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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Guys I'm new to the forum and to Reptile keeping. after a little advice on what's best. I've wanted a bearded Dragon for a long time now but could never afford to get the set up and everything required to look after one properly, however I've just been offered a great deal on a vivarium from a friend so after discussing as a family we've decided to go ahead and get a baby Beardie... I have read up on Beardies and know the basic do's and don'ts. The exo terra viv were having only has one lamp which I'd assume is best used as the basking light (has a red bulb in which I assume is a heat light even though they told me it's a uv light?) so should I get another lamp and put in a uv bulb or should I get a hood with a strip light in? Also food wise, I've seem the dried foods which have vitamins in, if I use dried food will I still need to dust live food with multivitamins once a week? Any advise is much appreciated, sorry for the long winded post :)
 

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Hi and welcome! :welcome:

The first issue I see is the viv (sorry if you weren't expecting that). Exo terra vivs are glass and are normally catered for other reps that require high humidity and plenty of misting, hence the glass. It very hard to heat a glass viv to the required temp for a beardie as they tend to have full mesh roofs like the exos. This can of course be modified to block off a lot of the ventilation, otherwise you'll just lose all your heat. Secondly, what size is the exo? I believe the largest terrestrials are still quite small, 3ft if I remember correctly. Although this would be ok for a baby for a few months you would need a larger viv in the long run so are better off just biting the bullet and buying a larger one from the off. 4x2x2 is the usual recommended size, this can however be taken with a pinch of salt and other sizes can be used with common sense, 3x3x3 for example would be good but not as common/cheap as a standard 4x2x2.

Regarding the lighting beardies require a high index of uv that covers 2/3rds of the viv. The best around is Arcadia's HOT5 12% D3 plus. You need a tube as the bulbs are much more concentrated and not ideal for a beardie as it would have to be right under it to receive a decent amount of uv. So you would have to figure a way of mounting the tube to the roof below the mesh, another reason not to use the exo. You will then need a basking bulb alongside this for heat. Take a look here for further info on how to set up your UV.

Finally, I'm not a fan of the dry foods and its unlikely your beardy will be either. You're much better off sticking to live food and fresh veg dusted.

Hope that helps somewhat even if it wasn't what you wanted to hear. I've been down the route of trying to make do with what you have and trust me its much less hassle and money to just do it right in the first place.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks

Thanks for the reply Tom, I've already bought the viv off my friend, I new it would only house my Beardie for a few months and would have to eventually get a bigger setup but didn't realise i would have to modify it in order to house the Beardie. What can I do to modify the viv I already have please?
 

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It's hard to say exactly as its dependant on so many factors. Firstly how large is the viv? It's mainly down to trial and error hence why it's difficult to say exactly what to do. Basically you're going to have difficulty with temps and a decent gradient as you will lose heat quickly. You will likely have to block off most part of the mesh roof to keep the heat in. You will also need to adapt the viv so that the uv bulb and reflector are inside the viv below the mesh otherwise the mesh will block out most of the uv rendering it pretty useless.

Once you tell me the size I can recommend where to start.
 

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I agree with tom.

With beardies you are better off having a long viv rather than a square one as they require an area where they can go to cool down, as for dry foods, the biggest problem is that by feeding dry you will have trouble keeping your beardie hydrated, plenty of fruit and veg dusted with calci/vit powder and live food like locusts/crickets 1 or 2 times a week...


Oh and a good soak every couple days wont hurt either...


good luck........steve
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
It's a 36” x 18” x 24” which I assumed would last about 6 months, I've got heat matts aswel which I thought might help to keep temprature up. Baitman I've already bought a baby bath ready for bath time, thoughts it's better until the Beardie is bigger and can go in the big bath :)
 

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I put mine in the bath or kitchen sink.......


steve
 

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It's a 36” x 18” x 24” which I assumed would last about 6 months, I've got heat matts aswel which I thought might help to keep temprature up. Baitman I've already bought a baby bath ready for bath time, thoughts it's better until the Beardie is bigger and can go in the big bath :)
Ok, that's the best of a bad situation I guess. It will work for a while as you say but will almost certainly need modification as discussed. So, what you need to do is have your basking bulb in one end and the uv starting there too. The uv then stretches 2/3rds of the viv length towards the cool end. Like I said for more info on that take a look at the link I posted before. As your viv is 36" in length you want a 24w tube like this slimline luminaire. That's the full kit, controller, canopy etc. good piece of kit. The basking bulb for a 36" viv would normally be around 40w-60w but you may have to try different wattages to get the best setup as well as blocking off the ventilation. Like I said trial and error. Remember you can use normal household reflective bulbs or halogens. They're exactly the same as reptile branded basking bulb (unless they produce uv) but are a fraction of the cost and often better quality.

Personally I'd suggest ditching the plastic/mesh roof and make yourself a wooden one with less ventilation and somewhere suitable to mount the basking and uv bulbs. Otherwise you'll likely have to try hanging bulb attachments as there's nowhere to screw in to, this sounds far from ideal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ok I can do that, I can get someone to make me the lid out of wood and my local garden centre/pet shop sells all the bulbs and uv lights so I'll price them up there and online see where I can get the best deal. Then I'll get it all set up and see if I can keep the heat in. Thank you so much for your help :)

Steve I will use the bath when the Beardie is bigger :)
 
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