New Owner

Have any questions about one of the many subtle behaviors a beardie has? Ask and discuss it here!

New Owner

Postby TJBam29 » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:45 pm

[Click image to enlarge]
Hello Everyone! About a month ago we got a our Beardie from a friend. Male and we think he is about 10 months old. Our friend did not seem to handle him much and also didn't seem to feed him a lot. He wasn't malnurished. Well maybe we feed him too much. We received him in a 15 gal with a small branch, small rock and sand.
HABITAT
We upgraded him to a 40 gal Zoomed Reptihabitat. He has 2 squares of sand at the front corners and the rest is molded excavator clay. He has a bigger branch, rock and caves now. He also has a hammock and some plants. We have 2 UVB lights, a red heat light and a white basking light. He also has a under tank heater. The UTH is covered by a layer of sand. His hot side runs 95 to 100 F, his cool side 80 to 85. He is spritzed twice daily, no water bowl, it was increasing his humidity and he wasn't touching it. Humidity runs 40 to 50 percent, a little high but I read not dangerous. We live in Michigan so it gets humid here anyway. His UVB and white basking lights are on for 14 hours a day. His red heat light is on for about 18 hours. His UTH is on 24\7, covered with a layer of sand. He likes to sleep here.
FEEDING
When we first got him he was eating about 40 to 45 crickets a day and 5 to 6 superworms. He WOULD NOT eat his salad. Now he eats 10 to 15 crickets at 7 am and 7 pm. Midday he eats 6 crickets...only sometimes. He now has a salad available 24\7, collard/mustard greens and carrots with squished papaya mix ins. He munches at his leisure. We dust his crickets in Calcium and D3 supplement.
**He just came through a shed. Took about 4 days, just ended the day before yesturday. His colors are brighter and he went through a noticeable growth spurt. His beard got drastically bigger and his belly too. He is acting different though. He's bobbing his head and black bearding. He's fighting his reflection frequently as well. We are buying a wrap Friday and hopefully this helps. Since he wasn't handled frequently we took him out a couple times a day for a few minutes each time to help him get used to us. With his owner change, diet and habitat change we figured he needed time to adjust. He will let us pet him now but doesn't want picked up much. If we pet or talk to him he seems to calm. Is he reaching sexual maturity? I've also read about sperm plugs...when does this start?
OTHER
He poos once a day, sometimes twice. It's normal as well as urates.
Should we be doing anything more habitat or food wise? Is he going through Beardie puberty causing this weird behavior? Whats the best way to get him to love snuggling?
Any advice is appreciated. I've learned so much from this forum in the last month. We are in love with Targaryan, Bubba for short :). We want him to be a happy lil or big fella!
First pic is when we first got him. Last two are a couple days ago. He had shed his body, not his head or tail yet.[Click image to enlarge]
[Click image to enlarge]
TJBam29
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Re: New Owner

Postby CooperDragon » Thu Sep 14, 2017 2:03 pm

In the first photo, he looks much smaller/younger than 10 months, but they all grow at different rates so it could be the case. He looks healthy though. I'm glad you were able to upgrade his tank to a larger one. You will probably want to build an even larger one for him as an adult so he has plenty of space. His enclosure looks nice based on the photos. Which UVB lights are you using? I would remove the red light and stick with a bright white light for basking. You could use the second half of the fixture for a nighttime ceramic heat emitter if it gets cold, or perhaps one of the more powerful screw in type of UVB lights such as the 26w UVB200. I can help you really fine tune the lighting if you'd like.

I'm glad he's settling in and is starting to dig into his salads. It may take a while for him to get used to handling/interaction. It takes some longer than others and to different extents. The bearding and head bobbing is likely hormonal. Really not much to do about that except wait it out and if you have a safe spot for him in the house, let him run around to burn off some energy. Sperm plugs appear randomly from what I can tell. I've had 3 boys and haven't seen one in person so you may or may not see them at all.
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Re: New Owner

Postby TJBam29 » Thu Sep 14, 2017 2:33 pm

[Click image to enlarge]

Thats a better pic of when we first got him. I may be over on the age. I was with the friend when he bought him and that was in February. At that time he was 2 months if I remember correctly. So when we got him in August I guess he would be 8 months and now 9.
The bulb that came with the kit is a Reptisun 10.0 compact fluorescent. The other one is smaller. I wanna say 5.0. Probably as old as him. I think we should just purchase another 10.0 and replace it. Is too much UVB a thing? That's all he had when we got him for his whole life. Maybe thats why he was smaller? The basking light is a Repti Basking spot lamp, 100 watts. The red light is a Nocturnal Infared Heat Lamp 75 watts. He did have one with him when we got him but it blew quickly after. We bought a brand new one. The UTH is Zoomed. He likes to sleep on this. I worry if we remove the red lamp he would get too chilly? When we turn the other lights off he basks under that one for a hour or so before he goes to sleep.
The ceramic heat emitter isn't something he would lay on? I worry about burning as well.
His cool side reached 88 today and his hot side reached 98. Is something wrong here? It also got hot in my house though. Usually his cool side stays between 80 and 85.
He is bearding a lot today, when I talk to him he calms though. My boyfriend will take him out when he gets home soon here. We let him run on our bed. Away from our other animals as his safe spot. Sometimes he gets very excited though lol.
Thank you for the reply! Any advice on lighting and heating is happily accepted. We are going into the cold months here and I want him healthy. We keep our house at about 68 during the winter.
Last question..once last night he was BRIGHT orange. Now he's back to his normal coloring. Is that normal?
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Re: New Owner

Postby EllenD » Fri Sep 15, 2017 8:42 am

Too much UVB is a thing, but you have had the opposite problem. Unfortunately the Reptisun 10.0 compact uvb bulb is only a 13 watt bulb and isn't giving off half the UVB he needs, and a 5.0 bulb of any kind is useless. So he's stunted because of not enough UVB light, therefore not enough nutrition absorption or Calcium absorbtion, and probably a lower appetite. He may have a very low bone density too, an x-ray at an experienced reptile vet will confirm that. You need only one long, either 18" or 24" Reptisun 10.0 T8 or better yet a T5HO UVB tube and a single bright white basking bulb, probably around 100 watts. That's it. Absolutely no light at night at all or any colored bulbs at all, the light at night disrupts their sleep, and colored bulbs cause a host of issues. So throw the red nighttime bulb out ASAP. The desert naturally gets extremely cold and pitch black at night, so they are most comfortable in a pitch-black tank with a much cooler temp than during the day. Down to 65 degrees he needs no nighttime heat source at all, and most homes do not drop below that. A ceramic heat emitter (CHE) screws into a normal lightbulb fixture but only emits heat,no light. It hangs overhead so no, they can't burn themselves on them, but chances are you don't need or want one anyway. And heating mats do absolutely nothing to raise temps or help a beardie, they get all of their heat from overhead, bright white light, just like natural sunlight. That's your goal, to replicate natural sunlight..

So you need to ditch the other 2 UVB lights and go buy a long, 18" or 24" Reptisun 10.0 UVB tube and matching fixture. Amazon has the best pricing. Here's the differences between the 10.0 T8 and the T5 High-Output UVB tubes: The T8 is the weaker of the two, and thus cannot adequately penetrate a mesh lid (no UVB can penetrate glass or clear plastic at all, just an FYI), so the 10.0 T8 tube must be mounted in a long, flourescent fixture and the fixture must be mounted inside the tank, under the mesh lid, which can block up to 50% of the UVB light (another reason for his size possibly). The T8 also must be mounted within 6-8" within his main basking spot for him to get adequate UVB light. The T8 must also be replaced every 6 months, as it stops emitting UVB light, even though it still emits light and turns in. In contrast, the 10.0 T5 High-Output UVB tube is stronger, and is strong enough to penetrate the mesh lid (not glass or clear plastic), so it can sit on top of the mesh lid, but still must be mounted within 11" of his main basking spot for him to absorb adequate UVB light. The T5 High-Output UVB tube must only be replaced once a year, however, the T5 High-Output UVB tube requires a long, flourescent tube fixture that is rated for a T5 tube, while the T8 can be put into a normal, matching length flourescent tube fixture like they sell at Walmart for $10-$12. The T5 fixture and matching T5 High-Output UVB tube on Amazon (listed as 16" and 22" UVB tubes and 18"and 24" matching T5 fixtures, it's weird but they match up) is going on Amazon right now as a package deal for around $45-$55 dollars, I just ordered 3 new T5 High-Output tubes and one new fixture,all "22 inch tubes, for $23 a piece, and the fixture was about the same. You won't save much if any money buying the T8 though, because for some reason the T8 tubes cost more than the better T5HO tubes, and since your little guy is stunted, the T5HO UVB tube will be much better for him.
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Re: New Owner

Postby EllenD » Fri Sep 15, 2017 8:59 am

Also, when setting your new lighting up, you want your bright white basking bulb and your new long 10.0 T5HO UVB tube right alongside each other, and both over his main basking spot, within the Hot Side of the tank. The 22" (24") T5 High-Output UVB tube is a better size than the 28 for your tank size, because even though it will be centered over the Basking Spot on the Hot Side, it will also stretch over the Cool Side too, so he'll be getting adequate UVB light but no direct heat on his Cool Side. You're trying to replicate natural sunlight over his basking spot, so the two lights alongside each other will ensure he gets both at the same time. I think you are already using a 100 watt bright white basking bulb, so that fine, just as an FYI you don't need to buy expensive, reptile specialty basking bulbs from the pet store. Most long time owners use normal, household, halogen indoor flood bulbs that we buy at Walmart, Lowes, or Home Depot. They are exactly the same thing as a ZooMed Intense Basking Spot bright white reptile bulb, and they cost half as much, if not less. I just bought 4 GE 100 watt halogen indoor flood bulbs in the Clearance Aisle at my local Walmart for $1 a piece! I always stock up when I find them cheaply, and then I always have them in hand if a bulb blows.

Once you get your lights set up in the correct places and at the correct distances, then remeasure all 3 important temperature zones inside his enclosure, which are on top of his Basking Spot, then the Hot Side Ambient, and then the Cool Side Ambient, using only either a digital probe thermometer or a temperature gun. Any stick-on thermometers are garbage and usually off by up to 20+ degrees. Plus, you cannot measure his basking spot temperature with one, and the actual Basking Spot temperature is very different than the surrounding Hot Side Ambient temperature. His Basking Spot temperature should be between 100-105 for him to properly digest his food. His Hot Side Ambient should measure between 88-93 degrees, this serves as his place to go to be warm, but not as warm as when he's basking, and they do know the difference. Most beardies get on their basking spots first thing in the morning to warm up, and then directly after they eat anything. Then they jump down to the Hot Side of the enclosure to be warm, but not hot. So there should be a distinct difference between the Basking Spot temperature and the Hot Side Ambient temperature. Then his Cool Side Ambient temperature should be between 75-80 degrees, and try to keep it around an 80 degrees max, as this is his place to go and cool down. So if his Hot Side is between 88-93 degrees, his Cool Side needs to be noticeably different. Also, very important, if using a digital probe thermometer, make sure that you allow the probe to sit on the spot you're measuring for at least 20-30 minutes before reading the temperature, and do this before you read each temperature zone.
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Re: New Owner

Postby kingofnobbys » Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:42 pm

Given his history and likely malnourishment in the hands of the previous keeper I recommend the following:

>>> as soon as possible ask a vet do an assessment of his health status focusing on his calcium levels and checking for MBD.

>>> I also think he's more likely younger than the previous owner claims / thinks he is , he looks more like a 3-4 month old developmentally and sizewise to me . And very pretty too.

How heavy is he now ?

I suggest weighing himr weekly to keep track of his growth.

Based on this I recommend TWO LIVE INSECTS FEEDS per day, as many as he wants each sitting, given a few at a time.
Choose from the higher protein , high Ca/P insects listed here : viewtopic.php?f=76&t=234999&p=1807834#p1807834

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 : http://www.beautifuldragons.com/Nutritionframeset.html

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 :

hatchlings
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

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.

Setup : looks largely OK BUT there are issues
>>> UV lighting is currently inadequate and he's getting next to zero UVA and UVB as a result ==> his apetite will be depressed and he wont be able to produce VitD3 in his skin and hence will not be able to properly metabolise his dietary calcium (sorry but giving him VitD3 fortified calcium is useless as the artificial VitD3 limits his calcium uptake).
There is a guide in how to setup the basking and UV lighting in my cheat sheet (along with a lot of other handy tips and pointers) , cheatsheet here : viewtopic.php?f=6&t=234738&p=1806050#p1806050

>>> extra guidance to help set up the UV so she gets adequate UVB is given here : viewtopic.php?f=34&t=235611
Use the family of UVB vs distance curves given for compacts/ T8 and T5HO UVB sources w/ and w/out reflectors to ID the nearest curve to match your chosen new UVB source and setup, and select a distance for the source to the basking spot so the UVB flux is 180-200 microW UVB / sq.cm @ the basking spot.

I very strongly recommend moving the UV fitting UNDER the lid, the type of lid I see will be blocking 40% of the UV.

I note you say you have sand in his viv.
SUBSTRATE
>>> if it sand == BAD AND IF CALCISAND this is EXTREMELY BAD/LETHAL when ingested
>>> if it an indigestible particulate material with particles too large to pass through == BAD for beardies.
I STRONG RECOMMEND THE SAND be removed IMMEDIATELY.

Humidity runs 40 to 50 percent,
is fine.
Last edited by kingofnobbys on Sat Sep 16, 2017 12:30 am, edited 3 times in total.
CBDs: Puff ( RIP 10Dec2015 (3.2 years old (aneurism)) ,Rex (RIP 16Mar2017 at 4.6 yrs old (unexplained death)) , both adopted at 6wks old..Toothless & Peppa : (5 wks old 19dec2015).
Eastern BT Skinks : George & Mildred (born Sept 2010).
Eastern Water Skinks : Lucky (wild juvenile), rescued from a cat.Taken by a SI and far too soon, 9mths with us. RIP 21Jul2010.Wriggles - (rescued injured), small lizard thought she was a big lizard, 7-8 yrs old, died in her sleep, RIP 2Feb2016.)
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Re: New Owner

Postby kingofnobbys » Sat Sep 16, 2017 12:07 am

TJBam29 wrote:[Click image to enlarge]
Hello Everyone! About a month ago we got a our Beardie from a friend. Male and we think he is about 10 months old. Our friend did not seem to handle him much and also didn't seem to feed him a lot. He wasn't malnurished. Well maybe we feed him too much. We received him in a 15 gal with a small branch, small rock and sand.
HABITAT
We upgraded him to a 40 gal Zoomed Reptihabitat. He has 2 squares of sand at the front corners and the rest is molded excavator clay. He has a bigger branch, rock and caves now. He also has a hammock and some plants. We have 2 UVB lights, a red heat light and a white basking light. He also has a under tank heater. The UTH is covered by a layer of sand. His hot side runs 95 to 100 F, his cool side 80 to 85. He is spritzed twice daily, no water bowl, it was increasing his humidity and he wasn't touching it. Humidity runs 40 to 50 percent, a little high but I read not dangerous. We live in Michigan so it gets humid here anyway.
>>> get rid of the sand .
His UVB and white basking lights are on for 14 hours a day.
>>> is minimally OK
His red heat light is on for about 18 hours.
>> exchange the red heat light for a ceramic heat emitter , I recommend this be controlled by a dimming thermostat, whos probe is located near his bed.

His UTH is on 24\7, covered with a layer of sand. He likes to sleep here.
<<< they do like a nice warm bed , this is better / safer way of giving a nice warm bed viewtopic.php?f=75&t=224976


FEEDING
When we first got him he was eating about 40 to 45 crickets a day and 5 to 6 superworms.
>>> cut the superworms for now, he's too little and young for them and they are an impaction risk, they'll keep ok for a 3 -4 months in a bedding mix of oat & wheat bran.

He WOULD NOT eat his salad.
<<< that's fine .... keep offering each day NTL.

Now he eats 10 to 15 crickets at 7 am and 7 pm. Midday he eats 6 crickets...only sometimes. He now has a salad available 24\7, collard/mustard greens and carrots with squished papaya mix ins. He munches at his leisure. We dust his crickets in Calcium and D3 supplement.

>>> he's good on the tooth .... that's a big PLUS !! :)
**He just came through a shed. Took about 4 days, just ended the day before yesturday. His colors are brighter and he went through a noticeable growth spurt. His beard got drastically bigger and his belly too. He is acting different though. He's bobbing his head and black bearding. He's fighting his reflection frequently as well. We are buying a wrap Friday and hopefully this helps. Since he wasn't handled frequently we took him out a couple times a day for a few minutes each time to help him get used to us. With his owner change, diet and habitat change we figured he needed time to adjust. He will let us pet him now but doesn't want picked up much. If we pet or talk to him he seems to calm. Is he reaching sexual maturity? I've also read about sperm plugs...when does this start? <<<< my toothless is nearly 2 now, no plugs yet.
OTHER
He poos once a day, sometimes twice. It's normal as well as urates.
Should we be doing anything more habitat or food wise? Is he going through Beardie puberty causing this weird behavior? Whats the best way to get him to love snuggling?
<<< they are all different, our Puff and Peppa loved snuggles from the get go, Rex liked them on her her terms and become the snuggle queen as she matured, Toothless has been a force of nature and live wire (too interested in everything to sit still longer than 10 mins , but he is starting to demand his quota of mommy and daddy snuggles now .
It comes down to rearing and their individual personalities.

Any advice is appreciated. I've learned so much from this forum in the last month. We are in love with Targaryan, Bubba for short :). We want him to be a happy lil or big fella! <<< he'll likely never be as big as my Peppa (700g PLUS) , or Rex and Puff (640g) or my Toothless (500g) but size is not everything .... as he's lost maybe 4 months of rapid growth opportunity, but so long as he's happy , active and healthy.
First pic is when we first got him. Last two are a couple days ago. He had shed his body, not his head or tail yet.[Click image to enlarge]
[Click image to enlarge]
CBDs: Puff ( RIP 10Dec2015 (3.2 years old (aneurism)) ,Rex (RIP 16Mar2017 at 4.6 yrs old (unexplained death)) , both adopted at 6wks old..Toothless & Peppa : (5 wks old 19dec2015).
Eastern BT Skinks : George & Mildred (born Sept 2010).
Eastern Water Skinks : Lucky (wild juvenile), rescued from a cat.Taken by a SI and far too soon, 9mths with us. RIP 21Jul2010.Wriggles - (rescued injured), small lizard thought she was a big lizard, 7-8 yrs old, died in her sleep, RIP 2Feb2016.)
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Re: New Owner

Postby TJBam29 » Sat Sep 16, 2017 4:19 am

[Click image to enlarge]
[Click image to enlarge]
[Click image to enlarge]

Here's some pics of him this morning. He's about 13 to 14 inches. Snout to end of tail. I tried to show length but it didn't work to well.
He eats at 7 am and 7 pm. Last night he ate 30 crickets! They are dusted in Cal and Vit D3 powder. But we were running about an hour late on his feeding. The crickets are large.
He took a very large potty this morning. Normal poo and urates. He's been going 2 times a day lately.
I was wrong about the lighting, both UVB lights are 10.0. But we will be purchasing a new one tonight because the one he came with is too old. I can't seem to get any good answers from the pet store employees about anything :(. I asked them yesturday about a multivitamin for him and she seemed to not have any idea. Does he need one and if so we just dust the crickets along with the calcium powder? The crickets are gutloaded. They munch on oranges and Flunkers Cricket Food. High calcium. They have their own lil 15 gal tank until he massacres them. He loves his crickets! :)
He's become a little lazy when he feeds though, my boyfriend started hand feeding a couple days ago and he doesn't chase anymore lol. His veggies are a mix of collard, mustard, turnip and kale greens. Mix bought at the grocery store. He seems to only like carrots right now, but still not eating as many veggies as ol momma here would like. He eats some papaya mix ins as well...I don't know if these are of any value. They came as a sample pack but he seems to like them.
I need to find a bigger varient in his temps I think. His hot side was upto 96 yesturday which is good but his cool side was upto 88...i think I need to get the cooler side, cooler. It has been hot here the last couple days too.
If I take the red heat light out will his basking light, 100 w and UTH only be enough to heat that side?
Should we leave his lights on for more than 14 hours? I've read that number so much it just stuck with me.
He really did have a BIG growth spurt about 3 weeks after we received him. To the point I thought we were over feeding him.
Happy news, his safe spot is now our bed. He goes in there every night and runs around. Yesturday he snuggled with my boyfriend to go night night. How long does digestion take?
Thanks for the help!
We have come to the understanding the previous owner didn't take the best care of him. :( We know he didn't feed him much and that his habitat wasn't great. I can't do anything about that, I can just fix it now. He does seem to be doing great since we got him. I'm pretty certain we are very close on the age, he has reached the puberty years. He's bearding and fighting his reflection alot. Lots of head bobbing too.
There's 3 temp gages in there. 2 are sticky, they came with his old tank so we said why not and put them in there. He also has a dual thermoter and humidity gage in there where we take most readings.
I seen your brand list...most everything we have is ZooMed and the lights are Reptisun. Can I trust them?
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