bearded dragon handbook

Get our pet owner's guide for bearded dragons and help your special friend live its best life.

10 Gallon Bearded Dragon Tank: Good or Bad?

Have you wondered whether it is a good or bad idea to house a bearded dragon in a 10-gallon tank? 

Is 10 gallons enough for a bearded dragon?

It’s crucial to provide your pet lizard with an adequate amount of living space. 

10 gallon bearded dragon tank

Are 10 Gallon Bearded Dragon Tanks Enough?

Your 10-gallon tank can suffice for your bearded dragon when they are considered a baby or juvenile. Once they reach maturity, you will need to upgrade to a bigger tank. 

The size of your tank or terrarium should be based on the size of your beardie. 

It’s important to understand the exact needs of your pet. 

A good example of this size tank is this one by Repti Zoo on Amazon.

It’s durable and affordable, perfect for almost any person.

Bearded Dragon Tank Size By Age

Age LengthAppropriate Tank
0-3 months 3-11” inches (28 cm) 20-40 gal
4-5 months 9-16” inches (40 cm) 40-75 gal 
6-8 months 11-20” inches (51 cm)50-75 gal
8-12+ months 16-24” inches (61 cm)75-120 gal

The Benefits of a 10 Gallon Tank

 A baby or juvenile bearded dragon can comfortably fit in a 10-gallon tank. 

The smaller space will make it easier for them to catch live insects. 

If your young bearded dragon cannot get the food, you will likely have to feed them by hand. 

Aim for a terrarium with plenty of vertical space to climb. 

This will allow them to get to their basking spot comfortably. 

The Downside of a 10 Gallon Tank

A smaller space will hinder their growth, and their quality of life will suffer. 

The species does best when their natural environment is replicated, providing them with as much space as possible. 

Unfortunately, your bearded dragon will grow out of a smaller tank pretty quickly, and you will be buying a bigger tank reasonably soon. 

An adult bearded dragon needs space with lots of room to move around. 

In addition to being small for your pet, it likely won’t fit all the necessary equipment and cage furniture it takes to house a bearded dragon.

Moving your beardie from one tank to the next can cause unnecessary stress, leading to weakened immune systems. 

For perspective, here is a list of species who can quite comfortably in a 10-gallon tank:

  • Freshwater Fish
  • Saltwater Fish
  • Betta Fish (A betta can live comfortably in a 5-gallon tank as well)
  • Small Hermit Crabs
  • Geckos
  • Snakes 

What is an Ideal Tank Size?

Even a 20 gallon-sized tank will only fit bearded dragons under 10″ inches (25 cm). 

Your pet will reach 10″ inches (25 cm) in just 3 months! 

To prevent buying multiple tanks, it’s best to invest in a minimum tank size of 55 gallons. 

In my opinion, when it comes to buying tanks, the bigger, the better. 

Keep in mind; if you start with a large enclosure, to begin with, you will not have to replace it for the life of your beardie. 

With proper care, your bearded dragon can live up to 12 years!

How Fast Do Bearded Dragons Grow?

A bearded dragon grows about 2″ inches (5 cm) a month and reaches its full size at roughly 15-18 months. 

Don’t get too used to the little bearded dragon you brought home from the pet store. 

While they initially start just a few inches long, they can grow to their full length within their first year. 

What Does Your Bearded Dragons Tank Need?

It’s important to remember the necessary supplies your beardy needs to have a healthy habitat. 

The supplies often take up a significant portion of your beardie’s tank, which is why the size is so important. 

UVB Lighting

Since your beardie is not receiving direct sunlight, it’s essential to provide artificial UV light. 

The artificial lighting supplies Vitamin D3, which allows your lizard to absorb calcium properly. 

Without calcium, your pet is at risk for developing metabolic bone disease (MBD).

MDB causes bones to become brittle and break. 

Ensure you are putting in a new UVB light bulb every six months. 

Examples of appropriate light sources:

  • Fluorescent UV light
  • Mercury vapor bulbs
  • Halogen bulb
  • Compact UVB bulb 

Heat Lamp

Your beardy cannot regulate its body temperature, and therefore, you must provide a temperature gradient for them. 

The correct enclosure temperature is vital for a healthy living environment. 

One side of their tank should have a cool spot between 75-80° degrees Fahrenheit (27° C). 

A small tank will not allow one side of the tank to reach its cool temperature. 

The other side should supply warmth with temperatures between 80-90° degrees Fahrenheit (32° C). 

The species requires a basking spot of around 100-115° degrees Fahrenheit (46° C). 

Your pet will require rocks or a log to bask on. 

Mercury vapor bulbs are an ideal choice for your heat lamp

The lamp should be left on for 12 hours. 

Avoid heat rocks as they have been known to give burns to reptiles. 

You can learn more about these issues with heat rocks in our post on are heat rocks safe for bearded dragons.

Be sure to invest in an accurate thermometer or temperature gun to make it easier to regulate temperatures. 

If you are starting with a smaller gallon tank size, my recommendation is to get an under tank heater to save space in your bearded dragon enclosure. 

Water Bowl

While your pet does get water from food, providing a water bowl offers them a place to relax. 

Your lizard will not only need clean water to drink from, but they also will use their water dish to soak in. 

As a note, you should avoid the water bowl if your lizard is in a smaller tank. 

It will only cause elevated humidity levels, which could lead to upper respiratory infections


While a newspaper or paper towel will suffice, you may consider buying a reptile carpet to put on the cage floor as a bedding substrate. 

The downside of using the carpet is how you need to clean it weekly. 

A desert terrarium substrate will look and feel of a natural desert appearance. 

The desert terrarium substrate gets a minimal bacteria build-up, which helps keep a clean housing environment for your beardie. 

An alfalfa pellet substrate can safely be used, as it will not hurt your lizard if consumed. 

Inappropriate substrate choices are gravel, natural sand, mulch, and walnut shells. 

Final Thoughts

In my opinion, it’s worth it to get the bigger sized enclosure to begin with. 

A 10-gallon tank is much too small to house your pet lizard for very long. 

Your bearded dragon will continue to grow, and so will their need for a bigger tank. 

Your beardie deserves the best care possible, and it’s essential to provide them with the best possible environment. 

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