If you are a beginner when it comes to bearded dragons and you are looking for a cheap starter bearded dragon terrarium now, you should definitely check out what I have compiled here for you.
I know that it can be quite hard to set up your first terrarium right, that is why I have done this for you. This terrarium is complete and ready for your baby bearded dragon.
If you are interested in a complete terrarium for adult bearded dragons, click here!
This terrarium is for people who want to get a baby bearded dragon and need a cheap first baby tank for their new friend.
Best terrarium on a tight budget
I know that a lot of people can´t immediately spend a lot of money on a bearded dragon tank, but want a bearded dragon really bad. Many of those people buy low quality tanks then and lose their dragon because of that.
So if you want a dragon badly, but can´t afford a more expensive tank, don´t worry. This tank is absolutely fine for your baby bearded dragon and it will be great for the first months.
The tank is an all-glass tank with a screened top. This is very important, because you have to put your lighting on the top of the cage and you want to prevent other animals from getting into the cage. Further you want to have a screened top for fresh air inside the tank.
The tank measures 24 inches long by 12 inches wide and 16 inches tall. For a new reptile tank this 20 gallon tank is very cheap and has the right size for your baby bearded dragon.
Further this all-glass tank has a very positive Amazon rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars. So you can´t do anything wrong with this tank.
Especially for beginners setting up the right lighting for your bearded dragon cage can be very hard and that is where most beginners fail in the beginning. When I was a beginner I got a completely wrong lighting.
However, the lights I am going to show you are definitely a great choice.
The ZooMed ReptiSun 10.0
The Zoo Med ReptiSun 10.0 is the best of the best when it comes to UVB bulbs. In fact most bearded dragon breeders and pet shops use this light, because it is just awesome.
It has a high UVB output and this bulb is also recommended for use above the screencover. The screencover can filter out up to 50% of the UVB wavelengths, but for this bulb that´s no problem.
You can find hundreds of positive reviews on Amazon of the Zoo Med ReptiSun 10.0. People think this bulb is phenomenal and a must have for reptile owner and I think the same here. Your bearded dragons will show their best natural behavior with this bulb and you won´have any problems regarding metabolic bone disease.
The bulb also provides a good looking light. Light is very important for your bearded dragon, you do not want to have a tank which is almost dark.
I really believe in this product and I am not the only one who thinks that this is the best UVB/UVA light. An Amazon rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars speaks for itself.
At the moment the Zoo Med ReptiSun costs around 20 bucks, which is a steal! There are a lot of more expensive UVB bulbs out there which do not provide a good light and are not nearly efficient as the Zoo Med ReptiSun.
Further the ZooMed ReptiSun can also be used for bigger tanks. The UVB output of this bulb is high enough for that.
Note: The UVB Output of such bulbs decrease over time. Make sure that you change the bulb every 6 months.
Get The UVB Bulb + Fixture Here!
Light Fixture for ReptiSun
Update: You no longer need an additional fixture for the UVB bulb. The UVB bulb I recommend above comes with a fixture that is perfect for the recommended tank.
The light fixture I recommend is more high quality then the light fixtures of the common manufacturers in the reptile scene. Besides that it is way cheaper than all the other light fixtures. $12 for this fixture is an awesome price.
The fixture comes with a wired ungrounded plug and with a pre-installed bulb. Before you remove the pre-installed bulb, test the fixture first so you do not have to test it with your ReptiSun.
The entire fixture is made of plastic, which is good, since it means that the fixture is light weight. You have to place the fixture on the screencover of your tank and you do not want to place a heavy fixture on it.
Of course this product also has a lot of positive reviews on Amazon and a very high rating. It has 256 customer reviews and 4.2 out of 5 stars. This is another awesome product.
Note: You have to be an Amazon Prime Member to purchase this fixture. You can simply test the Amazon Prime membership for free for 30 days, so you can get this fixture. If you do not want to stay a Prime member, simply cancel it within the 30 days. This way you get this awesome fixture quickly and you do not have to pay a dollar for Prime 🙂
There is not really much to say about the heating bulb. You can´t really do anything wrong with this. It is a simple 100W incandescent bulb which provide warmth and a lot of light.
You do not have to buy the expensive “reptile heating lamps”. This is just BS, most of the reptile heating lamps are really bad, they are expensive as hell, many of them burn out within two weeks and do not provide a good looking light.
The light of the light bulb I recommend is white, which is very important in my opinion, since bearded dragons do not so well with other types of light.
Further, this is a 4-Pack, so if one burns out, you can use one of the three other bulbs which you have in reserve.
If you want to set up a bigger tank when your bearded dragon gets bigger, you can simply use this bulb again, since the 100W bulb is great for any tank size. However if you think that might be too hot for that tank size, you can also choose the 60W version of this light bulb.
If it is too warm, hang the bulb a little higher above the tank. If the temperature is too low, simply raise the basking spot in your terrarium.
Zoo Med Clamp Lamp fixture
The fixture for the heat bulb has a porcelain socket. You can use heating bulbs up to 150W with it. I use this clamp lamp fixture for a very long time and I never had problems with it.
This clamp lamp is the #1 Amazon Best Seller and has a very positive rating. It has over 300 customer reviews and a rating of 4.1 out of 5 stars.
Reptile Cage Carpet
The reptile carpet is made out of absorbent, non-abrasive material. Further it reduces the “reptile” smell.
Everyone who smelled a bearded dragon poop knows, that it doesn´t smell like Chanel No. 5 🙂 so this is really good.
Why carpet? Well, baby bearded dragon tend to lick on everything, since they want to explore the world. Besides that they get really quick and hectic when they see food.
If you would use sand as a substrate in your tank, you baby might eat too much sand while hunting crickets. This can cause impaction and many reptiles die from that.
Other people use newspaper or normal paper towel as a substrate. To be honest, I am not even the biggest fan of reptile carpet. I would never use paper towel or newspaper as a substrate. There is a difference between living and existing and I do not want my bearded dragons to only exist.
Reptile carpet will be okay for the first months, if you want to know what substrate I use, simply have a look at this article: Bearded Dragon substrate. (This article opens in a new window, so you can continue to read here after you are done with it.)
The carpet itself is a very good product with a very high rating on Amazon. It has 189 customer reviews and a rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars.
Further it is easy to clean. If it is dirty, simply rinse with water and reuse it.
There is really not much to say about the thermometer. It definitely gets the job done and has a high ratingon Amazon. It has 130 customer reviews and a rating of 3.8 out of 5 stars.
Make sure that you place it in your basking spot and in your colder area after that to see if the temperature in your tank is okay.
Of course there are better thermometer than this one, but it is cheap and it works. For your first cheap bearded dragon tank, this is totally fine.
If you want to see which thermometer I really recommend, have a look at this article: Bearded Dragon Lighting.(This article opens in a new window, so you can continue to read here after you are done with it.)
Get This Thermometer Here!
Of course you need more
This terrarium is ready for your baby bearded dragon to survive, but it is not really complete. Use stone or something like that to create a basking spot. Maybe create a few caverns with stone, for your baby, so it can hide. Make sure that those caverns are safe and do not collapse. Besides that the hiding place should be on the cold side of the terrarium so the bearded dragon can get away from the heat if it wants to.
Maybe put in a few plants, which bearded dragons are allowed to eat. Use a few big wood sticks where your bearded dragons can climb and lie on. There are a lot of accessories for bearded dragons which you can buy, but for your first tank, you do not really need it. Use what you can find outside, wash it thoroughly with hot water. After it dried place it in your tank.
Create a great home for your bearded dragon, do not just put it in the terrarium and watch it. Make sure it feels comfortable. It is a living being!
What you should know
You should place your tank in a more quite place. Bearded dragons can be very sensitive and especially in the beginning, they need time to get used to their new home. It won´t be good for the mental well-being of your beardie if you place the tank in a more “crowded” and loud place in your house.
Please note that this is a tank for baby bearded dragons. When your dragon gets bigger, you need a bigger tank.
Why this terrarium?
A lot of people ask me why I do not buy used terrariums. Well I did that in the past. Once I bought a used terrarium and did not clean it correctly. My bearded dragon got sick, because the reptile that lived in it before had a disease.
It was my fault, but I would never risk that again. You have to keep in mind that you do not only get a living being and you do not want it to die, because you love it, you also spent a lot of money for a bearded dragon.
So that´s it, I am sure you will be very happy with this terrarium. I wish you a lot of fun with your bearded dragon. Always take good care of it!
Do you have any questions about this bearded dragon terrarium? Simply leave a message in the comment section below. I will answer all of your questions and I always get back to my readers quickly.
How do you clean the tank if you use excavator clay?
normally i just pick it up or scratch it off. You can also use a slightly wet sponge to clean it.
Hey, can you post pictures of your set up with the excavator clay??? I haven’t been able to find any good inspirations for my beardie’s enclosure. 🙁
sorry for my late reply. At the moment I am remodeling my bearded dragon tank, so I can´t post a current picture at the moment. As soon as I am done with the tank, I will post a picture here. Maybe I can also find an old picture when I dig deep in my computer´s harddrive.
Sorry that I can´t help you at this moment. However what I can recommend you is, just place one balloon in one of the corners of the tank. Then fill the tank completely with the clay, which I recommend in this article and make sure that the ballon is almost completely covered except one spot, which will be the entry of the cave later. When the clay dried out, simply pop the balloon and the cave is ready.
This way you have an awesome foundation to create a great environment for your dragon. Add a basking spot, plants and branches to create a natural habitat.
I want to make a tank of my own using screen, melamine, glass and a ventilation at the front. It will be relative good size in my opinion 160 by 80 by 80. I heard somewhere that bigger is better and I really want to give my animals all the space they deserve. But for baby dragons I don’t believe that a big cage is that smart for catching their crickets ect. Anyway I wanted to hear your opinion on a diy tank and also on the size for baby dragons.
(sorry if I made any grammar or spelling mistakes, I’m dutch 🙂 and thanks in advantage)
a neighbour from the Netherlands. (I am from Germany.
Great tank size!
Simply supervise your baby while feeding and make sure that it catches a lot of crawlies.
No need for a smaller tank then 🙂
Hey, I really want a bearded dragon, and I’m curious to see how large of a tank an adult will need. I don’t want to make an animal suffer too small of a space. Thanks for everything so far!
in my opinion 59 x 31 x 31 inch is a good size. However most people actually do not buy such a big terrarium. In this article I show you how to create a big tank on a relatively small budget. Big Beardie Tank!
However this is still not big enough if you do not take your dragon out of its cage to run around in your room or in your garden or simply outside on a leash.
Bearded Dragons might seem lazy sometimes, but they actually need some natural exercise like walking, running, chasing food etc.
All the best,