Enclosure help and advice

I plan on going to the pet store tomorrow to get things I need for my bearded dragon, so I want some input before I just go and spend more money. I have a lot of questions, so sorry in advance lmao i just want the best for my beardie.
1st: The terrarium kit that I bought recommended I also buy the thrive decorating kit, which came with a bunch of substrate such as moss etc. I’ve since learned that loose substrate is not good to have in your dragons cage, so I plan to take it out tomorrow. I have the green moss placed under his basking rock and he likes to sleep under the part of the moss that is pushed up against the glass, making a kind of “tunnel.” This is where he’s slept 90% of the nights that i’ve had him.I don’t wanna just take this comfort away from him, so is there anything else you’d recommend I get that I could put under a basking rock & he could sleep on or under? This seems like a silly question but I feel bad just taking it out and leaving him with nothing under the rock.
2nd: Like I mentioned before, I have the 20 gallon thrive brand terrarium, which came with a coil UVB light (of course) & I know that those are no good. I plan on getting the reptisun T5 HO 5.0 24”, but i’m not sure how to set this up with my tank. My tank only opens by the screen on top which slides in and out, so I can’t just mount it between the screen and glass because it would have to come down every time I go to open the terrarium. I know it’s not effective if I just set the UVB bulb on top of the screen, so is my only option to mount it inside? I’ve also read it needs to be 6-8 inches above his basking rock, but there’s only about 5 inches between his basking rock and the screen, so should I just buy a shorter basking spot for him?
3rd: My basking lamp is 75 watts, which i’ve read is recommended for a 20 gallon tank. I’m unsure if this is the correct information because my zoomed thermometer and hygrometer usually read between 80-93 degrees (I have the probe placed where his basking rock is) and I’ve read that for a juvenile it’s recommended to have your tank between 105 and 110 in the basking area. Should I buy a 100 watt lamp? Or do you think my thermometer is reading the wrong temps? Another reason I have doubt in this thermometer is because my beardie will open his mouth and gape, which I don’t understand why he’d do that if it’s actually only about 90 degrees in there while the recommended is at least 105. Does anyone recommend a better hygrometer and thermometer? The humidity usually reads between 35-40, which i’ve been told is the correct humidity for a bearded dragons tank. I just want to be positive that my hygrometer is reading correct, so is there anyway I can check the accuracy of my Zoomed thermometer/hygrometer?
4th: Do you guys recommend I buy a reptifogger for my terrarium?
5th: Back to the gaping topic, is there any other reason a bearded dragon may open his mouth & look towards his light? I’ve thought about it maybe being him wanting to be fed, but everytime I try while he’s doing that, he never takes it, so I highly doubt it’s him being hungry.
 

Shinryu

Hatchling Member
Staff member
Lead Writer
Hi there! I hope I'll be able to help you a little bit. Unless you are going to a reptile specific pet store, I doubt that you will be able to find many of the recommended products there. I would search for reptile specific online retailers or search Amazon for specific products.

1. Personally I don't think a bit of dry moss in a small area of the enclosure such as under a basking rock is that big of a deal as long as the vast majority of the substrate isn't loose. Your bearded dragon doesn't eat food in that area so that minimizes the risk of swallowing loose substrate during feeding times. @KarrieRee @Drache613, can you guys think of another safer option to give the beardie a bit of comfort?

2. The 20 gallon terrarium is far too small for anything other than a baby bearded dragon and is likely to be outgrown quite fast. I would recommend an absolute minimum size of a "40 gallon breeder tank," which is actually closer to 50 gallons. The UVB tubes need to extend to cover 2/3 to 3/4 of total terrarium length. I recommend Reptisun 10.0 UVB T5 High Output Tube Fluorescent Bulb or Arcadia 12 % UVB T5 High Output Tube Fluorescent Bulb.

I recently put together a terrarium buying guide and a lighting guide so I'm linking them here.

3. The right basking bulb wattage is the one that lets you achieve the correct temps on the surface of your basking zone. The basking area surface temperature of 105 F to 110 F for bearded dragon babies, 105 F for juveniles, and 95 F to 102 F for fully grown dragons is appropriate. You may need to try different bulbs or use a dimmer to adjust them until you reach the proper temperature. If you need for your basking bulb to be a bit higher, you could look into reptile light stands. There are several options on Amazon and reptile-specific retailers. Have you tried using a temp gun to measure temperatures? They seem to be more accurate for measuring temps in your enclosure. Here's a bearded dragon heating guide that will answer at least some of your questions regarding basking bulbs.


As far as the beardie gaping, it can be normal behavior for a bearded dragon. This article I found explains it in more detail. Bearded Dragon Basking Open Mouth - Reptiles Magazine.

4. If I understand it correctly, a reptifogger is a humidifier, in which case you definitely don't need it. Bearded dragons prefer lower humidity between 20 and 40 % so they definitely don't need a humidifier.

As for the hood for your UVB tube, they generally rest on two of the three edges that do not slide. The front slides out from under the hood, while the hood sits securely on top of the other edges. The terrarium guide link that I posted has a few options for terrariums that come equipped with doors so when you upgrade to the size meant for an adult bearded dragon, mounting your fixtures should be easier.
 

avalynnj12

Member
Original Poster
Hi there! I hope I'll be able to help you a little bit. Unless you are going to a reptile specific pet store, I doubt that you will be able to find many of the recommended products there. I would search for reptile specific online retailers or search Amazon for specific products.

1. Personally I don't think a bit of dry moss in a small area of the enclosure such as under a basking rock is that big of a deal as long as the vast majority of the substrate isn't loose. Your bearded dragon doesn't eat food in that area so that minimizes the risk of swallowing loose substrate during feeding times. @KarrieRee @Drache613, can you guys think of another safer option to give the beardie a bit of comfort?

2. The 20 gallon terrarium is far too small for anything other than a baby bearded dragon and is likely to be outgrown quite fast. I would recommend an absolute minimum size of a "40 gallon breeder tank," which is actually closer to 50 gallons. The UVB tubes need to extend to cover 2/3 to 3/4 of total terrarium length. I recommend Reptisun 10.0 UVB T5 High Output Tube Fluorescent Bulb or Arcadia 12 % UVB T5 High Output Tube Fluorescent Bulb.

I recently put together a terrarium buying guide and a lighting guide so I'm linking them here.

3. The right basking bulb wattage is the one that lets you achieve the correct temps on the surface of your basking zone. The basking area surface temperature of 105 F to 110 F for bearded dragon babies, 105 F for juveniles, and 95 F to 102 F for fully grown dragons is appropriate. You may need to try different bulbs or use a dimmer to adjust them until you reach the proper temperature. If you need for your basking bulb to be a bit higher, you could look into reptile light stands. There are several options on Amazon and reptile-specific retailers. Have you tried using a temp gun to measure temperatures? They seem to be more accurate for measuring temps in your enclosure. Here's a bearded dragon heating guide that will answer at least some of your questions regarding basking bulbs.


As far as the beardie gaping, it can be normal behavior for a bearded dragon. This article I found explains it in more detail. Bearded Dragon Basking Open Mouth - Reptiles Magazine.

4. If I understand it correctly, a reptifogger is a humidifier, in which case you definitely don't need it. Bearded dragons prefer lower humidity between 20 and 40 % so they definitely don't need a humidifier.

As for the hood for your UVB tube, they generally rest on two of the three edges that do not slide. The front slides out from under the hood, while the hood sits securely on top of the other edges. The terrarium guide link that I posted has a few options for terrariums that come equipped with doors so when you upgrade to the size meant for an adult bearded dragon, mounting your fixtures should be easier.
Yes he’s pretty small right now, i’d say only 1-2 months based on how long he is & what i’ve read. I’m definitely going to upgrade his tank as needed, and if not needed sooner it’ll be done by New years:).
And yes you’re correct, I was thinking of a dehumidifier rather than the fogger. I found one on amazon that is the reptisun brand but i’m unsure if it’s worth buying or not since my humidity always reads between 35-40. Do you have any idea how I could test the accuracy of the ZooMed thermometer/hygrometer?
I was told to buy a 24" when buying UVB light and fixture. Is this correct for a 20 gallon?
 
Last edited:

Shinryu

Hatchling Member
Staff member
Lead Writer
Perfect! Hopefully a lot of the issues with mounting UVB will be resolved once you upgrade the tank. The humidity between 20 and 40 % is good so you may not need a dehumidifier. I would probably monitor to see how things change with various seasons and running central AC/heat, etc. I also saw a couple of recent threads that nighttime humidity higher than 40 % is also acceptable since it's not like that for a long time. Yeah, the 24'' fixture should span around 3/4 of your total terrarium length so should be fine for now. Once you upgrade, make sure that your chosen fixture still spans 2/3-3/4 of total terrarium length.

I personally don't have experience in testing the accuracy of thermometers and hygrometers but I will tag @Claudiusx since I know that he knows a lot about thermometers and wrote a detailed article on thermometer accuracy a while back.
 

Mystic&Terry

New member
I plan on going to the pet store tomorrow to get things I need for my bearded dragon, so I want some input before I just go and spend more money. I have a lot of questions, so sorry in advance lmao i just want the best for my beardie.
1st: The terrarium kit that I bought recommended I also buy the thrive decorating kit, which came with a bunch of substrate such as moss etc. I’ve since learned that loose substrate is not good to have in your dragons cage, so I plan to take it out tomorrow. I have the green moss placed under his basking rock and he likes to sleep under the part of the moss that is pushed up against the glass, making a kind of “tunnel.” This is where he’s slept 90% of the nights that i’ve had him.I don’t wanna just take this comfort away from him, so is there anything else you’d recommend I get that I could put under a basking rock & he could sleep on or under? This seems like a silly question but I feel bad just taking it out and leaving him with nothing under the rock.
2nd: Like I mentioned before, I have the 20 gallon thrive brand terrarium, which came with a coil UVB light (of course) & I know that those are no good. I plan on getting the reptisun T5 HO 5.0 24”, but i’m not sure how to set this up with my tank. My tank only opens by the screen on top which slides in and out, so I can’t just mount it between the screen and glass because it would have to come down every time I go to open the terrarium. I know it’s not effective if I just set the UVB bulb on top of the screen, so is my only option to mount it inside? I’ve also read it needs to be 6-8 inches above his basking rock, but there’s only about 5 inches between his basking rock and the screen, so should I just buy a shorter basking spot for him?
3rd: My basking lamp is 75 watts, which i’ve read is recommended for a 20 gallon tank. I’m unsure if this is the correct information because my zoomed thermometer and hygrometer usually read between 80-93 degrees (I have the probe placed where his basking rock is) and I’ve read that for a juvenile it’s recommended to have your tank between 105 and 110 in the basking area. Should I buy a 100 watt lamp? Or do you think my thermometer is reading the wrong temps? Another reason I have doubt in this thermometer is because my beardie will open his mouth and gape, which I don’t understand why he’d do that if it’s actually only about 90 degrees in there while the recommended is at least 105. Does anyone recommend a better hygrometer and thermometer? The humidity usually reads between 35-40, which i’ve been told is the correct humidity for a bearded dragons tank. I just want to be positive that my hygrometer is reading correct, so is there anyway I can check the accuracy of my Zoomed thermometer/hygrometer?
4th: Do you guys recommend I buy a reptifogger for my terrarium?
5th: Back to the gaping topic, is there any other reason a bearded dragon may open his mouth & look towards his light? I’ve thought about it maybe being him wanting to be fed, but everytime I try while he’s doing that, he never takes it, so I highly doubt it’s him being hungry.
I have a hammock mine likes to sleep on or under.
I’ve taken some pieces of blanket and made a little blanket cave under it. His ceramic heat emitter is above the hammock on top of the screen. I think they like to hide in dark places.
 

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 4 and Blaze is 2
Yes he’s pretty small right now, i’d say only 1-2 months based on how long he is & what i’ve read. I’m definitely going to upgrade his tank as needed, and if not needed sooner it’ll be done by New years:).
And yes you’re correct, I was thinking of a dehumidifier rather than the fogger. I found one on amazon that is the reptisun brand but i’m unsure if it’s worth buying or not since my humidity always reads between 35-40. Do you have any idea how I could test the accuracy of the ZooMed thermometer/hygrometer?
I was told to buy a 24" when buying UVB light and fixture. Is this correct for a 20 gallon?
You can get the 24" fixture but get a Zoo Med that will come w/ a 5.0 bulb -- use that till you upgrade the tank then you will need to get a 10.0 T 5 bulb that will go right into a 40 + gallon tank --- distance and placement is key here so let us know when you get it so we can help you set it up -- 35-40 humidity is fine --- you dont want under 20 or over 70 % --- is the Zoo Med hygrometer a probe I am assuming it is - the probe for the hygrometer needs to go on the back center wall of the tank it will read the whole tank -- please NO foggers --- substrate No moss please to much dust and it can cause RI's get some textured NON adhesive shelf liner from Walmart or your local home improvement store then get a fleece blanket www.pamperedbeardies.com or a piece of clothing w/ your smell on it and place under the hammock -- nice and soft -- you can clean the tank w/ vinegar/water 50/50-- place the basking probe where he sits for basking leave 10 min then get the temp -- 100 watt bulb is too hot for a 20 gallon tank I used a 75 watt
 
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