4 month old bearded dragon acting strange and not eating

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4 month old bearded dragon acting strange and not eating

Postby Krok » Fri Feb 23, 2018 10:02 am

My 4 month old beardie was acting fine yesterday and ive been feeding him mustard greens and crickets. He is currently in a 10 gallon tank with 75watt uva bulb and compact top 5 inch uvb desert bulb over the top. The tank has 110 F basking temp with 80 F cool side. He has a few half logs in the tank for basking and hides with a water bowl and is misted in the morning.

To get to what is worrying me is that yesterday he was a normal happy baby beardie and now he keeps his head down and rolls if picked up. He as been keeping one eye closed or half open as well and it doesn't seem to respond. Noticed that he had puked yesterday's meal up this morning and didn't eat anything so far today and has been really lethargic all morning. I gave him a bath this morning to help him poop (not much but did at least) and in case he was dehydrated but nothing has improved.
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Re: 4 month old bearded dragon acting strange and not eating

Postby EllenD » Fri Feb 23, 2018 10:06 am

Can you post some photos of your Dragon and then also of his entire tank/lights?

Exactly what UVB light do you have (Brand, Wattage, Strength, etc.)? All of this information will be printed on the light itself...

And a 10 gallon tank is far too small for him, he needs to be in a 40-gallon breeder tank by 6 months old, but a 20 gallon long tank is an absolute minimum size...mostly because it's very, very difficult to achieve a proper temperature gradient in such a small tank...

What type of thermometer(s) are you using to get those temperatures?
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Re: 4 month old bearded dragon acting strange and not eating

Postby Krok » Fri Feb 23, 2018 10:26 am

UVB is in a exoterra compact top canopy hood with a zoo med 10.0 uvb 13 w bulb, the UVA is zoo med 75w uva buld both came in this combo pack https://www.petco.com/shop/en/petcostor ... lsrc=aw.ds .

I have this thermometer on the basking side https://www.chewy.com/zoo-med-digital-t ... lsrc=aw.ds and just a little circular one for the cool side.

Working on the pictures.
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Re: 4 month old bearded dragon acting strange and not eating

Postby Krok » Fri Feb 23, 2018 10:58 am

Here are the pics of my set up and beardie.

https://imgur.com/a/cGhzQ
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Re: 4 month old bearded dragon acting strange and not eating

Postby EllenD » Fri Feb 23, 2018 11:07 am

Well right off the bat I can tell you that the 13 watt Reptisun10.0 compact UVB bulb is not at all adequate for a Bearded Dragon, many people at first buy this UVB bulb, unfortunately, and their Dragons start to suffer a lack of appetite, lethargy, etc. pretty quickly. If not corrected, a calcium deficiency is going to start to develop, then MBD. There are actually 2 issues, the first being that the 13 watt compact UVB bulb does not emit even close to enough UVB or UVA light for a Dragon, and then you also have it sitting on top of the mesh lid, which is also blocking about 40% of the already far-too-weak UVB bulb. So you must get him an adequate UVB tube and fixture with a reflector immediately, and get it mounted correctly over the tank.

Unfortunately about 90% or more of the UVB lights sold are no where near adequate for a Dragon or any Desert Reptile, and it's a very good idea to avoid the brands Zilla, All Living Things, and ReptileOne completely, as they all seem to always cause eye damage, neurological damage, and blindness. The 2 brands that most experienced Dragon owners and breeders use are Reptisun 10.0 and Arcadia.

For a Dragon, who is a desert Reptile that needs very strong, intense UVB lighting directly on his Basking Spot/Platform and then ALSO throughout his tank, it's best to use a long, fluorescent UVB tube that is at the very least 18" long, and you must have it inside a tube fixture that has a metal reflector that sits behind the UVB tube, so that the UVB light gets reflected all throughout the tank.

There are 2 different strengths of UVB tubes, the much weaker and more commonly sold-in-stores T8 strength tubes, and then the much stronger T5 strength tubes. Here are the main differences between the 2 strengths of UVB tubes:

-You must mount ALL T8 strength UVB tubes inside the tank, as they are not strong enough to be obstructed by a mesh lid, so you must use Zip Ties, Wire, Twine, etc. to strap the entire tube fixture and the T8 UVB tube to the underside of the mesh lid. T5 strength UVB tubes can sit on top of the mesh lid and still get adequate UVB light to your Dragon as long as they are within at least 10-11" of his Basking Spot/Platform.

-All T8 UVB tubes must be at least within 6" of the Dragons Basking Spot/Platform, while T5 UVB tubes must be within 10-11' of their Basking Spot/Platform.

-All T8 UVB tubes must be replaced once every 6 months, as they have a very fast UVB light decay rate, and at 6 months old they are no longer emitting any UVB light at all, where the T5 UVB tubes must only be replaced once every 12 months.

So obviously we recommend using a strong, T5 strength UVB tube, which you can actually buy more cheaply than a T8 UVB tube online at a place like Amazon.com. The 2 most commonly used UVB tubes are the Reptisun 10.0 T5HO UVB tube and the Arcadia 12% T5 UVB tube.

You can buy a 22" Reptisun 10.0 T5HO on Amazon.com for about $25 shipped, and then they also sell one 24" T5-rated (24 watts) tube fixture for it that includes a reflector along with it (crucial) for about $28. So for under $60 shipped you can get your Dragon one of the best UVB tubes available. Either way, you absolutely must get him a proper UVB tube and fixture immediately.
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Re: 4 month old bearded dragon acting strange and not eating

Postby Krok » Fri Feb 23, 2018 11:17 am

Ok would this reflector work with the bulb you suggested https://www.amazon.com/SunBlaster-90431 ... +reflector ?

I have a old enclosure that is 4ft long x 2ft wide x 2ft high but figured he was a little young for that size still.
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Re: 4 month old bearded dragon acting strange and not eating

Postby Krok » Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:20 pm

Its going to be a few days to get the new bulb in but now he acts like his head is to heavy and can't orient himself properly, what little walking he does is in circles and will look with his head fully up and flip himself over. Im fearing he has inclusion body disease but not sure if that affects dragons.
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Re: 4 month old bearded dragon acting strange and not eating

Postby EllenD » Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:26 am

No, he's suffering from a calcium deficiency due to a lack of UVB light, not Inclusion Disease...Yes, the Sunblaster hoods are very good, that's the same exact fixture I have, it's great because it has the fold-out reflector and it comes with several different sets of mounting hardware for mounting any way you might need to. Just make sure you get the correct length, so for a 22" Reptisun 10.0 T5HO you need a 24" fixture, for a 34" tube you need a 36" fixture, etc.

Dragons need 13-14 hours minimum of strong UVB light and a bright-white colored basking light set up right alongside each other, both lights sharing the top of the Hot Side of the tank, with his basking spot/platform positioned right underneath the lights. Without adequate UVB light they cannot absorb any of the Calcium you feed them in their food or in a powder, they just excrete it. So this causes their bodies to start leeching the Calcium from their bones, and they start to lose their appetites and become lethargic, and the next symptoms are tremors/twitching, weakness in their back legs and back ends (some cannot push out bowel movements unless they're in warm water due to a lack of muscle strength/contraction ability), trouble with nerve impulses, basically issues with any bodily functions that involve calcium.

I hate that they sell so many damn UVB bulbs and label them as being okay for Desert Reptiles, that 13 watt Compact Reptisun 10.0 being the most common one. The only way that bulb would be adequate was if you have it within about 3-4" of him with no mesh lid or anything else between the bulb and him, which then causes eye and neurological issues, so you can't do that.

In the meantime while you're waiting for the new T5 UVB tube and fixture to arrive, just take the mesh lid off of the tank, he can't get out, and put that 13 watt UVB bulb over his basking spot, along with a bright-white colored Basking Bulb that will keep the Basking Spot Surface Temperature around 105-110 degrees F, no higher than 110 degrees, but you must be using a Digital Probe Thermometer to measure this, not a stick-on...All pet shops sell the Digital Probes for about $10. This is crucial as well, as obviously desert reptiles spend all day long, every day on rocks basking under direct sunlight. That's what you have to replicate.

So get that UVB light that you have on him with no mesh lid in the way, try to get it within about 6" of his basking spot/platform if possible, and leave both the UVB light and the basking light on for 13 hours a day. Do this until the proper UVB tube and fixture arrive. He'll at least get some UVB/UVA light this way, it may help a bit.

If you live anywhere it's warm outside, at least 60 degrees, getting him outside under direct, natural sunlight for an hour is just about equal to a day under the artificial tubes, so that would be awesome if it's possible. I live in central PA and it was 72 here last week (weird), so hopefully this is possible where you live until the new UVB tube/fixture arrive.

Also, please start dripping water onto his snout so that it run down over his lips and see if he'll start licking it off. Keep dripping it as long as he'll keep licking it off, give him as much as he'll drink, and do this 2-3 times every day to keep him hydrated.

If he's not eating at all on his own, you'll need to start using an eyedropper or oral syringe to also get some nutrition in him, you can start with just buying some jars of Baby Food, like Squash, Peas, Green Beans, Sweet Potatoes, etc. Those are the ones they usually like. Add a good pinch of Calcium powder and a good pinch of Multivitamin to the container of Baby Food, and a little water to thin it out, and drip this on his snout to lick off the same way as the water, and do this 2-3 times a day as well, letting him have as much as he'll lick off.

He probably isn't going to perk-up much until he gets under that new UVB tube and his lights are set up correctly and his temperature zones are corrected, it usually takes a few days of being under the T5 UVB tube and the correct lighting configuration and temperature zones for them to start to recover, but he will. People don't realize how crucial UVB, UVA, and calcium is to every function of a desert reptile's body, simply because they naturally live under direct, strong, natural sunlight every day of their lives, and that's what their bodies are built for. So if they are deprived of any of these factors they cannot survive. And the light manufacturers certainly don't help matters, not only do they not tell you that those 13 watt Compact UVB bulbs are inadequate in the first place, they also don't mention having it within a very close distance to them and not having it obstructed by anything either. As you had that 13 watt UVB bulb set up, he was basically getting no UVB light at all, and that's why he's so ill, but it's not your fault. Nor is this uncommon, it's the #1 post on this forum and the #1 cause of dragon illness, easily.
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Re: 4 month old bearded dragon acting strange and not eating

Postby Krok » Sat Feb 24, 2018 3:43 pm

Ive been feeding him fluker's repta-aid insectivore/carnivore emergency aid with his calcium power added with a dropper and a bath with 50% pedialyte. Got the uvb lowered down so he is getting a better hit of it. Sadly is been raining and snowing where I am the last few days so outside is not on option at the moment. Thank you for the help!
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