One of the most crucial things an owner can do is put up the proper bearded dragon home (by far).
Since they will spend the bulk of their life in their enclosure, you need to make sure it is equipped with everything they require. If you don’t do this, your beardie can have health issues, a less enjoyable existence, or perhaps live shorter.
Unfortunately, when it comes to assembling the ideal cage layout, many new owners are clueless about where to start.
However, everything is covered in this manual. We coach you through the complete habitat setup procedure so you’re prepared when your beardie arrives!
Bearded Dragon Natural Habitat
The habitat of the bearded dragon is in desert regions of Australia where there is little vegetation and the terrain is largely made of dry, hardened soil, rock, and some loose soil and sand. There are still lots of desert plants and tiny trees that are good for climbing and hiding under, even if diverse flora doesn’t truly flourish there.
Water is in little supply, but when it does, it is used effectively. Because of this, beardies like soaking.
Building a Great Bearded Dragon Tank Setup
Before bringing your bearded one home, there are a few things you should be aware of and prepared for. A crucial component of learning is understanding one’s origins, what one is accustomed to, and what one requires in order to be content.
Choose The Right Type Of Enclosure
Since it will spend the majority of the day within its cage, your bearded dragon’s cage is clearly extremely significant. However, you can’t just pick up any old cage. Your pet’s health and comfort will be guaranteed if you choose the proper kind of enclosure!
Because the bearded dragon is a terrestrial creature and likes to explore, you should provide your pet a tank with enough floor area. The cage should allow for simple and comfortable mobility because a beardie’s length at maturity can reach 2 feet, including its tail.
The recommended tank size for an adult bearded dragon is 50 to 60 gallons, but if you have more than one pet, you’ll need a bigger tank!
Glass bearded dragon enclosures are the most common. Glass doesn’t offer as much insulation as acrylic or wood, but it does give you a good view of your pet and lets you keep an eye on how clean the cage is.
You can get to your pet more readily if the enclosure has a front entrance. This kind of cage, made of glass or acrylic and screen, offers better insulation than a typical glass terrarium.
A DIY or custom-built enclosure made of glass, wood, and screen is an excellent choice if you want the best aeration, insulation, and aesthetics. Before you do this, it’s crucial to comprehend the foundations of a simple tank arrangement.
You may pick from a variety of ideal cages, enclosures, and tanks for the environment of your dragon.
The cost, usefulness, and material used to make these alternatives will vary.
It is crucial to remember that no matter what kind of bearded dragon cage you select, you must make sure it has a screen lid to allow for optimum air movement and reduce humidity.
All enclosures must also include UVB, UVA, and basking lamps, as well as, if necessary to maintain the tank’s temperature at night, a ceramic heat emitter.
Continue reading to learn about the many enclosures you may use for your bearded dragon.
The Best Bearded Dragon Lighting
Almost every reptile tank should have access to light. The health of your beardie depends on optimum illumination in addition to offering you a good view of your pet and his surroundings.
Bearded dragons require lighting throughout their whole cage in order to feel at home because they are diurnal lizards that are typically exposed to the intense Australian sun.
The second crucial factor is UVA and UVB rays, which are essential for your pet’s ability to synthesis vitamin D and for the normal operation of their whole metabolism, including their ability to properly process calcium and maintain healthy bones.
A combination of a conventional incandescent bulb placed within a straightforward, cost-effective clamp-lamp and a separate UV fluorescent light in a regular container is the best solution for young dragons.
Both of these may be placed within your mesh lid. This system has the advantages of being inexpensive, especially when compared to mercury-vapour bulbs, and that you may use it for your adult cage later on.
What Size Should Their Tank Be?
Beardies have a maximum length of 2 feet as they become older. As a result, pet owners must buy a bearded dragon tank big enough for them to live happily.
At least 40 gallons (150 liters) should be in their tank. Consider utilizing a 75-gallon (280 liters) tank since the larger your bearded dragon’s environment is, the better their living circumstances will be. Pet owners need to make sure they have adequate space in their home to accommodate a tank this size for a bearded dragon.
Type of Tank for a Bearded Dragon
Did you know that the tank itself may be constructed from a variety of materials, some of which are better suitable for bearded dragons than others?
Let’s investigate the several sorts of tanks that may be used for a bearded dragon enclosure.
Terreria made of glass. Glass tanks are an iconic design. They provide excellent visibility and are simple to clean. Unlike plastic tanks, they are less likely to get scratched.
However, an adult bearded dragon requires a cage with a volume of 120 gallons (450 liters), which is rather enormous. Let’s discuss a few problems that might arise if you solely want to utilize a glass tank with this in mind.
The glass tank is firstly more likely to break the larger it is.
Second, a larger tank will cost you substantially more than a smaller one, mostly because stronger glass is required to make it.
For a young bearded dragon, I would almost always choose a glass tank, but other solutions could be preferable for an older bearded dragon.
Plastic encasements Plastic tanks have greatly improved over the past two decades, evolving from cheap, basic crates to sophisticated, professional enclosures.
These prefabricated reptile aquariums are often constructed from PVC or ABS plastic. The remaining sides are often opaque, with just the front side composed of clear, see-through material similar to plexiglass. Some people think this limits their ability to look, but there’s a potential your pet will feel safer in this kind of cage.
Glass tanks are more likely to break than plastic tanks, and you may choose to cut holes for wires, making the whole system neater.
The problem with plastic tanks is that they are also very expensive, especially the professional one-piece molded terrariums like Vision cages, which have built-in lighting systems and other useful additions. Try to get a plastic tank made in the DIY fashion; it is more economical.
Timber enclosure. Let’s face it: constructing a big glass tank or purchasing a sizable pre-made plastic container that holds 100 gallons or more may get pricey.
Wooden enclosures may be a good choice for those of you who don’t like plastic, enjoy doing DIY projects or just want to save money.
Utilizing a wooden shelf or cabinet as a terrarium is one of the more clever hacks available. A wooden tank created entirely from scratch can also be built or ordered. Breeders usually do this in order to save money on the housing expenditures for the numerous animals they must maintain segregated.
Tanks made of wood are built similarly to those made of plastic. With the exception of the front, which is often a two-piece sliding glass door system, a plywood enclosure will be entirely built of wood.
Using wood for your tank has a number of disadvantages, including the fact that it is porous and absorbs water, making it vulnerable to rot and mold.
You could assume that since desert terrariums are often dry, this is not a problem. But reconsider; you will need to spray your dragon, and he will splash in his water dish. All of it will be absorbed by the wood, along with contaminants that will make it smell bad and be challenging to clean.
Applying a non-toxic, waterproof coating like Pond Shield over the whole timber surface will solve this problem. It will become smooth and water-resistant, and it will also have a lovely, glossy finish. However, keep in mind that it could be difficult to obtain items of this caliber, particularly at a low cost.
What Your Beardie Needs In Their Tank
Bearded dragons are native to the Australian deserts, so it’s crucial to keep this in mind while creating the ideal home for them. They need lots of light (full spectrum UVA/UVB), warmth (a basking light), and low humidity.
The easy “all in one” cages you may get at the pet store should actually be avoided since they are frequently not the finest alternatives.
For instance, their UVB lamp is rarely effective enough, and their thermometer does not consistently and accurately detect temperatures.
Set Up The Lights And Heating Elements
A bearded dragon’s habitat layout is crucially dependent on having adequate warmth and lighting. The bearded dragon, a native of the desert and a cold-blooded species, needs enough heat to be healthy.
These reptiles accomplish this in the wild by locating a secure location to soak in the harsh desert heat.
This natural sensation may be duplicated by placing a perch beneath a basking bulb that emits the right amount of radiant heat. If you have adequate room, setting up numerous perches will let your bearded dragon pick the level of intensity that he feels most comfortable with.
Full-spectrum light is also necessary for your bearded dragon to effectively manufacture calcium. Reptiles can flourish when exposed to UVA and UVB light from bulbs made specifically for them.
The size of the tank should be taken into consideration while selecting the right heating and lighting fixtures. Additionally, confirm that each type of bulb is housed in a fixture specifically made for that type.
Last but not least, keep in mind that placing glass between the bulbs and the animal will reduce their efficacy.
Ideal Tank Temperature: The Heating Devices
Beardies live in the desert, as you already know. That indicates that people enjoy hot weather, but not only hot weather. It also implies that they require a temperature gradient, with a hot place beneath the basking light and a cold area on the terrarium’s opposite side.
Having an extended tank rather than a square one will assist you provide the gradient in addition to lighting.
The area where you will be basking should be 110°F (43°C) or higher. Even at night, the ambient temperature should never drop below 70°F (20°C). Although other sources state 65°F (18°C), I would rather err on the side of caution.
In the majority of households, the temperature doesn’t drop below this point. However, if the temperature in your “dragon room” falls below 70°F, you need purchase an undertank heater to maintain the proper temperature.
Because undertank heating is a more natural kind of nocturnal heating than ceramic bulb heating, it is more suited for this use. Rocks heated by the sun during the day emit that heat at night, but from below.
Bearded Dragon Tank Maintenance
It’s time to bring your new pet to their tank after your bearded dragon tank is set up. Tank upkeep becomes a priority once your new bearded dragon has settled in since it is an essential element of their care.
For their tank to always be clean and safe, there has to be daily checks for pet waste. To avoid the development of bacteria in their tank, it is crucial to constantly clean up after them when they use the restroom. Maintenance duties on a daily basis include:
Bedding: What Is the Best Bearded Dragon Substrate?
Everyone believes that you should never, ever maintain a young bearded dragon on any form of loose substrate, even if opinions on adult dragons and substrates vary.
Though why? Well, young beardies eat quite enthusiastically and energetically. The speed and ferocity with which they assault their prey may cause them to ingest the substrate, which may result in bowel impaction and other severe and hazardous health issues.
The other problem is that bearded dragons have a lot of feces, which makes it challenging to keep the substrate clean in the tank.
Let’s quickly go through the different kinds of substrate that you may use for your beardies.