Why Is My Chinese Water Dragon Brown

When you think of your Chinese water dragon, you imagine a bright green water dragon with some bands on the tail. It’s understandable to get concerned when you notice that your usually bright green reptile has turned brown or is turning brown.

You can take to the internet to see if other Chinese water dragon owners have had the same experience, but you are likely to be overcome with information, not all of it one hundred percent accurate.

As a Chinese water dragon owner, I believe it important that you get to know why your dragon could be changing color and what you can do to remedy the problem.


Baby Chinese water dragons remain brown for up to one year. Only after this, they start changing to green.

If your dragon is less than one year and brown in color, then you will be pleased to note that this is normal and the coloration will start showing after one year.


Have you recently brought your Chinese water dragon home and it has changed to brown in color? Have you recently upgraded your dragon enclosure?

A new home can leave your dragon stressed, thereby causing them to change color. Leave them alone for one to two weeks, allowing them to settle and you will see their color returning to green.

Fungal and Bacterial Infections

Chinese water dragons are prone to fungal and bacterial infections. This is not unheard of and the infection can result in brown patches developing on your dragon with their scales getting darker.

It’s important that your Chinese water dragon is checked by your vet. You will be given a cream to apply to affected areas.

If your dragon is diagnosed with an infection, ensure you do a complete enclosure clean, including branches and water bowls to ensure you prevent the risk of spreading the infection any further.

Temperature and Humidity

Chinese water dragons are ectothermic. This means that they need a warm habitat to help them maintain their body temperature, along with humid air.

You need to keep your dragon’s daytime temperatures between 84ºF and 88ºF (29ºC to 31ºC). They will need a basking spot that offers temperatures in the region of 90ºF (32ºC). Nighttime temperatures should range between 75ºF and 80ºF (24ºC and 27ºC).

These reptiles also need their lighting on for twelve hours per day. Not providing them with the right temperatures can result in your Chinese water dragon turning brown, a sign that they could be cold.

Related –How to set up a Chinese water dragon terrarium


In most cases, your Chinese water dragon will turn brown due to temperatures and humidity.

Being close to shedding can result in the dragon changing color. At this point, you need to ensure you provide ample clean freshwater. This is very common and not something to be too concerned about.

Helping to improve humidity in the tank can aid with shedding.

Related – The best way to maintain high humidity levels in a Chinese water dragon terrarium is to use an automatic misting system. The Exo Terra Monsoon Solo is a perfect misting solution to ensure that your water dragon is healthy and happy.


Your dragon should be fed based on its size and age. Incorrect diet, poorly balanced diet, and not enough feeding can all result in your Chinese water dragon changing color.

Over the age of two? Your dragon should already be eating pinkies and fuzzies. They should be provided with a varied diet to reduce the risk of mineral and vitamin deficiencies.



TEKIZOO UVA UVB Sun Lamp is the ideal light to improve heating and basking for your reptile.

This is a very powerful source of UVA and UVB light and is self-ballasted. It provides warmth and vitamin production to ensure optimum health. The bulb is compatible with all enclosures and has been tested for quality, offering the best lifespan.

Each bulb goes through a three-step test to ensure it is in good working order. This is backed by top-quality customer service and a warranty.


This unbreakable and realistic food dish is the perfect choice to make a water bath for your dragon to assist with the shedding process. Your dragon requires humidity and moisture to shed easily.

This dish is quick and easy to clean and is low profile with a non-porous surface. Lightweight and safe for your reptile.


Sphagnum moss is a great addition if you want to make a humid hide to help your dragon shed and get the humidity levels that they need.

This moss is able to hold moisture for a long period and is made from natural compounds. It is an excellent substrate that can boost humidity levels in the enclosure.

The moss is very plush and is able to hold moisture up to twenty times its weight. It can be reused several times and is harvested using sustainable methods.

Vitamin Deficiency

Lack of sunlight can result in a vitamin deficiency in your dragon.

You can consider a multivitamin, such as HERPTIVITE Multivitamin, which is a superior multivitamin which is used as a food supplement containing naturally sourced ingredients, which are rich in essential elements and minerals without the risk of Vitamin A toxicity.

This is a high-quality multivitamin, amino acid food supplement, and multimineral which includes a base of sea vegetation. It contains vitamins and minerals that are essential for growth, reproduction, and basic reptilian functions.


The good news is that your Chinese water dragon turning brown is not that uncommon and therefore you can find ways to treat your dragon at home.

If you don’t see any improvement in the skin coloration, then it’s recommended you get your dragon to the vet for further investigation.

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