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Help with a Picky Eater!

Discussion in 'Water Dragons' started by huskergirl, Sep 28, 2012.

  1. huskergirl

    huskergirl Well-Known Member

    My water dragon is the pickiest eater of any animal I've ever had! I read through some posts other members had written, so I know this can be an issue with this species. The only thing he will eat with any consistency are giant mealworms. He loves them. He won't touch crickets, so I usually just buy them and they die. I tried pinkies as well, and he did eat one of three. The others ruined. I hate to starve him to get him to eat different things, but I have cut back on his mealworms significantly for a few days to make sure he's hungry. Nothing works. He doesn't seem to be having any issues from his lack of a variety, but I know it can't be good that he only eats one thing, even if I do dust the worms with calcium. He's actually growing so fast that he starts a new shed as soon as he finishes one. Am I overreacting here? Also, is it possible to gut-load mealworms like you can crickets?
     
  2. cassicat4

    cassicat4 Subscribed User Premium Member

    The only thing I can help you with is the gutloading, and that's yes, you can gutload mealworms like you do crickets. I have mine in a large tupperware container full of oats, rice, grains, carrots, and potatoes. This makes them nice and fat and a lot more nutritional for your dragon...

    That being said...I was actually about to post this exact same question today, no lie! Mine is doing the same thing, will only eat Kingworms or mealworms and turns her nose up at everything else. She let a pinky go to waste for the first time yesterday, and hasn't touched her crickets in over 2 weeks. I've offered her dewworms, rosy reds, silkworms, hornworms, butterworms, crickets, pinkies, veggies and...nothing. From what I understand, you can't starve these guys to get them to eat something else as they will starve themselves to death just to hold out for what they want. So I would love to hear the advice from others on what to do as well!
     
  3. huskergirl

    huskergirl Well-Known Member

    Do you still keep the mealworms in the fridge? Also, do you take them out of the mixture that they are sold in, or just add the other stuff to it?
     
  4. cassicat4

    cassicat4 Subscribed User Premium Member

    No, I keep the mealworms at room temp (they won't eat if they're in the fridge) and I just dump the whole mixture in with the rest of the worms. They're usually sold in a grain mixture of sorts (although some come in a woody substrate) but it won't hurt the worms to add it to the rest.
     
  5. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    Try ordering silkworms, they are really high in protein and calcium though they can be challenging to feed. Horn-worms though are also relatively healthy and I haven't had a CWD turn them down yet. Also giant mealworms are treated with a growth hormone that sterilizes the worms so you might want to consider switching to regular mealworms(there isnt any data on whether or not the growth hormone affects lizards but it is something to consider).
    Have you tried roaches? Pheonix worms? Earthworms?
     
  6. Zane

    Zane Well-Known Member

    I have similar problems with my little guy, but not nearly as severe. Currently I have at least 10 or more dubia roaches living in his tank with him because he has not yet realized they are food. I attempted to use the tweezers/hand feed with them, but he looked at me like I was crazy (he only eats the mealworms from my hand because of how much they squirm) because the roaches weren't moving enough. Then I put one down in front of him, and he looks on with curiosity as it runs away and burrows..... 10 times in a row. I can't say I didn't try though.
     
  7. mshrmheadcharge

    mshrmheadcharge Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

    Hi, can you give us a run down of your enclosure, temps, humidity, what you are using to measure them, lighting, size of enclosure and substrate? :D thanks!
     
  8. huskergirl

    huskergirl Well-Known Member

    His cage is 4' x 5 1/2' x 2 1/2'. Temps in the basking spot are 90 degrees, and there is UV bulb there for him to sit under too. Day temps are in the mid to high 80s with a cool corner that stays in the high 70s low 80s. Night temps are in the 70s. I just recently got a fogger that is keeping the humidity around 70%. I have a hygrometer/thermometer in each side of the enclosure to keep track of everything. For substrate I have a liner with moss on top to help protect the wood from the humidity.
    As far as different types of food, I did try earthworms with little success. He ate three of 20. I've heard great things about dubia roaches, and would like to give them a try. I don't know where to get them though. I haven't found them in any pet stores, and I don't know which websites are good. It's the same with the silkworms and horn worms and phoenix worms. Where can I find them?
     
  9. Zane

    Zane Well-Known Member

    I got lucky with the roaches, theres a local store that sells them... But be warned, they scurry fast, and they dig in and won't be seen, unless you have a digger.

    Do you have a digital or analog thromometer/ hydrometer?
     
  10. mshrmheadcharge

    mshrmheadcharge Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

    Hey Huskergirl, thanks for the info! You may try bumping the cool side and nighttime temps up to 75 and see if that makes a difference. I am also curious as to how you measure your temps/humidity :)
    ROACH PAGE
     
  11. huskergirl

    huskergirl Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the roach page! I have digital hygrometer/thermometer units on each side to keep track of the humidity and temperature. According to the thermometer, it's 76-77 degrees at night for him. I actually just moved his log (which he prefers to sleep under) closer to the heat source. It was on the far side, and I was afraid he was getting too cold. I think another issue may be that he doesn't have enough water in his cage. He has actually outgrown his bowl with this last shed. I was thinking about trying to set up a 10-gallon tank in the bottom with a filter to keep the water moving. Would that be big enough? Also, I don't know if he'll even like it. I tried to put a deeper water dish in his cage before, and he never went in. He freaks out in water that is deeper than his head. Do you think that's because the water wasn't really moving before?
     
  12. SpidaFly

    SpidaFly Elite Member

    Get a big dishpan or mortar tub (they have them at home depot/lowe's). They are easily deep enough for a juvenile dragon to submerge in (which is desirable, they are water dragons and they love the water.

    I would forgo any of the tiny filters on the market. Had one, hated it. Junk just sits in those filters, smells awful, grows nasty stuff, and does a extremely poor job of circulating enough water to keep it clean. I ended up doing partial water changes every night, full water changes every few days, and if you have a pond of 7+ gallons (like a big dishpan or mortar tub) you're going to start to hate it.

    An absolute MARVEL for a water dragon is a canister filter usually used on larger fish tanks. I use a Fluval 306 and this mortar tub (I use two, one stuck inside the other just for guaranteed stability). This setup handily accommodates my 7" S-V water dragon. The canister filter sets on the floor outside the cage, pipes go up through holes drilled in the side of the cage, and back down about 8" to the water. Intake valve is mounted to the PVC tub with nylon pipe straps and neoprene washers to prevent leaking. The setup can easily be duplicated with larger PVC tubs later on.

    This setup has the advantage of being cheap, very sturdy, low maintenance, and exceptionally reliable. I LOVE the Fluval 306. All I do on a nightly basis is scoop solids (substrate, feces that didn't get sucked up) out. Every couple weeks I do a partial water change. Every couple months I do a full breakdown, clean out the filter, scrub rocks, etc.

    Make some shallower areas by stacking some untreated/unpainted/etc. flagstones in a very stable manner (pick those up at a decorative rock yard).

    Moving water definitely stimulates them. Presence of a large body of water is, in my opinion, absolutely crucial to the psychological health of the dragon. For example, my dragon has had some (unrelated to water) health problems lately and my vet ended up performing an exploratory surgery. Because the incision needed to heal and was weeping for a few days, she was not allowed to have a pool. She spent those days in obvious psychological distress, and I had to block off the windows because she would constantly attempt to escape (nose rubbing and jumping at the glass, it was quite tragic). On the day she had her running water back, she calmed down significantly.

    Here's a couple pictures of the setup I've described:
    Outside
    Inside
    (I don't remember what the white flecks in the water are in the second picture, probably sawdust that fell in the pool during construction - that picture was taken right after I was done installing that. In practice, this thing keeps the water REALLY clean unless she chucks a bunch of dirt in there - but that's what a shrimp net and slop bucket are used for nightly. The clean water pipe is just crammed into a chopped up housing from my old tiny nasty filter because it was handy and she as used to it, there's no filter pads in there.)

    A couple related things to think about:
    1. Because the water is circulated OUTSIDE the cage, the water can get cooled off quite a bit depending on the temperature of your room. My WD is Australian, so the water getting into the low 70s is really no big deal for her. She sleeps in the water, seems to like sleeping cold. Trouble is this is a MASSIVE heat sink for the rest of your cage. If you don't like this, conceivably you could insulate your canister filter from the floor/room by sticking it in a small styrofoam cooler, and cutting a hole in the lid for the pipes to come out.

    2. Moving water is GREAT for humidity :)

    3. If the price tag on the Fluval 306 is too high, you can get the older model (305) on Amazon for $85. You might also look for used models being sold by aquarists who are retiring/upgrading. You could also look for smaller models if you think they'd work - 306 is rated for a LOT of water, but that's water with fish in it - dragons are messier so they need an overpowered filter in my opinion. You can always throttle it down a bit if it's too strong for your dragon, but it was never an issue for my dragon even when she was much smaller. In fact she likes to sleep in her water with one claw on the intake valve for support :p

    4. My apologies for posting so much about pool stuff in your thread about feeding - yep, dubias are fantastic. Phoenix worms if your dragon is tiny (don't recall if you listed his size?) As others have mentioned too, hormworms, silkworms... I'm going to have to sell my dubia colony :(:(:(, it's giving me asthma even though I have no history of asthma. So that's something to watch out for if you have a history or allergies or asthma. Weird stuff.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2012
  13. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    For dubia roaches there is a person on here that will ship you all you need to start a colony...I will find his info and post a link. As for other feeders try Mullberry farms. They have some awesome package deals and are fairly priced. I have heard good things about them and once they start shipping their larger packages again I will be ordering from them.
    For a pond I use a preformed pond liner from lowes and the filter is a submersible filter made for turtles that I bought from petsmart. The current pond I has is a 5 gallon and the adult cage I am building will have a 40gallon. Now the problem with just using a ten gallon tank is they are really deep but not that long so the CWD doesn't really get much exercise where as pond liners and mortar tubs are shallower but wider and longer so the dragon has ample swimming room.
    Here is the roach thread: http://www.herpcenter.com/invertebr...9-anyone-needing-roaches-blaptica-dubias.html
     
  14. Genko

    Genko Elite Member

    Thal, can you recommend a good online source for Phoenix Worms? I got some once, and they were bad. The container smelled like ammonia.
     
  15. huskergirl

    huskergirl Well-Known Member

    Thanks for that info! I will look into the mortar tubs and pond liners. I agree about the 10 gallon being too short for swimming room, but I didn't know what else to use! You are all so helpful! Thanks also for that link to the dubia seller. I'll be checking that out as well. My guy is about 6" S-V and 19" total. Are phoenix worms recommended for dragons smaller than a certain size?
     
  16. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    Pheonix worms can be fed to any size dragon you would just have to feed more for larger dragons. So far I have gotten mine from shows but I have heard great things about mulberryfarms.com and either Merlin or murrindindi uses Mullberry farms.
     
  17. SpidaFly

    SpidaFly Elite Member

  18. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    Never tried that site as I would only be able to order from there 2 months out of the year. However those are cheap prices.
     
  19. n0wuseeme

    n0wuseeme Active Member

    I see you live in Nebraska too! Are you in/near Omaha? If so, the guys at Barts Pet Store said they were going to start selling roaches soon! Not sure if they've started just yet, but you can give them a call, just google it : )
     
  20. huskergirl

    huskergirl Well-Known Member

    That's great news! I am close to Omaha, so I will definitely see if they've started yet! Thanks!
     

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