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Chinese Water Dragon Won't Eat or Open Eyes. Help?

Discussion in 'Water Dragons' started by HammerJack339, Nov 15, 2011.

  1. HammerJack339

    HammerJack339 Member

    I've got 2 Chinese Water dragons. the Male is doing fine but the female has stopped eating and won't open her eyes. There in a 45 Gal upright tank with lots of stuff to climb on. The bottom is a recirculating filtered water system. there diet Consists of mealworms, crickets and an omnivore mix that was recomended to us by peatsmart. I've got them on a calcium dust. they have a ceramic heating lamp on one side and an exoterra repti glo 5.0 26w UVB bulb. We tried seperating them to feed them but now she just wont eat. Does anybody know what could be wrong???
  2. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi, I would guess the problem is stress related from being housed together, also, you don`t say how long you`ve had them, are you sure they`re male and female?
    The ceramic heat emmitter is not good for creating a proper basking spot, because they direct heat all around, rather the downwards, quite good for ambient (air) temps.
    Can you put a couple of photos of the setup and the lizards?
    Lastly, the tank is much too small, and all glass fish tanks offer them no privacy, and are bad insulators, so you lose much heat.
  3. HammerJack339

    HammerJack339 Member

    There under a year old I've had them about 2 months. when i took the pics it was the first time she tried to eat anything in almost three days. What would be a better alternative to the glass reptile tanks? i got this one as a temp until they're grown more as they're still young? also i was told that screen can block the UVB bulb. What can i use instead of that?





  4. justor

    justor Elite Member

    Yes, fine screen will block out UVB. Wider mesh screen is okay though. You can get some 1/4" hardware cloth at any home improvement store and that will work very well.

    The best thing to house water dragons in is a custom built wooden enclosure. It should be roughly the size of a refrigerator for a single adult water dragon. Check out the Water Dragon Enclosures tab at the top of the page for ideas on custom cages.
  5. HammerJack339

    HammerJack339 Member

    So what do I do about the female not eating? she just ate for the first time in days a couple mins ago and she is back to her lathargic sitting with her eyes closed pose? is that normal?
  6. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi the mesh screen is NOT suitable, you lose both heat and humidity. You need a solid top, in this case, with cutouts for the bulbs.
    I think you should separate them immediately, because until then, one/both animals will suffer a great deal of stress, possibly serious injuries to one or both, it takes a split second for something like that to happen.
    What are the ambient (air), and basking spot (surface) temps, and what are you measuring them with; analogue or digital thermometer/hygrometer?
    EDIT: The animal in the 4th pic down looks very thin and dehydrated, it could die if you don`t act quickly enough. I`m not trying to worry you, it`s just urgent!
  7. justor

    justor Elite Member

    lathargy is never normal.

    I think the first thing that needs to be done is have the two seperated. Putting two lizards in the same enclosure with less than adequate room is a very stressful situation for the both of them. Your female is likely being dominated by the male. The stress from that situation will keep her from eating and behaving normally. Have you had a vet check? I would definitely recommend having a vet check her out to make sure it isn't parasites or anything. You don't want your male being affected as well...
  8. HammerJack339

    HammerJack339 Member

    we have a digital. its avg 95 F in the basking area with 70% humidity the other areas are roughly 80 F with about 50% humidity. what should i use to construct the enclosure? what plants are acceptable and what works best? ive had lizards before and none of them had these problems so id like to learn what i can.
  9. justor

    justor Elite Member

    A brief explanation of a custom enclosure:

    First construct a suitably sized frame. Some people use 2x4's. I used them for my iguana enclosure and they can be a little difficult... I would recomend using 2x2's to make things easier and to keep this thing from getting too heavy. Use plywood no less than 1/2" thick for the walls, roof and floor. ALL interior wood surfaces (walls, roof, any shelves you may install) need to be coated with at least three coats of wood sealer to prevent the high humidity from slowly destroying the enclosure. Usually Minwax Polycrylic is the recommended sealer.

    Here is a list of edible plants that are safe to use in an enclosure. I personally don't have any experience with live plants so this is the best I can do there.

    Edible Plants List

    Pothos are very common. Ficus trees and Hibiscus are good options as well I believe.
  10. HammerJack339

    HammerJack339 Member

    would it be possible to construct it out of plexi glass and spray paint the outside black or something to replace the ply wood?
    and since there still young do i need to keep it smaller and increase it as they grow?
  11. justor

    justor Elite Member

    Also you may want to give the sites care sheet a good once-over to make sure you havn't missed any important information.

    Chinese Water Dragon Care Guide (Physignathus cocincinus)

    A young water dragon should do just fine in a full-sized enclosure. As for using plexi I can't really say if that would be good or not... maybe someone else has some input. If you paint one side of a piece of glass doesn't that make a mirror? You definitely don't want any mirrors lol.

    Anyways I think the plexi would end up being considerably more expensive and quite a bit heavier as well.
  12. HammerJack339

    HammerJack339 Member

    also I have a circulating system in mine right now so theres no bedding it's just a ciculated system. is there anything i need to watch out for? we change out the water every 2-3 days to keep it clean.
  13. justor

    justor Elite Member

    I've seen people do that with no problems. In my opinion it's better than having a particle type substrate for these dragons. In the large enclosure though I wouldn't recommend having the entire bottom filled with water. You would be better off using slate tiles as substrate and using like a cat litter tray or something as a water tub.
  14. HammerJack339

    HammerJack339 Member

    once there doing better and in a bigger enclosure will it be ok to have them in the same on or do i need to keep them separate?
  15. justor

    justor Elite Member

    Ideally you will want to seperate them. Water dragons can cohabitate, but you must have plenty of room, and you need to ensure that there will never be any competition for basking sites, food etc. If you keep them together there will always be the risk of them getting into a fight, and you may experience more submission issues. They would do best in their own enclosures.
  16. HammerJack339

    HammerJack339 Member

    Do you know any places where i can get a decent set of drawn out plans for an enclosure?
  17. schlegelbagel

    schlegelbagel Frog Lover Premium Member

    you are going to want wood, not only is it a much better at insulating than plastic, it's easier to construct with and 1/8th the price of plexi. With wood you can bolt branches right on. You can connect light fixtures inside.

    wood all the way.

    Check out our herp habitat section. I'm pretty sure there are many CWD build logs in there.
  18. h20dragon2010

    h20dragon2010 Elite Member

    If your water dragons have never been to an exotic vet for a check=up, I would highly recommend taking both. It is extremely common for them to have parasites and they are easily treated. Parasites can cause them to not gain weight. It is also a wise idea for a check-up because her not eating could be from a number of things. Whoever had them (pet shop, person, etc) may not have maintained proper habitat requirements for them (heat, humidity) and it is possible that they could have a respiratory infection such as pneumonia. Both of my girls had it when I got them and once treated they have never gotten it again. I have had mine almost 2 years now. The only thing, I think, that has kept them healthy this long, is that the vet told me on the first visit that they are difficult lizards to keep and not recommended for beginners (my first lizards ever). I became very paranoid about their health and have spent over $6,000 in vet bills on them alone. I think a great vet and maintaining their check-ups is a great way to keep them healthy.
    Also, I see you are trying to gather info on possibly building them an enclosure. Just remember, the bigger is always better for these guys. I have two girls that live together peacefully (I know they are girls as they have both already laid eggs). We were lost on constructing a cage for them so we converted our master bathroom into their home. It is about 20 ft long x 9 ft tall x 5 1/2 ft deep. We have multiple basking spots (we ONLY use mercury vapor bulbs bc they have all in one and they were highly recommended by my vet). We also have a warm air humidifier that runs 24/7 to maintain the humidity. We have a large pool area for bathing and an egg laying box (always have one with females or they could get eggbound with nowhere to lay). We are still adding things even today to give them more to climb on or hide behind. I also hand feed both of mine to prevent fighting over food. Some people don't encourage hand feeding ( I feed assorted gut-loaded bugs) but I prefer it and they are used to the routine.

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