These questions were asked by Joe and were published in web forums and in August 2012 Practical Reptile Magazine
1) Is nutrobal designed to be used with each feed, or on a less regular basis? It states one pinch per kg of animal, though clearly many lizards weigh significantly less then a kilo and adding say a 5th of 10th of a pinch to a bag containing say 6 crickets to spread the dust over them, is quite hard to accurately do. For this reason, especially in small reptiles such as Anole lizards and dwarf species of desert gecko, is it better not to use nutrobal with each feed to avoid hypervitaminosis? I've noticed some websites appear to suggest Nutrobal dusting of livefood only 1-2 times a week, and sometimes suggest using a pure calcium carbonate powder the rest of the time.
2) Is the 200mg calcium per gram of nutrobal a sufficient enough amount that the addition of a calcium powder along with nutrobal is unnecessary? An example would be if nutrobal was used for one days feed, then a pure calcium powder the next. Is just using nutrobal instead of this switching method an acceptable practice? There seems to be some confusion on websites about whether nutrobal is designed to supply all of a reptiles calcium needs.
NUTROBAL is a calcium balancer and multivitamin product. A lot of time went into every stage, including selecting a particle size which 'sticks' to crickets etc without getting into their spiracles and killing them. We have maintained this carefully for over 20 years, and have launched Calci Dust containing the same calcium we use in Nutrobal. The product has been used by pretty much every reptile vet in the UK and the vast majority of zoos keeping reptiles. We send it worldwide.
I designed NUTROBAL to be used at every feed, BUT I designed it at a time that UV lighting was very poor, often dangerous. Now with better UV and an ideal world where people set it at the correct height, change the bulbs appropriately and achieve a proper dose, then NUTROBAL 'could' be sufficient every second feed. You should also consider whether a species is crepuscular/nocturnal where UV isn't factor. The data doesn't exist to show that leopard geckos can actually use UV efficiently, why would they - they would normally only be exposed to tiny amounts. I do know that they can use NUTROBAL.
There are so many variables here, however, we have NEVER had a report of hypervitaminosis / overdose from its use every feed and personally I would use it that way. Because people do different things and worry, I have recommended generally that if UV is used then alternate NUTROBAL and Calci-Dust.
It is important that crickets etc are always dusted with something. Even reptiles soon learn that if they don't eat the 'white ones' then brown ones will appear. If you aren't going to use NUTROBAL then dust with Calci-Dust.
Don't worry about per kg dosing if you use crickets and mealworms. The per kg dosage isn't relevant if you are dusting. the animals self dose in that what they eat is size related, bigger animals eat more crickets and so more Nutrobal…
The amount of calcium in NUTROBAL is plenty to supply the animals needs, if its on every feed. If it isn't then as said Calci-Dust should be used. Owners tend to grow reptiles in captivity quicker than they would grow in the wild, that means that they need optimum calcium levels for health bone development or they will get metabolic bone disease. Once reptiles are adult then they have lower calcium needs and I suggest switching to ARKVITS which has enhanced levels of vitamins A, C & E which can be useful for long term maintenance, support of immune system and encouraging breeding.
NUTROBAL isn't just calcium, the vitamin D3 is vital as without it the calcium goes straight through the animal.
Whilst I'm writing, I should also mention our new NUTROGRUB product. I have worked on this for 2 years, Our GRUB GRUB and BUG GRUB are now withdrawn and replaced with NUTROGRUB. Insects find it much more palatable and its a great way of keeping the feeder insects alive, whilst at the same time gut-loading their calcium levels. We have increased the calcium in mealworms by x 7-8 and in crickets by x 12. These are stunning results, but you should still dust at the time of feeding, loading calcium and providing lots of vitamins.
I'm honestly pleased that people feel comfortable enough with NUTROBAL after 20 years to play around, but it is well tried and tested. We are very responsive, asa vet i speak to other reptile vets regularly and follow the published literature. We try to do our best, and since we manufacture NUTROBAL every 3 months for quality and maximum shelf life we can always make any changes that science indicates.