Baby beardie

Annapersia

Member
Original Poster
I have a 9 week old bearded dragon. I've had him for a week. He will only eat if we feed him by hand but we will be lucky if he eats 3 or 4 meal worms in a day. I'm worried he's not getting the nutrients he needs. I dip them in calcium powder but he's only getting the tiniest amount as most of it comes off in the end. Any suggestions or advice? Thanks
 

smaugthebeardie3756

Hatchling Member
Beardie name(s)
Smaug
There are a lot of things that can effect appetite. Relocation stress is a big one and the least concerning. It can take several weeks for them to settle down and get used to new surroundings. Most immediately concerning would be parasites or infection. Since you are feeding mealworms there is also a small risk if impaction. The hard shell can be especially hard for babies to digest. The other big factor would be lighting. If they aren't getting sufficient UVB they can't make d3 to use calcium and they will stop eating. Long term, insufficient UV can lead to metabolic bone disease (MBD), which can be extremely painful and deadly. If the basking spot isn't hot enough they will stop eating as well since they rely on the heat to digest the food. To rule out lighting as the issue, please go over what brand and type of bulb you use for UVB, and what your basking spot temps are and how you take them (probe thermometer, temp gun, stick on thermometer).
 

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 4 and Blaze is 3
I agree w/ Smaugth-- please no more meal worms the exo skeleton on them is too harsh for babies - he needs correct UVB and correct surface basking temps which should be 105-110 taken w/ a digital probe thermometer - no colored bulbs please -- you want a solid clear bright white basking bulb and a long tube fixture for a UVB No coils ---- diet should be crickets - dubia roaches which is a better feeder BSFL for a baby-- the BSFL are a great feeder as they can be used to lure the dragon to the salad bowl - salads should be offered every morning --- as asked please go over your lighting ---- this is going to help the dragon acclimate to his tank and surroundings --- he needs to be kept hydrated - no baths it will stress him out more - please drop water on his nose to get him to lick it off -- keep dropping till he moves away or quits licking -- we can provide links to good UVB's if you need them --- what size tank is he in?
 

Annapersia

Member
Original Poster
There are a lot of things that can effect appetite. Relocation stress is a big one and the least concerning. It can take several weeks for them to settle down and get used to new surroundings. Most immediately concerning would be parasites or infection. Since you are feeding mealworms there is also a small risk if impaction. The hard shell can be especially hard for babies to digest. The other big factor would be lighting. If they aren't getting sufficient UVB they can't make d3 to use calcium and they will stop eating. Long term, insufficient UV can lead to metabolic bone disease (MBD), which can be extremely painful and deadly. If the basking spot isn't hot enough they will stop eating as well since they rely on the heat to digest the food. To rule out lighting as the issue, please go over what brand and type of bulb you use for UVB, and what your basking spot temps are and how you take them (probe thermometer, temp gun, stick on thermometer).
 

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Annapersia

Member
Original Poster
Hi thanks for your detailed response I appreciate it. We just brought some crickets, he ate two. We are also feeding him repashy superfood which he eats small amounts of. As you can see the from photo he has a ceramic heater on left side, a uvb in middle and basking light on right. The basking temp is usually 35 Celsius and cool side is 21c. He very rarely moves around tank he is always on basking rock or lays to the side of it on ground. He won't eat the cricket unless we put it by his mouth and it took about 40 mins for him to eat 2. I'm thinking he is still not comfortable or do you think maybe tank is not right temp? We leave ceramic heater on at night as we live in NZ and the tank can get to 17c
 

Annapersia

Member
Original Poster
Hi thanks for your detailed response I appreciate it. We just brought some crickets, he ate two. We are also feeding him repashy superfood which he eats small amounts of. As you can see the from photo he has a ceramic heater on left side, a uvb in middle and basking light on right. The basking temp is usually 35 Celsius and cool side is 21c. He very rarely moves around tank he is always on basking rock or lays to the side of it on ground. He won't eat the cricket unless we put it by his mouth and it took about 40 mins for him to eat 2. I'm thinking he is still not comfortable or do you think maybe tank is not right temp? We leave ceramic heater on at night as we live in NZ and the tank can get to 17c
 

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KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 4 and Blaze is 3
The tank is not set up correctly - I would change your uvb bulb out for a Arcadia 12% bulb way better for your tank size - it also needs a reflector you may need to get a fixture like a Arcadia pro T 5 I can't tell if your uvb is in a fixture or just the bulb itself and the way it's in there now he's getting no uvb for a T 8 -- they need to be directly above the basking decor piece 6-8 inches--
You don't need the ceramic heat emitter unless your tank is falling below 65F at night- you want a solid clear bright white basking bulb that keeps temps 105 F- 110F taken w/ a digital probe thermometer- they are the most accurate - your dragon needs all these to be correct for him to eat like 20-25 crickets at one feeding he needs to be fed 3 times per day it will help him acclimate to his surroundings better- but this all needs to good and correct if you need more help please ask - he should be fed fresh salads every morning- I can post a website for nutrition if you like - I would look into getting him some bsfl to use as lures to his salad bowl they are a great staple feeder - please ask if you have questions about supplements or anything else
 

Annapersia

Member
Original Poster
The tank is not set up correctly - I would change your uvb bulb out for a Arcadia 12% bulb way better for your tank size - it also needs a reflector you may need to get a fixture like a Arcadia pro T 5 I can't tell if your uvb is in a fixture or just the bulb itself and the way it's in there now he's getting no uvb for a T 8 -- they need to be directly above the basking decor piece 6-8 inches--
You don't need the ceramic heat emitter unless your tank is falling below 65F at night- you want a solid clear bright white basking bulb that keeps temps 105 F- 110F taken w/ a digital probe thermometer- they are the most accurate - your dragon needs all these to be correct for him to eat like 20-25 crickets at one feeding he needs to be fed 3 times per day it will help him acclimate to his surroundings better- but this all needs to good and correct if you need more help please ask - he should be fed fresh salads every morning- I can post a website for nutrition if you like - I would look into getting him some bsfl to use as lures to his salad bowl they are a great staple feeder - please ask if you have questions about supplements or anything else
 

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Annapersia

Member
Original Poster
Hey thanks for your help, I'm not sure what you mean by fixture I've attached a photo. Do you have an example of the uvb sitting above basking light? That would be really helpful thanks. Besides the amount he's eating, is it a concern he only hand feeds? We put watercress out for him as seems to be the only green he's interested in but he will not feed on his own
 

Annapersia

Member
Original Poster
Hey thanks for your help, I'm not sure what you mean by fixture I've attached a photo. Do you have an example of the uvb sitting above basking light? That would be really helpful thanks. Besides the amount he's eating, is it a concern he only hand feeds? We put watercress out for him as seems to be the only green he's interested in but he will not feed on his own
 

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KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 4 and Blaze is 3
A hood / fixture looks like this
Arcadia ProT5 12% UVB Bulb With Hood
I still can't tell if there is a reflector there would be a shiny piece running the length behind the bulb like tin foil- it reflects the uvb rays downward to him- this is important - your uvb is not strong enough for the distance it's sitting at now it's too high- and w/ no reflector that's not helping
 

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 4 and Blaze is 3
Is this the light and reflector you recommended? This is where I can get in New Zealand thanks https://www.hollywoodfishfarm.co.nz/product/arcadia-prot5-kit-24w-12-desert-lamp-fitting/

Or do you recommend a mercury bulb instead of? Basking and uvb in one light
Yes that is the uvb that you want- you need a solid clear bright white basking bulb-- like flukers or Exo Terra intense or a zoo med repti basking bulb or a Arcadia halogen - make sure you have a digital probe thermometer to get the temps -
 

smaugthebeardie3756

Hatchling Member
Beardie name(s)
Smaug
Is this the light and reflector you recommended? This is where I can get in New Zealand thanks https://www.hollywoodfishfarm.co.nz/product/arcadia-prot5-kit-24w-12-desert-lamp-fitting/

Or do you recommend a mercury bulb instead of? Basking and uvb in one light
I personally would recommend a tube whether you do the mercury bulb or not. I know people have used them successfully and they definitely provide more UVB than the coils, but some of the other limitations are similar in my opinion. Tube gives more coverage and more options for the dragon. With a tube you essentially have four light/heat zones that the dragon can choose from. Basking spot for high heat and high UV exposure, floor of the warm side for some heat and lower UV, another spot on the cool side that's closer to the UV so you have low heat and high UV exposure, and then the floor of the cool side or preferably a hide where they can go to get away from both. With the MVB, the UV is also tied to the heat, and if the basking spot is getting too hot and you needed to raise the lamp or dim it, you're also lowering the UV. So, long story short, it is my opinion that MVB is great if it is used mainly as the heat source and not the sole UVB source, and they are also really well suited for a basking spot outside the enclosure if you let your beardie free roam a lot.
 

Annapersia

Member
Original Poster
I personally would recommend a tube whether you do the mercury bulb or not. I know people have used them successfully and they definitely provide more UVB than the coils, but some of the other limitations are similar in my opinion. Tube gives more coverage and more options for the dragon. With a tube you essentially have four light/heat zones that the dragon can choose from. Basking spot for high heat and high UV exposure, floor of the warm side for some heat and lower UV, another spot on the cool side that's closer to the UV so you have low heat and high UV exposure, and then the floor of the cool side or preferably a hide where they can go to get away from both. With the MVB, the UV is also tied to the heat, and if the basking spot is getting too hot and you needed to raise the lamp or dim it, you're also lowering the UV. So, long story short, it is my opinion that MVB is great if it is used mainly as the heat source and not the sole UVB source, and they are also really well suited for a basking spot outside the enclosure if you let your beardie free roam a lot.
If I get a uvb as suggested with reflectors do you think that will suffice? My main concern is that he is under the basking light and is yet to spend any time on cool side(under the uvb) the uvb currently is 10cm to the right of basking light. If I replace it with a higher uvb will that still be enough uvb for him even if he mostly stays under the basking light? The basking light temp is 35c. I've had him for a week so he may still be settling in as you said but I am worried I'm not meeting his needs. He ate 5 crickets today and poos once a day at most, the first few days he didn't at all
 

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