Getting a bearded dragon for a pet? Here is a checklist of supplies and accessories you’ll need for a bearded dragon.
How to Prepare for a Bearded Dragon
If you are thinking about getting a bearded dragon as a pet, you should have everything you need ready to go before you bring it home.
Below is a list of supplies and accessories you’ll need for your bearded dragon, with descriptions and tips.
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Bearded Dragon Supplies and Accessories Checklist
Here is the list of supplies and accessories to have for a bearded dragon tank (descriptions of everything below):
- Ventilated screen lid
- Heat lamp
- UVB light
- Outlet/ Power Strip
- Misting bottle
- Hide-out/ cave
- Basking rock
- Food dish
- Tank cleaning solution
- Sponges/ paper towels/ sand scoop
- Rubber gloves
- Container for bathing
Bearded Dragon Tank Size
For juvenile bearded dragons, a 20-40 gallon tank is a good start. Once the beardie starts to grow into young adulthood and is almost near full size, a bigger tank will be needed.
TIP: Bearded dragons reach full adulthood between 11-18 months.
Adult bearded dragons can be up to 2ft long. They need a larger tank, between 75-120 gallons.
The most common type of tank is a glass tank, but there are others made from plastic and wood.
If you choose a glass tank, it’s recommended that you get some sort of background for the tank. Some bearded dragons might get startled by their own reflection and it can make them nervous.
Make sure the tanks have a ventilated, screen lid. The screen needs to be strong enough to hold up lights if they are not otherwise on clamps or stands.
TIP: You’re going to be plugging a few items in, including lights and heat lamps. It’d be beneficial to get a power strip like this one that is designed with a timer and 4 daytime/nighttime alternating outlets and 4 constant power outlets.
What Do Bearded Dragons Need in Their Tank
Bearded dragons originated in Australia, living in dry, arid, and rocky conditions. Because of the type of terrain in their habitat, with sticks and rocks on the ground, they are pretty decent climbers.
In a bearded dragon tank, you should start with the substrate, or the floor essentially, of the tank.
Substrate for a bearded dragon includes loose particle substrate like sand, pellets, or excavator clay, or non-particle substrate like reptile carpet, tiles, newspaper, or shelf liner.
In my experience, the best substrate has been tile, especially tile with a rough texture. Not only is it easy to clean, and easy for the bearded dragon to walk on, it also helps to keep nails trimmed. We got our tiles at Home Depot, but you can get them at any hardware store.
Best part? It almost never needs to be replaced!
We tried sand, but I found it to be messy. It was always in our beardie’s eyes and nose, plus in my research I found that it can cause impaction if swallowed, especially for young bearded dragons.
We tried the reptile carpet that came with the tank kit we purchased at first, but it was costly to replace compared to other options.
For a long time we used rubber shelf liner. It was pretty easy to clean and not too expensive to replace.
You can see the rubber liner in the image below. I bought one with a speckled pattern so it fit in more with the dessert theme.
Bearded Dragon Habitat Setup
Once you have decided on the substrate, you’ll be able to add other accessories and supplies into the bearded dragon tank.
Before you put anything in the tank, it’s important to note that the tank will need a hot side and a cool side. Bearded dragons like to bask in the warmth of the sun in the wild, but when they need to cool down, they seek shade and shelter.
To make sure you have the right temperature in the tank, you’ll need at least one thermometer, but some even recommend having two to check for accuracy. In our tank, we have one on the hot side and one on the cool side.
Note: The hot side should be kept around 95-110°F while the cool side should be kept between 75-85°F.
On the ‘hot side’, where your beardie will bask in the warmth of a heat lamp, you’ll want to have a basking rock, hammock, or branches that your beardie can rest on about 10-12 inches below the lamp.
In our tank, we actually have a basking rock that doubles as a hideout.
On the ‘cool side’, where your beardie will take a break from the heat, you can put a hideout, more branches, and a feeding dish. We use two feeding dishes: one for veggies and fruit, and another for worms.
TIP: You don’t really need a water dish in a bearded dragon’s tank. Since they are used to a dry, arid climate, a water bowl may increase humidity in a tank and cause issues. Instead, you can mist your beardie a few times a day with a misting bottle.
If you want to add a bit of green to the tank, plants can add some color to a bearded dragon’s tank. Most people stick to fake plants since beardies might not try to eat them as much, but there are some real plants that are safe for beardies to eat and enjoy as decor. (This post explains which real plants are safe.)
Lights for a Bearded Dragon Tank
Finally, on top of your tank you’ll place different kinds of lights and lamps. These will sit on top of the screen top or can be clamped to the tank. Some can even be on stands near the tank.
Basically, you’ll need a UVB bulb and a heat lamp.
The heat lamp will help your bearded dragon regulate temperature. The warmth helps beardies to digest their food and regulate day and night. It will be on the hot side of the tank, obviously. How much heat is needed depends on tank size.
The UVB bulb helps your bearded dragon to make Vitamin D and to aid in the absorption of calcium, two very important things for their general health and bones. As beardies are prone to metabolic bone diseases, you’ll want to make sure your beardie is getting enough UVB rays to help keep their bones healthy and strong.
Cleaning Supplies for Bearded Dragons
When you’re bearded dragon is finally in the tank, you’ll need to be ready to clean it once droppings start to…um…drop.
Since there’s a chance of salmonella to be present plus other bacteria, you should wear rubber gloves when cleaning up after your beardie.
Depending on your substrate, you’ll also need either a scoop if you use sand or paper towels if you have a flat surface. You can use glass-safe sponges to clean the walls of the tank. Keep all surfaces clean with reptile-safe cleaner.
To keep your beardie clean, you’ll need to bathe him/her regularly. While you can use a sink or tub for a bath, you’ll need to be sure to thoroughly clean it afterward should there be any salmonella or bacteria left behind.
We use a plastic storage container for our bath. We fill it with warm water (not hot, as bearded dragons could be scalded) just up to our beardie’s knees. Soap is not used. We carefully brush his scales with a soft bamboo toothbrush, being careful to follow the direction of his scales. When he’s done, we carefully pat him dry with his towel and put him back in his tank to warm up.
Get a free printable supplies for a bearded dragon checklist in my Resource Library!
Extra Accessories for Bearded Dragons
Once you have your set up for your bearded dragon and have everything you need to keep him/her happy and healthy, you could think about some other accessories to have on hand.
Some bearded dragon owners like to play with their bearded dragons inside and outside. If you have a room where you can safely let your beardie to get out and roam, great! If not, you’ll want to get something like a pet playpen.
You can bring the pet playpen outside (just be sure to have a shady spot or hideout if sun gets too intense), or you can walk your beardie around on a leash. Bearded dragons love to explore in the grass!
It might seem weird, but some bearded dragons like to cuddle up on soft things, like a soft pet bed or in a soft blanket. Our beardie likes to burrow in a soft towel or blanket.
And why not something for the pet parent? Show bearded dragon pride with a shirt or a mug!
Have Everything You Need for a Bearded Dragon?
Are you ready to bring your beardie home? Have any questions? Feel free to ask in the comments below!
As I am not an animal expert, I am not responsible to anything that happens to your pet as a result of the decisions you made for its habitat. Please do research, as I did, before making any purchases. This is just intended to be a basic checklist.