asking is because a 150 watt basking bulb is really a lot of heat for such a small tank. To give you reference, usually a 100 watt basking bulb keeps a 40 Gallon Breeder Tank within the correct temperature ranges (when measure with either a Temperature Gun or a Digital Probe Thermometer, $10 at Petco or Petsmart). If you're only using stick-on thermometers I fear that they are very inaccurate, as they usually are, and you're temps might be too hot.
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Re: New Beardie not Eating

Postby nikochanr3 » Sun Jan 21, 2018 5:22 pm

My tank is 30X12. The temps seem ok and i've taken everyone's advice. He was ok this weekend but i don't think he's eating still. He seems to be killing crickets but not eating them? He had like 3/4 crickets in the same spot near where he sleeps missing limbs, and dead. I thought he was eating but a lot seemed to be hiding.

This morning he was fine, seemed lively (like i said there were dead crickets) but tonight i took him out to clean the tank before bedtime (remove the crickets underneath his rock) and he wasn't moving well. It worried me. He seemed like he was asleep. It's hard to tell as he's so tiny (and fragile) but I still haven't seen him eat, I've seen him hunt and fail, my son saw him eat once. Could he have been sleeping? It is 8pm.

I'm worried, how shold i proceed?
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