Advice For Newbie; My Bearded Dragon Set-up
After wanting a pet reptile since I was 7, for my 24th birthday in June I was finally given one as a present. This is so far the set up I have for Chuck Norris, my 3 and a half month old Bearded Dragon.
I hope these pics work as its the only way I can see of doing them.
It's a 4x2x2ft viv that I heat using a diurnal 600w pulse stat and what I believe is a 250w ceramic heater (its about that, I threw out the box :whistling2:). For u.v. and lighting I use a 10% Exo Terra UV 42 inch Tube powered by an Arcadia Starter Unit which is plugged in to a timer that is set to give approximately 14 hours of light coinciding with the natural day/night pattern of the stat. The sensor for the stat is mounted on the window sill behind the curtain so as not to be interfered with by any lights that are on in the room. Day time temps are set to 40-43 degrees Celsius at the hot end and approx 30 degrees Celsius at the cool end. At night I drop these down to about 25-30 degrees Celsius at the hot end and the cool end never gets below room temp (obviously).
Chuck is fed 2-3 times a day, depending on what he tolerates and how much he wants with locusts and crickets and he gets the odd wax worm treat if he is good (sounds like hes my child doesnt it :hmm:). These are all dusted with Repton supplement prior to feeding. In his viv there is always varied fruit and veg (again lightly dusted with Repton), I try not to feed him the same veg stuff too many days in a row, and a small shallow bowl of water, which I have seen him drink out of and I know the humidity is not affected. These are both re filled with fresh each morning, and are kept at the cool end of the viv.
Now I know that the water dish and calci-sand substrate are a controversial issue, based on personal experience and opinion. But the bloke in the pet shop I bought Chuck from was recommended by other pet shops in the area and people I know who also kept reptiles. He also breeds and these were how he cared for his Beardies and he maintained he has had no problems at all with impaction. I have also watched Chuck feed and he is very accurate when lunging, and seeing as sand is found in their natural habitat I dont see the harm in having it in the viv.
Basically as I am new to keeping Beardies I'm asking for any advice and constructive criticisms about the set up I have for Chuck. I feel that with the research I have done that the set up is adequate. But, basically, I want it to be perfect for him.
I eagerly await your input
Hello there. I am by far no expert but I can only advise you on my own experience and the knowledge that I have : victory:.
As you are aware there is much contraversy over sand and particle substrates. I personally would not choose to use any kind of particle substrate as it will be ingested at some point and bearded dragons simply cannot digest sand. In my opinion my dragon means too much to me to be taking the risk.
Babies need to be offered dusted live foods 2-3 times daily. As many as he/she will eat and if using crickets any uneaten crickets removed as they can nibble on your dragon.
Suitable vegetables need to be offered daily, there is a diet sheet here you can refer to. Good vegetables to offer are greens such as cress, spring greens, butternut squash, watercress, these all make a great staple vegetable, there are many others that can be offered but only as a treat, once, twice a week.
Live foods need to be no bigger than the distance between your dragons eyes.
As you know bearded dragons are desert dwellers, often associated with sand, wild dragons infact live in extremely dry conditions they live upon compacted almost clay like soil, not loose sand.
Our set up is a Reptisun 10.0 running the length of her viv. She has a raised basking area with a 60W normal bulb for basking light.
She is on a 12 hour on and 12 hour off cycle.
We use no additional heat in the Summer months. In the Winter we intend on using a ceramic heat emitter for some additional heat. Providing your home goes no lower than 65* at night any extra heat is not needed.
Bearded dragons feel heat from above not below, so any kind of heated rocks etc; are not suitable.
Basking spot temperatures need to be anything from 105-115*, young dragons need the heat often at the top end.
We measure our ambient temperatures and basking spot temperatures.
We bath our dragon every other day, depending on if she is in shed.
Any other questions please ask! If i can help you further I will.
thanks and dont worry, as i said, ive done some research. but experience is what i lack.
i was also wondering, but forgot to put in the essay i wrote, is the furniture/decoration i have in there adiquate. Could i do with some more climbing areas, or is there anything i would be better having that dont have in there, etc.
ive managed to keep everything hide proof for the bugs. they are food after all, i want chuck to do a bit of hunting, but i found out they were all hiding in the skull where he couldnt get to them so i soon sorted that problem out by plugging all the holes in the skull.
I have also got my 1st 2 Beardie's, and thought I would let you know what my set up is.
My viv is only small (3ft x 18" x 18" ), I got this from a friend who was upgrading, got my beardie's from a guy on this forum, only wanted 1 ended up with 2 LOL, got a 24" reptisun 10.0 uv light. The heat lamp is an ordinary 40w light bulb, this keeps the warm end at 35-45 the cool end is 25-35, at night it stays at room temp about 16-20.
Up until last week I kept them on Kitchen Towel now they are on play sand, I done this for two reasons 1, It is easier to keep clean, and 2, The crix have less places to hide. So far they have had no probs and they seem to enjoy it. Other items in the viv are one piece of volcanic rock (under the heat source) and 4 pieces of slate, veg bowl and water bowl, and plastic foliage.
There food consists of medium size crix/locusts, and daily fresh veg. The biggest prob is what live food to give. I started on crix went on to locusts they proved to be quite expensive so went back to the crix, now they are on a mix of the two. They are eating about 8 crix and 2 locusts a day each.
Both are thriving well, they are the same age as yours, both shedding skin and coming out in great colours.
Like you I read all the info I could find and done all the homework before getting the beardie's, but the best thing I found is experience, you learn by your mistakes and you learn from your dragons. Hope this has helped
too true dodger26. too true. but id rather learn from other peoples mistakes ;)
and im glad im not the only one using sand. my BD eats about that many per sitting!! ill have to get him jogging laps of the viv to burn off the extra calories ;)
any constructive input is greatly apreciated, thanks
Got me thinking now, they were eating about a carton every other day so cut them down, maybe cut them down to much :lol2:
It is brilliant to hear other newbies are stressing about their dragons. I got my first at 8wks old in May and my second a month later. Similar age. At 2 and 3 months they were eating about 8 size 4 crickets a day each! They grew very fast but now at five months they have slowed down big style. During that time though they have changed vivs into a bigger one, moved from Yorkshire to Cumbria, changed from paper towel to sand (i agree much easier to keep clean) and also gone up to size 5 crickets (obviously more filling than fours!).
I have been trying everything to get them to eat more. I have moved them from sand to shredded aspen on the advice of a local reptile shop owner. I seem to try something new every day and it feels like I'm clutching at straws. Today for example, one has eaten four size 5 crickets and no salad and the other has eaten bog all. I have noticed that they feel cooler when I pick them up than they did in the smaller viv. Do yours feel like body temperature when you take them out in the middle of the day because mine used to but they don't anymore. I've messed about with the chosen basking sites and stat settings to try and get their temperature perfect but they won't bask in the right flaming place. The intended basking site is 38 degrees exactly but they are rarely there. I find myself placing them in basking position and hoping they stay there. I'm always nudging crickets to make them move towards the dragons, so they will hunt. For example today, one ate four size five crickets and the other ate 1 three quarter inch locust. No salad was consumed by the little darlings. Is it me or is reptile keeping the easiest way to make someone neurotic??!!!
By the way ironmonkey, could you explain how you got photos up. My page says I can't post attachments which is what I assume a photo would be classed as??!!
I look forward to hearing your views.
Thought I would put a couple of pics on of my viv and beardie's to show the set up
I dont use sand for my babies and young juvies.. I use sand for my sub adults and adults.. Meaning from about 6 months old upwards.
Seems like you have everything you need. Just you dont need to use ceramics not with beardies. Beardies are desert animals so like the sun. With a ceramic you dont get light just heat and therefore the beardie will not connect to a heat sorce. Beardies also dont need heat at night unless your house temps fall below about 58F which not many houses actually do.
Yeah bugs will hide anywhere! Our dragons hunts, and it's fantastic to watch! We have a curvy log in ours and jungle vine that we have bent around her log, she loves the vine and gets in all kinds of positions on it. Its also at various levels so she can choose her distance from her basking spot. We have a fake plant in her viv that she pays no interest in, it was mainly for a bit of colour! and a fake cactus which she sits on :lol2:.
We put her live food in, she hunts and eats what she wants, she then gets up on her vine near the spotlight to digest them. You get to know by theyre body lannguage what they are about to do in the end!!
We feed her 2-3 times a day live foods, then before lights out we clean out her viv and any remaining crickets.
She is on paper towel substrate, I don't agree with sand, that's your choice however!
Depends really if you get a dragon that wants to hunt or is lazy! Our previous dragon was a lazy sod and would not hunt his live foods EVER, we had to hand feed him. Our female we have now will hunt so it just makes things easier, if you offer some food from a pair of tongs to her she nearly bites the tongs out of your hand :lol2:.
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