Advice re-Chinese Water Dragon Enclosure - Reptile Forums

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Old 05-11-2012, 11:25 PM
Egg
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 3
Question Advice re-Chinese Water Dragon Enclosure

To cut a long story short I have forcibly adopted the CWD I bought my Grand-children for Xmas a few years ago. To be fair to my daughter she did her best following the advice received from what she thought was an expert source.

She recently took the CWD to an expert Herp Vet and with antibiotics and a little bit of help from Vicks "Uggi" now seems much healthier a better colour livelier and is putting on weight, I am feeding her twice a day. In my opinion she had been getting inadequate heat, her enclosure is now warmer and more humid than before. However she is still in the Viv which we were told would do her for life - It is 3 ft long, a two ft high and 1'6 ft wide. (You can imagine my horror when I read last week that a 6x6x4 is recommended - I just cannot do that and must do the best I can with the space available - My son's bedroom was about that size )

I am making her a new enclosure. The full bottom will be a 3ft fish tank filled with water, above that will be her present enclosure opened at the top and then a 3ft long, 2ft wide space above will be closed in to the height of the ceiling. (Do people understand what I mean by that it is an alcove between a wall and the chimney breast in the living room?)

My questions are as follows:-

1. Do people think that would work?

2. If I use bathroom or kitchen paint or outside gloss on the wall part (and ceiling above) would that work or should I line it with polystyrene (I would eventually do a polystyrene 3 d background anyway as I have previously made these with moderate success for my fish tanks)

3. As I am worried she spends too much time in her small enclosure away from the uvb tube I was wondering (this might sound daft) if you can put a very long tube or two shorter ones up the very centre of the enclosure instead of across the top. There will be a uvb tube at the top of the fish tank and the top of the present enclosure and I also plan to get one of the mercury vapour bulbs.

4. Can I use branches from a crab apple tree and an oak tree, how do I disinfect them (I was thinking bleach solution in the bath for 24 hours??)

Any advice and help will be appreciated. Please keep in mind that I am a relative beginner both at keeping reptiles and DIY However I have researched everything there is to find on water dragons on the net and am determined to create the best most natural environment for her with optimum conditions, which is why I decided on the "ground floor" total water base. There are other things I'm still trying to work out in my head so I will have more questions regarding heating, acrylic sheeting etc.

BTW Please don't just say its too small unless you live near by and are prepared to build her a 6x6x4 mansion in your house and allow my grandchildren to visit her twice a week!
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Old 06-11-2012, 01:44 AM
Salazare Slytherin's Avatar
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Hi welcome to rfuk,
I am suprised you haven't had any replys yet I seen your post in the lizard section, there are some really good water dragon keepers on here it just seems none have been around to give you some info so il give it a shot but I am tired it is late lol so might be sluggish and some things might not make sense and if they don't I am sorry LOL., with regards to the size of the enclosure, I personally feel it is a subjective matter, I keep my own water dragon in an AX48" viv, they receive regular (out of the viv time) so I disagree with 6ft or whatever being a minimum requirement, saying that if you can offer bigger that is always better but the same can be said for any other animal, but definately not a minimum requirement.

To answer your question though yes I think that could work, it sounds great!
A 3ft fish tank would be great for them to swim and bathe in, a 3d background would be awesome, I done a fake rock background on my own enclosure, but I used expanding foam, paint and varnish, (well I haven't used the varnish yet it still isn't finished) I intend to varnish some eco earth onto the back of the fake rock to give a more natural effect and it will also help to hold in humidity.

Mercury vapour lamps are fantastic for tall enclosures, but when choosing your lighting here are some things to consider, water dragons require a humid tropical enviroment, these bulbs get exceedingly hot and more often than not don't do too well in them, there has been reports of them blowing, and so for the cost of those bulbs it isn't something I would be investing in for a water dragon viv, also the reptile is forced to choose between heat and UV, it can't move to a cooler point and still UV regulate, the new t5 lighting system made by arcadia are great, if combined with a reflector they are just as if not as powerful as an MVB and this will allow your water dragon to UV regulate and thermoregulate at once, by all means I can see the potential of an MVB but the humidity raises concerns for me using them bulbs, I would place the tube if you go down that route at the top of the enclosure, this is what they do naturally they climb to the highest points to get the best of the suns rays and move further down away from it into shadey areas when they don't want it, your water dragon is the real expert your job is just to provide it and he will choose the rest.

Disinfecting branches? this is something I share a different opinion on from other keepers regarding tree dwelling lizards, especially when it comes down to stripping them, they are evolved and perfectly equiped to climb trees without any additional treatment, I might bathe and soak them before placing them into the enclosure, but I find it very unlikley your dragon will pick anything up from an outside tree branch, hazel, oak, etc etc. Infact I will be adding in some more branches to my own with jungle vine etc just for more climbing options.

about the background though here is a pic of mine, it isn't finished yet, still needs the soil, varnished on and substrate added and sealed.
http://www.reptileforums.co.uk/forum...ed-wd-viv.html
I hope that helps you a little.
Best of luck.
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Old 07-11-2012, 04:44 PM
Egg
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Thanks for your very informative reply, especially re- mercury vapour bulb. I am looking forward to getting started on it. If anyone knows which is the cheapest acrylic etc sheeting I can use which would be fit for purpose I'd be grateful (we don't have Wickes in NI just B&Q (wwhere I can also get 20% off as my Mum is retired from there.
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Old 07-11-2012, 04:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belfast Granny View Post
Thanks for your very informative reply, especially re- mercury vapour bulb. I am looking forward to getting started on it. If anyone knows which is the cheapest acrylic etc sheeting I can use which would be fit for purpose I'd be grateful (we don't have Wickes in NI just B&Q (wwhere I can also get 20% off as my Mum is retired from there.
No worries, I couldn't advise on that, I have never used it, but those good guys over in the habitat section might be able to help you out, but be prepared to wait a little for a response, the section is not as active as other sections of the forum, but I think that would be your best bet.

Good luck.
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Old 07-11-2012, 05:55 PM
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Hi

Don't no if this is of any help to you, don't claim to be an expert just want to let you know how I keep my 3 CWDs and see if I can help any way I can. Currently all 3 of my mine are in a 5foot long by 3.5foot wide by 3.5tall (currently building a custom viv of my own) they have roughly 2/3 dry land which is a mixture of coco husk an orchid bark, with a water pool in the 'cool end' with a wooden ramp for easy of acess an a piece of wood in the middle of the pool which they love to sit and chill on. I Have a shelf running all they way around the top of the dry land with a tree branch for them to climb up but I find only two of them prefer to sit on this shelf and the 3rd prefers to stay on terra firma. I have a digital temperature and humidity gauge sat in the hot end of tank I try and keep the temps as high as possible roughly about 80-90*F I personally found the warmer the better for mine (don't no if this is what most people would go with but trial and error found colours behaviour etc improved with warmer temps???would love to hear different peoples opinion always willing to learn) also try and keep my humidity at 80% or as close as I also use a liquid calcuim suppliment in the water I mist the tank with and also add a little bit to their pool have found this makes their shedding alittle bit easier for them.

Hope this helps am happy for someone else to add or help both of us improve our set ups
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