Although bearded dragons tend to be a low maintenance pet once they’re properly settled, they still need a good home set-up to keep them happy and healthy. When welcoming a bearded dragon into your family it’s important to consider what size tank is best for your bearded dragon as well how much space is available in your home. Here’s what we’ve learned about choosing the best tank size for a bearded dragon.
What’s the best bearded dragon tank size? The bigger the tank, the better. For a bearded dragon, many begin with a 40-gallon tank, with the dimensions of 36L″ x 18W″ x 12H″. This is the minimum tank size and often considered a starter tank (best for a baby beardie). Since bearded dragons can grow to 24″ long, you’ll want a larger tank for an adult bearded dragon, at least 48”L x 24”W x 24”H, or roughly 120 gallons.
If you can, buy the biggest tank from the very beginning. A bigger tank size means you won’t need to replace or upgrade the tank a year from now when your bearded dragon has grown. A fully grown beardie will need ample space to move and turn around inside his enclosure, and smaller tanks make it hard for a 20″ or 24″ beardie to get around comfortably.
This is only a quick glance at what to consider when choosing a tank size. If you want more in-depth information about finding the best bearded dragon tank, keep reading. We’ll examine options for three popular tank sizes: 40 gallon, 70 gallon, and 120 gallon.
Bearded Dragon Tank Sizes
The 40 Gallon Bearded Dragon Tank
When we walked out of Petco with our first bearded dragon, we didn’t have a clue about what we were doing. We had bought everything the salesperson told us we needed: a 40 gallon bearded dragon “kit” that included a bunch of stuff we soon discovered we didn’t actually need… as well as a couple things that could be downright harmful to our new beardie.
In hindsight, I wish we’d bought the 40 gallon tank by itself and then added the other things we needed after doing some more research.
The 40 gallon tank is a good start for a baby bearded dragon, and can be somewhat inexpensive compared to other larger tanks. Sometimes Petco will run a “$1 per gallon” sale on their general purpose glass tanks, which would make the 40 gallon tank only $40.
You can also find this similarly sized tank (that’s specifically meant for reptiles!) on Amazon, like this Carolina Custom Cages tank.
Rating: 4.5 stars
This 40 gallon tank has front opening doors, which is recommended when picking up your bearded dragon. There’s also a sturdy mesh lid for the top, which holds lights and equipment quite well.
Sample buyer review: “Amazing quality, sturdy glass, huge size, and easy to put together. I mean really easy! We are elated that we made this purchase. Worth every penny. I’d buy it again. It’ll clearly last for years. The front doors are an awesome advantage making it so easy to get in and out to handle our pet. My 8 year old has no trouble at all managing it.”
The 70 Gallon Bearded Dragon Tank
This is a common tank size for upgrading your bearded dragon’s home. Estimated measurements are usually 48″x18″x18″ depending on the manufacturer. Since it’s a foot longer than the 40 gallon tank, you have more room to work on controlling the temperature in each side of the tank. Beardies need one side of their tank to be cooler than the other, so they can easily cool down if they’re getting too warm while basking or relaxing under their lamps.
ReptiZoo makes this mid-size reptile tank with all the bells and whistles your bearded dragon could want.
Rating: 4.5 stars
This tank size is large enough to give your bearded dragon a decent thermal gradient, or a range of temperatures from a high end to a low end. So, your beardie can move to a higher temperature or lower temperature to suit its needs at any given time. It’s a solid choice for an enclosure.
Sample buyer review: “Would recommend to anyone wanting to upgrade to a bigger tank. We upgraded from a standard 40 breeder. The front sliding glass makes servicing the tank so much easier than having to go in from the top.”
The 120 Gallon Bearded Dragon Tank
The 120 gallon bearded dragon tank size is considered to be ideal for giving your beardie the ultimate amount of space to stretch out. Generally, this size tank size measures 4’x 2’x 2′. Many bearded dragons thrive when given ample room to run, jump, and climb. These enclosures are overall three times larger than 40 gallon tanks!
In our opinion, Zen Habitats makes the best 120 gallon bearded dragon tanks. We like their wood panel reptile enclosure (pictured above). It’s considered by many to be the gold standard of tanks, and it’s our top pick overall.
Rating: 5 stars
This Zen Habitats Reptile Enclosure uses bamboo finished wood panels, front sliding/removable acrylic doors, and a galvanized steel screen top. The steel screen top includes screen support bars and wire grommets to give you the flexibility to install your lighting fixtures inside or outside the enclosure.
Sample buyer review: “Really love this enclosure! We have a different one for our other bearded dragon and now we regret buying that one. This one is just so much better in every way!”
Can I make my own DIY bearded dragon enclosure?
Yes, you can, but be sure to research and understand what a bearded dragon needs before you begin. There are some really cool DIY terrarium ideas on Pinterest.
Can two bearded dragons share a tank together?
No, it’s best not to house two bearded dragons together. They are solitary creatures and co-habitation often does not end well. There have been many instances of bearded dragons fighting with each other, injuring one another, and having considerable stress when sharing a tank. The risk is just too great.
What’s better, a glass tank or an acrylic tank?
While glass is much more affordable, we tend to like acrylic best. With glass, you’ll need to put reptile-friendly wallpaper around your tank so your beardie can’t see his reflection. Seeing his reflection in the glass will stress him out, and maybe cause him to do a lot of glass surfing and head bobbing. With acrylic, your beardie won’t see his reflection, won’t be stressed, and you won’t need to clutter his tank walls with wallpaper.
Can I buy a used tank on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace?
Yes, you can buy a secondhand tank but be sure to thoroughly clean and disinfect it before introducing it to your bearded dragon. Previous animals may have been sick and/or suffered from parasites, and you want to be very careful not to contaminate your beardie. Ask your vet about using something like this chlorhexidine solution to disinfect the tank.
Is it okay to keep my bearded dragon is in a smaller tank size?
We don’t think so. When housed in smaller tanks, beardies will be stressed, have their growth stunted, and possibly experience health problems. The larger their tank size, the more you can control the temperature gradient and offer your beardie a proper basking side and cooldown side. Remember, they can’t control their body temperature otherwise! When they’re in a tank that’s too small for them it will always be too hot or too cold for them.
It might seem like a bearded dragon would fit just fine in a smaller tank, but a bigger tank size is the best choice and will help your beardie live a happy and healthy life. Buy the best tank you can, right from the start, so you won’t need to replace it in a few months and your beardie will have the best chance to thrive!