What do bearded dragons like in their tank?

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If you have a bearded dragon or other reptiles as pets, you’ll likely want to decorate its habitat for enhanced comfort. Bit first, what do bearded dragons like in their tank? The most important part of a pet’s habitat is the enclosure it lives in. A well-designed reptile tank should be large enough for the animal to move around comfortably and climb, has resting places, a feeding area, hiding caves, a watering zone, and even a sunbathing platform. 

What to look for in your bearded dragons’ tank.

Learn what to look for in your pet’s home to create an aesthetically pleasing and functional environment.

Tanks are divided into two main categories: terrariums and aquariums. Both types of enclosures are used to house reptiles and other pets. However, aquariums are used to house aquatic pets ad can only house other reptiles once they are sufficiently drained.

A terrarium is a small enclosure that allows reptiles and amphibians to be kept in a natural setting with the surrounding vegetation. Terrariums are made from glass or plastic and allow airflow, moisture, and temperature control.

Rain Forest Themed Terrarium
Rain Forest Themed Terrarium

Before we dive into what should be contained in the tank, here is a rule of thumb to help you choose just the right tank size for your dragon based on the reptile’s length. 

Baby Lizards of (under 10 inches long):  Use a 20 gallons tank

Juveniles Lizards of  (10 to 16 inches long): Use a 40 gallons tank

Adults Lizards of (over 16 inches long): Use a 50 to 75 gallons tank

Adults  Lizards of (over 20 inches long): Use a 75 to 125 gallons tank

The most fun part of setting up a new dragon’s new home is choosing the decor! Your choices may vary depending on whether you are setting up a home for the first time or have been keeping dragons for years, so it’s entirely up to you. You can choose different environments, such as a simple, relaxed one, an exotic rainforest, or even a desert theme.

Whether you’re looking for a bearded dragon setup for a specific purpose or a general tank setup, here’s a list of items that you need to consider:

Things to climb on.

If it’s a branch, rock, log, or some other fixture in your home that matches your decor theme, your bearded dragon will love to climb on things. However, be mindful to ensure enough space for him on the floor, too.

Any materials such are rocks and branches collected from the wild must be treated to remove potential bacteria or parasites by soaking them in boiling water. 


Your dragon will certainly need a safe place to hide within its habitat. As opposed to the need to hide due to external threats, instincts of burrowing, brumation, and even the need to sleep away will necessitate the bearded dragon to find a hiding place. 

Basking log or rock.

Basking Bearded Dragon on a log
Basking Bearded Dragon on a log

To give your bearded dragon some much-needed vitamin D, basking in the sun is necessary. Make sure your bearded dragon has a large, flat surface to bask on to ensure the sun’s rays get to every part of his body. This surface is also appropriate when strategically placed under the heating lamp to serve the same basking need. 

Flooring of your bearded dragons’ tank

Bearded dragons are native to Australia, where they live in deserts. They prefer sandy environments, so any artificial habitat should be made from desert-themed material such as sand-like reptile carpets and fake cacti.

 The natural Australian desert sand is much different from the sand sold at pet stores and online. Many dragon owners are often tempted to purchase flooring sand from the stores, which is much more likely to cause intestinal blockage or get stuck in your bearded dragon’s eyes. Therefore caution if you buy sand from a pet store or online; make sure you consult with a vet before making this decision. 

Reptile hammock(s).

Bearded dragons are not just content lounging around in a glass cage. They can also be happy to hang out in a hammock. Place one in the corner of your tank, preferably opposite the heating lamp, and your bearded dragon will appreciate it.


Whether they are live or fake plants, your terrarium will look way better with some decorative plants in it. 

It’s important to be careful when using live plants in a bearded dragon’s tank, and you’ll need to know what kind of plants and herbs are safe for your dragon to ingest. Remember that the dragon may eat some of the plants, so you’ll have to keep an eye on him to make sure he’s not ingesting anything dangerous.

In addition to caring for your dragon, you’ll have to take care of the live plants, too. So, if you’ve never taken care of live plants before, you may want to start with a plant outside the terrarium and incorporate it later into the terrarium.

Often it’s best to use plastic plants, and it’s especially wise to select high-quality ones that are more resistant to chewing. You don’t want your dragon to chew off a piece and choke or have its digestive system become impacted. Your dragon may be severely ill or even die due to impaction.

Feeding dishes.

Watering Dish
Watering Dish

You will need some shallow dishes to feed your bearded dragon. Dishes will be used to serve water, supplements, dead insects, fruits, and other greens in general, to your bearded dragon. For safe feeding of live insects, you can use Insect tweezers.

Proper Lights, Heating, and Humidity Controllers in your bearded dragons’ tank.

If you keep your bearded dragon in a good-sized tank, they will require proper heating and lighting to mimic their natural environment. Poor lighting or heat can cause a serious metabolic bone disease for a bearded dragon, severely warp their skeleton system, cause paralysis and even death.

You will need some of these things to maintain proper heat, lighting, and humidity that your dragon needs to stay comfortable and healthy:

1.  UVB lamp.

A UVB lamp is the best source of UVB rays for dragons and is necessary to keep them healthy. If you don’t have a UVB lamp emitting heat and UVB rays, you will need a heat lamp. 

The ultraviolet B (UVB) bulbs in your dragon habitat are usually replaced every six months. Replacing the bulbs allows you to have the best quality rays and heat for your dragon.

Regardless of which UVB lamp you buy, remember to ensure that your bearded dragon gets about 12 hours of UVB ray exposure every day.

2. Thermometer.

If you have some good thermometers for strategic placement in the tank, you’ll be able to monitor temperatures in your dragon’s tank at any given time. This ensures you make necessary adjustments to provide optimal temperatures to your pet. 

A thermometer gun will give you quick results, and it’s easier to use than placing thermometers in the tank.

3. Humidity. 

Most lizards do best when their environment contains between 10 and 30 percent humidity, but be aware that lizards need about 35 to 40%! So, provide a large water dish. Keep the water bowl away from your lizard’s basking spot to avoid over-saturating it. However, to not make the tank air too moist by misting too frequently.

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