Occasional Visitor

new baby bearded dragon

For 3 days my 3 month old beardie has been keeping one eye closed. He has been shedding but there is do skin peeling aroind his eye. There is no sand in his cage, and 80 degrees inside the cage. He only eats small crickets. I have one heat lamp and one uvb bulb ( its the kind with the twirly bulb which i heard is bad for him). His heat bulb is 60 watt. I have washed his body snd over his closed eye with water and cotten ba ll in which he opened the eye a few times then kept it closed again. Whats going on?
Community Representative

Re: new baby bearded dragon

Hi there. We suggest for you to take baby bearded dragon to your vet for any immediate health concerns. The vet would be able to properly assess and diagnose him. 

Re: new baby bearded dragon

Take him to the vet, and make sure one of the sides of the cage is at least 100 degrees and the other side is 80.
Occasional Contributor

Re: new baby bearded dragon

You've got multiple bad things going on here, I'll try to help you as much as I can but you need to fix a lot of things very quickly or you're going to end up having a very sick or dead Bearded Dragon.

Bearded Dragons are very, very specific in their lighting and heating needs, because without the correct wavelength and amount of UVB light, and without the correct temperature in their basking area, they cannot process their nutrition, which causes huge problems. They cannot process their calcium or make vitamin D3 or process it either, so if their UVB light and basking light/temperature is wrong it doesn't matter if you dust their insects in calcium and D3 or sprinkle it on their veggies every day, they won't be able to process it. And if their basking spot is not hot enough they cannot digest anything they eat, and eventually they will stop eating all together. They will not grow at the appropriate rate and will eventually stop growing. So you're looking at a stunted bearded dragon that is going to be under sized, skinny, dehydrated, and also has Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD), both problems that will soon kill him.

His eyes are being effected by the coil UVB light bulb you have. As you stated, both coil and compact UVB bulbs are horrible for Bearded Dragons for a bunch of reasons, even though they put them in those "Bearded Dragon Starter Kits" that you end up having to replace everything that comes in them anyway and spending more money. Both the compact and coil UVB bulbs put out the completely wrong wavelength and amount of UVB light that Bearded Dragons need to process their vitamins and minerals, and to digest their food. So that coil UVB bulb you have is not doing a thing for him that's good, and unfortunately the coil bulbs also cause serious damage to their eyes. So that's what is wrong with his eye. If you turn that coil UVB light off you'll notice his eye getting better by the next day. The only UVB bulbs sold in this country that put out the correct wavelength and amount of UVB light for Bearded Dragons are the long, flourescent, tube bulbs that are made by ZooMed, called Reptisun 10.0 UVB bulbs. They are expensive but absolutely necessary if you want your Bearded Dragon to live. I don't know what size tank you have your Beardie in but they come in several different sizes of tubes, you'll need at least an 18" inch tube for your Beardie to receive proper UVB light.

So here's what you do: #1, turn off that coil UVB light you have and pitch it. His eyes will immediately start to get better, you can flush them, both eyes twice a day, with either turtle eyedrops or just the plain Visine eyedrops with no medicine added, just saline, in the meantime. Now, if you go to Petco for the 18" inch Reptisun 10.0 T5 UVB tube light it will cost you $37.99 in store, and I think right now they are like $27 on Petco online, so if you look it up on your phone on Petco's website and take your phone into your local Petco they'll price match their own online price. MAKE SURE YOU GET THE REPTISUN 10.0 T5 18" TUBE BULB THAT COMES IN A LONG YELLOW PACKAGE !!! Do not buy the Reptisun 5.0 T5 tube bulb that they also carry that comes in a long, red package! The 5.0 tube bulb is much cheaper, I believe the regular in store price is $25.99 vs. $37.99 regular in store price for the 10.0 T5, but the 5.0 tube bulb is for tropical reptiles, not desert reptiles, and will not do anything for your Bearded Dragon. I've seen people make this common mistake because the 5.0 T5 tube bulb is cheaper that the 10.0 T5 tube bulb, but you must have the 10.0 T5 tube bulb!!!

After you buy the 18" inch Reptisun 10.0 T5 UVB tube bulb, you'll need a fixture for it... DON'T BUY THE $70 fixture at Petco...Also, please DO NOT BUY THE 18" INCH ZILLA 50 DESERT T5 TUBE BULB AND FIXTURE COMBO FOR $39.99 AT PETCO!!! t seems like a good deal because you get the bulb and the fixture for $39.99, but it's not the correct wavelength or amount of UVB light for your Beardie! A lot of the store staff at Petco mean well but don't have a clue what they're talking about, they sell what they want to sell, or they just advise people to buy the same lights that work for a tropical gecko or another lizard, and Bearded Dragons have very different needs! While the Zilla 50 T5 is a tube UVB bulb and won't hurt his eyes, it will not allow him to process his food. AND IF YOU FOLLOW MY DIRECTIONS YOU WON'T SPEND ANY MORE THAN $38 FOR THE PROPER UVB BULB AND FIXTURE!!!

So after you buy the 18 inch Reptisun 10.0 UVB bulb at Petco for $26.99 instead of the regular in store retail of $37.99 by price matching their online price, go to Walmart, and go back to the aisle where the light bulbs are. They sell a regular old 18" flourescent tube light fixture for $10! GET ONE THAT SAYS IT COMES WITH A REFLECTIVE BACKING, MOST IF NOT ALL DO BUT MAKE SURE! The Reptisun UVB Tube bulb you're buying at Petco is a normal T5 tube light bulb, so any of the Walmart 18" flourescent tube fixtures will work perfectly! THE FIXTURE YOU BUY AT WALMART WILL HAVE A FLEXIBLE, PLASTIC COVER OVER WHERE THE TUBE BULB SHINES THROUGH...REMOVE THIS FLEXIBLE PLASTIC AND THROW IT AWAY!!! IT WILL BLOCK THE UVB!!! Also, while you're in Walmart and in the lightbulb aisle, find a normal, every day, BRIGHT WHITE (not "soft white") 90 watt or 100 watt light bulb. (Obviously not an LED bulb, just a normal, household light bulb). 100 watt will most likely be what you'll find, and judging by your temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit the 100 watt is what you need. This will now be your basking bulb, your 60 watt basking bulb, whatever it is, isn't a high enough wattage and doesn't keep his tank nearly hot enough. I'll explain that in a second, but keep in mind that for a bearded dragon you do not need a special, expensive basking bulb at all, all you need is normal, every day, household "BRIGHT WHITE" light bulb (must be "BRIGHT" white, not soft white or yellow). These are the only two bulbs you'll need for your Beardie, the long tube Reptisun 10.0 UVB and the 100 watt bright white basking bulb. That's it for bulbs!!! And you'll want to put them side-by-side and have them always on at the same time, so your beardie will always be getting the proper UVB light while he's basking!!!

So here's the deal on tank temperatures for Bearded Dragons:

#1, you need a proper thermometer with a probe that you can move around and place on the exact 3 spots that are important to his health and well-being. Those stick-on, round thermometers that are cheap and you buy at Petco and everywhere else suck, they are usually off, + or - 10 to 20 degrees, and you can't measure his basking spot temperature, which is the most important temperature to a beardie. You can buy a digital thermometer with a probe on a wire at Petco while you're buying the Reptisun UVB tube, they cost $9.99 and they have a Petco brand one that is black and a Zoomed one that is yellow, both are fine and both I believe are the same price. Again, they have a little digital thermometer body with a small LCD screen and then a wire coming out of it with a black probe connected. You place the digital part outside of the tank somewhere with suction cups that come with it, and then you run the probe inside his tank so you can move it to measure the 3 temperature spots.

So there needs to be a temperature gradient developed inside your beardie's tank, from cold side to hot side, and then you'll have the hottest spot, his basking spot, elevated and directly under the new Reptisun UVB Tube and the new bright white, 100 watt basking lightbulb. You'll measure all 3 spots by moving the probe on the new thermometer into each spot and letting it sit there for at least 30 minutes to allow it to heat up and get an accurate reading. The correct 3 temperatures for your beardie's tank in order for him to process his vitamins and minerals, digest his food, and for him to be comfortable are as follows:

Cold Side: 74-80 degrees Fahrenheit
Hot Side: 95-98 degrees Fahrenheit
Basking Spot: 105-110 degrees Fahrenheit (0-1 year old); 100-105 degrees Fahrenheit (1 year old and older); I don't know how old your beardie is so pay attention to this change in his basking spot temperature depending on his age.

You change the temperature of his basking spot by raising and lowering the basking spot and/or the basking light. It would be easier to direct you if I knew how large your tank was. It should be at least a 20 gallon long tank if your beardie is 0-1 year old, at 1 year old and up he'll need at least a 40 gallon long, also known as a 40 gallon breeder tank. The 20 gallon long tank allows for a temperature gradient between hot and cold sides. If you have a small baby dragon in a 10 gallon tank it's impossible to establish a proper temperature gradient because the tank is too small. So if you're using a 10 gallon tank you can really only make sure to get his basking spot temperature correct, as that's controllable by raising and lowering the basking spot and/or the basking light, but you're better off to buy at least a 20 gallon long if not the 40 gallon breeder because a 10 gallon is way too small anyway. This is also why using a household BRIGHT white lightbulb is nice, they're cheap and if you find the 100watt is putting his basking spot temperature above 110 degrees no matter what you do, you can go down to a 75 watt. Again, I don't know what size tank you have or I'd be better able to tell you what bulb to get; 60 watt like you have is definitely not high enough wattage.

Measure the cool side temperature and the hot side temperature by placing the probe on the floor in the middle of that side for 30 minutes. The basking spot temperature is measured by putting the probe right where he lays after he eats. The Reptisun tube UVB light needs to be within 6-8 inches of his basking spot for him to get the amount of UVB light he needs, so again, depending on your tank size and height, you may need to get him a taller basking spot, or even better for him all the way around, get some of the heavy-duty Velcro at Walmart that holds up to 10 pounds, it costs like $3-$4 for enough to do this, and mount the UVB tube fixture INSIDE his tank, velcroing it to the underside of the tank lid. I have mine stuck to the underside of the mesh screen lid with this heavy-duty Velcro so that it puts my girl's UVB tube fixture 6 inches away from her basking spot, and my basking bulb in still on top of the lid. You don't want the basking lamp inside the tank, just the UVB, because believe it or not, up to 50% of the UVB can be absorbed or blocked by the mesh or glass lid! ALSO, ONCE AGAIN, MAKE SURE YOU REMOVE THAT CLEAR, FLEXIBLE, PLASTIC COVER THAT COMES WITH THE TUBE LIGHT FIXTURE YOU BUY AT WALMART TO COVER THE LIGHT BULB!!! UVB lights throw little to no heat, so don't worry about him being too close to the UVB light, he needs it and it won't burn him.

The only other thing I can think of is dusting your beardie's crickets with calcium powder WITH D3, as well as sprinkling it on his veggies. If he is 0-1 year old you should dust all of his insects and sprinkle it on all of his veggies EVERY SINGLE DAY! After he turns a year old you can do the same every other day. If he's over a year old now, I suggest you use it every single day for the next 6 months to compensate for the lack of proper UVB light, then switch to every other day. You can actually now buy Flukers Calcium Powder with D3 at Walmart, in the aquarium section by the fish food, towards the bottom. It's a little white container and costs $3-4. Also, you should be dusting all of his insects with a multivitamin powder like Repashy, Herpavite, etc. that you purchase at Petco, and be doing this 4 days a week from now on throughout his life.
Occasional Contributor

Re: new baby bearded dragon

I was looking for an update on your beardie, I hope my post helped you out, as well as anyone else having issues. I did however make a mistake when talking about the Reptisun 10.0 UVB tube bulb, the one that they sell in Petco stores (and the one you normally want) is an 18" T8 tube, not a T5 tube. There is a Reptisun 10.0 T5 UVB tube bulb that you can also use for Bearded Dragons and is actually a great UVB bulb for them, but the T5 is the HO (High-Output) tube bulb, so it costs more money and must be mounted 12" inches away from a Beardie's basking spot and CAN sit on top of the mesh lid to the enclosure (because it puts out enough UVB light to go through the mesh), as opposed to the Reptisun 10.0 T8 tube bulb, which must be mounted INSIDE the Beardie's enclosure and be 6-8" inches away from the basking spot, because it doesn't put out the High-Output UVB. The one I was talking about in my above post is the T8, so everywhere I wrote T5 please replace it with T8. Both are great UVB tube lights for a Bearded Dragon, but they must be mounted differently in relation to the lid of the enclosure and must be at different distances from the basking spot. Those are the only differences between the T8 and the T5, I just wanted to clear that up. Most people use the regular T8 because that's what is sold in-store and it also can fit into a regular T8 flourescent tube fixture bought at Walmart for$10 as I mentioned above. The Reptisun 10.0 T5 HO tube bulb CANNOT BE PUT INTO A FIXTURE FROM WALMART, ONLY THE T8 CAN! The T5 is a High-Output tube bulb and you must buy a fixture specifically made for a High-Output T5 tube, which you will not find at Walmart or Petco, it must either be ordered somewhere online or possibly be purchased at Lowes or Home Depot, but it will be very expensive. You really only need a T5 tube UVB if you have an enormous enclosure that requires the basking spot to be between 12"-16" away from the tube.

So again, please replace T5 with T8 in my above post. Everything else is correct and very good information for Bearded Dragon set-ups. Also, if you're a new bearded Dragon owner please go to www.beardeddragon.org and join the forums. The Bearded Dragon forum in is absolutely full of very experienced, very knowledgeable Bearded Dragon owners and breeders, and we can help you with pretty much any issues you may be having, or direct you to someone that can. You can do a search and find out anything you want to know about caring for a Bearded Dragon PROPERLY!
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