baby beardie is not eating and seems to be losing weight

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baby beardie is not eating and seems to be losing weight

Postby oasdf » Fri Jun 15, 2018 9:28 am

Hello everyone,

I got my first beardie, Gil, on May 12 from Petco. He (or she?) was doing well for several weeks but for the past several days, he has begun to eat fewer and fewer crickets. This wouldn't be a problem if he didn't also seem to be losing weight. Today, his skin is sagging at the hip and he looks far more slender than one would expect from a healthy beardie.

[Click image to enlarge]

[Click image to enlarge]


Background: Gil is 3-4 months old. I've owned him a little over a month, long enough for him to overcome relocation stress. He is 9 inches long, weighs approximately 40 grams, and seems to be a male. I keep him in a 20 gallon long. I am aware this tank will need to be upgraded in the near future, but I figured he would be okay in this one for maybe another month. I take him out regularly to let him climb things in my room and bask in natural sunlight on my porch. He is curious and friendly. His substrate is a vinyl tile with slate pattern. He does not share the tank with another beardie.

Lighting: I use the Reptisun 10.0 T8 tube for UVB. It is 18" inches long and mounted approximately 6-8" from the basking site on the inside of the tank. It is two weeks old (I started out with the compact Reptisun 10.0, but I switched it out for a tube once I discovered it was the wrong thing). The basking bulb is a 40 watt halogen bulb placed above the screen. I use another halogen bulb to heat the cool side.

Temperatures: The basking site is ~104 degrees farenheit, and can get up slightly higher but never above 110. I take these temperatures with the Ryobi temperature gun. Gil basks on a ceramic Zilla ramp, and to take the temps, I aim the temperature gun at the middle of the platform, the edges of the platform, and the steps to ensure that he has a good temperature gradient. There is no heating pad or rock anywhere in Gil's enclosure. The cool side is between 75-80 degrees. Gil rarely visits the cool side, or hides under anything. He spends nearly all of his time basking on the Zilla ramp.

Diet: I feed Gil crickets purchased from the Fluker Farms website. The crickets are 1/4"-3/8" long, and I make sure they are no bigger than the space between his eyes. I offer him crickets two to three times a day - 11 am, 4 pm, and 7 pm. The crickets are well-hydrated and fed with the Fluker Farms High-Calcium Cricket Diet. Once a week, I feed Gil five waxworms. Otherwise, I provide him with a dish of collard greens or turnip greens misted with water, both of which he loves to eat.

Vitamins: 5 times a week, I dust Gil's crickets with Repti-calcium. Twice a week, I dust them with Reptivite vitamin powder. For some reason Gil has always seemed to dislike the crickets dusted with Reptivite.

Bathing: I've bathed Gil once since I got him because he was shedding, but he didn't look too happy, so I never gave him another one. He seemed to have no problems shedding. I don't offer him much water aside from misting his greens.

Bowel movements: every morning Gil poops on his basking site, which I clean immediately. His urates are white and mushy. They don't seem to smell particularly bad, nor do they contain cricket husks or show discoloration in the urate.

Behavior: Over the past several days, Gil has eaten fewer and fewer crickets each day. I offer him crickets 3 times a day and only once does he eat a standard number of them (15-20). To feed him, I take the stuff out of his tank and put a few crickets in at a time, and when he's finished he runs to the right side of the tank and stares at me. I feel like he's never really eaten as much as I would expect from a beardie his age, but only recently did he start to show signs of weight loss.

Lately, instead of eating, Gil darts around the tank to chase his own reflection. When he's done with that, he tries to climb out of the tank. The only way to settle him down is to either take him out of the tank for a bit, or restore his basking area. In any case, he will ignore his crickets. I even tried feeding him in a separate container. It's not that he refuses to eat all the time - I find most success in the evenings - it's that he refuses to eat enough of what I offer him and then drops weight.

Maybe he hates his enclosure. I understand he doesn't have much to climb in there, which I will rectify in his tank upgrade, but I thought taking him out to play and explore would kinda tide him over. He never seems to wanna go back in.

Any thoughts?
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Re: baby beardie is not eating and seems to be losing weight

Postby Brittany26 » Fri Jun 15, 2018 9:50 am

Hm, is your UV light on it's side or facing the ground? If it's facing to the side it might not be reaching your dragon. Also, most people here prefer the T5 HO reptisun as opposed to the t8 because it's a stronger light and also only has to be replaced once a year (t8 is every 6 months).
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Re: baby beardie is not eating and seems to be losing weight

Postby oasdf » Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:58 am

The dragon would be exposed to UV on his basking spot - it's hard to tell from the photo but both the front and underside of the bulb is exposed. Only the top of the bulb and behind it isn't.
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Re: baby beardie is not eating and seems to be losing weight

Postby oasdf » Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:01 am

Here's another picture of him - in this one, it's much easier to see the wrinkles.

[Click image to enlarge]
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Re: baby beardie is not eating and seems to be losing weight

Postby AHBD » Fri Jun 15, 2018 1:26 pm

Hi there, your light is fine + close enough the way you have it mounted. I wonder if it's warm enough though, if the platform is 104 degrees the surrounding air temp. may be too cool. A 40 watt bulb produces very little heat. Try a 60 -75.

Another thing, don't take his decor out to feed him, that can cause stress. Just make the crickets less mobile + easy to catch by putting them in a jar and shaking them pretty hard to daze them, then drop them right near him while they are weak + slow moving. And you can go up to 1/2 inch crix, 1/4 are deinitely not filling enough for a 9" dragon. There's also the possibility that he's kind of waiting on the waxworms. For a much better worm, try Phoenix or calciworms. They are more nutritious and even the large size are not too big. Some dragons start eating more when introduced to dubia roaches as well.
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Re: baby beardie is not eating and seems to be losing weight

Postby oasdf » Fri Jun 15, 2018 7:43 pm

AHBD,

Thank you for your reply. I've made some changes to his enclosure and will address your points one by one:

On the basking side, I replaced the 40 watt bulb with a 60 watt bulb. When I wake up tomorrow I'll check to see how he is doing. The basking bulb is about 8 inches away from the site and directly above his head.

As for the decor thing, what I usually do is take the basking spot out so he could feed on the left side of the tank, because sometimes he won't come down to feed, or the crickets would hide underneath it and he'd just look kinda lost. Every time I feed him I shake the crickets around in a bag and drop them right at his feet. He never seemed to have a problem with this until recently. Though I do agree that taking out ALL the decor might be stressing him. That was a more recent thing I tried when his appetite first started to fall because I thought it would help him focus on his food.

As for diet: I went back and measured a few of my crickets to check if they were the appropriate size - for the most part, they seem to be about 1/2" now that they've been in the keeper for a few weeks. Today, he ate 15 of these total, across three feedings. Per your advice, I ordered 100 phoenix worms. Dubia roaches will be the next move if he doesn't start eating more after the light replacement.
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Re: baby beardie is not eating and seems to be losing weight

Postby kingofnobbys » Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:57 pm

oasdf wrote:Hello everyone,

I got my first beardie, Gil, on May 12 from Petco. He (or she?) was doing well for several weeks but for the past several days, he has begun to eat fewer and fewer crickets. This wouldn't be a problem if he didn't also seem to be losing weight. Today, his skin is sagging at the hip and he looks far more slender than one would expect from a healthy beardie.

<<< I suggest investing in glass topped set of kitchen scales (if it can handle up to 1kg and gives weights +/- 0.1g it's sufficient for the purpose - they are really cheap and can be found anywhere that sells pots and pans..
I'd be weighing him/her weekly and charting the weights …. will tell you if he's growing or loosing weight …. give or take some for a poo if he doesn't poo every day.
This way you will know for sure if he's growing and if there are early signs of health issues.
Hatchlings and juveniles like Gil grow in spurts , and sometimes go off their food prior to shedding and while shedding.
It is OK to hand feed Gil if you are worried not enough is being eaten , it's a great way to bond to lizard.
Here is how : viewtopic.php?f=18&t=235583
It's also probably less stressful to leave Gil in the tank and drop a few crickets in at a time, let Gil catch and eat them , repeat til Gil looses interest.
I'd also invest in some BSFL (Pheonix worms - get the younger ones who are white and wriggle lots) and some medium silkworms … these can be left in suitable feeder dish (like this https://mrpetsupplies.com/products/cera ... -dish-bowl )


[Click image to enlarge]

[Click image to enlarge]


<<< get rid of the stones …. if he swallows one it'll be very bad.

Background: Gil is 3-4 months old. I've owned him a little over a month, long enough for him to overcome relocation stress. He is 9 inches long, weighs approximately 40 grams, and seems to be a male. I keep him in a 20 gallon long. I am aware this tank will need to be upgraded in the near future, but I figured he would be okay in this one for maybe another month. I take him out regularly to let him climb things in my room and bask in natural sunlight on my porch. He is curious and friendly. His substrate is a vinyl tile with slate pattern. He does not share the tank with another beardie.

Lighting: I use the Reptisun 10.0 T8 tube for UVB.
<<< it's too far away , even with a reflector hood (if it had a proper reflector behind the T8 10%uvb tube that was aimed directly at the basking spot (which it doesn't)
Needs to aimed directly at the basking spot from above.
See this for more information : viewtopic.php?f=34&t=235611
essentially 6 inches for a 10%UVB T8 only applies if the tube in mounted in a PROPER REPTILE REFLECTOR HOOD or with one of these slip on reflectors behind the tube https://www.reptiles.swelluk.com/arcadi ... eflectors/ (it focuses the UVA & UVB and directs them towards the basking spot, essentially doubling the UVA & UVB flux at the basking spot.)
Lack of apetite can be a indication that Gil is not getting sufficient UVA , it is very likely Gil is also not getting sufficient UVB to convert dietary Ca to VitD3 in his/her skin.

Relocation of the luminaire and slipping an Arcadia T8 slip-on reflector onto the existing T8 tube and aiming the reflector so it's pointing at the basking spot will give Gil an almost immediate boost.


It is 18" inches long and mounted approximately 6-8" from the basking site on the inside of the tank. It is two weeks old (I started out with the compact Reptisun 10.0, but I switched it out for a tube once I discovered it was the wrong thing). The basking bulb is a 40 watt halogen bulb placed above the screen. I use another halogen bulb to heat the cool side.

Temperatures: The basking site is ~104 degrees farenheit, and can get up slightly higher but never above 110. I take these temperatures with the Ryobi temperature gun. Gil basks on a ceramic Zilla ramp, and to take the temps, I aim the temperature gun at the middle of the platform, the edges of the platform, and the steps to ensure that he has a good temperature gradient. There is no heating pad or rock anywhere in Gil's enclosure. The cool side is between 75-80 degrees. Gil rarely visits the cool side, or hides under anything. He spends nearly all of his time basking on the Zilla ramp.

Diet: I feed Gil crickets purchased from the Fluker Farms website. The crickets are 1/4"-3/8" long, and I make sure they are no bigger than the space between his eyes. I offer him crickets two to three times a day - 11 am, 4 pm, and 7 pm. The crickets are well-hydrated and fed with the Fluker Farms High-Calcium Cricket Diet. Once a week, I feed Gil five waxworms. Otherwise, I provide him with a dish of collard greens or turnip greens misted with water, both of which he loves to eat.

Vitamins: 5 times a week, I dust Gil's crickets with Repti-calcium. Twice a week, I dust them with Reptivite vitamin powder. For some reason Gil has always seemed to dislike the crickets dusted with Reptivite.

Bathing: I've bathed Gil once since I got him because he was shedding, but he didn't look too happy, so I never gave him another one. He seemed to have no problems shedding. I don't offer him much water aside from misting his greens.

Bowel movements: every morning Gil poops on his basking site, which I clean immediately. His urates are white and mushy. They don't seem to smell particularly bad, nor do they contain cricket husks or show discoloration in the urate.

Behavior: Over the past several days, Gil has eaten fewer and fewer crickets each day. I offer him crickets 3 times a day and only once does he eat a standard number of them (15-20). To feed him, I take the stuff out of his tank and put a few crickets in at a time, and when he's finished he runs to the right side of the tank and stares at me. I feel like he's never really eaten as much as I would expect from a beardie his age, but only recently did he start to show signs of weight loss.



Lately, instead of eating, Gil darts around the tank to chase his own reflection. When he's done with that, he tries to climb out of the tank. The only way to settle him down is to either take him out of the tank for a bit, or restore his basking area. In any case, he will ignore his crickets. I even tried feeding him in a separate container. It's not that he refuses to eat all the time - I find most success in the evenings - it's that he refuses to eat enough of what I offer him and then drops weight.
\
<<< the reflection is haunting him, I suggest getting some printer paper and attaching it on the inside surfaces of the glass walls up to just above his highest eyeline.
This will deal with the fantom / ghost beardie who is upsetting Gil.


Maybe he hates his enclosure. I understand he doesn't have much to climb in there, which I will rectify in his tank upgrade, but I thought taking him out to play and explore would kinda tide him over. He never seems to wanna go back in.

Any thoughts?
CBDs: Puff (RIP 10Dec2015 @ 3.2 yrs old (aneurism)),Rex (RIP 16Mar2017 @ 4.6 yrs old,Toothless(sudden unexplained death RIP 26Nov2017) @ 2.1 yrs old.Peppa (born 15Nov2015).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : Lucky (wild juvenile), cat attack rescue, fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.Wriggles (rescued injured),thought she was a big lizard, 7-8 yrs old, died in her sleep, RIP 2Feb2016). Fluffy rescued 14Nov2017 about 4 yrs old .
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Re: baby beardie is not eating and seems to be losing weight

Postby AHBD » Sat Jun 16, 2018 2:38 am

I agree with the other poster, do take the stones out. Most are too large for him to swallow now but a curious growing dragon may attempt to swallow one. As for the uvb light, it is perfectly fine at 8-10", most top breeders and I myself have never had a problem with the Reptisun at that distance. One thing that you COULD do is to attach it to the inside of the screen above him so it shines from above rather than the side. Coming from the side it may bother his eyes. Here's how to mount it on the inside of the screen, I used black plastic coated wire [ like twisties ] or fishing line or twine can be used.


https://www.beardeddragon.org/useruploa ... _small.jpg
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Re: baby beardie is not eating and seems to be losing weight

Postby oasdf » Sat Jun 23, 2018 11:56 am

Hello everyone,

Thought I would post an update now that it's been a week. After changing the basking bulb (and removing the rocks), the air and surface temperatures increased and Gil's appetite shot up immediately. He shed all the skin on his torso and went nuts over the BSFL. Kingofnobbys, I did end up ordering the UVB fixture with reflector, which I will be installing in a day or two once I get the zipties to mount it on the inside of the screen.

I think the problem was the air temps.
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Re: baby beardie is not eating and seems to be losing weight

Postby AHBD » Sat Jun 23, 2018 5:05 pm

Good to hear ! I knew a 40 watt bulb couldn't possibly keep his tank warm enough. It sounds like Gil is doing well now, and that with an easy fix. :)
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