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Lots of Ideas, No Idea Where to Start!

Discussion in 'General Construction' started by tmw1093, Aug 11, 2010.

  1. tmw1093

    tmw1093 Active Member

    I'm thinking about getting a pair of water dragons, one male and one female, and keeping them in a vivarium that is going to be 6 or 7 feet high by 5 feet wide by 2 or 2 1/2 feet deep.

    I'm planning on installing a Pro-Mist system, one of Pro-Products radiant heat panels, a Fluval water filter (or something similar), and some lights. I am going to put an aquarium heater in the misting system reservoir, and also in the pond that I want to set up inside the vivarium, to keep the humidity up.

    The way I'll be setting it up is to have heavy vegetation and foliage on the right side to provide a place where they can feel secure, and then the left side will be more bare and will serve as their basking spot. I'm trying to mimic what they would find in nature. I will also probably have the pond under these branches, so they can jump into the water when they feel like it, and have branches low enough that they can climb back up from the water if they want to.

    I want the entire side to be made of a plaster or cement mix. I want to have planter boxes in the sides, and also several places with potting soil mix so the dragons can choose where they want to lay their eggs, if I do get any. I also want to have a cascading waterfall that the dragons can walk behind (like you can sometimes see at national parks and zoos), on a ramp set into the wall, and can drink from if they want to. I want it to be wide enough that I can only see their tailtips when they are behind it, or even that. This will also run into the pond.

    And a couple last things: I will be putting an ultrasonic fog generator in the pond, like the one Exo-Terra has for sale. I will also be using repti-safe in the misting system reservior, and also in the pond. I would like everything to be controlled by thermostats and switches on the outside front of the cage, or even a remote, if it's not too expensive and complicated. The misting system is going to be on a timer also, and the filter should be easy enough to control since it's on the outside of the cage anyway.

    I want to have two fans in the front of the cage, one at the top and one at the bottom. The bottom will blow air in, and the top one will suck the old air out, to keep the air circulated.

    So, as you can see, I have some fantastic ideas(perhaps too fantastic), but I don't know where to start. If you have any other ideas, or have an alternative to suggest, please don't hesitate! You all have way more experience than I do, so I'm open to anything you have to say. Seriously! c:

    P.S. please spread the word about this thread. I want this vivarium to be great! I have no experience in this sort of thing, and I think I'm gonna need all the help I can get... \:
  2. schlegelbagel

    schlegelbagel Frog Lover Premium Member

    Start with the simple construction of your box. That is where to start. Don't even think about the details yet.

    I want you to consider just getting one animal. If you have a male and female, they will constantly breed and probably fight. If you have two males, they WILL fight. If you have two females, they may fight. They are not social animals. Be prepared to separate if need be.
  3. tmw1093

    tmw1093 Active Member

    Well, a lot of the things I said I'd like to have actually built into the cage. That's why I'm going through all the trouble planning it out before hand. Thanks for the advice though!
  4. okiron

    okiron Elite Member

    I can't tell by your response if you'll listen to Liz's advice so I'll say it again. Please only get 1, especially since you've never been owned by one before.
  5. autograf323

    autograf323 Elite Member

    I have two water dragons and had to build two of the same vivarium they both measure 8' high 4' wide and 4' deep it was work but they are not stressed and living life. Listen to these guys and girls in here they know what they are talking about.
  6. tmw1093

    tmw1093 Active Member

    Liz, I am taking your advice and only getting one dragon to begin with. I didn't mean to sound rude, so sorry if I came off that way. c: My plan is to wait awhile until I get used to having one and learn the ropes, and I thought I might introduce another later on down the road when I've got some experience. I want the vivarium to be big enough to hold them both, so I won't have to build another one.

    Again, thanks for the advice! Keep it coming!
  7. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Good decision. But something you also need to keep in mind is that when you try to bring another dragon in you will want to quarantine it for 30-60 days before introducing it. Otherwise you risk introducing all sort of pathalogical nasties to your pet.
    And it will also have to be the same size as the resident dragon. So you will STILL need a sperate cage. And if it doesn't work out then the dragon can be housed in the second cage.
  8. schlegelbagel

    schlegelbagel Frog Lover Premium Member

    You weren't rude at all. Just because it is big enough to hold them both, doesn't mean they will get along. When two dragons are housed together and don't like each other, there will be fighting. This means bodily injury which means expensive vet bills. There will also be domination of one over the other. This will cause the subordinate one to not bask, not eat and decline in health. They are not social creatures. They do not hang out in the wild. The get together to mate and then go on their separate ways. They don't want company and prefer to live alone.

    I know you want to incorporate many things into your design, but if you don't get the basic box with door built, the other things won't matter. Start with the basics and then add all the fun stuff. Trust me, i have built many a custom enclosure. If you don't get the box right, the rest of the stuff doesn't matter.
  9. tmw1093

    tmw1093 Active Member

    Okay, maybe I'll just stick with one. c: Thanks for the info, I'd never heard that before... I always thought water dragons were pretty docile creatures, compared to other reptiles like basilisks, which I have read (in my many books on reptiles and amphibians!) do the same things you just mentioned.

    Schlegelbagel (or Liz, if you prefer): Do you think I could keep in touch with you? You seem to know a lot about this; I'm going to post a drawing or blueprint soon of my enclosure, and I would really like it if you could give me some pointers and critique me along the way.
  10. schlegelbagel

    schlegelbagel Frog Lover Premium Member

    Sure. I'm a mod on the board. I'm always around.
  11. tmw1093

    tmw1093 Active Member

    I'm starting a new thread about ventilating and providing air circulation inside a vivarium. Look it up if you are interested!
  12. tmw1093

    tmw1093 Active Member

    Okay, I am changing my plans a little bit, in an effort to keep things simple. (And to follow the advice of some very knowledgeable people!) So, I am eliminating the 3-foot wide waterfall, because I would have had to put it behind plants and tree branches where I couldn't have even seen it. I might do a smaller waterfall, if anybody has any ideas for this.

    I am keeping the pond on the bottom of the vivarium. However, I am wondering if it would be better to make the whole bottom a pond or to do part water, part land? I did the math, and if I filled the whole bottom of the enclosure with water about 8-10 inches high, it would be around 70 gallons. Somehow I would like to put a drain in it as well, if anybody has any experience with that. If I did a part water, part land floor, I would build up a lip around the land part so none of the soil would get into the water.

    So, once again, the heavy foliage would be on the right, or the cooler side. Then there would be branches for basking on the left side, with the Pro-Heat panel and the basking and uv bulbs.

    Please let me know if I am doing this right. I'm open to any suggestions!
  13. HydroDragon

    HydroDragon Elite Member

    You sound like you got it planned. I wouldnt do the part land portion unless you end up with a female that needs to dig. So keep in mind you may have to put in a dig box somewhere if you have an all water bottom.

    Even with the lip around the pool area, the dragon will make the water a mess. Mines always got substrate in it when i clean it out. No matter if its done on a daily basis or not (usually is.)

    A small waterfall would be easier. Just make sure you dont make it more then 2 feet from the area its pump is feeding water. This will make sure your water has proper flow and you should be able to adjust it (the mini pump i have you can.)

    Start by building your base and then add your sides back then your front! Lets see some progress pictures :)
  14. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    just be aware that that much water is going to be quite heavy.
    584 lbs to be precise!
  15. injunjoe

    injunjoe Well-Known Member

    This plan is much better.

    I have a 5 gallon plastic cement mixing tub under my enclosure. I used the mixing tub as it is a much heavier gauge then just a storage tub. It is also black and blends into the dark corner nice.

    As mentioned these critters make a mess of there water each and everyday! I used a thru hull drain for boats. Kmart had one cheap like! The drain is hooked to a flexible PVC hose and a gate valve through the wall of my house and waters a flower garden. It could just as easily be drained into a bucket, but that is just not how I am! To make it able to drain it must be up off the bottom of the cabinet. I made a rack out of metal to hold it up. Under that serves as storage.

    Now half of this tub is covered by the bottom of the floor with just an opening about 2'x1.5' the rest is a nice place for my dragon to hide and soak. The floor is not soil in my setup, this makes for a great insect hunting ground and gives Liz a little exercise.

    I will post some detail pictures on my Viv. thread when I get a chance so you can see what I am talking about.

    Last but not least "Wheels" I love wheels and everything should have them!
  16. tmw1093

    tmw1093 Active Member

    Okay, so how would I drain that water out of the vivarium if my bedroom is downstairs? Do I just drain it into a bucket and carry it up little by little? Or can I use the outflow of my filter to pump it through a window? Any ideas how I would set this up?

    I can't wait to get started!
  17. tmw1093

    tmw1093 Active Member

    Oh, and I really want to keep the ultrasonic fogger. From what I've seen, they are really cool. I'll be getting a nice one though, since someone said that the cheaper ones tend to shock.
  18. tmw1093

    tmw1093 Active Member

    I'm really itching to get started now! I'm actually going to build a rabbit hutch for my aunt first, so it will be a while before I can really get started. I figured the extra experience on something a little less complicated would help out in the long run. It'll also give me some time to think things out, since I'm kind of impulsive by nature. ;) I'll have some progress pictures up in a couple of months.

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