Some personal questions from an upcoming beardie owner (:

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Some personal questions from an upcoming beardie owner (:

Postby xAnaBooo » Thu May 17, 2018 4:59 pm

Hey! To start off, I am a high school student who has never owned a reptile before. I do not have any other pets since I can't have dogs or cats, and I thought a beardie would be a fun option for me to start taking care of something myself. That being said, I have some situations that I would like to ask for some advice on to make sure my dragon is taken care of to the best of my ability. I'm going to buy one by the end of this year, and I've done tons of research, however these are some unanswered questions for my situation that I would like answered.

1 ) I know that beardies need the lights to be off when they're sleeping. Since I typically sleep at 10 pm and wake up at 5:45 am, what is the appropriate time for the lights to go on and to go off? I know that I can buy an automatic timer that will turn the lights on and off when it is appropriate, but I don't want the lights to be on or off for too long or too short, either.

2 ) When I get ready in the morning I use very bright vanity lights to do my makeup. Being a teenager, sometimes I stay up late, too. I was thinking of buying maybe a piece of felt to cover my tank when turning on my room lights earlier than when the tanks lights go on, or when I stay up later than the dragon does. I do not want to disturb my dragon's sleep cycle in any way. Would even dim Christmas lights bother the dragon while it's sleeping? Is the felt curtain a good idea for the morning?

3 ) I like to blast music. It's never super loud, but I do have subs in my room and so the bass is boosted. Will this startle the bearded dragon? Should I refrain from turning up the music too loud? I think a beardie might enjoy the music, however I don't want to damage its little ears or freak it out from the vibrations.

4 ) Sometimes my mom will take me out after school unexpectedly for food or to go to the store. I also go to my friend's house for a night or two. I was thinking of leaving pellets in a food dish for my beardie when I can't be there to hand feed it insects or making a salad. Would this be okay? I still want my bearded dragon to be able to eat all its meals, but life can get busy and I can't guarantee I will be home at the same time every single day.

5 ) Will a regular house light work as a basking bulb? Similarly, will a regular house light work to light up a tank from above with warm tones without adding heat? I don't like the pale blue light of the UVB. I think a warmer tone will mimic sunlight better as well.

6 ) My last question: the feeding times people mentioned when searching up videos were very vague. I know I feed them 70-80% insects and 20-30% as babies, and the opposite when they're adults. Should I feed my beardie before I go to school? I don't want him to starve all day, since I'm gone from 7 am - 3 pm. Or would it be okay to feed him after school and then in the evening?


My food plan: I am thinking about feeding my dragon insects 2 times a day, and a salad with pellets once a day. Calcium dusting daily for babies, and every other day for adults. Multivitamin dusting every other day for babies, and once or twice a week for adults. Fruits 3 times a week with salad. When I feed insects, I'll give as many dubias or phoenix worms in about 10 minutes, twice a day. The last meal should be given 3 hours before the lights off, from what I've heard.

My bath plan: Bathing my beardie every day to every other day. I want this to be his pooping time, so I would probably do it about 30 minutes after he eats if that's right. I'll bath him as a baby in a smaller bath and I can dump it outside and then rinse it in the sink. However I don't want my sink to smell like poo. My baths will be about 20 minutes.


Please answer even a few of my questions, or correct me on anything I may have wrong, I don't want to stress out my bearded dragon in any way. Thank you so much (: Wish me luck on my journey!
xAnaBooo
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Re: Some personal questions from an upcoming beardie owner (

Postby CooperDragon » Thu May 17, 2018 5:19 pm

Welcome to the forum! I'm glad to see you're doing research before getting a dragon. It will make a big difference. I will try to answer your questions but feel free to ask more if you have them.

1 ) Shoot for about 12-14 hours of daylight for them. The rest of the time the lights should be off. You can set the actual schedule to whatever works best for you and they'll get into the routine.

2 ) I have my tank in the living room and reasonable ambient lights don't seem to be a bother. Just provide some shade areas for them to hide in while they sleep. My guy usually sleeps under his driftwood branches.

3 ) I listen to music all the time and it's never seemed to cause a bother.

4 ) A young dragon will need a couple of meals of live bugs every day. I would avoid using processed foods and stick to live bugs. It's easier to leave an adult dragon for a while as they can go without food for several days if need be and eat primarily salads which you can prepare ahead of time. If you aren't around to feed your dragon it's best to have someone on hand or who can stop by to offer meals and clean the tank as needed.

5 ) Lighting is incredibly important. The basking light needs to provide a bright white light and heat. The surface of the basking area needs to be around 100-110 and there should be a gradient down to about 75-80 on the other side of the tank. I recommend using a reptile basking light without a neodymium coating or a PAR38 halogen flood light. I use the halogen flood lights and they work very well. You will also need to use a good UVB light to project sunlight levels of UVB over the basking area. I highly recommend investing in a high quality one as this makes a huge difference in their overall health and wellbeing. This is an excellent option for most enclosures. http://www.lightyourreptiles.com/22-t-5-ho-fixture-high-output-with-arcadia-d3-12-ho-bulb/

6 ) The feeding times are ultimately up to you. Offering a morning meal of bugs and then another meal when you come home is good. I would leave a salad in the tank throughout the day. Be sure the lights stay on for a couple of hours after the second meal to provide enough time to digest. They can be groggy in the morning and take 30 minutes or more to wake up and bask/warm up before they are interested in food. They are all different though and this is likely an individual preference.

For a meal plan offer a rotating variety of bugs (it's good to have a staple like dubia roaches on hand though) twice per day all they want in 10 minutes or so. The bugs should be dusted with plain calcium (light, even coat) or a good all in one like Repashy Calcium Plus at every meal. Offer a salad every day and rotate what you offer based on what looks fresh at the store each week. I like to offer 2-3 items from this list in each salad http://www.beautifuldragons.com/Nutrition.html

Some dragons like baths and some don't. If they don't like the bath don't force it because it's not worth the stress. You aren't likely to be able to train a young dragon to poop regularly. That gets easier as they get older. You can set up a routine and see if they tend to follow it but I would be prepared to clean and sanitize the tank a couple of times per day as needed. It helps to have a solid substrate like non adhesive shelf liner so you can wipe clean and sanitize surfaces easily.

In addition to the above, what type (and size) of enclosure are you planning to use? I would plan on using a large enclosure from the beginning so you don't need to spend more to replace lighting and furniture and buy a bigger one as they get older.

It's also important to have an emergency fund available so you can afford vet care or new supplies if needed. That doesn't always come cheaply so it's good to have some savings on hand to take care of those needs.
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Re: Some personal questions from an upcoming beardie owner (

Postby xAnaBooo » Thu May 17, 2018 7:19 pm

CooperDragon wrote: In addition to the above, what type (and size) of enclosure are you planning to use? I would plan on using a large enclosure from the beginning so you don't need to spend more to replace lighting and furniture and buy a bigger one as they get older.


I plan on using the 40 gallon from exo terra, because it's expensive and unnecessary. I'm also going to use tile, and I will use the basking light instead of the house bulbs. However would it harm the dragon to have a house bulb or an LED hanging down above the tank for more light?

Thanks for answering all my questions. I'm glad to know there's people that can help :D
xAnaBooo
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Re: Some personal questions from an upcoming beardie owner (

Postby CooperDragon » Fri May 18, 2018 10:11 am

If you're going with the Exo Terra I suggest getting the 36x18x18 (or larger) because of the front opening doors. Those are REALLY nice to have. If you have the means it's cheaper to build your own though. You can make a bigger tank for less. This is an example of a popular build https://beardies.dreamwidth.org/2145.html

You can put an incandescent bulb overhead if you want some additional ambient light. LEDs might make things look a bit distorted to them though. I've found that lighting in addition to the basking and a T5 tube isn't really necessary but that will vary from setup to setup. It's something you can add later if needed. You could also get a dual T5 fixture and put a UVB light on one side and a 6500k daylight tube on the other side.
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Re: Some personal questions from an upcoming beardie owner (

Postby xAnaBooo » Fri May 18, 2018 4:57 pm

CooperDragon wrote:If you're going with the Exo Terra I suggest getting the 36x18x18 (or larger) because of the front opening doors. Those are REALLY nice to have. If you have the means it's cheaper to build your own though. You can make a bigger tank for less. This is an example of a popular build https://beardies.dreamwidth.org/2145.html

You can put an incandescent bulb overhead if you want some additional ambient light. LEDs might make things look a bit distorted to them though. I've found that lighting in addition to the basking and a T5 tube isn't really necessary but that will vary from setup to setup. It's something you can add later if needed. You could also get a dual T5 fixture and put a UVB light on one side and a 6500k daylight tube on the other side.


I'll see about the dual fixture. Thanks for answering (:
Also - using the halogen light, could I use a dome with that above the viv? I don't like risking putting a hot light inside the viv
xAnaBooo
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Re: Some personal questions from an upcoming beardie owner (

Postby Drache613 » Fri May 18, 2018 8:25 pm

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Re: Some personal questions from an upcoming beardie owner (

Postby Drache613 » Fri May 18, 2018 8:28 pm

Hello,

Great job on doing research before you bring home a dragon! He/she will thank you for it.
As stated, the most important thing is really the lighting & heating. The T5 tube bulbs are
terrific & do wonders for them, too.
You can definitely use a dome to put the halogen basking light in. Be sure it's a ceramic
based one, rated at least 100 watts over what the actual wattage of the light is for safety.

Tracie
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Re: Some personal questions from an upcoming beardie owner (

Postby xAnaBooo » Fri May 18, 2018 9:01 pm

Drache613 wrote:Hello,

Great job on doing research before you bring home a dragon! He/she will thank you for it.
As stated, the most important thing is really the lighting & heating. The T5 tube bulbs are
terrific & do wonders for them, too.
You can definitely use a dome to put the halogen basking light in. Be sure it's a ceramic
based one, rated at least 100 watts over what the actual wattage of the light is for safety.

Tracie


thank you :D ill keep everything in mind
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