New Beardie doesn't seem well

Bunsy44

Member
Original Poster
New Beardie owner and new to the forums.

We bought Ziggy from a pet store a few days ago and Im feeling like they didn't prepare us that well for any issues that might arise. He is around 6 months old. Last 48 hours he is very sleepy and not moving much. He opens his eyes sometimes for a quick check and then closed again. Didnt eat much yesterday and hasn't pooped in 48 hours.

We bought this kit and set it up the day before we picked up the dragon: Exo Terra : Bearded Dragon Starter Kit / Starter Kit for Young Bearded Dragons

I didnt use the sand mat at the advice of one of the pet store workers and bought a reptile carpet instead. I made him a cave out of some rocks that I washed in boiling water but he doesn't really use the cave. I had some drift wood that I cleaned very well but I found out it was pine so I removed it after a day. I also have a water dish that came with the starter set, a hammock and some tiles in one area. At the pet store he was in a tank with two of his brothers with no cave, just a hammock and a light and a water dish and some veggies in a bowl. They also kept the tank very wet by spraying it down a couple times a day. The moisture in there was very visible.

The set I bought came with a dual purpose mercury bulb that provides UV and heat. I also have a small fluorescent tube light on the colder side for some extra light. I believe my temps are ok? Average daily temp at mid tank is around 78-79F, cold side is around 75F and under the basking light is around 100F. He stays mostly at the edge of the hammock and not directly under the light but near it. I believe I originally had the light too close. I originally measured the temp under the light after it had been on for only an hour and it was right around 100F but I checked the temp again yesterday and it was quite hot so I raised the light a bit. I assume the new bulb hadn't reached full temp when I measured the first time. Humidity is around 20-25% most of the time but its been dry here lately.

First couple days I think we were bit too excited about him and we were handling him a bit too much. We also have a dog and I think it spooked Ziggy a bit just having the dog nearby. He seems a little sketchy when the dog was near but we have been keeping the dog away from the tank. Im sure Ziggy can still hear the dog barking upstairs sometimes though. First two days he was eating well (veggies and Crickets) and he was having a fairly large bowel moment every day (mostly solid, some liquid and some white goo in there). We bathed him once in clean warm water. I haven't seen him actually drink any water yet.

He seemed fairly active and alert for the first few days but now he's usually just laying in one spot at the edge of the hammock not directly under the light but close enough that its shining on him. He never goes over to the cold side that I have seen. Always has his eyes closed unless he quickly opens them to see what's happening when Im opening the enclosure or when I add the crickets he will look around a bit and eat a few but won't chase them at all. He ate a few crickets yesterday (not as many as he usually did) but wouldn't go for the veggies at all. I usually give him some parsley, Romain lettuce, carrots and yellow peppers. We gave him a little kiwi and strawberries one day too. No bowel movement yesterday at all.

I believe he is too young for brumation and it hasn't really been enough time to tell if he's impacted from what I have read. Visually he looks ok color-wise and he holds his head up during the day but has his eyes closed almost all the time. Im a little scared to handle him right now in case he is really stressed. Doesn't appear to have any black on his throat or lines on his belly but Im going to check again today.

Could his lack of eating, drinking and activity the last couple days be due to all the new stuff he's experiencing the last few days? (New home, changes to enclosure items, not sharing an enclosure, new faces, new sounds, dog in the vicinity, temp/humidity differences from the pet store tank, too much handling etc.)

Im super worried. I would hate anything to happen to him. We love him already and I would feel so bad If I screwed this up. Its not fair to the store that raised him for 6 months and not fair to Ziggy to be healthy and then suddenly feeling bad under our care. Im doing my best to make sure the setup, food and temps are good but seeing him look so lethargic is worrisome and I fear I have done something wrong. Going to a vet isn't an imminent option at the moment.

Any advice would be great. Im suppose to get a call from the pet store today or tomorrow from a lady that has a few dragons of her own and she said she also has the same enclosure I bought. No one else at the store seems to be much help so I haven't reached out to them.
 

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 4 and Blaze is 2
Ok, sorry about that. I shut it off so it won’t come on tomorrow when the timer kicks in. I will see what happens with that light off and I will get an led going instead.

I’m getting some conflicting info. Cooper said earlier today it’s not UVB and I could use it no problem. The pet store also said it should be fine. Im not questioning your expertise, I have just been having a hard time getting the correct info from the start. There is so much info on beardies all over the internet and it seems like the stuff the pet store told me and the stuff I have read on various websites doesn’t always line up. Even from website to website everything other than the temperatures is a little different. I have talked to some people I know that have had beardies that they bought at a different place than I did and they even had conflicting info on feeding and lighting than what my pet store said. It’s been a bit if a zoo for lack of a better term haha.

I’m grateful for this forum and the help I have received here so far. No better people to talk to about beardie problems than experienced owners. I have a bit of anxiety so I just want to get this right. I want Zig to Iive a long happy life. I usually do a ton of research before committing to a pet but I jumped in a little too quickly I think. I think sometimes too much internet research can be a bad thing and I have been reading a lot this past 4 days. Thankfulky I found this website. The pet store made it sound so easy but as I have found out, starting out is a bit of a challenge with these little guys. I wish I would have had my setup going about a week before bringing Zig home and also transitioned him a little better to make it less stressful on him.
I dont know if CooperDragon saw that you were using 2 UVB's - I can see using 2 UVB's if your tank was a 6 foot tank but for a 40 gallon is a little much and yes info can be overwhelming -- and unless I read wrong you are using 2 UVBs correct ? I dont want to guide you wrong either -- your going to get the best info for your dragon here tho -- pet stores are famous for giving and selling stuff that is not good for dragons -- so I recommend only using one UVB and w/ the pooping issue since hes 6 months old they will start to poop less -- as long as your not feeding insects too big for him hes hydrated and his basking temps are good (surface temps) and good UVB of which you have give him time to poop -- as time goes on and the older he gets it is not uncommon for them not to poop for weeks -
 

CooperDragon

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
The T5 fixture has a 6400k bulb in it, which is a bright daylight bulb. Great for growing plants and providing bright light, but does not provide UVB. As mentioned, that is a smaller model so it will be tough to find a T5 UVB bulb for it. It can be left on for now since it's providing nice bright light, but to provide UVB in additon to what is being produced by the MVB, A 24'' version of the fixture will likely be needed - the Arcadia 12% bulbs are easier to find in that size.
 

Bunsy44

Member
Original Poster
I dont know if CooperDragon saw that you were using 2 UVB's - I can see using 2 UVB's if your tank was a 6 foot tank but for a 40 gallon is a little much and yes info can be overwhelming -- and unless I read wrong you are using 2 UVBs correct ? I dont want to guide you wrong either -- your going to get the best info for your dragon here tho -- pet stores are famous for giving and selling stuff that is not good for dragons -- so I recommend only using one UVB and w/ the pooping issue since hes 6 months old they will start to poop less -- as long as your not feeding insects too big for him hes hydrated and his basking temps are good (surface temps) and good UVB of which you have give him time to poop -- as time goes on and the older he gets it is not uncommon for them not to poop for weeks -
Thanks Karrie. I shut that light off for now to see if it helps. I did a bunch of research last night and Im pretty sure that bulb doesn't emit UVB? Or very little anyway. I know for sure that it isn't labeled as a UVB bulb or a Reptile Bulb.

I believe this is the bulb here: https://www.amazon.ca/Blaster-0900175-6400k-Output-Replacement/dp/B00AKKURKS

Now that I think about it though, I only started with that light on Sunday afternoon and Monday is when he seemed to change for the worse. That said, he's been improving the last couple days minus the pooping thing.
 

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 4 and Blaze is 2
I dont know if CooperDragon saw that you were using 2 UVB's - I can see using 2 UVB's if your tank was a 6 foot tank but for a 40 gallon is a little much and yes info can be overwhelming -- and unless I read wrong you are using 2 UVBs correct ? I dont want to guide you wrong either -- your going to get the best info for your dragon here tho -- pet stores are famous for giving and selling stuff that is not good for dragons -- so I recommend only using one UVB and w/ the pooping issue since hes 6 months old they will start to poop less -- as long as your not feeding insects too big for him hes hydrated and his basking temps are good (surface temps) and good UVB of which you have give him time to poop -- as time goes on and the older he gets it is not uncommon for them not to poop for weeks -
ok so CooperDragon cleared this up for me and this is what he said so
Thanks Karrie. I shut that light off for now to see if it helps. I did a bunch of research last night and Im pretty sure that bulb doesn't emit UVB? Or very little anyway. I know for sure that it isn't labeled as a UVB bulb or a Reptile Bulb.

I believe this is the bulb here: https://www.amazon.ca/Blaster-0900175-6400k-Output-Replacement/dp/B00AKKURKS

Now that I think about it though, I only started with that light on Sunday afternoon and Monday is when he seemed to change for the worse. That said, he's been improving the last couple days minus the pooping thing.
Ok sounds good -- I am confused by the Sunblaster thing this is the bulb and fixture I thought you were using -- this is the one I have been linking people to and I dont want to do that if its the wrong fixture and bulb
this one does say its a grow light so I have asked CooperDragon again about this one -- I had asked him before about this one and he said it was a good UVB -- so anyway see what the dragon does w/ it being off now --
 

Bunsy44

Member
Original Poster
The T5 fixture has a 6400k bulb in it, which is a bright daylight bulb. Great for growing plants and providing bright light, but does not provide UVB. As mentioned, that is a smaller model so it will be tough to find a T5 UVB bulb for it. It can be left on for now since it's providing nice bright light, but to provide UVB in additon to what is being produced by the MVB, A 24'' version of the fixture will likely be needed - the Arcadia 12% bulbs are easier to find in that size.
I plan on switching my setup eventually to what Copper is doing with a deeper tank with a Non UVB heated basking bulb and a T5 24" Arcadia 12% or a Reptisun 10.0 bulb. Im a little afraid to make too many changes right now until Zig gets a bit more situated but im going to buy those new lights when I get paid next week.

I don't believe Sunblaster actually makes a UVB bulb themselves? They make the fixture but I believe you have to use an Arcadia or Reptisun bulb in the fixture to actually get UVB.

The problem is, I have the lower profile tank so If I go to a 24" T5 UVB will it be too close? How close should that bulb be to Zig? I guess I could remove the styrofoam rock backing so he doesn't climb it and leave the screen off the top but I would still be worried he might get out.
 

Bunsy44

Member
Original Poster
I dont know if CooperDragon saw that you were using 2 UVB's - I can see using 2 UVB's if your tank was a 6 foot tank but for a 40 gallon is a little much and yes info can be overwhelming -- and unless I read wrong you are using 2 UVBs correct ? I dont want to guide you wrong either -- your going to get the best info for your dragon here tho -- pet stores are famous for giving and selling stuff that is not good for dragons -- so I recommend only using one UVB and w/ the pooping issue since hes 6 months old they will start to poop less -- as long as your not feeding insects too big for him hes hydrated and his basking temps are good (surface temps) and good UVB of which you have give him time to poop -- as time goes on and the older he gets it is not uncommon for them not to poop for weeks -
Could the lack of pooping over the last few days be that Im not feeding him enough? I give him veggies every morning but he doesn't always go for them, sometimes a little fruit. He loves yellow peppers and carrots. Maybe because they are orange? He seems to be very interested in anything orange or pink. I only feed him crickets once a day (as many as he will eat) but maybe I should be feeding crickets again when I get home from work? I was just worried about feeding too close to lights off. I am also worried to feed him too much if he's not pooping, is that wrong? I don't want him to get even more plugged up than he already is but maybe he isn't plugged at all, maybe he's just not getting enough food?

I currently run a 12-12 light schedule but 13-11 would work better for me for evening feedings if that wouldn't effect him? That way he would have bit more basking light time after eating.

I think Zig is the runt of the litter. He was smaller than his brothers for sure. I have seen 6 month old dragons that are huge and he's quite small.
 

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 4 and Blaze is 2
Could the lack of pooping over the last few days be that Im not feeding him enough? I give him veggies every morning but he doesn't always go for them, sometimes a little fruit. He loves yellow peppers and carrots. Maybe because they are orange? He seems to be very interested in anything orange or pink. I only feed him crickets once a day (as many as he will eat) but maybe I should be feeding crickets again when I get home from work? I was just worried about feeding too close to lights off. I am also worried to feed him too much if he's not pooping, is that wrong? I don't want him to get even more plugged up than he already is but maybe he isn't plugged at all, maybe he's just not getting enough food?

I currently run a 12-12 light schedule but 13-11 would work better for me for evening feedings if that wouldn't effect him? That way he would have bit more basking light time after eating.

I think Zig is the runt of the litter. He was smaller than his brothers for sure. I have seen 6 month old dragons that are huge and he's quite small.
Yes feed more insects than once a day keep up w/ the veggies try different greens -- ONLY dust ONE time per day on the insects tho -- the distance for your T 5 should be 12-15 inches w/ no screen --
 

Bunsy44

Member
Original Poster
I'm happy to report that Zig finally had a poo! What has my life come to that I'm excited about lizard poo? Haha. He's way more active and alert today so I think he's coming around. He smashed a bunch of crickets and veggies and he's in his basking spot for some afternoon heat.
 

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blue11

Sub-Adult Member
Thanks! Hes pretty awesome. I love him so much already. It’s been a tough week for both him and I think. I just want him to be alright so we can enjoy each other but it’s been a bit of a stressful start tweaking his setup and getting to know his habits. Today was pretty good. I think I finally have my temps good and the lights where I want them. He ventured into his cave for the first time today and rested for a bit. He ate pretty good and I had him out for a while and he was climbing all over me and exploring a bit outside his enclosure. He’s warming up to me for sure.

Still no poop though. The first three days we had him home he pooped once a day and it looked normal. The last time he pooped was Sunday morning and it’s now Wednesday evening so I’m a nervous wreck about it. He was more alert and active today, less eye closing and didn’t seem stressed about being held (Monday he was quite lethargic and didn’t eat barely at all) I gave him a warm bath today and rubbed his tummy gently. I didn’t feel anything hard in his belly. I fed him a little bit of canned pumpkin too but he didn’t eat much of it. I used a dropper with some water and he licked a little water off it. I dont think he’s dehydrated but I’m a newbie so I can’t be sure. I’m not really sure what else I can do? I don’t have a reptile vet nearby. I just really wish he would poo so I can relax and know he’s going going to be alright. The pet store said today that I can bring him in and they can look him over and even keep him a few days but I would hate to stress him out with all that change again. If he hasn’t pooped by Friday afternoon I think I might have to bring him in though.
Give it a little while - and hopefully when Ziggy does poop you can come back on her and celebrate b/c trust me we all have been VERY happy about our dragons pooping. Let him process all the newness, and as long as your lighting and temps are on point with all the great advice you’ve gotten on your post, things should come along well - but I know it can feel like forever and ever and everrrrrr.

For hydration, I personally rely on direct oral hydration - so I use a syringe/dropper with water and drop it on my dragons nose. After a few drops, if she is thirsty she will start to open her mouth / lick / take in the water until she’s done drinking and swallowing. Some people choose to keep a water bowl in their vivarium - I personally do not. I find that it creates more issues than it has benefits, but that’s totally up to each person. The first couple of months I had my girl, she did not touch the water in her water dish - 11 years later she’s still never had one, but I’m also super conscious about offering her water directly every other day. For my girl, hydration is so important in regards to her pooping easily and regularly - but i have definitely gone through times when she has not gone in a while and ive worried myself to death. Hopefully when things start to settle and click with your Ziggy he will go 🙂 let us know!
 

blue11

Sub-Adult Member
I'm happy to report that Zig finally had a poo! What has my life come to that I'm excited about lizard poo? Haha. He's way more active and alert today so I think he's coming around. He smashed a bunch of crickets and veggies and he's in his basking spot for some afternoon heat.
Ahhhhh yay! You’re officially excited about dragon poop! Welcome to the club!
 

Bunsy44

Member
Original Poster
Ahhhhh yay! You’re officially excited about dragon poop! Welcome to the club!
Hahaha. He’s seems to be fine now. He’s pooping everyday now. Eating tons of crickets and some veggies. We have a small water dish in there but he never touches it. He doesn’t like baths all that much yet so I’m guessing he won’t use that dish but we’ll see. I have used a dropper and he does drink a bit. He’s still a bit shy but I can tell he’s getting used to everything now.
 

Bunsy44

Member
Original Poster
Yes feed more insects than once a day keep up w/ the veggies try different greens -- ONLY dust ONE time per day on the insects tho -- the distance for your T 5 should be 12-15 inches w/ no screen --
Zig seems to be doing ok but he's still resting a lot. He kind of quit eating his veggies too but he's still doing lots of crickets. I have been giving him lots of variety and a little fruit sometimes but he isn't into it right now. When we first got him he would eat veggies and fruit just fine. Sometimes I can trick him at cricket time and place a few pieces of veggies near the crickets and he will grab one. I sometimes offer some water in a dropper and he will have one or two licks and I mist the enclosure and him a couple times a day but Im not sure if he licks any of it?

He's gone a couple days without a poo again but Im not too worried yet. His last poo looked totally normal so I assume he's doing ok in that regard.

Temps are fine. I check them frequently and I have a better thermometer/hygrometer coming in the mail this week. I have the UVB heat lamp about 10-12" from his basking spot. We just got him a new cave and he's been liking it. He sits on top sometimes during the day and sleeps inside during the night. I bought him a fake branch too but Im waiting to put it in there for a few days so I don't stress him out too much.

I guess Im just a bit worried about his activity right now. He seems to rest a lot and almost has to be woken up to eat his crickets sometimes. When I take him out he's much more awake. He climbs on me and looks around. I think he's still not used to my wife and daughter because he seems much more open and active when Its just me around. Maybe he's still getting used to the new place as well since its only be a little over a week?

Another thing about him right now is he's shedding on the majority of his tail and his head is really white so I think his head is about the shed off too. I have heard they get a bit moody during those times so maybe he's just a bit grumpy right now?
 

Beansbanana

Hatchling Member
Zig seems to be doing ok but he's still resting a lot. He kind of quit eating his veggies too but he's still doing lots of crickets. I have been giving him lots of variety and a little fruit sometimes but he isn't into it right now. When we first got him he would eat veggies and fruit just fine. Sometimes I can trick him at cricket time and place a few pieces of veggies near the crickets and he will grab one. I sometimes offer some water in a dropper and he will have one or two licks and I mist the enclosure and him a couple times a day but Im not sure if he licks any of it?

He's gone a couple days without a poo again but Im not too worried yet. His last poo looked totally normal so I assume he's doing ok in that regard.

Temps are fine. I check them frequently and I have a better thermometer/hygrometer coming in the mail this week. I have the UVB heat lamp about 10-12" from his basking spot. We just got him a new cave and he's been liking it. He sits on top sometimes during the day and sleeps inside during the night. I bought him a fake branch too but Im waiting to put it in there for a few days so I don't stress him out too much.

I guess Im just a bit worried about his activity right now. He seems to rest a lot and almost has to be woken up to eat his crickets sometimes. When I take him out he's much more awake. He climbs on me and looks around. I think he's still not used to my wife and daughter because he seems much more open and active when Its just me around. Maybe he's still getting used to the new place as well since its only be a little over a week?

Another thing about him right now is he's shedding on the majority of his tail and his head is really white so I think his head is about the shed off too. I have heard they get a bit moody during those times so maybe he's just a bit grumpy right now?
How is he doing now?
 
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