Newbies Guide: What To Buy!

Written by Brandon (aka Claudiusx) on January 1, 2014
Page 1 of 4


Unfortunately, a lot of times a new owner will buy the kits a pet store sells. Usually, these kits are junk, to put it nicely, and are full of useless and sometimes even dangerous items. This often times causes a lot of frustration to the new owner, especially when they come to our site and see the majority of items they have are not suitable for their dragon. This guide is to help change that.

If you haven't got your dragon yet and you are researching first, Kudos to you. Reading this thread first will save you money, headache, trouble, heartache, and time.

This guide will provide a list of items needed, a list of items that might be a good idea to have, and a list of items for us OCD owners who want to be prepared for everything. As with most of my 'articles,' I like to give a bit of an overload of information to anyone willing to read it. For those looking to get the meat and potatoes of this guide, all the important things will be listed at the forefront of each section, with details and extra information lower down if you so choose to read more. I will also provide links to buy said items. I am not affiliated with any company, and stand to make no money off of my recommendations. I do it solely for convenience to you, the newbie.

Check out the original discussion thread for this article if you have any questions or comments about the content or related topics!

Table Of Contents

Quick List

You can click on the item to be directed to a site to buy said item, or you can shop around yourself.
I do, however, recommend you at least glance at each section in this thread before buying anything. Just to ease any confusion you might have on what exactly you should buy.

Cost: Right around $200, higly dictated by the cost of your tank. You might be able to get a tank for $40, or you might spend a couple hundred

Optional but recommended:
Added Cost: ~$70

Lighting and Heat

What do you need?
  • A UVB bulb
  • A basking bulb
UVB Fixture
Basking Bulb

A Bright White bulb. This can be a normal household bulb, or a branded reptile basking bulb. There are very minimal differences between your normal household incandescent/halogen, and the fancy 10x the price reptile basking bulb.

Basking Fixture

I would recommend a dome fixture with a ceramic socket.


NO COLORED LIGHTS! No red lights! No 'moonlight' lights!

If temperatures in your house drop bellow 65 at night, you will want a CHE.

It MUST be used with a ceramic socket dome. No plastic sockets! CHE's get very hot, and are a big fire hazard if housed in a dome fixture that doesn't have a ceramic socket.

Additional UVB Information

In a market supersaturated with different types of bulbs to choose from, why is this list so small? Simple. These three bulbs have stood the test of time. They have been proven not only effective, but safe. The MAJORITY of UVB bulbs on the market have been linked to various adverse health effects on dragons.

CFL's have been found to be the worst offenders. Under no circumstances is it a wise idea to use a CFL UVB bulb. In fact, it would be better to turn the bulb off completely and let the dragon live without UVB for awhile instead of leaving it on.

Why no MVB Recommendations? Well to be quite frank with you all, I have very minimal experience with MVB's, and therefore don't believe I should be offering advice or recommendations on them. What I do know is that they are a bit more, finicky, per se, than the standard UVB tube and heat bulb. And most beginners are already on information overload, so to keep things simple, I left them out. If you want to learn more about MVB's talk with one of our members here that uses them, or use the search feature to find a bunch of threads on the topic. I will say do NOT use a MVB bulb without first doing a lot of research on them on this site.

Extra basking bulb info

The purpose of the basking bulb is to provide your dragon two things. A bright white light, and heat.

Heat is obvious.

The bright white light isn't so much. The reason you want a bright white light, and not something like a soft white, or a light with a colored tint to it, is because the brighter white light helps better protect the dragons eyes from the UVB radiation.

To get more technical, Soft whites are about a 3000 on the Kelvin scale. What you want, is a bulb that produces a higher Kelvin rating than that, such as in the 4000-5000k range. This better simulates the sun at around noontime. I know it is hard now-a-days to find a bulb like this, but it is worth it in my opinion.

Nighttime extra info

A Che is your only option. It will produce heat, but no light.

Red bulbs and moonlight bulbs that are marketed for use with bearded dragons, are useless. Contrary to what would seem popular belief, dragons can in fact see this light, and it will disturb their sleep. Think about it, Bearded dragons have an extra cone in their eyes. At the minimum, this means they have better vision than you and can see things that we can not, necessarily. A good rule to go by is, if you can see it, they definitely can see it.

Heatpads - A no go. Dragons do not have a way to sense heat directly on their belly. They can only sense radiant heat. Dragons have been known to lay on heatpads as they malfunction, and get very severe burns. It is a risk with no reward.

Heatrocks - A no go, for the same reasons.