TANKS AND TERRARIUMS
When you get your new baby bearded dragon, they can live in a standard 20gal glass tank found at most pet stores up to about 4 months old. Bearded dragons grow very rapidly for the first year so if you have the space it may be wise to start with a larger tank which they can grow into. A 40 gallon tank is the most common size for adult bearded dragons.
Enclosures come in all different shapes and sizes, most are made of glass, PVC plastic, or wood. They all do great jobs at housing your beardie, we cannot recommend one type over another, the most important thing is that your beardie has no problem reaching their basking temperatures.
Beardie Habitat Setup
The most important part of your bearded dragon setup is creating separate basking and cool zones, as discussed in heat & lighting. The areas should be far enough away that your basking heat source isn’t impacting the lizard’s would-be cool zone. A bearded dragon’s habitat should also have other elements to mimic their natural habitat.
Beardies love to climb, so including a large branch for them to scale is a good start. It’s also nice to give them some shelter. These reptiles are known to burrow and enjoy a nice shady spot to sleep. Your local pet store will sell a number of reptile houses (large rock shelters) that your beardie will love. Remember, it is easy to do too much, especially if you have a smaller tank! Your beardie should have plenty to climb and interact with, but don’t crowd them in too much!
Substrate is whats used for the floor of the enclosure. Some common and safe substrates include reptile carpet, newspaper, paper towels, tile. There is a lot of debate about safe and healthy substrates to use, every owner eventually finds what works best for them. We recommend avoiding any loose substrate like sand or dirt! Baby beardies especially are prone to impaction from eating sand with their food.
Decor & Hides
You can get creative and use any type of decor in your bearded dragon's tank that is non toxic and will serve a purpose. We like to use hammocks and half logs in our tanks for them to hide underneath or hang out on top. We also use a second log on top of the half log for them to climb up higher to the basking area, discussed further in the heating & lighting section. We also use small artificial plants or leaves, our beardies like to hide underneath or climb on top. Just remember not to use too much decor as your beardie still needs space to walk around.
Whether your tank is brand new or used, its important to start completely fresh by sanitizing it. We always begin with a Quat disinfectant cleaner. These are what they use in hospitals to remove any harmful bacteria or germs that may linger on surfaces. You can find these on Amazon or home depot for pretty cheap around $10 a bottle.
You want to get all the walls and corners, wiping down the entire interior. Once you are done sanitizing, you want to wipe it down with water to get all the disinfectant residue out. Quat cleaners are really strong and can potentially harm your beardie if ingested, so be very thorough when rinsing it out with water, we recommend rinsing with water twice to be safe.
You can follow this same process every couple of weeks to ensure your beardie's tank is constantly clean and sanitized. Overtime tanks will produce bacteria in a number of ways and can potentially lead to your dragon's illness. Make sure to clean up your beardie's soil after each bowel movement, this is usually once a day but can be up to once a week for some adults.
Ideal Enclosure Checklist:
- At least two hides, for hot and cool side. ( We use a Half log & hammock)
- Substrate- repticarpet, paper towel, newspaper, NO SAND!
- Large Enough Tank: 20gal for babies, 40gal for sub adult- adult
- Don't overdo the decor, give your beardie some space to walk around.