The bearded dragon tank is the official residence of a reptile owner’s pet. It is the place where the domesticated home companion spends most of its time every day.
Therefore, it is important for a bearded dragon tank to be healthy and convenient for the lizard pet. Nevertheless, we understand that setting up a bearded dragon’s enclosure can be challenging, especially for novice reptile pet keepers.
We noticed that these beginner bearded dragon owners usually commit many mistakes when preparing a bearded dragon tank for their lizard pets’ occupancy. They normally fail to provide their domesticated reptiles with a comfortable and health-giving living arrangement.
These first-time bearded dragon keepers purchase terrariums that are too small and coiled UVB lights and defective UV lamps. They also buy incorrect and hazardous substrates and wrong lighting. Finally, we have observed that novice bearded dragon owners forget to give their domesticated reptiles’ tank hiding and climbing enrichment.
With these typical blunders when setting up a bearded dragon tank, the reptile pets usually suffer. Having a poorly set up vivarium certainly affects these lizard pets’ overall well-being.
In this comprehensive guide, we enlightened bearded dragon keepers about how to set up a bearded dragon enclosure that is both healthy and cozy for their reptile pets. We discussed the key factors to consider when preparing a livable terrarium.
Above all, we considered the important aspect of facilitating these bearded dragons to live their lives to the fullest and for a long time.
Table of Contents
Bearded Dragon’s Nature as a Desert Inhabitant
Bearded dragons are cold-blooded lizards that originated from Australia. These reptiles have become popular as domesticated home companions due to their friendly natures and ease of care.
Moreover, bearded dragons come in eight varieties. These species reside in various parts of Australia.
We want to highlight the fact that each kind of bearded dragon specie is native to the largest country of Oceania. Furthermore, the place where they live in Australia greatly determines their natural habitats, which can be subtropical woodlands or deserts.
The central bearded dragon, whose scientific name is Pogona vitticeps, is the most common type kept as domesticated home companions. They live in the deserts of Central Australia.
Additionally, the central bearded dragon is subjected to 12 hours of intense sunlight every day in the wild. They do not come across many lakes, ponds, or other bodies of water close to where they live.
Hence, central bearded dragons are accustomed to dry and scorching environments. Their habitats in the wild also have low humidity levels.
These kinds of bearded dragons from Central Australia are not extreme climbers and are merely semi-arboreal as there are some shrubs, small trees, and rocky areas where they hail from. Furthermore, as they live in hot environments, the central bearded dragons usually squeeze into small rock crevices to cool down.
These attributes of central bearded dragons’ living situation greatly impact the proper setup of the enclosure where these reptile pets live in their owners’ homes. Bearded dragons in captivity or living in their owners’ residences demand living conditions similar to their natural habitat in the wild.
Nourishing and Comfortable Bearded Dragon Tank: A Carbon-Copy of the Lizard Pets’ Wildlife Existence
Bearded dragons can thrive healthily and happily if their enclosure is very similar to their natural habitat. We suggest new bearded dragon owners think through their reptile pet’s eyes when setting up a bearded dragon tank.
We recommend they ponder how to make their lizard pet’s terrarium as wholesome, cozy, and appealing as possible. A properly set up bearded dragon tank has the right size.
It features UV lamps emitting UVA and UVB rays necessary for the reptile pet’s daily metabolic function. Plus, this vivarium comes with climbing plants that lead to high basking spots, similar to the bearded dragon’s natural habitat, enabling it to evade predators.
Indeed, bearded dragon tanks should replicate the living arrangement of the domesticated home companion in the wild. In captivity, bearded dragons need to relish an environment that mimics their actual desert residence, complete with hiding and climbing enrichment features, proper temperature and humidity levels, and so forth.
We want to inform our readers that a bearded dragon tank set up correctly can ensure their reptile pet’s overall wellness. In fact, these healthy bearded dragons with proper living conditions can live long, which is up to 15 years.
8 Significant Factors to Consider When Setting Up the Bearded Dragon Tank
We want to advise our readers, especially the bearded dragon owners, that the perfect bearded dragon tank exists. It is not that challenging to achieve such an ideal home for the lizard pets.
By considering the following important factors, bearded dragon keepers can certainly provide their beloved reptile pets with the comfortable and health-giving living space they deserve.
1. TANK TYPE
Bearded dragon tanks come in various kinds. The following enclosures are the most common types:
a. Glass terrarium
This kind of bearded dragon tank is popular for novice reptile pet owners. We want to point out that glass terrariums are widely available, making them easy to find at nearly every pet store.
Moreover, bearded dragon tanks made of glass are the most affordable, which is another reason why they are well-received among beginner bearded dragon keepers. When selected, glass terrariums are quite durable.
They are similar to fish tanks that enable reptile pet keepers to relish a complete, 360-degree viewing experience of their domesticated lizards. Glass terrariums usually feature a screen lid on their top.
This property facilitates ample airflow and aids in keeping humidity levels low, which makes bearded dragons feel comfortable.
b. Plastic enclosure
A plastic bearded dragon tank is made of polyvinyl chloride or PVC plastic. We recommend this bearded dragon enclosure for reptile pet owners looking for a lightweight product.
Moreover, this artificial habitat features a smooth finish and is often sold in a wide array of colors. Plastic enclosures are typically stackable.
They blend into home decors quite nicely. Plus, these bearded dragon tank types usually hold heat properly, keeping bearded dragons feeling cozy.
Nevertheless, plastic bearded dragon enclosures can be expensive, depending on their size. They usually cost about US$100 or more. We also encountered merchants offering to install the lights for these kinds of bearded dragon tanks for buyers at an extra cost.
c. Wooden vivarium
Bearded dragon tanks made of wood are also known as melamine cages. Manufacturers use sturdy wood in producing this kind of reptile pet enclosure.
Furthermore, bearded dragon keepers prefer a wooden vivarium for a bearded dragon habitat because it is a fantastic insulator. It reflects more light and keeps bearded dragons feeling comfortably warm.
We want to advise buyers that a wooden vivarium can be very expensive, though. They can also be very heavy and needs proper handling to avoid getting damaged by water.
d. Plywood cage
Plywood is a raw material that is a marvelous option for making custom bearded dragon enclosures. We want to inform our readers that this item is very easy to find in construction supply and other hardware stores.
Plywood bearded dragon tanks are very lightweight and affordable as well. Makers of these kinds of terrariums usually use a non-toxic sealant to secure them and leave the terrarium’s top open for a screen lid.
e. Vision vivarium
This kind of bearded dragon tank is the most professional option. The vision vivarium is made from a single piece of plastic.
Moreover, it usually has built-in fixtures for the lighting equipment. This bearded dragon tank kind is very easy to clean and even comes as chemical-resistant.
Vision cages are wonderful choices for bearded dragon keepers similar to the plastic edition because they are typically stackable and lightweight.
However, we do not recommend these kinds of bearded dragon enclosures to frugal and cost-cutting reptile pet keepers since they are quite expensive, considering that they surely go the extra mile in catering to both the bearded dragon and owner’s needs.
f. ABS tank
This kind of bearded dragon tank is made of Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene or ABS plastic. It is similar to plastic and vision vivariums as it is also lightweight.
The ABS enclosures are easy to move, stack, and clean. They do not emit the toxic odor that other plastics can release, making them safe for bearded dragons.
However, we want to warn bearded dragon keepers that ABS tanks can be quite expensive in online and brick-and-mortar pet shops.
The glass, plastic, and wooden bearded dragon tanks are the most common enclosure types available in the market today. We want to inform our readers that the wooden and plastic terrariums are usually enclosed and with glass front panels.
We recommend them for bearded dragon enthusiasts seeking a tank that effectively holds heat inside them. We also suggest purchasing plywood, vision, and ABS bearded dragon tanks, especially for lizard pet owners willing to try new experiences when it comes to taking care of bearded dragons.
2. ENCLOSURE’S SIZE
Bearded dragons, especially the central bearded dragon commonly domesticated as pets at home, can grow huge, making them require sufficient space to roam and climb.
Hence, we advise bearded dragon keepers to purchase a tank that is large enough. This enclosure should also be wide and long.
The precise bearded dragon tank dimension actually depends on the lizard pet’s age and size. We want our readers to refer to this handy chart to aid them in finding the vivarium that properly corresponds to their reptile pet’s age:
We want to emphasize the fact that when buying bearded dragon tanks, the floor space must be the point of emphasis considered. It is because these reptile pets will mostly spend most of their time climbing, hunting, sleeping, and soaking in their vivarium.
3. TEMPERATURE IN THE TANK
We want to inform bearded dragon owners that their lizard pet’s behavior indicates if their body temperature is too low or too high. Bearded dragons usually hold their mouths open and look brightly colored when they feel hot.
Meanwhile, these domesticated reptiles turn their darkest possible shade when they feel cold to absorb any heat source available. Additionally, bearded dragons are ectotherms.
These domesticated animals depend on external heat sources from their environment to regulate their body temperature. They require a temperature gradient that moves from intensely hot 95 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, which is their basking spot’s highest temperature, to a cool 75 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the lowest within their artificial habitat.
Bearded dragon tanks must be large and spacious enough to create a real thermogradient featuring a range of temperatures to keep the lizard pets healthy. Hence, the terrarium should have warm and cool portions, with the presence of a basking lamp and other essential accessories.
We advise putting an overhead UVA basking bulb of 50 to 75 watts, which will mimic the sun’s intense rays. A dome-head UV lamp is also highly recommended, which can sit directly on top of the bearded dragon tank’s mesh screen lid.
We want to highlight the fact that UV lamps’ bulbs should be replaced at least two to three times yearly or every six months. After all, these lighting equipment’s UVA and UVB light production wear out.
We want to enlighten bearded dragon keepers about the humidity requirements of these reptile pets. Bearded dragons need to be in places with low humidity levels due to their lifestyle in their native desert habitat.
The ideal humidity level for these lizard pets ranges from 30 to 40 percent. We want to inform our readers that bearded dragons will be prone to the development of respiratory infections and other medical problems if exposed to very high humidity levels.
On the other hand, these domesticated reptiles can get dehydrated when subjected to humidity levels lower than 30 percent. Hence, bearded dragons will have extremely wrinkled skin.
Additionally, they will choose to soak their bodies when they feel dehydrated or are shedding. We want to advise bearded dragon owners to include a soaking water dish in the bearded dragon tank.
They should also let the liquid evaporate to keep proper humidity levels in the enclosure the best possible way. For novice bearded dragon keepers, the right water dish they should purchase is a container made of plastic without toxic paint or dyes.
Moreover, it should be big enough to fit their bearded dragon’s body. We want to highlight that the ideal size for a water dish is 2 inches deep, 7 inches wide, and 10 inches long.
Reptile pet keepers can prevent their bearded dragons from drowning by not filling their water dish deeper than these lizards’ ear levels.
5. TERRARIUM ACCESSORIES
Bearded dragon tanks are similar to humans’ homes. They need pieces of furniture or accessories to facilitate proper living conditions.
Therefore, we advise bearded dragon keepers to place hiding and climbing enrichment accessories in the bearded dragon tank. This terrarium also demands different landscaping and decors to help the lizard pet get as close as it needs to the basking lamp.
The latter’s highest height should be six inches from the terrarium’s top portion. The artificial habitat’s cooler portion should be far from the basking lamp and include shading plants and hides.
We suggest using a digital thermometer and probe. These gadgets are useful for measuring a bearded dragon tank or enclosure’s temperature range.
We also recommend ceramic lighting or heater when temperatures plummet below 65 degrees Fahrenheit at nighttime. We understand that novice bearded dragon owners are unfamiliar with the most common vivarium accessories.
They include the substrate, which is a sand-like reptile carpet. We also recommend substrates made of fake grass, felt, or hardened desert ground.
Recommended decors and supplies also include strong rocks and branches disinfected in boiling water and are bacteria and parasite-free. Bearded dragon hammocks are “furniture” pieces the reptile pets love for lounging.
These accessories hang nicely on bearded dragon tanks and are available in most online and brick-and-mortar pet stores. The artificial habitat of bearded dragons’ cool side should have pesticide-free vine or bush-like plants, cave hides, or hide hole for bearded dragons, and half-logs.
The bath dish and feeders are also essential. Moreover, a desert background with fake cacti facilitates the wilderness theme with the dry and barren land area. These bearded dragon tank accessories provide the lizard pets with the most engaging landscape and the most comfortable, natural habitat-like living experience.
Additionally, the bearded dragon will feel more at ease with its surrounding environment. After all, the background mimics the appearance of their natural environment. This helpful bearded dragon tank accessory can also help in minimizing bearded dragons’ glass surfing actions.
6. LIGHTING EQUIPMENT
Since bearded dragons’ artificial habitat should be a copy of their life in the wild, we want to stress the fact that bearded dragons need at least 12 hours of “sunlight” daily. This essential activity is possible with UVA and UVB light bulbs.
The light rays enable the bearded dragons to process calcium, keeping these reptile pets healthy. This artificial sunlight also complements the bearded dragons’ regular intake of calcium powder with vitamin D and multivitamin supplements.
The proper lighting equipment is a UV lamp, such as a UVB tube light and a 75-watt UVA basking light. We want to advise bearded dragon owners that the light should not sit on top of the mesh to prevent it from blocking out 40 percent of the rays required by the bearded dragons.
7. LID TO COVER THE BEARDED DRAGON TANK
Bearded dragon tanks require lids to cover their tops. We want to inform reptile pet keepers that they can choose from the common kinds of tank lids, which are the standard, single or double-hinged, and front panel sliding or lifting doors.
Bearded dragon enclosure lids also come as split-top types. Buyers prefer this option, with one-half of it capable of sliding off while the back half stays stationary, giving sufficient room for a UV lamp to remain undisturbed.
Meanwhile, there are also screen-type lids. This option permits proper airflow and keeps humidity levels down. We want to advise bearded dragon owners to ensure that the lid doors are properly closed to prevent their lizard pets from accidentally getting injured or hurt.
8. LIVING SITUATION
Bearded dragon tanks can be a healthy and convenient living space if their resident lives alone. We want to emphasize the fact that bearded dragons are naturally solitary creatures.
They are quite territorial of their natural or artificial habitat. Thus, we advise bearded dragon owners to prevent housing their lizard pets with other bearded dragons, not even for mating.
After all, female bearded dragons store sperm in their bodies. Hence, they do not have to be near the male bearded dragons more than once in every breeding season.
Furthermore, at some point, these domesticated home companions will compete and fight over food items like live crickets and Dubia roaches, hide hole for bearded dragons, or their overall enclosure.
We also want to stress the fact that fully grown bearded dragons are notorious for cannibalizing infant and juvenile bearded dragons. The eight factors to consider when properly setting up a bearded dragon tank that we discussed in this article are important.
We want to inform our readers that they can be sure that their bearded dragon tank can provide their lizard pets with a comfortable and healthy lifestyle for a long time when they follow these guidelines.
Final Reminders When Shopping for Bearded Dragon Tanks
Shopping for bearded dragon tanks should not make novice bearded dragon owners worry. After all, we have provided useful insights that will guide them in their activity.
The bearded dragon’s artificial habitats are unlike those of other pets since even the smallest errors can have adverse consequences on the domesticated home companions.
Hence, we recommend bearded dragon keepers read more online reviews and perform further research about bearded dragon tank shopping and setup procedures.
In this way, they can be further enlightened and knowledgeable about providing their beloved lizard pets with a proper home. We want to warn our readers that the reptile pet industry is not regulated in most territories.
Moreover, not every bearded dragon tank and accessory is 100-percent guaranteed as reptile pet-safe.
Therefore, we advise bearded dragon keepers to take extra caution when buying bearded dragon enclosures and essential tank supplies, such as the felt reptile carpet, hangout decor or hideout decor big rock, caves, plants, and other important items.
Besides the considerations when purchasing bearded dragons’ artificial habitats, we also want to inform our readers to take their reptile pets out for daily handling after completing their terrarium’s setup.
This step is one way to ensure that the bearded dragons are healthy, happy, and feeling comfortable in their owners’ care.
Have a wonderful time setting up the bearded dragon tank today!