My beardie keeper's cheat-sheet

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My beardie keeper's cheat-sheet

Postby kingofnobbys » Sat Jul 08, 2017 8:15 am


I've seen many instances where people who have sick beardies have been lead astray by others (usually by petshop staff (who know nothing or are directed to flog lines profitable to the shop), by misleading information in the internet, by the prior "owner" of their beardie, by other very inexperienced keepers, even by some breeders.
It is not the fault of most of these noob keepers , if they have been mislead by others who they should be able to trust (but can't) , lots of us have been there done that , and all noob beardie keepers are on a very steep learning curve and it's real easy to make a mistake if you don't know any better.

More often than not there is a easy tweek or some easy do changes to the viv setup or to the beardie husbandry .

As a result of the many issues I've seen here I've slowly built up a cheat sheet.

Please don't be overwhelmed by the length of it , if you are methodical , the chances are you will home in on the likely cause for many problems and illnesses and conditions keepers can run into if there are problems with the viv setup, UV lighting, heating, or husbandry.

My Beardie Cheatsheet.

>>>A common mistake is cohabitation (if sharing tank) , even if he can see another beardie , or a snake or very large lizard ? If the beardie is sharing a viv = BAD IDEA , they are much better off in their own private vivs.
>>> Are there other pets (cats, dogs ) in the household ?

Helpful to have details of your feeding schedule and other husbandry aspects .

Photos of the tank and showing substrate and lighting and of the beardies will help too. Use XIMG button to upload photos from your computer.

How heavy are each of the beardies ?
...... recommend weighing them regularly (weekly say)?

Can you give us a good rundown on the UV and basking light setups and schedules (light and feeding) .

Basking light
........ is it a coloured globe ? (BAD IDEA)
........ what is it's wattage ?
........ how far from the basking spot ?
Night lights will disturb a beardie's sleep , they are not needed.
Infrared globes which emit visible (red) light are inappropriate for beardies.

High levels of UVB and UVA are mandatory for a beardie to be healthy.

>>> is the uv rated AT LEAST 10%UVB ?
>>> is it a COMPACT (curly globe & WATTAGE ?
>>> or a T8 tube ?
>>> or a T5 tube ?
>>> or a Black Light globe or tube ? == best to avoid these for bearded dragons.
>>> how old is the compact or T8 tube or T5 tube ? == they decay in performance over time.
>>> or an MVB ?
VERY IMPORTANT : what is the brand ?

Not all UVB compacts, tubes and MVBs are created equal or as well.
Many Chain Petshops sell their own brand (
Nomoy Pet,
All Living Things,
MegaRay Brand,
Nat Geo ,
Sparkzoo reptispar,
Repti-Zoo ,
Natural Selections (in green boxes) ,
all of which are cheap Chinese clones made very cheaply using very poor quality quartz glass and cheap phosphors ==> very poor UV spectrum produced including UVC and bad parts of the UVB band.

>>> domestic fittings for T8 and T5 tubes are fine PRIVIDED the tube is not covered == the cover will stop all UV.
>>> a slip on reflector or use of a reflector hood is an excellent investment as it will focus and essentially double the UVA and UVB seen by the beardie , and no UVA or UVB will be wasted by radiating to areas inaccessible to the beardie.
>>> also is it sitting ontop a mesh top ? == BAD
will cut UV by at least 28% == I recommend mounting UVB globes and tubes UNDER the lid.
data drawn from UV Guide :

>>> how far from basking spot ? == there are optimal distances for all UVB lights from the beardie see Arcadia Website for a good guide (a good UVB for beardies at their basking spot is about 180 to 200 microW UVB / sqcm ).

"Effective to a specified distance" DOES NOT mean this is the optimum distance from UV source to the basking spot , effective to distance x means ONLY that UVB will be measureable at distance x.
The optimum UVB distance will be somewhat closer than the distance x.
For example a 26W UVB200 globe :
.......Effective Distance up to 40 inches ==> 4 microW UVB / sqcm
.......At a distance of 24 inches ==> 10 microW UVB / sqcm
.......A good distance for beardies is 6-8 inches ==> 160 - 90 microW / sqcm.

VitD3 fortified calcium is not necessary if the photoperiod is long (15 - 16 hrs) and lights are deployed at a distance to provide 180-200 microW UVB / at the basking spot and 70-90 microW UVB / elsewhere.

Too far and the UVA and UVB WILL BE TOO DILUTE (as illustrated in the example above).
UVA FLUX TOO LOW where dragon is ==> a very lethargic dragon w/ a very poor apetite just in the short term , and neurological problems if this persists , not to mention MVB if UVB flux too low long enough with inadequate metabolisation of dietary calcium or inadequate intake out calcium



Compare T8 and T5ho tubes

is a good idea to mount the UVB globe or one end of the UVB T8 or T5 tube, so it’s adjacent as close as you can arrange it , to the basking bulb.

>>> daytime
.......warm zone
.......basking spot zone
...... how are you measuring your temperatures ? These are very good : ... 1577608563
>>> overnight minimum viv temperatures ?

>>> size (L x W x H) and construction .
minimum acceptable viv size for an ADULT bearded dragon 4ft L x 2ft W x 2ft T.
avoid converted fish tanks with wire/mesh lids , these are a very bad design (warmed air created by the basking globe and other heat sources (heatpad/CHE)) is very buoyant and immediately lost to the larger room environment rather than being forced to circulate (if you had a solid lid) ==> require more wattage to get the same stable temperatures , impossible to create a stable microclimate, not secure from other animals (ie cats) , more difficult to hang UV fittings under lid.
Best option is a solid timber viv with sliding glass front doors and suitable ventilation in side walls.

>>> is it sand ? == BAD AND IF CALCISAND this is EXTREMELY BAD/LETHAL when ingested
>>> is it an indigestible particulate material with particles too large to pass through ? == BAD for beardies.

TOO SHORT A PHOTOPERIOD (lights are not kept on long enough each day , will make beardie think it is winter , recommend at least 14 HRS PER DAY)

FEEDING SCHEDULE (I recommend at least 2 hrs lights/heat on before first live feed and after last feed of the day)
>>> when are you offering live feeder insects ? what are they ? how big are they ?
>>> when are you offering greens and other veg ? what are you offering ?
good guide is here :

Suppliments used ?
>>> is the calcium powder vitD3 fortified ? == use with caution.
Potential risks are hypervitaminosis D3 (from excessive ingestion of vitamin D3) and inability to metabolise dietary calcium leading to a buildup of calcium in your beardies blood (hypercalcemia).

basic Feeding schedules :

three feeds of live appropriate sized insects per day as many as they want per session offered a few at time if it's hoppy or fast moving
+ offer fresh high calcium greens daily (might not eat it).

Juveniles (6 months to 12 months)
two feeds of insects per day
+ offer fresh high calcium greens daily (might not eat it)

Subadult (12 months - 24 months)
one insect feed per day
+ offer fresh high calcium greens daily

I still give one insect meal per day (but it's smaller than the subadults get) + high calcium greens .

Good staple insects
>> BSF maggots
>> blowfly gents
and the pupae and flies , great for hatchlings and juveniles , naturally rich in calcium
>> silkworms
small (1-1.5 inch for sub 3 month olds)
medium (1.5 - 2 inch for larger hatchlings and juveniles)
large ( > 2 inch for beardies older than 12 months.
>> crickets / roaches / locusts , must be gutloaded with calcium rich foods and greens & dusted LIGHTLY with calcium powder.

Repashi GRUBPIE is acceptable as a backup food.

Hard and soft pellets are dubious , ok mixed in as softened croutons through their greens/salad (maybe).

Bites = rubbish food.
Canned insects = rubbish
Vacuum dried insects = rubbish.

Insects suitable for treats
wax worms
if beardie older than 12 months , not before
mealworms (lavae , pupae and beetles)
superworms (lavae , pupae and beetles)

>>> heat rocks (best to avoid heat rocks entirely).
>>> heat pads that are not regulated by separate inline switching thermostats
>>> Ceramic heat emitters placed in leaping range and are not controlled by separate inline dimmer or switching thermostats
>>> mesh hammocks
>>> carpet with loops in the pile
>>> fake (indigestible greenery)
>>> toxic plants in VIV
>>> spring type clamps holding dome fittings
>>> adhesive materials
Last edited by kingofnobbys on Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:02 am, edited 14 times in total.
CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : , Fluffy (F) rescued injured by lawnwacker 14Nov17, Gutzy (F) rescued 27Sep19 - RIP 3Aug20 (est 12 yo), Wriggles (F) - injured rescue, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16 old age. Lucky juvenile (M) - cat attack rescue (lost r-eye, broken r-lower jaw), fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
kingofnobbys Sicko
Posts: 12455
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm
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Re: My beardie keeper's cheat-sheet

Postby kingofnobbys » Sun Aug 27, 2017 8:19 am

Additional information the filter wont let me add to the cheatsheet:
Help Chart : viewtopic.php?f=6&t=236150&p=1815390#p1815390

Food Pyramid for a bearded dragon : viewtopic.php?f=18&t=236074

Compare feeder insects : viewtopic.php?f=76&t=234999&p=1807834#p1807834
CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : , Fluffy (F) rescued injured by lawnwacker 14Nov17, Gutzy (F) rescued 27Sep19 - RIP 3Aug20 (est 12 yo), Wriggles (F) - injured rescue, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16 old age. Lucky juvenile (M) - cat attack rescue (lost r-eye, broken r-lower jaw), fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
kingofnobbys Sicko
Posts: 12455
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm
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