Vivarium for a chinese water dragon - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-10-2004, 07:19 PM Thread Starter
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Talking Vivarium for a chinese water dragon

I am Swipper's Mom. Swipper is a 2 month old water dragon who right now lives in a 4ftx2ftx2.5ft enclosure. This is fine for now, but he will need something bigger. Since he is from the rainforest and is known to inhabit waterfalls and river banks, I was really drawn to this site. I love the vivariums I have seen and the host of information on how to build one has been very helpful. I am in search of how I could construct a half water, half land vivarium in an enclosure that will be 6ftx4ftx3.5ft and made of wood. My water dragon will get at large as 4ft long. If anyone on this site has a water dragon, please contact me with helpful information and encouragement.

Thank you
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-11-2004, 03:53 PM
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I've only seen baby water dragon's at local LFS's years ago and know nothing of their care and husbandry but your project sounds fascinating and has the potential to be a stunning display.
Tell us more about the location you are planning for this vivarium. How much water do you want? A few inches? A foot or two? Do you have a tank already or do you plan on building one, perhaps?
I'm sure several of us on the board would be very interesting in following this project and helping in any way we can.

- Sam P -
plantedtanker in limbo - all tanks currently in storage
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-11-2004, 08:14 PM Thread Starter
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The vivarium will be located in my room along a wall that use to house my computer table. So I have plenty of room. I want a rather large area of water, I was planning to get a pond liner and use that. One reason is they come in various shapes, and some of them come with there own draining system which will be a key component as I will have to change the water atleast once a week with a filter in it.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-14-2004, 04:00 PM
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the new dimetions look good, but iv never herd of a water dragon getting 4 feet long they are normaly 20-30 inchs when fully grown, what kind is it? austrilian or chines(asian)???it realy does not matter in reference to caging, the easyest way to creat a water area in a large tank were deep water is need is to cut a peice of plexy galss and slicon that in as teh divider, pond liner is expensive and you won't be abole to creat a deep enough pond, water dragons are active and will trample many plants so get sturdy thick stemed plants like ficus trees, pothes and small palms, backgrounds give the tank a hole nother dimetion, for a tank of your size i would use coco panels, you can mount epyhites on these and the dragon wont bother them much, for the substright use a base layer of pea gravel or terra lite, then add a substright devider and the main substright, coco beeding is great, just add some partioly decomposing leaves and some reptile bark to give it good drainage over that you can put oak leaves to give it a foresty look, but a nice peice of wood in so it goes from that water 2 the land
that should give you some ideas
good luck!
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-16-2004, 03:50 PM Thread Starter
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thank you so much, and it is a chinese water dragon, all of the pictures i have seen online have them like 3 feet long or more, some are acutally really fat, too. Check out Tricia's water dragon page to get an idea of what i am talking about, as far as how big they get. I didn't mean to say pondliner. I meant preformed pond that i would cut the shape out of the bottom to fit so that it was actually resting on the floor so i could do the drainage better. Being that the enclosure would be made of wood what could i use to make the wood waterproof and would not hurt my baby?
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-07-2004, 09:32 PM
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iv never seen a preformed pond liner small enough to fit in to a tank, realy your only options in afraid aer the 2 iv mentioned, i think any nontoxic water proofer would work,just remember to seal up every little hole, a better plan would be to use glass, there are a lot of great articals on making them so i dont think youl have to much trubble, any other questions about anything,
pleaz ask
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-17-2004, 12:19 AM
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for the waterproofing of the wood use west systems epoxy and hardener, i built my own fishtank out of plywood and its been holding, all ya gotta do is paint it on, they sell it at marine and boating stores
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-28-2004, 08:24 PM
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The problem I see with most lizard enclosures is that they look so unbelievably tacky and fake (straight branches, silk plants, astroturf on the floor, rubbermaid tub of water, etc). I guess it's functional, but looks like garbage, IMO. I would really try to make something as naturalistic as possible, if you can. Something along these lines, but a MUCH larger scale:

Maybe put some lateral and diagonal branches across the majority of the tank (I don't know much about water dragon behavior or what they prefer, so this is just a guess as to what would satisfy them), and then down in the lower regions put some rocks, moss, wood debris, leaf litter, etc. that would replicate the edge of a small creek in the forest. Here's an image of an 80 gal (48x18x23) I set up to keep some cooler growing epiphytic orchids:

By adding some larger rocks and whatnot, and maybe increasing the water level...then filling in with moss, bromeliads, and various other plants (DEFINITELY some Ficus benjamani) and you've got a very cool and natural looking enclosure. You've also got an extra foot or two of height and two more feet of length to play with then I you can do some great stuff in there.

"I go right into the aquascaping without any design."
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-16-2004, 03:46 AM
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Sadly, I have all of the elements that Skylsdale despises in my enclosure.

This currently houses a group of Mountain Horned Dragons. Originally, it housed my six-year-old water dragon, who unfortunately passed away about 2 years ago.
I agree, to a point. Often times they do look cheesy, but in my opinion, and experience, function outweighs aesthetics in terms of maintaining an animal occupant larger than a day gecko. All natural vivaria are stunning - but a grown water dragon would trash it inside of a week. When I obtained my dragon as a hatchling, I gave an all natural setup a shot - live plants and all. The juvenile dragons claws made quick work of the leaves and stems, and those that it couldn't shred, it instead uprooted. In short, it was frustrating. I won't say it's impossible, but will likely require a good deal more research and work on your part to meld thriving live plants in a water dragon enclosure. As for the plastic pond, I say go for it. Sounds like a great idea. Use an adequate heater and pump and you could indeed have both a supremely functional, and visually beautiful enclosure.

My enclosure for a single dragon was 5'H, 4'W, and 2'D. There are others that have created very large enclosures and have incorporated live plants successfully. Check out George Buce's water dragon setup, or JWorlds Enclosures (These are not live plants, but absolutely stunning nonetheless. Best of luck with your dragon, they are wonderful animals.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-21-2005, 01:52 AM
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From what I have read, the water dragon will need about a 70gal tank when it is full grown. A 6'^ x 6'> x 3' should hold upto 3 water dragons,
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-28-2013, 05:49 AM
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If you are still around, do you have any photos on Swipper's size?
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