Beardie Substrate Help

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Beardie Substrate Help

Postby worldofbeardies » Tue Jan 14, 2020 6:47 am

I'm planning out the last details of my future beardies enclosure. The one thing that I cannot decide on is substrate so I was hoping for some advice. Here are some options that I was considering and my thoughts on them.

Reptile Carpet- I've heard that these can get caught on their nails and I feel like they would still hold some waste even after I clean it. So I'm not really a fan of this option.

Sand Mat- I really live the idea of this because it gives the dessert sand look that other substrate don't. I feel like it would be easy to clean. However, I have have heard that the sand and rocks come off, especially when you clean it.

Eco-Earth & Sand Mixture- I like this idea because I could just get a cleaning scoop and sift out the waste. I also like this because it gives the beardie an opportunity to dig like it naturally would. The only thing I I don't like is how it could potentially make the beardie dirty. I would like to be able to get my future beardie out and put him on my lap or on my furniture and I don't want to have to worry about cleaning him off.

Tile- I have heard many people using this method. It seems very convenient to clean as long as the tiles fit perfectly so no waste gets in cracks. I don't like how the tile may be slippery for the beardie with little stimulation.

Please let me know other substrate options especially if they give a dessert look. I'd also appreciate if you can answer any of my concerns listed above to help me come to a conclusion. I don't want to choose the wrong substrate. Thank you so much! I'm so excited to get into the world of reptiles!
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Re: Beardie Substrate Help

Postby LimKH » Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:23 am

worldofbeardies wrote:I'm planning out the last details of my future beardies enclosure. The one thing that I cannot decide on is substrate so I was hoping for some advice. Here are some options that I was considering and my thoughts on them.

Reptile Carpet- I've heard that these can get caught on their nails and I feel like they would still hold some waste even after I clean it. So I'm not really a fan of this option.

Sand Mat- I really live the idea of this because it gives the dessert sand look that other substrate don't. I feel like it would be easy to clean. However, I have have heard that the sand and rocks come off, especially when you clean it.

Eco-Earth & Sand Mixture- I like this idea because I could just get a cleaning scoop and sift out the waste. I also like this because it gives the beardie an opportunity to dig like it naturally would. The only thing I I don't like is how it could potentially make the beardie dirty. I would like to be able to get my future beardie out and put him on my lap or on my furniture and I don't want to have to worry about cleaning him off.

Tile- I have heard many people using this method. It seems very convenient to clean as long as the tiles fit perfectly so no waste gets in cracks. I don't like how the tile may be slippery for the beardie with little stimulation.

Please let me know other substrate options especially if they give a dessert look. I'd also appreciate if you can answer any of my concerns listed above to help me come to a conclusion. I don't want to choose the wrong substrate. Thank you so much! I'm so excited to get into the world of reptiles!


Many don't recommend Eco earth and sand mixture as they can cause impaction when its eating and accidentally eat it. One side question, how old is your bearded dragon? I don't know about reptile carpet but your not a fan as well so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Tile is ok, it's up to you for this. Sand mat is great actually. If your worried about the rocks coming out when you wash. It's ok, even If it drops, it won't do much. Another substrate is either paper towel(which is the best but not good looking) or newspaper(same thing). Paper towel is the best substrate out there. It's just not as good looking as the others. Same goes with the newspaper
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Re: Beardie Substrate Help

Postby KarrieRee » Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:30 am

NO SAND harbors bacteria and can cause impaction
Sand mats are hard to clean I have used them and they are spendy
Carpet reptile I have not used and would be a pain to keep clean
Tile --- I have tile and love it - it is cut to the size of the tank and layed in w/ thick paper towel under it to catch the watery urate - clean up is a breeze w/ vinegar/ water 50/50 in a spray bottle - pull tile replace w/ new paper towel -- I use a slated textured ceramic tile that causes no slip here is a pic of it got it from Home Depot cost was $13 for a 4x2x2 tank --- the tile is not grouted in or glued but layed in there -- [Click image to enlarge]

The other option is a textured NON Adhesive shelf liner from you local home improvement store - it is the same clean up as the tile and insects cannot get underneath
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Re: Beardie Substrate Help

Postby worldofbeardies » Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:36 am

Thank you so much for your reply! I actually don't have a bearded dragon yet because I want to have its enclosure set up a while before I get it. That way I can made sure all of my equipment works, temperatures are steady, and so on. However, I do plan to get a relatively young beardie so that's something to keep in mind.

So I think I'm ruling out reptile carpet.

I know that many people don't like loose substrate but would it be ok if I made sure that my beardie wasn't eating off of the loose substrate?

I may just go with the sand mat because you like it. I'm happy about that because I love the look of them.

**Edit: I'm sorry I posted this under the wrong topic and I cant figure out how to delete it. I'm new to this forum. I'm sorry!
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Re: Beardie Substrate Help

Postby LimKH » Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:42 am

worldofbeardies wrote:Thank you so much for your reply! I actually don't have a bearded dragon yet because I want to have its enclosure set up a while before I get it. That way I can made sure all of my equipment works, temperatures are steady, and so on. However, I do plan to get a relatively young beardie so that's something to keep in mind.

So I think I'm ruling out reptile carpet.

I know that many people don't like loose substrate but would it be ok if I made sure that my beardie wasn't eating off of the loose substrate?

I may just go with the sand mat because you like it. I'm happy about that because I love the look of them.

**Edit: I'm sorry I posted this under the wrong topic and I cant figure out how to delete it. I'm new to this forum. I'm sorry!

Ok great! Good luck when you get your baby bearded dragon! It's ok if you made sure, buy you can't really do much when it's eating etc. Try not risking it, better safe than sorry. It's ok if you posted it on the wrong topic :D
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Re: Beardie Substrate Help

Postby KarrieRee » Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:56 am

We dont recommend the sand at all --- dragons lick everything - you will find that out and babies are especially bad about that - you can try the sand mat - I used them dont like the way they clean up and cant get rid of the smell - thats why I went w/ the tile - like the looks and the clean up plus its cheap and you dont haft to keep replacing it --- but you do what you want and you can always change it out but the sand well that too is a pain - had that at the very beginning and that got everywhere and was hard to clean out - we ended up throwing the whole tank away it was only a 20 gallon and the bottom was duct taped - went straight to the garbage --- your tank I am hoping has front doors on it -
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Re: Beardie Substrate Help

Postby Claudiusx » Tue Jan 14, 2020 8:12 am

Moved by Moderator from General to Enclosures
Follow along with all my beardies. Check out my thread here!: Claud's Crew
P.S. We have lots of pictures ;)
Click here if you use a Sunblaster fixture - IMPORTANT
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Re: Beardie Substrate Help

Postby Claudiusx » Tue Jan 14, 2020 8:15 am

Hi there :)

Dont worry about posting in the wrong section. We can always move it quite easily :)
For future reference, you can report your post and in the options you can select "posted in wrong section" and we will move it too of we dont see it first.

As far as your question,

I like tile. It's what I use in all my tanks.
If you're going to use any loose substrate I'd go with washed playsand instead of that mixture.

But the points brought up about loose substate are true. They do harbor bacteria, even if you scoop the poo out quick. Tile is nice as it's easy to clean and sanitize.

I dont like repticarpet it's kind of a pain.
And I've never used the sand mats so cant speak much to them.

Good luck with your research! Always best to do it before getting your dragon :)

-Brandon
Follow along with all my beardies. Check out my thread here!: Claud's Crew
P.S. We have lots of pictures ;)
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Re: Beardie Substrate Help

Postby AHBD » Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:32 am

Hi there, I'll offer my 2 cents as well. I think one of the best types of flooring is newspaper with brown butcher paper on top [ looks better ] . It makes a good flooring because it's not quite as hard as tile so is easier on the joints. I have also used sand or a sand/soil mix in the past, it's perfectly safe and dragons do love to dig. I've never seen any dragon become impacted, the stories online about impaction are not very often and in most cases the dragon was either dehydrated + not fed properly and didn't have proper heat and also calcium sand was used and it is worse than regular sand because it clumps like sludge when it gets wet in the beardie's G.I. tract. The sand mats are hard to clean and loose pebbles can be eaten, reptile carpet needs to be cleaned after pooing + I can't see how you could keep it from smelling terribly. But sand + topsoil mix is quite safe and is easy to clean. :)
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