• Beardie Bliss

What Size Tank Does a Bearded Dragon Need?

The tank you choose to house your bearded dragon makes a big difference in their quality of life and your experience as a bearded dragon owner. It is a significant environmental factor that affects their temperament, health, and even growth.

Size is a key consideration when making this choice, as you want your bearded dragon to fit naturally and thrive in it. A healthy beardie can grow up to 24 inches which is what we based our research on.

Getting straight to the point, your average fully grown adult bearded dragon needs a 75-gallon tank measuring 48 by 24 by 24 inches to accommodate their needs. However, there is more to the story, and you should stick around to find out about the variables, why beardies will survive in different tank sizes, and the available options.

Factors That Influence the Size of a Bearded Dragon Tank

How Big Is Your Bearded Dragon?

You don’t consider the current size of your bearded dragon but rather how big you expect them to get while still living in this particular enclosure. The bearded dragon should at the very least be able to turn around without bumping into the sides of the enclosure. This means you may have to consider a larger tank.

How Young Is Your Bearded Dragon?

You want to consider the age of your bearded dragon so you can get the right size tank for each stage of growth. A baby bearded dragon can survive in a small tank as they are also small in size.

A smaller tank for a baby bearded dragon also aids their feeding by constricting their prey to a small space so they can catch their food easily. They are not very good hunters at this age and need all the help they can get. On the other hand, adult bearded dragons need space to move around and exercise in the bearded dragon enclosure.

The Contents of the Bearded Dragon Terrarium

When thinking about the size of the bearded dragon terrarium you should get, you need to factor in more than just the size of the bearded dragon. The tank will be transformed into their new habitat, so you must create an environment where the beardie will feel at home.

To do this, you will want to purchase a variety of decorations, both natural and artificial, a basking area, cooling zone, and other features useful in recreating the environmental and climatic conditions from their natural habitat.

The bearded dragon terrarium keeps your beardie healthy with a sanctuary they can use to shelter from excess heat and hide when they feel threatened. It allows them to exercise by providing places to climb and gives them areas to dig. It also gives them a realistic environment to hunt their meals, keeping their appetite high.

The Heating System

While bearded dragons need heat for basic bodily functions like digestion and movement, they are cold-blooded and can’t generate their own heat. As a result, they rely on heat from their environment. How they utilize this heat source ultimately plays a role when it comes to the ideal size of the tank.

The bearded dragon terrarium needs to have a hot section where they go to bask and soak in all the heat they need for their bodily functions. They also need a cooling section where they can go to cool down when it becomes too hot.

The effects of the heater in the hot section shouldn’t be felt in the cool section; therefore, the tank needs enough space for the two temperature levels to coexist.

beardie basking

Effects of a Small Tank on Your Bearded Dragon

If your beardie feels confined in their enclosure because it is a smaller tank, they will suffer from stress, which affects their general behavior. They will become lethargic, stop eating and lose interest in exploring their environment.

This exposes them to health complications and permanent effects such as stunted growth. It is better to provide more space than they need than give them less space in a smaller tank.

What Size Tank Does a Bearded Dragon Need?

This section looks at the smallest space your beardie can occupy and still thrive. It is for the beardie owners who are constrained by space or resources to optimize what they have.

The smaller the tank is, the more pocket-friendly it is, and the lesser substrate is required to fill the enclosure. A smaller tank also requires fewer resources to heat and has a small footprint.

Baby Bearded Dragon Tank

Baby bearded dragons will thrive in a small enclosure because they can easily catch their food. At this point, they haven’t honed their hunting skills and are still struggling to recognize and find food.

A 20 gallon tank is appropriate for the first three months of your beardie’s life. At this age, the bearded dragon will grow to an average of 10 inches, so a tank base of at least 24 by 12 inches is sufficient.

However, their growth at this stage is very rapid, and they will quickly outgrow this tank size. To accommodate the growth spurt, you can start them off with a 40 gallon tank with a footprint of 36 by 18 inches.

Juvenile Bearded Dragon Tank

This class of beardies is between 3 and 12 months old. They are vibrant and active and are in the process of perfecting their hunting skills. They need more space to hunt and an allowance to grow.

A 55 gallon tank should be sufficient for their needs. Because they are expected to grow from 10 to approximately 18 inches during this period, a tank base of at least 48 by 13 inches is ideal.

Beardies mature at different rates, and some will attain their full adult size earlier than others. You can allow this variance and get a 75 gallon tank with a 48 by 18-inch footprint.

Adult Bearded Dragon Tank

A healthy, fully grown adult bearded dragon measures between 18 and 24 inches. The ideal tank for them is a 75 gallon tank whose dimensions range between 48 by 18-inch, as we mentioned in the juvenile section, and 48 by 24 inches. This should cover all types of beardies, regardless of their genetic and nurturing advantages.

Dealing With the Variables

Bearded dragons grow fast, and most of them will have attained their mature adult size by 11 to 12 months. This means your baby bearded dragon will quickly outgrow their smaller tank. The speed of this growth spurt varies with species, genetics, their environment, and your animal husbandry skills, but they will rarely pass 18 months before reaching their full size.

Because of this rapid growth, bearded dragon owners resort to starting them out in the same large tanks they will use until they are fully grown. You will spend less money on multiple tanks and setups in the short period they grow.

It also helps you avoid situations where your young bearded dragon becomes stressed because they are constantly being shifted to unfamiliar surroundings as you switch the size tank they have.

A bearded dragon will understandably take a bit of time to adjust to a strange habitat. They exhibit wariness before they do, which prevents them from eating and going about their normal routines.

How Does a Bearded Dragon Benefit from a Tall Tank?

The height of the tank is also a key consideration when shopping for one. Bearded dragon tank heights range between 16 and 24 inches.

bearded dragon climber

Beardies love climbing onto things and usually bask on branches when out in the wild. You should encourage them to keep it up as it is good exercise and will keep them active and boost their appetite. For this purpose, you need to make provisions for your bearded dragon tank to have an allowance for climbing branches.

A high tank also offers your beardie extended options for temperature regulation. They can move away from and towards the basking lamp in more directions and heat whichever part of the body they feel like.

If your tank height is low and you feel like your beardie can do with more adventure, you can extend the height by building the terrarium up or increasing levels in your bearded dragon habitat. This saves you the cost of buying another tank purely for height extension. Because you won’t be increasing the tank's footprint, your room doesn’t even need to be rearranged to accommodate the taller tank.


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