New beardie owner - got questions

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New beardie owner - got questions

Postby Rodeojones » Sun Oct 13, 2019 7:10 am

Hey everyone, just picked up our first ever beardie yesterday. I'm a middle school math and science teacher, so the plan is to eventually have him (her? not sure yet) live in my classroom during the school year. But until I get used to caring for it, I'm keeping him at home. Couple feeding and general care questions for those with more experience.

First of all, I purposely didn't buy the tiniest and youngest one at PetSmart. He was the only fancy one available (which my students wanted), but I also liked that he'd already been thriving.

So, regarding feeding, I've heard/read/been told conflicting things. The extremely helpful pet store woman said because he's already a couple months old to feed him twice per day with 5 or so calcium dusted crickets each feeding. Plus have a dish with some fresh veggies available. She said that's the exact feeding schedule they've been following in the store. I've also read feeding is required up to five times per day. That would not be possible when he's at home and I'm working, but I could potentially make that happen when he's moved to my classroom. Additionally, I've read that I should be giving way more crickets per feeding. Thoughts/suggestions for me here?

How about a water dish? I figured that was obvious, but I read today that maybe it's not the best idea.

My setup right now is fairly basic, but I've got a few more things coming via Amazon. I live in northwestern Wisconsin, so our evenings can get really cold and I keep the house thermostat to around 60-62 overnight. I ordered a ceramic bulb for nighttime heating, and a thermostat to keep it where I want. Right now the basking temp is about 94° and the cooler side is about 83°. Do these sound good? Should my basking temp be higher? I also have a timer for my lights and plan to do a 12 on/12 off schedule, unless someone suggests something different.

Lastly, he really wasn't interested in eating crickets this morning. I gave him 6, but he only ate 3. One literally sat in front of him and he barely paid attention to it. After about 15 minutes I pulled the remaining ones out. He also hasn't once touched his veggies. When I fed him crickets last night he ate them all up, but again never touched anything else. Is this normal? Maybe he's a little stressed due to the move to a new, much larger enclosure?

Thanks in advance for any information.

Here are a few pics. My own kids love the orangish color and want to name him Pumpkin.

Image

Image
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Re: New beardie owner - got questions

Postby claudiusx » Sun Oct 13, 2019 7:27 am

Hi there,

Congratulations on your new pet :)

To answer your questions:

Feed him live feeders 2 or 3 times a day, and let him eat as many as he wants in a 5 or 10 minute window. They typically will get full sooner than that though. Make sure the feeders you offer are appropriately sized. And try to offer a variety of feeder insects. Silkworms, BSFL, butterworms, dubia roaches, crickets, etc.
Dust with calcium 5x a week.
And if you have a multi vit dust, 2x a week.

Definitely offer him a salad every day though. It's good to get them started on salads from the beginning and they will get good hydration that way too.

A water bowl isnt necessary. But you can use one if youd like. Most of us here dont.

What are you measuring your temps with?
Ideally for a youngster youd want a basking surface temp of around 105-110. And the cool end to be around 80 or lower.

12/12 is fine.

Which uvb bulb are you using? Unfortunately a lot that are sold are not suitable for our dragons.

In regards to the appetite, relocation stress plays a large role in that. It should increase as he settles in. Good on removing the extra crickets. They can bite at night if left in.
Additionally, appetite is affected greatly by proper temps and proper uv exposure so make sure those are dialed in and he should settle just fine :)

-Brandon
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Re: New beardie owner - got questions

Postby KarrieRee » Sun Oct 13, 2019 7:41 am

First how old is the "baby" you said he was older than the others--- if he is a juvenile he should be eating as many crickets as he can up until a year old - do not limit him ---- for the most part pet store people have not a clue as to what they are talking about--- his basking temps should be 105-110 for a baby like 2-3 months old or so for a juvenile 6-8 months old around 95-105 --- right now he is probably going thru relocation stress so his eating will be slow but as he gets used to the environment he will start eating more- as far as eating vegies he needs to start on this right away --- or your gonna have issues down the road - I would feed vegies first in the morning w/ a few 1-3 super worms and some BSFL as many as you want - they are a good staple feeder and do not need to be dusted---- on top to entice him the the salad bowl-- make sure he sees you put the bugs on top of the salad -- let him eat from the bowl for about 30-45 minutes-- then feed the crickets since you are feeding crickets you arent going to be able to put those in the salad bowl -- I use dubia roaches so I put them in there after I have let him eat some salad and the BSFL and supers -- here is a website for nuthttp://www.beautifuldragons.com/Nutrition.htmlrition --
here is a website for BSFL-https://symtonbsf.com/
here is a website for dubiaroaches ---- http://www.dubiaroaches.com - they charge shipping but send in containers you can keep them in ---
I just looked at your pic again and he does look little still - maybe 4 months old I am guessing-- so I would feed him as many crickets as he will eat in 5-10 minutes 2 times / day sometimes 3 depending on how many he eats at those feedings - crickets should be dusted w/ calcium D3 5 x per week and vitamins 2 x per week ---
what kind of set up did you get ? what is your UVB brand and bulb? is it a coil or tube?
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Re: New beardie owner - got questions

Postby Rodeojones » Sun Oct 13, 2019 8:19 am

Thanks for the replies. My setup is the Zoo Med 40 gallon enclosure, so the basking light and UVB light are what come in that kit. If you suggest different bulbs, please let me know. The woman said he was probably around 4 months old, so that's a good guess. I got everything via a grant from Pets In The Classroom, so except for buying an additional substrate mat, I paid nothing for the setup.

I measured the temp with the included thermometer that's attached to the inside of the enclosure. But I've also ordered an infrared temp gun for better accuracy.

I'll order some super worms and add them to his diet. Once he's moved to my classroom, roaches of any kind won't be possible. My school won't allow them, should any escape and breed. So I'll have to stick to crickets.

The kit came with dried fruit/veggie mix that I rehydrate with a little water as well as pellets (also rehydrated with water). I've seen no mention of them being good options. I assume I should stick with just fresh salad, right?

Regarding a feeding schedule for the first couple weeks while he stays at home, I'm looking for some suggestions. I leave my house early - usually around 6am. I wasn't planning on having his lights come on until around 8am. So I thought I'd feed him salad before leaving, so when the lights come on and he reaches his desired temp he can eat what he wants. Should I put crickets in at that time, or would they be a nuisance, especially if he doesn't eat them all? How about super worms with his salad in the morning, then crickets in the evening? Would that be enough? And I assume the worms should be alive? My kit came with a can of worms in a liquid type substance, so they're only partially dried.

Regarding the ceramic bulb, if my basking light isn't providing enough heat, can I use both simultaneously, especially if the ceramic is hooked up to a thermostat and will turn off when the tank reaches desired temp?

I also plan to add a bit more structure. Right now all he has is the artificial tree for basking. I thought a magnetic rock ledge for another basking option would be nice, and maybe some pieces of good quality real wood. The school where I work is surrounded by forest, so there will be no shortage of options there. Anything else you think I should include? Anything to avoid adding?

Thanks again for the replies. Before buying him I found myself reading lots of posts here, so I felt pretty confident with my decision to pick him up.
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Re: New beardie owner - got questions

Postby KarrieRee » Sun Oct 13, 2019 8:41 am

Your basking light is probably pretty good as long as its keeping temps to 105-110 -- as far as the UVB I am assuming its a coil? If it is you need to get rid of it and get one of these
Which UVB light should I use?
The best UVB light is a ReptiSun 10.0 fluorescent tube HO (Or Arcardia 12% in the UK). Compact or coil bulbs do not emit the proper amount of UVB light for a bearded dragon, and should not be used. Other brands, such as the Zilla Desert Series and ReptiGlo have been known to cause eye problems and other health issues with bearded dragons, and should be avoided. The reason that some UVB lights (Zilla, ReptiGlo, coils/compacts, ect.) are considered dangerous is because the wavelength of UVB that they emit is shorter and more intense than the wavelength of the "safe" lights (ReptiSun, Arcadia). UVB lights should be replaced every 6 months. The T5’s are a strong bulb and only need to be replaced once a year – the T 8 every 6 months--- where as the T 8 are not as strong—they need to be placed inside the tank the T 5 10.0 bulb approx 12-15 inches from basking spot – the T 8 approx 6-8 inches from basking spot—the cover needs to be off the bulb for full effect of the UVB rays-- this needs to be replaced ASAP--
dried bugs and dried fruits and veg I would get rid of and use this website for feeding fresh vegies
http://www.beautifuldragons.com/Nutrition.html
He needs crickets 2 times or 3 per day -- that is his main diet and super worms are actually for treats only - you dont want him addicted to super worms - I use them like 3 to lure my baby to salad bowl to get him to eat his salad along w/ BSFL-- they are a staple feeder and do not need to be dusted -- I would order some of those and use those in the morning along w/ your salad - you can put those on top and leave them in the bowl that they cannot get out of-- but you will need a lot as they are tiny- here is a website for you https://symtonbsf.com/ they have bowls you can order that the bugs cant get out of its white and comes in different sizes - I have the medium size bowl I think it was $10-- the ceramic heater CHE is good to use if your temps are falling below 60 at nite - other wise you are good --- I use them but turn them on manually and leave on usually 24/7 in winter as it is cold in winter where I live and it keeps my tanks around 70 at nite --- I would not leave crickets in your tank while you are gone --- they will hide and then you wont know what is in there or how many they come out at nite and will bite your dragon which can cause infection --- that is why I suggested the BSFL which would be a good option to the school environment--he should be eating as many crickets as he can eat in 5-10 minute time frame --- dusted w/ calcium D3 5 x per week along w/ vitamins 2 x per week -- I also would pick up a digital probe thermometer- you will use both of them ---
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Re: New beardie owner - got questions

Postby Rodeojones » Sun Oct 13, 2019 9:45 am

Karrie, thanks for the info. My UVB bulb actually is a ReptiSun 10.0, so it appears I'm good there. I'll get some super worms, fresh veggies, and BSFL. Additionally, the dish I
I have already has a decent lip, so I think keeping critters from crawling out shouldn't be a problem.

I've noticed he's more active today compared to yesterday, so that's probably a good sign.
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Re: New beardie owner - got questions

Postby claudiusx » Sun Oct 13, 2019 10:21 am

The reptisun 10.0 comes in both the coil (CFL) version and a long florescent tube version. The cfl version that comes with the kits is not very good.

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Re: New beardie owner - got questions

Postby Rodeojones » Sun Oct 13, 2019 10:27 am

claudiusx wrote:The reptisun 10.0 comes in both the coil (CFL) version and a long florescent tube version. The cfl version that comes with the kits is not very good.

-Brandon


Ah, I see. This is the one I have. It's definitely the CFL version.

https://www.amazon.com/Zoo-Med-ReptiSun ... sun&sr=8-4

I assume this is what I want instead, with some under the counter mount?
https://www.amazon.com/Zoo-Med-26061-Re ... eature_div

Thanks.
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Re: New beardie owner - got questions

Postby KarrieRee » Sun Oct 13, 2019 10:30 am

Yep you dont want the coil--- please replace w/ the either the T5 or the T8--- there are distances that need to be implemented between the 2 so what ever you get put at the distance it requires- the T 5 is a stronger bulb --- I think I posted info on them
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Re: New beardie owner - got questions

Postby Rodeojones » Sun Oct 13, 2019 6:20 pm

I ordered the T5. Any recommendations for a fixture. It looks like any florescent light fixture will work. Should I get something with reflection to increase output? Does it sit on the mesh screen, or is it recommended that I mount it inside?
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Re: New beardie owner - got questions

Postby KarrieRee » Sun Oct 13, 2019 6:31 pm

You need a hood w/ a reflector-- what length? It can sit on top of screen approx 12 - 15 inches I believe from basking -- someone may correct me on that
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Re: New beardie owner - got questions

Postby Rodeojones » Sun Oct 13, 2019 6:38 pm

KarrieRee wrote:You need a hood w/ a reflector-- what length? It can sit on top of screen approx 12 - 15 inches I believe from basking -- someone may correct me on that
Karrie


Length of what? My enclosure? It's a 40 gallon until, so 32 inches long. Is that what you're asking?
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Re: New beardie owner - got questions

Postby KarrieRee » Sun Oct 13, 2019 7:02 pm

Oops length of bulb did you get? You said T 5-- so you got a 32" inch fixture? Ok that's good you didn't get the whole length of tank--- or you need a fixture-- ok so you can look on line to find one and shop around
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Re: New beardie owner - got questions

Postby Rodeojones » Sun Oct 13, 2019 7:06 pm

KarrieRee wrote:Oops length of bulb did you get? You said T 5-- so you got a 32" inch fixture? Ok that's good you didn't get the whole length of tank--- or you need a fixture-- ok so you can look on line to find one and shop around
Karrie


I got this exact bulb, per recommendations above.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00AQU8H ... 8P9F&psc=1

Just wasn't sure about what the fixture required. I'll look around, unless you or someone else has a specific model you think I should use. Thanks.
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Re: New beardie owner - got questions

Postby KarrieRee » Sun Oct 13, 2019 7:11 pm

Good bulb -- you will need a T5 fixture-- I have a zoomed fixture I got from www.pangeareptiles.com-- but you can shop around -- it needs a reflector
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