How big does an Eastern Water Dragon tank need to be?

Discussion in 'Australian Lizards and Monitors' started by TheRamiRocketMan, Nov 12, 2018.

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  1. TheRamiRocketMan

    TheRamiRocketMan Not so new Member

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    I've kept bearded dragons for 8 years now and I'm thinking about getting into water dragons. They seem pretty similar to bearded dragons except they need substantially more room and a good amount of water.

    My problem is they get big, and pretty much every guide I've read has a different opinion on the minimum size requirements for a water dragon enclosure. One guide says 150cm x 60cm x 60cm for two dragons whereas another says minimum 300cm x 200cm. Most seem to recommend outdoor enclosures but that is out of the question for me as I don't own my own house yet.

    I was thinking of using a 6ft(183cm) x 2ft(60cm) x 2.5ft(76cm) fish tank to keep a single adult dragon. I'd wall off 1/3 of that for a 30cm deep filtered pool making for a ~115L swimming area.

    Those of you who keep water dragons, is this big enough? How big are your setups? I don't want to get a water dragon only to have it outgrow its enclosure and become miserable.
     
  2. cris

    cris Almost Legendary

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    I personally think that is too small. I would go for at least 2x1m for an adult, preferably larger. Water skinks would be better if you are limited to standard size fish tanks in a rental. They are really best suited to outdoor enclosures, it seems like a good endorsement when the lizards inside don't want to escape and all the ones outside are trying to get in.
     
  3. TheRamiRocketMan

    TheRamiRocketMan Not so new Member

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    Water skinks are really cute, but I'm worried by how easily they drop their tails. They'd definitely be a good supplement for a water lizard, but they just don't seem as easy to work with.

    I'd like to have a 3ft x 6ft enclosure (roughly 2x1m) but 3ft wide enclosures don't fit through doors. What about an 8ft (240cm) x 2ft? If not I suppose I just have to wait another 15-20 years before I'm able to house these lizards :(

    I've also seen that females are noticeably smaller than males. How much does that affect the required enclosure size? I've seen female water dragons around Sydney whose body's look barely larger than my 18" beardie, although they could be juveniles for all I know.
     
  4. cris

    cris Almost Legendary

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    Neither species is well suited to handling, but both adapt well to captivity and like being hand fed etc. I used to catch water skinks as a kid before I knew about all the stupid reptile laws, you would have to be really abusive or clumsy to get a tame captive one to break its tail IMO.
     
  5. nuttylizardguy

    nuttylizardguy Suspended Banned

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    swe s
    My adult female water skink dropped her tail , this was about 12 months ago when we had a bunch of tradesmen knocking a couple of old leaky windows out to replace with new aluminium windows that are laminated glass to increase the R value and increase soundproofing. She was frightened by the banging and very loud reciprocating and circular saws.
    Other than that one incident , she's very good with handling and comes out for playtime and a few BSFL and mealworms each day as treats , I can let her crawl about on the coffee table on the lounge next to me and she alway crawls back to me when she has been satisfied. She's a breeze to care for and lives in a modified ALL SET 149L tub .
    My newly bought subadult male water skink still has his original tail . but is not really keen on being handled by me yet - early days - he will take crickets and mealworms from my fingers (but sometimes tries to eat the end of the finger too, not got the hang of handfeeding yet LOL). He's in his own 149L tub for now until I build a new 4ft x 2ft sqr timber tank to house the pair.

    Seems to me that very few keepers have water skinks as pets , even fewer are captive breeding them from captive bred parents. Easier to find water dragon hatchlings for sale.


    I think an adult water dragon is more suited to a large outdoor aviary style enclosure , they need a lot of space.
    --- Automatic Post Merged, Nov 13, 2018, Original Post Date: Nov 13, 2018 ---
    A 6ft(183cm) x 2ft(60cm) x 2.5ft(76cm) will be fine for juvenile , maybe even up to subadult size at 18 months old (?) and then you'll need to upgrade I think. A full grown adult water dragon is a REALLY SERIOUS lizard. I wish I had the space for one or two too.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2018
  6. TheRamiRocketMan

    TheRamiRocketMan Not so new Member

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    Ok, I think I have a solution. I'll build up a wooden bottom 240cm x 90cm x 40cm and bolt it to a 150cm high wooden frame with wire mesh. This would make a 240cm x 90cm x 150cm enclosure that can be unbolted and disassembled if needed. The bottom can contain all the necessary water filtration and soil for live plants and digging medium, and since its only 40cm wide it'll fit through the average door. This design also means it can be taken outside if and when I get a place of my own.

    Looking online, I could by a pre-built chicken coop like this and just build the bottom section.

    Only drawback is thermals. I live in Sydney which is the dragon's natural climate, so if I just keep the house the same temperature or warmer than outside they should be fine. Basking temps are a different story. I'll need very powerful basking lights to achieve 35 C basking temps in a mesh enclosure. I'm thinking I'll hang the basking lights from the top of the enclosure so they are closer to basking spots. Good UVB is also required. Maybe if I hang 2 dual fixtures, each with a basking bulb and a UVB blub so that the lizard gets UV and temps it needs when basking.

    Does this sound like a good idea or will the temps simply not be good enough?
     
  7. Flaviemys purvisi

    Flaviemys purvisi Donator Donator

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    To solve your UVB and heat woes just use a big 160 watt Exo-Terra solar glo mercury vapour lamp. These are what I use for all my indoor turtles. You can also get a 125 watt or 80 watt version. The 125 watt may be powerful enough for you at a height of 2ft from the basking area to generate the required heat, if not, the 160 watt would definitely do it.
    20150712_200638-1.jpg
    20150712_200821-1-2.jpg

    You need to use these lamps with the Zoo-med adjustable lamp stand and an open wire cage housimg as they are self ballasted and will shut off temporarily to cool down if they get too hot. If the stand setup isn't an option for your enclosure design, you will be able to suspend it instead using the fully 360° adjustable clamp attachment.
    zoomed_lamp_stand.jpg
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    They churn out a fair bit of UVB and heat, enough to encourage a turtle species that rarely basks in the wild to freely bask daily in captivity.
    DSCF1950.JPG
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2018
  8. TheRamiRocketMan

    TheRamiRocketMan Not so new Member

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    Wow! That looks absolutely perfect! I think the stand will get in the way but you said you're able to hang the cage lamp from the roof? That'd be ideal.
     
  9. Flaviemys purvisi

    Flaviemys purvisi Donator Donator

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    Yeah mate you'll be able to jury rig something for sure. The mvb lamps will give you the heat and UVB you require all in one. ;)
    This is the fitting I use.
    exo-terra-wire-light-large-for-heatwave-250w-solar-glo-lamps-2417-p.jpg
    Or there's these.
    s-l400.jpg
    --- Automatic Post Merged, Nov 15, 2018, Original Post Date: Nov 15, 2018 ---
    Also I should mention that mvb lamps cannot be controlled by a thermostat, they cannot be dimmed and do not respond well to frequent switching so the idea is to use a timer. Have it come on when you want it and switch off after however many hours of heat and UVB you wish to provide. For my turtle setups, a timer switches them on at 8:30am then off at 11am then on again at 1:30pm and off at 3:30pm. This is in tune with an aquatic turtle's basking habits. You could simply have yours come on in the mid morning and stay on until mid afternoon.. whichever bests suits your animal/s.

    Also, use a surge protector, if your power supply is susceptible to regular brown outs and blackouts, it'll drastically shorten the life of the lamp (not using a surge protector). I've a couple here now that are 4 years old.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2018
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  10. TheRamiRocketMan

    TheRamiRocketMan Not so new Member

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    Thank you so much, this is fantastic advice. I'll hang 2 Mercury Vapour 125 Watt bulbs above the basking spots, adjusting height for optimal temps. I'll hook them up to a wall timer and make sure I get a surge protector as well.

    Only thing is I'll probably have to keep them on all day for heat since I'm doing a mesh setup which'll loose heat pretty quickly. Water dragons can deal with low temps for night time but I want to maintain high temps during the day.
     
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