Substrate for Bearded Dragon?

Discussion in 'Australian Lizards and Monitors' started by Ella C, Nov 4, 2018.

  1. Ella C

    Ella C Not so new Member

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    Hello!
    I'm thinking of getting a bearded dragon in the future, however, I have no clue what to do about the substrate. I've read to not use sand or to only use play sand, to only use paper towel or ceramic tiles, to use a mix of sand and coco peat. I have no idea?!
    I would rather a more 'naturalistic' look. Preferably no tile, paper or carpet. Would a bio-active dirt mix of coco peat and play sand with work? I can't imagine it would retain humidity with heat lamps constantly evaporating water and I love the natural dirt look. It's organic and natural, so would impaction even be a problem?
     
  2. Hindy

    Hindy Active Member

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    I use sand and I can recommend it enough
    Lots of people will disagree with me. But I have used it for a lot of years and never had an issue. With correct husbandry you will not experience any issues
     
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  3. Bl69aze

    Bl69aze Very Well-Known Member

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    Red outback sand is fine for beardies, don’t listen to the Americans! Just make sure it’s proper sand and not some fake clay stuff

    Them mericans will also tell u to dress them up and give them pillows

    This vid explains it all
    Grab a shovel and take some sand haha (save some money ;) )


    Paper is also fine
     
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  4. dragonlover1

    dragonlover1 Subscriber Subscriber

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    Hello Ella, humidity is 1 thing you want to avoid with a beardy! They come from the desert where there is very little moisture;humidity is a beardies worst nightmare as it can give them RI (Respiratory Infection). Bio active is out of the equation for beardies but would work for blue tongues and some others.Just stick with play sand or red desert sand but be careful of which type you use as some set hard as concrete when wet which will lead to impaction.
    Paper or tiles are not good choices as dragons need to wear their claws down otherwise they will end up with foot problems
     
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  5. Ella C

    Ella C Not so new Member

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    Thank you! Play sand it is!
    --- Automatic Post Merged, Nov 5, 2018, Original Post Date: Nov 5, 2018 ---
    Thanks!
    --- Automatic Post Merged, Nov 5, 2018 ---
    Haha, no deserts around me, sadly. I may have to go store-bought.

    Guess I'll be going sand.
    How deep do you suggest?
    --- Automatic Post Merged, Nov 5, 2018 ---
    Edit:
    Also, what about Kritter Crumble? I've seen some adult bearded dragons kept on it at Amazing Amazon.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2018
  6. nuttylizardguy

    nuttylizardguy New Member

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    Play sand (from Bunnings) if you don't have access to authentic "red centre" dirt.
    --- Automatic Post Merged, Nov 6, 2018, Original Post Date: Nov 5, 2018 ---
    Just make sure it's NOT CALCI-SAND / VITA-SAND . This stuff kills bearded dragons who ingest it accidentially stuck to their food and when taste-testing , turns into concrete in their guts, it is LETHAL.
    --- Automatic Post Merged, Nov 6, 2018 ---
    I don't think Kritters Crumble is a suitable bedding for bearded dragons, high risk of impaction and holds moisture.
     
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  7. dragonlover1

    dragonlover1 Subscriber Subscriber

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    --- Automatic Post Merged, Nov 7, 2018 at 8:27 PM ---
    I use play sand in most of my enclosures,so 1 bag = 20kg.I bag in a 4' (120cm) enclosure gives about 2" or 40-50mm depth
     
  8. nuttylizardguy

    nuttylizardguy New Member

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    How often do you need to change out the sand ?

    My dragons are currently on tiles which is a breeze to keep clean but I do worry about it's effects on their arms and legs and worry that they could injure themselves if they fall off their tree branches onto the hard unforgiving tiles.
     
  9. Bl69aze

    Bl69aze Very Well-Known Member

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    You would rarely have to change it, all you need is a very fine sift and sift the feces
     
  10. Ella C

    Ella C Not so new Member

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    @Bl69aze Also, If I were to purchase natural, store-bought desert sand, would the colour matter? Does it have to be red? (as long as it's not dyed. I won't buy anything dyed.)
     
  11. Bl69aze

    Bl69aze Very Well-Known Member

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    As far as I’m aware (don’t quote me on this) “desert red sand” is different from other sand in terms of what it’s composed of

    and you have to 1000000% make sure it’s not a sand that solidifies when wet, it’s literally like concrete, a good sand would let u wet it and stick your fingers in it without it caving in once u take your finger out
     
  12. dragonlover1

    dragonlover1 Subscriber Subscriber

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    the general rule with sand is scoop daily,sift weekly change every 6 months or so and yes tiles are a NO NO, it doesn't give dragons a chance to wear their claws down and WILL cause foot problems
    --- Automatic Post Merged, Nov 9, 2018 at 5:00 PM, Original Post Date: Nov 9, 2018 at 4:55 PM ---
    You don't have to buy "desert sand" Desert sand isn't always red. A lot of us use washed play sand available from Bunnings etc. for about $7 for 20kg,if you buy from a pet shop you will pay about $20 for only 5kg ?? your choice.
    Just make sure it is dry before you use it otherwise you risk RI
    For more detailed info please check out Australianbeardies.net
     
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  13. Ella C

    Ella C Not so new Member

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    Okey dokey, I guess I'm going with play sand! It's far cheaper too and looks pretty nice.
    Thank you all so much for your help!
     
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  14. nuttylizardguy

    nuttylizardguy New Member

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    Wet sand at the bottom of the sand bed would be a perfect media for wet bodily discharges when pooing to accumulate and for viruses , bacteria and moulds to florish in the warm wet spaces between the sand particles, I'd think a complete change out on a monthly basis would be the safest approach, heck $7 per bag is not going to break anyone who has only 1 or 2 bearded dragons.

    I change the bedding for my water skink out completely on a monthly basis for this reason.
     
  15. dragonlover1

    dragonlover1 Subscriber Subscriber

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    You're not seeing the problem facing central beardies: they can't take moisture!!! NO WATER IN THE DESERT. They live in an environment totally devoid of damp. You can't compare a water skink with a desert dragon.If you tried to keep either species in the opposite environment they would both die very quickly.
     
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