Suddenly Stopped eating - shedding or sick?

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Suddenly Stopped eating - shedding or sick?

Postby ECarroll25 » Fri Feb 21, 2020 9:38 am

First time owner, but I did do a lot of research before getting my beardie. Here goes.

So around 5 days ago I got a baby beardie. I DID buy him from Petsmart as I work there (I do not work in the retail section though, so I'm not involved in the small animal care at all) and there was a sale for the month going on. Yes, I know. BUT I still wanted to be cautious so I did research on signs of health and illness in baby beardies and took several good long looks at all the ones in the tanks before really deciding I was willing to buy one still (to be fair, in my experience the quality of reptile care will actually vary drastically by location).

They were apparently around 2 months old, so I picked the second biggest in the tank (the biggest unfortunately had a bent tail tip and I just decided against it). He was very very calm about being handled, because the people at my location handle them often, so no stress there. He had clear skin/eyes/nose.

I brought him home to my setup, which I had ready (will give more description and pictures later). He has a dual dome light fixture with a 26W UVB bulb next to a 75W infrared bulb (which is over his basking spot). He is currently in a 10 gal tank but he is only 7 inches long currently so this tank at 20 in is just shy of being three times his body length, which is a rule of thumb I found on a few different sites. I AM aware bigger is better for tank size and plan to look for a size upgrade within the month. His basking spot stays very consistently between 108-110 degrees, and he spends most of his time there. The cool side varies more but it typically goes between 75 and 80. He does have a water bowl that I clean out daily, that only ever has a very thin layer of water in it. The tank humidity is pretty consistently at 30 percent, unless I decide to mist it.

He was very very active even when I first brought him home, and he went RIGHT after the small phoenix worms I had bought him. He currently gets salad of green beans, butternut squash, and kale, which I plan to switch up the contents of periodically. The first night he ate plenty of worms, he pooped promptly the next morning and it looked healthy, and over the next couple days he started to really enjoy the veggies I was offering and I actually saw him run down and really chow down on them occasionally. Two days ago I got new, bigger phoenix worms because the ones he had left in the tub were VERY tiny. Some were only like poppyseed sized. The new ones were around the size of the distance between his eyes and he REALLY went after them. Then, the next day (which would be yesterday), he took a big poop in the morning and just...wouldn't take worms. He took maybe three the whole day. Today he's not really going after the worms or his salad.

He has been rubbing his nose on his ramp so I think he may be shedding? Since this is my first time with one, I don't have a good idea of what that would look like with babies. I gave him a soak a few days ago and also today, and on days I don't soak him I just give his tank (and his back) a spritz so he can lick water off his decor if he wants.

He has shown no discernable signs of stress. No tank surfing, he puffed his beard at me once when I crouched down next to his tank too fast, but immediately calmed down and has not done it since, he is active, especially in the morning, has been pooping 1-2 times a day. He sometimes head bobs and postures at his reflection right after eating, probably because he thinks it's another beardie he's going to have to compete with for food (as he did in his old pet store tank, where he was with other babies).

He is usually very ok with handling, today he seems a little more hesitant and doesn't super want to crawl up onto my hand (still not aggressive or beard puffing tho) He spends most of the time in his basking spot but sometimes he goes to the second high point in the tank I gave him on his log, so he can still be up high but not directly under the heat. He settles down quickly for bed inside the hollow of the log piece when we turn the lights off for the evening.

I am probably freaking out over nothing, but his change in appetite was just so quick that it's really stressing me out. I considered that it's a problem with the larger worms, but they are definitely not bigger than the crickets they were feeding him at petsmart at any rate, and presumably he ate those. I don't think he is impacted, because he pooped right before he stopped eating, and he has reptile carpet, not a loose particle substrate. I know some of these things can happen when they are shedding, but also I don't see any obvious loose skin on him, how many days should I go before being really worried about the fact that he's not very hungry? Sorry for the long post, I just wanted to give a lot of information as usually I see people ask these questions and then get a BARRAGE of other questions about their conditions and feeding of their beardie.

I just really don't know whether to chalk this up to shedding (definitely possible), relocation stress (also possible but he was fine for several days after coming hom until now), or something more serious. And it would be helpful to receive some advice on at what point I should actually be concerned.[Click image to enlarge]
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ECarroll25
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Re: Suddenly Stopped eating - shedding or sick?

Postby KarrieRee » Fri Feb 21, 2020 12:51 pm

The 26 watt bulb needs to be 8" from basking decor and in a reflector dome -- w/ NO screen in between to get the best max out of those rays---------he will go thru relocation stress but he should not quit eating all together - shed will also cause lack of appetite --- but I am thinking its the UVB has something to do w/ it --- we dont recommend the coils but as of now we or I have not heard anything bad about the 26 watt --- you want to stay away from the 13 watt --- here is some info on the 26 watt that I have
The 26w version of the UVB150 is similar in output to a T8 tube when using a reflector. The beam isn't as wide (depending on the length of the tube) but the output strength is very similar. If it was sitting about 6-8'' above the main basking area then it was likely providing adequate UVB. It's the lower wattage (13w) versions that cause concern since they aren't strong enough to provide adequate UVB at a safe distance. I myself would ditch the coil all together but it is up to you -
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Re: Suddenly Stopped eating - shedding or sick?

Postby ECarroll25 » Fri Feb 21, 2020 1:06 pm

KarrieRee wrote:The 26 watt bulb needs to be 8" from basking decor and in a reflector dome -- w/ NO screen in between to get the best max out of those rays---------he will go thru relocation stress but he should not quit eating all together - shed will also cause lack of appetite --- but I am thinking its the UVB has something to do w/ it --- we dont recommend the coils but as of now we or I have not heard anything bad about the 26 watt --- you want to stay away from the 13 watt --- here is some info on the 26 watt that I have
The 26w version of the UVB150 is similar in output to a T8 tube when using a reflector. The beam isn't as wide (depending on the length of the tube) but the output strength is very similar. If it was sitting about 6-8'' above the main basking area then it was likely providing adequate UVB. It's the lower wattage (13w) versions that cause concern since they aren't strong enough to provide adequate UVB at a safe distance. I myself would ditch the coil all together but it is up to you -
Karrie


Thank you for the further info! I had decided to opt for the 26W after consideration specifically for that reason, and after reading some reviews on the 13. It is definitely helpful to have a good reference to how they compare to the tube lighting. Currently the UVB light is about 7-8 inches high from the ramp he usually sits on. My screen cover is not a super fine mesh, it has a diamond pattern with about 1/4 in. holes. Initially (by which I mean when I was researching before getting my dragon) I had seen some things about tube lighting being the most ideal but not until being on here the past week or so did I see the majority seeming to say that on top lighting should be definitely avoided. But having been looking through here more the prevailing opinion seems to be that inside is better, and I can definitely see why. I had planned to upgrade to tube lighting when I upgrade my tank size in a couple weeks. Does it sound like the current lighting is drastically inadequate enough that that is too long to wait? Just want to get an idea of how urgent this might be.
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Re: Suddenly Stopped eating - shedding or sick?

Postby KarrieRee » Fri Feb 21, 2020 2:05 pm

As soon as you can - I was going to suggest to upgrade to the tube and if you are using a red infrared light get rid of that as well-- colored bulbs hurt their eyes and disrupt sleep - if you need heat in the tank at nite get a CHE- they produce only heat no light--- if your tank is 65 or abovev at nite your good- what are you taking basking temps w/? No stick ons they are inaccurate-- digital probes and or infrared heat gun- probes can be bought at Petco PetSmart for $5- the heat gun for $10-12 from your local home improvement store
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Re: Suddenly Stopped eating - shedding or sick?

Postby ECarroll25 » Fri Feb 21, 2020 2:31 pm

KarrieRee wrote:As soon as you can - I was going to suggest to upgrade to the tube and if you are using a red infrared light get rid of that as well-- colored bulbs hurt their eyes and disrupt sleep - if you need heat in the tank at nite get a CHE- they produce only heat no light--- if your tank is 65 or abovev at nite your good- what are you taking basking temps w/? No stick ons they are inaccurate-- digital probes and or infrared heat gun- probes can be bought at Petco PetSmart for $5- the heat gun for $10-12 from your local home improvement store
Karrie


The infrared bulb isn't on at night. Both of them get turned off. The tank hasn't dropped any lower than 70 at night (which makes sense as that is the temp of our apartment) that I've seen. I cover the top with a very thick piece of foam after I shut the lights out to preserve some of the heat in there/make the temp drop less quickly. I have a zoomed thermometer/humidity guage right next to where he usually basks (I believe you can see it in some of the pictures), which is what I've been going by.
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Re: Suddenly Stopped eating - shedding or sick?

Postby KarrieRee » Fri Feb 21, 2020 2:39 pm

Yep that's a stickon - totally inaccurate-- do you have a bright white basking bulb? If your using the red light for basking that is another reason he's not eating--
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Re: Suddenly Stopped eating - shedding or sick?

Postby ECarroll25 » Fri Feb 21, 2020 2:45 pm

KarrieRee wrote:Yep that's a stickon - totally inaccurate-- do you have a bright white basking bulb? If your using the red light for basking that is another reason he's not eating--
Karrie


There's a picture in the photos I included that shows the two bulbs I have. I have both of them in the light fixture. Some articles I found online while google searching said something like this was fine but I guess not.
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Re: Suddenly Stopped eating - shedding or sick?

Postby KarrieRee » Fri Feb 21, 2020 3:12 pm

Do you need to get a bright white basking bulb -- ASAP!! the coil you can live w/ for now but that basking bulb you need it now! That tank is a 30 gallon I would try a 75 watt but I am thinking it's not gonna be enough so get a 100 too but you MUST have a digital probe and / or infrared heat gun to get temp
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Re: Suddenly Stopped eating - shedding or sick?

Postby ECarroll25 » Fri Feb 21, 2020 3:29 pm

KarrieRee wrote:Do you need to get a bright white basking bulb -- ASAP!! the coil you can live w/ for now but that basking bulb you need it now! That tank is a 30 gallon I would try a 75 watt but I am thinking it's not gonna be enough so get a 100 too but you MUST have a digital probe and / or infrared heat gun to get temp
Karrie


This is a 10gal tank. But yeah I'll get a white bulb when I go to work tomorrow.
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Re: Suddenly Stopped eating - shedding or sick?

Postby KarrieRee » Fri Feb 21, 2020 3:36 pm

Sorry IAM bad! A 75 watt worked for my 20 gallon- try that 100 is going to be too much! But make sure you have a probe or something to take temp you don't want to burn him up
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Re: Suddenly Stopped eating - shedding or sick?

Postby ECarroll25 » Fri Feb 21, 2020 5:30 pm

KarrieRee wrote:Sorry IAM bad! A 75 watt worked for my 20 gallon- try that 100 is going to be too much! But make sure you have a probe or something to take temp you don't want to burn him up
Karrie


Thank you for all your help! would this be adequate? It's similar in construction to the one I have now (including also being 75 W) but it is white instead of red.[Click image to enlarge]
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Re: Suddenly Stopped eating - shedding or sick?

Postby KarrieRee » Fri Feb 21, 2020 5:37 pm

Yes --- that will work --- did you get a probe temp gauge ?
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Re: Suddenly Stopped eating - shedding or sick?

Postby ECarroll25 » Fri Feb 21, 2020 5:50 pm

KarrieRee wrote:Yes --- that will work --- did you get a probe temp gauge ?
Karrie


Picking them both up tomorrow during work.
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Re: Suddenly Stopped eating - shedding or sick?

Postby KarrieRee » Fri Feb 21, 2020 5:50 pm

Ok sounds good
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Re: Suddenly Stopped eating - shedding or sick?

Postby ECarroll25 » Sun Feb 23, 2020 6:49 am

Update: I got the proper things at work yesterday. He has the white light and good temps currently. His lights have been on today for around an hour, I fed him veggies and I put some worms in his bowl where he always eats them from and he keeps clearly noticing the movement but not going after them:( he pooped in his bath yesterday morning, so he has been consistently pooping once a day, and it looks normal. I'm hoping I'll come home later and he'll have eaten some....I'm gonna get some tiny crickets when I go to work...I wasn't planning on using them but I'm hoping maybe the fact they move around more might stimulate him to eat.

Also, I've noticed he's progressed to occasionally launching himself at his reflection, which is unsafe for him as well as means he's probably more stressed that he can see it than before. I'm hoping tank background on, if not three sides, at least the backside, will help with this.

On the upside, I have seen him graze in his food bowl a couple times yesterday and also a fee seconds ago today. Idk whether he was going after the worms or the veggies. Today I can count the worms to find that out (yesterday my dad just dumped a ton of worms in there - I'm talking way too many, and they went all over the tank. It was a nightmare to collect all of them before my little guy's bedtime. I made it very clear my dad is NOT to try and feed him without communicating it to me first. Both because of this and because otherwise I cannot keep track of how much he us eating). It's better than three days ago - he went the entire day without eating anything three days ago. So hopefully the fact he's eating a little now means he's going back to normal. It's still nothing compared to his appetite before and definitely not enough for a growing baby, so I'm still gonna be worried until his appetite is back to a normal level. He looks kind of dull and has definitely been rubbing a lot on his decor, but still hasn't actually shed at all. I've been giving him soaks and occasional mist just in case.

*edit: he also pooped this morning, but it was much smaller than the past few days....urate was good, it had a *tiny piece of seemingly undigested squash but otherwise it was all digested and a normal color.
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