Create A Huge Bearded Dragon Habitat For $360

How To Setup a Bearded Dragon Habitat For Only 360If you have a big bearded dragon and need to create a huge bearded dragon habitat, you will be very satisfied with the tank I compiled for you here. I know that it can be hard for beginners to get the right tank, the right tank size, the right lighting, the right substrate and so on and so forth.

This terrarium is complete and it is ready for your bearded dragon to move in. So you do not have to do any further research, there is no need to get confused.

Need Help With Setting Up Your Bearded Dragon Tank? Get My Personal Help! Click Here To Learn More!

I know it, because when I needed to create my first terrarium I was totally confused and made a lot of mistakes. Also I wasted a lot of money, because I bought the wrong parts or I bought low quality parts which did not do a good job.

Huge Tank And Great Lighting!

Compared to all the tanks you can find on the internet, this is one of the biggest tanks you can get at an affordable price. Normally I would recommend to get a tank that is a little bit larger, but those tanks easily cost almost $500. If you can give your bearded dragon the opportunity to get outside the tank and run around in your room or in your garden from time to time, this tank is definitely okay.

The lighting is the most confusing part when it comes to terrariums and I totally understand that. The UVB lighting I have here for you is one the best, I am sure that every experienced bearded dragon owner will agree with me here.

Why You Should Get This Online

I am sure you have been at a local pet shop before. Have you seen the prices there? It is ridiculous.

If you order these parts online, you definitely will save a lot of money and I am sure that everyone who compared the online prices with the prices of a local pet shop will agree here.

Further many salespersons (I am not saying all of them) at local pet shops provide a bad service and recommend parts which are low quality and even can have a negative influence on the health of your bearded dragons.

Here is what you need for a complete terrarium


bearded dragon terrarium


Exo Terra Glass Terrarium, 36 by 18 by 18-Inch


bearded dragon lighting

Zoo Med ReptiSun® 10.0 High Output UVB Fluorescent Bulb 17 Watts, 24-Inch

Update: While the ReptiSun 10.0 is still the best UVB bulb you can get on the market, the fixture I recommend below caused some problems lately. That´s why I recommend to get the ReptiSun T5 24″ Terrarium hood instead. It is a fixture plus a ReptiSun 5.0 UVB bulb, which is not strong as the 10.0. However you can replace the 5.0 with the 10.0 easily after 6 months. You an also take the 36″ version for a brighter tank.

terrarium lighting fixture

Zoo Med ReptiSun® Terrarium Hood, 30-Inch

Update: The 30-Inch Terrarium Hood got some bad reviews in the last time. It seems that there is a manufacturing problem. Get this highly rated fixture+lighting instead! (The fixture even comes with a ReptiSun bulb!)

bearded dragon light


Bulbrite 100A/RS 100W 130V Incandescent Rough Service A19 Bulb


reptile tank lighting fixtureZoo Med Deluxe Porcelain Clamp Lamp with 8.5-Inch Dome, Black


bearded dragon substrate


Zilla Terrarium Liner, 40/50G, Brown


bearded dragon thermometer



Zoo Med Digital Terrarium Thermometer



This habitat only contains really high rated parts. You won´t have any problems with it, you only have to set it up once and that´s it.

The Tank

bearded dragon enslosureAn Exo Terra Terrarium stands for high quality and so does this tank. It is 36 inches long, 18 inches deep and 18 inches wide. (You could also get the 36″x18″x36″ which is even better) This Exo Terra Tank comes with a screencover, so you do not have to buy that separately. Just place your lights on the screencover and you are good to go, since the screencover allows UVB penetration. There is no need for a lamp stand or something like that.

This tank also has front opening doors, which I think are really great. I like front opening doors, because it is easier to work in the terrarium plus it is better for your bearded dragon if you want to get it out. Why? Well, like all reptiles bearded dragons do not like to be grabbed from above.

They might tolerate it, because most of them are pretty calm, but in the wild, everything that comes from above could be a predator bird for example and that, of course, means danger.

The second reason why I really like these doors is because Exo Terra has a unique front window ventilation which ensures that your bearded dragon always gets enough fresh air. Fresh air gets trough the front window ventilation and stagnant air leaves through the screen cover on the top of the terrarium. Don´t worry feeder insects are not able to escape through the ventilation.

Further the Exo Terra terrarium includes a natural-looking rock background. If you do not know it: Those backgrounds are normally ridiculously expensive. Normally those cost around $40 bucks or even more, which is a joke in my opinion. So it is great that this tank also includes the background.

I am not the only person who thinks that this terrarium is great. This terrarium has a ton of customer reviews on Amazon and most of them rate it very highly!

Get The Tank Here!

The Lighting

As I already said, lighting is the hardest part in my opinion when it comes to reptile enclosures. You have to make sure that you have a UVB bulb, that you have enough light, the right temperature and so on.With this set you are on the safe side!

bearded dragon lightsReptiSun 10.0I said it already a thousand times, but I have to say it again: The ReptiSun 10.0 is one of the best UVB bulbs out there in my opinion. This bulb is one of the most used and most recommended UVB bulbs. Many, many breeders and pet shops only use this bulb for UVB. You ask why? It has a great UVB output it is very reliable and it is cheap as well! Not even $20 for a great UVB bulb is an awesome price.

UVB bulbs are needed to prevent metabolic bones disease, therefore you need a good UVB output. The ReptiSun is made for placing it on a screen cover, so you do not need to worry that the screen cover would filter out too much of the UVB wavelengths. It doesn´t! 🙂

The bulb has a length of 24 inches and in my opinion this is perfect for the Exo Terra Tank above. Besides that the bulb also provides a good looking bright light which is very important for bearded dragons. The more light the better.

Get The ReptiSun 10.0 Here!

Please note that UVB bulbs should be changed every six months since the UVB output decreases and that can cause mental health problems on your bearded dragon.

Update: While the ReptiSun 10.0 is still the best UVB bulb you can get on the market, the fixture I recommend below caused some problems lately. That´s why I recommend to get the ReptiSun T5 24″ Terrarium hood instead. It is a fixture plus a ReptiSun 5.0 UVB bulb, which is not as strong as the 10.0. However you can replace the 5.0 with the 10.0 easily after six months.

terrarium lighting fixReptiSun Terrarium Hood

You need a fixture for T8 bulbs if you buy the ReptiSun 10.0. This fixture was made for the ReptiSun. You can simply place it on the screen cover of your tank and that´s it. It also has a build-in reflector to make your tank shine bright and get the most out of your light.

Get The ReptiSun Terrarium Hood Here!

Update: The 30-Inch Terrarium Hood got some bad reviews in the last time. It seems that there is a manufacturing problem. Get this highly rated fixture+lighting instead! (The fixture even comes with a ReptiSun 5.0 bulb!)

The heat lamp

bearded dragon light spotThe heat lamp is nothing spectacular and this exactly is the point here. You do not need anything spectacular. You do not need any of the common reptile basking spot heat lights or something like that.

If you already have the UVB bulb, all you need is warmth and additional light, that´s it. A normal incandescent light bulb will provide all you need.

I do not use those basking lamps from common manufacturers even if they have a high rating on Amazon or other online stores. Most of those bulbs burn out within two weeks and besides that, they are totally overpriced, because they are advertised as special reptile bulbs.

This normal incandescent 100W light bulb provides warmth and it provides a good looking white light.

Needless to say that this normal bulb is way cheaper than all the reptile basking spots.

Get The Heat Lamp Here!

Clamp Lamp

reptile enclosure lighting fixtureThe Zoo Med Deluxe Porcelain Clamp Lamp is a high quality clamp lamp that comes with a porcelain socket. That means you can use it with light bulbs that get very hot. It is rated up to 150 watts.

The light bulb does not stick out, so you can place it on the top of your screen cover without any problems.

Further this clamp lamp is very cheap compared to other lighting fixtures. Not even $12 is an awesome deal.

Of course this is another highly rated prodcut I have chosen.

Get The Clamp Lamp Here!

Digital Terrarium Thermometer

bearded dragon terrarium thermometerYou need a good thermometer to check the temperature in your bearded dragon cage. For that I recommend to use a thermometer with an external sensor for such a big tank.

Simply place the sensor on the cool side first and after you checked that, place the sensor in the basking spot to make sure that you get the right temperature in your tank.

Temperature is shown in Fahrenheit and Celsius and it has a LCD readout.

Of course this thermometer has a very positive rating on Amazon (you probably guessed it, lol).

Get The Thermometer Here!

There are also other thermometers I recommend, however it can be a little bit more expensive. If you are interested in that have a look at this article on terrarium lighting. Note: This article will open in a new window, so you can continue to read here!

Reptile carpet

reptile carpetMany people, especially in the U.S. use reptile carpet as a substrate for their bearded dragons. You should not use loose sand as a substrate, because your bearded dragon might eat sand while hunting crickets. This can lead to constipation … a lot of bearded dragons die from that.

That´s why most bearded dragon owners stay away from any loose substrate. The reptile carpet definitely does the job. It is easy to place in your tank and it is also easy to clean.

It also reduces the smell of the beardie poop. Everyone who smelled a dragon poop before knows why this is a good thing. Most probably most people who smelled a beardie poop before lost their scent I am just kidding. 🙂

I recommend to wash the carpet before using it with hot water.So the reptile carpet is the inexpensive alternative to a normal bearded dragon substrate. However what exactly is a normal bearded dragon substrate?I like to keep it natural with my dragon tanks, that is why I normally use another substrate. If you are interested in that, you can read about it here: Substrate.Note: The article will open in a new window, so you can continue to read here after you are done with it.

However do not get me wrong here, the reptile carpet is a good solution, otherwise I would not name it here, I just like to let my bearded dragons dig.

Get The Reptile Carpet Here!

You will need more, but it won´t cost you anything!

Of course you need more for a complete tank, however you got the basics and your bearded dragon will do good in this terrarium.

You have to decorate it with a few plants, rocks or pieces of wood, so your bearded dragon can climb and hide.

I recommend to create a cave with stones on the cool side of the terrarium. This way your bearded dragon can escape from the heat if it wants to. Further you should create a basking spot, where your bearded dragon is able to relax in the “sun”.

I do not recommend to use stones at the basking spot, those can get really hot and that can burn the skin of your dragon.

I also recommend to upgrade the lighting a little bit. Bearded dragons like light a lot and you should have a very bright tank.

So as you see, small stones or pieces of wood do not cost anything. You can take them from outside, but make sure, that you wash it before placing it in your tank.beast bearded dragon tank setup

Do this before you get your bearded dragon!

I highly recommend to check the terrarium before you get your bearded dragon.

Make sure that everything is okay with the cage. Check the temperature, do you have the right temperature on both sides of the tank?

I recommend to run the tank a couple of days before getting a beardie. This ways you do not have to deal with unexpected problems.

Also make sure that you place your terrarium in a quite place. Bearded dragons are sensitive, especially when they arrive at their new home. Give your new friend a little bit of time to get used to everything 🙂

Why this terrarium?

Many people ask me: Pierre, why don´t you just buy a used tank, it is much cheaper. Yeah it is, but you have to disinfect it thouroughly. If the used tank is infected and you do not clean and disinfect it properly, your bearded dragon might get sick.

That means going to the vet, which can be very expensive. It means my bearded dragons suffers, it means my bearded dragon might die.

Happened to me once, I will never do this again.

So this is why I only get new tanks.

That´s it! I am sure you will be happy with this bearded dragon habitat! I wish you a good start with your bearded dragon, I know you are going to have a lot of fun with it 🙂

If you have any questions, or if you have any problems, please do not hesitate to contact me. Simply leave me a message in the comment section below and I will be more than happy to help you out!

What do you think about this cage? Tell me about it in the comment section below!

All the best,



About the Author


Hey! I am Pierre. I own bearded dragons and many other reptiles for a very long time. I know from experience that it can be very hard to find the right information about a specific reptile, since there is so much misinformation out there.That´s why I created this website. To help other people to have the best time with their reptiles.

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I have 2 dragon s same habits. Siblings. Many eggs. Probably 6 year old.


    Hey Tammy,

    great to hear that your bearded dragons laid eggs in this habitat 🙂 However if I understood correctly, your beardies are siblings. You should be careful with that, siblings should not mate, the babys could suffer from that.

    I hope your dragons are fine 🙂

    Thank you for your comment Tammy!



should the styrofoam backing be inside the cage? the dragon doesnt eat it?

Also, What do you use to sterilize the tank and how ofteN?




    Hey Beth,

    yes, those backgrounds should be placed inside the cage. Your dragon won´t eat it, don´t worry 🙂

    Regarding the cleaning of your tank, I recommend using this product here: Zoo Med Wipe Out 1 Disinfectant, 32 oz

    I am using it for years now and I never had problems with it. How often you have to clean it depends on your dragon. Most people “deep clean” their tanks every 6 months, but if you see that your tank is completely dirty you can of course clean it after 3 months or so. That is totally up to you!




    Ah, and if you are interested in a cool background for you dragon cage, have a look at this article here: Bearded Dragon Backgrounds!
    I´ve compiled a few very, very cool backgrounds for terrariums there 🙂




Hi Pierre,
I noticed in your set-up that you do not have an under tank heater and you do not mention getting one.


    Hey Anette,

    that´s right.

    Well, I live in Germany and it is pretty cold here throughout the year (especially this year, lol).
    However I never had problems with too low temperature even though it is not pretty warm here.

    In my opinion those under tank heater or other heaters that you are supposed to use to maintain the temperature at night are a waste of money. I own dragons for a very long time now and I never had any problems without under tank heaters.

    Hope that helps,



I have 2 dragons. I got them from a pet store, one male and female. Didn’t do that on purpose. I want the perfect habitat for them. They love to climb. These are my first. I love them dearly and want them to be happy and safe. I welcome any suggestions please.


    Hey Helen,

    I am very sorry for my late answer, but I was extremely busy in the last time.

    Awesome to hear that you got yourself two pet dragons. However please remember that not all bearded dragons get along well with each other. If they start attacking each other, you should separate them.

    Now to your question: If your bearded dragons are relatively small, they will perfectly fit in the habitat you can see on this site above. If they get bigger and need more space, you have to give them more room to be active. You should definitely get them out their tank once per day if you want to continue to use this tank.

    Although I would recommend to get a bigger tank for two dragons, or you get two tanks of the size I recommend in the article above.

    It really depends on their size and how well they get along with each other at the moment and in the future. Sorry that I can´t get more specific.




Hello, I just have four quick questions.
1. What wattage should my lights be if I have a 48.5×15.5×17.25 tank?
2. How many gallons is that according to the measurements?
3. If I get a reptile hammock, would that go on the cool side or the warm side of the tank?
4. Is it recommended to have a regular screen lid for the tank? Are there any that you know of that have a hinged door in the center?
thank you!


    Hey Cassandra,

    thank you for your comment! 🙂

    1. It depends on how warm it is in the “reptile room”, but the lighting I recommend in this article should do the job. Simply monitor the temperature of the tank. If it gets too hot, hang the heat lamp a little bit higher. This way you can lower the temperature.

    2. It is 53 gallons.

    3. You can put it on both sides. Just don´t put it directly under the heating lamp. Personally, I recommend the cooler side.

    4. If you have a screen lid, crickets or other insects can´t get out of the tank and crawl into your bed 🙂 🙂 That is why I recommend them. You should make sure that your bearded dragon has access to the direct rays of the uvb light. Simply do not use glass, or plastic covers – only mesh.

    There are lids with that kind of door. Unfortunately, they do not fit your tank. So far this Tank Lid here is the only one I could find that fits your tank. Even though it is a little bit too long.

    Have fun with your beardie!



I bought all your recommendations for my very first bearded dragon. Thanks! However as he’s a baby, that I got from the pet store, I’m not sure the temperature is right for him. Its normally between 79-100. He seems to sit under the spot light most of the time and not anywhere else. The cage also seems a bit dark on one side due to the 24 in bulb not reaching all the way. Do I need to get him another spot light or something till he’s bigger? Thanks for any help.


    Hey Lea,

    Did you buy a 100W bulb?
    What is the temperature under the hot spot? It should be around 105.

    It seems like it is too cold in your tank and your beardie can not get on temperature under the heat bulb. Try to raise the temperature by moving the heat bulb closer to the basking spot.
    Of course you can get more light bulbs for your tank. I even recommend that, because beardies need a lot of light.

    The tank that I recommend in this article is just a very basic set up. You can and should add more stuff to it 🙂

    Hope this helps, Lea!



What UVB light is needed for a tank that is 36 inches high? I know that the distance from light to lizard matters.


    Hey Janice,

    you can use the light recommended in this article.
    The Reptisun delivers UVB to 20 inches, however the distance to your dragon should be 6-8 inches.

    All the best,


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