New owner needing second opinion on tank and dragon behavior

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New owner needing second opinion on tank and dragon behavior

Postby ChrisAndBacon » Sun Apr 21, 2019 6:47 pm

Hi everyone,

I just purchased my very first bearded dragon, Bacon, about 3 weeks ago. Im worried his enclosure might be causing him stress. Specifically the lighting. I feel like it may be too far away from his body and this may be the cause of his glass surfing and darkened under belly. I keep seeing online this pertains to stress so im really worried (as im sure is a common thing with us dragon owners lol). But I have little to moderate knowledge of these desert dwellers so I'd like to hear from the experts. :)

Okay the specifics.

Enclosure info:

Tank Size
L 30" W 12.5" H 18" (Previously aquarium)

Lighting
Reptisun T5 UVB Tube bulb & PowerSun 80 Watt Mercury Vapor UVB Basking Bulb

Temp/Humidity
Exo-Terra Digital Infared Thermometer & Zoo Med Digital Thermometer/Hygrometer
Low range: 80-87°F
High Range: 92-105°F
Humidity: 32-40%

Decor
Brown Reptile Carpet
Various Mopani roots, artificial plants, and straw hammock.

Maintenance
Spot cleaned daily. Cleaned once a week. Wipe Out reptile sanitizer used.

Bacon info:

Hypo/Het Leatherback. 8.75 inches long. 3-4 months old.

Food
6-8 Discoid roaches (im in FL) a day & 1 hornworm a week. Dusted with calcium 3-4 times a week.
Salad sprayed w/ water and lightly dusted w/ vitamins.Offered daily. Collard greens. Zucchini. Butternut Squash.

Behavior
Just went through his first shed with me.
Seems to be quite active. Hanging and jumping around his enclosure. Tends to close his eyes alot. Able to handle but still kinda fast and jumpy. Gets a darkened under belly often.

PICS
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Re: New owner needing second opinion on tank and dragon beha

Postby claudiusx » Sun Apr 21, 2019 7:18 pm

Typically you wouldn't use a uvb bulb and an mvb. You're providing too much uvb. And with the reptisun running the whole length of your tank, your dragon has no real way to escape the uvb rays. Yes UVB is very important, but it is also very harsh and the dragon needs to be able to get shelter from the rays when he wants.
The fact that he closes his eyes a lot indicates he is probably getting too much uvb. You need to ditch either the reptisun or the powersun. Additionally, if using a powersun it should really be about 12 to 15 inches away from the basking spot. It puts out strong uv and anything closer is too much exposure for the dragon. And currently it looks much closer than 15 inches.

So it's your choice really which to keep in your tank. But you shouldn't be be using both.

Your temperatures are slightly concerning to me also though because you don't mention the only temp that really matters, the basking SURFACE. What is yours at?

-Brandon
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Re: New owner needing second opinion on tank and dragon beha

Postby claudiusx » Sun Apr 21, 2019 7:21 pm

Additionally, you'd ideally want the reptisun to only run 3/4 or so of the tank, to allow for the dragon to escape the harsh rays. That might factor into your decision on which bulb will be easiest to keep.
I do recommend upgrading your tank though when you get a chance. The width is what's really killing it for me. 12in is pretty small.

-Brandon
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Re: New owner needing second opinion on tank and dragon beha

Postby ChrisAndBacon » Sun Apr 21, 2019 7:49 pm

Typically you wouldn't use a uvb bulb and an mvb. You're providing too much uvb. And with the reptisun running the whole length of your tank, your dragon has no real way to escape the uvb rays. Yes UVB is very important, but it is also very harsh and the dragon needs to be able to get shelter from the rays when he wants.
The fact that he closes his eyes a lot indicates he is probably getting too much uvb. You need to ditch either the reptisun or the powersun. Additionally, if using a powersun it should really be about 12 to 15 inches away from the basking spot. It puts out strong uv and anything closer is too much exposure for the dragon. And currently it looks much closer than 15 inches.

So it's your choice really which to keep in your tank. But you shouldn't be be using both.

Your temperatures are slightly concerning to me also though because you don't mention the only temp that really matters, the basking SURFACE. What is yours at?


claudiusx wrote:Additionally, you'd ideally want the reptisun to only run 3/4 or so of the tank, to allow for the dragon to escape the harsh rays. That might factor into your decision on which bulb will be easiest to keep.
I do recommend upgrading your tank though when you get a chance. The width is what's really killing it for me. 12in is pretty small.

-Brandon



Thank you for confirming my suspicions!!!! I realize the tank size is not ideal but I figure in a few months I can upgrade whens he gets a bit bigger. The basking spot which is the straw hammock gets to around 99-105. The top of the Mopani wood gets about 99-101 and he uses both. But basically im providing too much UVB and Bacon is getting literally baked. Great. I'll change both if thats what I have to do. Lets see if this pet shop owner will let me exchange them and pay whatever difference. Even so ill cough up the extra cash to buy what I need. So ill get the 24" T5 Hood instead? And which Basking bulb do you recommend? Is the Exo-Terra 75W Basking bulb sufficient?
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Re: New owner needing second opinion on tank and dragon beha

Postby claudiusx » Sun Apr 21, 2019 8:31 pm

What you're suggesting would be ideal if you can work it out. the 75w may or may not work just depends. I use a 50w in mine and it does great. But if 75w gets your temps too hot you can always lower the basking spot or raise the bulb. If you get the 50w and its not hot enough, not much you can do. It's a bit of a guessing game until you figure ot what works best for your setup.
If you want, you can even try just regular household bulbs for your heat bulb, it doesn't have to be a reptile bulb. It just needs to provide a white light and produce the heat you need.

-Brandon
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Re: New owner needing second opinion on tank and dragon beha

Postby kingofnobbys » Sun Apr 21, 2019 9:49 pm

claudiusx wrote:Typically you wouldn't use a uvb bulb and an mvb. You're providing too much uvb. And with the reptisun running the whole length of your tank, your dragon has no real way to escape the uvb rays. Yes UVB is very important, but it is also very harsh and the dragon needs to be able to get shelter from the rays when he wants.
The fact that he closes his eyes a lot indicates he is probably getting too much uvb. You need to ditch either the reptisun or the powersun. Additionally, if using a powersun it should really be about 12 to 15 inches away from the basking spot. It puts out strong uv and anything closer is too much exposure for the dragon. And currently it looks much closer than 15 inches.

So it's your choice really which to keep in your tank. But you shouldn't be be using both.

Your temperatures are slightly concerning to me also though because you don't mention the only temp that really matters, the basking SURFACE. What is yours at?

-Brandon


Actually you can (use both a MVB & and T5HO 12% tube in the same tank. This works very well in larger tanks (4ft x 2ft x 2ft say).
The dragon needs to be able to find an area where there is very low UVA & UVB (shaded area or an end of the tank that is outside the beam area of the t5 tube. This is why it's adviseable to restrict the length of the T5ho (or T8 in smaller tanks (not as tall)) to 3/4 the length of the tank and have one end over or very near the basking spot.
CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : Fluffy - 4yr rescued lawnmowing accident victim 14Nov17.
Lucky - cat attack rescue, fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
Wriggles - rescued injured ,thought she was a big lizard, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16. .
Gecko : Godzilla the hatchling GEHYRA GECKO (hatched May 2019)
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Re: New owner needing second opinion on tank and dragon beha

Postby kingofnobbys » Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:26 pm

ChrisAndBacon wrote:Hi everyone,

Okay the specifics.

Lighting
Reptisun T5 UVB Tube bulb & PowerSun 80 Watt Mercury Vapor UVB Basking Bulb

The MVB and t5 tube are both mounted ONTOP the mesh lid. NOT GOOD.
The mesh lid will be blocking about 45% of the UVA & UVB.

Ideally , you are aiming for 200 microW UVB and 1 milliW UVA / sq.cm at the basking spot, and 1/2 these at the floor.
So if no mesh intervening , the ideal distance from the tube to the basking spot when mounted in a good quality focusing reflector hood if your t5ho tube is a 10%UVB or 12%UVB tube is 12" .



Bacon info:

3-4 months old.

Food
6-8 Discoid roaches (im in FL) a day & 1 hornworm a week. Dusted with calcium 3-4 times a week.
Salad sprayed w/ water and lightly dusted w/ vitamins.Offered daily. Collard greens. Zucchini. Butternut Squash.

<<< two meals of live insects per day at your dragon's age and until he is about 12 months old.
<<< offer salad daily

maybe roaches roaches in am , hornworm or silkworm in pm , salad inbetween.


ie what I'm doing with my two new hatchlings Cleo and Caesar (3 months old) is
am :
crickets 1/4 to 1/3 size gut loaded and dusted up to 10 each
pm
either a medium (1.5-2 inch long) silkworm or 16 bsfl
I give fresh salad straight after this and leave it overnight (nearly always mostly disappears, I add up 16 bsfl into to salad to give them nutritional snacks and any crickets missed are always gone by next morning (eaten)


Behavior
. Tends to close his eyes alot.

PICS

[Click image to enlarge]

[Click image to enlarge]



eye closing during day , that's fine , hatchlings and juveniles are in rapid growth phase and nap a lot during the day between meal while basking.
CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : Fluffy - 4yr rescued lawnmowing accident victim 14Nov17.
Lucky - cat attack rescue, fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
Wriggles - rescued injured ,thought she was a big lizard, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16. .
Gecko : Godzilla the hatchling GEHYRA GECKO (hatched May 2019)
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Re: New owner needing second opinion on tank and dragon beha

Postby claudiusx » Mon Apr 22, 2019 5:43 am

You're not taking into account this specific situation at all. Yes you can use a t5 and mvb in a large tank. This isnt a large tank.... So why would it even be mentioned.

The t5 on the mesh is fine in this situation also. Look how close it is. Look how course the mesh is. Once again, you aren't taking this specific situation into account.

There is clearly too much uvb exposure in this tank. Suggestions to increase that exposure (such as your suggestion to not have it on top of the mesh or to add a reflector) would lead to more issues. In fact this is one case where having a finer screened mesh might have done some good.
Not every situation calls for the same standard advice.

-Brandon
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Re: New owner needing second opinion on tank and dragon beha

Postby KarrieRee » Mon Apr 22, 2019 7:29 am

If I was you I would keep the T5 and get a separate basking bulb all together--- keep the T 5 on top of mesh since its a small tank --- upgrade to your larger tank depending on what kind of mesh is on top fine or wide hole will depend on where it goes after that ---- if it has a wide hole it can still go on top if its a fine mesh it will need to go into the tank itself -- see if you can get a tank that has front door openings they are the easiest to clean and move decor around etc......... but yes it looks like your little dude is getting too much of something my guess would be the UVB--
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Re: New owner needing second opinion on tank and dragon beha

Postby ChrisAndBacon » Mon Apr 22, 2019 7:52 am

I appreciate all of the replies and input you guys have. After reviewing and doing some further research I do believe the lighting is the issue here. As Brandon noted, my tank is a bit smaller than the norm so I need to take that into account. The basking spot providing UVB seems a bit unnecessary so im going out to buy a 75 Watt Exo Terra bulb today after work. I've rearranged his enclosure a bit to provide a small hideout under the Mopani wood. Thinking I might just get a standard hideout though.

Heres what I was able to do as a temporary fix.

[Click image to enlarge]

[Click image to enlarge]
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Re: New owner needing second opinion on tank and dragon beha

Postby kingofnobbys » Tue Apr 23, 2019 5:18 am

KarrieRee wrote:If I was you I would keep the T5 and get a separate basking bulb all together--- keep the T 5 on top of mesh since its a small tank --- upgrade to your larger tank depending on what kind of mesh is on top fine or wide hole will depend on where it goes after that ---- if it has a wide hole it can still go on top if its a fine mesh it will need to go into the tank itself -- see if you can get a tank that has front door openings they are the easiest to clean and move decor around etc......... but yes it looks like your little dude is getting too much of something my guess would be the UVB--
Karrie

fyi
viewtopic.php?f=34&t=235210&p=1809330#p1809330
deals with shading effect and how to calculate this based on the mesh's specifications ( gauge and weave)
more http://a0.leadongcdn.com/attachment/kli ... n-Mesh.pdf
gives open areas so it's easy to calculate the amount of light (UV) blocked = 100%-open_area%
CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : Fluffy - 4yr rescued lawnmowing accident victim 14Nov17.
Lucky - cat attack rescue, fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
Wriggles - rescued injured ,thought she was a big lizard, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16. .
Gecko : Godzilla the hatchling GEHYRA GECKO (hatched May 2019)
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Re: New owner needing second opinion on tank and dragon beha

Postby ChrisAndBacon » Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:04 pm

Hey all! Just a quick update. I took Bacon to the vet today and he seems to be just fine :blob5: They supported the switch to a 75 Watt UVA bulb instead of the MVB. Poor little guy was really frying in there. It seems to be that Bacon has a very dark pattern/pigmentation on his belly compared to most dragons but hes completely healthy and normal. The only cause of concern was a retained shed on the top his head, probably due to the intense amount of heat and lack of humidity. I would spray him and his tank before I left for work then I'd give him a warm bath when I got home during his shed so idk, I guess it was just too hot. They recommended keeping up with the warm baths and monitoring that area during the next shed. Otherwise little guy is doing just fine and is completely healthy. The vet surprisingly applauded me on my husbandry! Saying shes glad to finally see someone doing their research and reaching out on forums to get more information. It was actually a great overall experience and im very glad I went. :D
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Re: New owner needing second opinion on tank and dragon beha

Postby claudiusx » Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:15 pm

That's great news! Glad to hear you had such a good experience with the vet. Hopefully that ends up being a good relationship to have cuz not all vets end up making you feel that way lol.

-Brandon
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