bearded dragon handbook

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

How Big Of A Tank Does A Bearded Dragon Need?

One of the most important parts of caring for a bearded dragon is ensuring they have a proper habitat to live in while under your care. 

This means not only furnishing their terrarium with the right decorations and heating equipment but also having an enclosure large enough for your new scaly friend to be comfortable. 

You also don’t want an oversized enclosure, as having too much space will overwhelm these reptiles.

When your bearded dragon is a hatchling, they won’t need much space to thrive. 

However, these lizards grow very quickly, and you’ll likely need to upsize your beardie’s enclosure setup quickly to accommodate their rapidly growing body.

But what size terrarium is appropriate for a baby, juvenile, and adult bearded dragon?

For a hatchling or juvenile bearded dragon, an enclosure of 20 to 40 gallons is adequate. As they grow older and reach their adult size, though, they will require an enclosure of at least 50 gallons minimum in order to thrive, with an even larger tank of 70 to 120 gallons being highly recommended.

Continue reading for more information about selecting the right enclosure for your bearded dragon and why it is so important.

how big of a tank does a bearded dragon need

What Is The Best Size Tank For An Adult Bearded Dragon?

When it comes to deciding on the right size enclosure for your adult bearded dragon, it is crucial to remember bigger is better.

For an average-sized adult beardy bred in captivity, a bearded dragon tank should be no smaller than 50 gallons and as large as 120 gallons.

Adult bearded dragons range in size from 16″ to 20″ inches.

In some rare cases, a bearded dragon can grow up to 24″ in captivity and require a 120 gallon size enclosure, like this one found on Amazon.

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Larger tanks will allow full-grown bearded dragons to fully turn around without being restricted by the sides of the enclosure.

It might feel like 120 gallons is too large for a tank, but giving this popular pet room to move will make them happier and healthier.

Just don’t exceed 150 gallons or so, as this is too large even for an adult dragon because it will overwhelm and confuse them. 

An oversized terrarium will also make it difficult for them to hunt their food during meal times.

Here are the general suggest guidelines all in one table for you:

AgeLength Of The Bearded DragonSmallest Allowed SizeLargest Suggested Size
Baby 10” inches20 Gallons40 Gallons
Juvenile10-18” inches55 Gallons75 Gallons
Adult 18” inches or more75 Gallons120 Gallons

What Is The Best Size Tank For A Baby Bearded Dragon?

Baby bearded dragons do best in a smaller enclosure to start.

A baby bearded dragon tank between 20 gallons and 40 gallons might work best temporarily.

Check out our picks for the best 40 gallon tanks for bearded dragons.

Some babies could have difficulties catching and eating their food if their enclosure is too large. 

Plus, they have a tendency to get lost and confused by very large enclosures.

A 20 gallon tank is only recommended for a hatchling or juvenile beardy under 10″ inches.

At this stage, the small bearded dragon tank is only temporary, as bearded dragons are known to grow quickly.

Beardies are expected to reach full size around 15 to 18 months old.

Read our article for help on telling bearded dragon age.

If the tank size is not updated as the animal grows, your beardy’s growth could become stunted. 

Be sure to purchase a larger tank of at least 50 gallons in size before your dragon reaches their full adult size.

What Size Tank Do I Need For Two Bearded Dragons?

It is not recommended to have two bearded dragons in the same tank, regardless of their sexes. 

Even the most docile female dragons will become irate when housed together, and males are especially vicious towards each other in captivity.

Beardies like living alone and can get aggressive with others they share a tank with.

Because of their territorial nature, both male and female beardies will puff up their “beard,” open their mouths wide and even hiss when they feel threatened or are challenging other creatures.

It is best to have separate habitats for each bearded dragon, especially if they are of different sizes. 

If one dragon is larger than the other, they will establish a hierarchy, resulting in one submissive lizard struggling to find food and sustaining painful injuries from the more dominant dragon.

Why Does The Size Of The Tank Matter?

Having the right size tank will ensure the health and happiness of your new pet.

A tank the right size will allow your bearded dragon room to move, give them space to hide and climb, as well as provide a wide range of temperatures within the tank.

If the tank is too small, your young bearded dragon could have their growth stunted, leading to a shortened life.

Bearded dragons are easily stressed when they are kept in very small enclosures, which can cause serious health issues and ultimately shorten their lifespan. 

However, giving them an excellent, adequately-sized place to live will reduce their anxiety.

Stress will also often lead to an unhappy animal with a bad temperament.

And if the temperament if this lizard interests you, we have a post on the bearded dragon temperament that really goes into much more detail.

On the other hand, an oversized enclosure will also cause your bearded dragon to become stressed, confused, and uncomfortable. 

This is especially true with baby and juvenile dragons, as they will struggle to catch insects on their own in an enclosure which is too large.

Giving your bearded dragon the best possible home and the right size tank is an excellent way to reduce anxiety in these animals.

Why Is Having A Temperature Range So Important?

how big of a tank does a bearded dragon need 1

A wide range of temperatures is crucial to keeping this Australian native healthy. 

Bearded dragons are desert animals who thrive in hot, dry conditions, but temperatures still fluctuate quite a bit in their native environment, the Australian Outback.

Plus, bearded dragons are cold-blooded reptiles, so they are unable to regulate their body temperature on their own, and because of this, they depend on a variety of temperatures in their environment to help. 

In the wild, bearded dragons often bask under direct sunlight to stay warm.

In captivity, though, you’ll need a heat source such as a basking bulb, a ceramic heat emitter, or UVB light to mimic the sun’s heat.

Your bearded dragon might move to a warmer section of their enclosure to bask or because the warmth helps to aid with their digestion.

Alternatively, they might want a cooler area to sleep or hide, especially during brumation in the winter months or at night.

With larger tanks, your bearded dragon will have a broader range of temperatures giving them the ability to find the most comfortable temperature for whatever their current needs happen to be.

If a tank is too small, it is likely to be too hot for your pet and will give them no way to cool down when they need to. 

This is why a gradual temperature gradient from the cool side to the hot side of the vivarium is important, and you’ll need an appropriately-sized tank to create such a gradient.

Further Reading: A guide to bearded dragon enclosure temperatures

What Types Of Tanks Are Available?

There are different sizes and styles of enclosures available for purchase for your bearded dragon.

We have talked about the different gallon sizes of tanks, but there are also tanks with varying openings for access.

Some tanks are aquarium-style with access only at the top of the tank.

With access at the top, be aware some bearded dragons might be afraid as you reach into the vivarium as in the wild attacks often come from above.

Other tanks have doors on the front, which will allow for easy access in feeding and caring for your pet.

While the size of the tank is essential for the health and happiness of your bearded dragon, the type of opening is more of a personal choice.

Tanks also come in a variety of different materials, including glass, melamine, and PVC. 

Generally, glass enclosures are the most common, and they are sold at most pet shops in varying sizes and shapes. 

Many enclosures even come with “starter kits” which have lamps, calcium supplements, substrate, food, and water dishes, and other items a beginner bearded dragon owner would need to provide for their pet.

These enclosure starter kits are a great idea for first-time reptile owners, as they provide a wide range of items your pet will need, usually at a much lower price than if you were to purchase the items separately.

There are many pros and cons to each type of enclosure, ranging from price, weight, and attractiveness. 

The tank size and style you choose will ultimately depend on your budget, the amount of space you’re able to commit to your bearded dragon, and your personal preferences.

Regardless of which vivarium style or size you choose, the tank should have a secure lid, as beardies enjoy climbing and could open a loose-fitting top. 

The enclosure should also have at least semi-transparent walls to allow your beardie to see out of it, as they enjoy being able to observe their surroundings.


We hope now you are able to determine the best size tank for your bearded dragon and why this is so important for the well-being of your pet.

These pets need lots of room to survive, and a full-grown bearded dragon will require an enclosure of at least 50 gallons.

Even though it might seem like a bearded dragon might fit in a smaller tank, a more significant size tank is a great choice and will help keep your beardy happy and healthy throughout its life.

Commonly Asked Questions

Is a 40 gallon tank big enough for an adult bearded dragon?

A 40 gallon enclosure is definitely large enough for a baby, juvenile, or even sub-adult bearded dragon, but adult lizards will need a bit more space to prevent them from becoming anxious or uncomfortable. 

An improperly sized enclosure, particularly one which is too small, will upset your bearded dragon and potentially stunt their growth, as they won’t have enough room to accommodate their growing body.

Is a 40 gallon tank too big for a baby bearded dragon?

A 40 gallon tank for a baby bearded dragon is fine and will be more than enough space for them until they reach adulthood at around 12 to 18 months of age. 

40 gallons is just a bit too small for an adult bearded dragon to feel comfortable, so they’ll need a larger enclosure of at least 50 gallons once they grow out of the baby, juvenile, and sub-adult stages.

Is a 100 gallon tank too big for an adult bearded dragon?

A 100 gallon enclosure is excellent for an adult bearded dragon, though you don’t necessarily need this much space for them. 

Adult beardies will thrive in enclosures anywhere from 50 to as much as 120 gallons in size. 

Just don’t exceed an enclosure size of 150 gallons for an adult lizard to avoid confusing or overwhelming them; oversized tanks are pricey anyway, and your bearded dragon will be fine in a slightly smaller enclosure.

However, 100 gallons is far too much space for a baby or juvenile bearded dragon, as such a large enclosure will overwhelm them, confuse them, and cause them stress. 

Keep your baby bearded dragon in a 20 to 40 gallon enclosure until they are nearing their adult size before you purchase such a large tank to transfer them into. 

After they’ve reached one year old or so, it’s safe to put them in a 100-gallon enclosure.

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