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View Poll Results: Best substrate for beardie viv ?
Calcium sand 1 8.33%
Reptile carpet 0 0%
Newspaper 0 0%
Lino flooring 11 91.67%
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 02-02-2013, 01:30 AM
Egg
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Warrington
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Talking Newbie in need of advice on 1st beardie :-)



Hey, I'm going to pick my first bearded dragon up in the morning, but I have a few queries and doubts, any help or advice will be much appreciated.

OK, so I've read all the info, care sheets and food plans, for bearded dragons but they all contradict themselves....

So first thing first... Heat mat or no heat mat ?
My fully equipped viv has come with one.

2nd... Substrate for young... Calcium sand or newspaper ?

3rd... Water bowl in all the time or will it mess with the humidity?

4th... Best viv cleaner to buy ? Any recommendations ?

5th... getting crickets into the viv, any useful tips ?

I just want to make sure my beardie has a great new life with me and my children, who are very excited
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Old 02-02-2013, 10:04 AM
awh awh is offline
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So first thing first... Heat mat or no heat mat ?
My fully equipped viv has come with one. heat mats are a waste of time in a bearded dragon viv

2nd... Substrate for young... Calcium sand or newspaper ? i would go with lino or floor tiles
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3rd... Water bowl in all the time or will it mess with the humidity? i dont use one

4th... Best viv cleaner to buy ? Any recommendations ? f10
5th... getting crickets into the viv, any useful tips ? depends i use my hands but you could use tweezers if you dont like handling them
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Last edited by awh; 02-02-2013 at 10:07 AM..
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Old 02-02-2013, 10:12 AM
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Ok, to start the most important things are uv and temperature gradient so ensure that you have allowed for enough space to create the gradient and you have the best equipment available. So we're talking a 4x2x2 or larger vivarium and the Arcadia T5. I understand you haven't asked this and I'm hoping you know it already but its the most important place to start. This should all be set up so you have the temps correct and steady before purchasing your dragon. The last thing you want to be doing is messing around with heating, changing bulbs, adjusting temps, etc, etc while your beardy is trying to settle in to his new home and see you not as a threat.

Ok, now to answer your questions. Firstly, no to the heatmat. They can be dangerous and quite frankly useless for BD's. they do not increase ambient temps so will only be effective if your dragon is lying on top of it, dragons don't detect heat from below all to well so may not recognise if the mat has malfunctioned, overheating or generating a hotspot. This can result in a burnt bearded. Basically, its a high risk for minimal reward. During the day you shouldn't need any other heat other than your basking bulb and at night you should have no heating or lighting at all. A temp above 10c is fine for night temps, if anything you want to keep it lower than 20c too.

Calci sand is a terrible substrate at any age! The calcium can attract the BD's to eat the sand and at high levels of ingestion it can cause impaction especially if your husbandry is not spot on and/or your dragon is dehydrated. For babies your better off using no loose substrate as they may have a poor aim on food and generally be clumsy ingesting any loose substrate. I would recommend tiles, Lino or paper towel, in that order.

Water bowl will be fine in there constantly as long as it is not too large and is always kept in the cool end.

The best disinfectant I find is F10, brilliant stuff and lasts for ages.

Lastly, crickets. Oh the dreaded spawn of satan. They're the worst, most annoying, fiddly, smelly little 's! I personally wouldn't bother and would suggest ordering locusts in bulk online. It will only work out a little more expensive this way but totally worth it. Crickets get everywhere, they're a bugger to catch and you will spend a good hour removing them all from a viv before lights out, which, if you don't do could result in a nibbled at beardy and some sore bites which may lead to infection. You won't have this issue with locusts, plus they're much easier to catch. If you do want to try crickets, I'd recommend using tweezers and feed one at a time. Place it directly in front of your BD so he has a chance to catch it before running away. You could also try putting them in a lidless container that they can't escape from but can be eaten from.

Hope that helps,
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Last edited by tomcannon; 02-02-2013 at 10:15 AM..
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Old 02-02-2013, 01:59 PM
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Personally I would go for something easier to clean I was told calci sand was a no go when I had my bearded dragons but everyone has there own opinions I had my babies on kitchen paper as was easy to clean and easy to see what was happening but as I said that's a personal preference
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Old 02-02-2013, 02:02 PM
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Also we had a cricket keeper as I ain't keen on live food and the crickets go in tubes and then u just tap tube on ur beardie viv job done
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Old 02-02-2013, 04:25 PM
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Me personally play sand, extremely cheap, I got 75 kilos for a tenner! And I've been using it for 4 years. Easy to spot clean but just annoying if the viv has any small gaps.
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Old 02-02-2013, 05:36 PM
Egg
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Location: Warrington
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Thank you all for your advice, I brought my blood red tiger leather back home today,she is called Daenerys (yes from game of thrones

She's all settled into her new viv, she's a little dark but that is expected... And I still have area questions as I haven't been given the right bulbs with my setup, I've been assured that it will do the same job and also had some money knocked off the price. I've got a repti glo 10.0 UVB BULB and a red night spot basking bulb, in all the madness today I can't for the life of me remember what she said to do with the bulbs,
I know 12 on 12 off, is that just for the repti glo and do I keep the night one on all day and night ? Or just night ?

I have got the heat mat in the tank but its not turned on, as my house is very cold I've been advised to keep it in for emergencies.
The temp in the tank right now is exactly 100F in the warm end is that right ?

I've also laid newspaper down for now and I'm thinking of investing in some reptile carpet or lino ...

I also bought a branch, hidey cave and bowls. F10hand wash and viv cleaner.
Going to get one of those cricket boxes with tubes when I next go in

Again I appreciate all your help and advice
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Old 02-02-2013, 10:07 PM
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No offence but you need to research more before purchasing any rep. Its not a case of buy now ask questions later. However, this won't change anything for now so let's just try and sort it out.

Firstly, you shouldn't have been informed that they will do the same job. A 10% T8 will do nowhere near the same job as the recommended uv, the Arcadia T5 12% so I would definitely recommend upgrading this when you can. The sooner the better. This will help no end and should be the first on the list, its the only uv that can provide anything close to what they receive in the wild.

A red bulb isn't ideal but it will create the required hot spot but should definitely not be used at night regardless if its red or not. There should be no night time lighting regardless of the colour so use it only for day time heating. You shouldn't need ANY nightime heating unless the temp drops to 10c. 12 on, 12 off (heat/uv) is fine but seeing as its winter still you may want it a little less and increase it coming in to summer.

You can use a heatmat for night time heat if its needed, just don't set the stat to anything higher than 15c. As I said before though I would definitely not recommend a heat mat for the reasons I stated, most of the time its a useless risk.

100f in the warm end, that's too hot. Unless of course you mean basking spot in which case its too cool. Where are you measuring this temp and what with? Your hot side is taken as an ambient temp in the hot side, usually on the side wall. Your basking temp is taken in the hottest area of your viv directly under the spot bulb. Hot side should be 85-95f and basking 105-115f.

Unfortunately it would appear you may have slightly rushed in to it and bought kit that may well do the job but definitely not to its full potential. Personally I'd remove the heat mat. If you do need night time heat (check your night temps and see) then buy a ceramic heat emitter and pulse thermostat. I would purchase a standard household spot bulb from tesco, b&q etc and change it for your red basking bulb. REMEMBER NO LIGHTS ON AT NIGHT. While we're at it, how bigs the viv? And any pictures?
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Last edited by tomcannon; 02-02-2013 at 10:11 PM..
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Old 06-02-2013, 10:26 AM
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Calci sand is EVIL
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Old 06-02-2013, 05:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaenerysMummy View Post

So first thing first... Heat mat or no heat mat ?
No heat mat, beardies don't feel heat properly from their under side and may burn themselves

2nd... Substrate for young... Calcium sand or newspaper ?
Newspaper, tiles or lino (good for adults too)

3rd... Water bowl in all the time or will it mess with the humidity?
In all the time if he/she uses it, you may find after a few weeks it never gets drank from as some don't use it, if they don't just remove it completely but give them a bath once or twice a week.

4th... Best viv cleaner to buy ? Any recommendations ?
I have "Ultimate Vivarium Cleaner" from Blue Lizard Reptiles, costs about 7 quid and lasts quite a while. I do a big clean of all of my vivs every 6 to 8 weeks and spot clean every day as needed

5th... getting crickets into the viv, any useful tips ?
Pick them up and drop them in though you could go with Dubia Roaches if you're not too keen on messing with crickets that can potentially escape. Dubia's are easy to breed, they don't smell, don't make noise, and they can't climb up the side of plastic tubs excellent for food too. If you bred them you'll have a nice big variety of food sizes.
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