Tank Setup Advice

Discuss substrates, lighting, heating, enclosure building ideas, share enclosure photos, and talk about any other enclosure-related topics.

Tank Setup Advice

Postby SquiggleWolf » Fri May 14, 2021 5:16 pm

Hey all, just got my beardie a few days ago on the 11th. We got them while they were shedding which they've just about finished now. That said having been doing more research, I was hoping for some tank advice. As there is a lot of contradicting information out there.

I already read that the uvb bulb I have isn't great. (Came with the starter kit) So Ill be looking to upgrade that when possible. The tank is a 40 gallon. 36in long. With the beardie being a little over 3 inches long.


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Re: Tank Setup Advice

Postby CooperDragon » Sat May 15, 2021 7:02 am

The setup looks good! I like the decor. The moss may be a pain to keep clean if it gets pooped on, but just keep an eye out for that for now and throw it out if it gets smelly. It's easier to keep a solid substrate sanitized, but if you like the natural look including the mosses then I suggest looking into a bioactive setup.

For lighting, you want to splurge on a high quality UVB light and fixture. A T5 Arcadia Pro 12% kit should be right for that setup. I have a very similar enclosure and a T5 Arcadia works really well. http://www.lightyourreptiles.com/arcadia-pro-t5-fixture-12-bulb-22-5-sale/

For heat, you don't need to be as picky. Just a bright white light with a broad beam that puts out enough heat. It's important to adjust the basking light based on surface temperature so I wouldn't rely on the dial thermometer on the glass. Pick up a couple of digital thermometers with a probe. Put one on the basking surface and one on the cool side floor. That will tell you the temperature gradient at a glance and you can adjust the light to get the basking surface between about 100-105(ish). Cool side should stay in t he 75-80 range or so during the day. I like using PAR38 halogen flood lights or BR40 bulbs since they have a nice wide beam and can be dimmed if needed. The temps vary quite a bit between enclosures so you really just need to test out a bunch of bulbs to find what works best in your setup. Once you find something that works well, buy a bunch of them so you have spares on hand - they tend to burn out suddenly every few months.

If you have any other questions about your setup or general care, or just want to share some stories about your new buddy, please feel free to do so. Welcome to the forum =).
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Re: Tank Setup Advice

Postby SquiggleWolf » Sat May 15, 2021 7:55 am

Gotcha. Thank you. That light kit comes with the fixture too right going off how it looks?

I do have a reptile carpet, but I was recommended to wait until he got bigger before putting it in. But I have been looking into bioactive setups some too. I do like the more nature look of it.
Also would one of the small nature based water fountains that pours into a pond work as a replacement for his water bowl? I was told they can't really see standing water. So I thought it might help with finding his water. Currently Im just using a dropper and wet vegetation. As I haven't see him go to his water bowl once.

I've been giving him some space lately since he's dealing with both shedding and relocation stress. So hes a little skittish. Just giving him a light misting and some food/water every once in awhile.

I do plan to get digital thermometers as well. The dial ones it came with aren't great. I also want to get a standard light for the darker side of his tank to light it up but not add much heat there.

How much should I worry about keeping track of the humidity?
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Re: Tank Setup Advice

Postby CooperDragon » Sat May 15, 2021 9:25 am

Yes the one I linked comes with the bulb and the fixture, all you need to get going. The bulb should be good for at least a year, but the output does fade over time. If you don't have a Solarmeter to check it (they are expensive) the general rule of thumb is to replace the bulb every year or so, but I typically get 2-3 years out of the Arcadia bulbs I've had so far.

I'd avoid reptile carpet. That tends to trap food and poop and start to stink. You can clean it in the washing machine and air dry it, but it tends to get tattered pretty quickly. I prefer using non adhesive shelf liner which is cheap to replace and easy to clean and sanitize. I've used ceramic tile too, but while easy to clean it can be tough on their feet if they run around a lot.

For water, they get a lot of what they need from fresh food. Be sure to feed bugs fresh veges to hydrate them and offer a nice salad with fresh veges every day. You can use a water dish but sometimes they need to be trained to drink from it. You can do this by flicking at the water to create movement. It can take a bit of time but they usually learn to drink from it when thirsty. They may not always be thirsty though so if they refuse water, don't worry about it too much. You can also offer water by dripping it on their nose to lick up using a plastic syringe or dropper. Water features look nice and create movement, but can be difficult to clean and sanitize.

I don't bother monitoring humidity. Generally it's recommended to keep it between about 40-60% but if the air in the room doesn't feel humid to me, I don't worry about it. If you do monitor it, be sure to calibrate your hygrometer so you're getting a reasonably accurate reading.
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Re: Tank Setup Advice

Postby SquiggleWolf » Sat May 15, 2021 11:13 am

Gotcha. Good to know. He really likes cilantro and peas. He was eating crickets at first. But now he's scared of them and runs away.

So I've been trying to feed them one at a time. But it hasn't been going great. I read they tend to not eat much while shedding. So I'm not too worried yet.

Also what's a good way to get them used to you without overwhelming them?
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Re: Tank Setup Advice

Postby CooperDragon » Sun May 16, 2021 8:00 am

This is a good list to reference for some ideas about what to offer in salads. They have individual preferences but eventually you'll figure out some favorites and can keep those in rotation more often. Otherwise I usually just pick up what looks best at the store at a given time. http://www.beautifuldragons.com/Nutrition.html

It's good that you are offering fewer bugs at once so not to be overwhelming. I've found it's easier for them to hunt just one or two bugs at a time.

To build trust just give it some time. Spend time near the enclosure and try offering treats like black soldier fly larvae or silk worms. That should eventually help to build a bond.
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Re: Tank Setup Advice

Postby SquiggleWolf » Sun May 16, 2021 8:13 am

Gotcha. Thank you!
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Re: Tank Setup Advice

Postby SquiggleWolf » Sun May 16, 2021 5:45 pm

Just ordered some phoenix worms and grabbed a ton of different things at the store. (Apples, mango, cilantro, grapes, and bell pepper. Unfortunately most of these are treats but still.) Still not certain on what to add to his salad. Especially since he spends all his time basking on this log. I never see him around his food bowl. Usually have to hand feed him stuff as of right now.

What are some good staple food you can get at a grocery store? Having a hard time coming up with good answers. I noticed squash on that list but that's not really a salad lol. I do plan to get some prickly pear later though.
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Re: Tank Setup Advice

Postby CooperDragon » Mon May 17, 2021 4:21 am

He may not be super into veges until he gets older, but still offer them daily. As an adult, it should make up a majority of his diet so it helps to get them used to eating at least a little bit. The leftovers make for good roach food though.

My guy loves squash. Pretty much any kind of squash. He almost always has some zucchini or yellow squash on his plate. I cut it into worm shapes and he'll dig in. Hand feeding is fine too. Collard greens mustard greens, kale, and turnip greens also make good staples in a salad. Your dragon will likely have or develop other favorites, so just keep trying some stuff out and see what works.

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Re: Tank Setup Advice

Postby SquiggleWolf » Mon May 17, 2021 6:45 am

Gotcha. I shall make my dragon salad list lol. Just ordered the bulbs too. So hopefully those will be in soon.

Side note, this morning his back was pretty dark black. He is a fancy so he's grey as is. But he was quite a bit darker on his back until I picked him up to check on him. Then he returned to his normal shade. Gonna look it up further. But figured I'd mention it to you as well.

Im assuming it was stress/feeling threatened maybe.
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Re: Tank Setup Advice

Postby CooperDragon » Tue May 18, 2021 3:45 am

If it was in the morning it was probably just grumpy mood. Especially if it went away after a bit. They can be kind of crabby in the morning sometimes.
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Re: Tank Setup Advice

Postby SquiggleWolf » Wed May 19, 2021 3:19 pm

https://www.amazon.com/HooTown-Adhesive ... =8-10&th=1 Would this work for the flooring?

Also can confirm he is a big fan of yellow squash. Going to the point of chasing a piece down that fell off his basking spot.
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Re: Tank Setup Advice

Postby KarrieRee » Wed May 19, 2021 3:38 pm

Yep --
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Re: Tank Setup Advice

Postby CooperDragon » Wed May 19, 2021 4:11 pm

That will work. You can also get rolls that have patterns that look like sand or rock for a slightly more natural look. That isn't necessary though, just available if you'd like it. Go with what looks best to you.
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Re: Tank Setup Advice

Postby SquiggleWolf » Sat May 22, 2021 12:42 pm

Do I just set the light on top of the mesh or should I put it in the tank somehow? Double sided tape maybe?
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