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Reptiles/Chinese water dragon


QUESTION: I have a couple concerns about my little guy "Luci" who is about a year and a half. He has a slight overbite, I'm concerned this could be MBD. Is an overbite a sign? He eats fairly well most of the time, but he does have his picky moments. He won't eat crickets any more, I think because I dusted them with calcium powder months ago and he started refusing them, now he won't look at them. He eats different types of mealworms, when I dusted them with calcium powder he refused them. He also eats tuna from the can and steak or stewing beef. I don't see any other visible signs of MBD other than that.

As far as the UVB lights. I bought him Exo Terra UVB 150 formerly 10.0 compact, I know that's what is recommended. But the one the girl at Petsmart handed me is for desert. I think the tropical is a lower wattage at 100 and a 5.0 compact.

He resides in a 48 long x 18 width x 20 height tank and he's 2 feet long. On the weekend he will be getting a wood and plexi glass extension and will have at least 6 feet in height. Current temp is 80 with 78 humidity on his pool side. The hot side is hotter but since its past bedtime, I won't be able to get an accurate reading.

So is this UVB light ok for him or should I exchange it for a tropical, and when we do the extension, should we invest in a second UVB light? I was thinking one over the pool and one on the hot side where it is now.

Thank you in advance for your help


ANSWER: Hello Cathy,

Do you have any pictures of Luci?  Please post a picture of your tank setup also.   
If he has an overbite, then it is likely Metabolic bone disease.  
Are you using the Exoterra Reptiglo 5 compact/coil light for him?  The compact/coil lights do not emit the proper wavelength UVB of frequency.  These lights are not conducive to D3 synthesis & he wont be able to absorb her calcium.  
You will need to get the UVB light switched out to either the Reptisun 10 tube bulb or the Arcadia D3 12% tube bulb.  It will need to be within 6-8 inches of him mounted alongside of the basking light.  
He wont eat anything with calcium powder dusted on it?  If he wont eat or take in any calcium, you may need to start him on liquid calcium.
Are you using a digital probe or temp gun to measure the temperatures?  
The tank size is great for him, too.  
Let me know how he is doing.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I'm going out later to get Luci a Reptisun 10.0. I will pick up a digital probe too. When I'm done the calcium powder I'm using right now, I will buy the liquid calcium. I hope the changes will make a difference.

He surprised me yesterday when he ate food that was dusted in calcium powder. Maybe it's the vitamin powder he doesn't like or the fruits and vegetables. He's picky with fruits and veg, he'll only eat them sparingly.

The UVB light is on the left hand corner by the basking light. The light that is over the pool is a regular household bulb I put in for extra heat.

He's some pics. I was hoping to get a headshot, his house and him, but I can only do two pics so I did a headshot and his house.



ANSWER: Hello Cathy,

That is great you are getting Luci a new Reptisun 10 tube bulb.  I am sure that will definitely help him out a lot.
Wow that is great he ate some powdered calcium.  He needs that right now at least 4 times a week if you can get it into him.  The water dragons normally don't eat too much vegetation they are carnivores.  :-)
Good, when you get the new tube bulb, the basking light is right beside it where it needs to be.  He looks pretty good, overall.  You can't really see the overbite much, he should be fine as long as he doesn't have any trouble with chewing.
His tank looks like it has plenty of areas to climb & bask, too which is helpful for him.  
How is he doing today, is he basking & active I hope?

Let me know how he does under the new light.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hello Tracies,

Once we were done the extension on his house today, I put him up on his tree by his UVB and basking light and he basked there for 2 hours moving up and down slightly. I think he'll be fine with it.

Thank you for mentioning that he looks pretty good overall. The overbite probably isn't as bad as what I think it is. He doesn't seem to have trouble with chewing. He probably shouldn't eat them but he does eat cat Temptations here and there and doesn't seem to have an issue chewing.

He seems to be doing fine today, seems content overall especially in his new house. Yes, he is active and not at all lethargic.


Hello Cathy,

That is great he is so active right now!  I am sure that the new light will help a lot & it should stop any metabolic bone issues that could be going on with him, too.  It sounds like he likes it also!  
At least he isn't having any trouble with chewing, that is important.  
His color looks good so he doesn't appear to feel ill.  

Let me know how he is doing & if there are any changes with him.  If you have more full body pictures of him, I would love to see them.   :-)



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Tracie Kretzschmar


I can answer questions pertaining to health, UVB specifics, overall husbandry care & supplementation, analysis of blood test results, and behavioral problems & handling. I can answer questions pertaining to bearded dragons, leopard geckos, iguanas, uromastyx & ball pythons. I can answer adeno virus related questions in bearded dragons, & then specifically about the testing methods as well. I am beginning an Pogona Adeno Testing Society in 2008 which will help to begin to start some standardization within the bearded dragon colonies of the breeders who choose to test.


I have been working with bearded dragons for over 5 years now, as well as leopard geckos, too. I am currently doing rescues, as well. I hope to be able to educate people prior to them purchasing an exotic pet in order to avoid any health crisis with them.

I have a master's degree in sports medicine & physiology, & 1 year of vet tech schooling, & am currently working on a reptile certification through the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council.

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