This forum is for discussing Do-It-Yourself projects. Building your own enclosure, incubator, etc? Share your ideas with others here!


Postby Rhinoman » Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:18 am

I plan on building (wife needs more convincing) a 12'L x 36" x 24" enclosure for bearded dragons for my ALL ANIMAL loving nine year old. I figure I'd start with one female beardie and go from there. If my daughter really enjoys the beardie and wants more I could easily house another female and a male in an enclosure of this size. My plan is to have a bio-active substrate (we live in the woods on 12 acres).
My question concerns lighting. I was thinking of using six staggered 4' reptisun T5's down the middle of the enclosure, 4 halogen flood lamps directed at elevated basking wood and rock decor, and three 6500K daylight LED's (for the cool end). Along the rear of the enclosure I would string: three staggered 4' 5500-6500K plant tubes. I would use link-together fixtures for the tubes and put everything on staggered timers. Sounded great to me till I went to the zoo med site: according to this chart my, oops my daughters; dragon needs to be within seven inches of the bulb to receive sufficient light? Do I need to go with Mercury Vapor bulbs or will the T5 ReptiSuns reach the 16" or so distance to the basking area's? Lighting would be hidden from view in a "hood" but open below to the Vivarium.
Also, I posted this exact question on another forum (and was directed here!) Anyway the respondent said I couldn't house more than one beardie in an enclosure? They said that the male would stress the females by always trying to breed them? Is this true? Could I keep three females in an enclosure of this size?
How about Arcadia 14%? I read somewhere it's strong enough for deeper enclosures.
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Re: Lighting

Postby CooperDragon » Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:34 am

At 12 ft long that would provide a great space for an adult dragon. You could separate it into a few enclosures if you want to house multiple dragons, but I wouldn't keep them together -they should each get their own space.

As far as lighting goes, you want to create a gradient of both heat and UVB across the enclosure. Create a basking area that is higher heat and UVB. This area should be at least the size of an adult dragon to allow for even basking. There should be areas that are lower temperature and away from the UVB as well. They'll move around over the course of the day to self regulate if they are given options.

As far as the lights themselves go, I'd probably go with a 24 or 36'' T5 Arcadia 12% over each basking area. That will be long enough to provide a nice wide basking spot. It's important to use a good fixture with a reflector. This combo is really nice (I've used it for years) or these fixtures are really great as well
With a 12% Arcaida (or ReptiSun 10.0 T5 equivalent) the light should sit about 12-14'' above the main basking area. You can elevate the basking area a bit to achieve this or you could have the fixture hanging from the top of the enclosure and adjust the height of the bulb. If you move to the Arcadia 14% bulb, that's better suited for very tall enclosures and they should sit around 16-20'' or so above the main basking area. Keep in mind they like to climb so you'll want to make space for branches and other climbing areas.

Taterbug created a website that shows how she designed her enclosure and set up the lighting. That may be helpful to you. She uses a bioactive substrate as well.
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