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Chinese Water Dragons

Temperature, Humidity and Lighting

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What a Water Dragon needs to stay warm, happy and healthy!

 
Heating
Heating your enclosure will be a 'learn as you go,' type thing.  You have to take many things into consideration, such as, temperature of the room the enclosure is in and what materials you are using.  You may have to change things several times before you get things right. 
 
You can use several different types of bulbs.  For day time heat you can use anything from the reptile bulbs at the petstore to a regular house bulb.  Just keep trying different watts of a bulb to get your desired temperature. 
For night time heat, you can use several different things.  You may not even need anything for night time heat.  If the temps inside the enclosure doesn't dip below 70F in the coolest spot then you wouldn't necessarily need a night time heat source.  The best thing to use is a ceramic heater.  They are expensive but well worth the money.  You will need to make sure the hood that holds the ceramic heater can withstand a lot of heat, because these things got very hot.  It is best to keep a ceramic heater on a thermostat.  I have mine set to go off when it hits 75F.  You can also use a infra-red bulb.  Just make sure that it is red glass, not just painted red glass, as that may effect your dragon's sleep.  You can also use a moon bulb.
 
Temperature and Humidity
Now that we've talked about what to heat with, lets talk about the actual temperatures.  Remember these guys live in the rain forest, they they like it warm and humid.
Day time temps need to be 84-88F with a basking spot of 90F.  They do need a temperature gradient so they can cool off if they get too warm.  The top of my viv gets to about 88F and the bottom of the viv stays around 78-79F.  This is a nice temperature gradient.  It took me quite awhile to get everything sorted out.  Night time temps need to be a little cooler, but shouldn't drop below 70F.  This keeps it comfortable for them.  You will often find them sleeping as high as they can get as warm air rises and it will always be warmer at the top of your vivarium. 
 
Humidity is very important, but sometimes can be hard to maintain.  It is best to keep their humidity between 60-80%.  You can do this by misting several times a day, having a fogger run on a timer, or having a humidifier run. 
Misting is done by most people, but it can be hard to do if you are gone for most of the day.  To do this, you just get a spray bottle and just mist all over the viv.

You can also use a fogger. A positive about the fogger, which can be purchased at most pet stores, is that they produce a lot of fog and it raises humidity a great deal. Unfortunatly, there also comes a few negatives along with the positives. It needs to be on some sort of a timer because it will completly soak your viv if you keep it on all the time. Foggers also tend to break easily and many times do not last very long.

Lastly, you can also use a humdifier. I have a cool mist humidifier that I use to pump into my viv. It sits on the outside of the very top of the side of my viv and is pumped into the viv via PVC tubing. It is set on a timer to run for 2 hours and then turn off for one. You do need to make sure you fill it with filtered water only though, or it will also die very quickly. This works extremly well for my water dragon viv as it is fairly large. Remember with humidity, its great to keep the humidity high, but you do want periods of time where you want your viv to dry out a little bit. You don't want it too wet, or you risk the chance of growing molds and fungus.

Tools to measure humidity and temperature

Thermometer- You will need several of these placed throughout your vivarium. You will need at least one placed in the cool side, one placed in the warm side and one placed at the basking spot. Digital thermometers are the best as they are the most accurate. You can get a digatal thermometer that has several probes and will measure several areas.

Hygrometer- You will need at least a couple of these. This will measure the humidity for you. As I said before, digital is the way to go because they are the most accurate. Sometimes you can get thermometers that have a hygrometer with it, which can save you some money.

Thermostat- You will not absolutly need a thermostat, but I do recommend one, especially if you have something such as a ceramic heater. This will regulate the temperature for you so it doesn't get to hot or too cold. It is very convienent.

UVB Lighting

UVB lighting is very important to your dragons health.  UVB helps break down the calcium that you give to your dragon.  It breaks it down into Vitamin D3, which then in turn, helps build strong bones.  Without calcium and the UVB light, your dragon will most likely develop Metabolic Bone disease, which I will talk about further on the Common Diseases or Problems page. 

There are several ways your dragon can obtain UVB light.   If you live in a warm environment, you can always take your dragon outside for at least 20 minutes daily for some real UVB-the sun!  You can do this a couple ways.  Use a leash, put them in a screened cage or build them a cage outside.   Never put them in a glass container, as this will fry them because the glass makes things very hot.  Just think of what happens to your car after you leave it parked in a hot parking lot all day.  So NEVER put your dragons in a glass enclosure, it will kill them.  Also, never take them out without any kind of restraint (i.e. cage, leash) because they can jump and/or run away from  you very easily and very quickly.  You don't want to loose them outside.

Although, you can take them outside, the best and easiest way is to have a UVB light.  There are several of them out on the market.  I myself use a the Zoomed 5.0 UVB light.  Another one that just came out on the market is the 10.0 UVB light.  These are the long tube looking lights.  They produce little heat if any at all.   You can also use a MegaRay SB light.  I don't have one..yet..but I have heard pretty good things about it.  Now this dose produce heat along with UVB.  There is another one called Powersun, which also produces heat along with UVB.  These can be sensitive to movement so you have to be careful not to break them. 

Now the facts about UVB lights.  They will not last extremly long.  The light may look like its working, but infact it isn't producing anymore UVB.  You have to replace them every 6mo to a year.  It will tell you on the box it comes in, how often you should change it.  It is wise to keep a log of when you put the lights in so you know when to change them.  Also, they need to be a certain length away from your dragon.   Most of them need to be at least 12 inches away from your dragon. 

So, to conclude, UVB is important.  You can give them the real sun or use artificial UVB.  Either way, you need UVB. 

 

Please refer to the contact page if you have any comments or questions.