Urgent: Baby Dragon Isn't Eating

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Urgent: Baby Dragon Isn't Eating

Postby Gibr2 » Sun Sep 24, 2017 9:10 am

My bearded dragon, Felix, is about seven inches long (not sure exactly how old he is). I've had him for almost a month now, and for some reason he's just not eating like he used to. When I first got him, he'd eat like 20-30 Phoenix worms a day (or more!) plus his veggies. After a while he stopped eating the Phoenix worms, so I figured he'd lost interest in them and decided to try to give him a more varied diet. I'm now feeding him callard greens, small dubia roaches, Phoenix worms, and horn worms I cut up in small enough pieces for him. This went really well for about a week, and now he's not eating. Yesterday and the day before, for example, he only ate like 5-7 dubias per day, and so far today he hasn't eaten anything.

I have him in a 40 gallon breeder, with a 24" 17 watt T8 Reptisun UVB tube (with a reflector), and his basking spot, where he usually is, is about five or six inches from the UVB. His basking spot is about 108-110 degrees Fahrenheit, and the cool side is like 78-81 degrees Fahrenheit. At night his tank is around 70 degrees. I use paper towel for his substrate, so I'm pretty sure it doesn't have anything to do with impaction. He goes to the bathroom at least once a day. I'm really worried about him, especially since after just a few days without eating much he's visible thinner than he was just a week ago. I'd really appreciate some suggestions on why he might not be eating, and some advice on how to get his appetite back.
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Re: Urgent: Baby Dragon Isn't Eating

Postby EllenD » Sun Sep 24, 2017 9:37 am

I'm sorry he's having some issues, but we can definitely help you out. First of all, can you please post some photos of your beardie, your entire enclosure, and your lighting? Your temperature ranges are good, but what type of thermometer are you using to measure them? Your UVB light is a good one, with a reflector, and within 6-8" of his basking spot, but is the UVB tube mounted inside his enclosure, unobstructed by a mesh or glass lid, or is it resting on top of a lid? The Reptisun 10.0 T8 UVB tube is a great UVB light for beardies, but only if it is completely unobstructed by anything, meaning there should be nothing between your basking beardie and the UVB tube. A mesh lid will block up to 50% of the UVB light emitted, and the 17 watt 10.0 T8 is not strong enough to penetrate enough UVB light through a mesh lid to your beardie, so it can effectively be useless. Also, if there is any type of clear plastic safety cover on the UVB strip fixture (just checking, some of them have a clear plastic cover over the tube light) it will block 100% of the UVB light emitted, so it obviously needs removed.

What type of basking bulb are you using? What color is it? Is it right alongside the UVB tube, both being overtop of the basking spot, so he gets both at the same time while basking? Are you using any type of nighttime heat source? 70 degrees at night is wonderful, as long as it's pitch black...

Have you noticed any abnormalities in his bowel movements, such as it being liquidy, a weird color, can you see undigested bugs, or does it smell extremely bad?
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Re: Urgent: Baby Dragon Isn't Eating

Postby EllenD » Sun Sep 24, 2017 9:42 am

Also, what is your Calcium and multivitamin dusting schedule? Even if you're feeding BSFL as your main live staple feeder, which is excellent by the way, you absolutely still must dust them with Calcium at least 5 days a week and a multivitamin at least 3 days a week for the first year of life. I've been feeding BSFL for going on 15 years now with no issues, but unfortunately most retailers of them tell buyers they don't have to dust them with Calcium ever, only a multivitamin, and this has been well documented to result over and over in both Calcium deficiency and vitamin B1 deficiency, because people end up using neither Calcium or a multivitamin. This has nothing to do with his lack of appetite issue, but I'm just giving you an FYI because if he's only 7 inches long he's still very young (between 2-3 months) and this is the time he needs his supplements the most, hot to a year or so old when you can scale them back.
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Re: Urgent: Baby Dragon Isn't Eating

Postby Gibr2 » Sun Sep 24, 2017 12:57 pm

I'm not home right now but I'll take a picture of him and his setup as soon as I get back. The UVB bulb is mounted inside the tank, and the basking bulb isn't colored, I think it might be zoo med (I could be wrong). As for dusting and supplements I dust with calcium six days a week and I use a multivitamin one day a week.
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Re: Urgent: Baby Dragon Isn't Eating

Postby Gibr2 » Sun Sep 24, 2017 4:30 pm

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


That's kind of a bad picture of him lol
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Re: Urgent: Baby Dragon Isn't Eating

Postby Drache613 » Sun Sep 24, 2017 10:18 pm

Hello,

Is the tube bulb mounted on the back wall, it's hard to tell for sure?
You mentioned it has a reflector, but is it in a fixture that goes somewhat around it?
It needs to be mounted directly overhead so that the UVB can be refracted downward more
towards him instead of outwards & away from him. Also, so that it wont glare into his eyes
from the side too.
Felix is very cute! Has he done any shedding at all?
What type of thermometer are you using to measure the temperatures with?

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Re: Urgent: Baby Dragon Isn't Eating

Postby Gibr2 » Mon Sep 25, 2017 3:25 am

Yeah it's mounted on the side of his tank. I don't really know how I would put it over the tank, maybe I could get a mesh lid and hang it from there with string or something? I use thermometers from Walmart, I think they're called Acurite thermometers.
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Re: Urgent: Baby Dragon Isn't Eating

Postby EllenD » Mon Sep 25, 2017 10:13 am

Yes, you need to mount it under the lid and centered over his basking spot and right next to his basking bulb, so that the reflector will reflect the UVB light downward towards him, right now half the UVB light is being lost out the back of the tank, and the other half is going out towards the front side, instead of down onto him...

Also, please spend $10 on a digital thermometer with a probe on a wire so that you can accurately measure the exact temperature on his main basking spot. The Accurite thermometers you have are fantastic for taking the Hot Side and Cool Side AMBIENT temps, but you cannot accurately measure the exact temp on his basking spot, which for such a small, young baby needs to be between 105-110 degrees. (Hot Side Ambient should be between 88-93 degrees, and Cool Side Ambient between 75-80 degrees absolute maximum so he always has a place to go and cool down).

Also very important while he's under a year old is to make sure his photoperiod with both his UVB and basking bulb is at the very least 14 hours every single day (a lot of people only leave their lights on for 10-12 hours a day, which is not enough). Also very important is to make sure his lights are both on for at least 1-2 hours each morning BEFORE you feed him anything, and that both his lights are on for at least 1-2 hours each evening AFTER he last eats before shutting his lights off for bed. This is the only way he will be able to properly digest his food and also absorb nutrition and vitamins from it.
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Re: Urgent: Baby Dragon Isn't Eating

Postby Akire » Mon Sep 25, 2017 12:44 pm

The easiest way to hang your UVB from above would be to get a screen lid and attach it to that using long cable ties.

EllenD wrote:young baby needs to be between 105-110 degrees. (Hot Side Ambient should be between 88-93 degrees, and Cool Side Ambient between 75-80 degrees absolute maximum so he always has a place to go and cool down).

Beardies can safely have their cool side be up to 85. 😊
https://www.beardeddragon.org/articles/caresheet/
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