Bearded Dragons (Pogona vitticeps) are a popular and rapidly growing choice of reptile pets. Their unique behavior, great temperament, solitary life, and simple diets make these diurnal lizards one of the best reptile pets for starters.
In captivity, you need to home them in a vivarium, terrarium, tank, or cage with conditions that closely mimic those in their dry and warm natural environment being desert lizards.
Therefore, you need a vivarium itself (tank), and other supplies like lighting and heating sources, temperature and humidity monitoring and control devices, food, water, substrate, as well as some enrichments, among other supplies.
Vivarium, terrarium, or tank?
Since we may use some terms interchangeably, it is good to look at what vivarium, aquarium, and terrariums are briefly.
1. Vivarium (vivaria)
Refers to a semi-natural structure, container, or enclosure for keeping or raising animals or plants primarily for observation, research as pets, or decoration. It may be open to the atmosphere or not.
2. A terrarium (terrariums or terraria)
A terrarium is an open or sealable vivarium, enclosure or cage for keeping or raising reptile, amphibians, terrestrial invertebrates. It can also be for ornamental plants, and some terraria are open to the atmosphere.
3. Aquarium (aquariums or aquaria)
Aquariums are vivarium for keeping aquatic animals such as fish, African draw frogs, crayfish, shrimp, Mystery snails, marine turtle, hermit crabs, or aquatic plants. It often has at least one transparent side. It may also be known as a tank, enclosure, etc., such as a fish tank.
Note that the terms reptile or amphibian tanks, cages, housing, vivarium, or enclosures will mean the same thing so long as they are for keeping terrestrial pets.
Bearded dragon tank or cage size
What size tank does a bearded dragon need? This common question, one of the most important when it comes to buying enclosures for these pets.
The answer is straightforward. The tank (vivarium, terrarium, or cage) size will depend on the age or size of your beardie and will influence its price. However, frequent upgrading may prove expensive in the long run if you have a young beardie.
Our best advice is you begin with a 40-gallon tank if you have baby bearded dragons and upgrade to at least a 75-gallon tank once they are above 15 months. It will cut on the total cost you spend on these cages since these reptiles grow very fast.
2. Why no to a small tank?
Going for a small tank will stress these pets, make them unhappy, depressed, stressed, or even affect their health as well as their healthy growth and development. They need enough room to move around freely, hunt, hide, explore, dig, climb, and play in. A small tank may make them feel trapped.
3. Vertical vs. horizontal space
Your beardie is not arboreal, therefore and ideal vivarium should have enough flat surface areas and a vertical one.
Therefore, when choosing a terrarium for these pets, measure their length from snout to tip of their tail tip to get their size and choose the right one.
The ideal tank (vivarium or terrarium) sizes (Width x Depth x Height) or (Length x Width x Height) is as follows.
4. Hatchlings and babies (0-2 months)
They measure below 4 inches after hatching, and their length will be about 5-9 inches by the time they are two months.
While hatchlings can stay in a 10-15 gallons tank and baby bearded dragons in an enclosure about 20 gallons, go for cages over 20 gallons.
Since they grow very fast, such tanks will only be a temporary place that will serve them for about 2-3 months. Instead, going for a 40-gallon tank as your pets can still use it until they are subadults).
While it is not bad, a large tank will make it hard for them to catch their food, especially feeder insects, and bugs but stimulate physical activity.
However, if you have good feeding bowls that will prevent these bugs from crawling out or feeders such as Exo Terra Reptile Cricket Feeders, feeding them should not be a big issue.
Buying a small one means you will have to upgrade after a short. In the long run, you may spend more and remain with small cages you don’t require.
4. Juveniles 10-16 inches long 2-7 months
Their typical size 5-9 inches at two months ad and 12-19 inches by the time they are seven months.
Juvenile beardies minimum of a 40-gallon tank with their depth is enough to allow them to turn around freely. Consider their length and width.
5. Subadults and adults (16-20 inches long)
Young subadults measure 12-19 inches, and the time they are 18 months, they will be 16-20 inches in size.
Subadults and adults whose size is 16-20 inches require a minimum tank size of 55 gallons tank with the 75 gallons being the ideal one. However, any medium size vivarium with capacity ranging from 50-75 gallons will still work well if its depth is not too small. This range includes a 60 gallon and 67-gallon tanks.
For instance, a 55-gallon tank, avoid those with a small depth such as the 48”x13”x 20” may not be the best choice. Instead go for the 50-gallon tank such as one with 36″ x 18″ x 18” or the 67-gallon vivarium measuring 36″ x 24″ x 18” or 48″ x 18″ x 18” or 36″ x 18″ x 18”.
6. Fully grown adults 20” + long
Adult bearded dragons can grow up to 24 inches. However, most are 18-22 inches long.
For a 20” + long, provide them with a minimum tank size of 75 gallons. However, the ideal size will be a 120 or 125-gallon tank. An 80 gallon, 100 gallons, or other sizes will still work well.
Typical dimensions for the 75-gallon tank are 48”x18”x 20”, and the 120-gallon tank dimension are 48″ x 24″ x 24”. (4 feet by 2 feet by 2 feet).
There are even bigger terrariums such as the 60”x24”x24” or even larger available. While the bigger it is, the better, a massive one will require more resources such as to heat or light it properly.
7. How do I know its volume?
Since most dimensions are given in inches, to get its volume in gallons, multiply its size (WxDxH) in inches and divide by 231.
Enclosure buying tips
Different types of bearded dragon terrariums come in various designs. Besides size, which we have already covered in great details, other consideration great cages or enclosures include:
Consider tank dimensions not just volume
Since manufacturers of these tanks design them for fish, reptiles, and amphibians, check their sizes and not only their capacity. Its length should not be below of 32-36 inches. RSPCA.org.uk recommends a minimum of 120 cm by 60 cm by 60 cm.
Some brands are tall (high in height) suitable for climbing, but if their depth or width is small, they will not be ideal for bearded dragons since they are only semi-arboreal. Such tanks don’t allow these pets to turn around freely.
Height is essential since these pets are semi-arboreal and will enjoy climbing but not as much as a frilled dragon would. However, this should not be a reason to compromise on a larger surface area.
It must be escape-proof and prevent the entry of predators like birds, snakes, feral cats, goannas, foxes, and dingoes.
Furthermore, their doors or lid (often made of wire mesh) should be secure (tightly fitting).
2. Types of cage
If you consider the material of construction, the typical reptile cage or terrarium types include glass, melamine, wood, PVC, plexiglass, vision cages (polyethylene). Avoid wire cages as they cannot retain heat and will cause nose abrasion to these pets.
3. How you will open it
While some designs feature a front sliding door, others have a top reptile screen. Those with a screen allow for better ventilation.
On the other hand, those with sliding ones will make your pets feel more secure since most predators attack them from the top side. Seeing their predators on top will scare them.
4. Durability and warranty
The average lifespan of a bearded dragon is 10-12 years. Some live longer than that. You need to get a durable tank that is going to last their entire lifespan.
To assure you that it will be durable, brands that come with some years of warranty will be better since you can always get replacement or repair while still in the warranty, especially to those sold as a complete kit with UV lighting, heat lamps, accessories as well as thermometers, hygrometers and so on.
5. Price or cost
Different cages come at different rates. You need to choose a functional one that is within your enclosure without compromising on its size. However, it should be within what you can afford.
A good brand should be functional; this means it must do its intended purpose correctly. Anything less will not serve you well.
Go for a brand will give you a chance to see your reptiles. At least, it should have a transparent front part. Some like glass allows you to see your pet from all angles.
8. Space economical – stackable vivarium
If you have limited space or you are a breeder, go for brands that are space-saving. For instance, a stackable bearded dragon tank or terrarium will save more space.
Usually, stackable ones should be light in weight and sturdy.
9. Personal liking – cool, fancy, and so on
Besides these attributes, it has to meet your personal preference. You may need an impressive or elegant looking cage, one that blends with your home décor, and so on. See pictures before you buy any.
Best Bearded Dragon tanks for adult (+75 gallons)
If you have adult beardies, some of the best terrariums to buy include the following:
1. Carolina Custom Cages Terrarium, Tall Extra-Long Deep 48Lx24Dx24H 120 gallons
This custom-made 120-gallon terrarium that measures 48”x24”x24” should ultimate cage choice. Getting a terrarium this large is not a walk in the park!
- It is easy to assemble
- It comes with two sliding doors for easy access during feeding, cleaning, and so on.
- The key-lock security will ensure these lizards are safe.
- It has a 6.3-inch deep waterproof base
What we loved most about this fantastic Carolina Custom Cage Terrarium is the fact that it easy to assemble, its sturdiness and size. On the downside, it is quite pricey.
More from Carolina Custom cages
Go for Tall, extra-long deep (60Lx24Wx24H), giant deep, 72Lx24Dx18H, giant deep tall (72Lx24Dx24H), and giant deep extra-tall 72Lx24Dx36H if you are particularly looking for big terrariums. Also, the Tetra Usa STS26926 Deluxe Slide Door Cage is an excellent 75-gallon tank to consider
2. 4x2x2 ft 120 gallon Zen Habitats Reptile Enclosures with Wood Panels
The 4 feet by 2 feet by 2 feet Zen Habitats reptile enclosure is another perfect 120-gallon terrarium designed for pets that thrive well under low humidity (preferably below 50%).
This low humidity makes this tank to be ideal for pets such as beardies, uromastyx, banded geckos, rosy boas, blue tongue skinks, or any snakes, turtles or lizards that thrive in areas with such humidity.
- The bamboo finish wood panels retain heat better than a glass terrarium
- It allows you to access or view your pets without much effort, thanks to the front sliding acrylic doors that are also removable.
- It features corrosion-resistant anodized aluminum frames.
- It has a galvanized steel screen and screen support bar to allow you to install your heating and lighting fixtures either outside or inside this tank.
- The enclosure has a non-reflective surface will ensure your pet is not anxious
- Lightweight and easy to assemble
- Optional substrate shield if you have a loose substrate type.
Most users are happy with their lightweight, easy to assemble, large size, and affordable prices. It is one of the big but cheap bearded dragon tanks you will get.
Besides Zen Habitat with PVC panel, another one for fully grown beardies is the Critter Condo Reptile Cage 48X24X24 Bearded Dragon (120 gallons)
Best tanks for Young adults (subadults) + 55 gallons
While it is wise to buy a tank for adult beardies, you can still buy one for subadults and upgrade later when they grow much bigger. Some of the properly sized tanks include:
1. Repti Zoo Reptile Glass Terrarium 36″ x 18″ x 18″ or 36″ x 18″ x 24″ Know Down
The Repti Zoo 36″ x 18″ x 18″ is a 50 gallon glass reptile tank while the 36″ x 18″ x 24″ is a 67 gallon terrarium. Both are ideal for sub-adults or young adults.
- It features a sturdy and durable top screen that will allow effective UVB and heat penetration (infrared) with a lock function.
- The waterproof raised bottom make it ideal for use with an under tank heater or heating pad.
- It features independently opening front doors for easy access or preventing escape (open only one if you don’t want your pet to escape).
- This enclosure has closeable inlets for tubing or wires as well as additional left and right ventilation.
- It is easy to install, i.e., it takes less than five minutes.
- Space economical. These terrariums are sturdy and can be stacked together up to a maximum of three pieces.
- Easy to clean
If you buy this terrarium, you will love its sturdiness, value for money, and how easy it is to assemble.
2. Carolina Custom Cages Terrarium, Extra-Long, 48Lx18Dx18H – 67 gallons
The Carolina Extra Long 67 gallon terrarium with dimensions 48” by 18“ by 18” is an excellent choice if you have older juveniles or subadults.
- By following their assembling guide, anyone can assemble this terrarium.
- It has a base that is 4-inch deep waterproof.
- You can lock it with a key, and thus it very secure for these pets.
- It comes with double hinged doors for easy access for feeding, cleaning, and all that. Using one entry will make it hard for your pets to escape.
This Carolina Custom cage is a popular terrarium with many people happy about how easy it is to assemble it, its sturdiness, and value for money.
If you love Carolina Custom cages and you need something a little bit taller, the 67 gallon Carolina Custom Cages Terrarium, Large Deep 36Lx24Dx18H, is an excellent alternative to buy.
3. Exo terrarium Allglass Terrarium Large, Tall (36”x 18”x 24”) – 67 gallons
For young adults, the Exo Terra 67 gallon is an excellent choice designed by top European herpetologists with a deep understanding of various pet reptiles needs.
- It has double front opening doors for easy access during maintenance, decorating, cleaning, or feeding with lock design to ensure your pets don’t escape.
- This vivarium is spacious and high enough to give you a chance to have basking branches and any other climbing furniture for these semi-arboreal reptiles.
- It features a removable stainless steel screen cover that allows optimum UVB light penetration and proper ventilation.
- It comes with five tube or wire inlets which are closable on either side for your thermometer probe sense, hygrometer, power cables, and so on.
- This Exo Terra Allglass terrarium has a waterproof base with allowance for placing for use with under tank heating pad, thanks to its raised bottom.
- Front windows are fixed at a higher position, making it suitable for people who want to use thick substrate such as safe sand.
- It comes with a natural background that matches various Exo Terra accessories, including feeding bowls, water bowls, heat rocks, and so on, as well as an extra climbing dimension.
Besides the above features, we love its sturdiness, durability, and how easy it is to clean it.
Best for juvenile +40 gallon terrariums
Bearded dragons grow very fast. If you have juvenile, avoid any terrarium that is below 40 gallons since you will have to replace it after a short time. Instead, go for a 40 gallon plus tanks.
Buying a larger tank will go a long way in saving you the trouble of having to replace it after a few months. Most of the subadult and adult tank will work well for your juveniles. Also, the following are ideal for juvenile bearded dragons.
1. Carolina Custom Cages Terrarium, Large 36Lx18Dx18H – 50 gallons
When it comes to a functional and correctly sized terrarium, Carolina Custom Cage is a household name. This 50-gallon tank that measures 36” by 18” by 18” is ideal for your juvenile beardies
- Assembling, it is straightforward. You won’t take long or need specialized expertise to put the cage together once it arrives.
- The double hinged doors will ensure easy access during cleaning, feeding, maintenance, etcetera.
- The tank has a key and lock for ensuring your pets are safe.
- The 4” deep waterproof base makes it ideal for people who prefer thicker substrates.
Unlike the larger Carolina Custom Cage Terrarium, this brand is very affordable. Additionally, it is sturdy and will serve you for a long time.
2. Exo Terra AllGlass Terrarium 50 gallons
This 36 x 18 x 18 Inches Exo Terra terrarium is an excellent choice if you have juvenile beardies.
- It comes with two doors for easy access and escapes prevention
- It has excellent ventilation from the top stainless steel cover screen, which allows UVB light penetration as well as front window ventilation and screen cover locks.
- It features locks to ensure your pet doesn’t escape.
- It has closable side and back inlets for tubes and wires
- It has a natural background with colors that resemble other Exo Terra terrarium accessories that have a climbing dimension.
- The waterproof raise base will give you an allowance for an under tank heat mats.
If you want a sturdy, functional, and long-lasting tank for your juvenile beardies, this Exo Terra terrarium is all you need.
Another great choice of a container from Exo Terra is the 42 gallon Terra Glass Natural Terrarium, Medium/Tall, which measures 60 x 45 x 60 cm (24” x 18” x 24”).
Baby and hatchling +15 gallons
Hatchlings can stay in a 10+ gallon tank while for babies choose one that is least 15 gallons. Buying a larger one will minimize the chance to replace it too soon.
Exo Terra Allglass Terrarium small and Wide -18” by 18” by 18”
This 25 gallon Exo Terra tank is what you need if you have a baby or hatchling beardie. Like other Exo Terra glass terrarium, it has front window ventilation, raised bottom for placing an under tank heating mat, double doors, and closable tubing or wire inlets.
You will love this enclosure because it is not only affordable but also sturdy and effortless to clean. It also comes with a background that will give your pets a climbing dimension.
Also, the 33-gallons Exo Terra AllGlass Terrarium medium wide 24”x 18” x 18” and the 33 gallons Small, Tall- 18”x 18” x 24” will serve you well if you need one with more height.
However, avoid the 16.8-gallon Hagen Exo Terra Short All Glass Terrarium, 18 by 18 by 12-Inch, since it will not serve you for a long time.
Best starter bearded dragon terrarium kits
Buying the right terrarium supplies for your beardie and correctly assembling them may be a daunting task to first-timers. In such a case, you may consider purchasing a starter kit, such as the following:
1. Zilla Desert bearded dragon kit – Reptile Starter Kit 10 with Light and Heat
The Zilla Reptile Starter Kit is a 10-gallon tank ideal for hatchlings that comes with an installation guide and the following supplies and accessories:
- Two reflective domes for lighting and heating this terrarium
- Screen cover
- Night black incandescent bulb
- White spot bulbs
- Temperature and humidity gauge
- Brown terrarium liner.
Unfortunately, this starter kit does not have UVB light. Therefore, ensure you buy them separately.
2. Zoo Med Reptihabitat 40 gallon bearded dragon tank kit review
An easy and perfect way to get started if you have a juvenile or a small young adult bearded dragon is buying this 40-gallon Zoo Med enclosure. What does this kit have?
- A 40-gallon tank with dimensions of 36” by 18” by 18“ and a sliding top cover screen.
- 12 pounds desert white of ReptiSand terrarium substrate
- Dual Analog Thermometer and Humidity Gauge
- 100 watts Repti Basking Spot lamp
- A Reptisun 10.0 compact florescent bulb (ultraviolet)
- Combo Deep Dome Dual Lamp Fixture
- Bearded dragon care manual
- Bearded Dragon Food Sampler Value Pack
Zoo Med also has the 20-gallon ReptiHabitat Juvenile Bearded Dragon Kit, which we find suitable for hatchlings or baby beardies.
3. Exo Terra bearded dragon starter kit
If you are a fan of Exo Terra, the Exo Terra 33.6 gallon starter kit measuring 36” by 18“ by 12” will be a fantastic choice for baby and juvenile bearded dragons. This kit has:
- Large low terrarium
- 8” Exo Terra reptile dome with a maximum load of 160W
- Exo Terra Light bracket
- 125 watt Exo Terra Solar Glo bulb
- Exo Terra Thermometer – liquid crystal thermometer
- Large Exo Terra sand mat
- Medium Exo Terra water dish
- Information guide
Other kits include the All Living Things Bearded Dragon Kit, Bearded Dragon Starter Kit – Oak Vivarium, among others.
Enclosures to avoid
- MARDOG Repitat Flat-Backed Reptile Habitat, 5-Gallon as too small for bearded dragons
- Zoo Med ReptiBreeze LED Deluxe Open Air Aluminum Screen Habitat – Good for arboreal pets, but it doesn’t retain heat well
- The Exo Terra Glass Natural Terrarium mini or nano since these tanks are too small for beardies.
Cheap bearded dragon tanks for sale
If you need a cheap terrarium, begin by comparing prices from various vendors in places like Petco, Walmart, Amazon, etc., or respective manufacturer’s sides.
Also, buying used enclosures will help you save on their price. Try various classified ad sites including Craigslist
DIY bearded dragon enclosures – homemade
We will not be focusing much on DIY bearded dragon enclosure. However, you deserve to know there are a lot of resources, including videos and tutorials, to guide in making any type even the standard crossfire designs. For instance, Instructacble.com has some tutorials.
One advantage of making your own is that some designs will fit your home furniture such as house corner, coffee table, etcetera.
If you live in areas with favorable climatic conditions, you can buy and outdoor cage. Otherwise, it will be tough and expensive to keep these pets warm.