First Time Beardie Owner - HELP!

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First Time Beardie Owner - HELP!

Postby beardiemom2424 » Sat May 29, 2021 8:24 pm

So I am a brand new bearded dragon owner, I brought Giblet home on Tuesday and I have some concerns. First thing I noticed is that she seems underweight. I was told she is a 3 year old female and she is weighing in just under 300 grams (~290 grams), but I can see her ribs and she doesn't have a big belly like I see most bearded dragons have, she also has no fat pads on the back of her head, there are depressions there instead. The previous owner advised before I got her that she had just laid eggs a few days prior and she had been kind of quiet since then, okay, no big deal. I take her home and set her up in her tank and start to do some research. My first concern with her weight is MBD, I don't believe her previous owners were giving her the proper lighting (they couldn't remember when the bulb was last replaced and they had it hanging above the mesh top, not ideal) and diet so I am concerned she may have low calcium levels (no other signs of MBD like soft bones or twitching) but then as I started reading more about beardies and learned more about brumation I am wondering if that could be what is happening. Her previous owner said she went through brumation once, in the winter, a few years ago, so her cycle could be off but they didn't really sound like they knew. She has not eaten at all since I've brought her home Tuesday, I've offered her both insects and vegetation and she doesn't seem at all interested. She has also not pooped since I got her. She mostly just sleeps in the same spot for most of the day, occasionally getting onto her basking rock but then going back to sleep. Her previous owners advised I try syringe feeding her baby food but everywhere online is telling me if they're brumating it can be dangerous to force feed them. My question is, how do I know if this is MBD or that she is just in brumation? I am considering taking her to a vet to have her looked over but I don't know if I'm over reacting. I know it could also be due to the move, she was with the same family previously for 3 years so I know she must miss them. I am just looking for some advise about where to go from here, do I wait it out or should I seek medical attention for her? Thanks in advance for any help! :)
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Re: First Time Beardie Owner - HELP!

Postby KarrieRee » Sun May 30, 2021 6:10 am

First of all it is probably NOT brumation I am guessing its the improper UVB and basking temps- she needs basking temps of 95-100 taken w/ a digital probe thermometer NO stick ons and a good UVB ASAP--- no UVB will bring on brumation actions --- but its actually improper UVB --- please get this for a UVB ASAP https://www.pangeareptile.com/store/zoo ... -hood.html get this in a 24" fixture for a 40 + gallon tank --- it comes w/ a 5.0 bulb hang on to it - use as a back up if you ever need it -- you need this bulb 22" https://www.pangeareptile.com/store/zoo ... vb-t5.html or you can get this one Arcadias are very good and it comes w/ the bulb
24" https://www.pangeareptile.com/store/arc ... b-kit.html
She probably is or has MBD but is not showing yet -- w/ no UVB or improper UVB that is more than likely --- it will all of a sudden appear one day out of nowhere she wont walk maybe start having seizures its hard to say -- dragons hide their illnesses and w/ her having eggs she is calcium insufficient- please start feeding her calcium D3 on her bugs / insects once per feeding and get the UVB ASAP- the UVB is what helps her absorb/ synthesize the calcium she ingests -- she needs a diet of salads every day w/ insects 2-3 times per week -- http://www.beautifuldragons.com/Nutrition.html ignore the kale thing its a good staple feeder
you want her to gain her weight slowly not all at once -- but she needs that calcium ASAP -- w/ the UVB --- please post back on here so I can help you set the UVB up in your tank -- they do require certain distances and placement
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Re: First Time Beardie Owner - HELP!

Postby AHBD » Sun May 30, 2021 8:31 am

Hi there, I agree it's not brumation and you can definitely try to syringe feed Giblet without force feeding her. It would be good to post pics of her and her entire set up, including lights. If there are adjustments to make that may help her out more quickly. Getting her out in the sun , but never in a glass tank, can help. Just set her in the grass while you sit with her for a half hour or so a day. Here's how to post pics :

https://www.beardeddragon.org/useruploads/ Then use the XIMG to upload them
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Re: First Time Beardie Owner - HELP!

Postby beardiemom2424 » Sun May 30, 2021 11:34 am

Okay, as a first time bearded dragon owner I was not sure but I was definitely leaning toward believing it was MBD, I was just being hopeful I guess that it might be brumation. Her basking temps are in the right range, I have a digital thermometer gun and her basking temp is usually about 100, the other end of her tank is about 75-80. My concern is that the UVB bulb I was given is too old and is no longer emitting the proper UVB and also the set up they gave me they had the lights placed above a mesh top so even when I replace the bulb I know it will still not be fully effective with the set up I have now. I am currently working on trying to get her a new enclosure with the lighting mounted on the inside because her current tank is only 12 inches tall and not one I could hang lights inside of. I went to my local pet stores today in search of a new bulb but the only ones they had that fit the fixtures I was given are mercury bulbs and I have read mixed reviews on them, my main concern being they are powerful and a fire hazard and I live in an apartment building. I will look at the links you have provided and purchase one that fits my fixture ASAP.
I know she needs to get more calcium, but she is not eating anything, vegetation or insects. I’ve offered her a variety of greens, fruits and vegetables along with crickets, super worms and silk worms, she ignores them all, evening allowing the crickets to run over her. That is why I’m wondering if at this point I should be syringe feeding her, I got her on Tuesday 5/25 and she has not willingly eaten something on her own since I’ve gotten her home. The reason I said “force” is because she will not eat anything placed in front of or on her mouth, the only time she has eaten since I got her was when I was able to pull her lip down on the side and wedge the syringe into her mouth to squirt some baby food and calcium powder in, after I got the food in her mouth she started swallowing on her own but she didn’t seem thrilled about it. I was able to get one or two partial syringe squirts in there and then she started to get upset so I stopped. They did advise to coat the insects in calcium powder before feeding them but I need to get her eating them again first. Should I start mashing the crickets up with the baby food and calcium powder when I feed her? Should I be doing that every day? I think the only way I am going to get any calcium into her is by feeding her this way, so do I just do this and continue to offer food until she eats on her own?
I am currently at work (I work nights) but I will certainly take pictures of her tank set up tomorrow and post them ASAP, I would love help getting the proper set up. As I mentioned before, I know the tank she is in now is not ideal, I am hoping to upgrade her soon, but I would like suggestions for how to best set up her current tank.
I did take her out in the sun the first and second day I had her and she really seemed to like it, we just sat in the grass and she perked up but unfortunately the temperatures have dropped drastically and it has been 55 and raining all week so I haven’t been able to get her into the sun at all. It’s supposed to rain all week too ☹
Also, should I be giving her baths during this time? The previous owners recommended that but as I stated, I don’t think they were very educated on bearded dragon care so I don’t know if that would do more harm than good at this point. I am worried about her hydration though as she is not eating or drinking anything right now.

By the way, thank you SO much for your help, I was feeling somewhat lost with all the information out there but I appreciate your guidance big time, I just want my girl to start feeling better!
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Re: First Time Beardie Owner - HELP!

Postby KarrieRee » Sun May 30, 2021 11:40 am

Get one of the UVB's I recommended the Zoo Med w/ the 12" height on the tank you can use the 5.0 bulb that comes w/ that fixture -- you need a distance of 6-8 inches directly above the basking decor --- NO screen it needs to be unobstructed for the 5.0 bulb - when you upgrade the tank then you would need to get the 22" bulb but first we need that UVB for her to start eating -- she wont eat w/ out it-- she cannot absorb the calcium shes getting -- so please order that fixture I posted earlier ASAP-- once that is in place along w/ good basking temps she should start eating something at this time the relocation stress and the NO UVB is going to cause her not to eat ---
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Re: First Time Beardie Owner - HELP!

Postby beardiemom2424 » Sun May 30, 2021 11:58 am

So I was already given the ZooMed 24” fixture, if I order the Carolina Custom Cages Zoo Med ReptiSun 10.0 UVB T5HO 22 Reptile Lighting Fluorescent Tube will it work with that fixture? Or should I buy the ZOO MED REPTISUN 10.0 UVB T5 HO? Are they essentially the same thing, just different brands?

Also for her basking light, I was given a fixture with a 150 watt Halogen bulb, should I replace all the lights? If so is this an appropriate one to buy to replace her basking bulb?
EXO TERRA Sun Glo Halogen Daylight Reptile Lamp, 150-w bulb - Chewy.com

I am going to order these tonight!
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Re: First Time Beardie Owner - HELP!

Postby beardiemom2424 » Sun May 30, 2021 12:03 pm

It also appears the current UVB Bulb I have in there is a T8, 24" bulb, should I just get rid of that fixture all together and get a new one so I can get a fixture that fits the 22" T5 bulbs?
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Re: First Time Beardie Owner - HELP!

Postby KarrieRee » Sun May 30, 2021 12:13 pm

Is the ZooMed 24” fixture say on it HO anywhere? How old is the fixture? Do you have the box? Did they give a bulb w/ that fixture? I am thinking they are the same but you need the 5.0 bulb for now so you can use it on the low tank - you can use the 22" bulb the 10.0 but you would need it on top of the tank - w/ a very low piece of basking decor - you dont want her too close to that 10.0 bulb because distance for the 10.0 bulb is 12-15 inches -- if your basking bulb is bright white and keeping temps 95-100 taken w/ the digital probe thermometer your good --- w/ the low distance of the tank I am thinking it might be too hot and you dont want that -- get your basking temps and go from there -- Carolina Cages are a good tank but they are heavy-- did you look at Zen Habitat at all - they are very light and easy to move -- all your lights should work for the Carolina Cages you should not haft to buy anything new for that tank -- let me know what your doing w/ the UVB ---
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Re: First Time Beardie Owner - HELP!

Postby KarrieRee » Sun May 30, 2021 12:20 pm

beardiemom2424 wrote:It also appears the current UVB Bulb I have in there is a T8, 24" bulb, should I just get rid of that fixture all together and get a new one so I can get a fixture that fits the 22" T5 bulbs?

That fixture you have now the T 8 is good for the distance on the low tank -- its perfect --- how old is the bulb --- ???? If its more than 6 months old replace it -- its expired and get it set up on the tank w/ NO obstruction w/ basking decor directly under it 6-8 inches ----

Order the 24" fixture that I posted that is a T 5 -----the T 5 bulbs will not fit that fixture you have now -- the bulbs are different the T 5 is skinny and the T 8 is a fatter bulb -- they have different strengths of the rays --- and require different placement and different distances --- also the T 5 is better for a bigger tank --- like the Zen or the Carolina tanks -- and the T 5's expire in about a year
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Re: First Time Beardie Owner - HELP!

Postby beardiemom2424 » Sun May 30, 2021 12:28 pm

I am not home but I did not see “HO” anywhere on it when I looked at it earlier, just says ZooMed. I have no idea how old the fixture is, if I had to guess they bought it when they got her 3 years ago and had not replaced it since. I do not have the box and yes they gave me the bulb and the fixture together. It sounds like it is more ideal to hang the light inside the tank and if it’s possible with a 12” tank I would prefer to do that if it meant it could help her faster. If that is my plan, it appears that the T5 bulbs would be preferable, correct? Vs. the T8 option. Ideally I would keep the ZooMed fixture I have, if that’s possible for what I want to do, can you recommended exactly which bulb I should use if I plan to mount it inside the tank with the ZooMed fixture?
If I did get a whole new fixture I like the Arcadia one but the only option for the 24 inch/24 watt length is 6% UVB output, that’s not enough is it? The higher UVB output options are out of stock. Google recommended 10-12% UVB.
As for the basking light, it is bright white and allows for temps of 95-100 so it sounds like I do not need to worry about replacing that one, correct? Just replace that one when it is no longer producing light or heat, correct?
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Re: First Time Beardie Owner - HELP!

Postby beardiemom2424 » Sun May 30, 2021 12:31 pm

Scratch that, I just saw your response about using the fixture I have with the T8 mounted above the tank, if that would work I would rather do that so I don’t have to order an entire new fixture.
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Re: First Time Beardie Owner - HELP!

Postby KarrieRee » Sun May 30, 2021 12:35 pm

If that bulb came w/ the fixture from those people and they did not change it get rid of it -- it has no UVB left in it -- a T 8 is not recommended for a tank of 75-120 gallon tank --- is this what your looking for https://reptilighting.com/collections/a ... 2714979387
You want the 12% desert bulb
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Re: First Time Beardie Owner - HELP!

Postby beardiemom2424 » Sun May 30, 2021 12:40 pm

The tank I have her in is currently 30 gallons, I am aware this is too small and like I said, I am working on getting her into a bigger tank, but for the time being, in order to get her calcium ASAP, I plan to use the ZooMed Fixture I already have with the 30 gallon tank, with a brand new T8 bulb mounted ABOVE the tank, 6-8 inches above the basking spot, with a low basking décor below, did I get that all right? Haha
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Re: First Time Beardie Owner - HELP!

Postby KarrieRee » Sun May 30, 2021 12:50 pm

Yes --- good job!! :) I dont think the basking decor needs to be low that was for the T 5 --- just get your basking decor directly underneath 6-8 inches w/ NO screen -- T 8's are not strong enough to go thru the screen -- that will do til you get the new tank - in the meantime you should see behavior changes in her color eating pooping etc--- did you get the basking temps corrected for her? What do you need for diet info ? Since she is over a year please feed her daily salads and 2-3 times per week insects dusted w/ calcium D3 and vitamins w/ beta carotene 2 x per week -- alternate the two of them but definitely give the calcium D3-- I posted the website for nutrition use that and if you want insect /worm websites I can post those too -- you want her on a good staple feeder insect -- I recommend dubias they are easier to care for and once you get her out of that 30 gallon you can use it to keep dubias in -- they are easier to care for they dont stink they dont chirp -- crickets are a escape artist too -- let me know what you decide
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Re: First Time Beardie Owner - HELP!

Postby beardiemom2424 » Sun May 30, 2021 1:09 pm

Ugh I can’t thank you enough for your help with this, it’s all so confusing! I am ordering the new bulbs as we speak and will get them set up ASAP.
Her basking temps are currently at 100-105, that’s good right?
Diet: As I previously said, she has not eaten on her own at all and I don’t think she plans to any time soon. She seems weak and unmotivated to eat. So my plan was going to be, while I am working on getting her the correct UVB, start mashing the crickets up with the baby food and calcium powder and syringe feed her, is that my best bet? But my question is how often should I be doing this? And do I just continue to do that while also offering her food until she starts eating on her own. As for now I will be feeding her crickets because it is easier for me but I would eventually like to switch to dubias.
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