Not gaining weight

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Not gaining weight

Postby unknownsoulox » Tue Jan 14, 2014 9:21 am

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Hi all!
I`ve had my male bearded dragon for about 6 months now and he has only grown 2 inches and gained 15 grams. I got him from a breeder when he was a month old and 6 inches long. I've recently started to weigh him every couple of days and his weight fluctuates constantly. He eats crickets and salad everyday, has 2 butter worms for treats a week, and has a bath every other day. All of his temperatures are correct, he doesn't seem to be stressed, he's active every day with lots of attention, and he's always displaying what I call his "happy colours" (white belly with bright orange and yellow on top of his body). He's had 2 full sheds since I've owned him. Overall, he seems like a perfectly healthy beardie to me. I just can't figure out why he hasn't gained much weight or grown.

He is currently around 7 months old, weighs 29.9 grams and is 8 and 1/4 inches long (nose to end of tail)
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Re: Not gaining weight

Postby diamc » Tue Jan 14, 2014 9:42 am

Hi, you're right, that certainly is small for a 7 month old beardie. If you could give us some info about your setup, that will help us rule things out.

Will need to know size of tank, wattage(s) of heat bulb(s), brand & type of UVB, distance and age of that particular bulb, what substrate is on the bottom, what type of thermometer you're using ex: round gauge (dial), digital strip, digital with long wire & probe or temperature gun, where exactly are you taking the temps and what is the basking & cool side temp?

Also would be helpful to know what greens/veggies/fruits you're feeding, what feeders you're using, how many he eats a day, how many times a wk you dust with calcium & vitamins, how often you bathe him?

I know these are a lot of questions but it will help us to see if there might be something that needs a little twinking to help him gain wt & length.

Thanks.
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Re: Not gaining weight

Postby unknownsoulox » Tue Jan 14, 2014 10:40 am

diamc wrote:Hi, you're right, that certainly is small for a 7 month old beardie. If you could give us some info about your setup, that will help us rule things out.

Will need to know size of tank, wattage(s) of heat bulb(s), brand & type of UVB, distance and age of that particular bulb, what substrate is on the bottom, what type of thermometer you're using ex: round gauge (dial), digital strip, digital with long wire & probe or temperature gun, where exactly are you taking the temps and what is the basking & cool side temp?

Also would be helpful to know what greens/veggies/fruits you're feeding, what feeders you're using, how many he eats a day, how many times a wk you dust with calcium & vitamins, how often you bathe him?

I know these are a lot of questions but it will help us to see if there might be something that needs a little twinking to help him gain wt & length.

Thanks.


Thank you for the reply!

- He is in a 30 gallon tank.
- 100W zoo med basking spot lamp for UVA/UVB, 2 months old, it sits 6 inches above the highest point of his basking site
- Substrate is reptile carpet in feeding area and crushed walnut shells on other side
- Thermometer is a zoo med round dial gage. One is beside the highest point of basking site (side of tank), other is in the cool side of his tank 3 inches from the bottom
- Basking site temp is currently 105F
- Cool side is currently 90F

For food his salad daily consists of: collard greens (finely chopped) or kale. With his daily greens I rotate between yellow bell peppers (peeled and finely chopped), asparagus (finely chopped), carrot (shredded), sweet potato (shredded), squash, mango, and strawberries, blueberries, banana as treats once in a while. His salad gets dusted with calcium powder every other day. He never has a problem eating his salads.

Feeders are crickets. He eats around 8-10 a day. Once a week he gets 2 butter worms (my attempt in fattening him up). I feed his crickets collard greens, asparagus and carrot before feeding them to him. I dust his feeders with calcium powder every 3 days.

He has a bath every other day for about 10-15 minutes depending on how willing he is to stay in.

Hope this information helps!
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Re: Not gaining weight

Postby diamc » Tue Jan 14, 2014 11:19 am

Hi, thanks for answering the questions.

If this is the bulb you're using, it is only a heat lamp putting out UVA but NOT UVB so that is a good part of the reason he isn't growing.
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The UVB and calcium work together to synthesize the right amount of calcium in their bodies so he's not able to process the calcium without a UVB bulb. Also, without UVB, they can develop metabolic bone disease and all sorts of health issues. It's imperative that you get either a Repti-Sun 10.0 strip fluorescent bulb or an Arcadia UVB bulb right away.

Unfortunately, the round gauge thermometers are highly inaccurate and can be at least 20 degrees off. The only 2 ways to get good readings are with either an infrared temperature gun or a digital thermometer with a long wire & probe end. What you need to know is the basking SURFACE temp, right now you're getting the temp of side of the tank which isn't important.

If the cool side is reading 90 degrees with the gauge 3" from the bottom, that is too hot and won't allow him proper thermoregulation. You need to know the temp on the bottom of the cool side and it should be 78 to 82 with 80 being ideal.

Good that you're using carpeting in the feeding area. The crushed walnut shells are very dangerous as they are very sharp like glass and can cut their insides when they try to pass it. Beardies are very inquisitive and lick everything so I would highly recommend removing the walnut shells ASAP.

Collards and squash are very good to feed as they are listed in green print on this site: http://www.beautifuldragons.com/Nutrition.html The others aren't good daily foods.

For his age and size, he should be offered crickets twice a day, all he can eat in about 10 to 15 minutes. His crickets should be dusted with calcium 5 days a wk but only 1 feeding a day and with vitamins the other 2 days but again only 1 feeding a day.

That's good that you're bathing him every other day.

Please let me know if you have any questions.
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Re: Not gaining weight

Postby unknownsoulox » Tue Jan 14, 2014 11:30 am

Thank you so much for your help! I will make sure to do some extra research and make the changes. I will post updates on how he does with them.
Seems like I have a lot of work ahead of me to make his tank more comfortable and safe for him. Unfortunately, everything I have in his tank and nearly everything I have done for him was because of the advice given to me by the breeder I purchased him from, the reptile "specialist" at the pet store I buy everything from and even a herp vet! Such a shame..
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Re: Not gaining weight

Postby diamc » Tue Jan 14, 2014 11:38 am

You're welcome. It does take time to get everything all perfect but once you get it all squared away, then you just need to update the bulbs & ck the temps on & off.

Most of us came here because we were given the wrong info from a pet store. :( Unfortunately, they don't understand or research bearded dragons like we have. We have an obsession for them. :D We are updated constantly on the best bulbs to use, etc so we share that info daily with other owners.

We are here to help in any way we can. Please be sure to keep us updated & even post some pictures if you can. We LOVE beardie pictures. :wink:
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Re: Not gaining weight

Postby diamc » Wed Jan 15, 2014 5:07 pm

How's your beardie doing? Are you having any luck with the changes?
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Re: Not gaining weight

Postby unknownsoulox » Thu Jan 16, 2014 6:25 am

So far I have removed the walnut shells. I'm still waiting for his uvb light to be shipped to the store for pick up.

I'm hoping to have everything fixed for him by the weekend :)
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Re: Not gaining weight

Postby diamc » Thu Jan 16, 2014 4:24 pm

That's good that you removed the walnut shells and that the UVB is on its way. Which bulb did you get, Repti-Sun 10.0 fluorescent tube?

Please be sure to keep us updated.
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Re: Not gaining weight

Postby unknownsoulox » Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:41 am

Yes. I also ordered the Repti Glo 10.0 UVB coil bulb. Since I'm not sure how long it will be before I'm able to find a florescent light fixture, I figured that bulb will be better than nothing for the time being.
I was also able to find a laser temperature gun so I will be better at finding the exact temps of his tank at the exact spots. :)

I do have a question though : While finding a florescent light fixture, should I have the coil UVB bulb and the basking bulb on the same side of his tank above his basking branch?

Thanks again for all of your help! I really appreciate it
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Re: Not gaining weight

Postby diamc » Fri Jan 17, 2014 4:55 pm

Hi, I wish you had double-checked with members here before you ordered the coil UVB as those are very dangerous causing all sorts of health issues. I wish we had discussed UVB bulbs more rather than just this statement I made:
It's imperative that you get either a Repti-Sun 10.0 strip fluorescent bulb or an Arcadia UVB bulb right away.


If you can return or cancel the order for the coil bulb, I highly suggest you do that. Certainly don't want your beardie exposed to bad UVB. The coils put out TOO much UVB and then decline very rapidly so in the beginning, they can cause lethargy, serious eye issues, loss of appetite, etc. As they decline, they won't prevent metabolic bone disease or other issues.

You may be able to find the Repti-Sun 10.0 strip fluorescent at your local pet store or you could get one at either of these places. Amazon is much quicker in shipper than petmountain. Here's the Amazon link for the 24" http://www.amazon.com/Zoo-Med-ReptiSun% ... cent+24%22 and for the 18" http://www.amazon.com/Zoo-Med-ReptiSun% ... cent+24%22 These both have free shipping. I know you said your tank is 30 gallons but I'm not sure of the length so that's why I posted both sizes. The UVB should span 2/3 to 3/4 of the length of the tank so that your beardie can have an area with no UVB in case he wants to move away from it. The tube should be put right behind the basking bulb on top of the screen or mounted inside of the tank 6 to 8" from your beardie. The screen does lessen the UVB exposure so we always recommend mounting in the tank if it is high enough to do so. Here's the Petmountain links, for the different lengths, scroll down. http://www.petmountain.com/product/rept ... -bulb.html

For the fixture (hood), you can go to Walmart, Home Depot or Lowe's and buy a standard fluorescent light like you would use over a kitchen sink or in a basement or garage. Remove the bulb that comes with it and pop in the UVB, leaving the plastic cover off. Or you could get one of these http://www.amazon.com/GE-16466-18-Inch- ... 2C+fixture / http://www.amazon.com/GE-16690-Advantag ... 2C+fixture / http://www.amazon.com/All-Glass-Aquariu ... 2C+fixture / http://www.amazon.com/GE-16466-18-Inch- ... 2C+fixture / http://www.amazon.com/Lighting-AFX-ST11 ... 2C+fixture You should be able to find all of these at the 3 stores I mentioned with the exception of the black strip light.

Good that you picked up a temperature gun. When you use that, hold it 2" from the area you're checking. Are you using the gun now and if so, what are the temps running?

Please let me know if you have any questions.
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Re: Not gaining weight

Postby unknownsoulox » Thu Jan 23, 2014 10:23 am

Everything has officially been sorted out! No more walnut shells, UVB installed, diet adjusted, temperatures perfect..and Yoshi is now at 35.7 grams and growing.

A special thank you to "diamc" for all the help and advice :)
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Re: Not gaining weight

Postby diamc » Thu Jan 23, 2014 5:08 pm

Oh, that's great that Yoshi is doing so much better. :) I've been thinking about him.

Were you able to return the coil UVB or cancel the order? So, you have the Repti-Sun 10.0 strip fluorescent installed now?
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Re: Not gaining weight

Postby unknownsoulox » Tue Feb 04, 2014 10:24 am

Oh my! I apologize for such a delay in getting back to you! Yes, the coil bulb was returned and the Repti-sun 10.0 was installed.

Yoshi has been growing at a steady rate and the last time I weighed him, he was 40 grams and 9 1/4 inches long! He's been eating a lot more and his colours have become absolutely beautiful. He has a new found love of peas for treats and chases them across the floor as I roll them to him.
He is also a lot more active and insists on bedtime cuddles every night. I even get to see his getting comfy "wiggles" before he falls asleep in my hand on a regular basis :) too cute!

I'm am ever grateful for your help diamc! I didn't know it was possible to have such a happy beardie :)
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Re: Not gaining weight

Postby diamc » Tue Feb 04, 2014 10:44 am

Thanks for the great update, sounds like he is doing so much better. Hopefully he will continue to grow and gain too as he has some catching up to do.

Awesome that you made all those wonderful changes. That's so funny the way he chases peas lol, sounds like a cute game. :P

Their wiggles are just the cutest things, aren't they?

Would love to see pictures of him with his bright coloring.

Always glad to help, this helps make it all worth it.
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