The perfect bearded dragon vivarium set up

The perfect bearded dragon vivarium set up

Want to know how to create the perfect vivarium set up for your bearded dragon? We have listed 5 common Q&A’s below based on our expertise and knowledge of bearded dragons and their habitat needs.

What are the growth stages of a bearded dragon?

  • Hatchling – aged 0-6 months.
  • Juvenile – aged 6-12 months.
  • Adult – aged 12 months onwards.
  • The average life span of a captive bearded dragon is 8-10 years.

How big should a vivarium be?

For one single captive bearded dragon, the recommended vivarium size is 4ft x 2ft x 2ft. If any smaller, you may struggle to achieve the required temperatures. Their vivarium and set up should be copying their natural habitat.

Can I keep bearded dragons together?

It’s generally best to keep them separate to avoid aggression and/or bullying when they reach sexual maturity.

We’ve had several claims based on incidents between two bearded dragons, our bearded dragon insurance policies include accidental injury too!

What are the best conditions for my bearded dragon?


A vivarium should have a warm and cool end. The warm end should be around 38 degrees Celsius and the cool end around 28 degrees Celsius. The temperature of the vivarium should reflect the arid landscape and changing night time temperature. Basking bulbs (spot bulbs), which can be bought from most pet stores, will help provide this much needed heat and light.


Bearded dragons need UVB lighting to ensure they get enough vitamin D3 so that calcium can be absorbed into their body. A bearded dragon should get around 14-16 hours of UV exposure in the summer and 10-12 hours in the winter. Full spectrum UVB lighting can be bought in most pet stores.


Remember, bearded dragons get 99% of their required hydration from the greens they eat. In addition to this, keep your bearded dragon hydrated either by:

  • Having a small water bowl in the vivarium. But ensure it is small enough so they can’t get tempted to lie in it, otherwise it can cause scale rot.
  • Bathing your bearded dragon in not too deep, warm water (no soaps or detergents).


Information on a bearded dragon’s diet.

Plastic or wood vivarium?

Hard plastic is the most common choice for the side walls of a vivarium tank, this is because they reflect light, meaning it mimics a bearded dragon’s natural habitat.

A wooden vivarium can also be a popular choice for bearded dragon owners as they are easy to assemble and easy to modify, especially if you need to drill holes for wires and cables. However, it also has it’s down sides – after a while, the conditions in the tank may effect the wooden frame. Humidity and water may cause the wood to rot which also increases the risk of bacteria build up. Wooden tanks are also harder to clean as the surfaces can’t be wiped down as easily as, for instance, a glass vivarium.

The option of a glass vivarium is also appealing, especially when a lot of things can’t go wrong unlike a wooden tank. However, glass tanks are heavy, fragile and can easy be damaged by trying to drill a hole through it, so these are not always the best option!

Find out how much a bearded dragon costs to keep.

Bearded dragon vivarium – which substrate is best?

This is down to personal preference, here are some of the most common options:

  • Sand
  • Ceramic tiles
  • Paper towels
  • Reptile carpets
  • Lino
  • Newspaper

However, every substrate mentioned has pros and cons, and you will need to research which is the healthiest and least likely to upset your beardie. An example is sand. Sand may seem like the most realistic habitat impersonation, but what newcomers may not realise is that sand can cause health issues like impaction. Impaction is where the bearded dragon swallows the sand accidentally via eating off of the substrate, the sand can then irritate the digestive system and cause a blockage, in worst cases this can then become fatal.

Interested in other reptiles? Take a look at our blog on what makes leopard geckos great pets.

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