The Chinese water dragon also called the green water dragon or Asian water dragon, can grow to be 3 feet long as adults (the females are smaller). Much of their length is due to their long tail. They can live between 10 and 20 years. They range from dark to light green with vertical slanted turquoise or green stripes. They have white or pale yellow bellies and yellow, orange or pink throats. The long tail is narrow and has brown and green bands. The adult males have large crests on the back of their heads and necks.
The tank for a Chinese water dragon needs to be extremely large and therefore will probably need to be custom made and be expensive. It may be wise to check eBay first. The minimum size tank should be 6 feet long, 2 feet deep and 5 feet tall. It is best to keep just a single animal. A male, female pair will get along but may mate and produce young that will need their own huge tanks. Two males or two females will be quite aggressive towards each other and should not be kept together. To line the bottom of the tank something that is safe to be eaten should be used. Sterilized potting soiled topped with sphagnum moss is a good choice. Other good choices are a mix of peat, sand and soil, cypress mulch, paper or AstroTurf Plenty of branches should be placed in the tank for the Chinese water dragon to climb on and bask on. A few live plants are also a good idea. Pothos, dracena, hibiscus, ficus, and staghorn ferns are some good types.
The Chinese water dragon needs a large pool of water, big enough that its whole body can fit in it and submerge itself to at least ½ its height. Some people use a cat litter box for this purpose. The dish needs to be cleaned out and sterilized every single day. Humidity in the tank should be 80 percent. You can spray a water bottle in the tank once or twice a day to keep the humidity up. Live potted plants also help. During the day the temperature in the tank should be 84 to 88 degrees with a basking spot of 90 degrees. At night the temperature can be 75 to 80 degrees. Some areas of the tank will be cooler and some will be warmer so be sure to measure the temperature in different areas of the tank. A basking light, a ceramic heat element, undertank heat pads and heat tape can be used. A UVA/UVB light is needed. It should be on for 12 hours then off for 12 hours to give the Chinese water dragon a day/night cycle.
Hatchlings (babies) and juveniles (young) need to be fed daily. Adults only need to be fed every 2 or 3 days. A skinny Chinese water dragon is not being fed often enough and a chubby Chinese water dragon is being fed to often. The pet’s feeding schedule should be adjusted as needed. A general rule of thumb is to feed a pet as much prey as it can eat in 15 to 20 minutes. It is recommended to not leave live prey in the tank after this time. The Chinese water dragon can be fed crickets, mealworms, waxworms, earthworms, grasshoppers, butterworms and locusts. Pinkie mice and kingworms can also be given but only to adults. Any insects should be gut loaded. Insect prey should be store bought and not captured live as they can carry diseases. The Chinese water dragon can also be given finely chopped fruits or vegetables but should consist of only 10 to 15 percent of the lizard’s diet. Some good choices are collards, dandelion, and mustard greens, sweet potato, parsnips, green beans, carrots, and yellow or orange squash for vegetables and strawberries, raspberries, mangoes, papaya, figs, or cantaloupe for fruit. Fruit should be given in less proportion then vegetables.
To keep Chinese water dragons healthy it is recommended they be given a calcium/vitamin D3 supplement at every other feeding and a complete vitamin/mineral supplement once a week.