10 Starter Items to Kit Out Your Bearded Dragon Terrarium
So you have a bearded dragon, or you are looking at getting one, next you are going to need to kit out a terrarium to make your beardie feel at home.
When creating a home for your new beardie, something to bear in mind is that they originally come from the Australian desert.
They will not naturally thrive in another country, so owners need to replicate the environmental conditions of the wild.
Try to avoid buying the ‘all in one’ enclosures stores boast of – these are often poor solutions and fail to provide the right habitat conditions for your beardie.
The UVB light is usually not efficient, and the thermometer included does not provide reliable and accurate readings.
Instead, it’s best to do your research and kit out your bearded dragon terrarium with the best products out there.
There are many things to consider when choosing your vivarium or terrarium for a bearded dragon.
You will need to decide what size of enclosure you want and can accommodate in your house.
They all range in price depending upon the material and size you choose.
The key consideration you should have is the size, the recommended sized enclosure you should get for your baby beardie is a 40-gallon tank.
For an adult, a 75-gallon tank would be okay but a 120-gallon tank would be far better.
2. Vivarium Background
Having a background in your bearded dragon’s tank is essential for a few reasons. Firstly, it looks nice and will make their terrarium an item of decoration in your home.
More importantly, it will prevent any glare and reflection in the back of the tank.
Bearded dragons in all-glass enclosures can sometimes engage in an activity called ‘glass surfing’.
This is where they try to run up the glass walls of their tank. It might look funny and be amusing, but it’s a cause for concern.
It could mean something isn’t right in their habitat, or they could be distressed. Sometimes, this happens if they see their own reflection.
Putting a background up can often prevent this from happening.
3. UVB Bulb
A bearded dragon kept as a pet, requires a specific lighting setup to ensure optimal health.
It’s essential to kit out your terrarium with plenty of light and heat to mimic the natural habitat.
There are 2 types of bulbs you will need, a heat lamp and a UVB bulb.
The UVB bulb is necessary for giving your beardie their dose of vitamin D3.
The Reptisun UVB Bulb is perfect. It contains the UVB light levels required and will ensure your beardie maintains a healthy metabolism.
4. Heat Lamp
In addition to the UVB bulb, make sure you also have a basking light. This will alow your beardie to keep warm. Again, you are trying to replicate the sun as much as possible here.
If you don’t have these lights in your tank, your bearded dragon will quickly become ill.
It is a mercury vapor bulb specially designed for a beardie’s tank.
Note: With this bulb, you will require a specific fixture to safely mount the bulb.
Bearded dragons love having some kind of little hide that they can crawl into and, well, as the name suggests, hide. They may want to go inside and sleep or just have a break from the outside!
This dragon hide, made by Zilla, is an affordable option that simulates a rock formation.
It’s also a good choice because it provides a platform for your reptile to get up onto and bask under their heat lamp – two birds with one stone!
It’s easy to clean, non-porous, and is specially designed to be used in tropical or arid terrariums.
6. Substrate Lining
Your beardie’s terrarium is going to need some kind of flooring, also called a substrate. These come in two forms; loose-particle substrates, or non-particle substrates.
Loose particle substrates are closer to real habitats but can cause problems.
The fine debris and dust can easily be consumed by your dragon.
This can cause a lot of issues such as impaction (reptile constipation) where your beardie’s digestive tract becomes clogged, and they are unable to poop.
This can lead to serious health problems, so it’s best to be avoided for new owners and especially baby beardies.
Non-particle substrates are much safer – they typically cannot be eaten, and also won’t irritate your dragon’s eyes or nose.
The Zilla Non-Particle Substrate is easy to roll out and cut to size as necessary. It comes pre-treated with a biodegradable, safe enzyme, which reduces odors, and it’s easily cleaned.
7. Basking Rock
Every home needs furniture – even homes for bearded dragons!
Zilla’s Basking Rock is the perfect addition to kit out any terrarium. It serves a crucial function as a basking platform that allows your bearded dragon to climb up and get some of that much sought-after vitamin D.
Just position this beneath your heat lamp and your beardie will thank you for it!
Dragons need to be within 12 inches of their basking light to properly utilize the benefits of the light. This large rock is the perfect affordable option for your reptile’s home.
8. Vines + Hammock
Believe it or not, bearded dragons love hammocks. Getting a hammock and vine set will give an aesthetic look to your beardie’s tank, letting your dragon relax and lounge as much as they please!
Decor is important for more than just aesthetics though.
In the wild, beardies are at risk from overhead predators such as birds. By placing decor in their tank, you give your beardie a sense of safety and cover, this can help to reduce anxiety and stress (something that beardies are prone to).
9. Feeding Dish
Since they live in deserts, bearded dragons do not necessarily need a water dish in their cage– but there are times when you might want to have one.
A feeding dish can help to maintain good tank hygiene. Having a feeding area will make cleaning up after meals quite easy.
The dish itself should be shallow and kept clean – ideally cleaned after every use.
Also, this Exo-Terra Feeding Dish will blend into the rest of your beardie’s tank decor.
It’s made from food-grade resin, and it’s a non-porous material, so it won’t absorb harmful bacteria and is easily cleaned.
Did you know that beardies require different heat zones in their tank?
The hot side should be between 95 and 110 degrees, while the cooler side should be no more than 85 degrees and no less than 75 degrees.
To monitor these levels you should buy an Infrared Thermometer to measure how hot the tank is. The infrared feature allows you to accurately measure the temperature in any of the zones.
So, there you are – the ten essential start-up items to kit out a bearded dragon terrarium!
Keep in mind that these are just ideas and the basics – there’s a whole lot more you can do to make your beardie’s habitat healthy and exciting for your pet, and you can get creative with products like toys and décor.
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