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New Here, Have All Sorts of Questions and Looking for Suggestions Too

Discussion in 'Water Dragons' started by PrairieDawn, Nov 25, 2012.

  1. PrairieDawn

    PrairieDawn Member

    Hello everyone!

    My name is Dawn and I am new to owning any sort of reptile. I got Trogdor last night (my husband brought him home) and have him in a temporary set up until I can build him something more permanent. Right now he is in a 20 gal aquarium. He looks to be a juvenile. He ate a couple of crickets last night dipped in calcium but hasn't eaten anything I offered him today.

    1) First thing I noticed is he bops at the glass quite a bit so I got some background but it only covers the back. Should I get something for the sides? I read about the snout issues and I really don't want that and I am pretty sure he doesn't either. So I really want to be proactive about this until I can build the bigger enclosure.

    2) Gut-load or no gut-loading crickets? I have Rep-Cal Calcium w/ Vit-D3 for dusting the crickets.

    3) I got a UVB light, 100W infrared heat lamp (is that too hot a wattage?), climbing sticks, water dish, food dish, coconut husk substrate. I am currently looking for a thermo-hygrometer. Any suggestions on a decent brand? What works best for you vs what sucks and I shouldn't waste my money on the product.

    4) Food - when is the best time to feed them? I read on a website about the "MK Diet" but I noticed that Trogdor was not interested in the food. I left small bits and mashed bits but he wasn't having any of that. I have dead mealies and live mealies - no interest so far. He did eat last night when we got him situated in the aquarium.

    5) Suggestions for anything I haven't mentioned or have?

    Thanks for reading, responding and all that jazz. :)



    Attached Files:

  2. PrairieDawn

    PrairieDawn Member

    Ah Trogdor finally ate this morning, YAY! 3 crickets so far, no mealies and no fruits/veggies but he ate!
  3. Wyldrose

    Wyldrose Elite Member

    #1 he's bobbing at his reflection a 20 gallon tank is very small for him, adding some branches and plants(plastic or real) will help give him something to do.

    #2 not gut loading crickets is like feeding him an empty wrapper, the gut load is what gives him the nutrtion he needs. Dust once a week.

    #3 head out to your nearest walmart or home depot and pick up a digital hydrometere and thermomer. Accurite is a common brand. They are in the area with the thermostats. I can not comment on the light bulb until you know the temps in there. 100 watt does seem over kill. In my CWD enclosure I use a 60 watt regular house hold light bulb and it keeps it nice and warm in there. Watch out for the coconut husk it can cause eye problems. You can always mix in some soil with nothing added(no fertilizers and the white bits).

    #4 since he's a baby I would feed him an hour after turning on his lights and again about 2 hours before turning off his lights.

    #5 Once he's settled in he'll eat more for you. It's always ideal to get a fecal sample to your vet to test for parasites. CWD are often wild caught and full of worms. The best time to get him in his adult home(fridge sized is the recomened size) is as soon as possible. A little dragon will have fun in there :)
  4. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    1. Yes cover atleast the bottom few inches of all sides (front too) to prevent snout rub. Also offering as much climbing and hiding spots as possible will help.
    2. Yes gut load the crickets. Also pick up a multivitamin powder(sprinkle on crickets twice a week) and a pure calcium powder without d3 (sprinkle on crickets 3 times a week). Then use the calcium with d3 once a week. This should be continued until he is about 2ft then you can use each type once a week.
    3. AcuRite indoor/outdoor thermometer/hygrometer with a probe is a great option and is $12 at Walmart. With this you stick the probe on the basking surface and stick the unit on the cool side and you will have all the important temps figured out. I believe the 100watt is much too hot for a 20g but can't know for sure until you have a thermometer. A 40-50 watt should be enough. Does he spend a lot of his time in the water?
    4. Feed once in the morning and once I the evening.
    5. Don't handle him for the first week so that he has time to destress and get used to you. Also how big is his water area? Can you post pics of the entire set up? What are ou planning for his adult enclosure?
  5. PrairieDawn

    PrairieDawn Member

    I can post pictures in a few days when I can get someone to come over and take them for me. I ran over my digital camera last month and still haven't replaced it.

    I went out and bought some fake plants for now which I placed above and below. I will go out and get an accurite thermo/hygrometer tomorrow. Walmart on the weekends especially black Friday sales is a bad idea all around. I currently have exo-terra analog thermometer and hygrometers in the tank. Currently the temperature is: 80F and Humidity is: 65% (I know that's low and it's due to me getting rid of the coconut husk and replacing it with jungle soil from Zilla. The local hardware stores had no soil without pesticides n garbage in it.

    I sent my husband out to get a 75W infrared bulb he said the infrared is better than a basking light. I have been using Terra root in the tank for him to climb on and chill out on. So I don't really have a basking area. Should it be on the ground or up high? I got a mess top with the infrared light beaming in.

    Trogdor is still bopping his nose on the glass even with the fake plant set up and placing clings on all three sides of the tank. How many inches should I place some cling on the front of the tank? He keeps staring at me through the glass. Kind of feels like the stink eye, haha but seriously, is it the stink eye (my mom calls it the evil eye)?

    I currently have a long Pyrex baking dish because it was the only thing I could find that was heavy so it wouldn't get knocked over and large/deep enough for soaking up the water. I mist water inside the tank once in the morning and once after I turn off the UVB lamp at night.

    I have been handling him since I got him but will stop. I was hoping that with more handling, I would get less of the water dragon dirty look that I get during his bursts of energy aka nose bopping. Also going to get some of his poop and take it to the vet tomorrow, they are expecting me. If he (assuming he is a he) has parasites, will I need to change his diet/vitamins etc?

    Can I use Cricket Quencher or should I gut-load them with real food not gelatinous commercial goop I see online?

    Do you think a 40 gal tank would be better until I can get the enclosure built? I probably couldn't get it built until January at the earliest since we are planning on moving to a bigger house. Can I use a book shelf, china hutch, etc as the outside structure and just prep the inside for him or has anyone tried that and have good/bad suggestions for me? I saw a post on here from a few days ago where the user built their structure from scratch. Anyone know where I can get plans/blueprints to build? Or is it more of a wing it sort of thing?

    I think he has gone to sleep for the night. The nose bopping has me worried and so I am frantically trying to find a reasonably priced aquarium for him that's larger than 20 gal until the bigger one can be built. I just blew through my paycheck on Trogdor and other expenses and won't get paid for another 15 days.

    Sorry this is so long and has a lot of paragraphs but I want to make sure things are answered and easy for folks to read. If you are the TL;DR type - sorry.

  6. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    A good humidity range is between 60-75%. You don't want the humidity dropping below 50% or raising above 80% for extended amounts of time because it can cause respiratory infections and other health concerns. If you are looking for some non fertilized soil Walmart has giant bags of sphagnum peat moss for $8 in their garden section and it holds moisture rather well.

    The basking spot should be up high so it can reach the proper temp without heating up the entire cage. You don't have to have the infrared bulbs if you don't want to spend the money on them, a halogen flood bulb will work and is cheaper. To help with humidity you can cover most of the lid.

    The bottom 3-4 inches should be covered so he can't see out. It isn't soo much a "stink eye" as it it a defensive measure. He hasn't decided yet whether you are a predator or not so he keeps a wary eye on you to make sure you don't swoop in and eat him.

    After a week of not handling him you can gradually work your way up to it. Start slow as CWDs are extremely skittish at first so you will want to get him used to you be sticking your hand in (don't touc him) then slowly over a period of days move your hand closer and closer til eventually you slide your hand under him to hold him. Never pick him up from the top as that is what predators do.

    For your crickets. A variety of diets are available I find the easiest is I buy the flukers gutload powder food mix it with fish food and then add some vegetables for variety. You will also need the "cricket quencher" as it is their water source. You can't just put a bowl of water in as they will drown instead you need to use hydrated water crystals. You can but them at floral shops or I bought mine from

    A bigger aquarium is better but if you don't have one available already don't waste your money buying one instead get to work on the adult enclosure. It will also be less stressful for the dragon to not be moved around so much. Converting furniture is fine and the easiest/cheapest way. Most people do it this way. I built mine from scratch and had drawn up my own plans because I couldn't find a piece of furniture that fit where I wanted it or the pond I wanted to use. If I could do it again I would convert something. To convert a piece of furniture make sure it is as close to 4x3x6(LxWxH) as you can get and that it is made from real wood not mdf board as hat is basically cardboard.
  7. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi, am I seeing things or is that a dog`s leg next to the tank (with the rest of the dog attached), if yes, that can be extremely stressful for the lizard? What type and how far in inches or cm is the UVB light from the surface of the dragon, and if you`re using a decent UVB bulb, no supplementary D3 is needed.
  8. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    I thought it was some sort of claw foot table leg...hmm.
  9. PrairieDawn

    PrairieDawn Member

    Hairless cat actually and the room is locked when I am not in here so the cat can't come in anytime to disturb the lizard. After that day, Kitty (the cats name) has paid no attention to Trogdor but to be on the safe side, I keep the room door locked. The UVB light is in a 20 gal tank right now and sits right on top of the mesh screen. Trogdor can climb right up to the top of the tank if he wants but usually sits somewhere around the center unless he is off the terra root and trying to see where I am. The UVB fixture and bulb are from Zilla, the light says: Tropical 25 UVB - T8 Fluorescent bulb.

    Thalatte: Great, I am heading to Wally world later for the thermo/hygrometer so I will pick up a bag of soil there too. I have also been searching CL for that piece of furniture to convert. I am thinking a china hut or something around that size so I can put doors on or replace the existing doors. Usually the glass doors on the huts are flimsy at best so it's best to replace it. Can I use OSB or is that the same as MDF board? The husband has a bunch of OSB laying around so I thought I would ask. Is plywood okay? Should it be treated or non-treated wood? I know that I need to get some water based polyurethane for the sealant.

    My lunch break is over so I need to get back to work. Thanks for all the great advice everyone. Will check back later. --Dawn
  10. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    NO treated wood the chemicals hey use are poisonous. I don't know what osb is but plywood is fine. And it will need 3-4 coats of poly to seal it. Other places you can look are antique stores (after i started my cage i found a bunch of useable furniture in these stores) and secondhand shops.
  11. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi again, I haven`t used those bulbs, though if there`s screen between the bulb and animal you`re losing some of the UVB. You haven`t said how many inches/cm it is from the animal`s surface, and I don`t know the measurements of a 20 gallon fish tank, can you give them?
  12. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    I have that slimline UVB and it came with a plastic cover over the bulb that needs to be removed otherwise uv rays aren't passing through. And Aja had some medical issues wih her anoles that she linked back to the zilla bulb. I think the issues were fatal in some cases...I haven't heard anything about these bulbs affecting other reptiles so I don't know if your CWD is in danger from it.
  13. PrairieDawn

    PrairieDawn Member

    The surface is at an angle so it varies. I don't have the exact measurements of the angle or the tank size but can update on that sometime tomorrow. There is nothing I can do about the screen for now. I am considering getting a hood over the mesh and just poking a hole or few in the top to allow for air flow. If there is minimal UVB coming through the mesh top, should I stick with the Calcium + D3? Seems logical by what you have stated, regardless of measurements. I could be wrong though.

    Thalatte: I will promptly remove the plastic in the am before turning it on. I did read somewhere about removing it but the instructions say that the UVB does penetrate through the plastic so I didn't see it as a concern at the time. I think this weekend I am going to sit down and draw up some temporary plans for a habitat, just in case I can't find something worthy of transforming. I probably won't do a pond in the bottom but I have seen in other pictures and youtube videos people who have put sink drains in the water part of the habitat. I have the heat bulb on the mesh screen as well but am thinking of moving it so it shines onto the glass portion of the tank. I am hoping that it will help with the humidity and I can keep the portion of the mesh top that would be exposed covered with aluminum foil.

    Good news! He has calmed down, a lot! Today, I was at work and left the office warm and locked and came home to a snoozing CWD. He slept for a few hours, checked to see what I was doing before going back to his spot on the log. The heat seems to be consistent in there but the humidity fluctuates between 50% (as of right now) and during the day between 70-80%. I don't want him to get a respiratory infection. I have had plenty of those in my life to know they suck. Dropped his poop off at the vets but forgot to get the gel stuff from the florist. Picked up fish flakes today.
  14. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    Do not put the heat bulb directly on glass as the glass will shatter, just use the aluminum foil around the dome(leave an inch inbetween the dome and the foil). My adult enclosure has a preformed pond liner that takes up the majority of the bottom of the cage and has a sink drain for easy cleaning and Tai loves it. I love it for the easy accessibility he has in and out as well as the easy cleaning.
  15. Lyndsbelle

    Lyndsbelle Elite Member

    We learned this the hard way, even with 1" glass, it will shatter with consistent heat. It was almost fatal to our dragons, we were lucky that they were just out of the way when it did. They were not harmed.
  16. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    yeah I did the same thing on a hatchling cage when I was cleaning it. Dragons werent hurt as they were bathing at the time, however, my dog got some shards in his foot.
  17. PrairieDawn

    PrairieDawn Member

    Sorry I haven't been on in a few days. My husband is a huge nerd and broke the network including our internet. Trogdor has settled in nicely and has since stopped bonking his snout on the glass. He comes out to sunbathe and eat crickets and mealworms. I picked up a cabinet today from the CL free section. It's 24" wide and 30" height which I am hoping will do until the move. I feel awful that he's in a 20 gallon tank. So I am wondering what brand of water based sealant do I want to use. I plan on slathering it everywhere inside cabinet to seal up the holes and the cracks.

    I am thinking of taking one of the shelves, cutting it in half and using that as an upper deck since I want to put a pan of water in the bottom. I am still in think/design mode. So if you have suggestions or think this is a bad idea for an enclosure, please let me know.

    Thanks again!

  18. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    It will work for now, but are the cabinet dimensions significantly bigger than the 20gal? I used Cabot brand polyurethane and water based will dry faster. The shelf think is a good idea. Glad he is settling in for you. I would suggest looking into getting Phoenix or silk or hornworms to mix up his diet as they are a lot healthier than crickets and mealworms. Especially phoenix(lots of calcium).
  19. Vers

    Vers Elite Member

    To clarify further, depending on the density of the mesh, it could be blocking upwards of 50% of UV radiation. How is the bulb being housed at the moment? If you're not using a reflector with a mirrored finish you're providing very little UVB from the get go, especially outside 8".
  20. PrairieDawn

    PrairieDawn Member

    Okay, I will look into getting those worms for him. The dimensions are 30"x24"x22" and when I do the calculations it gives me roughly 68Gal.

    I am struggling to figure out how to do the hot/cold area within this cabinet. Any ideas? The cabinet is completely open on the top and front since this was originally suppose to be someones cupboard. I recently found out that the inside is made of particle wood (yuck) so I am worried about putting a door on the front and it falling off. The top and back I was going to reinforce with plywood but now that I am thinking about everything, I might as well just go out and get the darn plywood and make it from scratch!

    I got an under the tank heater which is always on, but I am wondering should I place it on the side of the tank instead. He tends to go to bed on the side I have it on but it never seems warm enough to me. Current temp inside the tank is 74F with 70% humidity. I put a hiding shelter on one side of the tank so he can go in there. I don't know if this is making sense. I am just throwing out ideas, thoughts and questions as I go.

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