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New Beardie Owner!!

youngkale

Member
I recently took in a previously owned bearded dragon. I was told he is around 1 year old and he is about 15 inches long. He came in a 55 gallon tank with two lamps (one UVB almost burnt out and the other was a regular Great Value brand lightbulb). All that was in his enclosure was a rock/hide house about half his size, a heated rock, and a food bowl. The tank was disgusting and smelled awful, the reptile carpet covered in freeze dried crickets and mealworms. I was also told that he was regularly fed Dubias and vegetables “once in a while”. I’ve had him for 5 days now. Since, I have upgraded all his lighting and provided a ceramic heat emitter as my house gets colder at night. I replaced the reptile carpet, cleaned the tank using white vinegar and hot water, kept the rock/hide as a basking rock and so he had some familiar items. I provided a new water bowl, food bowl, a hide large enough for him to fit inside, and some fake plants. I had little to no knowledge of beardies before I got him, but I could not stand to see him in the condition he was in any longer. His previous owner was happy to surrender him to me but did not give me a ton of info on him in regards to how socialized he is and if he had been able to roam outside his tank. His tail is long, and it seems hard for him to pivot in the tank as the 55 is tall and thin. I’m thinking of getting a 40 gallon breeder tank with front opening doors. Is this a good idea? He is relatively active during the day, but he is still getting used to his new home and glass surfs often. What basic advice can you give me? I’d like to know as much as possible, and maybe some specific tips for owning a pre-owned beardie.
 

Shinryu

Hatchling Member
Staff member
Lead Writer
So kind of you to rescue the little guy from what sounds like a terrible living situation!

Sounds like the tank is only about 13 inch wide.. definitely not wide enough. A 40 gallon breeder tank (36" x 18" x 18" ) is a good minimum size for an adult beardie. Ideal size is 120 gallons - 4' x 2' x 2' but obviously not everyone has the room for that. There are also some 67 gallon tanks that work well. Front opening is good since it can be a bit stressful for beardies to be touched or handled from above.

Which UVB bulb did you get? I highly recommend Reptisun 10.0 UVB T5 HO or Arcadia 12% UVB T5 HO. Tube style/linear only --not compact fluorescent. If you got a T8 bulb, make sure it's mounted inside the terrarium because they aren't nearly as strong as T5.

Make sure to remember to get rid of the heated rock since those can burn beardies--they don't feel heat on their belly well. You can get whatever basking bulb you want as long as it's not a colored bulb. Main thing is to make sure the temperature is correct in the basking zone and the cool side of the enclosure. Best way to measure temperature is by using a digital thermometer with a probe end.

Have you looked at the care sheet and the new owner's checklist?


I'm also including a terrarium guide since you're looking for a different one.

CHE is good if your house is colder than 65 degrees at night.

Do you have have a photo of the little guy? He is so lucky to have you!
 

youngkale

Member
Original Poster
So kind of you to rescue the little guy from what sounds like a terrible living situation!

Sounds like the tank is only about 13 inch wide.. definitely not wide enough. A 40 gallon breeder tank (36" x 18" x 18" ) is a good minimum size for an adult beardie. Ideal size is 120 gallons - 4' x 2' x 2' but obviously not everyone has the room for that. There are also some 67 gallon tanks that work well. Front opening is good since it can be a bit stressful for beardies to be touched or handled from above.

Which UVB bulb did you get? I highly recommend Reptisun 10.0 UVB T5 HO or Arcadia 12% UVB T5 HO. Tube style/linear only --not compact fluorescent. If you got a T8 bulb, make sure it's mounted inside the terrarium because they aren't nearly as strong as T5.

Make sure to remember to get rid of the heated rock since those can burn beardies--they don't feel heat on their belly well. You can get whatever basking bulb you want as long as it's not a colored bulb. Main thing is to make sure the temperature is correct in the basking zone and the cool side of the enclosure. Best way to measure temperature is by using a digital thermometer with a probe end.

Have you looked at the care sheet and the new owner's checklist?


I'm also including a terrarium guide since you're looking for a different one.

CHE is good if your house is colder than 65 degrees at night.

Do you have have a photo of the little guy? He is so lucky to have you!
I’ve attached a photo of him, I named him Peanut :) He didn’t have a name before, so I assume he wasn’t socialized too often. I did go through the care sheet list, and I have the T5 UVB light. I did take out the heated rock right away as I noticed it was even too hot for me to touch. My only big concerns with him are the glass surfing and he seems to be pooping at least once a day, sometimes multiple. I feed him between 10-15 Dubia roaches per day, sometimes less if he isn’t as interested in them. I also feed him collard greens, carrots, and sometimes broccoli or strawberries. I’ve been thinking he may be adjusting to a “new diet”, as I believe he was mainly provided with a bowl of dried insects. The poop looks normal, I am a little concerned he may be dehydrated. I have only seen him drink from his bowl twice, so I sometimes use a dropper to drip water onto his mouth/nose. How can I be sure he’s getting enough water? I’m also worried he isn’t basking long enough to digest his food, after eating he will normally only bask for about an hour before he starts glass surfing or moves away from the basking area and lays down. I’m trying to get as much info as possible so I can ensure him a better home then he was in before. Also, I’ve removed the hammock shown in the picture (although he did enjoy it) because he rips it down constantly when dancing against the glass.
 

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Shinryu

Hatchling Member
Staff member
Lead Writer
Hi Peanut :) He is such a beautiful dragon! I was expecting him to look less healthy given everything he's been through.

Yeah, it does sound like he is adjusting to all the changes. I have heard of beardies glass surfing a lot when their living conditions suddenly drastically change. Usually though, it's best to double check lights -UVB and basking temps. I'm happy to hear you got a T5! Is it Reptisun or Arcadia? Other brands lead to many health issues in beardies. What are the current temps in the basking area and the cool zone?

10-15 dubias total per day is a bit light but he could be adjusting still... especially if fed a dry diet before. Let him eat as much as he will eat in 10-15 minutes (twice per day), and he may start to eat more as he adjusts. If he is still only eating 10-15 per day total, let us know.

If the basking area is at the correct temp (confirmed with digital probe end thermometer) and he has a comfy basking rock, he will probably adjust and bask more. Once you get another tank, you could look into tank backgrounds. Sometimes beardies will also glass surf if they are stressed by seeing their own reflection. If you have other pets at home that come close to the glass, and he isn't used to them yet, that could be another reason for stress. It's only been 5 days so sounds like he is really just trying to adjust.

In the photo, he doesn't look dehydrated... Are his eyes sunken in? Is his skin wrinkled? Is he lethargic? Those are typically signs of dehydration. Many owners don't even provide a water dish and do occasional baths where a beardie drinks a bit or they do get a fair amount of hydration from veggies too. Hornworms are a favorite occasional treat for many beardies and definitely can hydrate a beardie in need of extra hydration.

Once you have everything set up, we would love to see a photo of the enclosure!

Meanwhile, here is also a handy nutrition guide to look at.
 

youngkale

Member
Original Poster
Hi Peanut :) He is such a beautiful dragon! I was expecting him to look less healthy given everything he's been through.

Yeah, it does sound like he is adjusting to all the changes. I have heard of beardies glass surfing a lot when their living conditions suddenly drastically change. Usually though, it's best to double check lights -UVB and basking temps. I'm happy to hear you got a T5! Is it Reptisun or Arcadia? Other brands lead to many health issues in beardies. What are the current temps in the basking area and the cool zone?

10-15 dubias total per day is a bit light but he could be adjusting still... especially if fed a dry diet before. Let him eat as much as he will eat in 10-15 minutes (twice per day), and he may start to eat more as he adjusts. If he is still only eating 10-15 per day total, let us know.

If the basking area is at the correct temp (confirmed with digital probe end thermometer) and he has a comfy basking rock, he will probably adjust and bask more. Once you get another tank, you could look into tank backgrounds. Sometimes beardies will also glass surf if they are stressed by seeing their own reflection. If you have other pets at home that come close to the glass, and he isn't used to them yet, that could be another reason for stress. It's only been 5 days so sounds like he is really just trying to adjust.

In the photo, he doesn't look dehydrated... Are his eyes sunken in? Is his skin wrinkled? Is he lethargic? Those are typically signs of dehydration. Many owners don't even provide a water dish and do occasional baths where a beardie drinks a bit or they do get a fair amount of hydration from veggies too. Hornworms are a favorite occasional treat for many beardies and definitely can hydrate a beardie in need of extra hydration.

Once you have everything set up, we would love to see a photo of the enclosure!

Meanwhile, here is also a handy nutrition guide to look at.
His cool side of the tank sits at about 82-85 most of the time, and the basking temp is usually about 105. He was only being fed 10 small/medium Dubias per day and I have been getting him the larger ones. When he glass surfs, he will try to scratch at me wherever I’m standing near his tank. He’s also used his tail to basically launch himself up toward his basking lamp or just towards the lid to the tank in general. He is much stronger than I expected him to be, and I noticed that a warm bath helps him calm down. I have been nervous about handling him outside of his enclosure because I don’t want him to get away from me. I blocked off a part of my living room for him to come out of his tank (when he was jumping to get out), but it really seemed to overwhelm him. Part of me just hopes that he is eager for attention when scratching at the tank at me, but I plan on giving it some more time for him to settle in. The first few nights I was so so worried about him, I was waking up every few hours to check on him at night (he was always in the same spot, sound asleep). The last thing I want is for him to be stressed out in his environment, so hopefully an upgrade in space for him will be helpful.

I appreciate your replies and all the tips, I went into this pretty blindly but I am still confident that I can give him a home where he will thrive :)
 

Shinryu

Hatchling Member
Staff member
Lead Writer
His cool side and basking temps are good :) As far as roaches, I'd probably focus less on the number and more on how much the little guy is willing to eat within about 10-15 minutes or so. Normally, they can handle 10-20 per feeding. He sounds like he has tons of energy! That's great to hear. To me, it looks like you have researched bearded dragon care quite a lot since you got him! I'm also confident that you can give him a great home! Again, he is very lucky to have found you! Looking forward to seeing some updates in the future!
 

Shinryu

Hatchling Member
Staff member
Lead Writer
Here is also a short but helpful thread about relocation stress from one of the experts in our community. It's ok to give them some time to adjust and sounds like you're doing the right thing by letting him settle in a bit. He may experience some more short term relocation stress once you upgrade the tank, but it will be worth it in the end.
 

Shinryu

Hatchling Member
Staff member
Lead Writer
Oh one thing I forgot to mention earlier too. When feeding insects, it's good to aim to keep their size to approximately what fits in the space between the beardie's eyes. Feeding insects that are too large can lead to certain complications .
 

youngkale

Member
Original Poster
Oh one thing I forgot to mention earlier too. When feeding insects, it's good to aim to keep their size to approximately what fits in the space between the beardie's eyes. Feeding insects that are too large can lead to certain complications
Oh one thing I forgot to mention earlier too. When feeding insects, it's good to aim to keep their size to approximately what fits in the space between the beardie's eyes. Feeding insects that are too large can lead to certain complications .
Good to know! The employee at my local pet store where I buy the insects suggested I bump him up to the larger roaches because of his size. He seems to like the bigger ones and doesn’t appear to struggle with them at all. Also, should I always dust them in calcium? Can I give him too much of it? I’ve also wondered about feeding him in a separate enclosure or in something smaller so the bugs don’t get away and hide before he’s able to get to them. He also had reptile carpet in his previous home so that is what I have stuck with as far as substrate, but have been curious if there is a better substrate I could be using.
 
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