New Reptile Owner, Need Tips!

Anou

New member
Overview
I've never owned a reptile of my own before so I did some research and found that beardies are [supposedly] great reptiles for beginners. I went to my local pet store, purchased a juvenile beardie, a "starter kit" (I know, it's not the bestthing to do but it is a starter kit, right?) which included a reptile carpet, hide, food dish, water dish, thermometer-hygrometer combo, and a basking lamp.
111884-7562830383.jpg
I was anxious to get everything home and set up and didn't bother to think about what I was doing wrong. Why didn't I buy a UVB bulb and fixture? Around 2 hours after getting home I went back to the store and got a UVB bulb and fixture and continued setting everything up. Mind you, I had already set up the terrarium and housed the beardie inside so she wasn't wrongfully kept in the container the store gives new reptile owners. After watching her "glass surf" for a bit I started to panic and began to fiddle with her enclosure as I thought she was just uncomfortable with the layout. Changing her basking area, moving her water dish to the other side, removing and reapplying the hygrometer, moving the basking lamp around, and so on and so forth. I didn't realize that this actually stresses beardies. I noticed she also closed her eyes when she was basking, so instead of keeping the bulb right above her basking site, I moved it a few inches away so she's not overheating. She's eating fine, loves chasing around gutloaded crickets (I only give her 6 a day) and she grazes on her pellets. I sprinkle a vitamin D3 with calcium powder on her pellets and wet it down a little bit.

As of writing this I am planning on upgrading her 20 gallon terrarium to a 40 gallon as I don't have room for anything bigger (and well, I wasn't sure if I would have room at the time I purchased her). I also plan on changing her lighting a little bit as the mesh cover is practically unusuable -- the UVB bulb and basking lamp take up 75% of the space so I have to remove them every-time I feed her.

Terrarium Setup
I'd like some advice on her current setup. It's not completed as I plan on buying some more things for her terrarium, but would like some ideas as to where to start.
111884-8485848135.jpg
On the far right is her basking lamp and behind that is the UVB bulb. It may be hard to see, but her basking bulb is positioned towards the front of the terrarium and her basking site is in the back. As mentioned above this was my attempt at cooling her down and making sure she doesn't overheat.
Her water dish is in the far left corner and her food dish is in the front. There are a few pellets contained there with powder and a little bit of water. Her reptile carpet is still drying off and I didn't place it back in otherwise the humidity would've spiked (right?). I couldn't tell you how old she is as the pet store wasn't even sure of what gender she was. I want to buy a 40 gallon tank in advance so I don't stunt her growth and shorten her lifespan.

Questions
[*]On her basking side, the temperature is around 90 degrees Fahrenheit with 50% humidity (without the damp carpet), whereas her cold side is close to 80 degrees Fahrenheit with 41% humidity (without the damp carpet). The temperature and humidity didn't drop much when I switched off her lamps for the night. What am I doing wrong, if anything? I desperately need to get her humidity down so she doesn't develop respiratory illnesses.

[*]Can I use a reptile hammock in place for a hide to provide more surface area for activities? Her current hide is sturdy and serves its purpose, but instead of using that I was wondering if I could use a hammock for her basking site.

[*]How many hygrometers and thermometers should I have inside of a terrarium? When I upgrade to a 40 gallon I was planning on having one hygrometer-thermometer combo on both ends of the terrarium to monitor the levels of both the basking site and cool side (similar to what I'm currently doing).

Thank you in advance for any advice you send my way! :D
 

Ryanps

Member
Hey there!
Im pretty new myself but have gotten a ton of helpful information on here. Im sure you will get more knowledgeable ppl here to help out but I guess I can give my two cents. You are definitely wanting to get a bigger tank and preferably one with front opening doors. The minimum size is going to be a 40 gal breeder but for a fully grown dragon a 120 is ideal if not bigger.

The basking temps should be between 100-105 even up to 110 for young dragons and that should be taken with a digital probe thermometer. That being said every dragon has its own preferences which you will figure out in no time. If you have stick ons they are inaccurate and is only registering ambient temps in the tank. I personally use one probe right on the basking site and the other on the cool end of the tank.

Your humidity should be fine where it is. I believe the target range is between 30% and 50% with above 70% in a dangerous range. I also use a digital hygrometer on the center back wall to read the overall ambient humidity.

A hammock can be used and I use one as well but be careful because nails can get caught in some materials and cause injury. Also a hammock that is very high up could cause injuries from jumping (little ones think they can fly!)

Which type of UVB light did you get? UVB is very important and there are ones that a better than others. I personally got an Arcadia fixture with 12% bulb and have been very happy with it.

Lastly it’s good to start now offering salads daily. There are plenty of sites that offer extensive lists on what is acceptable for greens, fruits, and, veggies. A good way to get them interested is by putting live feeders in the salad bowl to get them interested in the salad. Good feeders for small dragons are BSFL which a full of calcium and are on the small side so good for little guys. I like to feed Dubai roaches, as well as “treat” worms from time to time such as super worms and horn worms. For little ones stay away from meal worms if possible the hard exoskeleton can be hard on little ones stomachs, though I have seen some debate on this.

Good luck and keep asking questions as you need, like I said there is a bunch of knowledgeable people here that are happy and quick to help!
- Ryan
 

Anou

New member
Original Poster
Ryanps":2cte0mq0 said:
Hey there!
Im pretty new myself but have gotten a ton of helpful information on here. Im sure you will get more knowledgeable ppl here to help out but I guess I can give my two cents. You are definitely wanting to get a bigger tank and preferably one with front opening doors. The minimum size is going to be a 40 gal breeder but for a fully grown dragon a 120 is ideal if not bigger.

The basking temps should be between 100-105 even up to 110 for young dragons and that should be taken with a digital probe thermometer. That being said every dragon has its own preferences which you will figure out in no time. If you have stick ons they are inaccurate and is only registering ambient temps in the tank. I personally use one probe right on the basking site and the other on the cool end of the tank.

Your humidity should be fine where it is. I believe the target range is between 30% and 50% with above 70% in a dangerous range. I also use a digital hygrometer on the center back wall to read the overall ambient humidity.

A hammock can be used and I use one as well but be careful because nails can get caught in some materials and cause injury. Also a hammock that is very high up could cause injuries from jumping (little ones think they can fly!)

Which type of UVB light did you get? UVB is very important and there are ones that a better than others. I personally got an Arcadia fixture with 12% bulb and have been very happy with it.

Lastly it’s good to start now offering salads daily. There are plenty of sites that offer extensive lists on what is acceptable for greens, fruits, and, veggies. A good way to get them interested is by putting live feeders in the salad bowl to get them interested in the salad. Good feeders for small dragons are BSFL which a full of calcium and are on the small side so good for little guys. I like to feed Dubai roaches, as well as “treat” worms from time to time such as super worms and horn worms. For little ones stay away from meal worms if possible the hard exoskeleton can be hard on little ones stomachs, though I have seen some debate on this.

Good luck and keep asking questions as you need, like I said there is a bunch of knowledgeable people here that are happy and quick to help!
- Ryan

Thanks for the tips! I'm using a Thrive 20" Reptile Hood for UVB. Everything inside the terrarium came with the starter kit so I intend to buy better equipment once I upgrade. The UVB hood and left hygrometer are the only items I bought separately. I'm going to use the guides presented on this website when it comes to recommended equipment when I transition to a better terrarium.

I've considered a terrarium with front doors actually! My only problem is I currently don't have a stand to place the terrarium on, but Amazon can fix that quick. :lol: I also plan on inserting a background so she doesn't get stressed about seeing her reflection. Would I place that on the outside of the terrarium or the inside?
 

Ryanps

Member
For sure! With the background I’m not sure I just have a towel wrapped around my current tank and the upgrade I ordered is pvc so it only has glass on the front. From what I can remember the thrive UVB even the tube bulbs aren’t that great. You should reach out to memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=97951. She is on here a lot and knows her stuff and if she doesn’t know she will reach out to moderators or vet techs on here that will. She will know better than I if that fixture should be sufficient. I have also had some good advice from CopperDragon who I believe is a moderator as well. Sorry I can’t be of more help but I only try to throw in my two cents on things I am confident I know about.
Ryan
 

Anou

New member
Original Poster
Ryanps":1cvkpx3r said:
For sure! With the background I’m not sure I just have a towel wrapped around my current tank and the upgrade I ordered is pvc so it only has glass on the front. From what I can remember the thrive UVB even the tube bulbs aren’t that great. You should reach out to memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=97951. She is on here a lot and knows her stuff and if she doesn’t know she will reach out to moderators or vet techs on here that will. She will know better than I if that fixture should be sufficient. I have also had some good advice from CopperDragon who I believe is a moderator as well. Sorry I can’t be of more help but I only try to throw in my two cents on things I am confident I know about.
Ryan
Yeah, I'm planning on upgrading the UVB and basking lamp to Zoo Med Reptisun. Are PVC enclosures cheaper than glass?
 

Ryanps

Member
From what I have seen in looking for enclosures is that for terrariums in larger sizes they are usually wooden or PVC. I think PVC were more expensive than wooden enclosures. What I ordered was a 120 gal which is 48x24x24. At that size glass becomes heavy and cumbersome and pretty expensive. Not sure about most enclosures but the one I have ordered comes flat and needs to be assembled. But if needed to be moved can be broken back down. I pre ordered from https://dubiaroaches.com/ (also were I get a majority of my feeders) but they are no longer taking pre orders and will only sell them as they get them in stock. I also looked into zen habitats which are a bit more expensive but have heard good things about.
 

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 4 and Blaze is 2
PVC enclosures are lighter than glass and easier to move ---- your going to need a 24" fixture for a 40+ gallon tank and I would skip the 40 all together and get her into a 120 gallon - you can section half off as she grows - shes pretty little for that big of a tank but by the time she is 7 months old she will need a bigger space -- please invest in a Zoo Med or Sunblaster or Arcadia fixture w/a Reptisun 10.0 T 5 or a Arcadia 12% bulb -- make sure you have 2 digital probe thermometers and getting basking temps w/ those stick ons are not accurate for that and give only ambient temps - the humidity is fine at 40% --- I would get the Zoo Med fixture its going to come w /a 5.0 UVB bulb that you can use now on the 20 gallon tank --- I would keep her in that till around 4 months or so then move her into a bigger tank depending on how fast she grown -- I moved Blaze into his 120 gallon when he was around 4 months old and he only used half of it for like the first 2 months he mainly stayed in the middle under his UVB and under the basking side - they are in two different spots -- when you get the new UVB please post back on here so we can help you set it up -- they have certain distance and placement for the 5.0's and the 10.0 or 12% bulb
 
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