Wooden/PVC/Melamine enclosure is preferred but a glass aquarium will do. 20gal for a baby is the minimum but will soon need to increase to 40gal breeder tank within the first few months. Bigger is ok too and most adults prefer a bit more room anyway. Its recommended to start off with the large enclosure for ease of you and the baby transitioning
There are a lot of opinions on what is considered safe for substrate use, we will only list here what we recommend. As a baby, it is important to monitor their intake and output. We do not recommend any loose substrate at all. Paper towel, paper or tile are some safe starters.
They MUST have UVB. Without it, they will be sick and die. It’s as simple as that. We recommend T8 tube UVB bulb. Ex: Arcadia T8 12% or ReptiSun 10.0 T8. These bulbs come in different lengths. The length depends on the length of your enclosure. It should be inside your enclosure (no screen between bulb and animal) and it should span across at least 2/3rd of the enclosure. (If you want to know more about T5 bulbs, contact us and we can explain but T5 should not go inside the enclosure)
Another light you must have is a heat light. We recommend to place the heat light toward one end of the enclosure so it creates a heat gradient. Essentially a hot side and cool side. We recommend using a halogen flood bulb from your local hardware store. (not spot flood but regular flood) Be mindful to avoid LED bulbs, they do not put off heat at all. The bulb can be used in any regular socket. If using a dome, the dome can be placed on top of the screen over the tank or if using a wooden enclosure, the socket can be inside the enclosure far enough away that the baby can’t burn themselves. The wattage of the bulb depends greatly on the enclosure and may take some trial and error. 65w-100w seems to work but temps may not be optimal and may need you to try different wattages. Some use a 100w and use a dimmer switch with the fixture which is a perfectly acceptable technique.
When measuring temps, please use a thermometer with probe as well as a infrared temp gun. Both of these things are inexpensive and imperative to know your temps are on point and not going to harm your baby. Ambient temps in the enclosure should be 85-90 on hot side and 75-80 on cool side. Your basking spot should be about 105-115 as a baby and a bit cooler as they age, down to 95-105. No heat is needed at night unless the enclosure temps drop below 65. Lights should be on 12 hours and off 12 hours, a timer is best for this consistency. No lights on at night at all! They like total darkness at night.
Humidity can be an issue if too high. Keep humidity below 50%, anything higher and this can cause respiratory issues. They generally like a dry environment. Below 20% may also cause issues with shedding so be mindful of keeping them well hydrated and doing warm water soaks if humidity is very low.
Babies should maintain a 80% bug/20% veggies diet. Adults will be 20% bugs/80% veggies.
(Glossary: Staple=safe everyday, rotational=2-3 times per week, occasional=1 per week, treat=1-2 per month)
Staple bugs-crickets, dubia roaches, phoenix worms/BSFL/calciworms, silkworms, discoid roaches
Rotational bugs –superworms
Occasional bugs-butterworms, waxworms
Babies can eat a lot! Feed 2-3 times per day. Good rule of thumb is as many as they want in a 10-15 minute period. Remove all bugs from enclosure prior to lights out time or feed baby in another enclosure or bin.
We dust all live feeders with Repashy Plus but there are other supplements out there to choose from. Calcium with D3, calcium without D3, Reptivite multivitamin etc…
Feed daily fresh greens/veggies.
Staple veggies-collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, alfalfa plant (not sprouts), cactus pad/prickly pear, dandelion greens, escarole, curly endive, many types of squash
Many types of greens and veggies can be rotational and occasional but the list is so large that it’s best to do your own research and decide which you prefer to try.
Fruits can be given but as treats only. Fruits are not a big part of their diet and some don’t like any fruits at all. It’s about preference but please give fruits sparingly.
Water in the enclosure is a personal preference. Most bearded dragons do not drink from still water but are more likely to drink while being in a shallow water warm soak. These 10-15 minute soaks are recommended not only to help them have access to drink water but also warm soaks help with shedding. If you notice your baby is not drinking at all, try using a dropper of water and drip over the tip of their nose and they will lick it up. Soaks can be done daily but can be as infrequent as once per week. Depends on the age and the temperament of the animal.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU THINK THERE IS A HEALTH ISSUE
If you believe that your baby is having a health issue, please contact us or a trusted breeder. If you feel that it is a medical emergency, please go to the nearest reptile vet ASAP.
Signs of the baby not doing well…
Lethargy, breathing abnormal or gasping, limpness, refusing to eat, losing weight or not gaining weight, runny stool/diarrhea or urate that is not white (slight yellow or pink is ok but anything more then a hint of color is not ok), hiding in cool end for extended periods of time, extensive “glass surfing” or black bearding
Normal things to happen
Stress spots on the belly (if more than a few days, contact us for tips), head bobbing, waving, black bearding (if more than a day, please contact us), some glass surfing, hiding (if more then a day or two, contact us for tips), defensive stance or open mouth when being reached for, a day or two of not eating, not drinking from water bowl, sleeping VERY deep at night time (no they are not dead J)