Taking in two adult beardies

jaredc

Arachnosquire
Joined
Nov 5, 2014
Messages
84
Hey guys, my friend is moving across the country to come live with me and he's taking his two bearded dragons with him. I've only ever owned invertebrates so I have a lot of questions as far as setup and care goes.

The pair are male and female and are both about 5 years old. Right now they're travelling in blanketed crates with shipping heat mats underneath. I bought a 75 gallon tank for them, and I'm still unsure if I should use a substrate of playpit sand or something that would allow for a more bioactive setup like a mix of potting soil and dry sphagnum moss. If I did go the bioactive route I have plenty of isopods and milliepdes I could use as cleanup crews.

As far as lighting and heating goes, they have a two part basking light my friend is bringing and I have a 50w red heat lamp I'm going to place near their hide for nighttime. Since I live in Los Angeles I'm not too worried about temps dropping too low.

As for diet, I've read that at this stage in their lives it is better to provide more greens and vegetables than protein, is that correct? I'm ordering a dubia starter colony so I can eventually grow all their food at home. I have some large hisser colonies I keep as pets but I know that they tend to be too fatty to feed on a regular basis. I also have some green banana roaches I can feed once that colony grows more too, but I'm not sure if they're too small for them to be attracted to.

Where do you guys stand on the size of food? I've read that feeding adult roaches larger than their head can lead to impaction, but I've also read that that's complete BS. The reason I ask is because I may get one or other species of blaberus to use for food variety, and adults of that genus can easily grow beyond the measurement in between their eyes; same goes for hissers.

Thanks for the help, and sorry about all the newbie questions! I'm really excited to get my first reptiles and I want to make sure I'm following the best husbandry possible.
 

jaredc

Arachnosquire
Joined
Nov 5, 2014
Messages
84
They arrived today exhausted from their 3 day car ride, but they pretty readily ate collard greens and some spaghetti squash as well as 10-15 crickets.

I decided to use playpit sand and it's more moist than i expected. Right off the bat they licked up some sand but I believe since they're adults they shouldn't have problems passing it. They have a UVB heat coil and a basking spot that goes up to 105 degrees.

Here are some pics~

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raisinjelly

Arachnoknight
Joined
Oct 24, 2014
Messages
207
Check out this care guide here, it should pretty much cover anything you'd need to know - https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B4-LK25H4wfvMFJTVXJZaUExT3M/edit?pref=2&pli=1

The best thing to do would be to separate them out into their own cages. Bearded dragons are solitary animals in the wild and when kept together, one will generally become dominant and get the best of the resources like food and basking space. There's also the risk of them getting into a fight and injuring each other. With it being a male/female pair as well, they're going to keep breeding and that's not very good for the health of the female, not to mention raising baby beardies is super expensive with how much they eat.

Particle substrates like sand should be avoided because there's the risk of them getting impacted. Look into reptile carpet, tile, or vinyl.

I'd also remove the red light bulb at night. They can see infrared light like that, and they should really have a completely dark cycle. If the room stays 68F+ they'd be fine without heat, but if it gets colder you could look into a ceramic heat emitter instead
 

jaredc

Arachnosquire
Joined
Nov 5, 2014
Messages
84
So a bit of an update, I made their sub 50/50 play sand and sphagnum peat moss and added a very prolific species of isopod, Porcellio laevis. I also added two 13 watt 10.0 UVB compacts so the entire enclosure is lit. I also added a square tile for basking and eating and a 50w basking bulb. The basking spot still isn't getting as high as I'd like (only around 90 degrees) but I'm working on getting a higher watt bulb.

We also brought them to a local breeder who actually wrote the approved food list I see a lot of people on the bearded dragon forum using. Anyway, she said because of their age impaction because of sand shouldn't be a problem and since the female has only laid 5 infertile clutches in her life, she shouldn't be mated to death or be laying eggs constantly. The male and female have also lived with eachother for 5 years with no injury, but still I'm working on getting the female a separate setup. I can tell she'd just be much happier on her own without getting constant black beard displays and head bobbing.

They're eating a lot more these days and getting regular baths, and they've both pooped in my care, but they don't seem to care much for greens. I think I might be spoiling them with dubias heh. Anyway any other advice you guys might have would be greatly appreciated!

Lastly, here's a pic of their entire setup.

 
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