Before you rush out and buy a reptile, such as the majestic Bearded Dragon, you have to set up the vivarium. The environment has to be right in order to help your Bearded Dragon remain in good health. By having the set up ready and waiting you can reduce the stress of the move for your new pet and ensure the transition runs as smoothly as possible. Here are a few tips to help:

Get the Right Size

There are all sorts of vivarium’s available but you will need to find one that is the right size for your reptile. If you don’t have a lot of space in your home you might be better off choosing a different pet as Bearded Dragons and other reptiles do need a suitable amount of space. The very minimum length for a small Bearded Dragon is approximately 48inches. The more space you’re able to provide the better as 48 inches is in fact the minimum length that an adult requires.

Setting the Temperature

Heating is vital in the vivarium so the bearded dragon is able to thermo-regulate naturally. Have a hot end and a cooler end, creating a gradient of heat. If there isn’t enough heat the bearded dragon will become ill as it won’t be able to digest its food properly. If the vivarium is too hot there is a risk of overheating, so both extremes of temperature can be fatal. Ideally the basking spot area of the vivarium should be between 40.5 to 43.5 degrees Celsius and the cooler end needs to sit comfortably between 23.5 and 29.5 degrees Celsius.  Using a thermostat and a thermometer will help you to regulate the temperatures and keep an eye on things.

The Basking Spot

The heated end of the vivarium is where you place the basking light. Bearded dragons require around 12 hours of UVB lighting and heat each day and the basking bulb will provide the heat required. Don’t use a heat mat as unlike other reptiles bearded dragons don’t absorb heat through their underside.

If you’re not likely to be home a timer can be a useful addition. When the light is off, at night time, you’ll need to ensure the heat doesn’t drop below 15.5 degrees Celsius. Ceramic heat emitters with a thermostat can ensure the temperature remains at a suitable level. You could also consider using insulating the vivarium.

Suitable Substrates for Bearded Dragons

You have to be careful when choosing a substrate to use in a bearded dragon set up. Don’t make your choice based on aesthetics. Pick a substrate such as paper towels for young baby dragons and you can use a textured tile for both young and adult dragons. Never use the calci-sands, repti-sands, gravels or shells as your dragon could ingest them and have impaction as a result, which can be fatal.


You’ll probably want to make the vivarium look good and there are all sorts of decorations available. The décor is not only about being pleasing to the eye; it’s also good to recreate a natural environment for your bearded dragon. They enjoy basking and climbing on different levels. Create a great environment by using rocks, logs and even bamboo.

If you’re setting up your vivarium please take a look at our new reptile supplies available online and in store.

Setting Up a Vivarium for a Bearded Dragon
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