If you are considering buying a bearded dragon, or you are curious about exotic pets such as bearded dragons, then you probably have wondered what size tank is RIGHT for your bearded dragon.
I have owned other reptile pets before, but I was wondering bearded dragons have different needs when it comes to their tank size. Turns out, they can be quite similar.
What Is The RIGHT Tank Size For a Bearded Dragon?
Bearded dragon tanks should be at least 20 gallons. Depending on the size of your bearded dragon, the tank size will vary. Dragons bigger than 20 inches in length should be kept in tanks between 75 to 120 gallons, whereas smaller dragons can be kept in tanks between 50 to 75 gallons.
While they can live fine in 20 gallons tanks, once they get bigger they will need more space, so if you are planning on setting up a bearded dragon tank, there are a few things I would like to share with you before you do so.
BEST Cage Size For Bearded Dragon
Captive bearded dragons need enough room to “hunt”, play, and explore, which is crucial that you provide your dragon with enough room to enable him or her to be able to do so.
Failure in providing your bearded dragon with the RIGHT tank size can lead to several issues. First of all, a tank that is TOO small can lead to stunted growth in Baby and Juvenile bearded dragons.
However, adult bearded dragon can be negatively affected as well if forced to live in a cage that is too small for them. Failure in providing an adult bearded dragon with enough room can lead to depression, stress, and in some instances, can lead to other more serious health issues.
With that in mind, if you are REALLY interested to provide your bearded dragon with the right tank size, you need to take their age into consideration. The overall size [length] of a bearded dragon is as important, however, overall size come into play only when dealing with fully grown bearded dragons.
Baby Bearded Dragons: Baby Bearded Dragons [0-3 Months Old] will thrive in a tank that is NO smaller than 20 gallons. Between 0 to 3 months you should expect a bearded dragon to be between 3 and 12 inches in length.
Meaning that a 20 gallons tank will provide them with enough space to play, grow, and explore. It is even better to go for a 40 gallons tank if you afford investing in a larger tank. The LARGER the tank, the HAPPIER and HEALTHIER your dragon will grow to be.
Young Bearded Dragons: Young Bearded Dragons [3-9 Months Old] need a tank that is no smaller than 55 gallons. Between 3 to 9 months a bearded dragon can grow anywhere between 10 Inches to 20 Inches.
While a 55 gallons tank will do just fine for young bearded dragon, it is BETTER to provide them with a 75 gallons tank.
Adult Bearded Dragons: Adult Bearded Dragons [Over 1 Year Old] can grow anywhere between 18 to 24 Inches. Therefore, adult dragon need a tank that is no smaller than 75 gallons, ideally 120 gallons as this tank size will allow your dragon to exercise, play, relax and grow properly.
A properly cared for bearded dragon is more likely to live a LONGER and happier life. Providing your dragon with the right tank size, the right nutrients and a stress-free life will definitely improve the chances of him living a longer life…which is something I guess you want to happen.
In conclusion, baby bearded dragons should be kept in tanks no smaller than 20 gallons [ideally 40 gallons, young bearded dragons should be kept in tanks no smaller than 55 gallons [ideally 75 gallons], whereas adult bearded dragons should be kept in tanks no smaller than 75 gallons [ideally 120 gallons especially for super large dragons longer than 24 inches in length].
|Tank Size [Age-Based]||Minimum Tank Size||Ideal Tank Size|
|Baby Bearded Dragon||20 Gallons||55 Gallons|
|Young Bearded Dragon||55 Gallons||75 Gallons|
|Adult Bearded Dragon||75 Gallons||120 Gallons|
|Super-Large Dragon||120 Gallons||Everything Larger Than 120 Gallons|
Pro Tip: If you consider buying a bearded dragon, it will save you some money in the long run to invest in a 120 gallons tank right from the beginning.
Setting Up A Dragon’s Tank
As previously mentioned, bearded dragons need large enough cages for them to be able to exercise and feel more like home. Because of this, you want to provide your bearded dragon with the space he/she needs. Adult bearded dragons can grow as big as 26 inches in length, so in this case you want to provide your bearded dragon with a 120 gallons tank…at least.
When buying a brand new cage for your bearded dragon, you need to keep in mind that you not only need enough room for your bearded dragon but room for decorations and necessary accessories as well.
You will learn that bearded dragons need a hiding spot, basking spot, food and water bowls, as well as heat lamps, substrate or bedding, UVB and UVA bulbs. All these accessories are very important for a dragon’s well-being and overall mood, but they occupy a lot of space as well.
Be aware that relocation in bearded dragons can cause them to get very stressed, very rapidly. If they don’t seem to adapt to their new environment in a matter of a few days, try to remove some of their decorative accessories and add them back one by one.
Keep an eye on your dragon’s behaviour after introducing each item. That may help you identify the one item that causes your dragon to get stressed.
Taking Care of The Tank
Before you buy a bearded dragon, you need to keep in mind that they will require some attention…as any pet does. It is good to do your own research and learn as much as possible about bearded dragons before buying one.
Meaning that if you decide to buy one, you need to be willing to put in the time and effort to maintain and clean your dragon’s tank so that you ensure he lives a happy and healthy life.
The first three things you need to buy alongside your tank would be a UVB light, a heat lamp and bedding.
For bearded dragons, you will want to have a heat lamp that is able to provide your dragon with the right temperature levels. For that to be accomplished, you need to keep an eye of your dragon’s tank size and make sure the heat lamp has enough power to do just that.
You should be keeping your dragon’s basking spot temperature at a range of 100 – 105 degrees Fahrenheit [for adults] and 110 degrees Fahrenheit for baby bearded dragons. Basking spots are easily heated with a heat lamp and/or a UVB light bulb.
Alongside heating and lighting, it is also VERY important that you clean your dragon’s tank often enough. Any food leftovers should be removed immediately to prevent bacteria.
Apart from that, you should perform a spot cleaning at least twice a week and deep cleaning at least once a month. Every accessory should be removed from its cage and disinfected at least once a month.
Can I Put Other Animals In The Tank With My Bearded Dragon?
It is advised that you don’t put another bearded dragon or any other animal in the same space with a bearded dragon. Bearded dragons are quite territorial and have a tendency to be quite aggressive towards other beardies or other animals.
Bearded dragons are solitary lizards and they tend to get stressed or even depressed if they have to share their cage with another animal. Therefore, if are thinking of including other animals in the tank with your bearded dragon, it may be wise to rethink this decision.
It has been discovered by many dragon owners that when they included another bearded dragon in their tank, one of two things would happen.
Either both bearded dragons get very stressed, or one of the dragons would get really aggressive towards the other one and thing got bloody very fast.
Things to Look Out For
There’s a great deal of work involved in maintaining a caring for a pet bearded dragon. Keeping an eye on its diet to cleaning your dragon’s cage regularly it’s a must do for all dragon owners.
Maintaining Your Dragon’s Tank
If you are not regularly changing your dragon’s bedding, they can very possibly become sick, stressed, and/or smelly. You may notice a bad smell coming from its cage. This is a clear indicator that you are not taking proper care of your dragon’s tank.
To prevent this from happening, make sure you use the following tips to help you take proper care of your dragon’s cage:
- Remove food leftovers immediately.
- Daily maintenance is essential.
- Spot clean bedding and decorations every day.
- Disinfect its cage and accessories on a monthly basis.
- Maintaining the right lighting and temperature.
Always remember that if you fail to create a decent habitat for your dragon, once that can help him feel more like home, you may end up having to deal with a mad, stressed or even sick bearded dragon.
The Right Temperature
First thing your want to remember that baby and juvenile bearded dragons have slightly different temperature requirements than their older counterparts. Here are a few things to remember when working on the temperature levels in your dragon’s cage.
- Have a basking area on one end of your dragon’s cage with temperatures ranging between 95 to 110 Fahrenheit.
- On the opposite end of its cage, make sure the temperature is anywhere between 80 to 90 Fahrenheit.
- The temperature needs of an adult dragon for the basking area is 90 to 95 degrees, whereas the opposite end can stay the same.
- Dragons needs lower temperature during night, so make sure to turn off the basking area light once nightfall arrives.
The reason bearded dragons need slightly different temperatures withing the enclosure it’s due to the fact that they are cold-blooded reptiles, meaning the need to self-regulate their body temperature.
The Right Lighting
There are a few things I’d like to point our for you when it comes to the right lighting set up for a bearded dragon. If you’d like an in-depth guide on bearded dragon lighting, check out this article called Bearded Dragon Lighting Guide, published a while back by Stacey from Reptile.Guide.
With no further ado, here’s a quick list of things worth remembering when setting up the lighting inside your dragon’s cage:
- Use white light bulb only. Red bulbs, or any other colored bulbs can mess up with your dragon’s Circadian Rhythm.
- Bearded dragons are diurnal creatures and don’t need any type of lighting at need.
- Don’t EVER use regular bulbs for a basking light.
- Bearded dragons need on average 12 to 14 hours of UVB and heat a day.
- During brumation, you may want to adjust the lighting schedule from 12 to 14 to 8 to 10 hours a day.
If you succeed in providing your bearded dragon with proper lighting, you are one step closer to owning a happy and healthy bearded dragon, so take it seriously.
Are Bearded Dragons Hard To Care For? Bearded Dragons are relatively easy pets to care for. As long as you provide them with a big enough tank, proper heat and lighting, as well as a decent dietary schedule, everything will be alright.
Can You Take a Bearded Dragon Out For a Walk? If equipped with a decent, snug-fitting harness, you definitely can take your dragon out for a walk. However don’t expect them care too much for the walking part. They will probably focus their attention on looking around.
Does Tank Size Affect Bearded Dragon Growth? Yes, the size of the tank can have a HUGE impact on the growing process of a bearded dragon. If provided with a too small size, while still growing, bearded dragons can suffer from not having enough space for their needs.
Do Bearded Dragons Grow To The Size Of Their Tank? Captive bearded dragons will only grow to the size of their environment, which is why owners should only buy big tanks that can provide a dragon with enough room to exercise and grow properly.