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Old 16-07-2009, 07:08 PM
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Default Ackie advice, please..

Hi there,

Am a beginner hoping to buy an ackie as a pet next month, but I want to get it right...So I would really appreciate help, as there doesn't seem to be any ackie books available to buy..

1. If I get a book on bearded dragons, can I follow the advice on housing etc, and everything, apart from food? (have been told that is the case, but wanna be sure)

2. I want him/her to be comfortable, so what size housing would you recommend?

3. Best places to buy cheap equipment in London area?

4.Is it better to take a friendly adult, than a skittish baby, as am a beginner? Or are the babies easy to tame?

5. Any other advice to keep an ackie healthy/happy?

Many thanks in advance
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Old 16-07-2009, 07:14 PM
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http://www.reptileforums.co.uk/lizar...-monitors.html Hope this helps
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Old 16-07-2009, 07:20 PM
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I'd do a hotter basking spot than a beardie - and we use a sand/soil mix in our ackie viv, but other than that (and eliminating greens from the diet but keeping the bugs) I'd say the care is similar. We find ours do well if we mist the cage a couple of times a week - they definitely like having somewhere more damp to hide when they want it.

Although some caresheets recommend feeding meat/rodents, I personally do not; I'd rather feed them the more expensive insect diet that ensures they won't become obese.
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Old 17-07-2009, 05:11 PM
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Many,many thanks to both of you. Very useful info. Makes me more confident in getting one soon...
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Old 17-07-2009, 05:29 PM
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I don't keep Beardies, so some of this may be redundant.

1. If I get a book on bearded dragons, can I follow the advice on housing etc, and everything, apart from food? (have been told that is the case, but wanna be sure)

More or less, but as has been said, a hotter basking spot is required. 120-130 is a good temp for the basking spot, even up to 140 but depends on the animal. Ours is lower because he's a baby at the mo. Provide plenty of climbing things (highest point should be at the basking spot), and also places to hide so he can escape the heat if he wants.

2. I want him/her to be comfortable, so what size housing would you recommend?

4x2x2 is recommended.

3. Best places to buy cheap equipment in London area?

Don't know, sorry. Not from there!

4.Is it better to take a friendly adult, than a skittish baby, as am a beginner? Or are the babies easy to tame?

The advantage of having a baby is that he will bond with you. Generally Ackies are great, very handlable and have very mild temperaments. A baby will be skittish for a while but should settle down quickly. Better that than buying an adult who doesn't like you, imo. My ackie is even tamer than my geckos lol.

5. Any other advice to keep an ackie healthy/happy?

A deep substrate is needed as they like to dig. So up to 12 inches substrate as adult, but to be honest, not many people can manage that. If you can't, several inches will do. They like to have enough subtrate to make tunnels and burrow into. If you can't provide that, I'd recommend buying a good long tube hide which will mimic a burrow.

We spray our viv a few times a week to create some humidity. From my (minor) experience they can suffer bad sheds, so this helps for that too.

They will use their whole viv. They are very active, run around a lot, and like all monitors, are very intelligent. So you have to give them a lot to do or they may get bored. So at the risk of repeating myself, plenty of branches, slate cuttings, anything which will entertain him. We have a mini 'tree trunk' which he loves climbing. It's vertical. They are semi-arboreal, so don't NEED to climb vertically, but will if you provide for that.

AH.. one more thing. Make sure you 'earth' these climbing things. Put them right on the bottom of the viv, rather than on top of the substrate. Otherwise they WILL dig underneath them and risk squashing themselves. LOL

Any more questions, PM me. I'm a bit infatuated with Ackies.
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Old 23-07-2009, 01:36 PM
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Thanks millions, Mark.

I have now bought a second hand home for my future ackie (4ft), so getting there.

Have got 2 more questions:

1. Is it safe to let them eat insects,like spiders etc that come into my house? Or may these 'wild' insects have some harmful bacteria?

2. What temperature should their bath water be, when I bate them twice a weeK?

Many thanks in advance
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Old 23-07-2009, 01:41 PM
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I would be more worried about what the "wild" bugs might have eaten or crawled through before coming in the house - like insecticide.

Bath water should be fairly cool to tepid - it shouldn't feel "warm" or "hot" to you.
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Old 26-07-2009, 06:51 PM
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Many thanks ssthisto!

And surprise,surprise, I have a few more questions:

1. Which substrates are good for ackies? any plus or minus points?

2. Is heatmat necessary?In the lizard tank I bought there isn't any specific separation for it?

3.How often/how do I know when to change the Uv and heat lamps? They are included in teh tank I bought second hand, but how can I be sure they still work fully?

4.How often do I need to clean his home? I will of course do spot-cleaning every day, when necessary. Shall I only use the reptile cleanin thing that's sold at petshops, or are some normal cleaning fluids a good alternative?

Thanks again in advance.
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Old 26-07-2009, 07:29 PM
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I like a half-sand, half-soil mix for my ackies.

I personally wouldn't use a heat mat with them.

UV: If it's a second-hand viv, it might be a good idea to change the UV tube now. You don't know how old it is or whether it is still giving off any UVB. The heat bulb, you'll know when it stops working because it'll ... stop working

As for cleaning, I'd clean when it needs it; using a reptile-safe disinfectant is a good idea.
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Old 27-07-2009, 05:10 PM
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Thank you again! Am moving house this weekend, so then can buy my very first ackie...
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