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Help Containing Feeders and Moldy Log

Discussion in 'HH General Discussion' started by Niiccoollee, Feb 13, 2013.

  1. Niiccoollee

    Niiccoollee New Member

    Hi Everyone!

    Buddy, my Chinese Water Dragon, has a new 40 gallon breeder to call his home now! Spoiled boy (or girl) got upgraded from his 20g long enclosure after only a month of having him thanks to Petco's dollar/gallon sale. We were going to save it for when he grows a bit more but since we were having trouble maintaining humidity and the coconut substrate irritated his eye we decided he needed it now.

    His new enclosure is a 40 gallon breeder fish tank (18''W,16"T, 36''L) and the bottom is filled with 5" (14 gallons) of treated water. He has a waterfall filter that also serves as his basking rock. There is a kitchen cabinet rack with the green reptile astroturf mat on top of it to serve as his land. We didn't want to use any other kind of substrate since he got it stuck in his eye before. He has a ladder meant for birds that he climbs on to get between his land and the waterfall and he had a tree branch that I got from the pet store half submerged in the water that he loved climbing on but it got moldy from being in the water. The top of the tank has a hinged mesh screen on it with half of it being covered in plastic wrap and tinfoil to lock in moisture and heat and the other half has his lights resting on them.

    The tank seems perfect for him other than two problems. The first and the big problem is when we put crickets in the tank they either jump into the water and drown or hide under the astroturf and he can't find them. His mealworms and wax worms also crawl out of his shallow food dish and drown in the water. We found that he wasn't eating most of the food that we place in there because of them drowning so we have resorted to setting up his old tank as a "feeding tank" and we keep it clean and bare bottomed and just place some crickets and worms in there and then put him in there with them for an hour or so. This doesn't work as well as I would like since he spends most of his time trying to escape the tank and has little interest in eating when he's moved in there (he's a very shy eater). Since we started this method we no longer have feeder casualties but the amount he consumes has drastically gone down. He use to eat 10 crickets a day or 15 large mealworms a day plus veggies and now i'm lucky if I can get him to eat 3 of either in a day.

    I'm wondering if anyone has had a similar problem and fixed it or if any of you have any ideas on how to create a space where I can put the crickets and mealworms in his tank where they won't crawl out and drown for the most part (I understand crickets can jump).

    My other problem was his moldy tree branch. Is there any way I can cure that branch so it can become driftwood that won't get moldy? The log grew algae on the parts that were submerged and grew actual mold on the parts above water. I'll take alternative suggestions for things he can climb on in and out of the water too. The water is treated with reptasafe to remove chlorines and is heated to 78 degrees with a water heater. The plan is to introduce him to eating fish as well so if the water conditions have to be changed i'd like them to still be safe for fish. If anyone has any experience feeding CWD's fish please share any advice on how or what type of fish as well!

    Thank you for tolerating this long post! Sorry if it is not in the right place as well but I thought this was the best place for it. I'll take some pictures of the tank and post them on here too if anyone thinks that will help!

  2. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    Can't help you with the branch other than to suggest using rock, petrified wood, or some sort of plastic for anything I the water.

    I can help wih the food issue though it won't be pretty. Glass or smooth ceramic is the best option and if the bowl is fairly deep (3+ inches) then insects can escape. I now use glass bowls for all my feeders.
  3. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    You can cure the wood out but it is going to take a bit. You will need to completely submerge it in water which has been heavily salted, changing out the water every few days and scrubbing the wood. I used rock salt.
    This will leach a lot of the organics out of it. But we are talking about several weeks. You can tell when its cured because the surface will not feel slimy.
    I used to cure out my own driftwood for my fish aquariums back in the day. But It does require patience.
    And do it outside because it will smell.
  4. OEW

    OEW Elite Member

    I was having an issue with crickets escaping my water dragon's enclosure through the tiniest space that I couldn't close up... so now I feed him his crickets with feeding tongs for the time being until his new enclosure is done. That way I know they're eaten and I'm not going to find crickets all over the place... It may work for yours as well although I know they can be picky so he may not accept them from tongs. As for the mealworms, what Thalatte suggested works well. I use a mealworm dish made by Lee's... although anything smooth and deep will work just as well :)


    As far as the moldy wood issue I'm not too sure about that. I'm not sure exactly if this would work in the way your tank's set up but maybe you could stack rocks up so he could get out of the water... Some places sell flat rocks for aquariums that vary in size so maybe you could stack them kind of like stairs... just a thought.
  5. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    You have to be careful how much weight you put in glass-bottom tanks, so while a stack of rock won't mold, it may pose other problems. My CWD setup had a pond in the bottom, with a plastic half log in it she was easily able to climb to get out of the water. If your water is only 4 inches deep, you might look into the same thing (Zoo Med Habba Hut - X-Large). Mold can be reduced by making sure you have better airflow. Fans help, but they will also disperse your heat and humidity.

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