Bearded dragons can be fantastic pets, but only if you are willing to properly care for them. Healthy dragons can live for up to 10 years! Even though this is true if they are kept in optimal conditions, many bearded dragon owners do not adequately care for their pets.
The very first thing you will need when you bring a new beardie home is a nice bearded dragon terrarium with all the necessary tools installed in it. Here is a post on the bearded dragon habitat requirements. They need the proper enclosure to ensure they’re not only happy but healthy too!
Bearded dragons normally make their home in the deserts and forests of Australia. They come from a naturally hot and dry climate, with lots of sun. You want to duplicate their natural environment as much as possible. Here is a detailed post on where do bearded dragons come from?.
Some owners mistakenly think they can let their bearded dragon run about their house, in their garden, or just outdoors. Letting your beardie to run about the house would be somewhat akin to putting a penguin in a tropical rain forest. It just is not done. You could be exposing your beloved beardie to unexpected danger.
Instead, you must invest in a proper bearded dragon enclosure. Proper cages can make the difference between life and death.
If you are in a hurry or curious, here is a list of best tanks for bearded dragons.
|Editor’s Picks||Cages||Our Rating|
|Best Overall||Zen Habitats Reptile Enclosures||5|
|Best for Beginners||Carolina Cages Extra-Long 120-Gallon||4.8|
|Also our favorite||REPTI ZOO 85-Gallon Glass Reptile Terrarium||4.7|
|Most Affordable||Exo Terra Large 65-Gallon Bearded Dragon Tank||4.2|
Table of Contents
What to Look for in a Bearded Dragon Tank?
Before jumping right into the recommendations it’s very important to understand what size cage is best suited for your beardie.
Based on the age of your bearded dragon, what type of setup you want, and how much money you want to spend, there are a number of different terrarium available. Most of the terrariums available in the market for bearded dragons are more or less the same.
The size and design of the tank are the most important things to look for as it affects the safety and durability of the tank. Despite the differences, good bearded dragons terrariums have several things in common:
- Size (120-gallon).
- Design (Material, good ventilation).
- Security (front opening doors with key lock security).
- Safety (sturdy with well-fitted screen top).
As we mentioned earlier, size and design are the most important things to consider when picking a bearded dragon terrarium. The recommended cage size for an adult bearded dragon is 120 gallons. Terrariums that are bigger than this are not recommended because they are hard to clean and heat.
Below is the recommended cage sizes for bearded dragons in different stages of their lives.
Bearded Dragon Cage Size
It’s extremely important to provide your bearded dragon with a cage that has enough room for them to run about and exercise. Always remember, the bigger the cage the better.
For a baby bearded dragon, you will need at least a 20-gallon tank which is about 30x13x12 inches. However, we recommended getting a 40-gallon (48x12x14) as you will need a bigger tank anyway when your beardie reaches 3 to 4 months of age.
For juveniles that are 3 to 5 months old, a minimum of 40-gallon tank is needed. But the ideal sized tank is 55 to 75-gallon which offers enough room for your dragon to live a healthy life.
Full-grown lizard, typically 15 to 18 months old, needs a larger terrarium/tank. They do best in a 100 to 120-gallon tank.
A lot of people in the bearded dragon community especially on the internet recommend a smaller cage size like 55-gallon for full-grown dragons. You can still get away with a 55-gallon but I honestly believe it’s way too small for a full-grown bearded dragon.
If you still want to go with a smaller terrarium, don’t go anywhere below a 100-gallon.
Bearded dragons are not very good climbers. They spend most of their time on the ground under the sun or climbing onto low branches. That is why a horizontal terrarium is preferred to a vertical one.
So, instead on focusing on the head room for your beardie, focus more on the floor.
Ventilation is also an important aspect of design. The enclosure must allow for proper air circulation. Two main factors are the height and the material used to create the enclosure.
The best way to achieve ventilation is through the screen mesh tops as they still allow heat and light in.
Some materials are better than others at retaining heat and humidity. If the enclosure loses warmth quickly, heating costs will increase as it will need to be compensated for.
The enclosure should be secure enough that your bearded dragon cannot escape and other critters cannot get in. It should have key lock security or cover clips. These are especially important if your tank is opening from the top.
Bearded dragons are curious creatures and can accidentally push open the doors of an enclosure while exploring. So, it is always recommended to lock the doors.
The enclosure should be made from sturdy and high quality durable material. A well-made tank should last the lifespan of a bearded dragon without the need for replacement.
Bearded dragons don’t like to see changes in their environment. They feel more secure and comfortable if kept in the same terrarium their whole life.
In bearded dragon tanks, front opening doors are preferred over the top opening. Approaching your beardie from above will cause stress as they will perceive you as a threat. (Predators mostly come from above).
Front opening doors also provide easy access to the terrarium that helps to make cleaning and maintenance easy. Top opening terrariums are hard to access especially with lighting and heating bulbs in the way.
Other Important things to look for in bearded dragon terrarium
- Must be easy to clean properly including the ability to kill any unwanted additions such as viruses, fungi, helminths, and bacteria.
- Needs to be able to house at least basic furniture without cluttering the ground excessively.
- Must be able to ensure that your bearded dragon can never come in contact with heat lamps. They can and do get burnt.
- The enclosure should not emit any toxic fumes from the materials used to create it especially when heating is applied.
- The enclosure should not be capable of melting or warping from the exposure to heat, in particular around the heat lamp.
- If the enclosure will be outside (even if only part of the year) then it must be given both sun and shade to allow for movement between the two as required by the inhabitant and protected from cold drafts, rain, and excessive heat.
- It must be high enough to allow to accommodate the bearded dragon’s arboreal activities. 20 inch is enough verticle space.
Common Bearded Dragon Terrarium Issues
When buying an enclosure, the most common mistake beginner bearded dragon owners make is choosing a very small enclosure.
Smaller terrarium are usually more affordable and may seem like a better size for a baby bearded dragon. But don’t be tempted! Bearded dragons grow very quickly will easily outgrow a smaller cage. So, its wise to get a larger cage from the beginning.
Glass terrariums are the most popular among the bearded dragon community. But sometimes the glass is reflective and your beardie may catch its own reflection. Bearded dragons are territorial creatures and may perceive their own reflection as an intruder. If they see their reflection they might start to puff up their beard, hiss, or wave their arm.
One of the most common mistakes new bearded dragon owners make is getting an enclosure that is not built specifically for reptiles. Non-purpose tanks often don’t have secure tops to install heating and lighting equipment.
Avoid the All in One Kits
All in one or ready made bearded dragons kit come with necessary décor, lighting and heating equipment.
These kits may sound like a great deal but as per our experience, these usually tend to be of low quality. So, avoid them at all costs. Instead, you should invest in a stand-alone enclosure and then decorating with the necessary equipment.
Best Bearded Dragon Enclosures/Cages/Tanks/Terrarium
Below is the list of best enclosures that both you and your beardie will love.
1. Zen Habitats Reptile Enclosures
Zen Habitats Reptile Enclosures is relatively new in the market, but it has proved to be one of the best enclosures for bearded dragons. Made of high quality material, this beautifully designed cage has plenty of room for your beardie to run, jump, and climb.
As this is a huge terrarium, you can easily add branches, hammocks, and other stuff to make an ideal cage for your bearded dragon.
The front sliding doors make it easy to clean as well as minimize the stress when approaching your beardie.
One of the things, why we like Zen Reptile Enclosures so much, is its bamboo finished panels. Bamboos are better than glass at retaining heat and minimizing reflection.
Aluminum framing, bamboo-lined panels, galvanized steel screen top, and acrylic front-sliding doors make zen habitats reptile enclosures one of the best tanks for bearded dragons.
2. Carolina Custom Cages Terrarium; Easy Assembly
Our second top pick is Carolina Custom Cage. It is one of the most popular terrariums in the bearded dragon’s community and it’s our favorite too. This cage is made of high quality sturdy material that will last for a long time.
It’s available in 18 different sizes. Every model of the terrarium features a waterproof base and key-lock security to keep your beardie safe.
Carolina Custom terrariums comes in equal size plates of glass and screws together easily at the corners. The base is one part as it the top with larger doors that make cleaning and arranging easier.
The terrarium also features a heavy-duty screen top that will give plenty of fresh air to your bearded dragon.
Every bearded dragon owner loves the large doors, that makes cleaning and arranging easy. The cage is shipped in parts, but the assembly is fairly easy.
3. REPTI ZOO 85-Gallon Glass Reptile Terrarium
On the list of best bearded dragon tanks, we have REPTI ZOO Reptile Glass Terrarium. This is best option to get if for any reason you are not able to get the 120-gallon tank. It offers plenty of room for your beardie in all directions for a natural setup, without being too big.
Repti zoo is stylish bearded dragon tank made of high quality and sturdy material. This terrarium measures 48″ x 18″x 24″, which is about 85 gallon.
This cage features a large sturdy screen top that provides good air circulation. Since it has plenty of space, you can add branches, hammocks, and other stuff to make it an ideal habitat for your bearded dragon.
It comes with several ergonomic installation features for heaters, thermometers and lights. The tank is shipped disassembled but has a very easy and straight forward setup process.
4. Exo Terra Large 65-Gallon Bearded Dragon Tank
Exo Terra Large 65-Gallon Bearded Dragon Tank is a very reasonably priced and extremely strong tank that would be best suited for a young bearded dragon. This is a comparatively small cage but its outstanding build quality has made it to the list of our favorite enclosures for bearded dragons.
This Exo Terra bearded dragon terrarium is simpler in design when compared to other terrariums on our list but it has all the features any beginner bearded dragon owner will need. This cage is shipped pre-assembled and the sturdiest tank on our list of best bearded dragon tanks.
It comes with double hinged front-open doors with a snap locking mechanism which means no chance for your beardie to escape. It also features a single-piece mesh top, natural-looking foam background, and thick glass that is seamlessly sealed without the support bars of other terrariums. The thick glass also helps in retaining heat.
If you are looking for a tank for baby or juvenile bearded dragon or looking for a cheap option, this is a great tank for bearded dragons.
5. Exo Terra Allglass Terrarium
The next cage on our list of top bearded dragon enclosures is Exo Terra Allglass Terrarium. This is a beautifully designed very good quality cage for reptiles with a more “natural” feel.
With a realistic sandy backdrop, your bearded dragon will feel right at home. The large swinging doors make the cleaning a lot easy.
This bearded dragon cage is available in 7 different sizes but make sure you get the “Large wide” one as opposed to the “large tall” one for your bearded dragon.
Bearded dragons spend most of their time on the ground than climbing so, the “Large wide” model with a bigger floor area is the most suited terrarium for them.
Exo Terra Allglass Terrarium is shipped fully assembled, meaning you don’t have to worry about assembling and fixing different pieces together. As they ship a fully assembled terrarium, it sometimes gets cracked in the transportation so be sure to check for any defects before putting your dragon inside.
6. Zoo Med ReptiBreeze Aluminum Screen Habitat
The Zoo Med ReptiBreeze Aluminum Screen Habitat is designed especially for arboreal lizards. This cage can be assembled very easily without the need for any tools or technical knowledge. The whole process of assembling the cage can be done with a single screwdriver.
This terrarium features a wide floor panel that can be decorated with different colors of your choosing. It comes with two doors— the main door at the front of the cage while a smaller door at the bottom. The bottom door is handy especially in the cleaning of the cage.
The whole tank is made up of aluminum that resists rusting and corrosion which means the cage will last for many years.
Once you buy a cage for your bearded dragon, its time to decorate it with the right tools and equipment. Read our post on how an ideal bearded dragon habitat looks like.
Frequently asked questions about bearded dragon cages
Bearded dragons are odor-free pets however if you don’t clean their cage on regular basis it can produce some highly objectional odors. The cause for bad smell in the bearded dragon tank is usually the organic debris and bacteria. But you will be fine as long as you properly and regularly clean their enclosure.
You should remove any feces or uneaten food on daily basis. Clean hard surfaces every week. Also, do a full-habitat deep cleaning at least once each every month.
To make the enclosure warmer you will need to install heat bulbs in it. There are many types of purpose-made heat bulbs available for bearded dragons that you can get for a few dollars. Read more about bearded dragon heat and lighting.
The temperature inside an adult bearded dragon’s tank should be between 100° – 105° degrees Fahrenheit but baby dragons need around 110° degrees Fahrenheit. You need to have two sides inside your tank i.e. a cooler side and a warmer side so your beardie can easily move to one or the other if needed. Read more about bearded dragon heat and lighting.