Newbie here with a couple of questions

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New member
Hi everyone

Here's to hoping my Step-Son (11yrs) has a great introduction to the world of reptiles with a Beardy. He has done no end of research and so have we as parents, the Beardy seems to be the best option for him as he wants to handle it and tame it.

But, getting misleading information from our two most local reptile centres. One is a multi Pet shop, and the other who appears to be more knowledgeable is a reptile shop.

We have a 3ft Wooden Viv with glass fronted doors. Currently has a light fitting and thats about it. We planned to use Calci Sand, a basking lamp fitted to the light mount, a UV tube and that was about it. Now we have been given advice to ditch the basking lamp bulb (as it can startle the beardy) and replace with a Ceramic lamp and Reflector. Is this a good idea? Firstly I assume I will need to cut out the top of the viv to accommodate the reflector and bulb - no way of mounting inside? He also suggested we rig this up to a temperature controlled unit which to me seems like a great idea. Then purchase a UV tube with starter and fit to underside of viv so its out of the way and hidden. Finally I read that it is an idea to fit a standard low energy bulb which could be fitted to the mount and keep that side as cool, with Ceramic heater side for basking.

Would this be ok?

Then, rather than go straight in with a first post asking questions, I had a good look around the forums and came across the Sand debate. Many of the pet stores use sand or particle/bark type for the bottom. I assume sand is generally easier to work with for cleaning, but at the same time the stuff is not cheap by any means. In the sticky thread in this section, I like the theory behind using lino or ceramic tiles which are very easy to clean... and then provide the beardy with a large dish with particle bedding for digging etc. As that post is locked, what is the general concencus for this type of setup?

All advice would be gratefully appreciated. Whilst I understand there is no right or wrong way, it is always good to seek opinions of those who are experienced in their field. My knowledge does not like with reptiles at all...... having said that, although I wasn't too sure, I did get to meet an Adult Beardy today who lazily sat on my shoulder looking rather happy at me. Not at all like I imagined!!!

Cheers in advance guys n girls. 8)

sweetiepie9 Sicko
Retired Moderator
First, sand is a no-no. Beardies lick everything in their environment & if they lick the sand, it climps in the stomach & can cause impaction (inability to pass poop) and can kill a beardie, so solid substrates are the way to go; tile, newspaper, paper towel, or any other type of solid substrate. Nothing else. Pet shops are never right about loose substrate, it's never good for beardies. They really don't need to have anything to dig in. I use newspaper as a substrate, very thick layers, so if one wants to dig, they can just strip the newspaper, very easy to replace.

I also need the measurements of your 30 gallon tank, height, width & depth. Your beardie may start out small, but he'll be too big for that enclosre within a few months. So getting a glass tank with a top may be a better bet. By the time your beardie is 5 mo old he'll need at least a 40 gallon breeder tank & by full growth at 1 1/2 yrs old, may need a bigger tank, like a 50 or 75 gallon. It just depends on how bit it grows. I have 5 adult males, 4 are in 40 gallon breeders but my biggest beardie who's 22" long and 800g is in a 75 gallon. So they do grow quickly & need space to move around in their tanks.

Also you need a good strong UVB tube, the best are Reptisun 10.0 or Arcadia 12%. Those are the strongest UVB tubes and highly recommended. they need to be at the top of the tank, and inside, to give your beardie the best UVB possible. It's necessary for good bone growth & helps with digestion. As for the basking spot, basking is necessary for beardies to digest ttheir food. They need a bright white light & because you have an enclosed viv, you'll have to make sure there is alot of good ventilation. If you get a baby, you'll need to have the basking spot at 108F to 110F. If a juvie than 105-108F. Older dragons, over a year, are good with 100F. That is very important. Have you decided on the feeders you're going to use? You'll need a good calcium poweder, without phosphorus & with Vit D3 Repcal is one of the best, . Also you'll need a good vit/min supplement, Herpivite or Flukers make a good one.

If you have a baby or juvie, you'll need to dust their feeders one feeding a day 5x/week & with vit/min it's one feeding a day 2x/week. These are necessary to give your dragons strong bones and good digestsive health. They will eat alot of bugs, whose bodies shouldn't be longer than the space between the beardie's eyes.

The cermaic light emitter is only used at night if the room where the beardie is in goes lower than 65F at night. You'll need a brigth white basking light that gets the basking temps to what I mentioned at the beginning. That's essential for their digestive health. I always used regular white household bulbs of different wattage to get the right temps. You don't have to buy any expensive flood lights. You'll need a temp gun or a digital probe to get the temps right, espeically in an enclosed viv. It's very important as you don't want to "cook" your baby.

Is youre viv a completely enclosed one? If so, please make sure that when you close the front doors that you keep checking the temps for your baby, it's very important the basking spot not be higher than 110F & if it's enclosed, it can get hot much quicker. Your baby will also need to be hydrated regularly, so I recommend daily baths in warm water up to his armpits, for a good 20 min daily, if possible, if not every 2nd day. He won't need water in his tank, you don't want the humidity to get higher, as they're low humidity reptiles. If you want to mist him, make sure to do it outside his tank.

Your UVB bulb can't be hidden, it needs to be mouted at the top of the inside of your tank and should cover at least 2/3 of the length of the tank. Your beardie needs to be able to get to within 6-8" of the UVB. Having it inside the tank gives your beardies 100% of the rays, which is great for your dragon. Helps with digestion, growing strong bones.

With beardies there is alot of wrong: coil UVB lights can cause eye issues. Reptiglo tubes can cause health issues. It's very important that the right equipment is bought from the beginning, because they have very specific needs to be happy healthy & a good companion. If there are any other questions, please contact me. And really, there are no stupid questions when it comes to beardies, so ask away! You want to make sure your baby has all the right tools to grow into a wonderful, snuggle, loving dragon!


New member
Original Poster
Cracking reply there sweetiepie9! Thanks :D

Given me some ideas looking on other peoples Viv setups. More reading and research I think to go with your thoughts :study:

sweetiepie9 Sicko
Retired Moderator
Once you have everything set up the way it should be, you'll have a very healthy growing beardie. Just remember that the cost of bugs can be high, they've been know to eat up to 100 bugs a day for the first 4-5 mo or more, as that's the major growing time, then a bit less, but until they're a year old, they're in major growing mode. The more food they get, the better for them. And that includes veggies/greens, too. Here's a great list for food to look through: under Nutrition. I've been checking that list for 6 years. Two of my dragons took a liking to impatient flowers, stems & leaves, so I had to make sure it was safe & it was. So I got them a few plants & every time they were out on the balcony (separately, of course), they'd crunch away on these plants! It was so cute to watch them eat away.


Hatchling Member
Sweetiepie...THANK YOU!

Your post really clarified a lot of information for me. There are several of you posters on this site that are truly amazing at being great sources of information. Thank you all for taking the time to help us noobies out.

I am looking to get a beardy for my 10 year old son for Christmas. I have not purchased it yet, as I want the whole habitat set up prior to bringing it home. This is kinda tricky as we want it to be a surprise.

I have this breeder tank:

And because I love to DIY, I'm going to make Twobeardieguy's UVB light fixture and hood: viewtopic.php?f=34&t=140791

I was considering this for the basking light:

and this for temperature check:

Is that good? Do I need anything else? Now you said that "solid substrates are the way to go; tile, newspaper, paper towel, or any other type of solid substrate. Nothing else. " I was considering hard packed dirt, because it's more natural. So that would also be a no no?

Also, which UVA basking light would you recommend. I read here that Reptisun 10.0 is the best UVB

:study: Learning as much as I can in the next few weeks, thanks for your help. :study:

sweetiepie9 Sicko
Retired Moderator
The tank is great, that's what I have for 4 of my dragons. It will last your dragon for life.

The fixture is also great but only if you're not using a top. If you need to use a mesh top, get an under counter fixture (from any hardware store) that will fit underneath the top, that way your beardie gets 100% of UVB.

Yes, the Reptisun 10.0 is a full spectrum light, so no UVA needed, it's included inthe Reptsun.

I also use the Flukers Deep Dome for my lights too. The basking light can be on top of the mesh top without a problem.

That temp guage is great, it has a probe & checks humidity, too, so that is great, too. You have to make sure the humidity doesn't go over 40%, so no water in the tank or misting in the tank.

As for substrate, no dirt, that's fine for geckos because they spend their time on the glass, but beardies will eat the dirt as they stay on the ground and lick everything and it will make them sick. Beardies live near deserts in Australia in the wild, the hard packed are they live on is make of clay, so dirt isn't their natural habitat. So only solid substrate for beardies.

I'm glad you're doing your homework, your son's baby (which will, of course, be yours :lol: I'm a mom, too, and my son's cat became mine after not too long) will be a very well cared for & happy beardie. I'd also recommend you get an older baby, at least 3-4 mo old to start, as smaller babies can be very fragile and difficult to raise. I'd also recommend a good breeder as opposed to a pet shop, as in pet shops they're really too young but breeders will usually keep them longer so they have a good beginning. But, that's all up to you!

So please stay in touch, I'll be waiting to hear about your new baby!


Hatchling Member
So do I need to have a top? The top that came with the terrarium has pretty small holes so I don't know if the basking lamp would be able to penetrate it efficiently. If the top is necessary than I will definitely do the under counter fixture and probably cut a hole out for the basking lamp.

Also, do I need a heat lamp for the basking light?

Thank you so much for your response and support. I know that in a few months this will be my baby to care for, as you said. I got both my kids a Red Eared Slider on the 4th of July this year and they were great about feeding and caring for them until this month. Now it's solely on me, which is fine because I love caring for them. They get spoiled too and so will this beardy lol.

sweetiepie9 Sicko
Retired Moderator
You don't need a top & with the fixture that Lance has in DIY (that's two-beardie guys name) there won't be alot of space to escape. It depends on the age of your beardie and how much of an escape artist he is. I don't have tops on any of my tanks, but the furniture I use is low & my UVB light is a mercurty vapour light, a Power Sun, on a lamp stand, so I can put the lamp up or down depending on the temps needed. Because everything is very low, they've never been able to escape. My biggest beardie, Rubio, who's 10 1/2" from snout to vent, 22" long in total with a tail nip & 800g (yes, he's huge) is in a 75 gallon tank with 2' sides because he just walked out of the 40 gallon kritter cage he was in:

watch this, Mom :lol:



My oldest dragon was in a 75 gallon, but as he was much smaller than Rubio, they switched tanks right away! And that was the end of escaping, even though Rubio tries all the time:

So it just depends. Hope you enjoyed the photos, Rubio is so funny with what he comes up with!

And the mesh tops are always small holes, but the basking light gets through just fine, just not the UVB. You can cut the mesh just underneath the UVB bulb, that would also work, as the what Lance built looks very light. So there are a couple of suggestions for using a top.

Here are a few pics of the 40 gallon kritter cages, showing furniture & the lamp stand with the UVB light (it gives UVB & heat from the same bulb)

These are Didi, Lonzo and Leo tanks along one living room wall. Gives an idea of the lamp stands. The big tank to the left, behind the sofa, is Rubio.

This is a close up of Gabriels tank, located in my bedroom:


Hatchling Member
Wow that's a lot of tanks lol. Rubio looks AWESOME! I'm getting excited to get the set up completed and get our little guy or gal home.

Is it possible to have 2 beardys in 1 tank if it's big enough? or will they fight?

I was thinking putting 2 40g side by side, removing one panel on each and then sealing the 2 together.

sweetiepie9 Sicko
Retired Moderator
No, please don't do that, beardies are solitary creates and they will fight for dominance, one will dominate, the other will be submissive and you'll have health issues to deal with, as it's very stressful for them to be together. Really. That's why I have them each in their own separate tank, I've seen too many fights; even babies bite. Rubio has no fingers on his right hand or food & is missing about 3" of tail, I got him at 3 mo old. Leo has a smashed hand. I've had a couple of other rescues that were missing 1/2 their tails or digits or had bites on their bodies, from being in tanks with too many babies at the pet shops. So please, separate tanks & separate set ups. There is a thread on here, I'll find you the link if you want, that discusses that issue quite throughly. Some people will say that they've had their beardies together for a long time, but one will always be dominant over the other, even if they don't fight. So one will be big and the other small. It's just not worth it. If you can't afford 2 beardies with 2 separate enclosures (the cost can be quite hight to get the set up done), then just stick to one until you can afford 2. That's the best thing to do.


New member
Original Poster
I was going to look at getting a couple, but ready many stories about dominance and aggression, so thought better of it.

Getting underway with the viv, some more bits to get yet. Gone for lino bottom as the wife found some adhesive lino tiles very cheap!

sweetiepie9 Sicko
Retired Moderator
Here's the link:

It's quite graphic but it proves my point as to why I'd never put two dragons together. I once had Leo out, he hid, I forgot for a minute that he was out, so I put Didi out & ended up with dragons fighting (within a second, I swear) bloody tails and Leo had a bite that almost took 2" of his tail off. Luckily I was right there & separted them, betadine baths twice a day & polysporin in their tails healed them up within 4 days, but I'll never do that again. I'm always super careful to make sure only 1 is out at a time now.

Hope this helps.
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