Setting up a terrarium for your dragon can be very hard if you are a beginner. It is very important that you get the right bearded dragon lighting, but especially lighting is a very complicated topic for beginners.
You need the right temperature, UV radiation and so on and so forth.
Before you start reading I want to point out that this is the lighting I recommend, I do not say, that this is the best lighting in the world or whatever. All I say is, that I had a positive experience with the lights I recommend.
What you are going to learn from this article
- How to choose the right light for your dragon.
- How to get the right temperature.
- How to choose the right UV Lighting
- Further, I am going to show you what lighting I use and where you can buy it.
- What you should not do!
You need light in your bearded dragon tank!
There is one mistake most people make when it comes to reptile lighting: They think that every lighting will spend light and warmth. However, that is not the case. Not every lamp will provide warmth and a lot of lamps which provide warmth do not really provide enough light.
However, it is extremely important for bearded dragons to get enough light. Why? Well, they are from Australia, they are used to get a lot of light and you should always try to create a habitat which is very close to their natural habitat in Australia.
Light stimulates their appetite and it is very important for their mental well-being. Further, it should be white light, since bearded dragons do not so well with other types of light. I will show you below which light I use for that.
So other than Hugh Jackman, bearded dragons can´t get too much light.
Bearded Dragon Lighting – Get the right UVB Bulb!
Okay, I do not want to go too deep into this topic, because, in my opinion, this can be a very dry subject.
However, you should know that bearded dragons need UV lighting to stay healthy. If they do not get UV lighting it will have a huge impact on their behavior and on their mental well-being and they will get sick.
Providing the right UV light prevents metabolic bone disease. It promotes the synthesis of Vitamin D3. Without that, their bones will become soft and that will cause deformation of the bones and so on and so forth.
Sounds ugly, huh? It is!
So here is the lighting (click here) I recommend for that plus the fixing, which you are also going to need.
This lighting does not only provide UVB, but it also provides a good looking white light and as I said, you wanna make sure that your bearded dragon gets enough light.
And I am not the only one who thinks that the Repti Sun is awesome. This product has a ton of reviews on Amazon with a very high rating. Do I need to say more?
This is one of the few UVB lights I really recommend. I would not go with another light than this. The reason for that is very simple. There are UVB lights which cause I problems on bearded dragons, needless to say, that I would never recommend those lights.
I do not want to tell you the name of the manufacturer here, because I do not want to get in trouble.
Simply get the Repti Sun, it is a really good UVB light and it is very cheap in my opinion. There are other UVB lights which cost $50 or more, the Repti Sun is much cheaper.
However, there is one thing I recommend you to do. Every six months you need to switch the UVB bulb because the bulb will not provide enough UVB anymore then.
Instead of getting a ReptiSun 5.0 bulb, I recommend to get the ReptiSun 10.0 bulb (click here). It provides a higher amount of UVB, which is more suited for bearded dragons.
Get the right temperature!
If you want to get the right temperature, you have to know what temperature is good for your dragon. The average temperature in your tank should be around 78-88°F during the day and around 70°F at night.
Besides that, you need some very hot spots. Bearded dragons like to lie in the sun on huge stones. Especially in the morning, since they need to get the right body temperature.
Those hot spots should have around 95°F – 105°F …yep, that´s hot! Your bearded dragon is black all day? Your temperature might be too low!
You do not have to buy very expensive reptile heat lamps for that. In fact a normal heat lamp from the DIY market is okay. I recommend to go with 100W, but it depends on your tank size. You can also regulate the temperature by hanging the heat lamp a little higher above the tank.
So you can simply use this normal 100W light bulb from Amazon here and get this clamp lamp to place it on your terrarium and of course a thermometer like this one so you can see if you get the right temperature.
I recommend to go with the ReptiTemp here. Simply point and click to check the temperature 🙂
Beside warmth, the light bulb also provides a lot of white light, which is excellent. Besides that, it is very cheap.
Why I do not use any reptile heat lamps
There are some good reasons to not use all the reptile heat lamps out there. If you search for heating lamps for reptiles in Amazon, you are going to get tons of results for that.
In my opinion, most of those lamps are very bad. First of all, they are really expensive. Especially beginners are afraid of doing something wrong and rather take a reptile heat lamp than a normal 100W light bulb.
Do not spend your hard earned money on overpriced products like those reptile heat lamps.
Secondly, those heat lamps are known for being very short-lived. Many people on Amazon say that those lamps only last a few weeks. I think that is ridiculous.
So, don´t be afraid, just take the normal 100W light bulb with the clamp lamp and everything is going to be alright 🙂
By the way, is your beardie refusing to eat greens? Here is how to make your beardie eat greens within 7 days!
What you should know
The UVB output of those lamps will decrease over time. I recommend changing the UVB lights every 6 months.
Bearded dragons need 12 hours of light
Bearded dragons need light for around 12 hours, turn the lights off at night. Please make sure that the temperature at night is not below 65°F. That could cause health problems.
Do not use coil lamps
I do not recommend that you use any coil lamps for your terrarium. It is known that those coil lamps cause eye problems for example. I stay away from that completely, no matter if it is a heating lamp, or if it is a UVB lamp.
What lighting do you use for your bearded dragon? What lighting would you recommend? How often do you change the UVB lights? Tell me about it in the comment section below!
If you have any questions on bearded dragon lighting, leave it in the comment section below and I will be more than happy to help you out!
Before you leave!
Since I receive many comments and emails from bearded dragon owners that tell me that their bearded dragon is refusing to eat greens, I decided to help with this issue.
What most bearded dragon owners do not know is that a bearded dragon that does not eat greens might be sick or is on the best way to getting sick.
Bearded dragons are omnivores, which means that they eat anything they can find in the wild. The problem that most bearded dragons are picky when it comes to food only arouses due to bad husbandry.
If your bearded dragon is refusing to eat greens, and maybe even only accepts mealworms as food, I highly recommend that you get my ebook: How To Make Your Bearded Dragon Eat Greens Within 7 Days!
After going through the steps outlined in the ebook I will personally check on you and your beardie via email and will support you if needed.
Keep your beardie healthy!
i have a 40 gallon tank so what size reptisun light do i need and should it be a 10,0 or a 5.0? Ty.
it always depends on the length of your tank. Since you have a 40 Gallon tank, you should definitely go with a slightly longer bulb.
Try the lighting bulb in this article here: Lighting for a bigger tank.
Simply scroll down a little bit, you will see a 10.0 with a different length I recommend there.
If that´s too long for your tank, you can also simply use the bulb I recommend in this lighting guide.
Hope this helps Sharon!
All the best,
So my son and I have gone for all of your recommendations and are upgrading to the kit you recommended. I have a couple of questions: do you not use the purple light at night? How do you keep the tank at 65 degrees at night – just keep the room that he is in at that temp? How do you clean the substrate?
a lot of people use infrared lights or something like this at night, but I do not really like that. It is not only that I do not like infrared lights for my beardies, I am also worried about the electricity bill.
Yes I keep the room where the tank is in at 65 degrees at night. For me it´s easy to do.
Regarding the substrate… it depends on which substrate you have. Do you have the substrate from my substrate article? Then it is easy, simply take a shovel and remove the poop. Sometimes I take a toothbrush with a little bit of water and clean the remaining dirt.
If you have loose substrate (which I do not recommend!!), removing the poop with the shovel will do the job.
If you have the reptile carpet, remove the poop with a shovel. Further you should wash the carpet with warm water and a little bit of soap. Do this one time per week or two time per week. It always depends on how much your dragon poops. 🙂
Please make sure that you wash out the soap completely!
Let me know if this helps, Beth 🙂
Thanks Pierre. I got the substrate you recommended in the article. This is our first dragon and I want him to be happy.
good to hear that, with that substrate you can build your dragon a really good looking and a very natural home.
Ah the first one is always special. If you have any questions or any problems with your dragon, just comment here on my website and I will be there for you, Beth!
Have fun 🙂
i have a 30″ long 18″ tall tank. I ordered the Zoo Med T5 HO Reptisun Terrarium Hood 24″, but im still looking around for a cheaper alternative. Could i use a regular light fixture like the one you have listed for a T5? And what length do you think i should get? Thanks!!
for your tank size you can use the exact lighting + fixture that I recommend in this article. The bulb is 18″ and the fixture is 21″ in total, which means you still have enough space to also put a heat bulb on top of your tank.
You can use the fixture for a regular T8 🙂
Hope this helps Jaime!
If you have any further question, just leave me a comment and I will be there for you.
Thanks! So i would have to mount it inside of the cage, yes? And the fixture says its 18″ or 22″, so i should go for the bigger one?
No problem at all Jaime 🙂 You are very welcome!
I would suggest to mount it on top of the cage. Do you have a screencover for your tank?
Sorry Jaime, I had a closer look at the fixture I recommend above and it is actually a fixture for T8 bulbs. So you can absolutely use this fixture above if you buy it together with the Repti Sun 10.0 which I recommend above. This Repti Sun is an 18″ bulb which is absolutely fine for your tank size.
So at the moment your fixture is longer and it fits the 24″ bulbs. If you really want to switch to the less expensive fixture, you´d have to buy the smaller 18″ bulb also.
However I have to say that all of those articles are the best when it comes to reptile lighting, so you can´t really make a mistake here.
So it is totally up to you, switch to a shorter bulb with a less expensive fixture and you will be fine.
Or stick with your more expensive fixture and the longer bulb which is also absolutely fine 🙂
I hope this helps Jaime and I hope I did not confuse you now. If I did, please let me know and I´ll explain it again 🙂
We have a 40 gallon tank. Would you recommend mounting the reptisun inside the tank, hang from the top of the lid along with the basking light or is it better to have on top of the cover? We have other pets that I worry may knock off the lights if on top. What size lights should we get for a 40 gallon tank? Obviously we are new to this and the lighting seems to be very important so I want to get it right. Also, at what age do you introduce the clay that you have in your articles?
lighting is definitely very important!
The UVB bulb might be too near to your bearded dragon then, so I would not recommend it.
For a 40 gallon tank, I recommend to use the lighting in this article.
Hi, I have a 36″ x 18″ x 18″ terrarium. I was wondering if the 36″ Reptisun T5HO tube would be okay for my bearded dragon? I keep getting mixed responses, some say it should be 2/3 and some say should cover the length of the terrarium. I am just confused because there is a lot of biased information out on the web. What is right light to get? :O
sorry for my late reply, I was on vacation.
If you have a 36″ tank and your uvb bulb is 36″ as well, the fixture for that bulb is going to be bigger than 36″ and that might look a little bit weird on your tank.
Regarding your mixed responses about the length of the uvb bulb: 2/3 is fine, however the full length of the tank is okay as well. You just have to make sure that the UVB bulb has enough distance from your beardie. Further you should have 1-2 hides for your little dragon.
Personally, I use a bulb that is around 2/3 of the tank.
Hi. I live in Arizona. It’s summer and 110 dregrees outside. Do i need to use a heat lamp uva if i dont air condition my the dragons room? What is the red light for? And i do need the uvb on the day, right? Hes by a window. Im going away for 10 days and he’ll be babysat. How do i instruct the babysitter when I’m so unsure myself. The adult dargon was recently given to us with all the lights.
wow, that is hot!
You should have a basking spot, but you probably can choose a lower wattage to get the right temperature.
The red light can hurt your bearded dragon, so I would not recommend to use it.
I would not place the tank in a spot with direct sunlight. The tank can overheat and your dragon could die.
Further it makes no sense, since the UVB can´t get through glass anyway.
Hm the question is: Do you have the right lighting? Do you have a time switch so that the babysitter doesn´t have to take care of that?
You should take care of that first. This article will help you with that. Keep in mind that your beardie should get 12 hours of sunlight.
If you have that, you only have to tell your babysitter to feed your dragon correctly. My Beardie Care Guide will help you as well.
I can’t tell if your UVB light is 5.0
or 10.0. What do you recommend for a 40 gallon tank putting the light in top of the screen?
it is a 5.0. The bulb I recommend in this article should be absolutely fine for your tank 🙂
I will be away from my Beards for 5 days. I will leave food and water for them. I have a 40 gallon tank and I keep the white light on the far left side. Would it be ok to leave the light on for 5 days? The Beards go to the other side and hang out there where it is dark. Is it necessary to turn off the white UV light and turn on the red light daily? The Beards are 6 months old. Their light is on top of the screen. It is a round light. Thanks!
sorry for my late reply, I was on vacation.
I hope that you did not let your bearded dragon alone for 5 days 🙁
Beardies have normal day/ night cycles like we do. Leaving the light on permanently will kill your dragon 🙁
Keep the lights on for 12 hours a day.
Hope your dragon is okay!
Pierre – I’ve gotten mixes responses regarding leaving our Reptisun 10.0 T8 bulb on top of a screen top. Many have suggested that it doesn’t provide sufficient UVB due to the mesh filtering out rays. Others contend that, while it is obvious some get filtered out, the rays that do get through are sufficient.
The bulb is about 5-6 inches from the basking area.
yeah that´s the problem in the reptile keeper world. There are many opinions on one topic. There are even people who say that they do not use UVB bulbs at all and just use Vitamin D3 powder.
Well, here is the deal: Yes, some get filtered out, however it is still enough for your bearded dragon. Especially if you have a lot of stuff where your bearded dragon can climb on. This way you create spots where your bearded dragon gets more UVB and spots where your beardie gets less. In my opinion this is healthy.
I never had problems with putting my UVB on the screencover, my beardies and all my other reptiles never had any problems with metabolic bone disease for example. And besides that, there is a reason why the reptisun 10.0 and reptisun in general is known as one of the best UVB bulbs in the game.
Just my opinion 🙂
So I need a heat lamp& a uv light?
you definitely need the two, yes.
All the best,
Okay just so I can clarify for myself. The bearded terrarium should have a uvb light and just an ordinary white light bulb. What should they use at night. Right now I’m using the blue during the day and a red at night. This came with the terrarium that I bought.
sounds like you bought one of those habitat kits. I am sorry to say that, but most of them are not appropriate for bearded dragons.
I recommend to get the lighting I talk about in this article. The white light bulb is for heating (you definitely need it as much as the UVB bulb). You can also get one of those 100W reptile basking bulbs that you can find in most pet shops.
Blue and red lights are not recommended for a bearded dragon. Further, you should not use any lighting during the night. Bearded dragons should sleep during the night and the light has to be turned off then.
If the ambient temperature in the beardie tank is above 61 °F (16 °C), you don´t need any additional heating at night. SO just switch the lights off at night and turn it on the the morning. It´s best to use a time switch for that.
All the best,
New beardie in the house. Just wanted to send you a Thank You! your articles on lighting and substrate have helped a lot 🙂 Book marking your site for further reference. Peace!
congratulations, have fun with your new beardie 🙂
I am happy that I was able to help!
All the best,
I spoke with you a while back and my dragon not eating greens at all! I bought your ebook “How to make you ur dragon eat greens in 7 days” still no greens! You suggested that I take my dragon to the vet, I took him to “University of Florida Small Animal Teaching Hospital”, 2 nights 3 days $600.00 later no eating at all and they couldn’t really find a problem! I took him to another vet and left a stool sample which the results stating pinworms were found but they said that pinworms are ok for a dragon to have and they don’t treat pinworms! Dragon still not eating & they told me to force feed! I’ve did that for a while but I thought he must be in burmation which the vet said no because it’s summer and not winter….still not eating at all! So this has been since August 9, 2018, the UF vet visit, so now it’s almost 4 months…not eating! UF told me that they think my dragon is at least 10 years old if you can recall I’m the third owner that I know of that has owned for my sweet, sweet dragon! This poor guy! Pierre, I’m beside myself…! Pierre please advise ASAP what your recommendations are…..! I love this dragon so much and I’ve spent a lot of money with still no results!
Humbly Terrified Dragon Lover,
wow, that price is insane.
If you talk about pinworms, you probably mean oxyures. Oxyures are normal in beardies, but too many of them can cause problems, too.
Right now is the time when most bearded dragons go into brumation, but since your bearded dragon is like that for 4 months now, it is a little bit weird.
However, not all bearded dragons go into brumation in October/November. It can happen that your bearded dragon wants to brumate in August or so.
Is your bearded dragon inactive? Is it hiding and sleeping a lot?
You said that you are the third owner and UF said it is probably 10 years old. Well, I am sorry to say that, but maybe your bearded dragon is just old and is ready to go to heaven.
Maybe it is even older than you think right now.
From the information you gave me, it is either that your bearded dragon is very old, or it wants to brumate.
I am very, very sorry that you are in this situation and that your bearded dragon is not feeling well. However, that´s all I can say. 🙁
All the best,
I have a 40 gallon tank, 36 in long and 15 1/4 inches tall. Basking site is about 6.5 in from ground .I just bought a 36 in reptisun terrarium hood with the reptisun 10.0 T5 high output uvb light at 34 in long. I bought this thinking I should cover the full length of the tank. This light fixture sits on top of the screen. Is this too much UVB? This morning I read that a dragon should be able to retreat to a zero uvb area in his tank. Is that true? If so should I get a smaller t5 fixture for his tank 24 inches or even less. Just dont want to over expose him.
some people cover the full-length others don´t. Your UVB is great for a bearded dragon.
If you want to make sure that you don´t overexpose him, simply get one of the hides in this article.
With a hide like this, your bearded dragon can choose to get out of the “sun” and you can keep your lighting bulb without any bad feelings 🙂
Hope this helps,
i have a 20 gal tank right now and i was wondering what would be the best uv light for it cause petco said a 10 but i think that is way to much im thinking a 5
I think both will be fine. The UVB output on the 5.0 is lower but you should not face any problems with it.
You can switch to a 10.0 after 6 months of use.
All the best,