Bearded dragons are one of the most popular of the lizard species to have as pets. One of the first questions to ask when considering getting a beardie is, “what size aquarium do you need for a bearded dragon?”
As with any pet we own, we want to make sure that we are responsible pet owners and ensure the health and happiness of our pets. From a baby beardie to adult beardies, we all want to do our best to recreate their natural habitat and meet every little bearded dragon need they have. So you might be wondering, first and foremost, do you have the right size tank for your pet beardie?
So let’s answer the question: what size aquarium for bearded dragon?
Providing a perfect place for your bearded dragon is a crucial component of being a responsible caretaker. Having an aquarium large enough for your new scaly companion to feel at home requires more than just artificial plants, a heat source, and basking spot. Although those things are nice to make your beardie feel more like he’s in the wild.
Bearded dragons are pretty laid back lizards, there are just a few things that can stress them out and most of those things have to do with their living environment. While we might think that more space it better, it’s actually important to avoid giving these animals too much room, as they can easily become stressed out by an excessive amount of space.
Bearded dragon hatchlings don’t require a lot of room to develop normally. However, bearded dragons expand at a fast pace, so you’ll probably need to upgrade your beardie’s habitat layout in a hurry.
So, let’s get into this. How big of an aquarium should you get for a bearded dragon, and how big for a young one?
What Is the Appropriate Size Aquarium for a Young Bearded Dragon?
When they are first acquired, baby bearded dragons fare best in a more contained space. It’s probably preferable to use a baby bearded dragon enclosure that’s between 20 and 40 gallons in size. If the aquarium is too large, some of the young may have trouble catching the food. A baby dragon isn’t entirely reliant upon you though. After all, when baby bearded dragons hatch from eggs, their mother is long gone and they are on their own from day one. So don’t feel like you have to do everything for them. You just need to make sure they have the right environment.
In addition to this, extremely big enclosures have the propensity to cause them to become disoriented and lost. Only a hatchling and juvenile beardy that is less than 10 inches in length should be kept in a tank that is 20 gallons in size. Due to the fact that bearded dragons are recognized for their rapid growth, the little bearded dragon aquarium is only meant to be temporary.
About 15 to 18 months of age is when bearded dragons often achieve their full size. It is possible that the growth of your beardie will be stifled if the size of the tank is not increased as the animal becomes bigger. Before the dragon reaches its full adult size, it is important to make sure you have upgraded to a tank that is 50 gallons in size.
Here is a great starter tank for a baby bearded dragon:
Please note that these kits don’t come with proper lighting for a beardie, but do include a lot of other elements that are appropriate to use.
What Is the Appropriate Size Aquarium for an adult bearded dragon?
For an adult bearded dragon, it’s important to keep in mind that more space is always preferable when choosing an enclosure size. A bearded dragon aquarium should be at least 50 gallons and no more than 120 gallons in size for an adult beardy raised in captivity of average size. Bearded dragons reach their full size between 16 and 20 inches long.
Rarely a bearded dragon kept in captivity can reach a length of 24 inches, at which point it will outgrow its current home of 120 gallons. Full-grown bearded dragons will appreciate having more room to turn around in a larger tank. It’s a myth that bearded dragons will only grow in relation to the size of the space they live in. Your beardie will grow to its natural size, regardless of how much space it has. So make sure you give them enough room to move around. A good rule of thumb is that they should be able to completely turn around without bumping into the sides of their tank.
It may seem excessive to provide this popular creature with a tank that is 120 gallons in size, but doing so will result in far greater happiness and health for your pet. Keep in mind that even an adult dragon will be overwhelmed and confused by a tank larger than 150 gallons. For the same reason, they will have a hard time finding enough space to forage for food in an aquarium of that size.
Here are some great aquarium options for adult bearded dragons:
OIIBO Full Vision Glass Reptile Terrarium 70 Gallon
Quick Reference Bearded Dragon Aquarium Size Guide
For quick reference, use this guide for choosing the right size aquarium for your bearded dragon throughout the course of their life and growth. The best tank will always be the one that gives them just enough room. Pay more attention to thee size of your bearded dragon rather than their age when choosing the best bearded dragon tank size for your specific beardie. While their growth rate will be close to the typical rate of all beardies, yours may grow a little faster or a little slower than that usual depending on its unique circumstances.
Baby Bearded Dragon – up to 10″
Juvenile Bearded Dragon – 10″ to 18″
- Small (minimum size required): 50-Gallon Tank
- Large: 75-Gallon Tank
Mature Adult Bearded Dragon – 18″+
- Smallest (minimum size required): 75-Gallon Tank
- Large: 120-Gallon Tank
Senior Bearded Dragon (7 Yr or Older ) – 18″+
- Smallest (minimum size required): 75-Gallon Tank
- Large: 120-Gallon Tank
What Various Tanks Are There To Choose From?
The bearded dragon enclosures that you can buy range in size and design. We have already covered the wide range of tank capacities, but there are also multiple distinct styles of enclosures to consider as well. These include different types of openings, different materials, and anywhere from beginner to advanced set ups. Your bearded dragon’s enclosure should always fit its current needs, not its future needs. Paying attention to your beardie’s behavior is an important part of choosing the right tank.
Some storage facilities are designed like aquariums, with entry only from above. Keep in mind that some bearded dragons could be scared because in the wild, attacks frequently come from above. If your bearded dragon appears to feel threatened by you reaching in from above, you may want to try an aquarium that features a front-hinge door. This is still an easy access door, but may help your bearded dragon feel more safe in his living space. The bearded dragon’s health and happiness depend on the size of the tank, but the sort of entry is more of a matter of preference. Keep in mind that beardies enjoy exploring and could escape from a glass tank with a poorly fitted lid.
Glass, melamine, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) are just a few of the many materials used to make tanks. Glass cages are the most popular option and can be found in a wide variety of sizes and styles at local pet stores. While glass is the most popular choice, some bearded dragons will becomes angry if they see their reflection. Bearded dragons are quite territorial in the wild and are solitary animals. If they see their reflection, they may become aggressive. To remedy this issue, put a paper background in the tank. If this doesn’t help, you may want to find a different kind of enclosure for your beardie for its safety.
Bearded Dragon Starter Kits
In addition to the enclosure, many retailers offer “starting kits” that include the lighting, substrate, food, or water dishes necessary to care for a bearded dragon. While this is a great way to get started, we want to caution you that most of these kits do not come with the right lighting for a bearded dragon. We encourage you to learn about proper lighting and make sure you have that set up correctly, even if you start with a kit.
Your bearded dragon’s tank size and design should reflect your personal preferences, available space, and budget restrictions, but above all it should be designed with your beardie’s health and happiness in mind.
Don’t Forget Tank Height
While the length and width of your bearded dragons enclosure is the most important part of having the best tank size, height matters too. Bearded dragons love to climb and explore, which means you could end up with an escapee.
Tank height also matters for heat regulation because that means your beardie will have the option to move closer or further away from the heat lamp as they need to, depending on if they are hot or cold. This also is helpful for making them less stressed, since they can make their own adjustment for their own comfort. Temperature regulation is very important for your bearded dragons health. If they are not able to regulate their body temperature by moving in and out of heat, their immune system will be compromised and they will die.
Building multiple layers for your beardie in their tank is also a good idea and will give them better use of the space and more to climb and explore. Bearded dragons may be docile creatures, but they still have inate desire and don’t mind a little bit of an interesting habitat so they can switch things up now and then.
Why Is Aquarium Size Important?
You owe it to your pet’s well-being and happiness to get a tank that’s just appropriate for it. Your bearded dragon will be much happier and healthier with a tank that gives them plenty of room to roam, places to hide or climb, and a wide temperature range.
Your baby bearded dragon’s life expectancy could be cut short if the aquarium is too tiny. Small enclosures can generate stress, which can lead to health problems and a shortened life expectancy for bearded dragons. If you provide them with a great home that’s big enough, though, they will be happy and content.
A stressed animal will typically have a poor disposition. However, if the enclosure is too large, your bearded dragon may feel anxious, disoriented, and uneasy. Particularly for young dragons, a too-large enclosure can make it difficult for them to catch bugs on their own. The greatest technique to minimize anxiety in your bearded dragon is to provide it with a comfortable habitat and a tank that is just the perfect size for it.
Although it may appear that your bearded dragon would be pretty happy in a larger tank, providing it with a tank that is just right for its size will ensure its long and healthy existence. If you want your bearded dragon to have the best possible chance of a long and healthy life, you should get the best aquarium for their size. Remember, these reptiles grow quickly, so don’t be surprised if your beardie is ready for a bigger tank only months after you get its first one. Your bearded dragon tank setup will probably be ever evolving.