Walter, the Bioactive beardie

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Re: Walter, the Bioactive beardie

Postby Claudiusx » Sun Sep 15, 2019 9:16 am

BrightStar wrote:but his preference for slightly lower heat is making me nervous.

Dont worry about it he looks very alert and active and healthy. They tend to try to maintain a certain body temperature and that can be accomplished quite well at those temps. He also might not have fully explored his tank yet and is just settling for what hes found.

I know it's hard to not worry but we all go through this the first few weeks :)

Walter is in good hands!

-Brandon
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Re: Walter, the Bioactive beardie

Postby BrightStar » Sun Sep 15, 2019 9:23 am

Thanks, Brandon. I know I’m just being a nervous beardie mom , but I appreciate your encouragement.

Walter finally decided to check out what’s for breakfast. I don’t think he was too impressed. I’m nearly out of roaches so I just gave three roaches, and then a mix of Phoenix worms and silkworms. He’s not a fan of silkworms, and only ate the darkest colored Phoenix worms. So funny how they each have their own preferences.
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Re: Walter, the Bioactive beardie

Postby BrightStar » Tue Sep 17, 2019 9:43 am

Walter has continued to settle in to his new home. Yesterday, his colors seemed quite a bit brighter than normal, so I’m hoping that was a sign of his “happy colors” and he’s really starting to feel settled. I still haven’t been able to handle him, but he will eat worms from my hand and occasionally he’ll let me gently pet his back.

The bioactive setup is going well. The only problem I’m having is that I think he’s decimated the cleaner crew! He is pooping at least three times daily, and I’m having to spot clean as there isn’t any sign of his cleaners. I think he ate them all! I have more on their way, so hoping this time I ordered enough to cover his snacking on them.

Here are some pictures taken today -

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And as promised, I also tried to get some pictures of how the plants are doing-

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Because he’s still so small, he hasn’t really trampled them much when he’s climbing around. He has been taking bites out of his succulent, but it still seems to be doing okay.

My only concern with him at the moment is that he hasn’t had a shed yet.

I also sometimes worry he isn’t basking under his uvb enough. He has a huge heat and uvb gradient, with options for high heat Low uvb, high uvb low heat, and High uvb and high heat. He keeps going for high heat low uvb! He is moving around a lot, so I’m hoping maybe I shouldn’t fret and trust him to seek out what he needs. He is going to his uvb, just not all the time.

Or should I move things around to minimize options and force him under uvb?
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Re: Walter, the Bioactive beardie

Postby AHBD » Tue Sep 17, 2019 10:32 am

Everything looks great. :) It is really important to have the uvb + basking/heat area overlap so he spends enough time under both.
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Re: Walter, the Bioactive beardie

Postby Claudiusx » Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:39 am

Love seeing pics of your tank.

Is the goal with the cleaner crew that you have enough for them to breed and keep their numbers up or are you not really expecting them to breed?

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Re: Walter, the Bioactive beardie

Postby BrightStar » Tue Sep 17, 2019 1:23 pm

The goal with the cleaner crew is that they’ll form a breeding colony that sustains itself. There are isopod, springtails, beetles and worms (superworms and earthworms) living in the substrate. They feed off Walter’s waste, as well as leaf litter and spagham moss that’s mixed in to the substrate . Typically, when I take his food dish out each evening, I’ll also toss any leftover bits of veggies into the substrate for them to clean up. I also set some roaches loose in there, (dubias and red runners) which I’m hoping will breed and add hunting opportunities for him. I suspect that he will outgrow wanting to eat the cleaner crew when he gets older. At the minute, his roaches and the beetles are similar sizes, so I can understand why he’d go for the cleaners.

Today was misting day, and it sure was entertaining! I think he actually enjoys it. He actively came to sit right in the path of the spray and let himself get totally soaked. Afterwards, it seemed to trigger him to dash round the tank rubbing himself on everything - particularly his chin and stomach. I think he is shedding. His tail also looks like it might be going into shed.

After his rain shower, he climbed onto his log and pancaked.

[Click image to enlarge]
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Re: Walter, the Bioactive beardie

Postby Claudiusx » Tue Sep 17, 2019 2:05 pm

Awesome!

It does sound like he's really enjoying the setup. :)

It makes me want to at least try one but honestly it does seem like quite a bit of work. And that's the last thing I need on my plate right now lol.

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Re: Walter, the Bioactive beardie

Postby BrightStar » Fri Sep 27, 2019 11:34 am

As of today, Walter has been part of the family for two weeks.

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After yesterday’s misting, he climbed onto his branch to warm up, and showed off some awesome sexy legs!

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A very large Dubia climbed up out of the substrate , trying to catch a few droplets from the misting. Walter seriously thought about trying to eat it (it’s practically as big as he is!) and I had a mini panic attack and tried to catch it. It ran back into the substrate, at which point Walter decided to ignore it. I’m on the lookout for it, and as soon as I can I’ll be transferring it to the breeder colony. I’m not sure how it got in there.

Walter has made lots of progress over the past few days. I’ve managed to pick him up a few times and hold him for a few minutes. Yesterday he was very calm about being pickup up and then put back in his cage. I pet him and talked to him. I’m not sure if he enjoyed it, but at least I didn’t get a black beard or stress marks.

Today he was waiting for breakfast, but when I put his bowl of roaches in his cage, he continued to stare at me. Trying to encourage him, I pointed at the bowl (he has learned to watch where my finger points to find yummy bugs) but he continued to look at me. I offered him a few in my hand and he gobbled them down. In the end, I fed him his whole breakfast by hand! He was much better about my hands moving around near him, and climbed up to sit on my palm many times. Such a heartwarming moment! We did have a brief incident where he missed the roach and grabbed my finger instead. I felt his little baby teeth and started to get nervous when he bit down on me. But it really didn’t hurt at all, and after I managed to get my finger free, Walter gobbled up the rest of his bigs with perfect aim.

His feet are shedding today. A few days back I found his first piece of shed tail.

Here are some pictures of how the plants are doing.

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He’s demolished one of them quite badly, and I think I’ll need to replace it soon. The others are doing fine. His wheat grass is getting pretty trampled, but is still thriving, though he doesn’t eat it. The clover has completely died - looks like it got too dry. I was surprised about the clover, I thought it was meant to be pretty hardy.

Humidity levels are at 27% on both hot and cold sides.

Brandon, to be honest, I’m not finding the bioactive setup to be all that much work. Perhaps this is largely because I’m having so much fun maintaining it. The initial setup (adding all the substrate, logs, and doing a big water etc) took an hour, but keep in mind the size of my tank - 6’ x 2’ x 2’. After that, for the next week or so before Walter came home, we misted it quite heavily once every day, and then once the substrate was at the right moistness, began to reduce the number of misting until we found what works to keep his setup maintained (about every other day). Misting takes no more than five minutes. I spot clean his poop daily, though that typically involves brushing it off logs and such and into the substrate. If he has leftover veg I’ll toss that into the substrate (or sometimes I dump it in with his roaches). So far, I feel like maintainence is much simpler for Walter than it was when Rygel was a baby. Plus, Walter does not get all distressed about poop in his cage, so he doesn’t run over it in a panic or sulk in his hide until I clean it up.

To be honest, I thought the bioactive setup would be lots more work. But it’s really not been like that so far. I can see maybe it being harder for anyone if they have a beardie already and want to change their setup from sterile to bioactive - you’d have the initial period of high humidity until everything settles down, and it could be a huge cause of relocation stress for some dragons. I’m actually hoping that Walter being kept in a bioactive setup since I got him will lead to a more confident dragon that doesn’t get so upset by little changes. I added a big new rock to his cage the other day, and Walter just kept on with his day like nothing had happened.
Last edited by BrightStar on Fri Sep 27, 2019 11:38 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Walter, the Bioactive beardie

Postby Claudiusx » Fri Sep 27, 2019 11:37 am

Sweet thanks for the update!

That's good to know that it's not actually giving you too much work to do. The tank is looking great and I'm surprised only one of the plants is getting it pretty bad lol. Although he still is kind of small, I wonder what it will be like as he gets larger.
But, I keep forgetting you have a 6 foot tank! LOL

He's looking super ghost white in those pictures. :D

-Brandon
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Re: Walter, the Bioactive beardie

Postby BrightStar » Fri Sep 27, 2019 11:45 am

He is showing all sorts of interesting colors - orange round his lips and legs, yellows, and blue-ish grays on his body. He has a lovely white belly and beard. The lower half of his tail is in shed, and his legs. He recently had a shed on his face and beard. His colors really change a lot depending on how close he’s sitting to his light.

We did see him trying to take a bite out of his cactus the other day, but it seemed too tough for him so he gave up (and the plant remained unharmed) so I definitely think his plants are fated to take quite a battering once he gets bigger. He’s growing so fast, and has a monstrous appetite. Even though I remember Rygel ate a lot when he was a baby, there’s something about just how much they eat at this age that seems difficult to truly recall until you’re actually taking care of a baby. He just finished off the 1000 roaches I brought him a little over a week ago!
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Re: Walter, the Bioactive beardie

Postby BrightStar » Tue Nov 19, 2019 12:54 pm

My apologies for not updating this topic as regularly as I had hoped.

Walter currently weighs 229g and is doing great! He is steadily gaining about 35g a week.

He is starting to relax about being handled, and will snuggle up with me for cuddles before bedtime. He remains a ferocious eater of his dubia, though doesn’t think much of his salads just yet. His bioactive setup is still working out great. We mist about 2-3 times a week, and his humidity averages around 25 - 35. He is active and moves around his enclosure as he likes depending on what temperature he prefers, and has dug himself quite a cozie beardie cave underneath one of his rocks (it is artificial and hollow).

I think he may have once again decimated his cleaner crew, as I have not seen too many of them around lately, so I have a resupply order of those coming later this week. His plants overall are doing okay. The wheat grass and clover I planted mysteriously vanished - I suspect it died, possibly too hot for them in there? He has devoured his Zebra Plant ( Haworthia fasciata ) with such enthusiasm that he uprooted the whole thing. He may not eat his salads, but if he could, I think he’d eat a field of those.

Here are the latest pictures.

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Re: Walter, the Bioactive beardie

Postby AHBD » Tue Nov 19, 2019 1:01 pm

You know, he has a very distinctive look to him like he belongs in a movie scene somewhere. :) Big, pasty + beefy and of course handsome. Is there some actual chubbiness going on there ? You really need to plant more veggies for him now that he devoured his zebra plant and maybe that's what happened to the clover [ my guys like clover ] Can you blame him for wanting the FRESHEST produce , as in his own personal garden. ? :)
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Re: Walter, the Bioactive beardie

Postby BrightStar » Tue Nov 19, 2019 5:38 pm

He is indeed getting quite chubby, but I read at his age (under 5 months) beardies don’t typically get overweight. So I think that chubbiness is actually muscle. With all the climbing and hunting and digging he does, he’s definitely building up some strength in those arms. I’m beginning to think he’s going to grow up to be a giant!

I’m astonished by how very confident Walter is. The only thing that bothers him enough to cause stress lines is when it gets a bit cooler after I mist his cage. Even then, he doesn’t stay upset for long.

I have indeed brought him more zebra plants. We started out with one, and after he demolished that I brought two new ones. He demolished one of those within ten days. But he hasn’t touched the second one, which is a bit baffling - I guess he doesn’t approve of where I planted it. I’m going to try moving it to the place where his now destroyed plant is. I’ll also be replanting his clover and wheat grass seed, and maybe add in some veggie seeds if I can find anything that might stand the heat. At the moment, I suspect heat is a bigger issue for plant survival than Walter eating them is. The wheat grass and clover all vanished within a few days, and now there’s not even a trace of their roots, so I don’t think Walter is the one to destroy them because he tends to leave more obvious evidence when he’s been munching at his plants.
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Re: Walter, the Bioactive beardie

Postby Claudiusx » Tue Nov 19, 2019 5:49 pm

I'm so glad you finally came back and updated us!
Walter looks fantastic in his home.

I love the picture of him standing outside his "burrow" he truly looks exceptionally happy.
They can get chubby at any age really, he is looking a bit chunks lol :)
But I absolutely love walter and I love his setup.

Make sure you update us more often, I'm trying to live vicariously through you here lol!

-Brandon
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Re: Walter, the Bioactive beardie

Postby JumpinJellyfish » Wed Nov 20, 2019 10:06 am

He's gorgeous!!!
Never knew I could get so happy about poop, or so comfortable with bugs. :-D
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