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  1. Hdrydr31

    Hdrydr31 Bearded Dragon Veteran Staff Member 3 Year Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    Welcome to the forum!! And a big Welcome to the wonderful and addicting world of Beardie's! There is alot of info in this forum from members that have had their Beardie's for a long time. I am hoping that this will help answer some questions and be somewhat of a guideline on caring for Bearded Dragons.

    We would love to know a little bit about your set up: tank size, lighting, temps, substrate, what you are feeding.. that kind of stuff as that will give us an idea on if anything needs to be adjusted..
    We love pictures!! :)

    -Here's the basics: Offering a variety of bugs is always a good thing to do. As babies and up to young juvies should be eating 80% bugs for protein and 20% salads of greens/veggies/fruit.. Sub adults and up that will switch to 80% salads and 20% bugs. This may vary from dragon to dragon..
    There are good resources on diets to look at for help on what is good and what is not... The space between their eyes is typically what they are able to fit in their mouths..
    http://greathousefarm.com/Greathouse-Reptile-Nutrition-List.pdf
    http://www.beautifuldragons.com/Nutrition.html
    Crickets, dubia roaches, superworms, butterworms, waxworms, silkworms, hornworms are all good, some are treats as they are high in fats...

    Making sure your temps are correct is very important. All dragons need a temp gradient from hot to warm to cool as they thermo regulate their body temps..Get a hand held temp gun or a digital probe to get accurate temps, the stick on's only measure the temp of the glass...
    All dragons need the heat to digest food, they need proper UVB light to process D3 and other nutrients

    There should be 3 "zones" basking, warm area and cool area. UVB lighting should cover 2/3rd's of your enclosure, no lights of any color at night as dragons have what is called their "3rd eye" it is a gland on top of their head that detects light/shadows. They need the dark/coolness to get the sleep and cool down that they need. As long as the night time temps don't dip below 65F all is good if it does get a CHE (Ceramic Heating Element) to keep temps up.
    http://www.reptilesmagazine.com/Reptile-Health/Habitats-Care/Reptile-Lighting-Information/
    Baby Dragons: Basking 100-107F warm 85-95F cool 70-75F
    Juv Dragons: Basking anywhere from 95-107F Remember they need it to digest warm 85-95F cool 70F
    Adults Basking 90-95F can also be low 100'sF warm 80-90F cool 70F

    40 gal should be the minimum keeping in mind that most get 24" in length some longer..This also allows for proper temp zones.

    Making sure your dragon is on safe substrate: repti carpet, paper towels, contact paper, ceramic tile, newspaper are safe. Any kind of sand, crushed walnut shells, wood, mulch, bark especially cedar which is very toxic are not suitable for dragons due to ingestion, they can cause impaction, skin lesions, respiratory infections, eye irritations
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 12, 2016
  2. Hdrydr31

    Hdrydr31 Bearded Dragon Veteran Staff Member 3 Year Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    Hydration, Bathing, Misting:
    Dragon's get most of their moisture from the bugs and greens that they eat, the other portion they get from actually drinking water... In nature they will lick water droplets from leaves. They typically do not drink from standing water.
    Misting them is ok, keep in mind you will need to watch the humidity level in their enclosure as too much moisture can lead to Respiratory issues, fungus. It is ok to mist them daily.
    Bathing: is important to do 1-2 times min a week, this can be done in the tub, sink or a container. The water should be warm not hot (temp that you would bathe a child) Water level should be up to their elbows closely monitor to make sure they don't fall asleep or get hurt. This is a good opportunity for them to also lick any water that they might want. This is important for dragon's that are Brumating (hibernation) don't eat much food if any at all. Bath time is also good to do while they are shedding to help in the process just don't peel any scales off so not to damage the new scales.
    ***Very Important to never leave your dragon's un attended while in the bath it is very easy for them to aspirate water accidentally..this leads to respiratory issues..
    A well hydrated Dragon is less likely to become impacted.
    Last edited: May 7, 2017
  3. Hdrydr31

    Hdrydr31 Bearded Dragon Veteran Staff Member 3 Year Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    I would love if anyone has important information or tips/tricks please feel free to add them into this thread..
    Mother of Dragons 90 likes this.
  4. PatsyB

    PatsyB Super Moderator Staff Member 3 Year Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    Lighting is always a tricky subject and it can take some time to get the proper bulbs that work for your situation.

    It was already mentioned that you should have a temperature gradient in your tank with a cool side, warm side and basking spot and a UVB bulb that gives coverage to 2/3rds of your tank. The most widely accepted UVB bulb is the Repti-Sun 10.0 HO linear tube bulb. These come in 2 different sizes a T5 size can be set on top of your mesh and and your bearded dragon can be 18 inches away from it. With a T8 bulb there should be no mesh in between your bearded dragon and the lamp and they should be about 10" away from it. If there is a mesh barrier you need to get them about 6 inches from the light.
    Here is a picture of the bulb:
    zoo-med-reptisun-10-0-uvb-fluorescent-bulb.jpg
    You want the lighting in your tank to mimic the natural world so no red/black/purple lights should be used at all. You can use a basking reptile light that you get at the pet store or you could also use a halogen flood light. Your bearded dragon should be 6 inches away or more from the basking light. The wattage of your bulb is going to based on that measurement. 107 is ideal for babies and 95-100 for adults.
    Here's some pictures to use as basking bulbs:
    c21d3870-ac3d-444c-85e2-aadbe1114b25_400.jpg Halogen indoor/outdoor flood light
    baskingspot.jpg Reptile basking lights

    At night you want to use a ceramic heat emitter (CHE). These bulbs put out heat but no visible light so your dragon can sleep in peace. You want to use these only if your tank drops below 65 degrees at night. If your normal household temp is 70 degrees then your tanks should be fine. Remember that they do need a period of cool down so if you do need to use a CHE at night, you still want the tank to be in the high 60's. So a dimmer should be used with a CHE so that it doesn't get too hot.
    Here is a picture of a CHE, they come in black and white. Remember they don't put out any light:
    p-35314-47000-reptile.jpg

    There is also another bulb that is a basking/UVB bulb all in one. It's called a Mercury Vapor Bulb (MVB). They are for the more experienced keeper. They are self ballasting bulbs meaning when they over heat they will turn off on their own.
    Here is a MVB bulb:
    261854M_megaray70Watt.jpg

    Other pieces of equipment that help with temperature is a digital probe thermometer. You will need one on each side of the tank to measure temps on the cool side and right on the basking spot. As mentioned above analog temp gauges that stick to the glass only measure the temp of the glass and the spot right around the glass. Your bearded dragon is not going to be sitting on the glass! A light timer is also a real good item to have. Your bearded dragons should be on a light cycle of 12 hours on 12 hours off or 14 hours on 10 hours off. To achieve this and still live your, a timer is a must have! Typically they have 6-8 outlets and half the outlets are on a timer and the other half are always on. This way you can plug your lights into one side and use the other side for other household items.

    zoo-med-digital-thermometer-for-terrariums.jpg Digital Probe Thermometer
    51-JNUrXILL.jpg IR Temp Gun

    shopping.jpeg Zoomed Analog Terrarium controller
    71vWOpHlpyL._SL1500_.jpg Basic GE digital surge protector light timer
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2016
  5. Hdrydr31

    Hdrydr31 Bearded Dragon Veteran Staff Member 3 Year Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    Determining the Age of your Bearded Dragon: These are approx

    • Length (Inches)Age (Months)
    • 3-4 in.0-1 months
    • 5-9 in.2 months
    • 8-11 in.3 months
    • 9-12 in.4 months
    • 11-16 in.5 months
    • 11-18 in.6 months
    • 13-20 in.8 months
    • 16-22 in.12 months
    Source: http://www.thebeardeddragon.org/bearded-dragon.php
  6. Hdrydr31

    Hdrydr31 Bearded Dragon Veteran Staff Member 3 Year Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    Here are a few more links for temp sensors
    http://www.petco.com/shop/en/petcostore/zoo-med-digital-thermometer
    http://www.homedepot.com/p/General-Tools-Mini-Infrared-Thermometer-IRT3/205519139
    http://www.sears.com/innova-3370-micro-therm-laser-key-chain-thermometer/p-00934159000P
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  7. Geneticjim

    Geneticjim Juvenile Dragon

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    Thanks for all the info!
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  8. Hdrydr31

    Hdrydr31 Bearded Dragon Veteran Staff Member 3 Year Member 1,000+ Post Club

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  9. dmaysr

    dmaysr Bearded Dragon Egg

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    Fantastically information! This is perfect as I'm upgrading to a 40 gallon breeder and will use this to aid my setup. Draco is already 13.5" and is trying to do an escape!
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  10. Hdrydr31

    Hdrydr31 Bearded Dragon Veteran Staff Member 3 Year Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    Thank you! We will be adding to this thread as we go, and if you have info that you would like to share let us know!
  11. Lindsy_G

    Lindsy_G Bearded Dragon Egg

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    Glad I found this but wish I had found it earlier. I've had my beardie for about 9 months now and I don't think I am bathing him often enough. We live in a really humid area and the humidity in his tank stays around 40-50% so I am afraid of misting but I have only been giving him bath time about once a week when I do a full clean out of his tank.
  12. Hdrydr31

    Hdrydr31 Bearded Dragon Veteran Staff Member 3 Year Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    Yea I wouldn't mist him very often with that humidity.. Try increasing his baths to 2 times a week.
  13. Hdrydr31

    Hdrydr31 Bearded Dragon Veteran Staff Member 3 Year Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    Brummation... what is it? Will my Dragon do this? How long is this process? It's confusing it's not the same for all dragons, it drives us crazy :)

    Brummation is Hibernation for our reptiles, this typically happens once they are over a year old, some sooner than a year. It is a natural thing, some dragons brumate some don't. It typically occurs Nov-Feb when the weather is cooler and the sun is not out as long, and when food sources are limited..However it can happen whenever the dragon has the urge to do so. Brummation is needed for Breeding Dragon's in preparation for mating.

    During this time they will slow down, they won't eat as much or nothing at all, they may come out of their cool hide, some don't, some just stay in their hide while staring at you, some take short naps and more of them, some sleep for days, some sleep for Months!! For those younger dragons they may go into what many of us call it a semi-brumation in which they don't really sleep they are just drowsy and slow. It's believed that being a young dragon they don't yet have the fat reserves and their bodies are still actively growing they won't fully brummate.. A healthy dragon should loose very little in body weight, and should be just fine.

    What do I do for my dragon?
    The best thing you can do is let them do what comes naturally for them. We can not stop them, even though it's hard to watch them soo sleepy. It is important to mimic the sun so reducing from 12-14 hours of sun down to 10-12 hours. If they are awake continue to offer their food, it is good to leave them their greens during the day. If they eat make sure they bask and get time under their lights so they can digest their food. Make sure that they poop so it's not sitting in their gut for long periods of time. 1 time a week give them a nice warm soak for 20-30 min, this will offer them the opportunity to get hydrated and to poop if they need to. Make sure you don't leave them un-attended as some dragon's sleep thru their baths so make sure you keep their head above water. Dry them off really well and give them some time under their lights, they will go back to their cool hide when they want, and if they don't but seem to be asleep just place them back under their hide..

    If you believe your dragon is starting to go into their brummation phase it is advised to take them to your reptile vet to do a check over to make sure they are healthy and do not have any parasites before going to sleep.
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  14. PatsyB

    PatsyB Super Moderator Staff Member 3 Year Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    SUPPLIMENTS

    You want to dust one protein meal a day with some sort of supplement. Most people do:

    6X a week with calcium without D3
    1X a week with a multivitamin

    There are some exceptions though and other supplements that can be used. If you don’t have the proper UVB lighting, or you have a rescue dragon that you don’t know if it ever had UVB lighting, or you have a female that has just laid eggs, then do:

    3X a week calcium without D3
    3X a week calcium with D3
    1X a week with a multivitamin

    The above schedule is good for babies and juvenile bearded dragons. Adult bearded dragons should only be getting protein 3 days a week. In this case you could do:

    2X calcium
    1X multivitamin.

    It’s not necessary to dust your salads with a calcium and multivitamins. Greens and veggies contain a slew of vitamins and minerals if you feed the right ones. So dusting them is kinda redundant.

    It’s good to remember that proper UVB lighting lends to the creation of vitamin D3 and proper heating helps the absorption of calcium. When setting up your lights you want the UVB light and the basking light to overlap slightly to ensure this process happens.

    Some other supplements that are helpful but not necessary are bee pollen and a probiotic.

    Bee pollen is becoming very popular in the bearded dragon world. It is packed with protein, amino acids, vitamins and minerals. Picky eaters will sometimes devour food sprinkled in bee pollen because it gives it a bit of sweetness.

    Bee pollen comes in granule or powder form. Either one is acceptable but powder is probably easier to use. It can be purchased online or at a vitamin store.

    Probiotics can help restore the gut after a regime of antibiotics or a change in diet such as switching over to a more veggie diet for adults.
    jeb, dmaysr, Hdrydr31 and 1 other person like this.
  15. Hdrydr31

    Hdrydr31 Bearded Dragon Veteran Staff Member 3 Year Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    Bearded Dragon's are solitary critters and should not be housed together, they will thrive with the love and affection from their human's and do not need companionship of other dragons.

    Very few are able to stay together. The odds of fights between dragon's are high. Being aware of the signs of aggression/dominance is important. Head bobbing, gapping, puffing out beards, black bearding to name a few. Male and females should never be housed together as he will mate with her literally to the point of exhaustion/death. Male and male will fight with eachother for dominance and the best spots in enclosures. Female and female can still fight for dominance and will hog the ideal area's of the enclosure, food, lighting as will the other combo's of the sexes. All dragon's can and it is only a matter of time before they fight with eachother causing injuries including missing toes, parts of tails, even entire limbs.

    Eventually housing will need to be addressed for safety and for health of each individual.
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  16. Hdrydr31

    Hdrydr31 Bearded Dragon Veteran Staff Member 3 Year Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    Dubia Roach housing/breeding:

    Very nutritious easy to gut load bug that's great for your beardie! This is what works for me and many have asked so here is what I do.

    I have 2 30 gal rubbermade containers (black is best but you can do clear and tape black paper on it) make ventilation holes on a few sides and tape screen material on them. The lid cut most of the lid off and tape screen material on it. Get yourself some egg flats/cartons/paper towel rolls. Egg flats are easiest I buy them in bulk online cut them in half and line them up. At 1 end (closest to the heat source) stand the egg flats on their end (so the fras (poop) falls to the bottom of the tub). I use those wooden skewers (that you use for kabobs) and I poke them thru the top of the egg flats so they don't fall over with the weight of the roaches. At the cooler end is where you have a lid of water crystals, a lid for sliced oranges (roach favorite!) and a lid of roach chow (I make my own using guinea pig pellets, chicken feed, oats, white corn meal, fish food, oat bran, honey cheerios)

    I have my main colony in 1 tub and my feeders in another tub. The reason behind this would be as you are establishing your colony you need to leave them be for a good 6-8 weeks so they settle and start producing. If you are in the tub all the time it will disturb them. And if you have a female that is regulating her eggs (they do this by protruding the egg sac outside her backend it looks like a red tube and once regulated she will retract it back into herself) if you disturb her she will drop the egg sac and they will die (lesson learned the hard way). You want a 3:1 ratio (3 females to 1 male) you want this thru most of the sizes as it takes a female 6 months to become of age. Females can live 2 years males 1 1/2 years. Females will give live birth to 30-40 nymphs each month. So when ordering your roaches plan ahead for your feeding needs to account for the time you have to leave your colony alone. My feeder tub is set up the same way as my colony and any new nymphs go into this tub to grow out and replace any that might be needed back into my colony. A newly birthed nymph and a newly molted roach will be white it takes 24 hours for their "shell" to turn dark. Note that roaches are edible at all stages of their lifespan, and adult beardie can easily eat an adult roach no problem. They don't smell, they don't make noise, they don't climb, they can't fly (the adult males have wings but can only "fly" a few inches :) and they don't bite.

    Heating: I have red heat lamps going and a small space heater as I keep mine in the basement in a small room that I can regulate well. My temps are anywhere from 77-83F and my humidity ranges from 25-35% They need the higher temps to reproduce if you want quick results have your temps 100-110F a good way of knowing if your temps are good is by looking at where they are hanging out. If they are all at the hot end your temps need to go higher if they are spread out they are good. If they are not molting/shedding their humidity needs to be higher.

    Cleaning: None needed really! Clean out your water and orange lids, leave the fras in the tubs as that is what the baby nymphs eat and what they will hide in. Once the fras gets 3"+ deep take a couple inches out leaving min of 1 inch. I shake the tubs towards the egg flat side so the fras mostly stays over there.

    If you do this you will also be knee deep in roaches just like me :) lol I am slowing down my colony by adjusting the temp but they will still produce so it is what it is I would rather have too many than not enough. Hope this helps!
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  17. Hdrydr31

    Hdrydr31 Bearded Dragon Veteran Staff Member 3 Year Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    How to tell if my Dragon is a Male or Female????
    It can be very hard to tell if your Dragon is a boy or a girl if they are young so sometimes you just have to be patient...
    The best way to tell is by placing your dragon on a flat surface and gently lift the tail up towards their head *****Be very careful not to bend it too far back****** at the base of their tail above their vent you will either see 2 ovals on each side with a space between them that is a boy and his hemipenes. Now if you see a bump in the middle then that is a girl..
    If it is hard to tell then you can go in a dark room and in the same position use a led flash light and shine it down from the top shining through their tail this should show the organs inside..
    http://pets.stackexchange.com/questions/5923/how-do-i-tell-the-sex-of-a-bearded-dragon
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  18. Hdrydr31

    Hdrydr31 Bearded Dragon Veteran Staff Member 3 Year Member 1,000+ Post Club

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  19. Hdrydr31

    Hdrydr31 Bearded Dragon Veteran Staff Member 3 Year Member 1,000+ Post Club

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  20. Hdrydr31

    Hdrydr31 Bearded Dragon Veteran Staff Member 3 Year Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    Cleaning of enclosures and decorations:
    It was brought up to our attention that we have not added info on cleaning of the enclosures... We will do this is a couple of segments as there is a ton of info on cleaning and products and items in the enclosure items that need to be cleaned..
    In another post we will do another way of cleaning and deep cleaning once the info is gathered :) that uses vinegar and steam cleaners that work really well..

    This first part is from BeautifulDragons.com
    Cage Cleaning:
    I recommend the following cleaning/disinfecting products: Nolvasan (odors are not harmful) and bleach (odors are harmful!). Do not mix the two chemicals.

    Dilute bleach to a solution of 10% bleach and 90% water for a super strong disinfectant. Anything you spray with bleach must be rinsed well with water and free of any bleach odors before allowed to be returned to your Beardies cage. New cage furnishings such as branches from your yard or rocks should be thoroughly cleaned before added to the enclosure. To clean a branch or rock, soak it in the bleach solution for 30 minutes then bake in the oven at 250 degrees until nice and dry. Heating the wood will kill anything that the bleach happened to miss.

    It is a good idea to remove feces everyday as Beardies are notorious for tromping through their poop and getting it everywhere. Also, change the substrate at least once a month or as needed.
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