Bearded Dragon Cages/Terrariums - What is the Best?

There are many different types of Bearded Dragon Cages/Terrariums that you can use for your bearded dragons. This includes ready make ones, glass tanks, melamine cages and wood. We will have a look at the most popular Bearded Dragon Enclosures and compare pros and cons to help you decide what will work best.



Bearded Dragon Tank - Glass 


Glass tanks are quite popular and easy to find. They are not as expensive and easy to clean. Most reptile owners prefer it even though it has a few ‘issues’. The top will have to be closed with a special screen cover on which the light dome will rest. Special fitting can also be installed for the basking light. (Recommended)

Bearded dragon cage
   
A glass tank CANNOT be closed with solid plastic, glass or anything else, the reason being that it will cut of the circulation and cause the humidity/temperature to rise. Both these issues can cause serious health problems if the lack of fresh oxygen does not get to them first.  The cover is necessary to regulate the air and temperature inside, keep bugs and so on out and to make sure your dragon does not escape.

bearded dragon cage setup

Cons

  • Glass tank can be heavy once they are setup, so you will not be moving it very soon after you have set it up.
  • Can be tricky to keep temperatures balanced if the tank is not big enough. 
  • Another problem with these cages is, bearded dragons can see their reflection in the glass. This stresses them out because they think it is another dragon wanting to fight them for territory.
  • If you take your dragon out quite often for attention, it can be a bit of a hassle to remove the screen top constantly. This is the biggest reason why I changed my cages to ones with sliding doors. Got a few lamps broken while trying to pick up my dragons and managing the screen top.   

bearded dragon tank



Bearded Dragon Terrarium - Wooden Cages


Wood is not only nice looking, but manages temperature beautifully if the right ventilation method is applied. However, wood is a magnet for bacteria if not treated properly and definitely does not work well with sand substrate. (Not that I recommend it anyway). If one use wood, be sure to seal it properly with a sealant that is not toxic and the cage can literally last for many years. Once the wood goes dull or picks up watermarks, it can be sanded down, re-sealed and made to look brand new again. 

Cons

Wood is a magnet for bacteria. Cage Must Be sealed with a non toxic wood sealant to make it last long, otherwise you will end up with a smelly, water stained cage fast.


Bearded Dragon Terrarium - Ready-Made


Many manufactures nowadays specialize in making Terrariums for bearded dragons that is not only practical, but also nice looking. I have one myself that we use for when a beardie feels like digging in the sand and I like the idea of having front glass doors instead of a screen top. Well worth the investment.

Cons

  • Their popular sizes is on the small side.  If you are thinking big, it will be hard to find one.
  • All depends on the manufacturer, but many times, the accessories that goes along with the terrarium, must be purchased from the same company.    

bearded dragon terrarium


bearded dragon terrarium


Bearded Dragon Cage - Plywood


This is the most inexpensive cage to build/buy. Light weight and also keeps the temperature steady. 

Cons

  • Can buckle quite easily, especially if the wood is too thin. Bigger cages should be build with thicker plywood. 
  • Not recommended to stack plywood cages, especially when too thin. They work better as "stand alone" cages.  
  • One spat of water and the plywood will swell up like a balloon. At least 3 layers of a non toxic wood sealant should be applied. Also best to put on wooden or plastic legs just in case a water spill happens. (Unless obviously your cage is on a table or stand already)


Bearded Dragon Cage - Melamine 


Melamine cages can be made with two different types of wood, pure melamine boards or normal wood covered with melamine. Both work very well and dragons love them seeing as they reflect the light and heat in the cage. These cages can be bought or you can build them yourself. It is also the least expensive. They can last very long if looked after properly. Nowadays melamine comes in different colors, making it nice to design cages that fit in with the rest of the house decor. 

Melamine cages regulate the temperature better, it cleans easily and the smooth surface makes it hard for bacteria to grow. 

After dealing with all the types of reptile enclosures for years, Melamine is my favorite and top pic. Cheap to make and still looks good, especially the darker wood like colors

Cons

The cage will be a write-off if water spills and seep into the spaces where the wood has been joined together. I personally seal all gaps with a non toxic wood sealant to make the cage last a long time. Also a great idea to screw on some short wooden or plastic legs to keep your cage off the ground, just in-case of a water spill. (Will also keep the cage warmer) 

bearded dragon enclosure

bearded dragon enclosure



Bearded Dragon Tank Size


You need to make sure that your dragon’s tank is the right size. When your beardies habitat is too small it can lead to stressful situations and it will cause that your dragon cannot grow fully.

The tank that your bearded dragon is should be small enough so he/she can catch their food and big enough so they can grow and stay healthy. The tank size can be determined two ways, by gallons or by size.

The length of the tank should be long enough to fit your dragon in 4-5 times from nose to tail, or bigger. The width should be 1 and a half to 2 of your dragon’s lengths.

Baby dragons need a 20 gallon tank or more. This size will be able to help them catch their food and gives them plenty space for growing.

10-16 inches: the early adult dragons will need a 40 gallon tank. This is so your dragon can catch its food. The larger the tank the happier your dragon will be and the better they can grow.

The bigger your dragon the bigger the tank and for 16-20 inch dragons you will need a 50-75 gallon tank.

If your dragon is 20 inches or more you will need a tank of 75 gallons minimum, but a 120 tank will work perfectly.


Bearded Dragon Habitat Setup


bearded dragon habitat


Lighting and Heating

Bearded dragons come from the Australian deserts and must have full spectrum lighting up to 14 hours a day. They will need both a UVB light and heat source to keep them healthy.

The UVB light will replicate the sun’s UVB and provides them with the vitamins that they would normally generate from natural sunlight. A heat lamp will replicate the heat that they need…Read More about Bearded Dragon Habitat Setup lights and Heating


Temperature and Humidity

The temperature and humidity inside your bearded dragon’s cage is one of the most important things, if not the most important. You might think food is, but no. Your dragon will not even look at food if the temperature and humidity is not correct.

There are a few key ways and a few must haves, in order to keep these two components the way it should be. Some of the things needed for this…Read More about Bearded Dragon Habitat Setup Temperature


Accessories and Substrate

Your bearded dragons happiness and health depends on a lot of things, one of them being the accessories and substrate that you use in their cages. Their cages are their habitat and where they will live for who knows how long, so it is important to get it right.

Certain things are must haves where others can be added to spoil the dragon or to make it look nice. There are things that are not must haves, but…Read More about Bearded Dragon Cage Setup Substrates


3 comments:

  1. Thank you for all the detailed information. It was very helpfull.

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  2. Where do I put the cage? Mine does not seem to like it in the living room, always glass surfing.

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    Replies
    1. Bearded dragons that is spoiled with attention, will glass surf a lot, especially if their cages is in a high traffic area. Other factors can also play a part. If they are stressed and glass surfing, try to move the cage to another room. The temperature might also be too hot inside the cage, giving them the urge to get out to a cooler area. Some bearded dragons absolutely hate their own poop and would do anything to get away from it. Try cleaning it up as often as possible.

      If he/she is not stressed, temps are correct and poop is cleaned up, you might just have a spoiled dragon that is craving for attention. We have several dragons that is just not made for cage life and prefers to be out and about more than others. (And yes, they can get spoiled quickly)

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