Is my bearded dragon too young to go into Brumation?

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Is my bearded dragon too young to go into Brumation?

Postby indianaryan » Thu Mar 11, 2021 8:43 am

I am concerned my bearded dragon might be trying to go into Brumation. It is approximately 7 months old I think, and I don't think it's quite old enough to do this from what I've read. I've had it for about 3 months now, and it's always had a healthy appetite and has basked on the hammock all day every day until about a week ago. Nothing has changed to cause this except that I stopped feeding it dubia roaches about 3 weeks ago due to running out of them. I went about a week until I got some crickets and fed it those. Now it is hiding in a cave and won't come out. I have taken it out twice now after the bearded dragon has been in the cave for a day or two, and given it a bath. Once it came out on its own when I fed it crickets. I'm concerned that it is too young to go into brumation. It is very healthy from what I can tell, but should I let the brumation happen or try to stop it?

Details:

How old is your dragon? 7 months old, I think
How long have you had your dragon? 3 months
How long is your dragon? 16" long.
What is the sex of your dragon? TBD
What size enclosure do you have your dragon in? 40 gallon tank
What type substrate do you have on the bottom of your tank? was just paper towels until I put sand in about 3 days ago (probably not a good idea)
Do you use UVB lights? Yes
If so, Is it a coil, compact, fluorescent tube, or Mercury Vapor bulb? Mercury Vapor bulb
What is the brand name and number of your bulb? Wattage (if MVB)? Thrive 100W
How old is your UVB bulb? 3 months
How close can your dragon get to the UVB? 8-9"
Do you use a separate basking bulb? What kind and what is the wattage? Is it a white or colored bulb? I use a 100W ceramic heater
What are the basking temps? 95 to 100 degrees F
What is the cool side temp? 75
Do you take the temps with a stick on thermometer, a digital thermometer with a wire and a probe end or a temp gun? temp gun
Where exactly are you taking your basking temps? on the surface of the hammock that the dragon basks on
Do you use a heat rock or heat pad? no
What do you feed your dragon? Please be specific. Was Dubia roaches and Rep-Cal pellets with salads. Replaced Dubia roaches with Crickets recently.
How often do you feed and what time do you feed (morning, afternoon, night)? 3 times a day unless the food hasn't been eaten
Do you gutload (feed) your crickets, worms, etc? carrots and apples
Do you use vitamin or calcium supplements? What brand(s)? How many days a week do you use each of them? zoo-med calcium
Is your dragon having regular bowel movements (poops)? yes, once a day
Do you bath your dragon? How often? yes, once every other week
Do you mist your dragon or offer water other than in the bath? yes, there is a bowl of water
Have you gotten a vet check and fecal done? no
Does your dragon share an enclosure with another dragon?

Edit: Updated the length of the dragon
Last edited by indianaryan on Thu Mar 11, 2021 1:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is my bearded dragon too young to go into Brumation?

Postby KarrieRee » Thu Mar 11, 2021 12:45 pm

I recommend you get rid of the Thrive MVB-- if you want to stay w/ a MVB I would get a Mega Ray or a Power Sun they have certain distances they need to be -- the Thrive brand is not a real good brand- I would also recommend another UVB in the tank as well like a 24" for a 40 + gallon tank w/ a reflector and a Reptisun T 5 bulb - sometimes the MVB do not put out enough UVB so its good to have a back up - your dragon should not be going into brumation she is too young- she should be active basking pooping and eating --- the basking temps and the UVB are the two most important things in the tank -- also please get rid of the sand -- you can get some textured NON adhesive shelf liner from your local home improvement store -- please get your lighting changed out then see what the behavior does
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Re: Is my bearded dragon too young to go into Brumation?

Postby indianaryan » Thu Mar 11, 2021 1:46 pm

KarrieRee wrote:I recommend you get rid of the Thrive MVB-- if you want to stay w/ a MVB I would get a Mega Ray or a Power Sun they have certain distances they need to be -- the Thrive brand is not a real good brand- I would also recommend another UVB in the tank as well like a 24" for a 40 + gallon tank w/ a reflector and a Reptisun T 5 bulb - sometimes the MVB do not put out enough UVB so its good to have a back up - your dragon should not be going into brumation she is too young- she should be active basking pooping and eating --- the basking temps and the UVB are the two most important things in the tank -- also please get rid of the sand -- you can get some textured NON adhesive shelf liner from your local home improvement store -- please get your lighting changed out then see what the behavior does


Thank you so much for your reply. I will look into the items you suggested. One thing that I think could be a problem as well is the fact that I have the ceramic heater directly over the hammock where the dragon spends most of its time on, and the mercury vapor bulb is directly next to it. I probably need to flip those so that the dragon is getting direct UVB, right?

As for the 24" T5 bulb, I suppose that can sit next to both of these on the cool side of the tank? Right now I have everything sitting on top of a screen, which I know isn't the greatest, but I need to have the screen on to prevent the dragon from escaping. I wonder if there is a hood that I can slide into the slots that the screen top slides into currently on my zoo med 40 gallon tank. I'm only seeing the 24" option though, which would not be long enough for that. Here is what I had bought:

https://zoomed.com/40-gallon-reptihabit ... ragon-kit/

Should I continue to get the dragon out of the cave to prevent it from going into brumation if needed?
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Re: Is my bearded dragon too young to go into Brumation?

Postby KarrieRee » Thu Mar 11, 2021 2:09 pm

I am thinking its the Thrive MVB causing the issues- the MVB should be unobstructed but if you need to use the screen depending on the screen itself you can have the MVB on the screen but the screen needs to be more of a wider hole type and not a fine mesh - the same goes w/ the T 5- and if the MVB is 8-9 inches from the basking decor I am thinking its too close---- the Mega Rays and the Power Sun bulbs need to be 12 inches for 100 watt unobstructed and w/ a mesh the bulb can be 160 watt but distance would be 14-16 inches -- the T 5 would need to be inside the tank for a fine mesh and wider hole on top w/ basking distance of 8-10 inches w/ decor piece directly underneath and yes it can be on the cool side of the tank or in the middle of the tank -- you want a 24" fixture nothing longer - your dragon needs to be able to escape the rays of the UVB so it might be better to set it up in the middle of the tank that way she can go to the cooler side of tank w/a out all the rays - as far as I know they do not make screens specifically for UVB's as of now -- I would move the CHE to the back of the tank center and only use it for nite time heat if your tank is dropping below 65 at nite - your MVB should be able to keep your tank to the temp it needs to be --- if you bought a stand from like Petco or Petsmart and hung the MVB over the area unobstructed then you can raise and lower the bulb to get the temp you need - w/it sitting on the screen its harder to get that temp - you could but you would need to adjust the basking decor piece --
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Re: Is my bearded dragon too young to go into Brumation?

Postby indianaryan » Thu Mar 11, 2021 3:01 pm

[Click image to enlarge]

[Click image to enlarge]


Here are two pictures that show my current setup. I'd love to get rid of the screen, but I'm afraid I'd have to get a taller enclosure or lower the hammock and get rid of the tree branch. I guess that is probably the best solution for now. I'll get the stand to hang the MVB and CHE from and then I guess I need to figure out how to place the hood if I get rid of the screen.

Or based on what you said about having a wider hole screen, I could make a screen top out of some chicken wire or something that wouldn't obstruct the UVB quite as much.
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Re: Is my bearded dragon too young to go into Brumation?

Postby KarrieRee » Thu Mar 11, 2021 3:33 pm

I am going to ask some one else on the forum to help w / this - they are a little more savvy on it --
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Re: Is my bearded dragon too young to go into Brumation?

Postby CooperDragon » Thu Mar 11, 2021 3:45 pm

That does seem a bit close to the CHE. How are you measuring the surface temps? Do you have a temp gun or a probe that you can use to measure the temps on the hammock? Your temperature range sounds good, I just want to be sure that the readings are accurate and are coming from the surfaces themselves.

I haven't tested the Thrive MVB so I can't say what its output is. Generally 10-12'' is about right for a 100w. A bit less when shining through a mesh top. As mentioned, you might be best off in the long run going with a 24'' T5 Arcadia 12% for UVB and set that along the top basking side and put a plain halogen or incandescent basking light next to that. You'll need to try some different wattages and measure the surface temps you get to find the right match. You could start with the ZooMed basking bulb that came with your kit if you still have it. Otherwise you might try something like this https://www.reptilebasics.com/heat-emitter/halogen-heat-lamp-100-watt/ A PAR38 halogen flood light from the hardware store can work too. The key is bright white light and adequate surface temps to go along with the proper UVB.

I would probably remove the sand when you can since that is bound to get messy. Try using some shelf liner. A roll of that is usually pretty cheap online or at a local hardware store. It doesn't stick to the bottom, has a bit of cushion, and is easy to clean/sanitize or replace as needed.

I also suggest tracking her weight. Use a kitchen scale and measure in grams. If you keep a log then you can see how weight is trending over time. That can help to indicate underlying health issues vs seasonal slowdowns. Their weight tends to remain fairly stable when they slow themselves down either for full brumation or something less drastic.
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Re: Is my bearded dragon too young to go into Brumation?

Postby indianaryan » Thu Mar 11, 2021 4:03 pm

CooperDragon wrote:That does seem a bit close to the CHE. How are you measuring the surface temps? Do you have a temp gun or a probe that you can use to measure the temps on the hammock? Your temperature range sounds good, I just want to be sure that the readings are accurate and are coming from the surfaces themselves.

I haven't tested the Thrive MVB so I can't say what its output is. Generally 10-12'' is about right for a 100w. A bit less when shining through a mesh top. As mentioned, you might be best off in the long run going with a 24'' T5 Arcadia 12% for UVB and set that along the top basking side and put a plain halogen or incandescent basking light next to that. You'll need to try some different wattages and measure the surface temps you get to find the right match. You could start with the ZooMed basking bulb that came with your kit if you still have it. Otherwise you might try something like this https://www.reptilebasics.com/heat-emitter/halogen-heat-lamp-100-watt/ A PAR38 halogen flood light from the hardware store can work too. The key is bright white light and adequate surface temps to go along with the proper UVB.

I would probably remove the sand when you can since that is bound to get messy. Try using some shelf liner. A roll of that is usually pretty cheap online or at a local hardware store. It doesn't stick to the bottom, has a bit of cushion, and is easy to clean/sanitize or replace as needed.

I also suggest tracking her weight. Use a kitchen scale and measure in grams. If you keep a log then you can see how weight is trending over time. That can help to indicate underlying health issues vs seasonal slowdowns. Their weight tends to remain fairly stable when they slow themselves down either for full brumation or something less drastic.


I am measuring the temps with a Zoo Med temp gun on the surface of the hammock. A few minutes ago I tried removing the CHE and moving the MVB directly over the hammock. Unfortunately the MVB is not producing enough heat and the temps on the hammock dropped to the 80's. I suppose I will try the suggestions you and the other gave me and purchase the 24" T5 hood. Do you think it's ok to have it sitting on top of the screen? I'm thinking that if I'm going to keep the temps high enough on the hammock, I will need a basking bulb of some kind on the top left corner in place of the CHE shown in the pics, then the hood will be just to the right of it. I hope that will provide enough heat, but will that be suitable for getting enough UVB if the hood isn't all the way to the left where the hammock is?

I am going to remove the sand ASAP and put in the shelf liner. That's a great idea. Thank you to both of you for suggesting that. I'll also starting tracking the weight. I want to make sure the bearded dragon is healthy. Thanks for all the help.
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Re: Is my bearded dragon too young to go into Brumation?

Postby KarrieRee » Thu Mar 11, 2021 4:26 pm

Please use a digital probe for basking temps on the hammock your getting a inaccurate reading place the probe on the hammock where he sits- the T 5 can sit on top of screen if it's a wider hole type fine mesh like a screen door it needs to go inside w/ a distance of 12-15 inches directly above the basking decor--
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Re: Is my bearded dragon too young to go into Brumation?

Postby indianaryan » Fri Mar 12, 2021 5:31 am

OK I will try a digital probe. Last night my dragon slept on top of the hammock, so I'm hoping it is done trying to go into brumation.

I have this in my cart for the reptisun T5 10.0 bulb:
https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B00AKKUBDQ/ ... UTF8&psc=1

Do you think this will work? With this I should be able to mount inside of the tank.

I'm still a bit confused though as to how I can use this directly above the baking area AND use some sort of basking lamp for heat. If I put the T5 all the way to the left end of the tank, I could put the basking bulb on the left front of the tank, but it's not directly over the hammock and I'm afraid wouldn't provide enough heat. What do you think?
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Re: Is my bearded dragon too young to go into Brumation?

Postby KarrieRee » Fri Mar 12, 2021 5:58 am

Yes that will work --- here are some things to hang the hood -- 3 M command Velcro fasteners- picture hanging wire – long plastic zip ties-- fishing line- potted plant wire hangers-- and this stuff works great its like Velcro strap - cut into strips and wrap around the hood https://www.homedepot.com/p/GE-15-ft-Ca ... /304220195
If you need to put a different basking decor piece under the UVB -- if you can get them on the same side thats good --
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Re: Is my bearded dragon too young to go into Brumation?

Postby indianaryan » Fri Mar 12, 2021 7:19 am

Great! Thank you for the help. I will try this things out.
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Re: Is my bearded dragon too young to go into Brumation?

Postby CooperDragon » Fri Mar 12, 2021 7:26 am

The ZooMed temp gun should be getting reasonably accurate readings depending on the surface. It's good to have a probe on the main basking area to have a constant reading though. Don't need anything too expensive. Something like this will do the trick https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0017N8W90/

Down the line if you continue to have trouble fine tuning the heat, what you could do is use a basking light and then use your CHE in another fixture next to it and connect that to a thermostat. The CHE can run on a pulse or on/off thermostat which is cheaper than the dimming thermostats needed for basking lights. That will just automatically have the CHE turn on as needed to get the surface temps up to where you program them to be. Not something urgent, but an option for you in the future if needed.
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Re: Is my bearded dragon too young to go into Brumation?

Postby indianaryan » Fri Mar 12, 2021 9:14 am

Great advice. I have ordered the T5 10.0 bulb and fixture. I got rid of the sand and put down the shelf liner. I also lowered the hammock and rearranged some things. I think what I'll do is put the T5 bulb all the way to the back left corner, then put a basking bulb or MVB on the front left. If needed I will put the CHE just to the right of that. If you see any problems with that setup, let me know.

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Re: Is my bearded dragon too young to go into Brumation?

Postby CooperDragon » Fri Mar 12, 2021 9:16 am

That sounds like a good plan. Since your enclosure doesn't have a front opening, it may be worth getting an adjustable lamp stand that you can use to hang your basking light fixture. That will keep it up out of your way a bit and also allow you to raise/lower it to change the temps as needed. I've used these for my lights for a long time and it has worked well.
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