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How to get him to eat?

RangoRocky

Member
Original Poster
Good Morning All,


We need help or suggestions. Last week we brought and received our beardie from Underground Reptiles. Well my husband named him Rango and I thought he needed a middle name so he’s Rango Rocky Balboa. He is currently 9in long and according to length he’s 4mo. We purchased a 20g tank (pictures will be attached) and have now decided to go bigger to a 40g but haven’t gotten it yet. We have done pretty well with temp and humidity on the hot side it’s the cool side that we have the issue with. He never really goes on the cool side anyway. We also purchased a heating pad and placed it on the outside of the glass. What’s the problem you may ask……he really does not eat. He may nibble. So when we first got him we went and got dry food and Rango didn’t touch it. We went to Petsmart and got crickets he did pretty good with that so we added more. I think them crawling on him and possibly biting him stressed him so we took them out. All in all he nibbles this is everything I’ve tried

Kale…..only ate 1 piece in a week
broccoli 🥦……does pretty good but maybe 1 or 2 baby pieces whenever we can get him to eat
Grapes 🍇 ….didn’t eat
Apple🍎….didn’t eat
Red Peppers….didn’t eat
Celery …. didn’t eat
Dry Food …. didn’t eat
Meal Worms…..occasionally but has to be handfed
Dubai Roaches…didn’t eat
Organic Warm Applesauce…. Seems to like
Banana….seems to like
Shredded Carrots 🥕 & Cucumber 🥒 i just brought.

I’ve tried making a salad with some of the above vegetables with mealworms mixed in and he doesn’t touch it.

We never really see him eating unless we hand feed him. So idk he eating things when we not looking or what.
 

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Shinryu

Hatchling Member
Staff member
Lead Writer
Hi RangoRocky! Your beardie is a handsome little guy. I think we need a bit more information to answer your question. Could you let us know what UVB bulb you're using and how it's mounted? What are the temps in your basking zone and your cool side? Beardies need proper temps in the basking zone to be able to digest their food properly. Why are you using a heating pad? Typically, proper UVB and basking bulbs at correct distances maintain the temperature at a good level without heating pads outside of the glass. If your home falls below 65 degrees at night, then I would add in a ceramic heat emitter.

Could the crickets have been too large? Since you have a young dragon, make sure that the insects you're feeding him are sized to fit in the space between his eyes. You could also try small hornworms as a treat. As far as greens, have you tried greens that are considered staples for a bearded dragon --mustard greens, collard greens, butternut squash, turnip greens, spaghetti squash? Several of the items you listed should only be given about once per week as a treat (brocolli, grapes, kale, banana). Dry food is definitely not recommended for bearded dragons.

An upgrade to a larger enclosure should help as well. I would recommend at least a 40 gallon "breeder tank"? It's closer to 50 gallons. Hopefully the little guy will start eating better soon!
 

RangoRocky

Member
Original Poster
Hi RangoRocky! Your beardie is a handsome little guy. I think we need a bit more information to answer your question. Could you let us know what UVB bulb you're using and how it's mounted? What are the temps in your basking zone and your cool side? Beardies need proper temps in the basking zone to be able to digest their food properly. Why are you using a heating pad? Typically, proper UVB and basking bulbs at correct distances maintain the temperature at a good level without heating pads outside of the glass. If your home falls below 65 degrees at night, then I would add in a ceramic heat emitter.

Could the crickets have been too large? Since you have a young dragon, make sure that the insects you're feeding him are sized to fit in the space between his eyes. You could also try small hornworms as a treat. As far as greens, have you tried greens that are considered staples for a bearded dragon --mustard greens, collard greens, butternut squash, turnip greens, spaghetti squash? Several of the items you listed should only be given about once per week as a treat (brocolli, grapes, kale, banana). Dry food is definitely not recommended for bearded dragons.

An upgrade to a larger enclosure should help as well. I would recommend at least a 40 gallon "breeder tank"? It's closer to 50 gallons. Hopefully the little guy will start eating better soon!
Temp on hot side stays between 100-110 and humidity 20-30%. Cool side stays between 75-85 humidity stay around 50ish%. But like he stated he never really goes on the cool side. I use the heating pad because he loves the heat. For lighting I have the 13w ReptiSun 10.0 UVB Mini Compact Fluorescent Lamp and 75w ReptiBasking Spot Lamp. I have them sitting on top of the mesh cage screen. I believe the crickets could have been a lil large but he won’t eat the correct size now either. I brought the 1/8 and some a size bigger. He still doesn’t not eat them. For the greens I feed him kale.
 

Shinryu

Hatchling Member
Staff member
Lead Writer
Hi, thanks for the additional info! I'm not sure if it would solve your issue entirely but improper UVB can definitely make a beardie less active and want to eat less. In the long run, it can cause very serious problems. The very first thing I would recommend is getting rid of the mini compact fluorescent. They have been known to cause many health problems in bearded dragons. The only two bulbs that we recommend are tube style bulbs -Reptisun 10.0 UVB T5 HO and Arcadia 12 % UVB T5 HO. T8 versions of these bulbs are also ok if mounted inside the terrarium. Check out our lighting guide when you get a chance.


For nutrition, I'm including this handy nutrition guide which would give you some ideas of other things to try. Nutrition Content

Hopefully proper UVB will boost his appetite!
 

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Temp on hot side stays between 100-110 and humidity 20-30%. Cool side stays between 75-85 humidity stay around 50ish%. But like he stated he never really goes on the cool side. I use the heating pad because he loves the heat. For lighting I have the 13w ReptiSun 10.0 UVB Mini Compact Fluorescent Lamp and 75w ReptiBasking Spot Lamp. I have them sitting on top of the mesh cage screen. I believe the crickets could have been a lil large but he won’t eat the correct size now either. I brought the 1/8 and some a size bigger. He still doesn’t not eat them. For the greens I feed him kale.
Besides the uvb he needs proper basking temps 105-110 taken w/ a digital probe thermometer- please no more meal worms they are too hard on babies stomachs- crickets dubia and bsfl are recommended-- please get rid of the coil - please get a 24" fixture for a 40+ gallon tank- if you need more help please ask-- zoo med Arcadia pro T 5 or sunblaster nano tech are good fixtures
 

Shinryu

Hatchling Member
Staff member
Lead Writer
Besides the uvb he needs proper basking temps 105-110 taken w/ a digital probe thermometer- please no more meal worms they are too hard on babies stomachs- crickets dubia and bsfl are recommended-- please get rid of the coil - please get a 24" fixture for a 40+ gallon tank- if you need more help please ask-- zoo med Arcadia pro T 5 or sunblaster nano tech are good fixtures
@KarrieRee Thanks for the tip regarding the sunblaster fixture. Helpful for me as well! I'll add it to our Lighting Buying Guide. Is there a particular feature of this fixture that makes it stand out from the rest? Thanks.
 

CooperDragon

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Most of the recommendations are based on output testing done by forum members or by Frances Baines. The major difference between fixtures seems to be the quality of the reflector, which results in increased output below the bulb/fixture. We have some past chatter in the Advanced Discussion section about this. I've tested some that produce half the UVB than the same bulb in a different fixture.
Another consideration is the shape of the fixture and how it is to be used. The ZooMed hood has very good output, but it is designed in a way that it's best to sit it flat on top of an enclosure. A grow light fixture like the Sunblaster or similar tends to come with clips for the top that allow it to hang more easily so it can be mounted inside the enclosure or on a stand that sits above the enclosure. The Arcadia Pro is a relatively new combo kit that Arcadia put out that includes a grow light style fixture along with one of their bulbs (6%, 12% or 14%). This has the hanging clips similar to the grow light fixture options. I haven't tested the output of this one yet, but it replaced the older combo set that LightYourReptiles sold which included a SunBlaze grow light fixture (these were excellent and I still use them). These are also available in the UK via Swell Reptiles.
 

RangoRocky

Member
Original Poster
Thanks for all the recommendations. I got rid of the some UVB and brought Zoo med Hood with the 10.0 fluorescent light. I also purchased the ceramic heat emitter. He is started to eat more. He ate 15 crickets and some kale.
 
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