My name is ***** ***** I have been a reptile Expert over 30+ years. I would like to add onto what Dr Doug has told you. Coming out of a pet shop their information is poor at best. I have seen them sell sand substrates and desert blend which are deadly. They give wrong diet, temps in the tank and just over all information. Loose stools like what you have described could be coccidia which is common coming out from Pet shops. I am going to give you my personal care sheet and we can discuss any questions you may have after you read it.
Bearded Dragon Care Sheet
- Bearded dragons should be housed alone.
- Ages of bearded dragons follow these guidelines:
1. 0-3 months- baby
2. 3-12 months-juvenile
3. 12-18 months- sub adult
4. 18 months + -adult
- Bearded dragons live as much as 10-12 years if well cared for properly.
- Bearded dragons have a very good temperament as long as they are cared for and handled.
- When you bring your baby home, it may be quite stressful to him/her to get use to new home. May not eat well the first 2-3 days. They may not need to be handled the first 2-3 days if skittish and nervous.
- Never use sand or any other type of loose substrate: Loose substrates can cause impaction (not being able to go Poop) in all ages of bearded dragons- they lick their environment to explore .It is difficult to keep germ free and clean. Ceramic tile, newspaper, non adhesive shelf liner and reptile carpet is what is most recommended. Use paper towels for the little one and as they get bigger you can change to something else.
- Be sure you keep your beardies home as clean as you can. Clean up by spot cleaning when needed. Clean & sanitize entire tank every 10-14 days. A good cleaning solution is a 20% bleach solution. If you choose to use wood climbing branches etc, these should be soaked in the bleach solution and rinsed well. Then bake in 250 degree oven for 30 minutes.
- Need a climbing accessory: to bask and to warm up under basking heat light and lower branches or platforms to come down and cool off.
- A hide of some sort like a cave.
- A food dish and water dish.
- Plastic spray bottle
- Can use artificial plants when they get older- 3 months or so.
- Digital thermostat and/or temp gun
- Tank size: Minimal size tank for this age is 20 gallon long
- Minimal size for older beardie: 4 months of age: 40 gallon breeder is the minimal tank size for older dragon. Can divide a 40 gallon breeder for a smaller dragon. Must have two lights for your beardie.
1. A UVB light source-best is 10.0 Reptisun that runs the length of your tank. Your dragon must have this light to metabolize calcium. If not he will get metabolic bone disease, a serious condition. You can also take your beardie outside to bask in the sun for 15 minutes each day if your temps are 80 degrees or above outside. You can purchase cages or reptariums from your pet store. Never leave a beardie outside unattended.
2. A basking type light that puts out heat and warmth above basking spot. Your beardie must have warmth to digest food & thrive.
- Lights should be on for 12-14 hours each day. Follow the seasons and light timers are a great luxury if you can get them. 6 dollars at Lowe's. No lights or warmth needed at night unless your temperatures get below 62 degrees. If they do, there are ceramic heat emitters that put out no light, only heat. Use these at night if temperatures fall below 62 degrees.
- Temperatures have to be kept at the following ranges during the day:
Temps should be 105-110*F Basking area
Warm side mid 90's
Cool Side mid 80's
Measure temperatures with a digital probe type thermometer or a temp gun-these are most accurate. Stick on thermometers unreliable. Dragons need a UVB light to work with a calcium supplemnet. The recommended bulb is a Reptisun 10.0 linear tube. We have have found that the compact coil bulbs can cause Photo Kerato conjunctivitis. Mercury Vapor Bulbs are also acceptable.
- Feeding a Beardie: Beardies eat live prey consisting of crickets, roaches and/or silkworms and Phoenix worms.. Never feed any size of mice to your beardie. Never feed meal worms. They also must be given greens/veggies everyday. The younger they are the more live prey they should have. As they grow older the live prey decreases and the veggies/greens should be the major part of diet. Never feed anything bigger, than the space between your beardie's eyes. This includes both live prey and pieces of veggies/greens,
- A chopper or food processor is a huge help when your beardie is small. Always offer greens and veggies: collard greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, cabbage, red cabbage, fresh green beans, yellow summer squash, butternut squash, sweet potato, cactus pad. Apricots, strawberries, apples, blueberries, raspberries, cantaloupe- fruits are treats only.
- What is live prey? The easiest and less expensive live prey is crickets when you have a young or first beardie. The other live preys you can feed are silkworms, and special types of roaches. You can learn to raise your own live prey. Treats can be wax worms, super worms, and tomato/Goliath worms. You may find that ordering live prey from the internet is the way to go..... Never leave live prey or greens/veggies in tank overnight. . Crickets can bite your beardie when sleeping.
- Babies should get 80% live prey, and 20 % greens/veggies. But since the greens/veggies are a must when they are older, get them eating their greens/veggies very early. Give greens/veggies in small pieces everyday. You should eventually start decreasing your older dragon's protein intake when they are about a year to 15 months old. Their protein intake decreases to 20 % live prey and 80% veggies/greens.
- A baby eat 25-50 crix a day depending on the size of the crickets. Never feed crix or veggies bigger than the space between your beardie's eyes. Use this guide when buying crix or chopping your greens/veggies.
- You must provide calcium dust without D3 and multivitamin dust for your beardie. You should dust the live prey with calcium one time a day, and vitamins 3 times a week. Just collect your live prey into baggie and add enough calcium and vitamin to dust them. Then pour a few at a time into your tank. Some people feed their beardie in a separate tank so that no crickets can hide. Or some take out "furniture" from tank and feed this way. As they get older, 4-5 months or so dust live prey with calcium 3 times a week.
- Feed the veggies/ greens 1st thing in morning after lights on for one hour at least. Then after 2-3 hours offer crix., silk worms, phoenix worms or Dubia roaches. Then freshen green/veggies. Then give more crix. Make sure after last feeding there is at least 1-2 hours of lights so that they can digest their food before night time.
If you have any further questions feel free to ask. I like to start people off with proper husbandry and then see if I can further assist.
Nutrition chart: http://www.beautifuldragons.com/Nutrition.html
Sand as a substrate: http://www.beardeddragon.org/articles/impaction/?page=3
Walnut shell Graphic: http://mrskingsbioweb.com/beardeddragngrossanatomy.htm
Sexing bearded Dragons: http://repticzone.com/articles/sexingbeardeddragons.html