Choosing the right sized tank for your bearded dragon is crucial in keeping them happy and healthy, whether you’re seeking to buy a new bearded dragon or have a juvenile that’s recently experienced a growth spurt.
Keep reading if you’re unsure what size tank or vivarium you need for your bearded dragon. We’ll tell you everything you need to know about choosing the ideal setup for a bearded dragon of any age!
Table of Contents
What kind of tanks are available for bearded dragons?
For every kind of bearded dragon, there is a different kind of tank, made of different materials. Check to see which one works the best for your bearded dragon!
Glass tanks are an iconic design. They have a lot of visibility and are simple to clean. They are not as easy to get scratched as plastic tanks would be. Adult bearded dragons require large tanks, with the ideal volume being 120 gallons. With that in mind, let’s look at a couple of issues that may arise if you only use a glass tank.
- For starters, the larger the glass tank, the more likely it is to break.
- Second, a larger tank will cost significantly more than a smaller one, owing to the need for thicker glass.
- Buying used glass tanks from aquarists is a good way to save money on them.
You might be able to find them reasonably priced. The possibility of leaks won’t bother you because you won’t be filling it with water. Just make sure the tank doesn’t have a significant crack, as this will only get worse over time.
While I would always choose a glass tank for a young bearded dragon, other options could work for an adult bearded dragon.
Plastic tanks have come a long way in the previous few decades, from simple plastic boxes to professional, complex enclosures.
PVC or ABS plastics are commonly used to construct these ready-to-use reptile habitats. Only the front side is usually made of clear, see-through plexiglass; the other sides are usually opaque. While some may see this as a downside when it comes to viewing, your pet may feel more safe in this style of enclosure.
Plastic tanks are also less likely to break than glass tanks, and you can cut cable holes into them, making the whole system neater.
The problem with plastic tanks is that they’re also quite pricey, especially professional one-piece moulded terrariums like Vision cages, which come with built-in light structures and other useful features. It is more cost effective to look for a DIY-style plastic tank.
Building a huge glass tank or purchasing a large pre-made plastic shell with a capacity of 100 gallons or more can be pricey.
Wooden enclosures may be a good choice for those who loathe plastic, enjoy DIY projects, or simply want to save money.
One of the more ingenious ideas is to make a terrarium out of a wooden shelf or cabinet. You can also construct or order a wooden tank from the ground up. Breeders usually do this to save money on housing for the many animals they must separate.
Wooden tanks are identical to plastic tanks in terms of structure. All sides of a plywood enclosure are composed of wood, with the exception of the front, which is commonly a two-piece sliding glass door system.
One major disadvantage of having wood for your tank is that it is thin and absorbs water, making it susceptible to rot and mold.
Because desert terrariums are usually dry, you might not believe this is a problem. When you spray your dragon or if he’ll splash around in his water bowl, all of that water will seep into the wood, along with contaminants that will make it smell bad and make disinfection harder.
Put a non-toxic, waterproof coating like a pond shield over the entire timber surface to tackle this problem. It will smooth and waterproof it, as well as give it a nice, glossy finish. However, keep in mind that high-quality products of this type may be difficult to come by, especially at a low price.
What is the best tank size for my bearded dragon?
Bearded dragons in captivity require enough space to hunt, play, and explore, so it’s essential that you provide your dragon sufficient space to do so.
If you fail to provide the right tank size for your bearded dragon, it might lead to all sorts of complications. To begin with, a tank that is too tiny might hinder the growth of Baby and Juvenile bearded dragons.
If you give an adult bearded dragon a cage too small for them, then they could get depression, get stressed out, and have other serious health problems.
Now that you know not to give your pet a cage too small or big for them, Let’s have a look at which tank you should get for each stage of your beardies life cycle.
Baby bearded dragon:
A tank capacity of 20-40 gallons is required for baby bearded dragons less than 10 inches in length. Putting your baby dragon in a larger tank may make life more difficult for them, as they may struggle to capture any live food you place in there.
A 40-gallon tank with dimensions of 36”x18”x18” is ideal.
Since baby bearded dragons haven’t developed their hunting skills yet, keeping them in a 20-40 gallon tank will allow them to grow while also making it as easy as possible for them to catch their prey.
It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your baby dragon while they search and catch food to make sure they’re doing okay. If your baby is having trouble catching enough food, you could want to put them in a smaller tank (20 gallons minimum) or hand feed them some of their food while they improve their hunting skills.
When your baby bearded dragon reaches 10 inches in length, you’ll need to start thinking about getting them a bigger tank.
Juvenile bearded dragon:
A tank of 55-75 gallons is required for juvenile bearded dragons. Bearded dragons are fast-growing creatures that can reach maturity in as little as 18 months. As your juvenile bearded dragon becomes older, you should start thinking about getting them a bigger tank.
Aim for a 75-gallon tank with dimensions of 48”x18”x21.”
Adult bearded dragon:
Once a bearded dragon reaches 20 inches in length, it is called an adult. They can, however, reach a length of up to 24 inches.
Fully-grown adults require a 120-gallon tank. You can still get away with 75 gallons, but you should strive for a 120 gallon. This will let them find food, relax in a warm spot, climb, and seek out cooler locations.
A 120 gallon terrarium with dimensions of 48”x24”x24” is ideal for them.
Make sure it’s tall enough
You may believe you’ve chosen the correct tank size in terms of gallons, but be sure it’s also tall and wide enough. A tank with a height and breadth of 24 inches is recommended.
Taller tanks allow your bearded dragon to travel toward or away from the heat source at the top, so if you give them a lot of options, they’ll be able to locate the perfect place!
They also enjoy climbing, so a taller tank provides them with more climbing places. Once your beardie is completely grown, you’ll want to make sure they can spin around comfortably, which a 24-inch tank width should enable.
Do bearded dragons need a bigger tank?
Yes, bearded dragons need a big tank. They can’t regulate their own body temperature, and for this reason, they rely on the temperature around them to help them. Animals like this are called ectotherms.
Bearded dragons usually move to a warmer part of their tank to help with their digestion or bask. But they will want a colder area to hide or to sleep in.
If the tank is too small then it could get too hot for them, because they won’t be able to get far away from the heat lamp. Not only that but a tank too small for your beardie could cause them a lot of unnecessary stress.
Is a lid necessary?
Regardless of the tank you choose, make sure the lid allows for proper ventilation while also keeping the heat in. Screen lids are an excellent choice since they retain heat while allowing air to flow.
Bearded dragons enjoy climbing, so ensure your lid is secure enough so it won’t be knocked off by a daring beardie!
How to take care of the bearded dragon tank?
If you don’t change your dragon’s bedding on a regular basis, they may become unwell, stressed, and/or smelly. You could detect a foul odor coming from its cage. This is a sure sign if you aren’t properly caring for your dragon’s tank.
To avoid this, make sure you follow the steps below to properly care for your dragon’s cage:
- Remove any leftover food as soon as possible.
- Maintenance is required on a daily basis.
- Clean the bedding and decorations on a daily basis.
- On a monthly basis, disinfect its cage and accessories.
- Keeping the appropriate lighting and temperature.
Always keep in mind that if you fail to provide your dragon with a suitable habitat in which they can feel at ease, you may find yourself dealing with a raging, anxious, or even sick bearded dragon.
Setting your tank
Dragons are cold-blooded animals native to Australia’s deserts. Because they do not create their own body heat, they require sufficient heating and lighting to live in an environment that is similar to their natural environment.
Here are some of the things you’ll need to keep the right temperature, lighting, and humidity for your dragon’s comfort and health:
The first thing to understand is that baby and juvenile bearded dragons need different temperatures than their adult counterparts. When working on the temperature levels in your dragon’s cage, keep the following points in mind.
- On one end of your dragon’s cage, create a basking area with temperatures ranging from 95 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Make sure the temperature in its cage is between 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit on the other end.
- An adult dragon’s basking area requires a temperature of 90 to 95 degrees, whereas the opposite end can remain at the same temperature.
- Because dragons require a cooler environment at night, make sure to turn off the basking area light at night.
Metabolic bone disease, a dangerous ailment that warps your dragon’s skeletal system and limits digestion and absorption of nutrients, can be caused by poor lighting or heat. If left untreated, metabolic bone disease can paralyze and kill your dragon.
A 50-75 watt UVA basking bulb will be needed for the enclosure. This will imitate the sun’s powerful rays.
A dome-head lamp that can rest right on top of the mesh screen lid is ideal. You might also utilize a hanging lamp fixture. The temperature of their peak basking location should be between 95 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
They’ll also need a UVB tube lamp. You should use a tube-shaped UVB lamp rather than a coil-shaped UVB light.
A tube light hood that clamps underneath the mesh lid is used to fit the UVB light. The light should not be shining on top of the mesh because it will block off 40% of the rays.
Many coil lights are not suitable for delivering enough UVB levels. It will need to be replaced every six months, just like the UVA bulb, as its UVB production runs out.
Bearded dragons require a 12-hour day as well as a night cycle. Use a light timer for at least two plugs and set it for 12 hours a day.
Feed your bearded dragon early in the day to allow them to digest their meals before the lights go dark. Because they disrupt your beardie’s circadian clock, infrared night heat lights are not suggested.
Since bearded dragons are native to desert habitats, They require low humidity levels. The optimal humidity level is between 30 and 40%.
If the humidity level is too high, your dragon may suffer medical problems including respiratory illnesses. Your lizard will become dehydrated if the humidity level falls below 30%.
If your Bearded Dragon is dehydrated, you’ll notice that its skin is highly wrinkled. When beardies are shedding or dehydrated, they prefer baths.
Including a soaking water dish in their tank and allowing it to evaporate is the greatest approach to maintain humidity. A water dish can be made of plastic and should be large enough to accommodate their entire body.
The ideal dimensions are 2 inches deep, 7 inches wide, and 10 inches long. Fill the dish no higher than their shoulder level, as this will protect them from drowning.
Because they acquire most of their water from the plant and insects they eat, they are unlikely to drink directly from the water dish.
Substrate for the tank
It’s actually very dangerous to keep any kind of loose substrate in your tank when your bearded dragon is still a baby, because they could potentially eat it, which could lead to health problems like bowel impaction or they could even choke on it.
So, for this reason we made a list of substrates you can use, some that you should never use.
Reptile carpets are frequently used in beardie enclosures, however, they don’t last very long. Beardies quickly become filthy since they poop frequently and all over the place.
If you still want to get a reptile carpet, be sure it’s suitable for bearded dragons and doesn’t have any fiber loops hanging out. Bearded dragons’ lengthy claws and fingers can get caught in there and cause injury.
If you have the time and are ready to put in a little extra effort to set it up, clay is a great option for your bearded dragon. With it you can be creative and create a desert terrain with burrows, mountains, and shrubs.
After purchasing your local animal pet store or online, mix your reptile excavator clay with water and leave it dry in the tank. Your dragon can burrow in the clay without breaking off and causing impaction. The main drawback of clay is that you must remove and change it every few months, which might be a headache if you don’t have a lot of spare time.
For your beardie’s tank, the newspaper is perhaps the cheapest and most easily accessible disposable ground cover. Most newspapers absorb liquids fast, which is beneficial in preventing the mess from spreading around the tank. The paper is also pretty durable, so it won’t slip away from your pet’s feet when he gets up and about.
Before putting freshly printed newspapers in an enclosure, they should always be left out in the room for several weeks. You’ll know the printing paint has dried and won’t leak this way.
Another popular disposable substrate is paper towels. They appear neater and cleaner than newspapers, and they are quite simple to replace. The absorbency of paper towels is superior. It Is commonly used in juvenile tanks.
When you think of ceramic tiles, the smooth ones from your bathroom spring to mind first. There are, however, a variety of designs and textures on the market, including some that resemble stone and sand.
There are numerous other advantages of using ceramic tiles. They are low-cost and relatively simple to cut. The idea that the tiles will be heated is also appealing to bears.
At the same time, this is the only feature with which you must take extra care with: if your lamp creates a lot of heat, you should avoid using ceramic tiles or stone slates beneath the basking region.
On the list, slate is the most decorative and natural-looking floor covering. Aside from that, it has a number of other advantages.
It gives the lizard an excellent hold while also allowing him to wear down his nails. It quickly warms up and then radiates the heat, which bearded dragons adore.
Slate, on the other hand, has a few flaws. It’s more difficult to cut than vinyl or ceramic tiles, for example. Another drawback is that slate is thin, so it will absorb feces and other contaminants more easily than vinyl or ceramic tiles.
That implies more thorough washing and bleaching on your part to keep it from stinking and harboring bacteria.
Read more about best best bearded dragon substrates.
When it comes to desert tanks with lizards, sand is the most controversial substrate. Sand, on one hand, looks quite aesthetic and is the most natural choice for desert vivariums.
It can and will induce impaction if your lizard eats it by accident. It’s also more difficult to maintain cleanliness, and it can lead to undesired microbe buildup, raising the risk of sickness.
If you insist on using sand in your cage despite the risks, you’ll have to clean out the soiled sections every day and change it out fully once a month.
Sand should never be used as a substrate for an enclosure for young dragons since they are opportunistic eaters and will most likely end up with a lot of sand in their stomach, which can kill them. Older bearded dragons usually pick food with their tongues rather than force their full jaws into it.
These aren’t a good choice either. They can scrape your bearded dragon or cause impaction or internal injury if your beardie eats the loosened fragments.
Despite its antimicrobial properties, coconut coir is not advised for bearded dragons. Coco coir is a loose substrate with a high risk of impaction.
It also retains moisture, which is not ideal for a desert vivarium. Keep in mind that too much dampness can cause respiratory infections.
The solution to the wood shavings issue is straightforward: wood shavings should never be used in your terrarium.
It can include toxins and cause impaction in bearded dragons and other lizards, in addition to being unnatural for them. As a result, wood shavings are a no-no in any beardie cage.
Accessories for your bearded dragon tanks
Climbing is another favourite hobby of all bearded dragons. Climbing behavior is seen in their native settings as well.
They can lounge in the sun, keep an eye out for predators, and track down prey all at the same time while perched on a high vantage point.
That’s why, in a terrarium setting, your pet beardie will happily hang around above ground. For bearded dragons, sturdy, clean branches are always a wonderful choice
Almost all diurnal lizards, including bearded dragons, like basking. Make a basking location for them, such as a flat rock setup or a log directly under the spotlight.
However, keep an eye on the basking location to make sure it doesn’t get too hot, especially if it’s a stone surface that may store a lot of heat.
This can be avoided by selecting the appropriate light intensity and determining the proper distance from the basking place.
Hammocks are a favorite hangout spot for bearded dragons. Your bearded dragon will thank you if you put one in the corner of your tank opposite the heating bulb.
Where should I put the tank?
Keep in mind the following points when choosing a spot for a bearded dragon tank.
Away from kids or other pets:
Your dragon can be killed by cats and dogs. If you can’t keep your dragon in a separate room from your cat or dog, ensure the enclosure doesn’t tip over and the lid is securely fastened.
If you have young kids, never leave them unaccompanied near the tank, and make sure the terrarium is out of reach. If kids manage to collapse the tank, they could be gravely injured or killed, not to mention your dragon.
You should check in on your beardie at least once a day, if not more. Make sure you can get to the tank without difficulty.
Getting the tank off the floor is a major step in the right direction. Another step is to avoid putting it behind items.
This is a no-brainer, but we’ve seen tanks that are difficult to access, and as a result, things begin to deteriorate over time. Baths aren’t taken as frequently as they should be. Snuggle time is either limited or completely absent. Even feedings can be too far apart.
A bearded dragon that lives in an easily accessible tank is healthier and more fun.
In a quiet area:
On the overall, bearded dragons aren’t fond of loud noises. It’s also necessary to remember that what isn’t particularly loud to us is really loud to their tiny ears. It’s critical to be aware of this reality.
When we initially brought our beardie home, we immediately placed it next to the television in the living room. We spend a lot of time in that room, and we wanted our new pet to be in the same room as us.
The issue here was the tv’s surround sound. It simply produced too much noise to provide a suitable setting for our dragon.
Your situation may vary, but it’s a good idea to keep your bearded dragon away from loud noise on a regular basis.
Keep away from direct sunlight:
Some bearded dragon owners keep their tanks near a window or in a location that receives direct sunlight on a regular basis.
They do this because a bearded dragon’s natural environment is a scorching, arid part of Australia. They believe that the sunshine will be beneficial.
The issue with this argument is that a glass enclosure acts as a miniature oven in direct sunlight. The sun’s heat gets in, but it can’t get out. This raises the internal temperature to dangerously high levels.
It’s the same reason you shouldn’t leave your dog or kids in the car in the sun. The temperature inside a car can reach levels that are lethal to animals or people. When a bearded dragon’s tank is left in direct sunlight, the same thing happens.
Can I keep multiple bearded dragons in one tank?
It is not recommended that you keep a bearded dragon alongside another bearded dragon or any other animal. Bearded dragons are territorial and can be hostile against other bearded dragons or other animals.
Bearded dragons are solitary lizards, and having to share their cage with another animal might cause them to become stressed or even unhappy. As a result, if you’re thinking of putting other animals in the tank with your bearded dragon, you might want to reconsider.
Many dragon owners have learned that when they add another bearded dragon to their tank, one of two things happens. Either both bearded dragons get extremely anxious, or one of the dragons becomes extremely hostile towards the other.
With proper care, bearded dragons can survive for up to ten years. The terrarium is important to your bearded dragon’s health and happiness. You can provide your bearded dragon with a home where they can thrive now that you know the basics of setting up the best bearded dragon tank setup.