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New to Dragons, Will Be Making an Enclosure and Have TONS of Questions.

Discussion in 'Water Dragons' started by Logan, Nov 15, 2012.

  1. Logan

    Logan Elite Member

    Alright, to start off with, let me give you a little background as to how I ended up with a CWD.
    It was a totally unexpected thing. Lizz (my g/f) and I have been discussing reptiles for a while. We were definitely leaning towards a ball python or a boa, as I have more knowledge of them vs. other reptiles. Well, several months ago, her dad got a CWD. I've always liked the look of them and have always ooogled at them in pet stores and such. One of those, 'Oooo ... I want one of those one day!' type things. Her dad brought the dragon over a couple times during the summer and according to one of my roommates, I looked like I was so happy that she thought I was going to make out with it.

    Well, last week while we were watching TV, her dad calls her. He had just left Petsmart after getting some crickets for his CWD. They had hatchlings/juvies/babies (whatever you want to call them) in and he had gotten a second one. He also happened to tell us that there was one in the back that they couldn't sell, and he was up for adoption. They told him he was born with only 3 legs. He said if he didn't find a home in the next day, they were going to euth him. He knows a guy that works there pretty well, so we told him to call him next chance he got and tell them we would take him. I went off to work that night (I work overnights at Walmart) knowing that I would have to have something to set him up with temporarily. I also am currently taking the bus because I bought a Fiero to restore, instead of buying a working vehicle. Can't help it ... I love old cars ... especially Pontiacs. Either way, I knew a glass tank and a bus weren't going to mix well, so I ended up picking up a sterilite bin. It's a 55q (so roughly 13 gallons). I cut out part of the top and replaced it with old hamster cage bars so the heat and light could get through. He currently has a day time light and a night time light. With the day bulb on the basking spot goes up over 86 (stupid cheap fish thermometer only goes to 86). Night time the cool side gets to around 74. I know that the tank size is a lot less than everyone suggests, and her dad knows some one willing to build both of us enclosures of any size and specs or $40 plus the cost of materials. I am aiming for wooden sides and a plexiglass or acrylic front.

    What I really want to know is how do you all go about lighting such a set up? It's going to be either 3x3x6 or 4x4x6. I have to measure the doors in my house as well as the stairs to make sure I can get it all inside. Because of his only having three legs it was definitely suggested to me to keep things at a lower distance for him that a 4 legged dragon, at least to start off with. Until he is larger and we can see how good of a climber he will be. We are going to be ordering a good sized waterfall, the Exo Terra Large. It measures 11.4x11.4x11.8. I would like a fogger or mister, or both, in there for him too.

    I really just don't know how to have it built so that it can be lit up properly with out losing a bunch of humidity. I assume it is safer to have the heating and lighting outside of the enclosure, but how do you do that with wooden sides and top?

    I almost forgot. We'll be ordering a timer, other thermometers, a hygrometer, and infrared thermometer, and a couple of rheostats as well. Also, the Reptisun 10.0 UVB mini so that it can go in a regular dome. Right now his only source of vitamin D is the added D3 in the calcium dust I got. I got the one with D3 because I couldn't find the reptisun UVB light in the mini around here.

    I should add in that he is small and was very skinny and lethargic when we got him. The first 48 hrs he ate several times, and within 24 we could see the weight gain in his belly. He hasn't had any impaction issues ... and goes rather regularly. It's been about a week ... and his energy levels are already up so much. He's running, jumping (including right onto Lizz's face out of her hands) and trying to jump and climb out.

    Once we get the basic enclosure set up, we intend to add on to it, possibly even another section the same size added onto the back (doubling the depth) as well as creating a space under it with a custom stand so that we can have a drop in pond instead of having to have it above ground.

    I should note that he definitely was NOT born with only 3 legs. You can absolutely tell that his leg was ripped off by another lizard, mostly because there is still a small piece of bone sticking out. I have talked to my vet tech as well as a local reptile rescue about it. The leg itself is already completely healed and shows no signs of infection.

    I am going to go out in just a few minutes and get some branches to bake for him. With him having more energy, I'm ready for him to start climbing some.


    I feel like this whole post has been so scatter brained. I can't help it ... I'm beyond excited about having his enclosure made.

    Also, I know it takes several weeks for the wood to cure ... if he is going to be moved to a much bigger set up after it cures, is it ok to just get him a bigger bin for the time being? They do work exactly the same as a tank, there's just less worry about me breaking it getting it home.

    Oh oh! Let me attach a picture so you guys can get an idea about his size!

    This is him next to a small animal igloo ... the small sized one.


    dragon.jpg



    Thanks for any help and info you can give me!


    OHH!! What kind of supplements/vitamins do you guys recommend? How often is it ok to feed him? Right now I have small crickets and meal worms for him. He seems to favor the meal worms ... and hasn't actually turned them down at all yet.
     
  2. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    First off I have a feeling you are using the strip thermometers? You need a distal thermometer for accurate temps and humidity readings otherwise if they are wrong by the smallest bit the CWD can get some life threatening illness. Goo news is you can get one at Walmart! I use the AcuRite indoor/outdoor hygrometer/thermometer WITH wire probe and it was $12 at Walmart (in the heater thermometer section). The probe gets placed on the surface of the basking spot and the unit gets placed on the cool side. This will give you be two important temps (basking spot and ambient air on the cold side) as well as the himidity level. Baskin spot needs to be 90F cool side needs to be about 78-80F and humidity between 60-75%.
    Next a 4x3x6 (LxWxH) is the recommended adult sized cage and wider is generally easier than deeper just due to the placement in the room and for cleaning it out.
    For the lighting you MUST have a UVB bulb (flourescent fixtures are best on large cages) a basking bulb, and a heat bulb for night (ceramic heat emitters are great as they don't put off light and keep the lizard awake at night, also last forever). I am building a light box in the cage with wire covering the bottom of it and it has an opening on the back of the cage that I can access. Here is the building thread for my cage: http://www.herpcenter.com/general-construction/44252-chinese-water-dragon-corner-vive.html

    I didn't look at the picture until after I posted but ladders, ramps, and branches at slight angles should be used at first. As the front legs are the main tool for climbing. Other than that he is looking good. You should take a fecal sample into a vet to get it tested for parasites.
     
  3. Logan

    Logan Elite Member

    Yea, the strip thermometer is what I grabbed ... If I had KNOWN that they had a thermometer/hygrometer like that there, I would have grabbed one! I was going to order one, but the one you're talking about is cheaper, and I won't have to pay for shipping on it. Works for me. I've actually picked everything out online ... rheostats, thermometers (including an infrared one), hygrometers, UVB bulb, waterfall, timers. I mostly wanted to know what I was more than likely going to need for lighting/heating options in something that size. I'm still on the fence about standing it up, or laying it down because of the missing leg ... I just worry that if he falls, he might not catch himself before hitting the bottom ...

    Do reptiles usually come from a pet store with internal parasites? ... I've never even thought about that one before ... I also don't think anyone I know has thought about that one before either ...
     
  4. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    Yes they can especially if wild caught or from "puppy mill" breeders which most chain stores use. Also CWDs aren't being actively bred so most are wild caught. Try having the branches only 2ft at the highest part, at that height he shouldn't injure himself from a fall. To buy lights use lightyourreptiles.com for finding the uvb fixture. An 18-24 in Arcadia desert bulb will be the best bet and this sote has amazing deals. For heat bulbs...do you have done fixtures already? If so just buy halogen flood bulbs from Walmart. I use a 150 watt bulb on my CWD cage and the basking bulb is 24in from the baskin spot.
    It really is worth looking around Walmart to see what you can buy there to use. They might have a thermostat you can adapt. You can probably find a flourescent fixture so all you will need to do is buy the UVB bulb.
    One other thing is look into breeding dubia roaches and mealworms it will save you a lot of money on feeder insects.

    Oh and I know Walmart has timers or RadioShack has the timer power strips.
     
  5. Logan

    Logan Elite Member

    Well, I have one dome fixture. We've been swapping the day and night bulb out. They're both 75 watt basking specific bulbs. The reptisun UVB 10.0 mini is designed to screw into a regular light fixture. We had talked about breeding crickets and I had considered breeding the meal worms. I wasn't sure how often they actually eat the roaches? He seems to favor the worms to the crickets anyways though ... I gave him 2 meal worms and 5 crickets earlier. He at the worms in front of me and pretty much let the crickets walk all over him until one actually crossed right in front of him and then he ate it. I read that crickets will some times nibble on lizards, so I put some salad mix (its spring mix? dark green leafy stuff) in the other day when I left him with a couple crickets ... by the almost non existent greens left, he must have eaten some too.

    He was gobbling up crickets like there was no end until we gave him meal worms ... now he's kind of been snubbing the crickets. He didn't eat any of the crickets that I left him with the other day, and they ended up being taken out. I left him with 4 earlier, and will check before I leave to see if he ate any of those ones. I read some where a long time ago that you could rig up a thermostat from one from Home Depot, but I never really researched it. I'm going to go take a look at the site you suggested and see what they've got!

    Yea, I found a timer set up that is a power strip too. I think it was from Zoomed ... it has 8 outlets, 4 can be timed and 4 are continuously fed.
     
  6. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    CWDs are notorious for getting bored wih food items and will stop eating them once bored so you want to make sure you feed atleast 3 different kinds of insects on hand. Dubia roaches are healthier than crickets and lots easier to breed plus they can't escape plastic bowls so you don't have escapees running around your house. You are very lucky of you can get him to eat greens mine refuses them except mango and papaya.
     
  7. Logan

    Logan Elite Member

    I really didn't expect him to eat the greens at all because everything I read said they don't usually do that ... I'm not sure if I can get dubia roaches ... and probably not small enough for him right now. However, I know for a fact that I can get wax worms easily. There's another pet store I can try for the roaches. I'll have to call and find out. Correct me if I'm wrong, but meal worms are the larvae of a type of beetle?

    As for the ceramic heaters, is there a preferred wattage? Or should I just get the highest ones I can find, and put them on a rheostat?

    I know the place I went to for mealworms and crickets doesn't carry roaches at all. Also, I don't even know if I could get them sized for him anywhere. There is another place that might sell roaches, but I'm not sure.
     
  8. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    It depends on the heat of the room. For NY I would say highest watt and put on a rheostat. I personally use a 75watt and its more than enough.

    Mealworms are the larvae of the darkling beetles. Waxworms aren't good staple food items as they are really high in fat. Mealworms, crickets, roaches, earthworms, red wigglers, Phoenixworms/soldier fly grubs, butterworms, hornworms, silkworms are all good staple items.
     
  9. Logan

    Logan Elite Member

    Wow .. Sorry about that. I'm on my phone and completely didn't see that it went to a 2nd page. We have the temp set at 70 in the house, but there's just the one thermostat and its in the living room, not the bedroom. That's a lot of options. I know the other pet shop is geared way more towards exotics and reptiles so I stand a better chance of getting any of those there. I can totally deal with ujsing hbalogens. They're about the same price as a decent heat bulb but for 5 of them. I got the 8 inch dome from Walmart and that's what I've been using .. would it work better to have the larger sized one?
     
  10. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    If you get the ceramic heat emitter you will want the larger dome but it has to say its compatible with ceramic bulbs. For the basking spot as long as the bulb fits in the dome it doesn't matter what size it is.
     
  11. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    Oh and nigh time temps should be 75F.
     
  12. Logan

    Logan Elite Member

    His night temps on the cool side are right around 75. If we are having an enclosure built is it better to do all plexiglass, or all wood with just a plexi front? One of my friends who has beardies brought up the issue of air flow.. should I design it with screened air vent areas?

    I'm an idiot. I have an old dresser that isn't being used for anything that could easily be swapper over to a CWD set up! Ohhhh the stupidity.
     
  13. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    Haha. So airflow isn't all that important if you are getting into the tank atleast twice a day. My cage has no vents, the only airflow will be through the light box or from me opening the cage door. I designed it this way so that it will keep humidity in better. And all wood with plexiglass windows is the best for heat and humidity reasons.
     
  14. Logan

    Logan Elite Member

    fantastic. that means my plan to replace the back and bottom with plywood will work perfect. I'm going to cover the inside with either vinyl or linoleum flooring and seal the corner with aquarium sealant ... water tight! I'll make the door out of a frame and plexiglass. And, since we're using the dresser, there will be room to do a drop in pond right to start off with!
     
  15. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    Do you have a picture of the dresser?
     
  16. Logan

    Logan Elite Member

    Not at the moment .. But I'm about to head downstairs to make something to eat, so I can snap one quick. Its got some paperwork on it ... And a saddle I've been slowly repairing, but you'll be able to get a picture soon.
     
  17. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    Thanks!
     
  18. Logan

    Logan Elite Member

    Here you go. My room mate is a slob and thinks that the entire house is hers to leave crap al over. I gave up on following her around and cleaning up her crap months ago. Shes been out of work for months and doesnt even wash her own dishes. I can't wait for march when the lease is up. If all goes well, me and my girlfriend will be buying a house between then and now. Annnyways, here's the pic.
     
  19. Logan

    Logan Elite Member

    Annnd ... I don't think it posted. You'll have to wait until I move it to my laptop after I eat .... sorry
     
  20. Logan

    Logan Elite Member

    ... He's already shedding! Talk about a 180 in a week!
     

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