Make sure your aquarium is large enough for your water dragon to grow comfortably. They can get up to 3 feet long so choose wisely! If you are low on cash, it would be wise to have a decent sized aquarium, or even rubbermaid container (cheaper and worth it) to keep your dragon in. However, be sure to have some sort of grating for a lid that is NOT solid, but a mesh wire that breathes very well.
Get some no chemical and NO fertilizer (organic is best) topsoil and put a nice layer of that in the bottom of your dragons home.
Get a container (budget friendly can be old plastic bowls large enough) or a reptile made swimming area that your dragon can get in and fully immerse his body. Just give him enough water to immerse himself like you would for yourself in a bathtub. This is very important, they are called water dragons for a reason :).
Get two auto lamps from Lowes, or a local hardware store. You can also get reptile lamps at the pet shop which are the exact same thing, just the auto lamp costs about $4 where as the ones at the pet store are usually $20 because of it saying “reptile” on the label. It’s Sort of like wedding stuff being more expensive in the craft section because it says wedding, and you can find the same thing two isles down for substantially less.
Purchase a combination UVA UVB bulb for your dragon. These bulbs simulate natural sunlight rays that your dragon would get in the wild. These rays are vital to his health, and help his bones and his body to grow and develop properly. You CAN NOT do without these or your dragon will develop debilitating heath problems over time and can become deformed and die. Buy them at your local pet store.
Buy your dragon a bulb large enough to give off decent heat (without burning him) or simply buy a basking lamp bulb at your local pet shop.
Get your dragon a rock from outside that is flat and smooth, or purchase one at the pet shop. Be sure to wash it VERY well if you get it from outside with a mild detergent, and then rinse it very well. All natural soaps are best. This will be his basking stone to warm his body on. Reptiles are cold blooded, and as such are only as warm as their environment, so basking is very important to them.
Chinese water dragons are primarily “insectavores”. Their diet consists mainly of insects. Earthworms and crickets are popular. However they do also eat pinky mice, but don’t get carried away with this, seeing as how they usually thrive off of insects. If you feed them pinky mice, get a cup of HOT water from the faucet and take the frozen mouse, put it in for 45 minutes so it will de-thaw correctly. If you don’t do this, it could really hurt the dragons digestive track. Mill worms have heads that need to be cut off because there are some reports of them eating out reptiles intestines, resulting in the reptile dying. I avoid these for that reason, but many owners do not and report good results with the smaller ones. Be sure to gut load your insects (such as crickets) by putting leafy greens, veggies, etc in their tank so your dragon gets the nutrition that they eat. My dragon is stubborn and prefers moving food, so this is usually how he gets his veggies. Many dragons do however, respond well to fruits. Try and see what your dragon likes, and keep trying. You can offer them food everyday, and can leave earthworms in their tank all the time for an easy food fix. Sometimes the earthworms will bury under the water bowl because of it being cool, so keep an eye out for this. Don’t put too many crickets in their tank however, because they try to climb on them and chew at them. You can also put them on a feeding schedule of a couple times a week. Whatever works best for you.
Enjoy your new pet!