Setting up a tank for your bearded dragon can seem like a daunting task at first. With all the special equipment that lizards need to keep them healthy and happy, it is easy to get overwhelmed.
If you stay calm, do your homework, and remember how happy you’ll be when you have new lizard home, then it won’t seem like that big of a chore at all!
Here are some tips on how to setting up the perfect tank for your bearded dragon:
Choose the Right Tank Material
Since bearded dragons need their tanks heated to specific temperatures, it is important for their tank to not only hold heat well but also let you see them well.
Some good tank options for housing bearded dragons are glass aquarium tanks and ABS plastic cages.
The glass tanks are a popular choice among many bearded dragon owners. They are fairly inexpensive, show of the lizard well, and are in almost every pet store. Their only drawbacks is that they are heavy and don’t hold heat as well as some other tanks.
ABS plastic cages are lightweight, sturdy, and easy to clean. ABS plastic cages are on the expensive side, but since a bearded dragon can live up to ten years, they are a good investment for the long run.
Note: Most adult bearded dragons can grow up to be ten to sixteen inches long. To house your bearded dragon comfortably, be sure that whatever tank you get is a forty-gallon tank.
The Right Tank Lid Is Also Important
Because bearded dragons live in desert climates, they do not like high levels of humidity.
Not all tanks are great at ventilating air, so it’s a good idea to try and get a lid that can make up for this.
Glass and plastic lids can restrict airflow and cause humidity to build up in your bearded dragon’s tank.
Use a locked screen lid for your tank. A good one will be able to ventilate air for the tank as well as support the weight and heat from the heating lights.
Speaking of lights, you should also . . .
Buy the Correct Lights
Lighting in a bearded dragon’s tank, or in any lizard’s tank, is crucial to the animal’s health and wellbeing. It’s important to invest in quality lights that provide the proper heat and humidity.
For the perfect tank, a bearded dragon should have a basking light and a UVA/UVB long fluorescent tube light. You can find them in the reptile section of most pet stores.
Also, another component to add to your lights is a timer. This will turn your lights on and off for twelve hours periods, simulating daytime for the lizard.
You can buy light timers cheap at Walmart and attach them to any brand of heat lamp. Leave the heating pad on at night so the bearded dragon has a warm corner to regulate their body temperature in.
Create a Hot Side and a Cool Side
To help the bearded dragon self regulate their body temperature, it is important to create a “hot” and “cool” side in the tank.
The perfect tank has the heating mat and basking lamp on one side of the tank (the “hot” side), and the water dish on the other side (the “cool” side).
Helpful tip: Get three thermometers and place them near the tank floor. One for the “hot side,” the “cool side,” and then one for the middle of the tank. This shows the temperature throughout the tank and lets you know if you need to adjust anything.
Pick a Quality Substrate
Substrate is the bedding of the tank. It is an important element of the tank as your lizard will be walking on it everyday.
The perfect bearded dragon tank will have an easy to clean substrate that does not affect the temperature in the tank.
A recommended substrate to try is aspen chips. They are absorbent, good for spot cleaning, and can double as a hide that covers the entirety of the tank floor for the bearded dragon.
Be sure to decorate smart. You can be creative, but you’ll want to chose decorations that will enhance your bearded dragon’s habitat.
Plastic plants and figures from the pet store will work fine for safe decorations. You can even include one of those fake skulls or pirate boats for a little whimsy.
Fake grape vine or logs are always a great addition for a bearded dragon tank. They not only add cover but also serve as objects for the bearded dragon to climb.
How Did You Set up Your Bearded Dragon Tank?
Have any tips for setting up your bearded dragon’s tank that we missed? Let us know in the comments’ section below!