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Bearded Dragons

Housing Basic Setup

Your bearded dragon needs as much space as possible to move around, exercise and explore. When you first bring home your new beardy, it will likely seem very small inside most enclosures, but they grow fast! Keep your enclosure clutter free to begin with (it only needs a basking spot, water and food bowl) and only add one thing at a time once it starts to grow larger, this will aid in enhancing its hunting instinct which is very important. Too much clutter makes it hard to hunt for a small baby. Do not house 2 bearded dragons together regardless of size or sex as the risk is too big in our opinion.

Bearded Dragons

Melamine Enclosure

We recommend nothing smaller than a 1200w x 600h x 600d (4 ft x 2 ft x 2 ft) made from Melamine or wood. We use enclosures made from Melamine with sliding glass doors and vents cut into the enclosure to the rear of the heat globe. Below is the design we recommend, round vents on the front in lower section are also a good option .

Bearded Dragons
Bearded Dragons


Many substrates are available, such as sand, gravel, natural fibres as well as artificial turf etc.
I personally choose to use artificial turf (short length fibres) for my juveniles and adults as its easier for me to clean and hunting for insects is easier especially for the babies. As long as water is available along with correct lighting and heating, I have no health issues with these substrates.
Substrate regardless of what it is should also be cleaned regularly. I keep a spare piece of turf and clean the dirty piece when necessary.

Bearded Dragons
Bearded Dragons

Heating and Lighting

Bearded dragons are diurnal, which means that they are active during the day and sleep at night. They LOVE the sun. In fact, their parietal (third) eye uses bright light to set the dragon’s circadian rhythm and activity patterns. In other words:

  • They must have strong, reliable UVB lighting.

  • Plenty of bright, white light is needed for energy, appetite, and mental health.

While kept in captivity bearded dragons should ideally receive around 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness. Hours of light can be adjusted shorter in Winter and longer in Summer. Heating should also follow this same pattern. No heating or lighting is required at all outside of these times.

Bearded Dragons

Heating - Like all reptiles, bearded dragons need heat to digest and maintain their immune systems. Without it, they get sick and die. Bearded dragons are cold blooded basking lizards, they use heat most effectively from an overhead heat source that mimics the sun. Do not use heat mats, overhead heat should be used to heat the basking spot.
Since they are cold-blooded, bearded dragons need a temperature gradient in their enclosure in order to be able to regulate their body temperature. Although they can tolerate very high basking temperatures, they need to be able to escape to cooler areas in the enclosure to prevent overheating.
While there are many reptile heating lights available, you only need to use standard heat globes such as the Osram brand at Bunnings. For a 1200mm enclosure you should only need a 75 or watt heat light globe to heat up your basking spot.
Your tank should have a hot end and a cool end, while the cool end should be around 28 degrees while the hot end (basking spot) should get up to around 42 - 45 degrees. An even temperature gradient will then be the result. While there are many ways to do this, I find it is best achievable by the following:
*I place my thermostat probe at the bottom of the cool end of the tank set at 28 degrees.
*I then adjust the height of my basking spot higher or lower from the heat source to a distance where it will reach around 42 – 45 degrees surface temp not air temp. (usually around 15cm) By setting up this way I get a nice toasty basking spot and a nice cool end. The temps in between are somewhat irrelevant as they will be somewhere in between, and your beardy will choose what is comfortable for it. Heat lamps must be connected to a thermostat and no heating is required at night unless the enclosure is likely to drop below 5 degrees.

Bearded Dragons

Thermostat - Heating in your enclosure must be controlled by a Thermostat as stated in the above section. Below is an example of the Inkbird Thermostats we use.

UVB Lighting - Bearded dragons must have a reliable source of UVB lighting.
The Zoo Med ReptiSun 10.0 T5 HO UVB, Arcadia Desert 12% or similar brand T5’s are fluorescent bulbs that don’t produce heat but provide plenty of good quality UVB for bearded dragons in a 60cm tall enclosure. These bulbs are T5 fluorescents, which means that they have a stronger UVB output than standard T8s. They also last longer — up to a year! For maximum effectiveness and safety, the bulb should be roughly a minimum of 1/2 the length of your enclosure and placed on the same side as your heat lamps with an overlap. You will need to be careful about the distance between the basking area and the UVB bulb, as UVB strength actually varies depending on distance from the bulb, and whether it’s mounted over or under

Bearded Dragons

Food and Water

Food - As a baby your new bearded dragon has been fed on a variety of live insects including crickets. woodies and black soldier fly larvae. It has also been offered vegetables daily which normally include rocket, continental parsley, coriander, choy sum, grated carrot and butternut pumpkin. Fresh food should be replaced daily.

  • Insects are to be fed once to twice daily. The amount fed and for how long depends on the type of feed. As a rule, if you are feeding insects that are harder to catch and need to be hunted such as crickets and woodies, you should feed as much as your beardy can eat in around 5 minutes. For insects where no effort is required to catch such as BSFL or kingworms I generally feed a volume of around the size of their head.

  •  Vegetables are made available always but your beardy may not seem to be interested in these. Fresh vegetables should be made available roughly half hour before insects.

Water – For the first week or so after the baby beardies first hatch water is made available by misting the sides of their enclosure or whatever item they are basking on. After the first week we make a small shallow water dish available all the time. Some beardies will readily drink from a dish and some wont. Generally, a bearded dragon should satisfy much of its water intake through the food it eats. Fresh water should be made available daily.
Calcium Powder – We sprinkle calcium + D3 powder daily on all vegetables as well as coating all insects. Combined with the correct UVB lighting in the above section your beardy should never suffer from MBD.

Black Soldier Fly Larvae (BSFL)

Bearded Dragons


Bearded Dragons


Bearded Dragons

Calcium with D3

Bearded Dragons


Bathing your beardy is not an absolute requirement although bathing your beardy 1 - 2 times a week in lukewarm water can help it hydrate as some prefer to drink this way. Bathing can also aid your bearded dragon shed more easily by lubricating between the old scales and new scales to help them to release easier. You will also notice that bathing also helps your beardy poo, while you do not want your baby to rely on bathing to poo, some will constantly poo in their own water bowl regardless! Once this happens remove your beardies immediately and replace the water.


Shopping List

The following is what must be purchased with a guide of where to purchase.

  • Melamine enclosure with glass doors dimensions of 1200 x 600 x 600 (B & K Bearded Dragons when in stock)

  • T5 fitting and tube (B & K Bearded Dragons)

  • Ceramic heat fitting, 1 or 2 (B & K Bearded Dragons)

  • Heat lamps, not red or not Ceramic Heat Emitters. (B & K Bearded Dragons)

  • Thermostat. (B & K Bearded Dragons)

  • Analogue Timer (Bunnings)

  • Double adaptor (Bunnings)

  • 7mm Artificial turf x 2 or play sand (Bunnings)

  • Water bowl (Anything that holds water, reptile bowls are overpriced)

  • Food bowl (Anything that holds food, reptile bowls are overpriced)

  • Food: Crickets, woodies or BSFL recommended.

  • Calcium with D3


The following is what can be sourced elsewhere but must be thoroughly cleaned and sanitised first.

  • Dry logs or branches to use as a basking spot. (natives)

  • Rock to use as a basking spot.

Do not be pushed into buying the following unnecessary items

  • Red lights

  • Ceramic heat emitters

  • Light cages

  • Thermometer

  • Hygrometer

  • Glass locks unless you have small children who may be tempted to open the enclosure.

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