All good bearded dragon owners like you and I want our pets to be healthy and live as long as possible.
And while bearded dragons are pretty tough with relatively few health issues, one of the biggest things we must do is keep their tanks at the right temperature.
There’s a lot of debate out there on this issue, so let’s settle the score.
Bearded Dragons tank temperature needs to be maintained at a daytime temperature of 75-85° degrees Fahrenheit (24-29° C), the nighttime temperature of 70-75° F (21-24° C), basking temperature of 88-100° F (31-38° C), cool side temperature of 70-80° F (21-27° C), and the overall temperature of 90° F (32° C).
Getting these temps in place is a bit tough for some, but we have some advice and tips in the rest of the article below.
Why Do Bearded Dragons Need Their Tanks So Warm?
The entire purpose of the tank setup is to get the bearded dragon enclosure as close to the pet’s natural habitat as possible.
Unlike humans, all other animals have adapted to a specific type of environment.
The bearded dragon’s natural environment is in the hot deserts of Australia.
They’re used to high temperatures during the day and cool but warm temperatures at night.
As such, we need to keep their tanks the same way.
Beardies are cold-blooded creatures and can’t produce heat independently; they must absorb it from another source.
Failure to keep the tank warm enough may result in digestive problems, high stress, or even death.
So make sure you know the proper temperature of a bearded dragon tank.
What Temperature Should My Bearded Dragon Tank Be?
As we stated before, a bearded dragon tank needs to vary a little based on the part of the tank and the time of day.
This section will give more details on the temperatures and what each section means.
Basking Spot Temperature
The basking area is meant to be the hottest part of the vivarium.
This is where the bearded dragon will rest (or bask) to absorb heat and UVB light from the UVB bulb if it needs to.
The basking spot is also the only place where the temperature changes depending on age.
Basking spots are heated with a heat lamp and a UV basking bulb.
Use a mercury vapor bulb to get UVA, UVB, and heat from a single source.
These bulbs are left on during the day and turned off at night.
Some people advocate for leaving a different colored light on at night, but it’s best to use no lights.
This helps keep the bearded dragon on a steady day-night cycle.
Further Reading: Red lights and bearded dragons: Is it bad?
You may want to use a timer switch to ensure you don’t forget to turn it on in the morning.
You measure the basking spot with a thermometer mounted nearby or using an infrared one pointed at the basking spot for a few seconds.
Further Reading: Best thermometers to keep your bearded dragons healthy
- Day/Night Temperatures
- Humidity & Timing Control
- Alarm When Temps Reach Unsafe Levels
The overall ambient temperature is where most of the tank rests at.
This temperature range is the same for a juvenile bearded dragon and an adult.
This is measured with a mounted thermometer in the middle of the tank.
Proper placement for the thermometer is halfway between the basking spot and the cool spot.
If your tank is around 40 gallons, you may be able to get away with just a basking light and UV light, which can heat the whole tank.
But if you’re using one bigger than this (which we recommend), you may need help.
Use an additional basking lamp at a lower setting, overhead fluorescent heating, or an under-the-tank heat mat.
Warning! Under the tank, heaters can crack glass tanks in some cases.
Also, ensure your pet bearded dragon has a terrarium humidity level of around 20 – 40%.
Further Reading: Bearded dragon humidity guide
This is measured with a hygrometer (humidity gauge).
Further Reading: Best basking light for bearded dragons and save you time and money
Cool Spot Temperature (Hide Spot)
Bearded dragons need to be able to control their temperature with environmental means.
When we get hot, we sweat, and this cools us down.
Bearded dragons don’t have this capacity.
While your reptiles can sit with their mouths open, gaping, this only helps cool them down a little.
In the wild, they dig themselves into mud or go and find cool shelter under a rock or log.
It needs to be the same in your tank.
Keep some furniture (a rock or box) on the opposite side of your tank, away from the basking spot.
This will be where your bearded dragon goes to cool itself down or relax after basking.
Use a thermometer mounted near the cool spot to check on it.
The range is wide because the temperature will depend on the size of your tank and the type of heater used.
But as long as you’re within this range, you should be just fine.
Even though beardies are from the hot desert, they don’t need extreme heat all of the time.
Deserts get surprisingly cold at night.
Fortunately, our home’s natural temperature will probably work just fine.
Don’t worry if you’re in a hotter climate and the temperature doesn’t quite get low enough.
You just don’t want it to go below this range.
You don’t need to watch this one too closely unless you keep your house cooler.
Most likely, all you need to do to prevent this temperature in line is just turn off your heater at night.
The heat will go away slowly, and by the time you wake up, it may have just settled in this range.
Check your overall thermometer every morning to ensure the tank isn’t getting too cold.
Further Reading: Why is a cold bearded dragon in danger?
If it seems to be getting a little close to the 65° degrees Fahrenheit (18 ° C) mark, alter the timing of your heaters, so there is less time it’s off.
Another option to maintain night temperatures is a ceramic heat emitter.
These do not have light and only produce heat.
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What Is The Lowest Temperature A Bearded Dragon Can Survive?
If you follow the rules outlined above, you’ll be fine with temperatures.
A bearded dragon’s lowest temperature can survive safely is 65° degrees Fahrenheit (18 ° C).
While it may be able to recover from temps lower than 60° degrees Fahrenheit (16 ° C), there’s no reason ever to do it.
If, for some reason, your power is out, use hand warmers and portable heaters, or at least cuddle the pet.
Now you know what temperature a bearded dragon tank should be at.
Keep these ranges and recommendations in mind; your pet will be fine!