Bearded dragons are one of the most popular reptile pets, and they’re an excellent choice for beginner reptile keepers because they tend to be low maintenance and easy to care for.
However, these lizards, which often live for 10 years or more, can grow up to 2 feet in length, so choosing a tank of the proper size is crucial for their care.
Tank Sizes for Juveniles
Baby bearded dragons can be kept in tanks as small as 20 gallons, as long as the dragon is under 10 inches long.
It’s important to provide a tank that’s wide enough that the bearded dragon can turn around without difficulty and without bumping into the sides.
Small tanks are often better for young bearded dragons as it makes it much easier for them to catch their food.
Always choose a sturdy tank with a secure lid so that the bearded dragon can’t escape.
Tank Sizes for Adults
Once they reach their mature size of 24 inches long, bearded dragons will need a much larger tank.
Adult bearded dragons will need a tank that’s a minimum of 75 gallons.
Make sure to purchase a tank that’s wide enough for the dragon to easily turn around in.
A tank that’s at least 2 feet wide is crucial.
Offering more space for your bearded dragon will give them more room to roam and will allow for a happier, healthier lizard.
Tanks that are 4 feet by 2 feet by 2 feet, or up to 120 gallons, are highly recommended for adult bearded dragons.
A tank that’s too small not only restricts your bearded dragon’s movement and quality of life, but it can also cause health issues such as stunted growth.
Bearded dragons grow quite quickly, some reaching a size where they need a 55 or 75-gallon tank within only a few months.
It can be expensive and time-consuming to buy new tanks every time the bearded dragon grows, but a smaller tank is a good choice for a juvenile.
One way to get around this issue is to start with a tank between 75 and 120 gallons, large enough for an adult dragon, but block off part of the tank, keeping the main enclosure small enough for a baby dragon.
When the dragon grows, you can remove the partition.
You can also start a young bearded dragon in a large tank and observe how they feed.
If they’re having trouble catching food because there’s too much space, you can sometimes switch to hand-feeding the dragon.
There are several tank options available for reptiles.
Standard glass or plexiglass fish tanks often work well as they’re easy to find and can be set up in numerous ways.
However, owners must reach into the enclosure from the top, and this can frighten some lizards.
If you do choose an aquarium-style terrarium, a screen lid is a great choice for a cover.
The lid allows for ventilation and airflow, and it’s generally easy to move when you need to access the tank.
Bearded dragons can be quite enthusiastic about their exploring, however, so you may want to use screen lid clips to keep the lid firmly in place.
Terrarium tanks specifically designed for lizards often utilize screen doors that open from the front.
This can make accessing the terrarium easier and can help to reduce stress on the bearded dragon.
Some bearded dragons can also be frightened or stressed by their own reflections.
Adding a background to the back and sides of the tank can help to reduce this issue.
A screen front will take care of any reflections at the front of the tank.
Housing Bearded Dragons Together
Bearded dragons are very territorial, and their fights over food or territory can cause serious injuries.
These aggressive territorial issues increase as a bearded dragon reaches maturity.
For this reason, it’s almost never a good idea to house bearded dragons together.
However, on rare occasions, two bearded dragons that were born and raised together can sometimes be housed together.
In this case, you’ll need a tank that’s at least 120 gallons or larger.
It’s also a good idea to provide each lizard with a basking lamp area and its own food and water area.
Essential Tank Items
When setting up your new bearded dragon tank, you’ll need a few key items to make the tank feel like home for the lizard.
A basking lamp, placed at one end of the tank above the lid, will create a spot where the bearded dragon can soak up warmth.
It’s also a good idea to provide a cave, which the bearded dragon can hide in if it feels skittish, and some large branches or pieces of driftwood for the bearded dragon to climb.
The right substrate is also crucial for the health of the bearded dragon.
Many people opt for sand, as it creates a natural look, but swallowing sand can be life-threatening for bearded dragons.
Reptile carpet, rubber mats, shredded newspaper, or slate tiles are much better options.