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Experts in reptiles and aquatics

Setting up a Bearded Dragon Vivarium

Bearded Dragons (Pogona vitticeps) are a beautiful lizard that originate from the Australian desert and can reach sizes of up to 2ft (60cm) as adults. Bearded Dragons have become very popular to keep at home and for good reason, mainly due to their relative ease to care for, but also their own fun personalities and charming good looks. That being said getting the correct setup for them is important, as well as the correct diet to keep them happy and healthy for many years to come. Here at Perry’s Pet Supplies we've broken down the basics for you to get you on the road for a future of happy reptile keeping.

Vivariums & Size

First things first you need to choose the correct vivarium or ‘tank’ for your Bearded Dragon. You have a choice of two options, wooden or glass, see the below choices to help you best decide.

-Wooden ‘Vivs’

Wooden Vivariums are the popular choice of setup for Bearded Dragons as they are relatively cheap and easier to regulate the temperature for safe keeping of your pet. The vast majority of wooden vivariums have solid sides and roofs with sliding glass panels on the front for viewing and access for feeding, maintenance and handling.

-Glass ‘Vivs’

Glass Vivariums are also a popular choice as they allow viewing from all angles and also maintain a stylish sleek modern look. Glass Vivariums generally have a double door on the front for maintenance and feeding. Please note that regulating temperature in a glass vivarium is slightly more difficult as they are not as insulated as wooden vivs. We have a range of monitoring equipment and thermostats in store to keep your setup running smoothly.

-Size & Height

As your Bearded Dragon can grow up to 2 feet in length, choosing the correct size vivarium is crucial. We recommend a size of 4ft x 2ft x 2ft. Bearded Dragons are a active species and will enjoy making use of all parts of their home, having a large enough tank will help create different temperature ranges which your lizard will pick and choose themselves where they want to be. Bearded Dragons are relatively capable climbers and will enjoy spending a bit of time at height in their tanks, so adding some decorations like wooden bark and rocks to climb on will keep them stimulated and active. Don’t worry too much about going overboard with the height, as your ‘Beardie’ will spend a lot of time in their floor area.


As Bearded Dragons are cold blooded, they need to bask in warmth or sunlight to become active. In the wild Bearded Dragons spend much of their time basking in the warm Australian sun. We recreate this in vivariums with basking lamps or heaters. The main and most popular way to heat your vivarium would be to use a basking spotlamp.

-Basking Spotlamps

Basking lamps are a mixture of heating and lighting used to recreate the suns intense light and heat. Your basking lamp should be positioned at one end of your tank above a rock or decoration so your Bearded Dragon can bask. Remember to not have your basking lamp too low as this can be dangerous and possibly burn your Dragon. Basking lamps come in various colours, sizes and types to suit yours and your Bearded Dragons needs, Check out our collection in store for more information.

Choosing the correct location of your heating equipment is generally pretty easy with Bearded Dragons, we suggest having your basking lamp or heater at one end of your vivarium, this will create a hot end and cool end (or Thermal gradient) so your ‘Beardie’ can choose whats comfortable for them.

Hot end Temp – around 37°C (100°F)

Cool end Temp – around 26°C (80°F)

Night Temp – 18-21°C (64°F – 69°F)

Should I Heat my Vivarium at Night?

As the temperatures in the wild are hot throughout the day and cool during the night this also needs to be replicated. If your home is generally cold at night (less that 16°C) you may need to also heat your vivarium to around 18°C, a ceramic heater will be ideal as they emit only heat and no light. (Check out ceramic heaters in our store) When using a ceramic heater you should also use a Thermostat (We would recommend a pulse thermostat) to prevent overheating of the enclosure.

We stock all types of Thermometers and Monitoring Equipment so you can keep and eye on the temperatures you need to recreate.


Bearded Dragons spend much of their time in sunlight, so we need to give them anywhere between 12 - 16 hours per day of light. Unlike the heating zones of your vivarium the light needs to cover all areas of you ‘Beardies’ home. We achieve this with ultraviolet lighting (UV).

-UVA/UVB Lighting

Bearded Dragons need a full spectrum of UVA & UVB lighting to simulate their natural behaviours of basking and breeding. UVB is essential in your setup as it imitates the ultraviolet of the sun. UV is used by your Bearded Dragon to create vitamin D, this is essential so your ‘Beardie’ can absorb Calcium. You should also ensure you provide other vital vitamins in their diet such as the ones sold in our store.

Your UV lighting should be setup around 12 inches(1 Foot) off your vivariums floor and the light should spread equally across the tank similar to natural sunlight. Remember your UV light is not to be confused with your basking lamp, both will be run separately in your vivarium as your Bearded Dragon will not get any heat from your UV light.

It is now possible to have a two in one UV and heat lamp together. The benefit of this is you can reduce the amount equipment needed in your setup.

Perry’s Pet Supplies stock the Komodo all-in-one Solar UV Basking bulb, which provides both the essential UV and heating capabilities required by your Bearded Dragon in one lamp.

Please note that all UV lamps regardless of brand degrade gradually over time. They will need to be replaced roughly every 12 months so it’s best to take note of when you purchased your UV lighting.


Substrates are the flooring and bedding material you choose for the bottom of your vivarium. Perry’s Pet Supplies provides different options for you as listed below.


Sand can be used in vivariums as it copies the natural environment that the Bearded Dragons come from along with creating that natural look at home, but be careful, especially with baby dragons as sometimes the sand can be eaten along with its food and stuck in the lizards digestive tract, this is called impaction.

Impaction is dangerous and can be fatal with juvenile dragons. The risk is lower with adult Bearded Dragons so it is essential you use the correct sand substrate, We stock Bearded Dragon sand in our store that is safe to use. It would be recommended to use a different substrate such as carpets or paper towels while you have a baby dragon and then change to sand as they reach adulthood.


Reptile carpets are a good alternative to sand as they can be easily cut to the shape of your vivarium and taken out and washed by hand every so often if required.

Paper Towels or Newspaper

Paper towels and newspaper can both be used in your setups, this cheap short-term alternative substrate is easy to clean as you can bin and replace it. Obviously they are not natural to your Bearded Dragon or as decorative as the other options above.


Decorations help create a natural environment for your Bearded Dragon and finally make their house a home. There are many different types of decorations you can add which will really personalise your setup the way you want it. We stock many decorative variations including woods, artificial plants, climbing vines and hammocks.

We recommend having somewhere as a hide or den for your Bearded Dragon to sleep or go if they feel threatened. This can be under a piece of wood or behind a rock for example.

Also note that if you build any climbing areas, build them away from the basking area so your Bearded Dragon can’t reach or get close to the heat lamp.

Food & Diet

Bearded Dragons eat a combination of both plants and live invertebrates (insects) in the wild. A good variety balanced diet is important so your Bearded Dragon is getting the correct nutrients it needs, supplements such as multivitamins are also required which are available in store.

What Fruit can my Bearded Dragon eat?

  • Peeled apples

  • Cherries (without the pit)

  • Blueberries, Blackberries, strawberries, cranberries

  • Figs

  • Green & Red Grapes

  • Guava

  • Honeydew & Cantaloupe

  • Apricot

  • Canned pineapple and prunes

  • Watermelon

  • Seedless Raisins

  • Papaya

  • Peach

  • Pears

  • Mandarin Oranges

  • Mango

  • Plums

What Vegetables can my Bearded Dragon eat?

  • Collard Greens

  • Dandelion Greens

  • Turnip Greens

  • Mustard Greens

  • Artichoke Heart (uncooked)

  • Asparagus

  • Basil

  • Bell Pepper (Green, Red, Yellow)

  • Red & Green Cabbage

  • Peeled Cucumber

  • Squash (Acorn, Butternut, Spaghetti, & Summer)

  • Uncooked Kale, Radish, Pumpkin, Zucchini, & Leeks

  • Parsnip

What Insects can my Bearded Dragon eat?

  • Crickets

  • Dubia Roaches

  • Super Worms

  • Silk Worms

  • Butter worms

  • Phoenix Worms

  • Wax Worms

  • Goliath Worms

  • Mealworms

  • Locusts

  • Redworms

A cool tip would be to also feed your live insects, something like crushed fish flake or vegetation is ideal. Remember any good nutrients absorbed by the insects will also be absorbed into your Bearded Dragon.


Bearded Dragons are a fun beginner reptile to keep and are favoured by both the hard-core enthusiasts and newcomers to the hobby. If you’re looking to get into reptile keeping then a Bearded Dragon is a good place to start. Here at Perry’s Pet Supplies we have all the equipment needed to get you started and would be more than happy to help with any questions you may have.

We hope you enjoyed the read and as mentioned above please don’t hesitate to contact us regarding any questions you have. We would love to hear from you.

Kind Regards,

From Ryan & Lewis & all at Perry’s Pet Supplies.


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